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ranma1/2
05-01-2007, 06:13 AM
Why do you hold the beliefs that you hold ?
And how did you arrive at it?
This is for everyone diests, theists, atheists , agnostics and everyone else.

Please choose all answers that apply.
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جوري
05-02-2007, 04:16 AM
None of your poll questions make sense.. how do you expect people to partake in this buffoonery?
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Woodrow
05-02-2007, 04:26 AM
I can not find any answer on the poll that would apply to why I reverted to Islam.
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ranma1/2
05-02-2007, 05:25 AM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
I can not find any answer on the poll that would apply to why I reverted to Islam.
Perhaps you can add an Other option.

Of course this page is for elaboration as well so if you want to list in more detail why you have chosen your belief as well as how you got there please do.
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ranma1/2
05-02-2007, 05:27 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
None of your poll questions make sense.. how do you expect people to partake in this buffoonery?
What do you not understand? And please be civil.
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جوري
05-02-2007, 06:10 AM
I never said I don't understand --I said your questions were nonsensical... almost bordering upon insulting...
I gather you take everything that doesn't agree with "your truth" as you conceive it to be as "uncivil". if that is your exist as to the questions that baffle you then by all means you can consider them objectionable or uncivil until the cows get home..
you look at the Questions and tell me what you think is wrong with them-- Do you really think that is how people become believers?

Why do you hold your belief?
I chose a belief the same as my family.
I chose a belief that is dominant in my area..
I was taught my belief by members of authority. "family, teacher, commutinty et.."
I chose a belief different from my family.
I chose a belief different from my area.
I married into my belief.
I had a traumatic event in my life that made me search for a belief.
I had a traumatic event that made me loose my belief.
I came to my belief without any unreasonable outside influence.
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Grace Seeker
05-02-2007, 06:51 AM
I came to my belief as a result of serious inquiry and deep reflection.
I came to my belief as a result of divine revelation.
I came to my belief as a result of a social manipulation and brainwashing.


Where are these answers?


None of yours fit me. But if it would be allowed, I could write my story for all to read. However, I won't without advance permission, because I would not want it to be mistaken for promoting a belief other than Islam, which it would be reasonable for some to think it was doing.
Reply

جوري
05-02-2007, 06:53 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
I came to my belief as a result of serious inquiry and deep reflection.
I came to my belief as a result of divine revelation.
I came to my belief as a result of a social manipulation and brainwashing.


Where are these answers?


None of yours fit me. But if it would be allowed, I could write my story for all to read. However, I won't without advance permission, because I would not want it to be mistaken for promoting a belief other than Islam, which it would be reasonable for some to think it was doing.
Thank you-- so it is not just me and my "uncivil ways", that think these questions are almost insulting !

peace Gene
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Woodrow
05-02-2007, 07:45 AM
I came to my belief in the truth of Islam for several reasons. Among them being many years of study and then because of what can only be called divine intervention.

I had no intentions of ever accepting Islam and it was not until when I finaly read the Qur'an and meaning came to me and it all made sense and fell into place. I had no doubts that I was Muslim and had been denying it all my life. I finally accepted what I truly was and came home to where I belong.
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snakelegs
05-02-2007, 08:43 AM
i couldn't really answer the questions.
but i'd like to ask the OP
why do you not believe what you don't believe? and how did you get to that non-belief?
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InToTheRain
05-02-2007, 08:50 AM
Some of the choices can't be taken seriously as no one in their right mind would choose them, do you expect people to really say "I was socially manipulated/brainwashed to believe my belief"?
Even if this may be true for some individuals they will choose other choices they think lead them to that belief and not the truth.
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ranma1/2
05-02-2007, 01:15 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
I came to my belief as a result of serious inquiry and deep reflection.
I came to my belief as a result of divine revelation.
I came to my belief as a result of a social manipulation and brainwashing.


Where are these answers?


None of yours fit me. But if it would be allowed, I could write my story for all to read. However, I won't without advance permission, because I would not want it to be mistaken for promoting a belief other than Islam, which it would be reasonable for some to think it was doing.
I personally wouldnt have anyproblem with that in this thread.

I am curious about the brainwashing bit. When did this happen?
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ranma1/2
05-02-2007, 01:19 PM
Originally Posted by WnbSlveOfAllah
Some of the choices can't be taken seriously as no one in their right mind would choose them, do you expect people to really say "I was socially manipulated/brainwashed to believe my belief"?
Even if this may be true for some individuals they will choose other choices they think lead them to that belief and not the truth.
I didnt put those last 3 or 4 on there the moderator did.
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Trumble
05-02-2007, 03:27 PM
Originally Posted by ranma1/2
I didnt put those last 3 or 4 on there the moderator did.
They are good additions, though. Unfortunately I can't vote again to include "serious inquiry and deep reflection".
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Keltoi
05-02-2007, 03:52 PM
I chose the "same belief as family" option, simply because my family is Christian and so am I. Realistically it would be a combination of several.
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Confucius
05-02-2007, 03:53 PM
''I came to my belief without any unreasonable outside influence.''

i hate reading double negatives!!
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Grace Seeker
05-02-2007, 08:24 PM
Originally Posted by ranma1/2

I am curious about the brainwashing bit. When did this happen?
I don't think I was. Rather I was making a passive/aggresive comment on the list originally presented.
One could argue that the following original options:
I chose a belief the same as my family.
I chose a belief that is dominant in my area..
I was taught my belief by members of authority. "family, teacher, commutinty et.."
I married into my belief.
--are themselves all forms of social manipulation or even brainwashing. We think a particular way because we have been conditioned to by others. Since so many of the original list were of this type, I just labelled it for what it was. I don't know that you intended to do so, but so much of your list was as if people wouldn't come to belief for any rational reason, society (be it the acceptance of it or rebellion against it) and traumatic experiences were about the only options available. It is as if you have predetermined that neither a real experience of God nor any reason could be involved in the process. And when I saw that the only option that did not fit the social or traumatic event paradigm was "I came to my belief without any unreasonable outside influence" it was as if you had said that you expected the normative way of coming to belief was to involve unreasonable or outside influences or both. That's when the passive/aggressive side of me came out.

See, it is possible to choose the same belief as one's family, without that being the reason "why" one has chosen it. Yet, your questions don't leave that interpretation open. It is quite possible that one comes from a family that held belief XYZ, yet raised you to think for yourself. So you examined faith XYZ, but also faiths ABC, CBS, and NBC. And when one had done so, you found that you did in fact believe XYZ also, not because your family did (or didn't), not because of some traumatic event (though you may have experienced some), not for any of the reasons that you gave, but because after deligent faith explorations you found that XYZ seemed to be true and relevant to your life. You never even considered that a possibility in what you allowed for us.
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Pygoscelis
05-02-2007, 09:27 PM
This thread illustrates an important point. Many don't realize or care to admit why they hold the belief that they do. Most people do hold the same belief as their parents and as the region in which they live. This demonstrates that people have a tendency to believe what their parents teach them. Which is no big revelation. Children adopt many of the beliefs and cultural identity of their parents, not just the religious.

True, there may be a few believers in a religion who would have come to that belief even if they hadn't been raised in it, but the statistics clearly show that conversion is much rarer than adopting the religion of the parents - so there would not be many.

Yet pretty much every devout Christian is loathe to admit or recognize that they would likely be a devout muslim had they been born elsewhere, and same for the devout muslim admitting or recognizing that they would be a devout Christian.
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Grace Seeker
05-02-2007, 10:35 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
This thread illustrates an important point. Many don't realize or care to admit why they hold the belief that they do. Most people do hold the same belief as their parents and as the region in which they live. This demonstrates that people have a tendency to believe what their parents teach them. Which is no big revelation. Children adopt many of the beliefs and cultural identity of their parents, not just the religious.

True, there may be a few believers in a religion who would have come to that belief even if they hadn't been raised in it, but the statistics clearly show that conversion is much rarer than adopting the religion of the parents - so there would not be many.

Yet pretty much every devout Christian is loathe to admit or recognize that they would likely be a devout muslim had they been born elsewhere, and same for the devout muslim admitting or recognizing that they would be a devout Christian.
So, are you an atheist because you were raised this way? If so, then you are admitting you have no logical reason for the beliefs that you profess. Or, do you claim that you have logically and rationally arrived at the views that you have? If so, then your hypothesis is flawed.

You can't have it both ways.
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don532
05-02-2007, 11:03 PM
It would be considerate to those present to explain the purpose of this poll. If there's no stated, reasonable purpose, most won't participate.
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Pygoscelis
05-03-2007, 12:40 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
So, are you an atheist because you were raised this way?
Actually I wasn't raised as an atheist. My mother was somewhat religious and wanted me to be too. If I'd followed in the footseps of my parents I'd be an Anglican.

But yes, many atheists are atheists because their parents were atheists and so they were not taught religious beliefs as children (when we are most impressionable).

I'm curious how you would explain the fact that most people adopt the religion of their parents? Need it be a threat to the truth of your religion? Or is there another way to explain it?
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Grace Seeker
05-03-2007, 01:51 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Actually I wasn't raised as an atheist. My mother was somewhat religious and wanted me to be too. If I'd followed in the footseps of my parents I'd be an Anglican.
So then, are you claiming to have logically and rationally arrived at the views that you have?
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Keltoi
05-03-2007, 01:53 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Actually I wasn't raised as an atheist. My mother was somewhat religious and wanted me to be too. If I'd followed in the footseps of my parents I'd be an Anglican.

But yes, many atheists are atheists because their parents were atheists and so they were not taught religious beliefs as children (when we are most impressionable).

I'm curious how you would explain the fact that most people adopt the religion of their parents? Need it be a threat to the truth of your religion? Or is there another way to explain it?
Finding one's personal relationship with God is obviously important. People who are Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc that have children will obviously want their children to be of the same faith. It is up to the individual in the end to find their own relationship with God, regardless of their upbringing.
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YEh
05-03-2007, 05:06 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Finding one's personal relationship with God is obviously important. People who are Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc that have children will obviously want their children to be of the same faith. It is up to the individual in the end to find their own relationship with God, regardless of their upbringing.
I agree with that. :statisfie

I would also like to add that in the poll there should have been other option's like:

- The teachings were the same as my personal beliefs.

- The teachings have no negative consequences as a result of me or anyone else following them. So I was drawn to the teachings and message more so than other belief systems, which teach things that lead to social inequity and discrimination of other beliefs as a result of the belief.

YEh
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snakelegs
05-03-2007, 07:08 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
I'm curious how you would explain the fact that most people adopt the religion of their parents? Need it be a threat to the truth of your religion? Or is there another way to explain it?
i think often a person goes far away from the religion of their parents but later feels an emptiness so they turn to god again. they will usually go with what is familiar to them from family and culture. to me that makes sense. it does not automatically mean they are brainwashed.
(of course, as an agnostic, i believe god can be worshiped in any religion or even without a religion at all, but that's neither here nor there).
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vpb
05-03-2007, 07:20 AM
i think often a person goes far away from the religion of their parents but later feels an emptiness so they turn to god again. they will usually go with what is familiar to them from family and culture. to me that makes sense. it does not automatically mean they are brainwashed.
(of course, as an agnostic, i believe god can be worshiped in any religion or even without a religion at all, but that's neither here nor there).
you're such a snake leg :p
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England
05-03-2007, 07:48 AM
Go to a Spirtualist Church and get a personal reading with an open mind and you too would believe. I've explained why I believe what I believe many of times.
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Philosopher
05-03-2007, 07:53 AM
Originally Posted by England
Go to a Spirtualist Church and get a personal reading with an open mind and you too would believe. I've explained why I believe what I believe many of times.
First try to prove your God first.
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Pygoscelis
05-03-2007, 07:57 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
So then, are you claiming to have logically and rationally arrived at the views that you have?
I wasn't claiming anything.

But since you asked, yes I do beleive that I arrived at my view re religion logically and rationally.
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England
05-03-2007, 08:03 AM
Originally Posted by Philosopher
First try to prove your God first.
What I believe isn't all about God. I strongly believe God exists but my belief is spiritualism. It's a belief that the dead communicate with the living, as through a medium. It's all the spirit world and everything.

I believe in the same God as you do only he isn't as evil as the Quran portrays Him to be.
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Philosopher
05-03-2007, 08:18 AM
Originally Posted by England
What I believe isn't all about God. I strongly believe God exists but my belief is spiritualism. It's a belief that the dead communicate with the living, as through a medium. It's all the spirit world and everything.

I believe in the same God as you do only he isn't as evil as the Quran portrays Him to be.
God isnt evil, it's your ignorance that makes you delusional.
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ranma1/2
05-03-2007, 12:14 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
I chose the "same belief as family" option, simply because my family is Christian and so am I. Realistically it would be a combination of several.
Then choose all that apply.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 12:26 PM
Originally Posted by England
What I believe isn't all about God. I strongly believe God exists but my belief is spiritualism. It's a belief that the dead communicate with the living, as through a medium. It's all the spirit world and everything.

I believe in the same God as you do only he isn't as evil as the Quran portrays Him to be.

God isn't evil, man is punished for his/her own wrongdoings. I don't think any religion believes that the evildoers will get away from their crimes - if that is the case, then they're portraying God as unjust, when we know He's not.

By the way - you havn't even read the Qur'an so please don't make false claims. And if you have - then you wouldn't be making this statement.



Regards.
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InToTheRain
05-03-2007, 12:40 PM
Originally Posted by England
I believe in the same God as you do only he isn't as evil as the Quran portrays Him to be.
Where are you beeing spoon fed this from? stop driveling such codswallop
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FatimaAsSideqah
05-03-2007, 12:43 PM
Originally Posted by England
What I believe isn't all about God. I strongly believe God exists but my belief is spiritualism. It's a belief that the dead communicate with the living, as through a medium. It's all the spirit world and everything.

I believe in the same God as you do only he isn't as evil as the Quran portrays Him to be.
Greetings England,

Don't be ignorance..God isn't evil because He made this world and us as well! Who do you think you can make this stupid statement??

Peace!
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Grace Seeker
05-03-2007, 04:34 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
I wasn't claiming anything.

But since you asked, yes I do beleive that I arrived at my view re religion logically and rationally.

Then, as your parents were not atheists, either you are a unique individual that does not fit the norms or your hypothesis is faulty.
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England
05-03-2007, 06:16 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
God isn't evil, man is punished for his/her own wrongdoings. I don't think any religion believes that the evildoers will get away from their crimes - if that is the case, then they're portraying God as unjust, when we know He's not.

By the way - you havn't even read the Qur'an so please don't make false claims. And if you have - then you wouldn't be making this statement.



Regards.
I too believe people will be punished for their wrongdoings and I hope they do but what the Quran says that God will do to non-muslims is pure evil. The God I believe in won't punish anyone for their beliefs. Even you muslims will be ok. I believe in God, I'm thankful to God, I live my life peacefully, I get on with people and in my opinion God is happy. By saying that despite me being a peaceful, innocent human being I will be punished is portraying God as evil without a doubt. That's not God. As you say, God is Great.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 06:33 PM
Originally Posted by England
I too believe people will be punished for their wrongdoings and I hope they do but what the Quran says that God will do to non-muslims is pure evil. The God I believe in won't punish anyone for their beliefs. Even you muslims will be ok. I believe in God, I'm thankful to God, I live my life peacefully, I get on with people and in my opinion God is happy. By saying that despite me being a peaceful, innocent human being I will be punished is portraying God as evil without a doubt. That's not God. As you say, God is Great.

Yeah, its kool you understand the idea that God rewards people for their good. So if we're to say that God will reward someone for the good that they do to please Him, thats fair right? And the people who don't do good to please Him, then why should they be rewarded by Him? That's perfectly logical right?


Now for us to understand what is good and bad in the sight of God, He needs to send us Messengers' to clear this out for us. He could have shown Himself clearly - but then there wouldn't really be a point of the test since the answers would already be clearly given to us. These Messengers are humans like us, and they convey the message clearly and don't ask their reward off the people, they expect their reward from God. They tell people the clear cut way to differentiate between the good and evil.


The problem lies here; If someone doesn't accept God's Messenger, then their rejecting God's Message. What does that mean? It means that their saying that God's lying right? Do you think that God will be pleased with that?

Especially when the message makes pure sense, i'm not talking about the secondary issues here [in regard to the practises of dressing, eating and all that] but more in regard to the beliefs i.e. The Creator & Sustainer who is to be obeyed, the messengers, the concept of this life being a test and being rewarded or punished for our own deeds and actions.



We've also explained the concept of being punished in the hellfire. Even christians themselves believe that those who dont' "accept Jesus son of Mary as their saviour" will be in the hellfire forever. We know that Jesus son of Mary was a servant and honorable Messenger of God, we know that no soul bears the burden of another, and we are responsible for our own deeds and actions. We also said that the reason why the disbelievers may be in hellfire for eternity is due to the fact that once the message is given clearly to them - if they reject it, they do so out of arrogance. And if they were given a life of eternity - they would remain in that state of disbelief forever.

What was the main message the Prophets called to? To the worship of our Creator and Sustainer Alone, to be dutiful to ones parents, to enjoin the ties of kinship, to establish the prayer, to help the needy, to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, to perfect ones manners etc. There is nothing evil about that, infact this is what people really want in life.


"How can you deny God, when you were dead and God gave you life? Then God will cause you to die, and then revive you, and then you will be returned to God." (Quran 2:28)


And among His Signs (in this), that you see the earth barren, but when We send down water (rain) to it, it is stirred to life and growth (of vegetations).

Verily, He Who gives it life, surely, (He) is Able to give life to the dead (on the Day of Resurrection). Indeed! He is Able to do all things.

[Qur'an 41:39]
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England
05-03-2007, 06:45 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
Yeah, its kool you understand the idea that God rewards people for their good. So if we're to say that God will reward someone for the good that they do to please Him, thats fair right? And the people who don't do good to please Him, then why should they be rewarded by Him? That's perfectly logical right?


Now for us to understand what is good and bad in the sight of God, He needs to send us Messengers' to clear this out for us. He could have shown Himself clearly - but then there wouldn't really be a point of the test since the answers would already be clearly given to us. These Messengers are humans like us, and they convey the message clearly and don't ask their reward off the people, they expect their reward from God. They tell people the clear cut way to differentiate between the good and evil.


The problem lies here; If someone doesn't accept God's Messenger, then their rejecting God's Message. What does that mean? It means that their saying that God's lying right? Do you think that God will be pleased with that?

Especially when the message makes pure sense, i'm not talking about the secondary issues here [in regard to the practises of dressing, eating and all that] but more in regard to the beliefs i.e. The Creator & Sustainer who is to be obeyed, the messengers, the concept of this life being a test and being rewarded or punished for our own deeds and actions.



We've also explained the concept of being punished in the hellfire. Even christians themselves believe that those who dont' "accept Jesus son of Mary as their saviour" will be in the hellfire forever. We know that Jesus son of Mary was a servant and honorable Messenger of God, we know that no soul bears the burden of another, and we are responsible for our own deeds and actions. We also said that the reason why the disbelievers may be in hellfire for eternity is due to the fact that once the message is given clearly to them - if they reject it, they do so out of arrogance. And if they were given a life of eternity - they would remain in that state of disbelief forever.

What was the main message the Prophets called to? To the worship of our Creator and Sustainer Alone, to be dutiful to ones parents, to enjoin the ties of kinship, to establish the prayer, to help the needy, to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, to perfect ones manners etc. There is nothing evil about that, infact this is what people really want in life.


"How can you deny God, when you were dead and God gave you life? Then God will cause you to die, and then revive you, and then you will be returned to God." (Quran 2:28)


And among His Signs (in this), that you see the earth barren, but when We send down water (rain) to it, it is stirred to life and growth (of vegetations).

Verily, He Who gives it life, surely, (He) is Able to give life to the dead (on the Day of Resurrection). Indeed! He is Able to do all things.

[Qur'an 41:39]
If you do good to please then yeah of course God will be happy but I don't believe you'll get any more than what decent human beings that don't worship will get. Pleasing God is all good and it will make God happy as long as it doesn't cause any problems with his world and his creatures. But even if you don't worship God but you have been a decent human being then that will make God just as happy. You will go to a better place, the EXACT same place where PEACEFUL, DECENT human being muslims will go to. I, nor anyone else will not be punished for not getting down on my knees and praying or for drinking alcohol.

I am not religious. I'm spiritual. I believe without a doubt that the afterlife is all about spirituality. My passed relatives are always visit. They guide me, they are looking after me and if I was to go to a spiritualist they would try to contact me as they have done.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 06:55 PM
Originally Posted by England
If you do good to please then yeah of course God will be happy but I don't believe you'll get any more than what decent human beings that don't worship will get. Pleasing God is all good and it will make God happy as long as it doesn't cause any problems with his world and his creatures. But even if you don't worship God but you have been a decent human being then that will make God just as happy. You will go to a better place, the EXACT same place where PEACEFUL, DECENT human being muslims will go to. I, nor anyone else will not be punished for not getting down on my knees and praying or for drinking alcohol.

Ask yourself these questions:



1) If you keep your duty to the creation, why shouldn't you keep your duty to the One who Created you and Sustains you throughout your whole life? Since that day you were that little sperm drop - till your death, and even after that?

Since you know that Jesus son of Mary was an honorable man - if he bowed to God, and he is more pious than any of us alive today - why shouldn't we actually do the same to show our gratitude to God?

If we are sincerely thankful and submit by obeying the Messenger - we are rewarded in this life and the next, but if we're ungrateful for all the good God has given us, why should He reward us with more in the hereafter if we were ungrateful and proved our ungratefulness [by disobeying Him] in this life?



2) The Message is clear and apparent, yet rejecting it would mean that you are taking God's message in jest, almost like a joke. Would God really be pleased with that? I don't think He would.



3) Who decides what is good or bad? you? your culture? Or God Himself?

Decent is How God percieves it, i can say i'm a decent person yet someone might disagree with me. That's because all cultures differ; this is the reason why God sends revelation to His Messengers' - on issues where mankind differed - so they could unite upon something together and therefore be at peace with one another.




Regards.
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England
05-03-2007, 07:04 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
Ask yourself these questions:



1) If you keep your duty to the creation, why shouldn't you keep your duty to the One who Created you and Sustains you throughout your whole life? Since that day you were that little sperm drop - till your death, and even after that?

Since you know that Jesus son of Mary was an honorable man - if he bowed to God, and he is more pious than any of us alive today - why shouldn't we actually do the same to show our gratitude to God?

If we are sincerely thankful and submit by obeying the Messenger - we are rewarded in this life and the next, but if we're ungrateful for all the good God has given us, why should He reward us with more in the hereafter if we were ungrateful and proved our ungratefulness [by disobeying Him] in this life?



2) The Message is clear and apparent, yet rejecting it would mean that you are taking God's message in jest, almost like a joke. Would God really be pleased with that? I don't think He would.



3) Who decides what is good or bad? you? your culture? Or God Himself?

Decent is How God percieves it, i can say i'm a decent person yet someone might disagree with me. That's because all cultures differ; this is the reason why God sends revelation to His Messengers' - on issues where mankind differed - so they could unite upon something together and therefore be at peace with one another.




Regards.
God didn't put us here to WORSHIP him. Woship him all you like. Devote your life to him but I don't believe you will get anymore than what I'll get. I don't believe we will be "rewarded." This body is an egg shell. We're here to experience life and once we pass our spirit hatches from this body and the good will be seperated from the bad. The good will enter a new world, the spirit world. The bad will not enter. Our death will be the next stage of development. No rewards, no virgins, no reincarnation but the gate to a new world, a better world than that we live in today. Religion isn't an issue.
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Trumble
05-03-2007, 07:07 PM
The natural law of kamma, cause and effect, invariably results in 'justice' regarding the consequences of previous thoughts and actions. The process occurs just as as much in everyday life as after death - in neither case is any God required to facilitate the process.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 07:15 PM
Originally Posted by England
God didn't put us to WORSHIP him. Woship him all you live. Devote your life to him but I don't believe you will get anymore than what I'll get. I don't believe we will be "rewarded." This body is an shell. We're here to experience life and once we pass our spirit hatches from this body and the good will be seperated from the bad. The good will enter a new world, the spirit world. The bad will not enter. Our death will be the next stage of development. No rewards, no virgins, no reincarnation but the gate to a new world, a better world than that we live in today. Religion isn't an issue.

Worship has a vast definition in the Islamic context. Anything we do in life can be termed as worship if it's done to please God, as God's Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: Even if you were to put a morsel of food in your spouses mouth. The person will even be rewarded for that.


You have to question your own beliefs, are you the only person in the world who believes in that concept? Because if you are - then you have to question whether your faith is truelly valid or not.

We know that there are over a billion muslims in the world with similar beliefs, with One Divine Book which has never & will never be altered - yet do you have a divine book which you can refer to for your personal beliefs - to differentiate between good and evil/wrong and right? You also have to ask yourself what truelly is good, is it your own personal interpretation of good? Or is it societies interpretation of good? Because know that society changes all the time - at one time being a homosexual will be hated by society so you may say that is bad, whereas another time it will be termed okay, so you'll go along with that and may agree. So the morals/ethics of society are continuoslly changing, therefore one is more of a slave of society, even if this society contradicts what God has commanded. This is also a form of worship - if one is a slave to society instead of being obedient to God and His Laws which He revealed to His Messengers'.


The concept of another world also has to be explained further, if God has allowed us to have intercourse with our spouses in this life - then He has also permitted it in the hereafter. There is nothing confusing about that. You also have to question what the hereafter will be about if you have no divine revelation for what you say. Either its the truth, or its falsehood - And falsehood is surrounded by doubts, whereas truth is with certainty. So if you have no proof or no Divine scripture for your beliefs - then you are probably in doubt since others have different opinions, which means that it's falsehood, and falsehood will perish. Whereas the truthfull will be rewarded for being truthful and grateful to God, in gardens beneath which rivers flow where they will abide forever in the Presence of their Lord. That is the true success. May Allaah make us of them. ameen.
Reply

FatimaAsSideqah
05-03-2007, 07:18 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
Worship has a vast definition in the Islamic context. Anything we do in life can be termed as worship if it's done to please God, as God's Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: Even if you were to put a morsel of food in your spouses mouth. The person will even be rewarded for that.


You have to question your own beliefs, are you the only person in the world who believes in that concept? Because if you are - then you have to question whether your faith is truelly valid or not.

We know that there are over a billion muslims in the world with similar beliefs, with One Divine Book which has never & will never be altered - yet do you have a divine book which you can refer to for your personal beliefs - to differentiate between good and evil/wrong and right? You also have to ask yourself what truelly is good, is it your own personal interpretation of good? Or is it societies interpretation of good? Because know that society changes all the time - at one time being a homosexual will be hated by society so you may say that is bad, whereas another time it will be termed okay, so you'll go along with that and may agree. So the morals/ethics of society are continuoslly changing, therefore one is more of a slave of society, even if this society contradicts what God has commanded. This is also a form of worship - if one is a slave to society instead of being obedient to God and His Laws which He revealed to His Messengers'.


The concept of another world also has to be explained further, if God has allowed us to have intercourse with our spouses in this life - then He has also permitted it in the hereafter. There is nothing confusing about that. You also have to question what the hereafter will be about if you have no divine revelation for what you say. Either its the truth, or its falsehood - And falsehood is surrounded by doubts, whereas truth is with certainty. So if you have no proof or no Divine scripture for your beliefs - then you are probably in doubt since others have different opinions, which means that it's falsehood, and falsehood will perish. Whereas the truthfull will be rewarded for being truthful and grateful to God, in gardens beneath which rivers flow where they will abide forever in the Presence of their Lord. That is the true success. May Allaah make us of them. ameen.
:sl:

Ameen to your dua, Bro Fi_Sab!

:w:
Reply

جوري
05-03-2007, 07:19 PM
Originally Posted by England
God didn't put us here to WORSHIP him. Woship him all you like. Devote your life to him but I don't believe you will get anymore than what I'll get. I don't believe we will be "rewarded." This body is an egg shell. We're here to experience life and once we pass our spirit hatches from this body and the good will be seperated from the bad. The good will enter a new world, the spirit world. The bad will not enter. Our death will be the next stage of development. No rewards, no virgins, no reincarnation but the gate to a new world, a better world than that we live in today. Religion isn't an issue.
And you know this because you've been to this better spirit world-- And managed to come back to tell us all about it? Indeed you may believe what you will... but that isn't a superior belief to age old religions!

peace!
Reply

Woodrow
05-03-2007, 07:43 PM
Originally Posted by England
If you do good to please then yeah of course God will be happy but I don't believe you'll get any more than what decent human beings that don't worship will get. Pleasing God is all good and it will make God happy as long as it doesn't cause any problems with his world and his creatures. But even if you don't worship God but you have been a decent human being then that will make God just as happy. You will go to a better place, the EXACT same place where PEACEFUL, DECENT human being muslims will go to. I, nor anyone else will not be punished for not getting down on my knees and praying or for drinking alcohol.

I am not religious. I'm spiritual. I believe without a doubt that the afterlife is all about spirituality. My passed relatives are always visit. They guide me, they are looking after me and if I was to go to a spiritualist they would try to contact me as they have done.
Perhaps it would be easier to explain more in terms of an analogy, as to what reward and punishment is.

In my younger days and as a University student one way I earned money for school expenses was by selling live rattle snakes to a serpatarium, where the snakes were milked for their venemon and the snakes were later killed and processed into snake skin boots. In order to be use full the snkes had to be alive to be milked.

Well i did not like the idea of the snakes being killed, so Ilearned to milk them and then just contracted to sell them partialy processed venom. that way I was able to sell only the venom and release the snakes back into the wild.

However, a person recieves what they earn. I made quite an enviable amount of money selling the venom. ($85 an ounce then and the price of gold at that time was $20 per ounce). However, there is a price to pay from handling snakes. They bite. A quick rule of thumb is when you handle rattlesnakes it is not a question of if you are going to get bit, it is just a question of when and how many times.

So I earned 2 things. Lots of money and lots of pain from the bites. The bites could be thought of as a punishment. But, I earned that punishment, it was not handed out without cause.

So it is with the Rewards and Punishments of Allah(swt) we will get what we earn, not what we think we have earned. Any punishments we get, we have worked for, knowingly or from failure to learn what has been told to us.
Reply

Pygoscelis
05-03-2007, 07:53 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
Then, as your parents were not atheists, either you are a unique individual that does not fit the norms or your hypothesis is faulty.
The majority of people follow the religion of their upbringing. This isn't a hypothethis. It is an an observation of a fact. Do you have a hypothesis you'd like to propose to explain the fact?
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Pygoscelis
05-03-2007, 07:57 PM
A God who would torture me for not believing in him and worshiping him is a monster God not worthy of my respect or admiration. In fact I would be morally obligated to stand against such a God.

A God who is worthy of respect and admiration would not torture anybody, certainly not for eternity, and such a God can be safely ignored until it makes itself more evident.

So in the end I figure if there is a God, I'm either safe, or if not, I'm at least moral.
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England
05-03-2007, 08:01 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
You have to question your own beliefs, are you the only person in the world who believes in that concept? Because if you are - then you have to question whether your faith is truelly valid or not.
I'm not the only one with these beliefs. It's spiritualism. Many many many people believe in this. The only difference is that it isn't a religion, nobody goes around shoving it down peoples' throats. You either believe in it or you don't. If you were to go to spiritualist churches which are everywhere, worldwide and nationally then you will see loads of people with the belief of spiritualism.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 08:04 PM
We've explained that worship is to be obedient to Him, and to give our rights to the Creator (His obedience) aswell as the creation (being good and just with them.)

If you don't obey, you are being ungrateful and rebellious. So you are worthy of His punishment. Yet if you obey and fulfill your rights, then you will be rewarded for that since that is a Promise from Him.


We've explained loads of times before also that if one was given a life of eternity - and disbelieved when the clear evidences came to them - then they would remain in that state of disbelief for eternity, remain ungrateful for all the favours God has given you, and therefore it isn't unjust for them to be punished in the hellfire forever - since if given a life of eternity - they would remain in that state of being rebellious and ungrateful anyway.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 08:06 PM
Originally Posted by England
I'm not the only one with these beliefs. It's spiritualism. Many many many people believe in this. The only difference is that it isn't a religion, nobody goes around shoving it down peoples' throats. You either believe in it or you don't. If you were to go to spiritualist churches which are everywhere, worldwide and nationally then you will see loads of people with the belief of spiritualism.

Do they all have exactly the same beliefs? Do they have a Divine book which they can agree on together? Or do they simply have their own interpretations of what is good/bad? Are they slaves to society and only turn to God when in a state of despair?

If they don't have common beliefs and don't even have a divine book which they can agree on together - then that isn't really a belief, its just a mixture of different opinions.
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England
05-03-2007, 08:14 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
Do they all have exactly the same beliefs? Do they have a Divine book which they can agree on together? Or do they simply have their own interpretations of what is good/bad? Are they slaves to society and only turn to God when in a state of despair?

If they don't have common beliefs and don't even have a divine book which they can agree on together - then that isn't really a belief, its just a mixture of different opinions.
We don't need a book. A book is NOTHING. Mediums contact the spirits therefore communicating with the dead. That is where they get their information from. That is where I get mine from. Who do you communicate with? Where do you get information from? A book. :?

Pay a visit to a spiritualist church, get a reading with an open mind and you will be impressed. I bet you £50.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 08:19 PM
Originally Posted by England
We don't need a book. A book is NOTHING. Mediums contact the spirits therefore communicating with the dead. That is where they get their information from. That is where I get mine from. Who do you communicate with? Where do you get information from? A book. :?

Pay a visit to a spiritualist church, get a reading with an open mind and you will be impressed. I bet you £50.

And you get your religion from dead people? :?


The Qur'an is the speech of Allaah/God which He sent upon His final Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) through Angel Gabriel/Jibreel.


Miraculous Quran - click on it to read why it's so miraculous. I wonder what else you expect from a Messenger of God besides revelation huh?
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جوري
05-03-2007, 08:23 PM
^^^^ pls. don't even bother explaining the Quran or any sort of revelations to someone who is into charlatans...
:haha: :haha: -- I almost can't believe what I am reading!

peace!
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England
05-03-2007, 08:27 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
And you get your religion from dead people? :?


The Qur'an is the speech of Allaah/God which He sent upon His final Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) through Angel Gabriel/Jibreel.


Miraculous Quran - click on it to read why it's so miraculous. I wonder what else you expect from a Messenger of God besides revelation huh?
Who says it's the speech of God? :?

I don't follow religion. I have a belief. I get my information from relatives that have passed away. They know what happens when they pass. They try to communicate with us. They guide us through llife and help us because they care. I too will do the same for my family when I pass. You don't know too much about spiritualism. I used to laugh and think "weirdos" until I went to spiritualist churches, not regularly but I did it occasionally.
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FatimaAsSideqah
05-03-2007, 08:28 PM
Greeting to England..

We don't need a book. A book is NOTHING. Mediums contact the spirits therefore communicating with the dead. That is where they get their information from. That is where I get mine from. Who do you communicate with? Where do you get information from? A book.

Pay a visit to a spiritualist church, get a reading with an open mind and you will be impressed. I bet you £50.
Why did you said that the book is nothing?? :? ....are you love to read??
You need to think twice again before you say to something!

Peace.
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جوري
05-03-2007, 08:30 PM
The Amazing part is paying for it-- ever heard of a "church" that charges money for spirituality?... I mean other than Scientology-- which is saying enough to rest my case!

to each his own

peace!
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England
05-03-2007, 08:32 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
The Amazing part is paying for it-- ever heard of a "church" that charges money for spirituality?... I mean other than Scientology-- which is saying enough to rest my case!

to each his own

peace!
What???? Spiritualist churches are free. You don't pay a single PENNY.
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England
05-03-2007, 08:35 PM
I've found this through google. Need anymore information on spiritualism, check this place. Ask them questions. Challenge them, do what you like.

http://www.psychics.co.uk/psychic-fo...forum.php?f=28

There are many Christians known to have left their religion and followed spiritualism instead. There are also Christian spiritualists too.
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جوري
05-03-2007, 08:37 PM
go ahead and do a google search regarding the "small fees" needed by "Spiritualist Churches"

here is the first one that came up by the way--I can stick more in here but I don't have all day to prove a point
http://church1.org/_wsn/page3.html

peace!
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England
05-03-2007, 08:42 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
go ahead and do a google search regarding the "small fees" needed by "Spiritualist Churches"

peace!
I've never needed to pay a penny but so what if they need the "small fees." What would these mediums and psychics get out of this? Surely they deserve a little incentive as afterall they are giving readings out to people while they could be at home feeding their family or feet up watching the tv. The "small fee" wouldn't be any more than £2 if some do make you pay. Go and get a reading. The things they come out with are absolutely brilliant.

Spiritualism isn't a religion. Spiritualists don't go out trying to get people to believe it. They don't care. If you believe it then so what? If you don't, again so what? It's not a religion so nobody is trying to get people to make it grow.
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Keltoi
05-03-2007, 08:46 PM
Originally Posted by England
I've never needed to pay a penny but so what if they need the "small fees." What would these mediums and psychics get out of this? Surely they deserve a little incentive as afterall they are giving readings out to people while they could be at home feeding their family or feet up watching the tv. The "small fee" wouldn't be any more than £2 if some do make you pay. Go and get a reading. The things they come out with are absolutely brilliant.
Don't take this the wrong way, but most of these psychics and mediums are very good picking up on random details and going in that direction. I remember a guy named..John Stewart I believe, who had a show on T.V. where he would give readings to people. It was fairly obvious to the casual observer that he was good at what he did, but it also seemed more a matter of slick communication than messages from the other side. Not to say those whom you have had experience with are fakes, although that might be my personal opinion, but one should be careful about buying into that stuff fully.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 08:47 PM
Originally Posted by England
Who says it's the speech of God? :?
That is He, the All*Knower of the unseen and the seen, the All*Mighty, the Most Merciful.

Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay.

Then He made his offspring from semen of worthless water (male and female sexual discharge).

Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allâh for that person), and He gave you hearing (ears), sight (eyes) and hearts. Little is the thanks you give!

And they say: "When we are (dead and become) lost in the earth, shall we indeed be recreated anew?" Nay, but they deny the Meeting with their Lord!

Say: "The angel of death, who is set over you, will take your souls, then you shall be brought to your Lord."

And if you only could see when the Mujrimûn (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): "Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back (to the world), we will do righteous good deeds. Verily! We now believe with certainty."


And if We had willed, surely! We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evil*doers), that I will fill Hell with jinn and mankind together.

Then taste you (the torment of the Fire) because of your forgetting the Meeting of this Day of yours, (and) surely! We too will forget you, so taste you the abiding torment for what you used to do.

Only those believe in Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), who, when they are reminded of them fall down prostrate, and glorify the Praises of their Lord, and they are not arrogant.

Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allâh's Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them


No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.

Is then he who is a believer like him who is Fâsiq (disbeliever and disobedient to Allâh)? Not equal are they.


[Qur'an Al-Sajda (the Prostration 32: 6-18)]


That is proof from Qur'an that the Qur'an is the speech of Allaah. If you don't accept that - then you have to bring your proof for why you don't accept it, otherwise it would be well known that it's purely out of arrogance, and God will punish those who feel too arrogant to obey Him, yet He will bestow a great reward upon those who are thankful to Him (by submitting to Him.)


I don't follow religion. I have a belief. I get my information from relatives that have passed away. They try to communicate with us. They guide us through llife and help us because they care. I too will do the same for my family when I pass. You don't know too much about spiritualism. I used to laugh and think "weirdos" until I went to spiritualist churches, not regularly but I did it occasionally.

So this life doesn't really have a purpose at all? Except to contact those who die? What's the point of that if you believe you'll unite with them anyway? And how does God come into this anyway? Whether you're ungrateful or grateful - you'll be rewarded? hm..
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جوري
05-03-2007, 08:47 PM
Well I am glad you found your niche.. I see you neglected the rest of my post-- the fee is clearly not 2 quids...Although even if it were, I find it amusing that a "spiritualist church" would charge fees at all to offer some solace and comfort to people grieving over the loss of a loved one-- charlatans in the guise of humanists! -- It is a shame all the things men will resort to in place of sound rapport with the one who granted them life out of two cells which their parents donated...

I have no more to say on this-- if this works for you-- I am happy then-- but don't be comparing this to age old religions!
peace!
Reply

England
05-03-2007, 09:09 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Don't take this the wrong way, but most of these psychics and mediums are very good picking up on random details and going in that direction. I remember a guy named..John Stewart I believe, who had a show on T.V. where he would give readings to people. It was fairly obvious to the casual observer that he was good at what he did, but it also seemed more a matter of slick communication than messages from the other side. Not to say those whom you have had experience with are fakes, although that might be my personal opinion, but one should be careful about buying into that stuff fully.
This is why I say go to a SPIRITUALIST CHURCH. There are frauds out there and if you were to go to a spiritualist church they will tell you that everything outside of the church is a load of crap and are just after money. The ones that make you pay for it or the ones you see on tv are all fake. The spiritualist church are the ones to go to otherwise I wouldn't have to leave my home for a reading but I am aware of the scammers.
At the spiritualist church they don't even know you. In fact they don't even know you're coming. You go in without booking an appointment or anything so there's no chance of them getting information from you.
Reply

England
05-03-2007, 09:15 PM
That is He, the All*Knower of the unseen and the seen, the All*Mighty, the Most Merciful.

Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay.

Then He made his offspring from semen of worthless water (male and female sexual discharge).

Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allâh for that person), and He gave you hearing (ears), sight (eyes) and hearts. Little is the thanks you give!


And they say: "When we are (dead and become) lost in the earth, shall we indeed be recreated anew?" Nay, but they deny the Meeting with their Lord!

Say: "The angel of death, who is set over you, will take your souls, then you shall be brought to your Lord."

And if you only could see when the Mujrimûn (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): "Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back (to the world), we will do righteous good deeds. Verily! We now believe with certainty."


And if We had willed, surely! We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evil*doers), that I will fill Hell with jinn and mankind together.

Then taste you (the torment of the Fire) because of your forgetting the Meeting of this Day of yours, (and) surely! We too will forget you, so taste you the abiding torment for what you used to do.

Only those believe in Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), who, when they are reminded of them fall down prostrate, and glorify the Praises of their Lord, and they are not arrogant.

Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allâh's Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them


No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.

Is then he who is a believer like him who is Fâsiq (disbeliever and disobedient to Allâh)? Not equal are they.


[Qur'an Al-Sajda (the Prostration 32: 6-18)]



That is proof from Qur'an that the Qur'an is the speech of Allaah. If you don't accept that - then you have to bring your proof for why you don't accept it, otherwise it would be well known that it's purely out of arrogance, and God will punish those who feel too arrogant to obey Him, yet He will bestow a great reward upon those who are thankful to Him (by submitting to Him.)
I don't believe in the Quran therefore it means nothing to me. It's not proof.

So this life doesn't really have a purpose at all? Except to contact those who die? What's the point of that if you believe you'll unite with them anyway? And how does God come into this anyway? Whether you're ungrateful or grateful - you'll be rewarded? hm..
As I said, this is just a shell that we are in. We are put here to experience life but the important one will be the next. One thing's for sure, we're not put here to worship for the rest of our lives.

You can laugh at my beliefs all you want because quite frankly I myself do the same about Islam.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 09:20 PM
Originally Posted by England
I don't believe in the Quran therefore it means nothing to me. It's not proof.

Then bring me evidence to prove otherwise? :)



As I said, this is just a shell that we are in. We are put here to experience life but the important one will be the next. One thing's for sure, we're not put here to worship for the rest of our lives.

And you know that how?



PS: I'm not laughing, i just dont understand how your beliefs are so true?
Reply

England
05-03-2007, 09:30 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
Then bring me evidence to prove otherwise?
Yeah sure after you show proof that the Quran is the speech of God.

Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
PS: I'm not laughing, i just dont understand how your beliefs are so true?
I ask myself that same question when people say Islam is the one true religion.

Until you go to a spiritualist church a few times I'm finding it difficult to talk about this as you just don't understand. There's no reason for me to continue to talk about my beliefs as, as I stated earlier, I'm not bothered who believes me and who doesn't.

"If you believe in it, so what? If you don't, again, so what?" I'm not going to force it down peoples' throats. I'm surprised I even spoke of this for so long. I'm not a spiritualist geek, nor am I a religious geek. I'm obviously bored tonight.

Go to a spiritualist church a couple of times with an open mind, not negative, and I promise that you will be impressed.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 09:46 PM
Originally Posted by England
Yeah sure after you show proof that the Quran is the speech of God.

Okay, theres many scientific proofs from Qur'an which weren't discovered until this century. Yet the Qur'an was revealed over 1400years ago in a desert land where the majority were ignorant people who never knew how to even read or write.


No-ones ever been able to replicate the Qur'an, not even a chapter like it. Even if it was the most powerful arab speakers etc. And the shortest chapter in the Qur'an is only 3 verses long.

I urge you to check this link to see its true beauty:
http://sabbir.com/DownloadHalal.html


The Qur'an transformed a society of backward people who would kill, rape, be ill-mannered, and perform all sorts of evil be transformed into the most advanced nation in the whole world - within 23years. To the extent where there morals had become at the highest peak among mankind [even compared to today], its people the most knowledgable and the leaders of the world, it transformed the whole world from the depths of darkness in the middle ages to the New Ages. If it wasn't for Islaam and obviously the will of Allaah - the world wouldn't be in the advanced state it is in today. And that's in regard to Europe etc.


As one Non-Muslim author says:
Glubb finds that in religious toleration,


“the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” Glubb

Tolerant and Humane Aspects of Muslim Civilisation


And how Islaam transformed all of Europe?


At a time when London was a tiny mud-hut village that "could not boast of a single streetlamp" (Digest, 1973, p. 622), in Cordova

"there were half a million inhabitants, living in 113,000 houses. There were 700 mosques and 300 public baths spread throughout the city and its twenty-one suburbs. The streets were paved and lit." (Burke, 1985, p. 38)

This is in regard to Muslim Spain and how it advanced European Culture.


The whole world transformed after Islaam, just One Divine Book, and One Prophet of God. Yet if it wasn't for this, maybe the world would still be in a state of chaos where people all over the world would kill people unjustly and ruthlessly and everyone would be in a state of injustice?


If One Book and One Messenger changed the whole world - then i truelly believe that it is Revelation from God Almighty. He brought us from the darkness of misguidance into the light of the true purpose of our creation, from the narrowness of this life, to the vastness of this life and the hereafter.



I ask myself that same question when people say Islam is the one true religion.

Until you go to a spiritualist church a few times I'm finding it difficult to talk about this as you just don't understand. There's no reason for me to continue to talk about my beliefs as, as I stated earlier, I'm not bothered who believes me and who doesn't.

"If you believe in it, so what? If you don't, again, so what?" I'm not going to force it down peoples' throats. I'm surprised I even spoke of this for so long. I'm not a spiritualist geek, nor am I a religious geek. I'm obviously bored tonight.

Go to a spiritualist church a couple of times with an open mind, not negative, and I promise that you will be impressed.

Thanks for the offer, i'm comfortable with my belief though since i can pray to God directly and I know that He will answer my prayer.
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. [Qur'an 2: 186]

Peace. :)
Reply

England
05-03-2007, 09:51 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
Well I am glad you found your niche.. I see you neglected the rest of my post-- the fee is clearly not 2 quids...Although even if it were, I find it amusing that a "spiritualist church" would charge fees at all to offer some solace and comfort to people grieving over the loss of a loved one-- charlatans in the guise of humanists! -- It is a shame all the things men will resort to in place of sound rapport with the one who granted them life out of two cells which their parents donated...

I have no more to say on this-- if this works for you-- I am happy then-- but don't be comparing this to age old religions!
peace!
It's a bag of crap. I've never paid a fee. I don't what some website says or what someone says I have never paid a fee for a spiritualist church. Do you think spiritualism is a new belief and that it's only recently come out lol?
It is you that keeps comparing this to religions. I have said over and over again that IT ISN'T A RELIGION.
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England
05-03-2007, 09:55 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
Okay, theres many scientific proofs from Qur'an which weren't discovered until this century. Yet the Qur'an was revealed over 1400years ago in a desert land where the majority were ignorant people who never knew how to even read or write.


No-ones ever been able to replicate the Qur'an, not even a chapter like it. Even if it was the most powerful arab speakers etc. And the shortest chapter in the Qur'an is only 3 verses long.

I urge you to check this link to see its true beauty:
http://sabbir.com/DownloadHalal.html


The Qur'an transformed a society of backward people who would kill, rape, be ill-mannered, and perform all sorts of evil be transformed into the most advanced nation in the whole world - within 23years. To the extent where there morals had become at the highest peak among mankind [even compared to today], its people the most knowledgable and the leaders of the world, it transformed the whole world from the depths of darkness in the middle ages to the New Ages. If it wasn't for Islaam and obviously the will of Allaah - the world wouldn't be in the advanced state it is in today. And that's in regard to Europe etc.


As one Non-Muslim author says:
Glubb finds that in religious toleration,


“the Muslims of the seventh century had abstained from persecution and had permitted Jews and Christians to practise their own laws and to elect their own judges. Yet nearly a thousand years later, people in Europe were still being tortured and burned alive for their faith. And in general, the Ottomans continued the policy of religious toleration which they had inherited from the Arabs.” Glubb

Tolerant and Humane Aspects of Muslim Civilisation


And how Islaam transformed all of Europe?


At a time when London was a tiny mud-hut village that "could not boast of a single streetlamp" (Digest, 1973, p. 622), in Cordova

"there were half a million inhabitants, living in 113,000 houses. There were 700 mosques and 300 public baths spread throughout the city and its twenty-one suburbs. The streets were paved and lit." (Burke, 1985, p. 38)

This is in regard to Muslim Spain and how it advanced European Culture.


The whole world transformed after Islaam, just One Divine Book, and One Prophet of God. Yet if it wasn't for this, maybe the world would still be in a state of chaos where people all over the world would kill people unjustly and ruthlessly and everyone would be in a state of injustice?


If One Book and One Messenger changed the whole world - then i truelly believe that it is Revelation from God Almighty. He brought us from the darkness of misguidance into the light of the true purpose of our creation, from the narrowness of this life, to the vastness of this life and the hereafter.






Thanks for the offer, i'm comfortable with my belief though since i can pray to God directly and I know that He will answer my prayer.
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. [Qur'an 2: 186]

Peace. :)
It still doesn't convince me as proof lol. The day you prove the Quran and Islam is true, and that God really is evil, which he isn't, the day I become muslim :X
I'm comfortable with my belief and I too can pray to God directly and know that He will answer my prayers and He has done.
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Keltoi
05-03-2007, 09:56 PM
Originally Posted by England
It still doesn't convince me as proof lol. The day you prove the Quran and Islam is true, and that God really is evil, which he isn't, the day I become muslim :X
I'm comfortable with my belief and I too can pray to God directly and know that He will answer my prayers and He has done.
What do you mean by "prove that God really is evil"? Did you intend to say that or something else?
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جوري
05-03-2007, 10:00 PM
Originally Posted by England
It's a bag of crap.
the websites say differently-- I suppose it is your word against hundreds of google links!

Originally Posted by England
I've never paid a fee.
Good for you!
Originally Posted by England
I don't what some website says or what someone says I have never paid a fee for a spiritualist church.
And you are looking for approval or to be applauded for not having paid?

Originally Posted by England
Do you think spiritualism is a new belief and that it's only recently come out lol?
Does it matter what I think of this so called quakery in the form of "spiritualism"? I don't see how this relates!
Originally Posted by England
It is you that keeps comparing this to religions. I have said over and over again that IT ISN'T A RELIGION.
This is the comparative religion.. why are you posting your beliefs here? There is always general chat!

peace
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England
05-03-2007, 10:00 PM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
What do you mean by "prove that God really is evil"? Did you intend to say that or something else?
If you read the earlier posts, it's referring to the Quran saying God will send non muslims to hell and get tortured for not following Islam. To me that portrays Him as evil. That's wrong. He's the opposite.
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FatimaAsSideqah
05-03-2007, 10:01 PM
Originally Posted by England
It still doesn't convince me as proof lol. The day you prove the Quran and Islam is true, and that God really is evil, which he isn't, the day I become muslim :X
I'm comfortable with my belief and I too can pray to God directly and know that He will answer my prayers and He has done.
Greetings

God is not evil! How do you say that if you believe in God? That is not common of sense! Explain to us why did you said that?

Peace!
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England
05-03-2007, 10:02 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
the websites say differently-- I suppose it is your word against hundreds of google links!


Good for you!

And you are looking for approval or to be applauded for not having paid?


Does it matter what I think of this so called quakery in the form of "spiritualism"? I don't see how this relates!

This is the comparative religion.. why are you posting your beliefs here? There is always general chat!

peace
:D That's a nice ending lol. I too was getting fed up of this subject as I was constantly repeating myself :)
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 10:02 PM
Hey Keltoi.


I think he's purposelly saying it, since he doesn't understand the concept of being responsible for ones own errors. But if he believes that - then he'll come to know on the Day of Judgement. If he doesn't accept his errors, then atleast his body and the world will be a witness for him or against him and no-one will be dealt with unjustly.


So let those who disbelieve carry on drowning in their sense of darkness, because we are waiting, and you too are waiting. And on that day - no soul will bear the burden of another and man will be responsible for his/her own deeds. We pray to Allaah to make us of the successful. Because God did not create us for no purpose at all, and the real life is the one to come.

The parable of those who reject Faith is as if one were to shout Like a goat-herd, to things that listen to nothing but calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they are void of wisdom. [Qur'an 2: 171]
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England
05-03-2007, 10:04 PM
Originally Posted by RighteousLady
Greetings

God is not evil! How do you say that if you believe in God? That is not common of sense! Explain to us why did you said that?

Peace!
Read above. The One and ONLY God I believe in is Good. He will not harm anyone for their beliefs or lack of because He isn't evil. Simple. :)
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Uthman
05-03-2007, 10:05 PM
Originally Posted by England
Yeah sure after you show proof that the Quran is the speech of God.
I would just like to quote what Ansar said in this post:
I'll try to give you a comprehensive answer as to why the Qur'an is regarded the way it is by so many people.
1. The Power of the Qur'anic Message:
-it is universal, unrestricted by time and applicable to any nation/culture. The Qur'an is by far the most widely followed and acted-upon book in the world. As for the Bible, most Christians follow the Church over the Bible, and each denomination has its own bible anyway. The fact that there is no other book in the world that forms the constitution of the lives of billions of followers is itself a sign.
-it is practical and logical, it can be established practically in society and is logically able to address the fundamental questions relating to all aspects of our universe.
-it is comprehensive, addressing all fundamental sectors of human life, be it spritual, physical, mental, social/societal, politcal, environmental, economic, etc.
-it is natural, in concordance with a person's nature and what they feel deep inside to be the truth.
-it is clear and consistent, free of the changes in worldview and understanding that dominate the works of human beings.
-it is deep, having provoked thousands upon thousands of volumes of exegesis, expounding upon its meaning and revealing fascinating details that many people otherwise miss in their reading of the Qur'an.
2. The Power of the Qur'anic Style:
-it is Interactive, the text seems alive as it responds to the very questions that arise in one's mind at that moment. It speaks to the reader and delivers specific yet universal advice.
-it is Inerrant, free from contradictons and discrepancies, or other errors that would normally be found in the works of human beings.
-it is Memorizable; the Qur'an is the only book in the world which is continuously being memorized by millions of people and recited daily. No other book has been committed to memory by so many followers, as though it fits in one's mind as a key in a lock.
-its Language, the Qur'anic arabic is a stunning miracle in itself, its style is powerful and its recitation is melodious. More info: Here, Here, Here.
3. The Power of the Qur'anic Text:
-it is Preserved, even after fourteen and a half centuries, the Qur'an is recited today exactly as it was first revealed. Thus it was free of the tampering that befell other religious scriptures.
-its other Remarkable features; many Muslims find a striking concordance between many Qur'anic statements and established scientific truths, which could not have been known by any normal human being 14 centuries ago. (see here). Many Muslims have also found the Qur'anic perfection extends even to various mathematical miracles within the text. As well, there are the Qur'anic Prophecies.
-its Authorship; the context in which the Qur'an was revealed leaves the reader with no other conclusion than the fact that it could only be the word of God.
This is just my summary of the miraculous features Muslims find in the Qur'an. For more information, please see section 3c of The First and Final Commandment.
Regards
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جوري
05-03-2007, 10:07 PM
Originally Posted by England
Read above. The One and ONLY God I believe in is Good. He will not harm anyone for their beliefs or lack of because He isn't evil. Simple. :)
Simple yes-- but neither deep nor reflective!
peace
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FatimaAsSideqah
05-03-2007, 10:09 PM
Originally Posted by England
Read above. The One and ONLY God I believe in is Good. He will not harm anyone for their beliefs or lack of because He isn't evil. Simple. :)
Greetings.

How and why you become to believe in spiritism?

Peace.
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- Qatada -
05-03-2007, 10:20 PM
England, if you want to discuss the issue - you're going to bring your points one by one, not paste a whole article from an anti islamic site.

If you want to discuss it - then do so respectfully with the intention of wanting to understand, if you don't want to understand - then simply don't get involved. We're not forcing you, we're simply warning you of the hereafter. Nowhere did we force you to accept Islaam since there is no compulsion in religion, yet the disbelievers will wish they could return back to this world to change their ways.


So if you really want to discuss this - do it respectfully, or dont bother doing it at all.
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جوري
05-03-2007, 10:25 PM
^^^How are we forcing Islam when people come here I assume on their own accords? Or do you guys go around asking people to register with LI at gunpoint?
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Grace Seeker
05-04-2007, 01:34 AM
Originally Posted by England
God didn't put us here to WORSHIP him. Woship him all you like. Devote your life to him but I don't believe you will get anymore than what I'll get. I don't believe we will be "rewarded." This body is an egg shell. We're here to experience life and once we pass our spirit hatches from this body and the good will be seperated from the bad. The good will enter a new world, the spirit world. The bad will not enter. Our death will be the next stage of development. No rewards, no virgins, no reincarnation but the gate to a new world, a better world than that we live in today. Religion isn't an issue.


the topic of the thread is why do you believe what you believe and howdid you get to that belief.

We now know that you believe that God did not not us here to worship him. You also believe that God will reward all decent peaceful people the same regards of their beliefs or lack thereof. And you believe that only bad people will be excluded from receiving rewards from God in a new and better world than we live in today. This is all WHAT you believe.

WHY do you believe it?

Please don't say, "Because I think that..." That would be no different than saying you think what you believe and believe what you think, a circular argument if there ever was one.
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ranma1/2
05-04-2007, 01:38 AM
Originally Posted by England
We don't need a book. A book is NOTHING. Mediums contact the spirits therefore communicating with the dead. That is where they get their information from. That is where I get mine from. Who do you communicate with? Where do you get information from? A book. :?

Pay a visit to a spiritualist church, get a reading with an open mind and you will be impressed. I bet you £50.
So how would we get the 50 pounds?
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Pygoscelis
05-04-2007, 02:16 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
the topic of the thread is why do you believe what you believe and howdid you get to that belief.

WHY do you believe it?

Please don't say, "Because I think that..." That would be no different than saying you think what you believe and believe what you think, a circular argument if there ever was one.
You're right of course. He has little objective proof of his claim that God is good and kind instead of vengeful and abusive, but the opposite view holds no better to objective verification. At least his view is optimistic though. The true question is why would somebody be able to live with the opposite view without bursting into either tears or rage at God. And how could they respect themselves bowing down to him?
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Grace Seeker
05-04-2007, 02:50 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
You're right of course. He has little objective proof of his claim that God is good and kind instead of vengeful and abusive, but the opposite view holds no better to objective verification. At least his view is optimistic though. The true question is why would somebody be able to live with the opposite view without bursting into either tears or rage at God. And how could they respect themselves bowing down to him?
No, I don't think that is what the question is.
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barney
05-04-2007, 03:06 AM
I came to my Agnosicisism after long reflection.:mmokay:
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ranma1/2
05-04-2007, 03:11 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
No, I don't think that is what the question is.
Actually everyone is free to say why they believe what they believe. Even if its just thats what they believe. However it would be great if everyone could think more about why they believe what they believe. The majority of people i know are of the religion or belief that their family holds and are brought up into that faith. I personally respect poeple that are not of the same faith of their family since they have in most situations searched for their belief.
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snakelegs
05-04-2007, 03:14 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
You're right of course. He has little objective proof of his claim that God is good and kind instead of vengeful and abusive, but the opposite view holds no better to objective verification. At least his view is optimistic though. The true question is why would somebody be able to live with the opposite view without bursting into either tears or rage at God. And how could they respect themselves bowing down to him?
do you really think that anyone who worships god sees him as "vengeful and abusive"?
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Pygoscelis
05-04-2007, 03:22 AM
Snakelegs, apparently so. Read the pages prior. Would "vengeful" not be appropriate to describe a god who punishes people for failing to worship him, not in an effort to get them to change their behaviour, but just for the sake of punishing them, because they "deserve it"?
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barney
05-04-2007, 03:26 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
do you really think that anyone who worships god sees him as "vengeful and abusive"?
Well it's a balancing act. A God that is totally permissive and merciful in all situations would not be feared. To fear God is an Innate part of most religions.

The Old testament describes Gods wrath and anger, and his destruction of citys and openly uses the words vengence dozens of times.

The Quran likewise: [7.136] Therefore We inflicted retribution on them and drowned them in the sea because they rejected Our signs and were heedless of them.

Abusive is a different matter. Thats dealing with putting a human emotional perspective onto a deity, which is theoretically impossible surely?
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Dhulqarnaeen
05-04-2007, 03:29 AM
My answer would be: I chose a belief the same as my family....Mmmm I think its not really like this actually :D But its more likely truely I could be a muslim cause my parents also a muslim, walhamdulillah. And its the highest love that happens to me from Rabbul 'alamin. And then He always give hidayah to me day by day to learn more about my religion.
Rasulullah said "actually all children bornth on fitrah (Islam), then their parents who will make them majusi or Nasrani". And now a days we also can say "actually we are a muslim, then our parents who make us acting like Michael jackson, or Spice girls, or Britney Spears, or else. And this kinda parents will be asked in yaumul akhir. And thats why theres a lot of muslim with red head and tight clothes. Wallahul mustaan
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snakelegs
05-04-2007, 03:40 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Snakelegs, apparently so. Read the pages prior. Would "vengeful" not be appropriate to describe a god who punishes people for failing to worship him, not in an effort to get them to change their behaviour, but just for the sake of punishing them, because they "deserve it"?
you and i may see it this way, but i don't think they do. i think they see it as "justice". i don't think they regard god as vengeful or abusive. i don't think anybody worships a vengeful and abusive god. if they saw him that way, i doubt they would worship him.
we can't see through their eyes.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-04-2007, 03:41 AM
When did this thread become "lets attack Islam." :? Everyone here I'm sure came on their own. At least respect it! If we worshipped an abusive God(Astaghfirullah), would we be sitting here discussing with you? I highly doubt that...!
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syilla
05-04-2007, 03:41 AM
Quran: Baqarah: Verse 26

Verily, All h is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it. And as for those who believe, they know that it is the Truth from their Lord, but as for those who disbelieve, they say: "What did All h intend by this parable?" By it He misleads many, and many He guides thereby. And He misleads thereby only those who are Al-F siqûn (the rebellious, disobedient to All h).

And then Allah says in Quran:

30. And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth." They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, - while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You." He (All h) said: "I know that which you do not know."
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snakelegs
05-04-2007, 03:44 AM
Originally Posted by barney
Well it's a balancing act. A God that is totally permissive and merciful in all situations would not be feared. To fear God is an Innate part of most religions.

The Old testament describes Gods wrath and anger, and his destruction of citys and openly uses the words vengence dozens of times.

The Quran likewise: [7.136] Therefore We inflicted retribution on them and drowned them in the sea because they rejected Our signs and were heedless of them.

Abusive is a different matter. Thats dealing with putting a human emotional perspective onto a deity, which is theoretically impossible surely?
i think the followers of these religions (in this case judaism and islam) see this balance.
what we see as vengence they may see as "just".
personally, i do not like the use of fear to motivate people and i can't imagine god doing some of these things.
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syilla
05-04-2007, 03:44 AM
The merits of Islam


Question:

There are many religions.


Why do Muslims think that Islam is true. Is there any factual basis?



Answer:

Praise be to Allah.





This is a reasonable enough question for one who has not entered Islam, but one who believes in and practices this religion already knows the blessings which are his because of this religion. There are many reasons for this, which include the following:


(1) The Muslim worships One God, Who has no partner, and Who has the most beautiful names and the highest attributes. Thus the Muslim’s focus and aim is concentrated, focused on His Lord and Creator; he puts his trust in Him and asks Him for help, patience and support; he believes that Allaah is able to do all things, and has no need of a wife or son. Allaah created the heavens and earth; He is the One Who gives life and death; He is the Creator and Sustainer from Whom the slave seeks provision. He is the All-Hearing Who responds to the supplication of His slave, and from Whom the slave hopes for a response. He is the All-Merciful and All-Forgiving, to Whom the slave turns in repentance when he has committed a sin or fallen short in his worship of Allaah. He is the Omniscient and All-Seeing, who knows all intentions and what is hidden in people’s hearts. The slave feels ashamed to commit a sin by doing wrong to himself or to others, because his Lord is watching over him and sees all that he does. He knows that Allaah is All-Wise, the Seer of the Unseen, so he trusts that what Allaah decrees for him is good; he knows that Allaah will never be unjust to him, and that everything that Allaah decrees for him is good, even if he does not understand the wisdom behind it.


(2) The effects of Islaamic worship on the soul of the Muslim include the following:

Prayer keeps the slave in contact with his Lord; if he enters it in a spirit of humiliation and concentration, he will feel tranquil and secure, because he is seeking a "powerful support," which is Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. For this reason, the Prophet of Islaam, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say: "Let us find relaxation and joy in prayer." If something distressed him, he would hasten to pray. Everyone who finds himself faced with disaster and tries prayer finds strength, patience and consolation, because he is reciting the words of his Lord, which cannot be compared to the effect of the words of a created being. If the words of some psychologists can offer a little comfort, what do you think of the words of the One Who created the psychologist?


Now let us look at zakaat, which is one of the pillars of Islaam. Zakaat purifies the soul from stinginess and miserliness, and accustoms people to being generous and helping the poor and needy. It will bring a great reward on the Day of Resurrection, just like other forms of worship. It is not burdensome, like man-made taxes; it is only 25 in every thousand, which the sincere Muslim pays willingly and does not try to evade or wait until someone chases him for it.


Fasting involves refraining from food and sex. It is a form of worship, and a way in which one can feel the hunger of those who are deprived. It is also a reminder of the blessings of the Creator, and it brings rewards beyond measure.


Hajj is the Pilgrimage to the sacred House of Allaah, which was built by Ibraaheem (Abraham, upon whom be peace). By performing Hajj one is obeying the command of Allaah and the call to come and meet Muslims from all over the world.


(3) Islaam commands all kinds of good and forbids all kinds of evil. It encourages good manners and proper treatment of others. It enjoins good characteristics such as truthfulness, patience, deliberation, kindness, humility, modesty, keeping promises, dignity, mercy, justice, courage, patience, friendliness, contentment, chastity, good treatment, tolerance, trustworthiness, gratitude for favours, and self-control in times of anger. Islaam commands the Muslim to fulfil his duty towards his parents and to uphold family ties, to help the needy, to treat neighbours well, to protect and safeguard the wealth of the orphan, to be gentle with the young and show respect to the old, to be kind to servants and animals, to remove harmful things from the road, to speak kind words, to forgive at the time when one has the opportunity to take revenge, to be sincere towards one’s fellow-Muslims, to meet the needs of the Muslims, to give the debtor time to repay his debt, to prefer others over oneself, to console others, to greet people with a smiling face, to visit the sick, to support the one who is oppressed, to give gifts to friends, to honour his guest, to treat his wife kindly and spend on her and her children, to spread the greeting of peace (salaam) and to seek permission before entering another person’s house, lest one see something private that the other person does not want one to see.


Some non-Muslims may do these things out of politeness or good manners, but they are not seeking reward from Allaah or salvation of the Day of Judgement.


If we look at what Islam has prohibited, we will find that it is in the interests of both the individual and society as a whole. All these prohibitions serve to safeguard the relationship between the slave and his Lord, and the relationship of the individual with himself and with his fellow-man. The following examples demonstrate this:


Islam forbids the association of anything in worship with Allaah and the worship of anything other than Allaah, because this spells doom and misery. Islaam also forbids visiting or believing soothsayers and fortune-tellers; magic or witchcraft that may cause a rift between two people or bring them together; belief in the influence of the stars on events and people’s lives; cursing time, because Allaah is directing its affairs; and superstition, because this is pessimism.


Islam forbids cancelling out good deeds by showing off, boasting or reminding others of one’s favours; bowing or prostrating to anything other than Allaah; sitting with hypocrites or immoral people for the purposes of enjoying their company or keeping them company; and invoking the curse or wrath of Allaah on one another or ****ing one another to Hell.


Islaam forbids urinating into stagnant water; defecating on the side of the road or in places where people seek shade or where they draw water; from facing the qiblah (direction of prayer) or turning one’s back towards it when passing water or stools; holding one’s ***** in one’s right hand when passing water; giving the greeting of salaam (peace) to one who is answering the call of nature; and putting one’s hand into any vessel before washing it, when one has just woken up.


Islaam forbids the offering of any nafl (supererogatory) prayers when the sun is rising, when it is at its zenith, and when it is setting, because it rises and sets between the horns of Shaytaan (Satan); praying when there is food prepared that a person desires; praying when one urgently needs to pass water, stools or wind, because that will distract a person from concentrating properly on his prayer.


Islam forbids the Muslim to raise his voice in prayer, lest it disturb other believers; to continue offering supererogatory prayers at night when one feels drowsy - such a person should sleep then get up; to stay up all night in prayer, especially one night after another; and to stop praying when there is doubt as to the validity of one’s wudoo’ - unless one hears a sound or smells an odour.


Islaam forbids buying, selling in the mosque - because it is the place of worship and remembrance of Allaah.


Islam forbids haste in walking when the iqaamah (call immediately preceding congregational prayer) is given, and prescribes walking in a calm and dignified manner. It is also forbidden to boast about the cost of building a mosque; to decorate a mosque with red or yellow paint or adornments which will distract the worshippers; to fast day after day without a break; and for a woman to observe a supererogatory fast when her husband is present without his permission.


Islaam forbids building over graves, making them high, sitting on them, walking between them wearing shoes, putting lights over them or writing on them. It is forbidden to disinter the dead or to take graves as places of worship. Islam forbids wailing, tearing one’s clothes or leaving one’s hair unkempt when a person dies. Eulogizing the dead in the manner of the times of Ignorance (Jaahiliyyah) is also forbidden, although there is nothing wrong with informing others that a person has died.


Islaam forbids the consumption of riba (interest); all kinds of selling which involve ignorance (of the product), misleading and cheating; selling blood, wine, pork, idols and everything that Allaah has forbidden - their price, whether bought or sold - is haraam; najash, which is offering a price for something one has no intention of buying, as happens in many auctions; concealing a product’s faults at the time of selling; selling something which one does not own or before it comes into one’s possession; undercutting, outbidding or out bargaining another; selling produce before it is clear that it is in good condition and free of blemish; cheating in weights and measures; and hoarding. A partner who has shares in a plot of land or a date palm tree is forbidden to sell his share without consulting his partners. It is forbidden to consume the wealth of orphans unjustly; to bet or gamble; to take anything by force; to accept or offer bribes; to steal people’s wealth or to consume it unjustly; to take something for the purpose of destroying it; to undermine the value of people’s possessions; to keep lost property which one has found, or to keep quiet about it and not announce it, for it belongs to the one who recognizes it; to cheat in any way; to ask for a loan with no intention of repaying it; to take anything of the wealth of a fellow-Muslim, unless it is given freely, because what is taken because of another person’s shyness is haraam; and to accept a gift because of intercession.


Celibacy and castration are forbidden, as is marrying two sisters, or a woman and her aunt (paternal or maternal), whether he marries the aunt after marrying her niece or vice versa, for fear of breaking the ties of kinship. It is forbidden to make deals in marriage, such as saying "Let me marry your daughter and I will give you my daughter or sister in marriage." Such reciprocal deals are a form of oppression and injustice, and haraam. Islaam forbids mut’ah (temporary marriage), which is a marriage contract for a period of time agreed by the two parties, at the end of which the marriage expires. Islaam forbids intercourse with a menstruating woman, until she has purified herself (by taking a bath after her period ends), and also forbids anal intercourse. A man is forbidden to propose marriage to a woman when another man has already proposed to her, unless the other man withdraws his proposal or gives him permission. It is forbidden to marry a previously-married woman without consulting her, or a virgin without seeking her permission. It is forbidden to wish (a newly married couple) "Bi’l-rafaa’ wa’l-baneen (a joyful life and many sons)," because this is the greeting of the people of Jaahiliyyah, who hated daughters. The divorced woman is forbidden to conceal what Allaah has created in her womb (if she is pregnant). A husband and wife are forbidden to speak (to others) about the intimacies of married life. It is forbidden to turn a woman against her husband or to take divorce lightly. It is forbidden for a woman to ask for another’s divorce, such as asking a man to divorce a woman so that she can marry him. A wife is forbidden to spend her husband’s money without his permission, or to keep away from his bed without good reason, because the angels will curse her if she does that. A man is forbidden to marry his father’s wife, or to have intercourse with a woman who is pregnant from another man. It is forbidden for a man to practise ‘azl (coitus interruptus) with his free wife without her permission. It is forbidden for a man to return home from a journey late at night and startle his family, unless he has previously notified them when he will arrive home. A man is forbidden to take anything of his wife’s mahr (dowry) without her consent, or to keep annoying his wife so that she will give up her wealth.


Islaam forbids women to make a wanton display of themselves (tabarruj). It also forbids extreme forms of female circumcision. Women are forbidden to admit anyone into their husband’s home without his permission; his general permission is acceptable so long as they stay within the limits of sharee’ah. It is forbidden to separate a mother and child (in case of divorce); to let one’s womenfolk behave foolishly (in an immoral fashion) and not say anything; to let one’s gaze wander everywhere; and to follow an accidental glance with an intentional glance.


Islaam forbids the eating of dead meat, regardless of whether it died by drowning, strangulation, shock or falling from a high place; eating blood, pork and anything slaughtered in a name other than that of Allaah or for idols; eating the flesh or drinking the milk of beasts that feed on filth and waste matter; eating the flesh of every carnivorous beast that has fangs and every bird that has talons; eating the meat of domesticated donkeys; killing animals by keeping them and throwing stones at them until they die, or detaining them without food until they die; slaughtering with teeth or nails; slaughtering one animal (for food) in front of another; or sharpening the knife in front of the animal to be slaughtered.


In the area of clothing and adornment, men are forbidden the extravagance of wearing gold. Muslim are forbidden to be naked or to expose their thighs; to leave their clothes long (below the ankles) and trail them on the ground for the purpose of showing off; and to wear clothes that will attract attention.


It is forbidden to bear false witness; to make false accusations against a chaste believing woman; to accuse someone who is innocent; to utter lies; to slander and backbite; to call people by offensive nicknames; to spread gossip and malicious slander; to make fun of the Muslims; to boast about one’s status; to shed doubts on a person’s lineage; to utter slander, insults and obscenities; to speak in an indecent or rude manner; or to utter evil in public, except by one who has been wronged.


Islaam forbids telling lies; one of the worst kinds of lie is to lie about dreams, like fabricating dreams and visions in order to prove one’s virtue, or make some material gains, or to frighten an enemy.


Muslims are forbidden to praise themselves, or to talk in a secret way: two may not converse secretly to the exclusion of a third, because this is offensive. It is forbidden to curse a believer or someone who does not deserve to be cursed.


Islaam forbids speaking ill of the dead; praying for death; wishing for death because of some suffering that one is passing through; praying against one’s self, one’s children, one’s servants or one’s wealth.


Muslims are told not to eat the food that is directly in front of others or to eat from the centre of the dish or platter; rather they should eat from what is directly in front of them or thereabouts, because the barakah (blessing) comes in the middle of the food. It is forbidden to drink from a broken edge of a vessel, because this could cause harm; or to drink from the mouth of a vessel; or to breathe into it. It is forbidden to eat while lying on one’s stomach; to sit at a table where wine is being drunk; to leave a fire burning in one’s house when one sleeps; to sleep with Ghamr in one’s hand, like an offensive smell or the remainder of food (grease); to sleep on one’s stomach; or to talk about or try to interpret bad dreams, because these are tricks of the Shaytaan.


It is forbidden to kill another person except in cases where it is right to do so; to kill one’s children for fear of poverty; to commit suicide; to commit fornication, adultery or sodomy (homosexuality); to drink wine, or even to prepare it, carry it from one place to another, or sell it. Muslims are forbidden to please people by angering Allaah; to offend their parents or even to say "Uff" (the slightest word of contempt) to them; to claim that a child belongs to anyone but his real father; to torture by means of fire; to burn anyone, alive or dead, with fire; to mutilate the bodies of the slain; to help anyone commit falsehood; or to cooperate in wrongdoing and sin.


It is forbidden to obey any person by disobeying Allaah; to swear falsely; to swear a disastrous oath; to eavesdrop on people without their permission; to invade people’s privacy or look at their private parts; to claim something that does not belong to one or that one did not do, for the purpose of showing off; to look into someone’s else’s house without permission; to be extravagant; to swear an oath to do something wrong; to spy on others or be suspicious about righteous men and women; to envy, hate or shun one another; to persist in falsehood; to be arrogant or feel superior; to be filled with self-admiration; to be pleased with one’s arrogance. Islam forbids taking back one’s charity, even if one pays to get it back; employing someone to do a job without paying him his wages; being unfair in giving gifts to one’s children; bequeathing everything in one’s will and leaving one’s heirs poor - in such a case the will should not be executed; writing a will that concerns more than one third of one’s legacy; being a bad neighbour; or changing a will to the detriment of one or some of one’s heirs. A Muslim is forbidden to forsake or shun his brother for more than three days, except for a reason sanctioned by sharee’ah; to hold small stones between two fingers and throw them because this could cause injury to eyes or teeth; to include his heirs in a will, because Allaah has already given heirs their rights of inheritance; to disturb his neighbour; to point a weapon at his Muslim brother; to hand someone an unsheathed sword, lest it harm him; to come (walk) between two people except with their permission; to return a gift, unless there is some shar’i objection to it; to be extravagant; to give money to foolish people; to wish to be like someone to whom Allaah has given more of something; to cancel out his charity by giving offensive reminders of his giving; to wilfully conceal testimony; or to oppress orphans or scold one who asks for help or money. It is forbidden to treat with evil medicines, because Allaah would not create a cure for this ummah which includes something that He has forbidden. It is forbidden to kill women and children in warfare; to boast to one another; or to break promises.


Islaam forbids betraying a trust; asking for charity that one does not need; alarming a Muslim brother or taking away his possessions, whether jokingly or seriously; changing one’s mind after giving a gift, except in the case of a gift from a father to his child; practising medicine without experience; or killing ants, bees and hoopoe birds. A man is forbidden to look at the ‘awrah (private parts) of another man, and a woman is forbidden to look at the ‘awrah of another woman. It is forbidden to sit between two people without their permission; or to greet only those whom one knows, because the greeting is to be given to those whom you know and those whom you do not know. A Muslim is forbidden to let an oath come between him and good deeds; he should do what is good and make expiation for the oath. It is forbidden to judge between two disputing parties when one is angry, or to judge in favour of one party without hearing what the other has to say. It is forbidden for a man to walk through the market-place carrying something - like a sharp weapon - that could harm the Muslims, unless it is properly covered. A Muslim is forbidden to make another person get up, so that he can take his place.


There are more commands and prohibitions which came for the benefit and happiness of individuals and mankind as a whole. Have you ever seen any other religion that can compare to this religion?


Read this response again, then ask yourself: is it not a great pity that I am not one of them? Allaah says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers." [Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]


Finally, I hope that everyone who reads this will be guided to the correct way and to follow the truth. May Allaah protect you and us from all evil.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Reply

جوري
05-04-2007, 03:50 AM
Originally Posted by barney
Well it's a balancing act. A God that is totally permissive and merciful in all situations would not be feared. To fear God is an Innate part of most religions.

The Old testament describes Gods wrath and anger, and his destruction of citys and openly uses the words vengence dozens of times.

The Quran likewise: [7.136] Therefore We inflicted retribution on them and drowned them in the sea because they rejected Our signs and were heedless of them.

Abusive is a different matter. Thats dealing with putting a human emotional perspective onto a deity, which is theoretically impossible surely?
retribution doesn't happen without a cause.. it isn't ever just because they neglected our signs... you need to really reflect on the sura as a whole.. and in conjunction with others... you might not get why a wrath befell some folks just reading sura number 7 --you might also get another piece of the clue in chapter 44 for instance every time you read you build knowledge upon knowledge!

To make an analogy in every day life--you might be very well read in your area of interest and recognize someone say with a port wine stain on their face and automatically be led to believe them suffering from Sturge-Weber Syndrome --you make that assumption based on superficial reading you have done and because no one ever thinks themselves deficient in an area they have supposedly explored "at depth" -- but it is very possible you missed something along the way-- you do a little more reading and exploring and conclude the person suffering from Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome--- you feel you have really mustered your craft now-- that is a very difficult dx to make, you give yourself a good pat on the back and think yourself master of your domain-take yourself out for a beer.. you are really the big cheese in your community (many depend on you) and it feels good!-- when out of the blues someone more knowledgeable, lots more humbled and very sage states this is none other than Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome --- coming of course from a deeper reading and longer experience and in general better temperament as to not pass quick judgement and draw the first simplistic conclusion that comes to mind!

that is just as an example, albeit an outlandish one but I hope you get my drift... I find it very sophomoric to look at religion in terms of rewards and punishment... but given that you don't ascribe to any particular religion I believe it is easy for you or others who share in the lack of belief to draw the same conclusions....

Appreciation of the fulfillment that comes from religion and performing your rituals is not something that can be summed in words on a forum.. firstly because it is subjective and no two feel it the same, and mostly because the more you do it... the more sophisticated and the better understanding you have of what it all means
Peace!
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barney
05-04-2007, 04:11 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
retribution doesn't happen without a cause.. it isn't ever just because they neglected our signs... you need to really reflect on the sura as a whole.. !
Well, I did read the whole surah, I always do. I actually subscribe to the veiw and was attempting to point out that, In the case of a omnipotent deitey, to use human based values to describe their actions, is pointless. As a Muslim who sumbits to the will of god, weather that will manifests itself as a bountiful harvest or a Tsunami that kills 500k, human values are surely irrelevent?

Regards
Reply

جوري
05-04-2007, 04:13 AM
Originally Posted by barney
As a Muslim who sumbits to the will of god, weather that will manifests itself as a bountiful harvest or a Tsunami that kills 500k, human values are surely irrelevent?

Regards
What does this mean?
Reply

barney
05-04-2007, 04:20 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
What does this mean?
In a Nutshell, "whatever Gods actions are...who are we to judge them by Human values?"

I kind of start drivelling at this time of the morning, so a initially simple statement got mucked up in its delivery. :)
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جوري
05-04-2007, 04:22 AM
Originally Posted by barney
In a Nutshell, "whatever Gods actions are...who are we to judge them by Human values?"

I kind of start drivelling at this time of the morning, so a initially simple statement got mucked up in its delivery. :)
Got it --thanks... I am a bit slow myself and it isn't confined to any hour!

peace!
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ranma1/2
05-04-2007, 05:25 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
do you really think that anyone who worships god sees him as "vengeful and abusive"?
Absolutly, fred phelps is a great example of someone that believes in a hateful god.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Phelps

Not to mention the countless individuals of most religions that think there god hates non believers. Thankfully most people I know arentl like Phelps.
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ranma1/2
05-04-2007, 05:29 AM
Originally Posted by Jazzy
When did this thread become "lets attack Islam." :? Everyone here I'm sure came on their own. At least respect it! If we worshipped an abusive God(Astaghfirullah), would we be sitting here discussing with you? I highly doubt that...!
It hasnt, some have brought up a discussion about why someone should worship a violent, vengeful god as presented in many religions.
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barney
05-04-2007, 05:34 AM
Originally Posted by ranma1/2
It hasnt, some have brought up a discussion about why someone should worship a violent, vengeful god as presented in many religions.
Yeah, I was trawling about trying to find that.:rollseyes
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snakelegs
05-04-2007, 05:50 AM
just to clear up any misunderstandings

there were these 2 posts

Originally Posted by Pygoscelis (to england)
You're right of course. He has little objective proof of his claim that God is good and kind instead of vengeful and abusive, but the opposite view holds no better to objective verification. At least his view is optimistic though. The true question is why would somebody be able to live with the opposite view without bursting into either tears or rage at God. And how could they respect themselves bowing down to him?
which was in reply to england who said he regarded the god of islam as evil blah blah blah. (don't have time to search for that post)

this thread should not be used to bash islam or any other religion. :enough!:

my point is that they do not see it the way you do. you are not looking at god through their eyes, so you do not have the full picture. they do not see god as evil, abusive or vengeful etc etc - if they did, they would not believe in him. to me that seems obvious. so the question pygo posed is silly.
nobody would worship a god that they considered evil, etc etc.
:hiding:
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vpb
05-04-2007, 05:52 AM
May Allah save us from being among ignorants!
Reply

snakelegs
05-04-2007, 05:57 AM
i just noticed that the questions have been changed so i have voted "other".
i received no religious teaching (pro or con) from my parents (one was agnostic, one was atheist) and i have been agnostic all my life. most of my life i never even thought about god. in the last decade i have come to believe in god through personal experience. music and the wonders of nature have been my vehicles.
i do not believe that god belongs to any religion or that any religion has a monopoly on god. i think he is beyond religion and is too vast to be confined. my personal belief is that god is one, and it doesn't matter at all whether some see him as one or 10,000 - he remains one, ever-existing and unchanging.
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vpb
05-04-2007, 06:17 AM
snakelegs, just to inform you :), not that you were talking anything about Islam, but just to mention that Islam is not a religion, it's a deen, a way of life, so God brought to us not a religion, but a way of life, does it seem a way-of-life to be a monopoly of God to you? you also have a way of life that you live your life , it's just not the God's ordered way-of-life, it's different from the one God gave us, or the muslim-way-of-life (muslim = the one who submits to God),and the way of life God brought (not religion) is perfect :) and it's impossible for you not to have a way of life bc you do :D, so I think you have been sticked in a monopoly also :p.:) . I see 'religion' as something that you live a way of life, but you also have a plug-in or a addon(package) which is the religion in this case. Islam in this case is the complete software with its addons(plugins), it's a guide which tells you how to behave in every aspect so you don't fall anywhere and most important , key point, the winning of Jannah in afterlife :D (may Allah swt make us among those who enter Jannah) . So don't see Islam as a religion. :D


see the arabic word in red square, it says 'deen' (dinen) .
Whosoever seeks, other than Islam, a deen, it will not be accepted from him and he, in the Hereafter, is among the losers.) [Qur’an 3:85]

But people translate the word deen as 'religion', bc there is no adequate word in english or maybe other languages too, that can describe the meaning of it.

:)
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snakelegs
05-04-2007, 07:17 AM
Originally Posted by vpb
snakelegs, just to inform you :), not that you were talking anything about Islam, but just to mention that Islam is not a religion, it's a deen, a way of life, so God brought to us not a religion, but a way of life, does it seem a way-of-life to be a monopoly of God to you? you also have a way of life that you live your life , it's just not the God's ordered way-of-life, it's different from the one God gave us, or the muslim-way-of-life (muslim = the one who submits to God),and the way of life God brought (not religion) is perfect :) and it's impossible for you not to have a way of life bc you do :D, so I think you have been sticked in a monopoly also :p.:) . I see 'religion' as something that you live a way of life, but you also have a plug-in or a addon(package) which is the religion in this case. Islam in this case is the complete software with its addons(plugins), it's a guide which tells you how to behave in every aspect so you don't fall anywhere and most important , key point, the winning of Jannah in afterlife :D (may Allah swt make us among those who enter Jannah) . So don't see Islam as a religion. :D


see the arabic word in red square, it says 'deen' (dinen) .
Whosoever seeks, other than Islam, a deen, it will not be accepted from him and he, in the Hereafter, is among the losers.) [Qur’an 3:85]

But people translate the word deen as 'religion', bc there is no adequate word in english or maybe other languages too, that can describe the meaning of it.

:)
yes, i am aware that islam is not just a "religion" but an entire way of life, and even more than that - it provides a complete social/legal system.
in my own personal opinion, islam is not wrong. i also don't think that i am right or have the answers.
yes, we all have a way of life. i try to live my life in the best way i know how but the difference is that i do not advocate my way of life for anyone else.
i can not believe that a person will go to hell because he has not followed a specific religion.
personally, i do not believe in an after life. i also don't believe that it doesn't exist - i have no belief about it, so it is hard for me to think in terms of jannat or jehenum. my beliefs are purely based on my experiences and i have had no experience that has led me to believe in an afterlife.
ultimately, i do not know. (which is exactly why i am an agnostic).
btw, your analogy with software and plug-ins is great! :D
Reply

Pygoscelis
05-04-2007, 09:09 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
they do not see god as evil, abusive or vengeful etc etc
First they appear to define evil differently. They seem to declare that whatever God says is evil, is therefore evil, no matter what that is. By definition they can not believe God is evil.

As for vengeful, numerous bible verses at least directly assign that label to God. Earlier in this thread somebody said there is a similar designation in the Quran?

As for abusive, that is a matter of opinion yes. But people who are abused rarely realize it. They most often fault themselves instead of the abuser. Talk to any victim of domestic abuse for example and you'll see my point.

The behaviours and doctrines and stances are objectively stated. God will punish you if you do so and so. God hates X and likes Y. These beliefs are all clearly understood by all sides. Where subjectivity comes into it is when we judge them.

As for not judging God by human morals - thats also a matter of prespective. From my vantage point, God is imaginary, a creation of the relgions who worship him. So it is enirely appropriate to judge it on human morals. We need to decide whether we find the belief system productive or destructive, socially healthy or not, dangerous or not.

From the vantage point of a believer, we still do judge God. Most decide he is "good". That is a judgment. We have no other criteria to use in our judgement than human morality - since we are not Gods.

nobody would worship a god that they considered evil, etc etc.
:hiding:
Even if he was seen as evil, could people not worship out of fear? Many pagan gods were like this. You sacrificed to the Evil thunder God, not because you loved him, but because you hoped to assuade his wrath from striking you down.

Also, it seems that some will follow God simply because he is God, and has ultimate power. Essentially the ultimate case of Might Makes Right.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-04-2007, 04:49 PM
Originally Posted by ranma1/2
It hasnt, some have brought up a discussion about why someone should worship a violent, vengeful god as presented in many religions.
So it automatically pulled Islam into the question. thats my point.

Unless you yourself are the one worshipping such a God (Na Audhubillah), no one has the right so assume someone worships an evil God. It's a really pathetic notion.
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- Qatada -
05-04-2007, 05:04 PM
Nah, they'll soon come to know anyway. They can argue all they want about whether God exists, or what the purpose of life is - but they're always in a state of confusion. We're waiting, and they too are waiting. Then Allaah will judge us on what we differ, and none will be dealt with unjustly.
Reply

جوري
05-04-2007, 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
Nah, they'll soon come to know anyway. They can argue all they want about whether God exists, or what the purpose of life is - but they're always in a state of confusion. We're waiting, and they too are waiting. Then Allaah will judge us on what we differ, and none will be dealt with unjustly.
How true are your words--

فَارْتَقِبْ إِنَّهُم مُّرْتَقِبُونَ {59}
[Pickthal 44:59] Wait then Lo! they (too) are waiting.


*****
Reply

InToTheRain
05-04-2007, 07:44 PM
Those who reject God based on their standards of what they think is right and wrong have some seriouslyflawed logic.

"I don't want a god that kills, people" or "I dont want a god that doesn't look like me" or "I don't want a god I can't see" or " I WANT MORE THEN ONE GOD!"...I mean where does it end? If you are going to judge god and only accept him according to your standards then you have not accepted the FACT that you as a human are not perfect, you cannot diffrentiate between whats right or wrong in most cases and therefore are in no position to know what is Most Just.

not only is it flawed, but it is also selfish to want a god according to what you desire. This is the very reason Allah(SWT) has haad to sent massengers and prophets countless times, because people with such mentality ultimately change the message Allah(SWT) gave to our beloved Massengers and Prophets (Peace be upon them all). If you knew Islam you would know how much mercy the one true God has shown upon man kind and favors he did for us.

Not only is it flawed and selfish, but arrogant. you who bend your backs over for another created being similiar to you and are forced to adhere to their laws even though they have countless flaws; what right do you have to demand anything from God? I myself would be ashamed to demand anything.

Then again thats just me. However without a doubt you will come to know...its a question of sooner then later...

peace
Reply

Pygoscelis
05-04-2007, 08:07 PM
Originally Posted by WnbSlveOfAllah
that you as a human are not perfect, you cannot diffrentiate between whats right or wrong in most cases and therefore are in no position to know what is Most Just.
This right here is one of the biggest things in religion that concerns me.

You can not differentiate between right and wrong without being told what is right or wrong by a perceived God? That turns morality completely on its head, taking it away from empathy and kindness and placing it squarely in the realm of obedience to a perceived authority figure. I see that as very dangerous.
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- Qatada -
05-04-2007, 08:11 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
This right here is one of the biggest things in religion that concerns me.

You can not differentiate between right and wrong without being told what is right or wrong by a perceived God? That turns morality completely on its head, taking it away from empathy and kindness and placing it squarely in the realm of obedience to a perceived authority figure. I see that as very dangerous.


You're doing the exact same thing by following the 'morals' of society which aren't always morals afterall. You're a slave to society, and i'd rather be a slave to the One who created me and Sustains me than to the oppression, obedience and injustice of imperfect humans. Especially when these 'morals' are for the benefit of the ones higher in social power etc.
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snakelegs
05-04-2007, 08:19 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
First they appear to define evil differently. They seem to declare that whatever God says is evil, is therefore evil, no matter what that is. By definition they can not believe God is evil.

not sure what you're trying to say here. people who follow religions believe that certain things are evil, yes. but they most certainly do not believe that god is evil, so the question about whether you'd worship a "good" god or a "bad" god is silly, because no-one believes their god is evil.

As for vengeful, numerous bible verses at least directly assign that label to God. Earlier in this thread somebody said there is a similar designation in the Quran?

i have read the bible (not the NT) and the qur'an tho i cannot claim to be savy in either. yes, he is a god of vengence but he is more than that - he is also a god of mercy and benevolence. something that i think outsiders often miss. that's what i mean when i say that you are judging something from your standpoint and not seeing it with their eyes, so i think you are not seeing the whole picture. i am aware that i am not seeing the whole picture either, but i try.

As for abusive, that is a matter of opinion yes. But people who are abused rarely realize it. They most often fault themselves instead of the abuser. Talk to any victim of domestic abuse for example and you'll see my point.

does this mean that they need to be rescued for their own good?

The behaviours and doctrines and stances are objectively stated. God will punish you if you do so and so. God hates X and likes Y. These beliefs are all clearly understood by all sides. Where subjectivity comes into it is when we judge them.

exactly.

As for not judging God by human morals - thats also a matter of prespective. From my vantage point, God is imaginary, a creation of the relgions who worship him. So it is enirely appropriate to judge it on human morals. We need to decide whether we find the belief system productive or destructive, socially healthy or not, dangerous or not.

of course you form opinions on these things. so do i. but i think it needs to be kept in mind that we are limited in our grasp.

From the vantage point of a believer, we still do judge God. Most decide he is "good". That is a judgment. We have no other criteria to use in our judgement than human morality - since we are not Gods.



Even if he was seen as evil, could people not worship out of fear? Many pagan gods were like this. You sacrificed to the Evil thunder God, not because you loved him, but because you hoped to assuade his wrath from striking you down.

Also, it seems that some will follow God simply because he is God, and has ultimate power. Essentially the ultimate case of Might Makes Right.
personally, i do not care for religion, tho i do believe in god. and i do not like the use of fear or promise of reward as motivation either. but believers obviously see more than that.
this thread is supposed to be about why you believe what you believe and not about What's Wrong With Their Religion. unfortunately, it got a bit side tracked early on.
sometimes it is a challenge to try to see things from another's eyes and we will always be limited in what we see.
but i think it is worth the effort.
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Grace Seeker
05-04-2007, 09:23 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
You're doing the exact same thing by following the 'morals' of society which aren't always morals afterall. You're a slave to society, and i'd rather be a slave to the One who created me and Sustains me than to the oppression, obedience and injustice of imperfect humans. Especially when these 'morals' are for the benefit of the ones higher in social power etc.

Though don't you think that God's call to right living goes beyond Allah simply being THE authority. I mean if it is all about who is the biggest guy with the biggest stick, I guess that is one way to figure out who is in control. But I see God as wooing us, not threatening us to submit to him. He calls us to follow not for his good, but for our own. And the punishments that are in store for us, are not punishments he subjects us to if we don't toe the line, they are realities we are destined to stumble headlong, but for him acting to save us.

That's why I think the picture of hell is real, but of an evil God casting us there is not the best metaphor. It is more like we are already hell bent on our own personal and corporate destruction, but God comes offering a way out, but that way out means following his way, no longer our own.
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- Qatada -
05-04-2007, 09:29 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
Though don't you think that God's call to right living goes beyond Allah simply being THE authority. I mean if it is all about who is the biggest guy with the biggest stick, I guess that is one way to figure out who is in control. But I see God as wooing us, not threatening us to submit to him. He calls us to follow not for his good, but for our own. And the punishments that are in store for us, are not punishments he subjects us to if we don't toe the line, they are realities we are destined to stumble headlong, but for him acting to save us.

That's why I think the picture of hell is real, but of an evil God casting us there is not the best metaphor. It is more like we are already hell bent on our own personal and corporate destruction, but God comes offering a way out, but that way out means following his way, no longer our own.

If you've gone over the thread, you'll realise that i've explained all this in depth already. :)


And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allâh), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe." [Qur'an Abraham 14: 7]



Regards.
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Pygoscelis
05-05-2007, 12:48 AM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
You're doing the exact same thing by following the 'morals' of society which aren't always morals afterall. You're a slave to society, and i'd rather be a slave to the One who created me and Sustains me than to the oppression, obedience and injustice of imperfect humans. Especially when these 'morals' are for the benefit of the ones higher in social power etc.
This is not a question of one of the other. Most often both are involved. These 'morals' of society you speak of are frequently dressed up in relgious garb.

When we let others dictate to us what is right and what is wrong, and we don't allow ourselves to question what they say, we abandon morality and replace it with obedience, and that is when we have a serious danger. It doesn't matter if the authority figure is a perceived god or George Bush.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-05-2007, 04:03 AM
Umm we are allowed to question in Islam so we understand what it is we are learning or accepting. There is no such thing as blind faith in Islam because it's considered dangerous.
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- Qatada -
05-05-2007, 10:45 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
This is not a question of one of the other. Most often both are involved. These 'morals' of society you speak of are frequently dressed up in relgious garb.

When we let others dictate to us what is right and what is wrong, and we don't allow ourselves to question what they say, we abandon morality and replace it with obedience, and that is when we have a serious danger. It doesn't matter if the authority figure is a perceived god or George Bush.

That's totally true, when we let the social leaders who are supposedly democratic decide what's wrong and right, and we can't go against them - because if we do, we'll get punished right? hm.. seems like theres not much of a difference after all.


The only difference is that in Islaam - if we speak up against the people higher in authority, we don't have fear of persecution, since the leaders and the people in society are the same in the sight of God, no matter what color/race/sex they're from. Infact, the best in the sight of God are those who have the most taqwa of Him, not because of their social class or wealth etc.:

O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqûn (pious - see V.2:2). Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

[Qur'an 49:13]

Taqwa: piety, "God-consciousness." Taqwa involves constant awareness and remembrance of Allah, and conscious efforts to adhere to His commandments and abstain from whatever He has forbidden.

And we leave that for God to decide only, so we don't have that 'holier than thou' attitude since that is a form of arrogance.

'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No one who has an atom's weight of pride in his heart will enter the Garden." A man said, "And if the man likes his clothes to be good and his sandals to be good?" He said, "Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means to renounce the truth and to look down on people (in arrogance.)"

[Authentically Recorded in Sahih Muslim]


Allah Almighty says, That home of the Hereafter (i.e. Paradise), We shall assign to those who rebel not against the truth with pride and oppression in the land nor do mischief by committing crimes. And the good end is for the Muttaqûn [those who posses Taqwa] (pious - see V.2:2).

and the Almighty says, "Do not strut arrogantly about the earth." (17:37)
(28:83)

Regards.


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ranma1/2
05-05-2007, 01:15 PM
Originally Posted by Fi_Sabilillah
You're doing the exact same thing by following the 'morals' of society which aren't always morals afterall. You're a slave to society, and i'd rather be a slave to the One who created me and Sustains me than to the oppression, obedience and injustice of imperfect humans. Especially when these 'morals' are for the benefit of the ones higher in social power etc.
Not exactly , the main difference is we can change our morals, improve them as we grow. Religions often have the problem that they can not change there dogma. If say the dogma of a religion prevents someone from eating peanuts and it is named immoral "which i would hate cause i love peanut butter" it can not easily be questioned or changed even if it in actuallity is not about morality but a health matter.
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- Qatada -
05-05-2007, 01:19 PM
Originally Posted by ranma1/2
Not exactly , the main difference is we can change our morals, improve them as we grow. Religions often have the problem that they can not change there dogma. If say the dogma of a religion prevents someone from eating peanuts and it is named immoral "which i would hate cause i love peanut butter" it can not easily be questioned or changed even if it in actuallity is not about morality but a health matter.

First of all - no, peanuts aren't forbidden in Islaam lol. Allaah only prohibits us from what He knows is harmful for us.


Second, that exact same point can be used against people who change their morals continuouslly since one thing may be classed as totally evil at one time and later on be altered to be encouraged and liked. Therefore the people don't have a common ground to stand on together, and due to that - there is no concept of morals since everyone is always in a state of confusion to what is good or not.

This then makes the people slaves to society because they have to follow the norms of that society [which is controlled by the people higher in social class], because if they don't - they'll be looked at as a stranger and therefore the person has to go along with the false 'edited' morals in order to fit in or be accepted.



Regards.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-05-2007, 02:54 PM
^^LoL @ peanuts ;D It depends in which way u change your morals. Its ok to call a half naked woman free, but a modest woman oppressed. Is this the kind of "improving" morals one accepts? As far as I see, people are not morally improving, they're unimproving. Weird...
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barney
05-06-2007, 03:16 AM
Originally Posted by Jazzy
^^LoL @ peanuts ;D It depends in which way u change your morals. Its ok to call a half naked woman free, but a modest woman oppressed. Is this the kind of "improving" morals one accepts? As far as I see, people are not morally improving, they're unimproving. Weird...
I really have to find this "western" place where all the females walk about "half naked". :rollseyes
Oppression is a lack of choice. A western girl can wear a full bin-liner every day of the year if she wants, or a Crop-Top in winter...she can do as she pleases. Thats why she's free.
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جوري
05-06-2007, 03:20 AM
Originally Posted by barney
I really have to find this "western" place where all the females walk about "half naked". :rollseyes
.
you can find them "fully naked" in mexico at Spencer Tunnick's next photo shoot... but no telling where in the "world is Tunnick" inext shoot will be... perhaps you don't even need to travel very far..
thank you for defining being objectified as freedom we were confused about the difference ...

peace!
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barney
05-06-2007, 03:27 AM
Book me a ticket to Mexico!
Seriously however, its utterly baffeling why muslims think that western women are "oppressed" by their ability to choose freely.
Oppression is coercion to restrict behaviour or rights. It's just nonsense to argue otherwise!
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جوري
05-06-2007, 03:34 AM
Originally Posted by barney
Book me a ticket to Mexico!
Seriously however, its utterly baffeling why muslims think that western women are "oppressed" by their ability to choose freely.
Oppression is coercion to restrict behaviour or rights. It's just nonsense to argue otherwise!
I think if you are forced within the confines of a certain status quo as in looking a certain way being a certain body.. doing a particular job is very oppressive.. all you need to do is pick an issue of cosmo to understand what that means or bar hop a little... pls tell me do you think we (Muslims) live in complete hermitage and have no contact with non Muslims as to not be able to articulate to you what it means to be oppressed? I can use more rogue and vulgar terms to describe the scene but I choose not to!... I think Muslim women can fall under that spell too.. the key is truly uplifting yourself from having a particular image imposed on you by society or a magazine or some sort of male figure in your life.

peace!
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-06-2007, 03:34 AM
Umm no one actually said Western women are oppressed. They do choose to dress that way, but why? The only benefit I see out of flaunting yourself is for men getting a free look everytime. Why do women dress uncovered? You tell me? Most of the time, its for attention or acceptance is it not? No one is forcing me to cover, I chose it myself. Half the Muslim women here either wear Hijab or Niqab. Who's forcing them? Tell me please. Those who don't wear it just plain don't. My mom doesnt even let me go past my block because I wear the Hijab, but I could really care less. I'm not afraid at all.

Peace

P.S. You know what..I just realized how off we are.
*Sensing the Mods* :phew
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Grace Seeker
05-06-2007, 03:40 AM
I'm sure that the women of Papua New Guinea and the Peruvian Amazon go uncovered simply to get the attention of men. I know you were talking westerner women -- I won't argue their motivations with you cause I sure don't understand them, but Christian missionaries thought that the first thing they needed to do as they traveled the world in the 1700s and 1800s was to cover naked bodies. Obviously it really was the missionaries' problem more than the people they were trying to teach. Most of them were as oblivious to their nakedness as were Adam and Eve.

Soooo, getting us back on topic. Some of this idea of what one must wear is all about what WE believe is important and how we read into other peoples' motivation. Just because a girl wears a string bikini does not mean that she is flaunting her body. It may be the case, but you would have to know her heart to know for sure.
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جوري
05-06-2007, 03:47 AM
^^^ there is dignity in clothes Gene... I am sure that was the intent of the missionaries?-- at least that is what I am hoping for--
the first thing Americans did in Abu gharib was strip the prisoners of their clothes... I think we all know why... you humiliate people and take away their dignity by uncovering them-- it is really that simple!

peace
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barney
05-06-2007, 04:22 AM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
^^^ there is dignity in clothes Gene... I am sure that was the intent of the missionaries?-- at least that is what I am hoping for--
the first thing Americans did in Abu gharib was strip the prisoners of their clothes... I think we all know why... you humiliate people and take away their dignity by uncovering them-- it is really that simple!

peace
Or they might hang themselves / conceal weapons. Strip searches are standard practice the world over. The saudi's strip their prisoners so that the beatings can have full effect.
I thought they were wearing orange tank-suits anyway?
Bah..getting totally off topic.
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Grace Seeker
05-06-2007, 04:44 AM
No, PurestAmbrosia is right about why those criminals masquerading as soldiers did what they did.

What she is wrong about is that it would have the same impact on every person. While most of us would feel embarassed to be so exposed. My grandchildren have no problem running around in front of everyone with no clothes on. They have not yet picked up on our societies values with regard to wearing clothes. And if we were to raise them in some other society where such a value did not exist they likely never would. The embarrassment, dignity is cultural.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-06-2007, 04:51 AM
^^But highly effective and less degrading.
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Pygoscelis
05-07-2007, 05:50 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
No, PurestAmbrosia is right about why those criminals masquerading as soldiers did what they did.

What she is wrong about is that it would have the same impact on every person. While most of us would feel embarassed to be so exposed. My grandchildren have no problem running around in front of everyone with no clothes on.
This is exactly the case.

They know that their prisoners come from a particular culture, where shame for nudity is drilled into them. So they strip them down and make them feel ashamed and vulnerable. They may also deride holy books and deride any cutoms or rituals that the prisoners are attached to. It is quite an effective form of psychological attack, without having to call it torture.

As for the muslim woman with the veil or californian in a string bikini being opressed. Often neither are. They are each products of their culture, but I think it is usually the case that each freely dresses the way they wish to. I don't think anybody is forcing a muslim woman to wear a veil. And nobody is stopping the californian from putting one on - she simply doesn't want to.
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ranma1/2
05-11-2007, 05:27 AM
culture does seem to be one of the main influences on why we do what what we do and why we believe what we believe.
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Muezzin
05-11-2007, 10:50 AM
I believe what I believe because I choose to believe it. End of story. Yes, that reasoning is circular, yes, that reasoning is not entirely rational, but it's my answer and the honest truth.

Originally Posted by Ruggedtouch
It seems many Moslems can’t separate the notion of choice, personal preference and virtue from how one chooses to dress.

Here's a novel suggestion: virtue can't be coerced. *Conformance* can be coerced, but in order for virtue to be exercised, there needs to be freedom of action with which to demonstrate one's virtue. There's a saying that "character is determined by what one does when no one is looking". The "no one looking" part is the important part - you can get away with it, but what will you do. Being modest by *choice* is truly virtuous. Wearing a burkha because you will be physically harmed if you don't isn't virtuous. That's unfortunate because the draconian controls remove women's ability to demonstrate the virtue they have. Some don't or won't do so, but the way it is, the truly virtuous Muslim woman can't be distinguished from the rest, as they're all coerced to *appear* virtuous.

It's a paradox: virtue and character are only made manifest through choose and freedom. Pity that many can't seem to fathom this.
How utterly patronising and Orientalist of you.

Are 'Moslem' women living in democratic states feigning virtue if they choose to wear a burkha? Have you ever asked them? Didn't think so. It's so easy to jump to a conclusion without gathering any evidence. You didn't strike me as the lazy type. Unless of course you are psychic and somehow know who is and who isn't being coerced without ever asking them.

To me it seems as if you are just trying desperately to justify your hatred for and fear of Islam because it is simply 'other'. Let's just call the system itself coercion, rather than actually attempting to find out who may or may not be actually coerced within the system. Silly, silly logic.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-12-2007, 04:35 AM
I saw a lady on TV riding a scooter with a full niqab/burkha. It was cool :D
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Pygoscelis
05-12-2007, 07:17 AM
Originally Posted by Muezzin
How utterly patronising and Orientalist of you.

Are 'Moslem' women living in democratic states feigning virtue if they choose to wear a burkha? Have you ever asked them? Didn't think so. It's so easy to jump to a conclusion without gathering any evidence. You didn't strike me as the lazy type. Unless of course you are psychic and somehow know who is and who isn't being coerced without ever asking them.
I don't think you understood his post.

He didn't say anything about muslim women in democratic states feigning virtue. He said that since muslim women in some places are forced to feign "virtue" (by which I assume you both mean wearing the veil - which I don't find virteuous at all - but each to their own) it becomes impossible to tell them from the ones who truly are. It is a good point.

And what does "orientalist" mean? He's being chinese?
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-12-2007, 03:36 PM
The only way you could tell is if they tried to slowly uncover themselves or if you heard them complaining. How many have you actually heard? I'm not being sarcastic, just curious.
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Muezzin
05-12-2007, 05:18 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
I don't think you understood his post.

He didn't say anything about muslim women in democratic states feigning virtue. He said that since muslim women in some places are forced to feign "virtue" (by which I assume you both mean wearing the veil - which I don't find virteuous at all - but each to their own) it becomes impossible to tell them from the ones who truly are. It is a good point.
But a moot one. Unless he actually asks them. I mean, it's impossible to tell which doctors are doing their jobs out of altruism rather than for the paycheck, but suspecting their virtue without actually asking them would be unfair and foolish, no? Similarly, it's hard to tell which supermodels are actually good people and which are, for lack of a better word, slags, but I don't go making assumptions even though I would have a good point.

And what does "orientalist" mean? He's being chinese?
'In the former meaning, the term Orientalism has come to acquire negative connotations in some quarters and is interpreted to refer to the study of the East by Westerners shaped by the attitudes of the era of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries. When used in this sense, it implies old-fashioned and prejudiced outsider interpretations of Eastern cultures and peoples. This viewpoint was most famously articulated and propagated by Edward Said in his controversial 1978 book Orientalism, which was critical of this scholarly tradition and of modern scholars including Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis.'

Clickety click
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Pygoscelis
05-12-2007, 10:58 PM
What I find most odd about this exchange is Rugged Touch going along with the idea that wering a veil is something one does due to "virtue". I figured you'd have to be a muslim (or other similar religion) to think that.
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
05-13-2007, 12:48 AM
^^How many times has that been discussed and answered for you yet you cant function what we've told you? Ok so your saying I'm forced? Had anyone Muslim woman here been forced, we'd tell you ourselves. Making assumptions without actual knowledge or proof doesnt qualify you under the category of intelligence! It doesnt matter what you think, it matters what WE think cuz we are the ones wearing it, not YOU. Flaunting yourself doesnt qualify for modesty or virtue! We have self respect for ourselves which is why we cover and dont need to degrade ourself by wearing little clothing.
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جوري
05-13-2007, 12:58 AM
Originally Posted by Jazzy
^^How many times has that been discussed and answered for you yet you cant function what we've told you? Ok so your saying I'm forced? Had anyone Muslim woman here been forced, we'd tell you ourselves. Making assumptions without actual knowledge or proof doesnt qualify you under the category of intelligence! It doesnt matter what you think, it matters what WE think cuz we are the ones wearing it, not YOU. Flaunting yourself doesnt qualify for modesty or virtue! We have self respect for ourselves which is why we cover and dont need to degrade ourself by wearing little clothing.
I am not sure what his brilliant observation are based on really? what sort of research was done here? experimental? nonoperational? any trials, any control groups? any randomization.. what sort of studies were run? descriptive, analytical, none experimental designs? cohort studies? , case control studies? case series studies? prevalence surveys-- any sort of statistics to offer as evidence? it must have been that Muslim women professed this to him given his charm?? my take -- another one of his scatological studies! Muslim women choose to cover up for the same reasons that compel others not to show up to work in their underwear!

I can't imagine why such a hateful person chooses willingly, consciously and freely to be in a our midst...Must be some sort of catharsis?.. I can't imagine what would compel a normal human to keep the company of people he obviously so detests! That must be the new face of humanitarianism!
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Muezzin
05-13-2007, 12:46 PM
Originally Posted by Ruggedtouch
Yet, quite revealingly, you are unable to provide specificity for your continued hysterical claims, merely vacuous, unsubstantiated ramblings.
Upon what evidence do you base your claims about why Muslim women believe what they believe? They are merely assumptions. It seems to me you are working backwards from an assumption, attempting to find evidence to back up that assumption while discarding anything that does not fit your agenda. You might say that is religion in a nutshell, but I'm not the one trying to show off how logical I am.

Everyone can believe what they believe, for whatever reason they want. That is choice and acceptance. On the other hand, making unsabstantiated assumptions about third parties is both intellectually dishonest and rude.
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Pygoscelis
05-13-2007, 01:10 PM
Originally Posted by Jazzy
^^How many times has that been discussed and answered for you yet you cant function what we've told you? Ok so your saying I'm forced? Had anyone Muslim woman here been forced, we'd tell you ourselves. Making assumptions without actual knowledge or proof doesnt qualify you under the category of intelligence! It doesnt matter what you think, it matters what WE think cuz we are the ones wearing it, not YOU. Flaunting yourself doesnt qualify for modesty or virtue! We have self respect for ourselves which is why we cover and dont need to degrade ourself by wearing little clothing.
Indeed. Some women are forced by laws, but not in this country. And I suspect most muslim women would wear it absent the law - ie they wear it by choice. In fact, that seems to follow from definition - if they didn't want to wear it they'd not be muslim. That of course doesn't make it virtueous. It just makes it something they do. What puzzles me about ruggedtouch's posts here is that he seems to be going for the "its by force" or "its virteuous" dichotomy. To any non muslim, I'd figure its neither.
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zoro
05-14-2007, 03:54 PM
It’s a daunting challenge (sometimes, it seems to be even an overwhelming challenge) to try to understand why people are religious. As Nanrei Kobori said:

God is an invention of Man. So, the nature of God is only a shallow mystery. The deep mystery is the nature of Man.
Yet, the challenge needs to be tackled, the mystery needs to be solved, if ever humanity is to be able to exterminate the god meme. Consistently, Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann advised:

I would recommend that skeptics devote even more effort than they do now to understanding the reasons why so many people want or need to believe.
One way to proceed is along the lines you initiated in this thread: poll religious people to try to learn about their reasons. Such an undertaking, however, needs careful design, substantial effort to obtain representative samples, and thorough analyses of collected data. In my book at www.zenofzero.net, I address some of these issues, but only superficially. Here, to suggest to you some of the major issues, I’ll mention the following points.

1. Measures must be developed both for “degree of religiosity” and “amount of influence” from different factors.

2. A complete list of possible factors is needed. Just to indicate some such factors, consider the following partial list (listed alphabetically).

Addiction, Animal-training, (seeking) Answers, (out of) Arrogance, (wanting) Assurance, (feeling) Awe, (feeling) Betrayed, (desiring to) Belittle (others), (seeking) Career-advancement, (seeking) Certainty, Childhood Conditioning, (seeking) Comfort, (seeking) Company, (seeking) Control, Cowardice, Credulity, (seeking) Customers, (fearing) Death, (lost in) Dreams, Egomania, Epilepsy, (seeking) Eternal Life, (out of) Fear, Following (leaders), Foolishness, (seeking) Friends, (out of) Frustration, (desiring) Goals, (out of) Greed, (seeking) Guidance, (out of) Guilt, (to get out of the) Gutter, (seeking) Happiness, Herd (instinct), Hero Worship, (seeking) Hope, Hypnosis, (unconstrained) Imagination, Ignorance, Indoctrination, (out of) Inquisitiveness, (lacking) Judgment, (seeking) Kinship, (desiring) Kindness, (seeking) Knowledge, (intellectual) Laziness, (out of) Loneliness, (searching for) Love, Megalomania, (seeking a) Mate, (searching for) Meaning, (out of) Misery, Narcissism, (fear of being) Ostracized, (an) Opiate, Pack (instinct), Parental-pressure, (seeking) Peace, Political (purposes), (some other) Psychosis, (seeking) Purpose, (unanswered) Questions, (sheer) Rationalization, Savagery, Schizophrenia, (seeking) Security, Selfishness, Selflessness, Socialization, (seeking) Support, (following) Tradition, (simply) Training, Tribalism, (unease caused by) Uncertainty, (to relieve) Unhappiness, (because of) Visions, (marriage or other) Vows, (out of) Weakness, (seeking) Wisdom, (living on) Wishes, Xenophobia, Yearnings (for assurance, brotherhood, comfort, development, empathy, friends, guidance, heaven, insight, justice, kindness, love,…), Zonked (out on drugs).
3. An unbiased sampling strategy needs to be designed and implemented.

4. Thorough analyses of the data should include not only analysis of variance (ANOVA) techniques to identify principal components but also reanalyzes to attempt to eliminate unjustified premisses.

As an example of the fourth point, one set of premisses might identify a major principal component (or eigenvector) to be:

The Truly Religious Person. A person represented by this principal component finds that religion provides happiness, love, family support, helpful loving friends, good company, security, support, a feeling of belonging, peace of mind, comfort, serenity, social consciousness, moral guidance, and a caring community, assurance, knowledge, wisdom, purpose, goals, meaning to life, hope, eternal life…
Yet, the premisses behind such a conclusion could be challenged as follows:

Definitions of different categories, such as “happiness”, “wisdom”, and so on, are inadequate. For example, if a respondent stated that one reason for religiosity was the “happiness” that religion provided, then one analyzer could accept that reason “at face value” – while another analyzer (accounting for G.B. Shaw’s “The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality”) might have attributed the reason not to “happiness” but to “credulity”. Similarly, if a respondent stated that one of the reasons was gaining wisdom, then one analyzer might take that reason at face value – while another analyzer (accounting for the Hungarian proverb “The believer is happy; the doubter is wise”) might have identified the stated reason as evidence of foolishness, realizing that people are happy when they think they’re making progress toward their goals, even if, in reality, they’re not making progress – and even for cases in which it’s impossible to measure progress (e.g., the “well being of their immortal soul”).
In sum, then, a statistical approach seems fraught with huge difficulties.

An alternative is to seek answers (to why people are religious) not from statistical studies but from psychological studies. As the clinical neuro-psychologist Rosemary Lyndall said:

Beliefs, including religious ones, are learned, which makes atheism a normal state of affairs and religious beliefs a learned ‘abnormality’. No psychological theory is necessary to explain the causes of a normal base state. Any psychological theory of learning, attitude change, or socialization can explain the causes of religious belief.
In such an approach, substantial analyses are already available. One can even go back to statements such as by Julius Caesar that “people believe what they want to believe.” In fact, that concept is already in the word ‘belief’, itself, for as Alan Watts pointed out, ‘lief’ is Latin for ‘wish’; therefore, ‘belief’ literally means “wish to be”. Consistently, there are conclusions such as Freud’s:

The gods retain their threefold task: they must exorcize the terrors of nature, they must reconcile men to the cruelty of fate (particularly as it is shown in death), and they must compensate them for the sufferings and privations which a civilized life in common has imposed on them… While the different religions wrangle with one another as to which of them is in possession of the truth, in our view the truth of religion may be altogether disregarded. Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery… If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man’s evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.
Even some religious leaders have now come to accept such analyses. For example, consider the following statement from Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong:

People don’t realize religion is never a search for truth. Religion is a search for security. Now [i.e., currently], we have theological enterprises that try to shape truth. But the bedrock of our religion is a search for security. And that comes out of the very dawning of self-consciousness… [We] started out by naming every tree and rock and shrub and bush and river and ocean – it had a spirit. And we worked out a way of accommodating that spirit. That’s where religion starts – in a search for security in a radically insecure world.
In addition, there are, of course, some unfortunate people suffering from various mental abnormalities (including schizophrenia and epilepsy – and some such conditions seem to be stimulated by the use of hallucinatory drugs), who hear voices, have visions, etc. Examples include (but certainly aren’t restricted to) the real founders of Christianity (“Saint” Paul) and Mormonism (Sidney Rigdon). Approximately 500 years ago, Erasmus summarized it well:

To sum up (or I shall be pursuing the infinite), it is quite clear that the Christian religion has a kind of kinship with folly in some form, though it has none at all with wisdom. If you want proofs of this, first consider the fact that the very young and the very old, women and simpletons, are the people who take the greatest delight in sacred and holy things, and are therefore always found nearest the altars, led there doubtless solely by their natural instinct. Secondly, you can see how the first great founders of the faith were great lovers of simplicity and bitter enemies of learning. Finally, the biggest fools of all appear to be those who have once been wholly possessed by zeal for Christian piety. They squander their possessions, ignore insults, submit to being cheated, make no distinction between friends and enemies, shun pleasure, sustain themselves on fasting, vigils, tears, toil and humiliations, scorn life and desire only death – in short, they seem to be dead to any normal feelings, as if their spirit dwelt elsewhere than in their body. What else can that be but madness? And so we should not be surprised if the apostles were thought to be drunk on new wine, and Festus judged Paul to be mad.
A more modern analysis is available in the online book by Lloyd deMause entitled “The Emotional Life of Nations” (available at http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/eln...hesociety.html ):

The neurobiology of “God experiences” is well understood. They are actually temporal lobe seizures, similar to the seizures of epileptics, explaining why so many mystics experienced clear epileptic seizures. These “kindling” seizures – which have been correlated with previous serious child abuse – begin in the hippocampus and spread to the amygdalan network, transforming previous painful anoxic depressive rage feelings into what Mandell calls “ecstatic joyful rage,” with a disappearance of self boundaries so that the person is suddenly overcome with feelings of unity and love. The neurobiology of “God in the brain” is similar to the effects of drugs like cocaine and the hallucinogens, “inducing an acute loss of serotonergic regulation of temporal lobe limbic structures and releasing the affectual and cognitive processes characteristic of religious ecstasy and conversion.” Persinger describes “the release of the brain’s own opiates that can cause a narcotic high” during these God-merger experiences, producing “with a single burst in the temporal lobe, a personal conviction of truth and a sense of self-selection [that] shames any known therapy.” As Otto puts it, the mysterium tremendum of religious ecstasy “bursts in sudden eruption up from the depths of the soul with spasms and convulsions and leads to the strangest excitements, to intoxicated frenzy, to transport and to ecstasy… wild and demonic… and can sink to an almost grisly horror and shuddering.” Saint Theresa tells how it felt to experience this painful ecstasy in her organ alters: “An angel pierced its spear several times through my heart, so that it penetrated to my bowels, which were extracted when the spear was withdrawn, leaving me all aflame with an immense love for God. The pain was so great that I had to groan, but the sweetness that came with this violent pain was such that I could not wish to be free of it.”
But except for such cases of mental abnormalities, it seems that the primary reason why most people believe is “simply” because they want to, just as Julius Caesar said. One then can have some sympathy both for such people and for H.L Mencken’s assessment of them:

God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos: He will set them above their betters.
Robert Pirsig said similar:

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity; when many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.
Similar was echoed in a 1995 book by John Schumaker:

Without cultural sanction, most or all our religious beliefs and rituals would fall into the domain of mental disturbance.
Yet, Freud was optimistic about the future:

• Religion would then be the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity; like the obsessional neurosis of children… If this view is right, it is to be supposed that a turning away from religion is bound to occur with the fatal inevitability of a process of growth.

• In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is only too palpable.

• The greater the number of men to whom the treasures of knowledge become accessible, the more widespread is the falling-away from religious belief – at first only from its obsolete and objectionable trappings, but later from its fundamental postulates as well.

• When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life.
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-14-2007, 05:03 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
It’s a daunting challenge (sometimes, it seems to be even an overwhelming challenge) to try to understand why people are religious.



2. A complete list of possible factors is needed. Just to indicate some such factors, consider the following partial list (listed alphabetically).

Addiction, Animal-training, (seeking) Answers, (out of) Arrogance, (wanting) Assurance, (feeling) Awe, (feeling) Betrayed, (desiring to) Belittle (others), (seeking) Career-advancement, (seeking) Certainty, Childhood Conditioning, (seeking) Comfort, (seeking) Company, (seeking) Control, Cowardice, Credulity, (seeking) Customers, (fearing) Death, (lost in) Dreams, Egomania, Epilepsy, (seeking) Eternal Life, (out of) Fear, Following (leaders), Foolishness, (seeking) Friends, (out of) Frustration, (desiring) Goals, (out of) Greed, (seeking) Guidance, (out of) Guilt, (to get out of the) Gutter, (seeking) Happiness, Herd (instinct), Hero Worship, (seeking) Hope, Hypnosis, (unconstrained) Imagination, Ignorance, Indoctrination, (out of) Inquisitiveness, (lacking) Judgment, (seeking) Kinship, (desiring) Kindness, (seeking) Knowledge, (intellectual) Laziness, (out of) Loneliness, (searching for) Love, Megalomania, (seeking a) Mate, (searching for) Meaning, (out of) Misery, Narcissism, (fear of being) Ostracized, (an) Opiate, Pack (instinct), Parental-pressure, (seeking) Peace, Political (purposes), (some other) Psychosis, (seeking) Purpose, (unanswered) Questions, (sheer) Rationalization, Savagery, Schizophrenia, (seeking) Security, Selfishness, Selflessness, Socialization, (seeking) Support, (following) Tradition, (simply) Training, Tribalism, (unease caused by) Uncertainty, (to relieve) Unhappiness, (because of) Visions, (marriage or other) Vows, (out of) Weakness, (seeking) Wisdom, (living on) Wishes, Xenophobia, Yearnings (for assurance, brotherhood, comfort, development, empathy, friends, guidance, heaven, insight, justice, kindness, love,…), Zonked (out on drugs).


An alternative is to seek answers (to why people are religious) not from statistical studies but from psychological studies. As the clinical neuro-psychologist Rosemary Lyndall said:

Even some religious leaders have now come to accept such analyses. For example, consider the following statement from Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong:


People don’t realize religion is never a search for truth. Religion is a search for security. Now [i.e., currently], we have theological enterprises that try to shape truth. But the bedrock of our religion is a search for security. And that comes out of the very dawning of self-consciousness… [We] started out by naming every tree and rock and shrub and bush and river and ocean – it had a spirit. And we worked out a way of accommodating that spirit. That’s where religion starts – in a search for security in a radically insecure world.


In addition, there are, of course, some unfortunate people suffering from various mental abnormalities (including schizophrenia and epilepsy – and some such conditions seem to be stimulated by the use of hallucinatory drugs), who hear voices, have visions, etc. Examples include (but certainly aren’t restricted to) the real founders of Christianity (“Saint” Paul) and Mormonism (Sidney Rigdon). Approximately 500 years ago, Erasmus summarized it well:


But except for such cases of mental abnormalities, it seems that the primary reason why most people believe is “simply” because they want to, just as Julius Caesar said. One then can have some sympathy both for such people and for H.L Mencken’s assessment of them:

No doubt people are religious for many reasons. And as you said, your list above was not exhaustive. One reason that is glaringly absent betrays your approach -- (receiving) Revelation. You might not think it likely, and certainly many are religious for other reasons, but if one is truly looking for the truth, then to exclude this as a possible reason would be to say that one has biased ones observations to exclude it as a possibility. Such research would be flawed from the beginning for it denies the reality of that which it searches to understand the source of.

Also, there seems to be a confusing between persons of faith and people who are religious in this discussion. Some people are both, some people are neither. And quite a few people are one and not the other. To confound the issue by treating them as one and the same will certainly skew the results of your inquiry.
Reply

zoro
05-14-2007, 07:16 PM
I agree. "Revelation" should be included in such a list, and I'll include it in a revision to the current draft of that chapter. [Although, come to think of it, it might already be included in the word "visions", e.g., "Saint" Paul's, but the word 'revelation' is better.] In any event, as you noted, I wasn't tyring to prepare a complete list, just trying to illustrate the complexity of the question -- in turn as a lead into the probably more profitable approach via psychology rather than via statistics.
Reply

جوري
05-14-2007, 08:21 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
It’s a daunting challenge (sometimes, it seems to be even an overwhelming challenge) to try to understand why people are religious. As Nanrei Kobori said:



Yet, the challenge needs to be tackled, the mystery needs to be solved, if ever humanity is to be able to exterminate the god meme. Consistently, Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann advised:



:
What are you hoping to accomplish from this post? how can you understand the array of psychology of billions of peoples-- as they who subscribe to religion, undoubtedly run across all sorts of socio-economic conditions and geographical locations. "humanity" if I can call it that has in fact tried to exterminate the "god meme" before... and the outcome was disastrous (you can't educate people on something that you can neither prove or disprove) I'll demonstrate with this analogy
[You could potentially be suffering from a headache] you go to the hospital where a congregation would meet for morning reports and liver rounds and discussing none other but science... this is what one of these scientists would do to confirm your claim
1-"tell me about your headaches"
2-"tell me what happens during/ before and/after your headaches"
3-"when do your headaches start"
4-"how often do you get them"
5-when your headaches start how long do they last"?
6-"what causes them to start/ any time of the day"
7-"do they wake you up at night?", "what makes your headache better/worst?"
8-" can you describe the pain, dull, sharp, pulsating, pounding, pressure like"? on a scale from one to ten one being the mildest, ten being the most severe how would you rate your pain?
9-Do you notice a change in vision? do you get numbness
10-" do you feel nauseated, do you vomit" with your headaches"
Those are the ten Q's more of less that any health care professional would ask with regard to your headache... but they can neither confirm or deny your allegations. You can be in miserable pain or faking it with munchausen , and potentially fool everyone--

there are very few tests that can confirm what you are feeling or "believe" that you are feeling! How would you like it if someone decided not to believe you or respect the pain you are in, but call you deluded, run you to the psyche ward, or leave you until you end up potentially dead from a berry aneurysm? because they just can't conceive what your pain means... how do you duplicate your belief to a spectrum of scientists who simply have no way to measure what you mean?
Thankfully at least as far as medicine is concerned... no one doubts a patient, until a long review of record proves mental illness or factitious disorder!

... So why not live and let live?... you "believe" and at the very fulcrum of your belief is a zero dividing and a whole universe unravels... others believe in something beyond comprehension responsible for our being. No one is mocking you or wishes to exterminate your "zero meme" even though it doesn't make good scientific sense and is a bit ostentatious... what is your under lying psychology in trying to get more people to be Atheistic? when being like you makes no sense anymore than you being like us makes good sense to you?

peace!
Reply

zoro
05-14-2007, 11:53 PM
Ambro:

what is your under lying psychology in trying to get more people to be Atheistic?
First, you might notice I'm agnostic, not an atheist; therefore, it would be incongrous if I were trying to "get more people to be Atheistic".

Second, the "under lying" psychology to attempt to exterminate the god meme, to get people to hold their beliefs only as strongly as relevant evidence warrants, is an attempt to get more people to "get real", to shed their delusions. Thereby, for example, I expect that there would be far fewer suicide bombers.

As well, there probably would be fewer people (such as yourself) commenting on how the universe might have been formed, when they clearly know less about physics than my granddaughter.
Reply

جوري
05-15-2007, 12:14 AM
[QUOTE=zoro;737844]Ambro:



Originally Posted by zoro
First, you might notice I'm agnostic, not an atheist; therefore, it would be incongrous if I were trying to "get more people to be Atheistic"..
Ok!



Originally Posted by zoro
Second, the "under lying" psychology to attempt to exterminate the god meme, to get people to hold their beliefs only as strongly as relevant evidence warrants, is an attempt to get more people to "get real", to shed their delusions. Thereby, for example, I expect that there would be far fewer suicide bombers..

that is very interesting...reminds you of any sort of logical fallacies?

Affirming the Consequent
This fallacy takes the form of:
If x, then y.
y.
therefore: x.

Example: "People who are psychotic act in a bizarre manner. This person acts in a bizarre manner. Therefore: This person is psychotic."

Alternate example: "If this client is competent to stand trial, she will certainly know the answers to at least 80% of the questions on this standardized test. She knows the answers to 87% of the test questions. Therefore she is competent to stand trial."
http://www.kspope.com/fallacies/fallacies.php

is this some form of altruism for you? people aren't going to shed their delusions anymore than you will shed yours! for the same exact reasons that make you speak so affirmatively of your zen of zero

Originally Posted by zoro
As well, there probably would be fewer people (such as yourself) commenting on how the universe might have been formed, when they clearly know less about physics than my granddaughter.
I am not going to get into this again with you... I have no need to defend what I know or don't -- but will say this much, if your theories were correct, which they aren't! they would be taught in conventional physics classes. And would be readily accepted by physicists with minimum exertion into abstraction --Borrowing respected theories and putting a philosophical spin on them hardly qualifies it as correct or even "reasonable". Go use your calculator and divide any number by zero let alone a zero by zero and then we can speak of who is more deluded!

peace!
Reply

zoro
05-15-2007, 08:27 AM
Ambro:

Your knowledge of logical fallacies seems comparable to your knowledge about what’s taught in modern physics courses. If I thought it would do any good, I would steer you to a relevant chapters in my book (at www.zenofzero.net ) that deal with logical fallacies and with evidence supporting the idea that our universe was created by a symmetry-breaking fluctuation in a total void. But my experience with you has taught me that it would be useless. As C.W. Dalton wrote:

Believers are interested in fulfilling emotional and spiritual needs, not intellectual needs. In some cases, one might as well try to use reason on a dog. For many people God is primarily a warm feeling. How can one argue with a warm feeling? Arguing with someone who places reason below faith and [any “holy book] authority is blowing against the wind.
Further, of far greater significance than for you to learn more logic and physics is for you to learn about the harm you are doing to humanity – which in your case is all the more egregious, since you were given the opportunity to learn.

If ever you do realize how you have helped and continue to help the terrorists (by serving as an example of even an educated person who nonetheless still bases her beliefs on warm, fuzzy feelings rather than evidence), then you will need to overcome feelings of substantial shame for the harm you’ve done. In the hope that some day you will see your error, I’ll add that the way to shed your remorse will be to join in the effort to exterminate the god meme. In particular, you could be of great service by helping to extricate the poor Muslims of the world, especially the children, from the thousand-year Dark Ages imposed by their clerics.

If ever the day should come when you are prepared to face reality on its terms, rather than continue in your delusions, then you might find some of the following ideas useful to try to similarly help others. From your own experience, perhaps you’ll see that, in reality, there is a way to “argue with a warm feeling”, namely, with shame – for the harm the person’s ignorance and cowardice have caused.

A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true. [Demosthenes, Greek orator. Third Olynthiac, sct. 19 (349 BCE)]

Sensible men no longer believe in miracles; they were invented by priests to humbug the peasants. (Alfonso the Wise, King of Castile, 1226 – 1284)

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. (Benjamin Franklin)

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. (Napoleon Bonaparte)

All… miracles will at last disappear with the progress of science. (Matthew Arnold)

For my part I would as soon be descended from a baboon… as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies… treats his wives like slaves… and is haunted by the grossest superstitions. (Charles Darwin)

Faith is believing in something you know ain’t true. (Samuel Clemens alias Mark Twain)

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. (Mark Twain)

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. (Karl Marx)

Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows. (Robert G. Ingersoll)

It has always seemed absurd to suppose that a god would choose for his companions, during all eternity, the dear souls whose highest and only ambition is to obey. [Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899), Individuality]

The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous. It is the infamy of infamies. The notion that faith in Christ [or Allah] is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." (Robert Ingersoll)

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. (Susan B. Anthony)

We are always making God our accomplice, that so we may legalize our own iniquities. (Henri Frederic Amiel)

Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism. (William James, 1842-1910)

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one. (George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950)

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the impossible. (H.L. Mencken)

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. (Bertrand Russell)

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. (Delos B. McKown)

Religion… comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion. [Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), The Future Of An Illusion, 1927]

The origin of the absurd idea of immortal life is easy to discover; it is kept alive by hope and fear, by childish faith, and by cowardice. (Clarence Darrow)

Faith is the short-circuit of reason, destroying the mind. (Ayn Rand)

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. (W. K. Clifford essay “The Ethics of Belief”)

It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, “mad cow” disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate. (Richard Dawkins)

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying. (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

Faith is powerful enough to immunize people against all appeals to pity, to forgiveness, to decent human feelings. It even immunizes them against fear, if they honestly believe that a martyr’s death will send them straight to heaven. What a weapon! Religious faith deserves a chapter to itself in the annals of war technology, on an even footing with the longbow, the warhorse, the tank, and the hydrogen bomb. (Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene)

We are bound to one another. The fact that our ethical intuitions must, in some way, supervene upon our biology does not make ethical truths reducible to biological ones. We are the final judges of what is good, just as we remain the final judges of what is logical. And on neither front has our conversation with one another reached an end. There need be no scheme of rewards and punishments transcending this life to justify our moral intuitions or to render them effective in guiding our behavior in the world. The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil’s masterpiece. (Sam Harris, The End of Faith, p.226)

There is no arguing with the pretenders to a divine knowledge and to a divine mission. They are possessed with the sin of pride; they have yielded to the perennial temptation. (Walter Lippmann)

For that again, is what all manner of religion essentially is: childish dependency. (Albert Ellis)

If you were taught that elves caused rain, every time it rained, you’d see the proof of elves. (Ariex)

If God kills, lies, cheats, discriminates, and otherwise behaves in a manner that puts the Mafia to shame, that's okay, he's God. He can do whatever he wants. Anyone who adheres to this philosophy has had his sense of morality, decency, justice and humanness warped beyond recognition by the very book that is supposedly preaching the opposite. (Dennis McKinsey, newsletter Biblical Errancy)

Personal dishonesty seems to be a necessary basis for religion. That is understandable. Children are indoctrinated with a code of behavior that is instinctually impossible to follow. So they regularly violate the code and to avoid punishment cover up the violations by lying. For them, lying becomes part of their religion. (C. W. Dalton, The Right Brain and Religion)

We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them “religious”; otherwise, they are likely to be called “mad”, “psychotic” or “delusional”. (Sam Harris, End of Faith)

Out of all of the sects of the world, we notice an uncanny coincidence: the overwhelming majority just happen to choose one that their parents' belong to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favor, the best miracles, the best music: when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing, compared to the matter of heredity. This is an unmistakable fact; nobody could seriously deny it. Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity, somehow manage to go on believing in *their* religion, often with such fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow a different one. (Richard Dawkins)

The atheist, agnostic, or secularist… should not be cowed by exaggerated sensitivity to people's religious beliefs and fail to speak vigorously and pointedly when the devout put forth arguments manifestly contrary to all the acquired knowledge of the past two or three millennia. Those who advocate a piece of folly like the theory of an "intelligent creator" should be held accountable for their folly; they have no right to be offended for being called fools until they establish that they are not in fact fools. (Sunand Tryambak Joshi, Atheism: A Reader)
Reply

Pygoscelis
05-15-2007, 01:33 PM
Hey Zoro, I tried reading your online book and didn't get very far.

You may want to consider creating a version of it without the odd narrative (conversation?) style. I'm not sure what the goal was, but as an unitiated casual passerby it just put me off.
Reply

zoro
05-15-2007, 01:47 PM
Pygoscelis: Thank you for the feedback. As you can see from the Preface, it was originally "just" letters to my granddaughter. My wife of 48 years suggested that other teenagers might find some value in it; thus, the style. I don't expect more knowledgeable people will be able to tolerate the style -- and I know I don't have the energy or time left for a rewrite! But again, thank you.
Reply

جوري
05-15-2007, 02:34 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
Ambro:.
Zoro!

Originally Posted by zoro
Your knowledge of logical fallacies seems comparable to your knowledge about what’s taught in modern physics courses. .
It is obvious to me at this stage that the fault indeed.. does lie with your person!

Originally Posted by zoro
If I thought it would do any good, I would steer you to a relevant chapters in my book (at www.zenofzero.net ) that deal with logical fallacies and with evidence supporting the idea that our universe was created by a symmetry-breaking fluctuation in a total void. But my experience with you has taught me that it would be useless. .
And we both know why... at the very fulcrum of your presentation.. lies a great deal of none sense... again regardless of my own educational background which I still have no need to defend... I have in fact fwd your pamphlet to my physics professor from under grad, and he called it "poetic physics" -- but it isn't science! It isn't what is taught in the classroom... There are many books on Amazon about poetic physics... Your Zen of Zero didn't seem to make it to any section though, poetic or not! You might want to work on the basic idea again... Everything around it, is borrowed but works.. the concept on which all else rests, however, is faulty!
Originally Posted by zoro
Further, of far greater significance than for you to learn more logic and physics is for you to learn about the harm you are doing to humanity – which in your case is all the more egregious, since you were given the opportunity to learn..
I almost forgot how the majority of Muslims all 1.8 billion of them have contributed nothing to humanity, but have indeed fallen off the turnip truck. http://www.1001inventions.com/index....tSectionID=309
Thank you-- oh thank you --kind sir for starting with us.. one Muslim at a time!

Originally Posted by zoro
If ever you do realize how you have helped and continue to help the terrorists (by serving as an example of even an educated person who nonetheless still bases her beliefs on warm, fuzzy feelings rather than evidence).
lol, I gather you didn't read the logical fallacies page at all?... let's put it this way--I suppose you can say.. I don't base my belief on your "fuzzy feelings" anymore than you do your (zen of zero)... even though again I attest that I have fwd. your pamphlet to my professor from undergrad and he called it poetic. I find it rather insulting, you being so presumptuous-- but it is ok.. where presupposed bias is involved, there is an impossibility to step away from the telescopic vision.


Originally Posted by zoro
then you will need to overcome feelings of substantial shame for the harm you’ve done..
How much do you charge per hour? and what are your qualifications?
Originally Posted by zoro
In the hope that some day you will see your error..
I hold the same hope that one day you'll see yours-- and I am certain your day will indeed come!
Originally Posted by zoro
I’ll add that the way to shed your remorse will be to join in the effort to exterminate the god meme. .
say--You can be the next Enver Hoxha and shed it by yourself... I am sure you'd get your commemoration in history-- and get to kill a few people, and burn a few mosques while at it.. yipee

Originally Posted by zoro
In particular, you could be of great service by helping to extricate the poor Muslims of the world, especially the children, from the thousand-year Dark Ages imposed by their clerics..
It was 14 centuries of enlightenment... What history book have you been reading out of? try to step outside your bubble a little.. traveling might do you some good!
Originally Posted by zoro
If ever the day should come when you are prepared to face reality on its terms,.
I suppose that day will happen for me, the same day it happens for you!

Originally Posted by zoro
rather than continue in your delusions,.
we can both get a two for one discount on seroquel.. but I think you need it more! religion isn't frowned upon in psychiatry ( most psychiatrists I have encountered during my rotations subscribe to a religion or another [the organized sort]) but magical thinking and wishing to exterminate others and their ideaologies actually is very alarming!

Originally Posted by zoro
then you might find some of the following ideas useful to try to similarly help others. .
Poetry is indeed helpful and touching.. I enjoy writing a bit myself-- it is a form of free expression-- but hardly a novel concept that others hadn't already thought of, or are practicing (it is a form of art) humanity is richer because of it. on the bright side you can start your own cult though... work on fellow "agnostics" and see how well your zen of zero takes. From experience though I notice that your exaggeration vitiates your entire pamphlet.
Originally Posted by zoro
From your own experience, perhaps you’ll see that, in reality, there is a way to “argue with a warm feeling”
Ah you just want to assert that you are confabulating now? Indeed.. no way to argue a feeling as I have demonstrated with my headache analogy. A religion is not a feeling though! And even if you were to feel a headache, scientists would still take it seriously!

Originally Posted by zoro
namely, with shame – for the harm the person’s ignorance and cowardice have caused.
so how is that working out for you now? -- seems your whole theme here is nothing but emotions... in fact bordering a bit on Schizotypal...
as you seem to satisfy a few of the criterion of that disorder-- on the bright side, there is always help when you decide to seek it... a Night mare though, if your local psychiatrist happens to be a Muslim ;D
peace
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PSmuslim
05-15-2007, 02:42 PM
Assalaamualaikum,

I have the same belief as my parents have, alhamdulillah. But the reason why I'm still muslim, isn't because my family members are muslims. I've learned recently much about the religion alhamdulillah, and no doubt that islam has been the right choice, alhamdulillah. :)
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zoro
05-15-2007, 04:39 PM
Ambro:

It’s interesting to be simultaneously encouraged and discouraged. My feeling of discouragement was well expressed by Isaac Asimov responding to the question why he fights religion with no hope for victory:

Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug superstition to their breasts.
Simultaneously, though, I find encouragement in the possibility that there are some Muslims out there in the e-world who are quietly reading what’s been written here and who will compare your rantings with the quotations I gave from some famous humanists. And, too, I think of the efforts of such Muslims as H. Ali Kamil (pseudonym) who has been engaged in a dangerous struggle to translate famous text on liberalism and democracy into Arabic and to publish them on the internet at such sites as http://www.metransparent.com/ and http://www.misbahalhurriyya.org/ . As stated in a 3 March 2006 article by Jonathan Rauch entitled “Social Studies: In Arabic, ‘Internet’ Means Freedom” published in the National Journal:

Firmly establishing liberal ideas took centuries in the West, and may yet take decades in the Arab world. Authoritarian and sectarian and tribalist notions are easier to explain than liberal ones, and it is inherently harder to build trust in mercurial markets and flowing democratic coalitions than in charismatic leaders, visionary clerics, and esteemed elders. The liberal world’s intellectual underpinnings are as difficult to grasp as its cultural reach is difficult to escape. Thus the disjunction within which Baathism, Islamism, and Arab tribalism have festered. Yet few who are genuinely intellectually curious can read J.S. Mill or Adam Smith and come away entirely unchanged. The suffocating Arab duopoly of state-controlled media and Islamist pulpits is cracking – only a little bit so far, but keep watching. In the Arab world, the Enlightenment is going online.
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جوري
05-15-2007, 04:55 PM
several tyrants were charming and gave really great speech-- The truth always stands firm from error.
philosophies change... politics changes, economic changes, so do social structures and even ideas.... But Islam has withstood the test of time unchanged since its beginning-- and I have no reason to believe it will change... in spite of great controversy created by the liked of you and others with a clangorous need for self-righteous humbug, it is still the world's fastest growing religion. It is the thinking man's religion. People can try to derange it.. make their own spins... but he who wishes to seek it unadulterated will undoubtedly, find what s/he is looking for on a very basic, fundamental level!

BTW.. I'd hate to burst any bubbles you might have of what population represents Muslims, but only 20% of the Muslim world presides in the Arab world. We outnumber the Jews in America... and I am not talking about immigrants, I am talking natural born American citizens-- I hazard state even more educated than the native according to U.S govt reports..

"The report said Middle Eastern immigrants were highly educated, with 49 percent holding at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 28 percent of natives.

Median earnings for Middle Eastern men were $39,000 a year compared to $38,000 for native workers.

they tend to be better-educated than native U.S. residents — about half hold bachelor's degrees, compared to 28 percent of natives. They also perform as well economically as natives — 30- and 40-year-old Middle Eastern males with a college education have the same median income as natives, and Middle East immigrants are more likely be self-employed.



and here yet another report!

Middle Eastern Immigrants in U.S. Educated, Prosperous, Study Says
Gannett News Service, August 15, 2002

(Also ran in Arizona Republic - 8/15)

WASHINGTON — Middle Eastern immigrants in the United States are well educated, earn more money than most Americans and are predominantly Muslim, according to a report released Wednesday.

They also are among the nation's fastest-growing immigrant groups, according to the report issued by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, a think tank that supports reducing the number of immigrants to the United States.

The report says the number of Middle Eastern immigrants increased from fewer than 200,000 in 1970 to almost 1.5 million in 2000. The overall number of foreign-born residents in the United States tripled to 31 million over the same period.

The report offers a rare portrait of an immigrant group that has received intense scrutiny and negative publicity since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Project MAPS, a survey of "Muslims in the American Public Square" conducted in 2001-2002 by researchers at Georgetown University, found that 86 percent of all Muslim professionals were concentrated in three careers: engineering, computer science, and medicine. Law, law enforcement, and politics accounted for a minuscule 0.6 percent. American Muslims, some demographers say, have also been voting well below their numbers in the population -- registering to vote at only half the national rate, according to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey [PDF], a project of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. "If they ever did play to their weight" in the electoral arena and in Washington, Muslims "would be a much more considerable force in public policy-making," says Steve Clemons, a Democrat who directs the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation in Washington.


So yes... I'd count that there are Muslims reading this... and education alone mandates that something fantastic is responsible for us being here-- the answer is however not going to be found in a zero dividing.

peace!
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One Man Army
05-15-2007, 05:26 PM
i have found a religion that allows me to look at the faults within myself, rather then the faults in others. I am a Sikh.

http://manvirsingh.blogspot.com/2007...-mohinder.html

inspiring video regardless of what faith you belong to
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Grace Seeker
05-15-2007, 06:06 PM
Zoro, having read your posts (though admittedly not your book, maybe I should) I am curious why you list yourself as an agnostic?

As I read what you write, it strikes me that you do not believe that there is a God. Have I read you incorrectly? Or, if I am correct about your beliefs, why do you choose to identify yourself as an agnostic rather than an athiest?
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Pygoscelis
05-15-2007, 06:30 PM
Agnostics often are atheists.
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جوري
05-15-2007, 06:36 PM
Main Entry: 1ag·nos·tic
Pronunciation: ag-'näs-tik, &g-
Function: noun
: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
Seems our dear member Zoro not only doesn't think there is any potential for G-D existing but wishes to exterminate the idea from the minds of those who do.. I'd call that a staunch (zealot) atheist -- although not nearly as horrible as the saloth sar we had for company in the previous weeks-- at least that is or hope!
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Grace Seeker
05-15-2007, 06:42 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
Main Entry: 1ag·nos·tic
Pronunciation: ag-'näs-tik, &g-
Function: noun
: one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
Seems our dear member Zoro not only doesn't think there is any potential for G-D existing but wishes to exterminate the idea from the minds of those who do.. I'd call that a staunch (zealot) atheist -- although not nearly as horrible as the saloth sar we had for company in the previous weeks-- at least that is or hope!

And Zoro, I don't mean to imply that you aren't welcome to have your views, be they either agnostic or athiest. I'm just curious how you came to have what appears to be one set of beliefs, but use a different label for them? It may be as Pygoscelis says that "agnostics often are athiests", but that still leaves me confused as to how that is so.
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zoro
05-15-2007, 06:52 PM
Grace Seeker:

Well, in truth, I really don’t like either label (or any labels!), especially labels that start with “not” [as in A (= not) theist and A (= not) gnostic]. If I’m forced to choose a label, I’d probably choose “scientific humanist”, but if I recall correctly, that option wasn’t available at this forum.

But more to your point, I would refer you to another active thread at this forum, http://www.islamicboard.com/comparat...ny-follow.html, where in my response (in post #159, p. 11) to IbnAbdulHakim, I briefly reviewed my estimate for the probability of the existence of a “creator god”. The “bottom line” is that the probability of such a god’s existence seems to be almost certainly less that 10^(-200), i.e., 0.0000…1, with a total of 199 zeros – and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer to 10^(-1,000). In contrast, a “true atheist” would set the probability of any such god’s existence to be exactly zero. I don’t know enough to be able to do that – so in that sense (of not knowing), I’m agnostic. Yet, I would claim to know enough so that I can comfortably state (as I did in that post):

I admit that I don’t know if any god exists, but add that the probability seems extremely small – far too small to have any influence, whatsoever, on how people choose to live their lives… I expect that, as the critical thinking skills of people improve, the “god idea” will disappear, as did the primitive idea that the Earth is a flat plate around which the Sun circled.
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Grace Seeker
05-15-2007, 06:59 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
Grace Seeker:

Well, in truth, I really don’t like either label (or any labels!), especially labels that start with “not” [as in A (= not) theist and A (= not) gnostic]. If I’m forced to choose a label, I’d probably choose “scientific humanist”, but if I recall correctly, that option wasn’t available at this forum.
I wonder if you could type in humanist on your own? I've seen "Jedi" listed, I don't know if that was one of the available prompts or if somebody added it.

But more to your point, I would refer you to another active thread at this forum, http://www.islamicboard.com/comparat...ny-follow.html, where in my response (in post #159, p. 11) to IbnAbdulHakim, I briefly reviewed my estimate for the probability of the existence of a “creator god”. The “bottom line” is that the probability of such a god’s existence seems to be almost certainly less that 10^(-200), i.e., 0.0000…1, with a total of 199 zeros – and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer to 10^(-1,000). In contrast, a “true atheist” would set the probability of any such god’s existence to be exactly zero. I don’t know enough to be able to do that – so in that sense (of not knowing), I’m agnostic.
Thank-you. So, you are not quite prepared to totally ditch the possibility of God, but think the probability of it being true so rare that one might as well function as if it were known to be not true. Interesting. That's probably how I would consider Islam and my Muslim friends here consider Christianity, yet we are generally able to discuss issues but openly and respectfully. I look forward to being able to do the same with you.
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جوري
05-15-2007, 07:22 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker

Thank-you. So, you are not quite prepared to totally ditch the possibility of God, but think the probability of it being true so rare that one might as well function as if it were known to be not true. Interesting. That's probably how I would consider Islam and my Muslim friends here consider Christianity, yet we are generally able to discuss issues but openly and respectfully. I look forward to being able to do the same with you.

Wonder what sort of scientific research was done to affirm those stats? but I digress... if anyone can "believe" the universe and all its glory was a result of a zero division, then I guess any stats in that pamphlet would be a bit more sensible by comparison... I worry about that state of mind though, of anyone who wishes to extinguish the rights of others to live and believe as they choose!
The other day I came up with a theory -- that just like diamonds go back to graphite under inert conditions, so too can humans --if "evolution energy" or the zero that gave us all life were truly the answer... there is no reason that we shouldn't implode back to the zero or back to more coarse/ rogue de-evolutionary beings.... There is nothing in the laws of science that say we should become more brilliant a diamond which undoubtedly formed from the same zero or the same energy that gave us all life can go back to its roots, why not us as well? G-D becoming an extinguished idea?-- I suppose it can happen as we all become again more primitive -- in fact, I think I should write a pamphlet about it... I'll call it the "implosion of zero"... or maybe the " De-sentience- of consciousness" -- yeah, maybe that is what I'll do... :muddlehea

peace!
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zoro
05-15-2007, 08:30 PM
Grace Seeker:

Actually, there’s another significant aspect of estimating probabilities, and I think that its appreciation would help communications. To that end, I think it would be useful to adopt some conventions used by scientists, philosophers, and logicians.

The first step in this convention is to distinguish “open systems” from “closed systems”. As examples, there are a huge number of “open systems”, including the human body, a cell, a school system, a legal system, and so on, out to an including “reality”. In fact, essentially all systems are “open systems”. In contrast, although there are also a huge number of “closed systems”, each is rather special, e.g., the game of baseball (fixed by a set of rules that aren’t to be violated), any game (from poker to chess), a “closed society” (which was hard even for Stalin to create), essentially all religions (in so far as their “rules” are fixed by their “holy books”, etc.), pure mathematics, and so on. Whether our universe, itself, is an open or closed system has not yet been established.

The second step in the convention is to acknowledge that it’s only for closed systems that the concepts of “true” and “false” have meaning, e.g., it’s “true” in poker that a flush always beats a straight, it’s “true” in “pure mathematics” that 1 + 1 = 2 , and so on, including, the “truth” that the prophet of Christianity was born by immaculate conception (in the closed system known as Christianity), that the angel Gabriel communicated with the prophet of Islam (in that closed system), and that the angel Moroni communicated with the prophet of Mormonism (in that closed system). In contrast, in open systems, it’s acknowledged that we can never know if any statement or event is exactly “true” or exactly “false” (e.g., that so-and-so is guilty of whatever, that momentum is always conserved, and so on); instead, the best we’re able to do is estimate the probability of the validity of any statement or event.

There is the additional convention that probabilities are “normalized” to range between zero and unity (or 0% and 100%), with the closer the probability is to zero, then the more likely the event or statement is “false”, and the closer the probability is to unity, then the more likely that it’s “true”.

Finally, my contention is that communications would be facilitated if “on-off”, “true-false” labels weren’t used to identify people, such as “theist” (meaning that the person has assumed that the statement “God exists” is “true”) and “atheist” (meaning that person has assumed that the statement “God exists” is “false”). In reality [an “open system”, since we can never be sure what’s “around the next bend”, either in space or time (or space-time)], the best any of us can do is estimate probabilities. Thus, I think it would be helpful if people stopped using “religious labels” and instead, provided their estimates of relevant probabilities. For example, I showed you my estimate of the probability of God’s existence. What’s your estimate for the probability that Jesus was born by immaculate conception? 50%? 99%? 99.99999%?

When such estimates are provided, then rational discussion can ensue, e.g., examining the bases for the estimates. And similarly for your estimate for the probability that God exists, that Gabriel communicated with the prophet of Islam, that Moroni communicated with the Mormon prophet, and so on. And of course it’s not that I want to go into details about such estimates at the present time (especially since I have so many other irons in the fire right now), but I wonder if you “catch my drift” that communications could be assisted if “dogmatic” statements about “truth” (and falsity) were abandoned.
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جوري
05-15-2007, 08:55 PM
Statistics can't be applied to things outside the sphere of science? the laws of science and physics can't apply to something like a "miracle" for instance-- anymore than we can, reason or come up with statistics for someone's cancer going into remission. or come up for statistics on how painful someone's headache, you can't attribute statistics and mathematics to hope, or pain or fear, satiation of appetite. You can measure the success of the outcome, and that can be an adequate predictor of how truthful the subjective view of the presenter is... someone presents with the "worst headache" should be taken seriously, but not because there is a headache-O-meter that determines yes this is killer on the scale of pain... but if they attest that they have suffered from the worst headache of their lives and end up dead an hour later, can you then believe a 99.9% positive indication that indeed it was the worst headache of their life and that the pt. was telling the truth, that s/he must have had Polycystic Kidney Disease and as a result died of saccular "berry" aneurysm. The measure was never of the headache, but as a direct result of the devastating outcome of the headache. Hopefully being a "humanitarian", should lead you to believe a person as they first present, instead of waiting for the devastating outcome to prove with stats that indeed this must have been a painful one! with this I hope you concede that some things are simply immeasurable sort of like a zero dividing would give the result of function undefined on the calculator
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Grace Seeker
05-15-2007, 08:58 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
I wonder if you “catch my drift” that communications could be assisted if “dogmatic” statements about “truth” (and falsity) were abandoned.

I entirely catch your drift.


Is the theory that everything that probabilities are “normalized” to range between zero and unity (or 0% and 100%) a closed or an open system? What is the probability that the answer to the question, "does God exist?", is either 0% or 100% and not some point inbetween?

It sounds like you are absolutely believe that we can be 100% certain about nothing. Except, of course, for your belief that we can't be certain about anything; you seem certain of that belief.
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Woodrow
05-15-2007, 09:34 PM
I dare say that this may become my favorite statement for future use:

there’s another significant aspect of estimating probabilities,
I tend to doubt that all things can be reduced to probability. the existance of God(swt) being one of them. The simple fact is God(swt) either exists or does not exist, that is an absolute certainty. There is no criteria for the measurement of the probability of which is correct. Probability is based upon measurement and/or observation. If I observe what is the work of God(swt), that is sufficient for me to say that there is 100% Certainty God(swt) exists. Just because somebody else does not observe what I see, does not invalidate my observation. Therefore I am 100% certain God(swt) exists and all probability is eliminated.
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zoro
05-15-2007, 10:25 PM
Ambro: ‘Statistics’ is different from ‘probability’, a ‘humanitarian’ is different from a “humanist”, and no “miracle” (in the religious sense) has been made available for scientific scrutiny.

Grace Seeker: It’s not a “theory” that probabilities lie in the range between zero and unity; it’s a definition found to be convenient. If you want to start your own “trend”, you can have your probabilities run between, say, zero and ten (you don’t even need to start at zero), but the rest of the people in the world would probably divide your values by their maximum possible value (which is the meaning of “normalization”), and if necessary even “re-zero” your values, yielding the familiar range of probabilities, ranging from zero to unity (or 0% to 100%).

Re. the possibility of certainty about anything: such is possible for closed systems (e.g., in the game of bridge, you can be certain that your ace of trump beats all other cards; you can even be certain that Superman is invulnerable to anything except kryptonite – cause it says so, right there in his “holy book”). But in reality, Popper’s principle is that the best we can do is find other principles (such as all the principles of science) that are falsifiable but not yet falsified. As for how certain one can be of Popper’s idea: it’s falsifiable, but not yet falsified; so, so far it stands quite firm – maybe a 99.99 % probability of being “true”. Similarly, for example, the probability that Maxwell’s equations of electrodynamics are “true” seems to be about 99.99999999999 % -- but if you can show that they’re false (and certainly they’re falsifiable), you can win yourself a Nobel Prize.

Woodrow: It does seem to be obvious that various statements (such as “God exists” or “all invisible flying elephants are pink”) must be either or true or false, but that’s not the point. The point is that, in reality, we must struggle to try to determine whether such statements are true or false, and although you apparently have been able to convince yourself that all invisible flying elephants are pink (or whatever), that’s your subjective judgment – which generally is of no value to the rest of us, especially those equally convinced by their own subjective judgments that all invisible flying elephants are purple.

Meanwhile, for knowledge (aka science) to advance, you need to provide evidence for you claim that all invisible flying elephants are pink, evidence that can be examined, tested, prodded, etc. by the rest of us. Of course, you could form a club of all people persecuted because of their persuasion that all flying elephants are pink – you could even initiate terrorist attacks to force your perspective to prevail – but don’t expect that the rest of us will be pleased with your perversions, especially those convinced that the revered elephants are purple.
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جوري
05-15-2007, 10:31 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
Ambro: ‘Statistics’ is different from ‘probability’, a ‘humanitarian’ is different from a “humanist”, and no “miracle” (in the religious sense) has been made available for scientific scrutiny.
.


bloody fantastic--thanks for that...
we Muslims consider the Quran to be Prophet Mohammed' PBUH biggest miracle-- we can't prove that Gabriel Descended on him, but we also can't explain where the Quran has come to him from-- if not through divine means. You are welcome to run it to the tests, provided you get some peer reviews for every chapter as well as some historians and linguists to work on it with you.

peace!
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snakelegs
05-15-2007, 10:33 PM
something i find incomprehensible:
why do some atheists, and even some agnostics find it necessary to tell believers that they are wrong? why the need to preach?
p.s. not directed at any one in particular.
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wilberhum
05-15-2007, 10:38 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
something i find incomprehensible:
why do some atheists, and even some agnostics find it necessary to tell believers that they are wrong? why the need to preach?
p.s. not directed at any one in particular.
I would guess for the same reason believers find it necessary to tell others they are wrong.
It is what some must do to prove they are right. :skeleton:
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جوري
05-15-2007, 10:41 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
something i find incomprehensible:
why do some atheists, and even some agnostics find it necessary to tell believers that they are wrong? why the need to preach?
p.s. not directed at any one in particular.
I couldn't agree more... I find some of them to be the worst group of zealots... which really goes to show you, you don't need to be a part of any religion to be a loon. It is the condition of some of man-kind unfortunately -- wilber logic is also non sequitur here... since I believe this is a Muslim forum and all the Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Zoroastrians etc.. are here by choice... at least I am hoping this didn't come here at gun point!

peace!
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snakelegs
05-15-2007, 10:49 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
I would guess for the same reason believers find it necessary to tell others they are wrong.
It is what some must do to prove they are right. :skeleton:
muslims do it because their religion tells them too.
christians do it for the same reason.
but atheists? and isn't there something especially absurd about a preaching agnostic???? ;D
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snakelegs
05-15-2007, 10:52 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
I couldn't agree more... I find some of them to be the worst group of zealots... which really goes to show you, you don't need to be a part of any religion to be a loon. It is the condition of some of man-kind unfortunately -- wilber logic is also non sequitur here... since I believe this is a Muslim forum and all the Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Zoroastrians etc.. are here by choice... at least I am hoping this didn't come here at gun point!
peace!
maybe there is a "preacher" gene? come to think of it, health food fans can be a bit preachy too!
but yes, i've noticed atheists can be really heavy handed.
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snakelegs
05-15-2007, 10:54 PM
i am preaching against preaching! :omg:
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جوري
05-15-2007, 10:55 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
maybe there is a "preacher" gene? come to think of it, health food fans can be a bit preachy too!
but yes, i've noticed atheists can be really heavy handed.

lol.. you are probably right-- as good a hypothesis as any I have heard as of late! These are the ones on the forum... I have met some odd balls in real life... almost bordering on schizotypal..

peace!
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zoro
05-15-2007, 11:41 PM
Snakelegs: If you missed 9/11, you might want to read some recent books to try to get “up to speed.” For your convenience, I’ll provide a couple of quotes, first from Sam Harris’ book The End of Faith. These quotes are available at www.samharris.org/ .

“It seems that, if our species ever eradicates itself through war, it will not be because it was written in the stars but because it was written in our books; it is what we do with words like “God” and “paradise” and “sin” in the present that will determine our future.” [p.12]

“Our technical advances in the art of war have finally rendered our religious differences – and hence our religious beliefs – antithetical to our survival. We can no longer ignore the fact that billions of our neighbors believe in the metaphysics of martyrdom, or in the literal truth of the book of Revelation, or any of the other fantastical notions that have lurked in the minds of the faithful for millennia – because our neighbors are now armed with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that these developments mark the terminal phase of our credulity. Words like “God” and “Allah” must go the way of “Apollo” and “Baal,” or they will unmake our world.” [p.13]

“Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.” [p.19]

“Our world is fast succumbing to the activities of men and women who would stake the future of our species on beliefs that should not survive an elementary school education. That so many of us are still dying on account of ancient myths is as bewildering as it is horrible, and our own attachment to these myths, whether moderate or extreme, has kept us silent in the face of developments that could ultimately destroy us. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it was at any time in the past.” [p.25]

“We live in an age in which most people believe that mere words – ‘Jesus,’ ‘Allah,’ ‘Ram’ – can mean the difference between eternal torment and bliss everlasting. Considering the stakes here, it is not surprising that many of us occasionally find it necessary to murder other human beings for using the wrong magic words, or the right ones for the wrong reasons. How can any person presume to know that this is the way the universe works? Because it says so in our holy books. How do we know that our holy books are free from error? Because the books themselves say so. Epistemological black holes of this sort are fast draining the light from our world.” [p.35]

“We live in a world of unimaginable surprises – from the fusion energy that lights the sun to the genetic and evolutionary consequences of this light’s dancing for eons upon the earth – and yet paradise conforms to our most superficial concerns with all the fidelity of a Caribbean cruise. This is wondrously strange. If one didn’t know better, one would think that man, in his fear of losing all that he loves, had created heaven, along with its gatekeeper God, in his own image.” [p.36]

From the Epilogue:

This world is simply ablaze with bad ideas. There are still places where people are put to death for imaginary crimes – like blasphemy – and where the totality of a child's education consists of his learning to recite from an ancient book of religious fiction. There are countries where women are denied almost every human liberty, except the liberty to breed. And yet, these same societies are quickly acquiring terrifying arsenals of advanced weaponry. If we cannot inspire the developing world, and the Muslim world in particular, to pursue ends that are compatible with a global civilization, then a dark future awaits all of us…

Religious violence is still with us because our religions are intrinsically hostile to one another. Where they appear otherwise, it is because secular knowledge and secular interests are restraining the most lethal improprieties of faith. It is time we acknowledged that no real foundation exists within the canons of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any of our other faiths for religious tolerance and religious diversity.

If religious war is ever to become unthinkable for us, in the way that slavery and cannibalism seem poised to, it will be a matter of our having dispensed with the dogma of faith. If our tribalism is ever to give way to an extended moral identity, our religious beliefs can no longer be sheltered from the tides of genuine inquiry and genuine criticism. It is time we realized that to presume knowledge where one has only pious hope is a species of evil. Wherever conviction grows in inverse proportion to its justification, we have lost the very basis of human cooperation. Where we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; where we have no reasons, we have lost both our connection to the world and to one another. People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in our halls of power.

Next, consider some of Richard Dawkins ideas.

If death is final, a rational agent can be expected to value his life highly and be reluctant to risk it. This makes the world a safer place, just as a plane is safer if its hijacker wants to survive. At the other extreme, if a significant number of people convince themselves, or are convinced by their priests, that a martyr’s death is equivalent to pressing the hyperspace button and zooming through a wormhole to another universe, it can make the world a very dangerous place. Especially if they also believe that that other universe is a paradisical escape from the tribulations of the real world. Top it off with sincerely believed, if ludicrous and degrading to women, sexual promises, and is it any wonder that naïve and frustrated young men are clamoring to be selected for suicide missions? (“Religion’s Misguide Missiles”, September 15, 2001)

My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most dangerous one, by which a “they” as opposed to a “we” can be identified at all. (The Devil’s Chaplain, 2004)

My last vestige of “hands off religion” respect disappeared in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th 2001, followed by the “National Day of Prayer,” when prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonations and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands, united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place.? (The Devil’s Chaplain, 2004)

Our Western politicians avoid mentioning the R word (religion), and instead characterize their battle as a war against 'terror', as though terror were a kind of spirit or force, with a will and a mind of its own. Or they characterize terrorists as motivated by pure 'evil'. But they are not motivated by evil. However misguided we may think them, they are motivated, like the Christian murderers of abortion doctors, by what they perceive to be righteousness, faithfully pursuing what their religion tells them. They are not psychotic; they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational. They perceive their acts to be good, not because of some warped personal idiosyncrasy, and not because they have been possessed by Satan, but because they have been brought up, from the cradle, to have total and unquestioning faith. (The God Delusion, 2006)
I would therefore suggest that atheists and agnostics are doing more “preaching” because we’ve decided we’d rather prefer to live, thank you very much, and in liberty. Recently Marc Perkel said it quite forcefully (at http://www.churchofreality.org/wisdom/ ):

Why Belief in God is Dangerous to Humanity

“So…” you may be asking, “So, I believe in the Bible. What’s the harm? Why do you care if I want to waste my life pursuing insanity?” Yes – that is a strong point generally. The right to be wrong is one of the core principles of the Church of Reality because we often make a lot of mistakes on the path to discovering the truth. But when a group of people threatens the well being of others, then it’s a different story.

In particular, Christians believe in the Apocalypse, or the end of the world. And because it’s important to them that they not be wrong, some of them are working towards making the world actually end. Others are just irresponsible and think that it doesn’t matter how bad they mess things up, because God will fix it and forgive them. That causes them to be irresponsible for their behavior and dangerous to society.

Faith in God is a dangerous thing. On September 11th 2001 a group of Muslims, acting on behalf of God, hijacked 4 planes and crashed them into buildings killing over 3000 people. The reason these people did it was because they believed they were acting on behalf of God and that God will reward them by giving them 70 virgins to have sex with for eternity. The fact is that these mass murderers are not in Heaven and that they are not having sex with 70 virgins. They are dead along with their victims.

Why did this happen? Because they had faith! And as a result of their faith the world is a more dangerous place. Now, Christians are seeing this as an opportunity to use their influence in the American administration to not only wage a war to kill a bunch of Muslims, but to take control of the world and impose God’s laws (or rather what they believe are God’s laws) on the rest of us by force…

Jesus is dead (if he ever existed at all) and he is not coming back. But people who believe he is coming are much more likely to destroy the Earth and use God as an excuse to make it happen. If religious fanatics get control of weapons of mess destruction, they will use them as part of their ritual fantasies – and the rest of us will suffer the consequences.

We live on this small ball of dust, and this ball is all we have for now. We have the technology to destroy all life on this planet (well, anyhow, all life of any complexity) and this is our home – and it’s home to all of us. So if some people believe in the Book of Revelations and use that as a basis or excuse to destroy the home for the whole human race, then they are encroaching on our rights.

Historically religion is the basis for most war. Christians slaughter Muslims, Muslims slaughter Jews, Jews slaughter Palestinians, Catholics slaughter Protestants. They all think that God gave them property. They think they are the “chosen people” and they all think they are acting on behalf of God. Because God is impotent and incapable of acting on his own behalf, these people have to do God’s work for him, which often includes slaughtering the nonbelievers. Nonbelievers like me.

So, because of religion, some moron might start a nuclear war or similar and wipe out the human race; then, this planet will become just another lifeless piece of dust in the universe. Or maybe the cockroaches will take over and become intelligent and form a better society, but I have to admit that I’m partial to humans – one of my prejudices, I suppose. I just think it’s a bad idea to annihilate the human race. As the founder of the Church of Reality, I’m going to go ahead and abuse my powers and declare that annihilating humanity is officially a sin…
What Perkel failed to mention, however, is that it’s the “little guy”, the “quiet believer”, who’s actually a major part of the problem: such people don’t fly airplanes into building or threaten to kill millions of us, but what they do is demonstrate to the terrorists that it’s “perfectly legitimate” to hold beliefs more strongly than the evidence warrants. Exposing that fallacy is what I would hope even you would start “preaching” – to everyone – for your own sake – and for the sake of the rest of humanity.
Reply

جوري
05-15-2007, 11:53 PM
look how many scientists and movements are being silenced about 911..

Today I thought you Schizotypal now I am sure of it with severe paranoia

911Truth.org ::::: The 9/11 Truth MovementAn archive of hundreds of "mainstream" news articles providing the basis for 9/11 skepticism: from "Afghanistan" and "Anthrax" to "White House" and "World ...
www.911truth.org/ - 48k - May 14, 2007 - Cached - Similar pages

research - www.911truth.org/index.php?topic=resources
about us - http://www.911truth.org/article.php?...61014120445472
Multimedia - www.911truth.org/911truthmedia/911truthmedia.htm
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More results from www.911truth.org »

Scholars For 9/11 TruthQuestions the events surrounding 9/11 by international scholars. Includes research studies, papers, and video.
st911.org/ - 3k - Cached - Similar pages
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جوري
05-15-2007, 11:56 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1770
Reply

zoro
05-16-2007, 12:00 AM
Ambrosa: Thank you for the free diagnosis -- it was worth every penny. As Dalton said, "one might as well try to use reason with a dog."
Reply

جوري
05-16-2007, 12:09 AM
Originally Posted by zoro
Ambrosa: Thank you for the free diagnosis -- it was worth every penny. As Dalton said, "one might as well try to use reason with a dog."
you are most welcome.. and to you I say it best with Shakespeare
"Thou art a fool, a coward, one all of luxury, an ass, a madman."
: Measure for Measure


peace!
Reply

ranma1/2
05-16-2007, 12:14 AM
Please stop insulting each other and please stay on topic.
Reply

snakelegs
05-16-2007, 12:31 AM
zoro,
you have raised some valid points. when you single out 9/11 tho, you are assuming that such things are part of islam and that there were no political factors.
i am very offended at the way 9/11 has been exploited.
i know that i am quite alarmed by the growing influence of christianity on my gov't and increasing religious intolerance in the world at large. it seems that all types of fanaticism are having a field day.
Religious violence is still with us because our religions are intrinsically hostile to one another. Where they appear otherwise, it is because secular knowledge and secular interests are restraining the most lethal improprieties of faith. It is time we acknowledged that no real foundation exists within the canons of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any of our other faiths for religious tolerance and religious diversity.
this is true.
religion has caused (and still does) division and conflict. personally, these are the reasons why i am anti-religion. (are you familiar with j. krishnamurti?)
still, i will not tell the individual muslim or christian that they are wrong - how could i? isn't that arrogant? i think it is a form of violence to try to make people give up their beliefs. (which is why i hate missionaries).
somehow i find it possible to condemn the rivers of blood religion has caused and yet still be able to respect the individual who believes. maybe that is schittzy. :-[
the problem is more the way people use their religions, whether it's to do suicide bombings or to blow up abortion clinics. all religions have good teachings and if people practiced them, it would be a better world.
but there is indeed a special problem with religions that claim a monopoly on "the truth". ultimately, they cannot allow the other to exist.
however, when i read what some muslims and christians say, i cannot help but wonder if it is only their religious beliefs that keep them from going out and committing all sorts of horrible crimes? (i've been asked all my life what keeps me, as an agnostic, from killing people). if this is so, we must pray that they keep their religions! :D
but i do understand better where you're coming from.
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 02:19 AM
Originally Posted by zoro
Ambro: ‘Statistics’ is different from ‘probability’, a ‘humanitarian’ is different from a “humanist”, and no “miracle” (in the religious sense) has been made available for scientific scrutiny.

Grace Seeker: It’s not a “theory” that probabilities lie in the range between zero and unity; it’s a definition found to be convenient. If you want to start your own “trend”, you can have your probabilities run between, say, zero and ten (you don’t even need to start at zero), but the rest of the people in the world would probably divide your values by their maximum possible value (which is the meaning of “normalization”), and if necessary even “re-zero” your values, yielding the familiar range of probabilities, ranging from zero to unity (or 0% to 100%).

Re. the possibility of certainty about anything: such is possible for closed systems (e.g., in the game of bridge, you can be certain that your ace of trump beats all other cards; you can even be certain that Superman is invulnerable to anything except kryptonite – cause it says so, right there in his “holy book”). But in reality, Popper’s principle is that the best we can do is find other principles (such as all the principles of science) that are falsifiable but not yet falsified. As for how certain one can be of Popper’s idea: it’s falsifiable, but not yet falsified; so, so far it stands quite firm – maybe a 99.99 % probability of being “true”. Similarly, for example, the probability that Maxwell’s equations of electrodynamics are “true” seems to be about 99.99999999999 % -- but if you can show that they’re false (and certainly they’re falsifiable), you can win yourself a Nobel Prize.

Woodrow: It does seem to be obvious that various statements (such as “God exists” or “all invisible flying elephants are pink”) must be either or true or false, but that’s not the point. The point is that, in reality, we must struggle to try to determine whether such statements are true or false, and although you apparently have been able to convince yourself that all invisible flying elephants are pink (or whatever), that’s your subjective judgment – which generally is of no value to the rest of us, especially those equally convinced by their own subjective judgments that all invisible flying elephants are purple.

Meanwhile, for knowledge (aka science) to advance, you need to provide evidence for you claim that all invisible flying elephants are pink, evidence that can be examined, tested, prodded, etc. by the rest of us. Of course, you could form a club of all people persecuted because of their persuasion that all flying elephants are pink – you could even initiate terrorist attacks to force your perspective to prevail – but don’t expect that the rest of us will be pleased with your perversions, especially those convinced that the revered elephants are purple.

It just so happens, that the other day I was outside observing the usual parade of pink elephants that pass by my house daily. Now, each of these was certainly visible. When along came a space between them. Now the elephant in front of the space had it's tail being held up in the air as if carried by perhaps another elephant behind it, and the elephant behind the space had its trunk stretched out as if perhaps holding something in front of it. But of course what was inbetween these pink elephants was entirely invisible, at least to me. So, I ran to catch up with the line of elephants, though they move along at a pretty good clip I don't mind telling you, and asked Henry, the last pink elephant bringing up the rear of the parade, if he could tell me about why there was a space in their parade today. He told me -- I don't know if you realize it or not, but all pink elephants are also quite fluent in at least two and sometimes three or four human languages -- he told me that I should ask Harvey himself. Well, I had no idea who Harvey was. I had met Henry, Harry, Henrietta, Hortence, Harold, and Horton all before, but I had never met Harvey. So, I called out for Harvey, and the entire line of elephants came to a stop. I heard a voice call out to me, "Up here." And I ran up the line to were Henrietta was, but could see no Harvey.

I turned to Henrietta, she was the one who had been following the empty space in the parade of all the pink elephants, and asked her if she knew Harvey. She did, and she warned me that if I wasn't careful I was about to meet him a little more cloesly than I might like. And as she said that I suddenly ran smack into something, though I couldn't see anything there in front of her.

Then I heard the voice again. "Hey, watch out!"
"Who said that?" I asked, still feeling something warm and slightly rough to the touch in front of me, though seeing absolutely nothing there.
"It's me, Harvey. You wanted to talk?"
"Uh- N-n-no," I stammered, still not sure what to make of a voice coming from the blank space before me. "I was just asking Henry about the blank space in the parade and he told me to ask someone named Harvey."
"Well, I'm Harvey. How can I help you?"
"Umm," I gulped. "Well, I guess I was just wondering why there was this blank space in the pink elephant parade today?"
"There's no space. I'm tired of taking up the rear day after day, so Henry said he would switch places with me."
"Oh," I replied. And then getting a little more accustomed to talking to an invisible elephant, I challenged him, "But I thought this was a pink elephant parade?"
Harvey sounded indignant. "And just what color do I look like to you? Blue?"
"No, quite honestly you don't look like any color, you look invisible."
"Well," Harvey retorted, "That's your problem. As you appear to well know this is a pink elephant parade and only pink elephants are allowed to participate in it. There is no law that says only visible pink elephants permitted."
"I see," I said, trying not to appear as dumbfounded as I felt at the moment. "Tell me," I asked, "are all invisible elephants pink?"
There was no response.
"Harvey, I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude. But see, I've never meant an invisible elephant or anything before, that is unless you count that rabbit several years ago. Come to think of it, his name was Harvey, too. Are all invisible animals, named Harvey?" I querried.
Again there was no response.
Finally Henrietta spoke up.
"I'm sorry. Harvey's gone. He's been rather moody lately, and I guess he decided he didn't want to be in the parade today. So, he just flew off."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I mean, he dropped Harold's tail and flew back home. Or at least I think that's where he probably went, as you noticed he didn't say a world."
"I think I have to sit down. You mean that elephants can not only be invisible, but they can fly too?"
"Don't be silly," Harold chimed in. "Not all elephants can fly, only invisible elephants can fly."
"But, that would be incredible if only I could see a flying elephant," I said.
Henrietta laughed, "That would be rather ridiculous wouldn't it? How could you see us once we turned invisible?"
Henry came up from behind me, and grabbed me with his trunk put me on his back between his shoulders.
Speaking to Henrietta, Henry said, "Well, maybe he can't see invisible flying elephants, but we can give him the next best thing." And with that I suddenly found myself a good 15-20 feet in the air witih nothing visible beneath me.
I started to get scared, and quickly I was back on Henry's back on the ground.
"What was that?!" I exclaimed both terrified and excited all at the same time.
"Oh, I just thought that since we can't show you a flying elephant, maybe you would like to ride one?" answered Henry.
"You-you-you can fly?" I gasped.
"Sure," Henry said, "All pink elephants can fly, but we have to turn invisible first."
"That's incredible! How come I've never seen that act in the circus?"
"Those are just your common grey elephant," Harold interrupted. "They're nice enough, but rather simple beasts if you ask me."
Hortance trumpted in response to what Harold had said.
Harold turned to her, "Now Hortance, you now I didn't mean anything disrespectful by that." Then turning to me told me, "Her brother flew off to be with a grey elephant last year, and she hasn't heard from him since."
Well, about this time Harry rumbled back to the middle of the herd and announced, "Horton says he's heard another Who, so we had better be on our way. You all wasted enough time talking to this human I'm afraid we had better fly."
And with that, they all turned invisible right before my eyes and were gone.


So, I don't know if all invisible invisible flying elephants are pink, but if Henry is to be believed, it seems the probability is high. I heard it straight from the horse's (or in this case, invisible flying pink elephant's) mouth.
Reply

zoro
05-16-2007, 09:43 AM
Grace Seeker: That was beautiful!!!

But then, it reveals something that can be quite dangerous.

To illustrate, let me quote from the end of Chapter Ix3 in my book (http://zenofzero.net/docs/Ix03GenesisandFloodMyths.pdf , in which the “Dear” is, explicitly, my teenage granddaughter but, implicitly, any teenager who invests the time to read the book). The story at the end of this quotation is “true” – and reveals the danger.

But that’s enough for me, at least for this chapter – except for a few comments and suggestions.

My first comments deal with my amazements that there are so many flood myths and how much work Isaak has done [reference: www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-mths.html ], putting them all together – more than five time more than I’ve shown you! Also, I’m amazed, once again, at the wonderful internet, which makes all his work available to so many people so easily!

Meanwhile, my first suggestion concerns a possible response to all the crazy “creationists” who want the Bible’s Genesis taught in our schools as an “alternative” to evolution. Rather than argue with them, maybe scientists should agree – provided, of course, that “equal time” is given to all creation myths, not just those of the a bunch of silly old Hebrew sheepherders. Then, when the school kids learn about all myths (I don’t know how many creation myths there are in total, but surely many hundreds of them), let the kids decide which myth they prefer! As for me, I think I’d choose Coyote and the Beaver as the best story – and then stick with the hypothesis of evolution as containing the only science.

My second suggestion is this. As part of any course for kids to learn about creation myths, an assignment should be for the kids to create their own! That is, Dear, whereas all myths are just made up – with none “better” than another (for they’re all just stories), except in so far as how fanciful they are and how colorful are the images they might induce – then I suggest that kids would learn much about all myths and all religions if they were challenged to create their own creation myths – and maybe even their own religions!

For fun, Dear, maybe you’d like to create a story to “explain” creation! If you’re so inclined, maybe you could have fun by transferring your story into the form of an “epic poem” – in a form that surely the first myths were remembered during the many generations before they were written. And if you do try making up some myths, I trust that you’ll see the key to a good myth: use your mythical creation (e.g., your god) to “explain” facts that your audience knows (the earth and sun and stars exist, much life appears to start in various types of shells, the Columbia Gorge is huge, snakes slide on their bellies, childbirth is painful for women, etc.), because your audience may then be duped into making the leap in illogic from agreeing with you (about what they know) to agreeing with you about what you concocted!

Actually, though, there’s something here about which I should caution you. To introduce it, let me tell you what happened. More than 30 years ago, when I was coaching my daughter’s (your aunt’s) little-league baseball team (and she was the first female little-leaguer in our town!), apparently one of the kids on her team asked me something about gravity. I’m sorry, but I don’t remember the details – in fact, I had forgotten about the whole incident, except years later, when my daughter reminded me about the consequences, which continued for years.

Anyway, I’ve been known, on rare occasions, to “kid around” (who, me?!), and I know that I’ve always tried to impress on kids how much we have yet to learn about nature: What really is an electron? What if anything is inside it? What really is light? How can light be formed by annihilation of electrons by positrons? And so on, including what, really, is gravity? Why do masses attract one another (according to Newton) or in terms of Einstein’s general relativity, why does space-time become warped by the presence of mass? What is mass? How does mass turn into light?

In any event, when a kid asked me about gravity, I’m sure that I would have tried to stimulate the kids to think about such questions. But apparently I ended my response with some “kidding”, apparently similar to: “Personally, I think that the center of the Earth is made out of caramel pudding, and the real reason why everything falls toward the center of the Earth is because everybody and everything really likes caramel pudding, so everything tries to get to it.”

My message to you, Dear, is: be careful with any myths created by you (or, for that matter, created by anyone). Recently, my daughter informed me that, for years and no matter how much she protested, some of the kids “believed” what I said about the Earth being made out of caramel pudding! So, Dear, be careful about any claim you may make about any myths you make up or repeat! Don’t say something similar to “everything I have told you is true” – not only because, as with all myths and all stories, there’s no way that anyone can ever “prove” that they’re false, but also because, believe it or not, someone might believe you!
Reply

zoro
05-16-2007, 11:34 AM
snakelegs:

You make many good points – yet, let me provide some notes on some of your comments.

when you single out 9/11 tho, you are assuming that such things are part of islam and that there were no political factors
Yes, after having read the Qur’an, I infer a connection, but no, I’m not assuming an absence of political factors.

i am very offended at the way 9/11 has been exploited
As am I – and maybe “offended” insufficiently reflects my concern.

it seems that all types of fanaticism are having a field day
I agree.

are you familiar with j. krishnamurti?
He was an amazing fellow. For me, his message was Zen (as in www.zenofzero.net !). As Shunryu Suzuki said: “The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your [own] two feet.”

still, i will not tell the individual muslim or christian that they are wrong - how could i? isn't that arrogant?
In my view, that’s the key to ending this “field day” of “fanaticism”. I would urge you to give your response more thought.

I agree that it’s unwise to tell anyone that specific points about some dogma are wrong: though that may be your conclusion, saying so almost certainly won’t lead to your desired outcome (and will probably generate hostility). Instead, effort should be expended toward revealing the fundamental error in holding any “belief” more strongly than is warranted by relevant evidence. And I don’t think it’s “arrogant” to promote that concept, any more so than it’s “arrogant” to promote “common sense”.

i think it is a form of violence to try to make people give up their beliefs. (which is why i hate missionaries)
I have a similar feeling about missionaries, and I agree that my suggestion (and the suggestion of many others) is a form of “violence”. But then, if you find a kid playing with matches near a can of gasoline, it’s also “violence” to try to stop her – but simultaneously, almost certainly, it would be done out of kindness.

Thus, as is so common in life, one must choose between “means” and “ends” – and my experience has been that the best procedure is to assess the relative value of the “ends” versus the “means”, which are ends in themselves. In particular, I’m convinced that an “honorable” means to achieve the “desirable” end (of having more people use common sense, viz., evaluate the evidence supporting their beliefs) is to try to alert them to their fundamental error (viz., their falling into the “proof by pleasure” logical fallacy).

And of course (and in general) I couldn’t care less what other people believe – so long as their beliefs don’t influence me (e.g., “kill the unbelievers”). But then there’s an insidious connection between all religious beliefs: all such believers consider it acceptable – even admirable! – to adopt ideas (and hold them strongly) in the absence of appropriate evidence (to just have “faith”). Such has been demonstrated to be very bad news for the rest of us.

To stimulate you to think about such matters, let me put it this way. Four of the most famous supporters of the terrorists are OBL, the Pope, Blair, and Bush. That is, by displaying their own commitment to accepting ideas in the absence of evidence, the Pope, Blair, and Bush provide enormous support to OBL’s similar stupidity.

when i read what some muslims and christians say, i cannot help but wonder if it is only their religious beliefs that keep them from going out and committing all sorts of horrible crimes?… if this is so, we must pray that they keep their religions!
Yes, I understand – but then, I doubt (and I expect that you doubt) that it’s so. I love the story about dolphins (the truth of which I’ve had trouble validating): a dolphin will swim beneath its wounded cousin, periodically lifting it to the surface, so that it can breathe. I expect that the vast majority of people are instinctively as kind as dolphins – since, as similar social animals, such kindness gave an advantage to the survival of the species. I therefore expect that without their religions, most people would behave at least as well as dolphins. As Stephen Weinberg (winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics) said:

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 02:16 PM
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
There is some truth in that statement. Of course, it depends on your definition of good and evil, and also of religion. I submit the following slight modification to your quote which I think would still be true.


"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes poltics."


Of course, though both statements seem true on their own. They actually falsify each other. If either religion or politics can get good people to do evil things, then it isn't the religion or the politics that bring the evil out, it is something else that they share. For the moment I'm going to suggest that the true source of the evil is untempered enthusiasm -- "I know the answer to your problem, and I'm going to force it on you." My guess is that you'll even find this in science. It is when we apply our beliefs (be they religious, political, or other) to other people's lives in forceful ways, not respecting them as persons able to think for themselves and apply whatever truth we believe we have found, that we become evil. It is sort of like we think of ourselves as God. So, I guess you are right, it all does get back to religion. The religion of self as arbitrator of the world.
Reply

جوري
05-16-2007, 02:20 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
"With or without religion, yo would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes poltics."

That is a brilliant statement.. and evidenced by the fact that more atrocities were committed under Atheist leaders than all the so-called religious wars of the world combined...
How soon do they forget such things?

peace to you Gene :)
Reply

zoro
05-16-2007, 03:19 PM
Grace Seeker:

For the moment I'm going to suggest that the true source of the evil is untempered enthusiasm -- "I know the answer to your problem, and I'm going to force it on you." My guess is that you'll even find this in science. It is when we apply our beliefs (be they religious, political, or other) to other people's lives in forceful ways, not respecting them as persons able to think for themselves and apply whatever truth we believe we have found, that we become evil. It is sort of like we think of ourselves as God. So, I guess you are right, it all does get back to religion. The religion of self as arbitrator of the world.
I agree that “untempered enthusiasm” can be dangerous. It brings to mind the wisdom of the Seven Sages (of Ancient Greece): “Nothing too much.” And actually, similar is found in Homer’s Odyssey (Book or Chapter XV): “Moderation is best in all things.” I’m also very much opposed to forcing anything on anybody, especially children. But I should point out that, in my experience, there's relatively little of such “untempered enthusiasm” in science (at least, in the physical sciences). In science, we have a very forceful “arbitrator of the world”, namely, Mother Nature herself!

There’s value, too, in considering other wisdom from Ancient Greece. Socrates said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” – although I wish he had said (and maybe he did, but I can’t read Greek): “There is only one good, willingness (even ‘eagerness’) to learn, and one evil, refusal.” In addition, Socrates’ contemporary Hippocrates said: “There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter, ignorance.” I think that the two concepts could be profitably combined (and with the concept of basic human rights) into something similar to:

Normally, very little good and sometimes great evil result from actions based on opinions derived from ignorant speculations; in contrast, rarely undesirable consequences and more likely substantial good results from actions based on opinions derived from applying the scientific method (guess, test, and reassess) – provided that the basic rights of all humans are vigorously protected.
Reply

zoro
05-16-2007, 03:21 PM
Ambro:

evidenced by the fact that more atrocities were committed under Atheist leaders than all the so-called religious wars of the world combined...
You really should pay more attention to relevant data and their analyses. If you had, you’d be aware that the most compelling correlation is that they all ate carrots. Dawkins deftly pointed out that both Stalin and Hitler had mustaches, and even I had proposed the idea that the true reason was that all those megalomaniacs had left legs, but as far as I know, the carrot hypothesis is currently most secure.
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 03:36 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
Ambro:



You really should pay more attention to relevant data and their analyses. If you had, you’d be aware that the most compelling correlation is that they all ate carrots. Dawkins deftly pointed out that both Stalin and Hitler had mustaches, and even I had proposed the idea that the true reason was that all those megalomaniacs had left legs, but as far as I know, the carrot hypothesis is currently most secure.
Ah, but being one who looks not just to science, but to many other fields of study -- for I would not be ignorant of them, but desire to be learned in more than one field -- I find in religion a different answer. I suggest that Stalin, Hitler, and all the rest that you might care to list with them, even some of the "good" guys because they also had their "bad" days, had one other thing in common. After all I don't believe that Ghengis Khan is believed to have eaten carrots, Mussolini did not have a moustache, and Henry VIII didn't have use of his left leg (and Captain Hook his hand:D ). But each of them, from the worst to the (supposed) best is reported to have been born with a condition called sin. Yes, I propose that sin is the root of the problem. If only we could find a way to eliminate sin from the human condition then I think we could eliminate war, fatricide, and a whole host of other evils. We might even begin to take care of one another.

Now, how would we falsify that statement? If we can convert everyone and see them sanctified and we still experienced sin and the problems you have mentioned, that would falsify it. Will you take up the experiment?
Reply

Pygoscelis
05-16-2007, 04:11 PM
Born with sin?

That we are all deserving of punishemnt for the wrong done by our ancestors is one of the more repugnant concepts that religion has cooked up. Ranks up there with the concept that one person can be killed and his death pays for the wrong done by others.
Reply

جوري
05-16-2007, 04:29 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
Ambro:



You really should pay more attention to relevant data and their analyses. If you had, you’d be aware that the most compelling correlation is that they all ate carrots. Dawkins deftly pointed out that both Stalin and Hitler had mustaches, and even I had proposed the idea that the true reason was that all those megalomaniacs had left legs, but as far as I know, the carrot hypothesis is currently most secure.
Stop confabulating.. I don't find it amusing!
Dawkins, is not my G-D, maybe he is yours? and you are free to follow him into the abyss for all I care..... I can simply look at history-- and it tells a different story from yours and your dawking!

here is some light reading-- enjoy!
http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/pot.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enver_Hoxha
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao_Zedong


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin
http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/kim-il-sung.html
http://www.nndb.com/people/028/000028941/

Yes funny guy (Atheism not carrots!) is what they all had in common -- one of them actually established the world's first Atheist state... Maybe you can brain wash a different population with your humbug? Anyone with minimum knowledge of history will tally up the count of the dead under Atheists and can clearly see who wins at being evil by a thousand miles...

Funny you should mention noble prize winners.. I find it so ironic that a man who invented dynamite would want to reinstate grants for those who succeeded him.... it is soothing to know some of history's greats declined their awards-- Jean-Paul Sartre refused to accept his award and in 1958, and In 1925 George Bernard Shaw accepted the award but declined the monetary compensation. both citing objective reasons, and to the discerning reader, we know what those are!

peace!
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 04:29 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Born with sin?

That we are all deserving of punishemnt for the wrong done by our ancestors is one of the more repugnant concepts that religion has cooked up. Ranks up there with the concept that one person can be killed and his death pays for the wrong done by others.

In the spirit of the present discussion, how will you arrange a test to falsify that statement?
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
Funny you should mention noble prize winners.. I find it so ironic that a man who invented dynamite would want to reinstate grants for those who succeeded him.... it is soothing to know some of history's greats declined their awards-- Jean-Paul Sartre refused to accept his award and in 1958, and In 1925 George Bernard Shaw accepted the award but declined the monetary compensation. both citing objective reasons, and to the discerning reader, we know what those are!

peace!
Pardon me for going off topic (or rather more off than we already are):

According to the Austrian countess Bertha von Suttner, Alfred Nobel, as early as their first meeting in Paris in 1876, had expressed his wish to produce material or a machine which would have such a devastating effect that war from then on, would be impossible. The point about deterrence later appeared among Nobel's ideas. In 1891, he commented on his dynamite factories by saying to the countess: "Perhaps my factories will put an end to war sooner than your congresses: on the day that two army corps can mutually annihilate each other in a second, all civilised nations will surely recoil with horror and disband their troops."
No person is all one thing or another. Most of us are a mix. Nobel never imagined that his great invention of dynamite might be used for war when he invented it. But he should have, his father was an inventor of weapons of war, and later in his life Nobel developed many materials of war at the same time that he was writing the idea of a special peace prize into his will.

Evidently, Alfred Nobel did not consider his involvement in the war materials industry and in the work for world peace as incompatible elements. Rather he gave expression to the prevalent 19th century understanding which maintained, that the scientist was not responsible for how his findings were used. Each scholarly discovery is neutral in itself, but can be used both for good and bad objectives. And when it was applied to weapons, Nobel held firm to his old opinion that this had a deterrent effect above all. I'm not sure that I can concur with Nobel's philospohy, but I can't judge him by my standards for he lived at another time and in another culture who thoughts and ways of thinking on these matters are so far different from mine as to not make them comparable.
Reply

جوري
05-16-2007, 05:03 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
Pardon me for going off topic (or rather more off than we already are):



No person is all one thing or another. Most of us are a mix. Nobel never imagined that his great invention of dynamite might be used for war when he invented it. But he should have, his father was an inventor of weapons of war, and later in his life Nobel developed many materials of war at the same time that he was writing the idea of a special peace prize into his will.

Evidently, Alfred Nobel did not consider his involvement in the war materials industry and in the work for world peace as incompatible elements. Rather he gave expression to the prevalent 19th century understanding which maintained, that the scientist was not responsible for how his findings were used. Each scholarly discovery is neutral in itself, but can be used both for good and bad objectives. And when it was applied to weapons, Nobel held firm to his old opinion that this had a deterrent effect above all. I'm not sure that I can concur with Nobel's philospohy, but I can't judge him by my standards for he lived at another time and in another culture who thoughts and ways of thinking on these matters are so far different from mine as to not make them comparable.
Thank you for offering that piece(peace) and I respect and appreciated it. I had different motives in my posting the above, not so much to exalt or deny achievements of anyone in particular, but to put an end to the seemingly sweeping generalizations that the so-called illuminati attributes to religion, further citing various figures of history who perhaps at a very zenith of their career established the very tools to augment the sins of man-kind.

I can understand and respect people's opinions in not wanting to adhere to one religion or another. But to blindly and condemningly attribute all the ills of man-kind to religion is not only faulty but under handed and despicable.

Anyone with a remote understanding of history can tell you, such is the nature of mankind. It doesn't matter whether you pin it on religion or lack thereof.. man kind is contentious and in constant state of toil and trouble (if anything religion is supposed to come establish a system to end all of that, and establish justice!-- if implemented appropriately)
The hatred of mankind to his brother could be observed as early as able and Cain. As well as the love of man to his brother-- Enough with the scapegoats to pin your ills on (not you Gene) a general statement-- instead of finding positive solutions to deal with the political, and socioeconomic impacts that are plaguing the world-- some rather cavort and advertise their science fiction and myopic views of the world around them.

peace!
Reply

Pygoscelis
05-16-2007, 05:28 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
In the spirit of the present discussion, how will you arrange a test to falsify that statement?
Ok, since you asked...

That we are all deserving of punishemnt for the wrong done by our ancestors is one of the more repugnant concepts that religion has cooked up.

To test this statement, poll the world population on the following question. If Jimmy's father kills his mother, is it right to punish Jimmy for this, with eternal torture? I predict you will get a resounding and nearly universal "NO".

Ranks up there with the concept that one person can be killed and his death pays for the wrong done by others.

To test this one, poll the following question to the world population: If Jimmy's father then kills Jimmy, does that excuse Jimmy's father for killing his mother? Again, I expect you'll get a resounding "NO".
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 05:50 PM
Originally Posted by PurestAmbrosia
Thank you for offering that piece(peace) and I respect and appreciated it. I had different motives in my posting the above, not so much to exalt or deny achievements of anyone in particular, but to put an end to the seemingly sweeping generalizations that the so-called illuminati attributes to religion, further citing various figures of history who perhaps at a very zenith of their career established the very tools to augment the sins of man-kind.

I can understand and respect people's opinions in not wanting to adhere to one religion or another. But to blindly and condemningly attribute all the ills of man-kind to religion is not only faulty but under handed and despicable.

Anyone with a remote understanding of history can tell you, such is the nature of mankind. It doesn't matter whether you pin it on religion or lack thereof.. man kind is contentious and in constant state of toil and trouble (if anything religion is supposed to come establish a system to end all of that, and establish justice!-- if implemented appropriately)
The hatred of mankind to his brother could be observed as early as able and Cain. As well as the love of man to his brother-- Enough with the scapegoats to pin your ills on (not you Gene) a general statement-- instead of finding positive solutions to deal with the political, and socioeconomic impacts that are plaguing the world-- some rather cavort and advertise their science fiction and myopic views of the world around them.

peace!

Another approach to the same conclusion would be to examine our nearest genetic relatives, the chimpanzee. This creature is known to kill not just for food, but for sport and for dominance.

article from Nature

One who knows the behavior of chimps intimately is Jane Goodall. When the famed scientist began her studies with African chimps forty years ago, most of her peers were agnostic or claimed to be atheists. The Big Bang theory left little room for inspired spiritual exploration. But the strong spiritual foundation created by Goodall's grandmother allowed her to confidently refute popular scientific beliefs and choose a scientific road including faith, hope and God.

"... We were expected to say our prayers at night, kneeling on the floor at the side of the bed. From the beginning we were taught the importance of human values such as courage, honesty, compassion, and tolerance."
The years Goodall spent in the wild, along with exploring the world's greatest cathedrals, further strengthened her faith, proving science and spirituality could successfully co-exist. Goodall writes that she questioned, even denied God's existance during tough life trials, but always regained her spiritual footing.

Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey, by Jane Goodall

Talking about a special moment in her life Goodall writes:
I have to admit anti-chance. And so I must believe in a guiding power in the universe--in other words, I must believe in God.

And consider what it means if there is no God. If the aggression of chimps is not something to which we assign moral value of good and evil, but simply survival behavior, then what of our own? How do we call it anything different than what we see in the rest of nature? As Goodall reflects:
Why is the human species so destructive? So selfish and greedy, and sometimes truly evil? At such times I feel there can be no underlying meaning to the emergence of life on earth. And if there is no meaning, doesn't this suggest, as a bitter New York skinhead once put it, that the human species is simply an "evolutionary good"?
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 05:52 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Ok, since you asked...

That we are all deserving of punishemnt for the wrong done by our ancestors is one of the more repugnant concepts that religion has cooked up.

To test this statement, poll the world population on the following question. If Jimmy's father kills his mother, is it right to punish Jimmy for this, with eternal torture? I predict you will get a resounding and nearly universal "NO".

Ranks up there with the concept that one person can be killed and his death pays for the wrong done by others.

To test this one, poll the following question to the world population: If Jimmy's father then kills Jimmy, does that excuse Jimmy's father for killing his mother? Again, I expect you'll get a resounding "NO".

These are both opinion polls, that's all. If they all agreed that such actions were appropriate it would not prove anything either.
Reply

zoro
05-16-2007, 06:22 PM
Grace Seeker:

Yes, I propose that sin is the root of the problem. If only we could find a way to eliminate sin from the human condition then I think we could eliminate war, fatricide, and a whole host of other evils. We might even begin to take care of one another.

Now, how would we falsify that statement? If we can convert everyone and see them sanctified and we still experienced sin and the problems you have mentioned, that would falsify it. Will you take up the experiment?
Well, Popper would certainly object to your proposed application of his principle. I’ll quote from you know what (although the chapter is not yet posted):

Karl Popper (of the “Popper Principle” fame) was among those who expressed his concern. In general, the essence of Popper’s ideas about the philosophy of science (or knowledge or epistemology) is that, similar to life, science evolves. In science, the “natural selection process” is via criticism, especially critical experiments demonstrating that predictions of specific hypotheses are invalid. Consistently, Popper was highly critical of large-scale social experiments (such as the experiments he witnessed called Nazism and Communism), not only because criticisms of the experiments within the effected societies were suppressed (and brutally so) but also because as “scientific experiments” they were fatally flawed, with too many uncontrolled and uncontrollable variables.
But further, before you start your experiment, even I will require that you define ‘sin’. I’ll quote again (from again you know what – and this chapter is already posted, http://zenofzero.net/docs/P05_Some_S...l_Policies.pdf ):

If humanists fail to act morally (i.e., fail to use their brains as best they can), then borrowing the clerics’ word, it could be said that such humanists “sinned” – but we prefer to say we “made a mistake”! And when we make mistakes, then Mother Nature (with her principle of causality) is always there to dole out suitable “justice” or “punishment”; that is, generally one pays for one’s mistakes; generally one gets pretty much what one deserves.

An illustration that I encountered a few minutes ago is in the manual for my car. It states: “To avoid injury [when tightening a particular bolt], check to see what your hand would hit if the wrench slips.” How true! It’s exactly the right way to avoid smashing your knuckles! Translated into the language that I’ve been using, it states: “To avoid injury, use your brain as best you can!” It’s not a “sin” not to – but it sure can be a mistake!

Similarly with consequences (“punishment”) for mistakes (“sins”) in interpersonal relations, such as the mistake of not being kind to other humans (with keenness) or not recognizing that others have equal rights to pursue their own goals. As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, one of the best, down-to-earth summary statement of this that I recently heard was in some movie (title forgotten) in which the teenage heroine says: “What goes around comes around.” Buddhists call it ‘karma’. In the Bible (both at Job 4, 9 and at Galatians 6, 7) there is the idea: “You reap what you sow.” Some other good illustrative statements of the same idea are: 1) “Smile; it’s contagious”, 2) the great highway sign that seems to be everywhere in Texas “Drive Friendly”, and 3) the great expression “If you receive a favor, pass it on.” That is, Dear, usually it’s much preferable to live among humans who are generally kind to one another (with keenness) rather than among those who aren’t – because “what goes around (generally) comes around”.

Now, Dear, I hope that the above “humanist’s view” or “humanist’s scheme” of morality and justice seem totally obvious (and sensible!) to you. And if it doesn’t, then I hope very much that you (as a humanist!) will use your brain as best you can (which should include evaluating all available data) to improve on the scheme.

But then, Dear, for startling contrast – startling in its horridness – consider some of the stupid ideas promoted by the clerics of our culture. If you do consider them (as I’ll be encouraging you to do in Qx), then I expect you’ll agree that the Bible, the Qur’an, and the Book of Mormon promote an astounding range of stupidities (as judged by any humanist), which if transformed into actions, would be an astounding range of immoralities (as judged by any humanist).

For example, an overview of the scheme used by Christian, Islam, and Mormon clerics is the following. First, they promote the stupidity that the prime goal of humans (the “sheep” in their “flocks”) is to obey. Next, switching the analogy from sheep to donkeys, the clerics display both the carrot and the stick with which they proposed to move their donkey followers: if the people do what the clerics demand (if the people are “sinless”), then they offer the people “eternal bliss in a heavenly after-life”. On the other hand, if the people don’t do what the clerics demand (if the people “sin”), then the clerics threaten their followers with the stick of “eternal ****ation in Hell”. Thereby, the clerics use their God-idea to enslave their sheepish, donkey followers, with the key to their clerics’ chains (and their dungeons) being their concept of “sin”.

Of course this “carrot and stick approach” is very old. As I suggested in earlier chapters and will show you details in Yx, the same approach was practiced by Egyptian and Mesopotamian priests thousands of years earlier – and found to be totally inadequate to fill the clerics’ coffers. What the earlier clerics (and of course the Christian clerics) therefore added was methods for their sinful, sheep-like followers to “change their ways”. Thus, rather than just getting their knuckles banged for not checking what their hand would hit if the wrench slipped, or rather than getting a dose of their own medicine when what-they-sent-around came back-around, sinful sheep-like, donkey followers were told that if they pray (or bray!) to God (aka the clerics) for “forgiveness” of their sins, then (for a price) the clerics would forgive “the poor, wretched sinners”, rescuing them from the horrible fate awaiting them in their imagined Hell. Thereby, the clerics (and whatever gods they invented) played the role not just as “judges” but also as “saviors” in a fanciful con game. As H.L. Mencken summarized:

What is the function that a clergyman performs in the world? Answer: he gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary Hell. It’s a business almost indistinguishable from that of a seller of snake-oil for rheumatism.
Again, Dear, everyone makes mistakes – even you! Mother Nature (causality) makes you pay for your mistakes: generally you’ll need to pay what you owe! Yet, there is a sort of “redemption” available for making mistakes: if you’re wise, you’ll learn from them. Religious people, on the other hand, are “sinners”. And in contrast to Mother Nature, the clerics demand that you pay them for what they define to be “sins”. If “sinners” pay the clerics enough (now-a-days, they take cash, checks, and credit cards!), then they’ll give the “sinners” tickets to Heaven; otherwise, to Hell with them! The “longshoreman philosopher” Eric Hoffer saw it clearly, and saw it was the same for all “mass movements” (be they religious or political):

The technique of a mass movement aims to infect people with a malady and then offer the movement as a cure. An effective mass movement cultivates the idea of sin. It depicts the autonomous self not only as barren and hopeless but also as vile. To confess and repent is to slough off ones individual distinctness and separateness, and salvation is found by losing oneself in the holy oneness of the congregation.
Similar stupidity is still promoted by politicians. For example, as I write this, just last week our stupid president George W. Bush stated at a news conference (associated with comments about homosexuality): “We’re all sinners.” What guck! What gibberish! What gobbledygook! What Jabberwocky!

Dear: no “secular humanist” ever was or ever will be a “sinner”. According to my dictionary, the primary definition of ‘sin’ is “the breaking of religious law or moral principle, especially through a willful act.” Rejecting all religions, we humanists therefore never sin! Of course we make mistakes, but we don’t “sin”. We make mistakes – and we pay for them, with everything from banged knuckles to lost friendships. Religious people, in contrast, are conned into “believing” that their mistakes are “sins” against their gods – to be paid for not with banged knuckles and lost friendships but with produce, cash, or whatever else the clerics can con from the people!

The stupidity is enough to drive me to suggest a bumper sticker: “I may be mistaken, but you have to be religious to be a sinner.” Or maybe better, because it’s shorter:

MISTAKES… SURE :cry: . SIN… NEVER :)
How did it come about? Surely it was childish ignorance, fear, and greed. Just as with children today, no doubt the earliest humans could hardly perceive anything except in relation to themselves. This is called an “anthropocentric view”. With anthropos the Greek word for ‘human’, ‘anthropocentric’ means “conceiving of everything in the universe in terms of human values” or the view that “considers humans as the central factor, or final aim, of the universe.” And although “anthropocentricism” is the central tenet of all organized religions, yet there isn’t the tiniest shred of data to support it. Stars are born and die, the sun keeps burning, the sky is blue, clouds float by, it rains, rivers swell, floods occur, ants go about their business, and rocks pretty much do what they’ve always done – without the least “concern” for humans!

But when ancient people first started thinking about their surrounding, almost certainly they did so with an anthropocentric view – just as do modern children as well as, unfortunately, a huge number of current adults: Why did that stupid rock trip me? Those darn ants ruined our picnic. Why did that flood ruin our crops? Alternatively, it was (and still is): I must have done something right for the sky to be so beautifully blue! Thank God the sun finally came out! The stars must have some purpose! That is, Dear, people “project” their own views onto the universe, even to the extent of assigning the human concept of “purpose” onto “things” (such as rocks and rivers and stars) that “haven’t a clue” about the “meaning” of ‘purpose’.

And as silly as it is to assign the human notion of ‘purpose’ onto inanimate objects, the next phase of this silliness is even worse: not only to claim that such purposes are known but also that people’s actions can influence such assumed purposes. That is, if the Sun doesn’t shine, a volcano erupts, a drought occurs, the river floods, the people starve, a hunter is killed, a mother becomes ill, a child dies, or if any of innumerable misfortunes occur, then rather than recognize that all are “normal” fluctuations of nature (with, in some cases, inadequate precaution taken by “the victims” of such fluctuations), people with an anthropocentric view of the universe mistakenly attribute their misfortunes not to nature’s randomness (or to their own carelessness) but to their “sins”.

Now, Dear, you may think that the above is silly, because you have learned to identify other causes for such misfortunes as illness, hunger, death, and so on. For example, a disease descends on a village not as “social justice” from the gods but as “justice” for inadequate hygiene, an inadequate mosquito-control program, or similar. But, Dear, try to imagine the primitive thoughts of early humans: insofar as they were convinced about the existence of powerful gods (who ruled thunder, lightning, volcanoes, the stars, life and death, and so on) and so long as the people experienced misfortunes (becoming ill, being hungry, losing children, etc.), then it must have appeared to be “obvious” (and logical) that in some way or other the infliction was retribution by “the gods” for “the sins” of the sufferer – and the first priests seized the opportunity to start their con games. As Voltaire said: “The first priest was the first rogue who met the first fool.”

Now, Dear, it would require too much space, here, to show you details about how this con game developed. I showed you some in earlier chapters and will show you more in Yx. Here, let me just mention a few summary points:

• Subservience to gods and some sort of payments for sins probably started with prehistoric humans. Hints of this are available not only from archeological finds but also from observations of children and animals such as apes: weaker males and females normally pay the strongest male some type of tribute. Similarly, when confronted by some threatening unknown (an erupting volcanoes, a lightning storm), prehistoric humans probably tried to appease some “god” with subservience and some booty.

• The behavioral pattern was then available when human communities developed, with their needs for customs and laws: the leaders and their henchmen (the priests) claimed (and clerics still claim) that the community’s laws were given to them by “the gods”. This was a widespread (if not worldwide) technique, used for at least 2,000 years before Moses allegedly adopted the same method in his proclamations of his many “commandments”. If a person broke one of these laws, i.e., if a person “sinned”, then “the sinner” would be punished.

• The essence of this method can be seen even in a dictionary definition of ‘sin’:

1. a) the breaking of religious law or moral principle, especially through a willful act, b) a state of habitual violation of such principles 2. any offense, misdemeanor, or fault.
This definition, however, is not historically correct (or, as a minimum, it’s misleading), because stating that ‘sin’ is “the breaking of religious law or moral principle…” fails to inform the reader that, in earlier times, all laws and all moral principles were claimed to be religious (i.e., given to the people by the gods).

• As for how the people would be punished if they broke the laws (i.e., if they “sinned”), it depended upon the times and the rulers. For example, as I showed you in M1, approximately 500 years before Moses, King Hammurabi of Babylon proscribed punishments for the ‘sinners’ who broke his god’s laws. These punishments were generally of two types i.e., with two goals: either to deter future crimes (e.g., cut off a thief’s hand) or to compensate for damages (e.g., pay a person if you put out his or his slave’s eye).

• There was, therefore, a time period when the concept of sin was beneficial to community life, as a form of “crowd control”. If someone were so inclined, one could argue that Hammurabi demonstrated the final useful application of the method; since his time, the power gained by the clerics corrupted the method, turning it into a con game designed not for the community’s benefit but for their own. An overview of this con game is that, in it, the clerics claimed all power: legislative power (making the law), police power (arresting people for suspicion of breaking the law), judicial power (deciding if the law has been broken and the penalty for breaking the law), and taxation power (collecting payments from the “sinners”).

• During the most recent 2,000 – 3,000 years, a clash of two principle methods to govern community life has been occurring. On the one side, the clerics have continued to claim control through their manipulation of the concept of sin; this method is still prevalent in many Islamic societies throughout the world, and remnants of the method continue even in this country, especially where some type of “fundamentalism” continues to be strong (e.g., in Utah). On the other side are the “civil governments”, with a strong start in Ancient Greece and Rome (as I’ll sketch in Ux and Yx), which started when people saw that it wasn’t the gods but other people who made the laws, and therefore, that it should be some civil rather than some clerical authority that administers justice. The resulting clash was particularly acute in Israel 2,000 years ago, when the Romans ruled the country with their civil law while the clerics tried to continue to rule the people with their “divine” law – which they continue to try to do today!

Therefore, Dear, to summarize the above ridiculously brief overview, the Bible (and similarly the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon) can be viewed as last desperate gasps of the clerics to their presumptuous claims that they had (and still have) the authority (from God) to govern their communities. Maybe even more ridiculously, they claimed (and continue to claim) that they have the competence to govern: they claim competence to be police, lawyers, judges, legislators, sociologists, psychologists, and even doctors and scientists – while displaying knowledge less than should be learned in elementary school!

And if you think that the above has nothing to do with you, Dear, then please think about what you’ve been taught ever since you were a baby. For example, consider again LDS President Kimball’s statement:

…Since the beginning [of religious con games!] there has been in the world a wide range of sins. Many of them involve harm to others, but every sin is against ourselves and God…
Please, Dear, don’t buy into such stupidity. Of course I totally agree that it’s generally unwise (in fact, usually dumb) to murder, steal, lie, and so on. People have trouble enough in this life without living in societies without such obviously desirable restrictions on behavior. But are violations of such restrictions “sins” against some god?

Let me put it this way. In so far as all ideas about all gods should be dismissed as “mere speculation”, so should all ideas of “sin”. I very much hope, Dear, that you understand what I’m trying to say: when you can break free from all silly speculations about the existence of any god (or gods), then of course there is no longer any meaning to the concept of “offending the gods”, i.e., there is no such thing as “sin”. Of course, there will continue to be actions that you might take that are potentially damaging to your trio of survival goals (and therefore these actions are “immoral” – or just plain dumb!), but they ain’t “sins”!

Stated still differently, Dear, please be assured from the lifetime experiences of your “grandfather with the beard” that never once in your life have you ever committed (or will you ever commit) a “sin”. True, you may have done (or may yet do) something foolish or stupid (and thereby, immoral), but never once have you ever offended (or will you offend) any god. Again: if you’ll forego the immorality of believing in gods, then I guarantee you that you’ll never “sin”!
And now, I gotta get back to work – or I’ll not meet my self-imposed schedule to post a chapter per week – which would be, not a sin, but another one of my mistakes.
Reply

Grace Seeker
05-16-2007, 08:00 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
Grace Seeker:



Well, Popper would certainly object to your proposed application of his principle. I’ll quote from you know what (although the chapter is not yet posted):



But further, before you start your experiment, even I will require that you define ‘sin’. I’ll quote again (from again you know what – and this chapter is already posted, http://zenofzero.net/docs/P05_Some_S...l_Policies.pdf ):



And now, I gotta get back to work – or I’ll not meet my self-imposed schedule to post a chapter per week – which would be, not a sin, but another one of my mistakes.

I have to say that while it may not appeal to others, I tend to agree with your wife, it might have an appeal for some. I myself, enjoy that you have written it in a very casual way to your granddaughter.

Now, as to my definition of of sin. As you are asking for me to define it in relation to the experiment, I'll not be able to use all the various definitions of others, An experiment can have only one definition. That definition which I prefer to work by is that which not only defines, but has the added benefit of also describing both sin and its consequence: sin is that which separates a person from God. You can guess the natural consequences of sin I'll bet, separation from God. In terms of what I get out of donkeys who bray to God for forgivness, I will get nothing. Well, maybe a little mule (pronounced mu-lah) from the sale of my new book "Don't be as big an ass as Balam." (I really hope you are biblically literate enough to get the second half of that very intended pun.)

However, you can see that with sin being defined as that which separates one from God, then the prime goal of humans that this stupid cleric promotes is interestingly, not obedience. You may have to go back and rewrite some of your chapter, or at least provide explanatory footnotes, for I know that in a work of science you will want what you present to be factually true, even if it is not what you personally ascribe to. What my definition of sin promotes is that the prime goal of human beings is to live in communion (i.e. connectedness) with God.

Btw, what does a non-thiestic, but secular humanistic science say is the prime goal of humanity? Would it not be the same as all other living beings, primarily to reproduce themselves? Which I think I can produce an experiment to falsify that concept rather easily, but that is for another conversation.

As to your ascertion that humanists never sin, maybe that depends on what you mean by sin. Even using the definition that you provided "the breaking of religious law or moral principle", it is certain that secular humanists have done these things. Immanuel Kant, John Locke and Thomsd Hobbes didn't agree on much, but all recognized the existence of a moral law, and all recognized that even secular humanists break it from time to time. Further you only stated that you don't accept the religious law as your standard, and don't expect to be judged by a god for breaking it. Fair enough. But, you do admit that religion does exist and that there are in place religious laws. So, while you propose that you will not be held accountable for the breaking of religious law, you do admit that there is a religious law that one can break. Perhaps it has no authority or power, but it exists and if all sin is not a real moral failing or a real separation from God, but merely (as you have defined it) the violation of some relgiously codified behavior, then I propose that it is broken frequently, and especially by people who do not believe it to have any real substance to it. By definition (yours at least, though curiously not mine) these people would be sinners, even if there is no resulting consequence to their sin other than the shame that certain clerics might try to foist upon them.

Thus it is that whether one sins or not is not dependent on belief or disbelief in God, but the simple act of how one defines sin. Aside from my personal belief in God, I think you may have misled your granddaughter in saying otherwise. But then again, if one does not believe in God at all, maybe there isn't much point in defining sin or worring about violations against an imaginary God. If that is what you want to say, I think you could put it to her that simply and she would understand.

Of course, you might also remind her that there is the .00000000000000000001% chance that you might be wrong about the existence of God. In that case, she is 100% certain to have to deal with the question of sin on something other than a theoretical basis.
Reply

snakelegs
05-16-2007, 11:42 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
snakelegs:

You make many good points – yet, let me provide some notes on some of your comments.



Yes, after having read the Qur’an, I infer a connection, but no, I’m not assuming an absence of political factors.

the bible has a whole lot more violence in it than the qur'an!

As am I – and maybe “offended” insufficiently reflects my concern.
for me it is an understatement as well.



I agree.



He was an amazing fellow. For me, his message was Zen (as in www.zenofzero.net !). As Shunryu Suzuki said: “The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your [own] two feet.”

j. krishnamurti makes more sense to me than just about anyone else.

In my view, that’s the key to ending this “field day” of “fanaticism”. I would urge you to give your response more thought.

there are reasons for this fanaticism and some i can identify with. the world is changing at such a rapid pace, there is a deep sense that something is terribly missing - people are turning to that which they see as unchangeable and reliable. (over simplification)

I agree that it’s unwise to tell anyone that specific points about some dogma are wrong: though that may be your conclusion, saying so almost certainly won’t lead to your desired outcome (and will probably generate hostility). Instead, effort should be expended toward revealing the fundamental error in holding any “belief” more strongly than is warranted by relevant evidence. And I don’t think it’s “arrogant” to promote that concept, any more so than it’s “arrogant” to promote “common sense”.

it is not just unwise. i think your view about religion is not that different from mine, but would you be able to say "christianity is wrong." "islam is wrong". i know i wouldn't, no matter how dim a view i have of organized religion. people who feel a need to "reveal the fundamental error in holding any belief more strongly than is warranted" are expressing a belief themselves. i think it is arrogant to "reveal" such things to others. i don't like it when they do it to me.

I have a similar feeling about missionaries, and I agree that my suggestion (and the suggestion of many others) is a form of “violence”. But then, if you find a kid playing with matches near a can of gasoline, it’s also “violence” to try to stop her – but simultaneously, almost certainly, it would be done out of kindness.

Thus, as is so common in life, one must choose between “means” and “ends” – and my experience has been that the best procedure is to assess the relative value of the “ends” versus the “means”, which are ends in themselves. In particular, I’m convinced that an “honorable” means to achieve the “desirable” end (of having more people use common sense, viz., evaluate the evidence supporting their beliefs) is to try to alert them to their fundamental error (viz., their falling into the “proof by pleasure” logical fallacy).
re-education camps? i bristle when someone wants to "alert me to my fundamental errors"!

And of course (and in general) I couldn’t care less what other people believe – so long as their beliefs don’t influence me (e.g., “kill the unbelievers”). But then there’s an insidious connection between all religious beliefs: all such believers consider it acceptable – even admirable! – to adopt ideas (and hold them strongly) in the absence of appropriate evidence (to just have “faith”). Such has been demonstrated to be very bad news for the rest of us.


To stimulate you to think about such matters, let me put it this way. Four of the most famous supporters of the terrorists are OBL, the Pope, Blair, and Bush. That is, by displaying their own commitment to accepting ideas in the absence of evidence, the Pope, Blair, and Bush provide enormous support to OBL’s similar stupidity.

do you think religious people have a monopoly on accepting ideas in the absence of evidence? what about political ideologues?

Yes, I understand – but then, I doubt (and I expect that you doubt) that it’s so. I love the story about dolphins (the truth of which I’ve had trouble validating): a dolphin will swim beneath its wounded cousin, periodically lifting it to the surface, so that it can breathe. I expect that the vast majority of people are instinctively as kind as dolphins – since, as similar social animals, such kindness gave an advantage to the survival of the species. I therefore expect that without their religions, most people would behave at least as well as dolphins. As Stephen Weinberg (winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics) said:
this gets in to speculation about belief systems re: human nature. my own is that we are all capable of both great good and great evil. if our evil outweighs our good, we will do evil things whether we are atheist, agnostic, hindu, christian, muslim, jew etc etc. and i believe the reverse is also true.
when it comes to human nature - both of us are going by what? - our beliefs!
Reply

One Man Army
05-16-2007, 11:59 PM
wanted 2 leav snakelegs some positive feedback, bt it seems it is not possible to do so bcuz of a blok...
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snakelegs
05-17-2007, 12:10 AM
thanks, ultimate. you just did! :)
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Pygoscelis
05-17-2007, 12:29 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
These are both opinion polls, that's all. If they all agreed that such actions were appropriate it would not prove anything either.

It would determine if the statements are correct, which is what you requested a test to do. It would show that our common moral sense finds these things immoral. And that they are central to a religious doctrine shows the power of socialization and that it can sometimes overcome moral values that would otherwise be upheld.
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MustafaMc
05-17-2007, 03:02 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Finding one's personal relationship with God is obviously important. People who are Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc that have children will obviously want their children to be of the same faith. It is up to the individual in the end to find their own relationship with God, regardless of their upbringing.
Interesting that I became a Muslim despite my Christian father's objections and likewise my son considers himself a Christian despite my objections. Though not in my case, I think fitting into societal norms plays a part in choice of religion.
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zoro
05-17-2007, 11:50 AM
Grace Seeker:

Thank you for your kind comments. Sometime, even before the 48th year, I learned to just do what she says – not, of course, to always do it immediately (not only for “image protection” but also, sometimes, associated with some “strategic planning”, e.g., “Okay, I’ll make the appointment, provided you…”), but nonetheless, to do it, eventually. [Although no doubt that conclusions could be another source of contention. It reminds me of a comment made to me almost 50 years ago by my father-in-law (who, at that time, had been married for about 25 years): “The first 20 years are the easiest!” But with due respect for his many other fine attributes, I’m not sure his comment was either wise or valid: many times I’ve heard myself saying “You mean it gets worse?!” But I digress.]

That definition which I prefer to work by is that which not only defines, but has the added benefit of also describing both sin and its consequence: sin is that which separates a person from God.
Well, of course you see the “operational problem” with such a definition: since the existence of God hasn’t been established, the concept of separation from something not known to exist has no meaning.

Of course, it’s demonstrably the case that people have various ideas about God; consequently, there’s no doubt that the idea of God exists; therefore, perhaps your definition of ‘sin’ (and its consequence) could be salvaged in a form such as: sin is that which separates a person from the idea of God.

In that case, however, you’d need to face the criticism that such a definition definitely poisons the well. Rephrased, it’s something similar to “anyone who doesn’t believe in the idea of God is a sinner” – which is just a little bit short of “kill the infidels”.

Yet let me add that, otherwise, it would seem that all atheists would be please to accept your unmodified definition of ‘sin’, since from their assessment that there is no god, it immediately follows from your definition of ‘sin’ that they never do!

In terms of what I get out of donkeys who bray to God for forgivness, I will get nothing. Well, maybe a little mule (pronounced mu-lah) from the sale of my new book "Don't be as big an ass as Balam." (I really hope you are biblically literate enough to get the second half of that very intended pun.)
Wow, that one went too fast for me. I think I saw later in your post that you were a cleric. So, rephrased, the first sentence seems to be: “What clerics profit from this concept of ‘sin’ (viz., separation from God) is nothing.”

Well, that depends on how well they play their con game! If they then advocate that the way to gain, say, union with God is via their services, then…!

As for the rest of the paragraph, I’m sorry, but it loses me. I have read the Bible cover-to-cover twice and then re-read at least the Pentateuch and the New Testament so many times that I can almost quote chapter and verse, but sorry, the pun wasn’t the fun that was meant to be done.

However, you can see that with sin being defined as that which separates one from God, then the prime goal of humans that this stupid cleric promotes is interestingly, not obedience.
Well, again, it depends on how the cleric chooses to play his hand – even with your proposed (non-meaningful) definition of ‘sin’. If he says something similar to, “Hey, I don’t have a clue what God is (or even if God exists); all I have is my own idea of God; go out and find your own meaning.”, then I’d agree with you – almost – that no ‘obedience’ is implied. And I added ‘almost’, because the statement “go out and find you own meaning” implicitly suggests ‘obey’.

But of course, that’s not how the clerics of the world play their hand! Instead, they bark out their orders. In contrast, it would seem to be better, by far, if the hypothetical cleric would follow a Zen master’s procedure, which might be to say to his student something similar to, “When you learn what ‘sin’ is, then you will know sin”, or maybe (looking at your next quote) “If you want to live in communion with God, then why to you continue to communicate with me?”

What my definition of sin promotes is that the prime goal of human beings is to live in communion (i.e. connectedness) with God.
But then, again, it can be a real challenge to connect to something that doesn’t exist! If you mean connectedness with the God idea, then what you’re promoting (as the “prime goal of human beings”) is, obviously, connectedness with just an idea. But to promote such a scheme can do (and has done) humanity huge harm. Meanwhile, the mystics of the world delight in such schemes, but simultaneously, they choose to be parasites on the producers of the world.

For the rest of us, while the mystics are “in communion” with their god, we get the “dirty jobs” of “connectedness” with reality. While the mystics dream (only occasionally pausing to hold out their collection plates), the producers figure out ways to control fire (and keep it burning for the clerics), irrigate crops (to feed the parasite priests), make wheels that can spin on axles (to carry the useless carcasses of the clerics), and so on, out to and including figuring out how to change rocks into collection plates!

Thus, in my view and based on all the data that I’ve ever encountered, the prime goal of humans is a trio of survival (or even “thrival”) goals: of oneself (since it’s rather difficult to pursue any other goal if you’re dead), of one’s family (whatever “extent” one recognizes to be the extent of one’s family – from “immediate family” to tribe to nation to all humanity to all life), and of one’s values (which, in the main, for realists, are derived from the first two of their survival goals). Stated differently, my reaction to the suggestion that “the prime goal of human beings is to live in communion (i.e., connectedness) with God” is: “Pshaw! Surely you’re not serious! That’s crazy!”

Oh, now I see:

Btw, what does a non-theistic, but secular humanistic science say is the prime goal of humanity? Would it not be the same as all other living beings, primarily to reproduce themselves? Which I think I can produce an experiment to falsify that concept rather easily, but that is for another conversation.
So, I’ve already addressed that – and “Btw”, essentially all of http://zenofzero.net/docs/BoardMeeting.pdf is devoted to the question about the prime goal of humans, and I do my best to “falsify” religious concepts of “the purpose of life” in http://zenofzero.net/docs/P01_The_Purpose_of_Life.pdf and the subsequent two chapters.

Re. your next paragraph, which starts with

As to your assertion that humanists never sin, maybe that depends on what you mean by sin.
Yes, of course! But re. your later suggestion (in the same paragraph) that because religious laws exist, I violate them, and therefore I sin, be aware that such laws do not apply to me (or other secular or scientific humanists). Similarly, there are laws in other countries (e.g., the law in the U.K. that requires driving on the left-hand side of the road), but I do not break their law when I drive here, because they don’t apply. Similarly, I don’t break any law applicable to me when I “take the Lord’s name in vain”, because I’ve concluded that such a law don’t apply to me, since I’ve reached the conclusion that such a “law” was concocted by con-artist clerics solely to fleece the people.

Immanuel Kant, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes didn't agree on much, but all recognized the existence of a moral law, and all recognized that even secular humanists break it from time to time.
Yes, but in my view, the highest “moral law” (or better, the act of highest morality) is to always use your brain as best you can (which of course includes checking all your ideas against data). And though I agree that sometimes I am immoral, what that means is that sometimes (not infrequently!) I do things that are dumb (i.e., I didn’t use my brain as best I could have).

Thus it is that whether one sins or not is not dependent on belief or disbelief in God, but the simple act of how one defines sin. Aside from my personal belief in God, I think you may have misled your granddaughter in saying otherwise. But then again, if one does not believe in God at all, maybe there isn't much point in defining sin or worrying about violations against an imaginary God. If that is what you want to say, I think you could put it to her that simply and she would understand.
Well, I tried to say that, and to state it “that simply”, but thank you for your comments – and I’ll go back to try to say it more clearly. I did conclude with:

Stated still differently, Dear, please be assured from the lifetime experiences of your “grandfather with the beard” that never once in your life have you ever committed (or will you ever commit) a “sin”. True, you may have done (or may yet do) something foolish or stupid (and thereby, immoral), but never once have you ever offended (or will you offend) any god. Again: if you’ll forego the immorality of believing in gods, then I guarantee you that you’ll never “sin”!
Finally, re. your

Of course, you might also remind her that there is the .00000000000000000001% chance that you might be wrong about the existence of God. In that case, she is 100% certain to have to deal with the question of sin on something other than a theoretical basis.
Yes, good point. Once again I’ll add the phrase (as I’ve done elsewhere) “as nearly as I can guarantee you anything”… I guarantee that never once in your life have you ever committed (or will you ever commit) a “sin”.

Again, thank you for your thoughtful comments. Unless you object I’d like to list “Grace Seeker” in the Acknowledgements and a reference to your post.

But meanwhile, all the above seems to have drifted off from the topic that had drifted off from the topic that had…! You stated that sin is the root of the problem (of evil) and suggested that your hypothesis be tested. I requested your definition of “sin”. That got us into the above.

I would go back to Socrates’ idea (modified), “There is one good, willingness to learn, and one evil, refusal”, add Hippocrates’ idea (modified) that the way to learn about the reality external to our minds is via application of the scientific method, plus add the critical idea of protecting “human rights”, to conclude not just that the best way to solve our problems intelligently is via applications of the scientific method while protecting human rights, but also that a great evil is being perpetrated by clerics who refuse to learn about and apply the scientific method, e.g., to investigate their premiss that any god has ever existed. If they can demonstrate that any of their gods exist, then great! I for one would be delighted to dump all the huge problems of the world on some god’s shoulders! But where it stands now, I say to all the clerics of the world: “Put up or shut up!”
Reply

zoro
05-17-2007, 02:41 PM
snakelegs:

I’m afraid that I couldn’t find much traction in your post; maybe you should remove your legs and try crawlin’ around like the rest of us; according to some silly myth, that was God’s intent.

I might agree “the Bible has a whole lot more violence in it than the Qur’an”, but 1) it’s a lot longer, 2) violence against whom? 3) what weighting is given to the infinitely horrible idea of Hell? 4) so what? – that is, what’s it got to with the point made re. 9/11?

If your point is that if there were no Bible, then there’d be no Qur’an, then that would be an interesting point. If your point is that it was horrible that Ezra and co-conspirators concocted the Old Testament to foist a version of the Zoroastrian religion of their Persian masters onto the poor Hebrew people, I would agree. If your point is that you’d wish that the Bible (and all “holy books”) were eliminated (save for a few copies filed away in some “scholarly libraries”), then again I’d agree. But if your point is that Superman comic books are more violent than…

I agree that there are many causes of the “angst” that’s rampant; much effort is needed, on many different topics (overpopulation, environmental degradation, water availability and quality, starvation, AIDS and other diseases, wars, injustices,…) to solve human problems intelligently. But since in this Forum most discussion is on religion, it seems appropriate to focus on solving problems derived from religions.

Could I say specific religions are wrong? Yes. All of them! They’re mental constructs devoid of supporting data; their hypotheses provide no testable predictions; they’re mere speculations. To be sure, they can provide people with comfortable delusions, but so can (I understand) various narcotics, to which I’m also opposed. Humanity is facing some real problems needing realistic solutions – so to all religious people of the world I would say: “Get real!”

Your statement “People who feel a need to ‘reveal the fundamental error in holding any belief more strongly than is warranted [by relevant evidence]’ are expressing a belief themselves” is shallow. Of course we all hold beliefs. I believe that there’s less than a 10% chance it’ll rain, here, today. I believe with 99.99999999999% confidence that another dawn will occur tomorrow. But my point: I have evidence to support such beliefs and use such evidence to estimate the probablities for the validities of my beliefs.

And a lifetime of experience has led me to conclude with 99.9999999% confidence that it’s unwise (better, dumb) to hold beliefs for which there isn’t a tiniest shred of evidence – especially when your beliefs influence other aspects of your community’s welfare. In contrast, if you believe that all invisible flying elephants are pink, then my response would be “whatever”. But if you believe that Martians are about to invade the Earth and, therefore, you’re gonna take my granddaughter into a cave to save her, then I’d advise you, strongly, to keep your cottin’ pickin’ hands off her. If you say that it’s arrogant for me to require that you provide evidence to support your beliefs about the Martians, then I’d say: “It ain’t nearly so arrogant as the barrel of the shotgun that you’re staring into.”

You use the term “re-education camps” seemingly for derogatory purposes. I’ll say it differently: I want every child in the world to learn basic critical thinking skills. And of course I agree that political ideologues play the same horrible game – which again supports the need for kids to learn to think critically, so they can suitably weigh the claims of any charlatan, any quack, religious, political, or whatever. I’ll quote how others have said it:

The persistence of erroneous beliefs exacerbates the widespread anachronistic failure to recognize the urgent problems that face humanity on this planet. (Murray Gell-Mann)

Scientific education and religious education are incompatible. The clergy have ceased to interfere with education at the advanced state, with which I am directly concerned, but they have still got control of that of children. This means that the children have to learn about Adam and Noah instead of about Evolution; about David who killed Goliath, instead of Koch who killed cholera; about Christ’s ascent into heaven instead of Montgolfier’s and Wright’s. Worse than that, they are taught that it is a virtue to accept statements without adequate evidence, which leaves them a prey to quacks of every kind in later life, and makes it very difficult for them to accept the methods of thought which are successful in science. (J.B.S. Haldane)

Credulity is not a crime for the individual, but it is clearly a crime as regards the race. Just look at the actual consequences of credulity. For years men believed in the foul superstition of witchcraft – and many poor people suffered for this foolish belief. There was a general belief in angels and demons, flying familiarly, yet skittishly through the air – and that belief caused untold distress and pain and tragedy. The most holy Catholic church (and, after it, the various Protestant sects) enforced the dogma that heresy was terribly sinful and punishable by death – imagine (but all you need do is to recount) the suffering entailed by that belief. When one surveys the causes and consequences of credulity, it is apparent that this easy [belief] in the impossible, this readiness toward false and fanatical notions, has been indeed a most serious and major crime against humanity. The social life in any age, it may be said, is about what its extent of credulity guarantees. In an extremely credulous age, social life will be cruel and dark and treacherous; in a skeptical age, social life will be more humane. (E. Haldeman-Julius)
And re your final sentence, final clause, you again miss the point. There’s nothing wrong with “beliefs” – the question that desperately needs to be addressed is: what are they based on?
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Pygoscelis
05-17-2007, 04:37 PM
To join in as the third non-believer disagreeing with each other, I see no harm in comfortable delusions, so long as they remain confortable delusions and don't become harmful ones telling you to change people, or worse, kill people.

Of modern day religions, I have no qualms with buddhism or taoism. I have no qualms with hinduism or shintoism. It is only the monotheistic religions that bother me. The ones that claim their way is the only way and their god is the only god - that invariably leads to conflicts that are very bloody. And it can also lead to murder - witness the thread in this very forum on apostates leaving islam (they are to be killed).
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zoro
05-17-2007, 05:19 PM
Pygoscelis: I agree with you, especially re. Tao & Zen. But where the caste system in Hinduism and the racism of Shintoism persist, I would want fellow humans to be free.
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ranma1/2
05-17-2007, 11:55 PM
Originally Posted by zoro
Pygoscelis: I agree with you, especially re. Tao & Zen. But where the caste system in Hinduism and the racism of Shintoism persist, I would want fellow humans to be free.
Im familiar with the caste system in Hinduism but I have never heard of the racism of Shintoism, unless you are speaking about the racism torward the Natives of Japan. Or perhaps more likely the stigma torward leather workers in the past. But i dont think those were related to Shintoism but more of the culture since shintoism realy doesnt have any doctrin or dogma.
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zoro
05-18-2007, 09:44 AM
ranma1/2:

Im familiar with the caste system in Hinduism but I have never heard of the racism of Shintoism, unless you are speaking about the racism toward the Natives of Japan. Or perhaps more likely the stigma toward leather workers in the past. But i dont think those were related to Shintoism but more of the culture since shintoism really doesnt have any doctrine or dogma.
Please notice that I qualified my statement to Pygoscelis with the word “where”, viz., “where the caste system in Hinduism and [where] the racism of Shintoism persist, I would want fellow humans to be free.” If your response is (basically) that there is no “where”, and if you are correct, then not only am I very glad to hear it but also I sincerely apologize for my suggestion that there was any “where”. I know nothing about the two examples that you mention.

I should also admit that I have read only a very little about Shintoism and would be grateful if you would help me learn more and purge any of my errors. In the meantime, let me go through just the first few items of a google search for Shintoism +racism to suggest to you how (in the past, and not from these example, but I can’t recreate my old sources) I could have “smelled” hints of racism in Shintoism.

1. Webster:

Shintoism: One of the two great systems of religious belief in Japan. Its essence is ancestor worship, and sacrifice to dead heroes.
Insofar as a religion contains “ancestor worship” and if the emphasis is on heroes of one’s own ethnicity, it thereby promotes racism.

2. From the publisher’s review of the book “Religion and Nationalism in Early Kamakura Society” by Achilles S.C. Gacis:

In this chapter I argue that Nichiren's upbringing and lifelong exposure to the indigenous tradition of Shinto (which emphasized the divine nature of Japan) provided an ethno-spiritual nationalistic element to his Buddhist teaching…
For me, the “divine nature of Japan” suggests racism.

3. From http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/pe...2_shinto.shtml

Little is known about the Shinto faith in the West, despite being a rigidly enforced state religion until the 1950s. Up until that point the Emperor was worshipped as a God…
If any religion is a “rigidly enforced state religion”, then it’s unlikely to be devoid of nationalistic emphasis, and insofar as Japanese nationalism promotes (or promoted) “ethnic purity”, I expect that such emphasis would include racism.

4. From “Rise of Nationalism in Japan” by Hauquan Chau (at http://www.g21.net/asia30.htm):

The fundamental beliefs that these ultra-nationalists, or uyoku, have is that, first, Japan must return to its 1930's "sacred values" -- including a militaristic ideology, deification of the Emperor and Japanese as a pure and homogenous people. There are almost 1000 far-right groups throughout the country with membership of more than 100,000, with the majority being affiliated with the National Conference of Patriotic Associations.

Chau’s quote (source not clear to me): “Mafia-style intimidation towards media outlets that in any way denigrate their sacred view of Japan and the Emperor has always been the oyoku's main tool in getting their way. For example, the Asahi Shimbun, a national paper known for its liberal views, has faced many attacks from the uyoku. In one instance the attack was provoked by the newspaper allegedly not using the Emperor's name with the correct honorific title. The main office has been surrounded a number of times by the black vans of the uyoku and have actually been rammed into the Asahi Shimbun building itself.”
It does seem that such (stupid) ideas of ethnic purity (“a pure and homogeneous people”) don’t have a large following (probably not proportionally larger than similar kooks in the U.S. and other nations), but I would hope that all such “racism” would vanish from the Earth.

5. From “A Postwar View of the Greater East Asia War” by Michiko Hasegawa (published in the Journal of Historical Review; available at http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p451_Hasegawa.html):

In striking contrast to the situation in North America and Europe, historical revisionism enjoys widespread support and even official sanction in Japan. The growing willingness of the Japanese to reassess their nation's role in the "Greater East Asia War" received worldwide attention during the so-called "textbook controversy" of 1962, when new Japanese high school history textbooks were introduced that portrayed Japan's wartime role in a more positive light. Recent documentary films and "docudrama" television series about the war years have also contributed to the revisionist trend. And last August Yasuhiro Nakasone became the first postwar Prime Minister to make an official visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, a Shinto holy place in Tokyo honoring Japanese war dead, including wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and other leaders who were hanged by the Americans as war criminals.

The article that follows is reprinted from a special 1984 issue of the attractive quarterly magazine, Jupan Echo, which consisted entirely of revisionist essays. It was widely distributed by the Toyota Motor Company, Japan Air Lines and the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Hayao Shimizu of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies introduced the special issue with an editorial essay entitled "The War and Japan: Revisionist Views." Besides the various objective factors, he wrote, the subjective or psychological factor behind the remarkable recent growth of revisionism in Japan has been "the fervent enthusiasm ordinary people have shown for reconfirming their identity by means of a fresh look at history." The impetus has not come from scholars, but is rather based on a growing desire "among the Japanese in general to re-establish their sense of national identity." Shimizu went on to explain: "Perhaps we can say that at the root of such developments is a manifestation of the natural nationalism of the Japanese, which for most of the post war period was suppressed, sometimes openly and at other times in covert fashion." Not surprisingly, leftists in Japan and abroad are not happy with this trend…
Again, the link between nationalism, ethnic purity, and Shintoism smells to me of racism. But also again: if I’m wrong, if my nose needs recalibration, please let me know.
Reply

snakelegs
05-20-2007, 02:34 AM
Originally Posted by zoro
snakelegs:

I’m afraid that I couldn’t find much traction in your post; maybe you should remove your legs and try crawlin’ around like the rest of us; according to some silly myth, that was God’s intent.

I might agree “the Bible has a whole lot more violence in it than the Qur’an”, but 1) it’s a lot longer, 2) violence against whom? 3) what weighting is given to the infinitely horrible idea of Hell? 4) so what? – that is, what’s it got to with the point made re. 9/11?

If your point is that if there were no Bible, then there’d be no Qur’an, then that would be an interesting point. If your point is that it was horrible that Ezra and co-conspirators concocted the Old Testament to foist a version of the Zoroastrian religion of their Persian masters onto the poor Hebrew people, I would agree. If your point is that you’d wish that the Bible (and all “holy books”) were eliminated (save for a few copies filed away in some “scholarly libraries”), then again I’d agree. But if your point is that Superman comic books are more violent than…

it was you who originally mentioned 9/11 and said you see a connection with the qur'an.
I agree that there are many causes of the “angst” that’s rampant; much effort is needed, on many different topics (overpopulation, environmental degradation, water availability and quality, starvation, AIDS and other diseases, wars, injustices,…) to solve human problems intelligently. But since in this Forum most discussion is on religion, it seems appropriate to focus on solving problems derived from religions.
point taken.

Could I say specific religions are wrong? Yes. All of them! They’re mental constructs devoid of supporting data; their hypotheses provide no testable predictions; they’re mere speculations. To be sure, they can provide people with comfortable delusions, but so can (I understand) various narcotics, to which I’m also opposed. Humanity is facing some real problems needing realistic solutions – so to all religious people of the world I would say: “Get real!”

the nature of belief is that it cannot be proven. it also cannot be disproven. ultimately there are some things that are simply unknowable. so you cannot logically tell someone to prove their religion is true. it is certainly true to them. i share your belief that religions are strictly man-made and we would probably be better off without them, tho in reality, no doubt something else would be substituted.
most of us have political opinions about things that we are not able to prove or disprove either. most americans believe it when their government tells them it is necessary to invade iraq because they have WMD. i didn't believe it at all, and to me, it was obvious bush was desperate to attack (even the excuses changed from day to day). could i prove it? nope, but i believed we were being lied to.

Your statement “People who feel a need to ‘reveal the fundamental error in holding any belief more strongly than is warranted [by relevant evidence]’ are expressing a belief themselves” is shallow. Of course we all hold beliefs. I believe that there’s less than a 10% chance it’ll rain, here, today. I believe with 99.99999999999% confidence that another dawn will occur tomorrow. But my point: I have evidence to support such beliefs and use such evidence to estimate the probablities for the validities of my beliefs.
i confess - i am a reactionary when it comes to people trying to change the way others think.

And a lifetime of experience has led me to conclude with 99.9999999% confidence that it’s unwise (better, dumb) to hold beliefs for which there isn’t a tiniest shred of evidence – especially when your beliefs influence other aspects of your community’s welfare. In contrast, if you believe that all invisible flying elephants are pink, then my response would be “whatever”. But if you believe that Martians are about to invade the Earth and, therefore, you’re gonna take my granddaughter into a cave to save her, then I’d advise you, strongly, to keep your cottin’ pickin’ hands off her. If you say that it’s arrogant for me to require that you provide evidence to support your beliefs about the Martians, then I’d say: “It ain’t nearly so arrogant as the barrel of the shotgun that you’re staring into.”
agreed, but again, there is the political example. in the modern world we form beliefs and opinions about many things that we cannot offer concrete proof for.

You use the term “re-education camps” seemingly for derogatory purposes. I’ll say it differently: I want every child in the world to learn basic critical thinking skills. And of course I agree that political ideologues play the same horrible game – which again supports the need for kids to learn to think critically, so they can suitably weigh the claims of any charlatan, any quack, religious, political, or whatever. I’ll quote how others have said it:

absolutely no argument here. i think it's horrendous the hate and fear that are taught to children and critical thinking skills are vital.

And re your final sentence, final clause, you again miss the point. There’s nothing wrong with “beliefs” – the question that desperately needs to be addressed is: what are they based on?
point taken, but again "beliefs" do not require proof in the same way science does - religion is a different system. i wouldn't really compare science and religion.
p.s. you give me a good run for the money - especially because our thinking is not that different.
Reply

zoro
05-20-2007, 12:03 PM
snakelegs:

Well, I’d like to try to help you come the rest of the way (because we need as many allies as we can get), but on the other hand, I have many other demands on my limited time. What I’ll do here, therefore, is provide just an outline, plus give you directions to elsewhere (where I’ve tried to explain the ideas in more detail). I’ll start with your statement:

the nature of belief is that it cannot be proven. it also cannot be disproven. ultimately there are some things that are simply unknowable. so you cannot logically tell someone to prove their religion is true. it is certainly true to them.
What I would encourage you to do is try to move beyond the “true” vs. “false” dichotomy of Aristotelian logic: it’s appropriate only for “closed systems” (such as games, pure math, religions, etc.); in “open systems”, in reality, the best we can do is estimated probabilities (that statements or events are “true” or “false”). The following provides more detail, taken from Chapter Ih of my online book (see, http://zenofzero.net/docs/IhHypothes...babilities.pdf ), in which the “Dear” is explicitly my teenage granddaughter but implicitly is any teenager who will invest the time to read the (free!) book.

[Well, sorry, I was unable to get the figure in that text to appear here; so instead, I'll just ask you to read from the middle of p. 4 to the bottom of p. 6 of the above reference, paying special attention to the figure shown there, which originally is from B. de Finetti, Probabilita, entry for Enciclopedia Einaudi, 1980.]

Now, let me return to your

the nature of belief is that it cannot be proven. it also cannot be disproven. ultimately there are some things that are simply unknowable. so you cannot logically tell someone to prove their religion is true. it is certainly true to them.
What I would encourage you to do, first, is to try to break free from the Aristotelian “true” vs. “false” logic (which, again, is valid only for closed systems). In reality, that dichotomy is inappropriate. Instead, the challenge is to estimate the probability that a given claim is “true” (which, simultaneously, gives a value for the probability that it’s “false”, namely, unity minus the probability that it’s “true”). For example, if someone claims that the statement “God exists” is true, then the task is not (as you suggest) to try to prove or disprove the statement (as if it were a problem in pure math); instead, the task is to determine the probability that the statement is true. As I posted elsewhere at this forum (and as I show in the referenced chapter and the next chapter of the book at www.zenofzero.net ), my estimate for the probability that some god created our universe is astoundingly small: 0.0000000…1, with a huge number of zeros hidden behind that “…” (at least 200 zeros in total, but the total may easily be 1,000 zeros).

But you further state, “there are some things that are simply unknowable”. But if that’s the case, if something is “simply unknowable”, then it should be dismissed as irrelevant. As Bertrand Russell sarcastically proposed in his 1935 essay “On the Value of Skepticism”:

I wish to propose for the reader’s favorable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. I must, of course, admit that, if such an opinion became common, it would completely transform our social life and our political system; since both are at present faultless, this must weigh against it. I am also aware (what is more serious) that it would tend to diminish the incomes of clairvoyants, bookmakers, bishops, and others who live on the irrational hopes of those who have done nothing to deserve good fortune here or hereafter.
You state: “So you cannot logically tell someone to prove their religion is true.” But I wouldn’t ask anyone to try to do such a thing; instead, I would ask them to provide an estimate for the probability that their religion is true. You then add, “It is certainly true to them.” I agree that, in their simplistic thinking, some people conclude that their religion is “true”, but their thinking is faulty. In his 1935 book “Philosophy and Logical Syntax”, Rudolph Carnap made the point well, which I’ll quote below. First, however, note that he uses the phrase “perceptive proposition” instead of what, now, is normally called “prediction”.

If a scientist should venture to make an assertion from which no perceptive propositions could be deduced, what should we say to that? Suppose, for example, that he asserts that there is not only a gravitational field having an effect on bodies according to the known laws of gravitation, but also a levitational field.

On being asked what sort of effect this levitational field has, according to his theory, he answers that there is no observable effect. In other words, he confesses his inability to give rules according to which we could deduce perceptive propositions from his assertion. In that case our reply is: your assertion is no assertion at all; it does not speak about anything; it is nothing but a series of empty words; it is simply without sense.

It is true that he may have images and even feelings connected with his words. This fact may be of psychological importance; logically, it is irrelevant. What gives theoretical meaning to a proposition is not the attendant images and thoughts, but the possibility of deducing from it perceptive propositions…
The goal, then, is to get people to hold their beliefs only as strongly as relevant evidence warrants. Many people have said similar (as I’ve posted before, but now can’t find the post – so I’ll post them again):

“Believe nothing… merely because you have been told it… or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings – that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.” [The Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama), c. 500 BCE]

“The foolish reject what they see and not what they think; the wise reject what they think and not what they see.” [Huang Po (a Zen master who died in about 850)]

“A wise [person]… proportions his belief to the evidence.” [David Hume]

“To believe without evidence and demonstration is an act of ignorance and folly.” [Volney]

“In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.” [Mark Twain]

“The house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in.” [A.E. Housman]

“For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant religious mass on the other. This is the war between Science and Faith. The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the known, and to happiness here in this world. The many have appealed to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and to misery hereafter. The few have said “Think”; the many have said “Believe!” [Robert Ingersoll]

“Faith [is] belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.” [Ambrose Bierce]

“It is wrong always and everywhere for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence.” [William Kingdon Clifford]

“The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin… The foundation of morality is to… give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of knowledge.” [Thomas Henry Huxley]

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” [Aldous Huxley]

“We should be agnostic about those things for which there is no evidence. We should not hold beliefs merely because they gratify our desires for afterlife, immortality, heaven, hell, etc.” [Julian Huxley]

“What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires – desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way… So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence [italics added], they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues.” [Bertrand Russell]

“Credulity is belief in slight evidence, with no evidence, or against evidence.” [Tryon Edwards]

“In spite of all the yearnings of men, no one can produce a single fact or reason to support the belief in God and in personal immortality.” [Clarence Darrow]

“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” [Richard Dawkins]

“I am an atheist because there is no evidence for the existence of God. That should be all that needs to be said about it: no evidence, no belief.” [Dan Barker]

“We ought to do what we can towards eradicating the evil habit of believing without regard to evidence.” [Richard Robinson]

“The importance of the strength of our conviction is only to provide a proportionately strong incentive to find out if the hypothesis will stand up to critical examination.” [Peter B. Medawar]

“Conviction is something you need in order to act… But your action needs to be proportional to the depth of evidence that underlies your conviction.” [Paul O’Neill]

“Don’t believe anything. Regard things on a scale of probabilities. The things that seem most absurd, put under ‘Low Probability’, and the things that seem most plausible, you put under ‘High Probability’. Never believe anything. Once you believe anything, you stop thinking about it. The more things you believe, the less mental activity. If you believe something, and have an opinion on every subject, then your brain activity stops entirely, which is clinically considered a sign of death, nowadays in medical practice. So put things on a scale or probability, and never believe or disbelieve anything entirely. [Robert A. Wilson]

“Believe nothing with more conviction than the evidence warrants.” [Arthur M. Jackson]


Finally, at the end of your post, you state:

"beliefs" do not require proof in the same way science does - religion is a different system. i wouldn't really compare science and religion.
There are so many errors in that statement it makes my blood boil! But to try to “keep cool”, I’ll start with the comment that I don’t care what people “believe” – even if there’s zero evidence to support their beliefs – PROVIDED THAT THEIR BELIEFS DON’T INFLUNCE OTHERS. If people have some “deep-felt need” to believe that all invisible flying elephants are pink, then again I’d say, “whatever”.

But that’s not what going on today with religious extremists (be they in the Christian “Reich” or Al Qaeda). You can see it even in some of the responses in a thread that I started at this forum (in “World Affairs” dealing with “Secular Muslims” at http://www.islamicboard.com/world-af...r-muslims.html ). What we’re dealing with are people who are still in their clerically-imposed Dark Ages: “kill the infidels” (who don’t believe that all invisible flying elephants are pink) is just barely below the surface. My response to them is to buy myself, my sons, and my daughter AK-47’s, with plenty of ammunition: if they think that they’re gonna impose such nonsense on me and my family, then “they’ve got another thunk coming.”

And meanwhile, statements such as yours (immediately above) dim the illumination of the enlightenment. Your statement has multiple errors:

1. “Beliefs do not require proof in the same way science does” displays a lack of understanding of science: in science we don’t “prove” things; we leave that for pure mathematicians, playing their games in closed systems; in science, dealing with open systems (i.e., dealing with reality), we “muddle by” with falsifiable hypotheses that aren’t yet falsified.

2. To your statement “I wouldn’t really compare science with religion”, I would respond: “Why not? That’s what they do!” Think of it: the current bases of all the Abrahamic religions are scientific claims (that their god created the universe, that humans didn’t evolve but were just popped into their current form, and so on). They are the ones making scientific claims. Our response should be: “Your science sucks!” Or in more delicate company, repeat M.M. Mangasarian’s assessment: “Religion is the science of children; science is the religion of adults.”

3. You erroneous statement “religion is a different system” is exactly what the ****able clerics of the world want you to say: if you buy into it, they can keep their con games operating. Don’t buy it! Given that some of them obviously have the deep desire to become your rulers, then now, while you still have a chance, demand that they provide evidence to support their childish claims. Extending what I wrote before, in response to your statement that it’s arrogant for me to make such a demand (in particular, arrogant of me to demand from you evidence that Martians were about to invade the Earth), I’m hereby putting all clerics of the world on notice: “With as much arrogance as my, my children’s, and my allies’ AK-47s can muster, I demand that you provide me evidence that there exists some giant Jabberwock in the sky who wants me to live my life according to your dictates; in this country, we the people rule; therefore, put up, shut up, or go back to your own backward countries.”
Reply

جوري
05-20-2007, 03:37 PM
You state: “So you cannot logically tell someone to prove their religion is true.” But I wouldn’t ask anyone to try to do such a thing; instead, I would ask them to provide an estimate for the probability that their religion is true. You then add, “It is certainly true to them.” I agree that, in their simplistic thinking
Wow-- thanks for letting us dive into your psyche--
what is the probability that your religion (zen of zer0) is true?-- and I can be perfectly content, that not only is your logic faulty, but that of a simpleton as you ascribe to others ( I am not sure you are very successful if your entire cult is an AK-47 and your grandchildren)-- haven't you had enough psycho babble, or are you suffering from multi infarct dementia, and just really just can't help yourself?
Enough advertisement-- I hope a mod closes this section


peace!
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