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genghiscant

This is interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f70tKopDm_c
Derek

[Absolutely undiluted rubbish that does not deserve an audience let alone the time, effort and expenditure to produce this master of the militant atheists point of view. Completely in keeping with the morally void militant atheist who likes to dictate what we should and should not believe. Word voiced by a man who does not have God in his life and will never know God until the judgement day when there will be no place to hide from his transgressions. [/b]
genghiscant

Ralph2 wrote:
[Absolutely undiluted rubbish that does not deserve an audience let alone the time, effort and expenditure to produce this master of the militant atheists point of view. Completely in keeping with the morally void militant atheist who likes to dictate what we should and should not believe. Word voiced by a man who does not have God in his life and will never know God until the judgement day when there will be no place to hide from his transgressions. [/b]


A masterful critique.
Leonard James

Ralph2 wrote:
Absolutely undiluted rubbish that does not deserve an audience let alone the time, effort and expenditure to produce this master of the militant atheists point of view. Completely in keeping with the morally void militant atheist who likes to dictate what we should and should not believe. Word voiced by a man who does not have God in his life and will never know God until the judgement day when there will be no place to hide from his transgressions.


Come, come Ralph!

"Morally void militant atheist"?  

Most atheists have worked out their moral codes to be just as good as the dictated Christian one, and some of them are even better.
Derek

Leonard James wrote:
Ralph2 wrote:
Absolutely undiluted rubbish that does not deserve an audience let alone the time, effort and expenditure to produce this master of the militant atheists point of view. Completely in keeping with the morally void militant atheist who likes to dictate what we should and should not believe. Word voiced by a man who does not have God in his life and will never know God until the judgement day when there will be no place to hide from his transgressions.


Come, come Ralph!

"Morally void militant atheist"?  

Most atheists have worked out their moral codes to be just as good as the dictated Christian one, and some of them are even better.


Len, it is what he calls himself. He has said that it is his goal to rid the world of religion.  To be an atheist is the right of anyone, as it is my right to be Christian. I never criticise you for your atheism, although I believe you would make a better Christian. It is those who actively try to remove my free agency by preaching the doctrine of atheism in order to remove it from society. Richard Dawkins is very guilty of doing that whilst making a fortune of his book of lies.
Leonard James

Hi Ralph,

It's human nature to try to propagate what you believe to be true ... we all do it to one degree or another.

Religious beliefs have inspired some of the cruelest actions of mankind. I accept that many cruel despots have been atheists too, but their atheism did not inspire their cruelty, because atheism has no rules condemning people who believe otherwise.
Ketty

Ralph2 wrote:
. . . by preaching the doctrine of atheism in order to remove it from society. Richard Dawkins is very guilty of doing that whilst making a fortune of his book of lies.


A bit like Joseph Smith and his preaching of a false god and gods, then?  Trying to remove Christianity from society by telling folks they were gods and could become gods again, or somesuch.
Rose

Ketty wrote:
Ralph2 wrote:
. . . by preaching the doctrine of atheism in order to remove it from society. Richard Dawkins is very guilty of doing that whilst making a fortune of his book of lies.


A bit like Joseph Smith and his preaching of a false god and gods, then?  Trying to remove Christianity from society by telling folks they were gods and could become gods again, or somesuch.


I thought that sort of thing was only supposed to happen in the bear pit?

If someone had a dig at you like that, it would go straight there!

Double standards, Ketty?

Moderator! Moderate thyself!



Julie
Ketty

Rose wrote:

I thought that sort of thing was only supposed to happen in the bear pit?

If someone had a dig at you like that, it would go straight there!

Double standards, Ketty?

Moderator! Moderate thyself!



What are you squealing about now "Julie"?

What dig, where?  Delbert made a comment about Richard Dawkins - the same comment could be made about Joseph Smith, but don't let that stop you having your little rants.  

As was said elsewhere (the last sentence):  
Leonard James wrote:



and  
Quote:
maybe you need a manual on how MBs work?  


Now, unless you have something to add to the discussion . . .
The Boyg

Ketty wrote:
What dig, where?  Delbert made a comment about Richard Dawkins - the same comment could be made about Joseph Smith


Although to gratuitously introduce Joseph Smith in such a manner would be off-topic for this thread, madam moderator.

#justsayin  
Leonard James

 
Leonard James wrote:



and  
Quote:
maybe you need a manual on how MBs work?  


No I didn't!
JMC

Leonard James wrote:

I accept that many cruel despots have been atheists too, but their atheism did not inspire their cruelty, because atheism has no rules condemning people who believe otherwise.


Atheism can inspire anti-theism in a person, and that certainly has led to unimaginable cruelty against people who would not give up their faith.

Por ejemplo:


Link


The above can be blamed on Soviet communism, certainly, but I think it naive to think that the persecutors' atheism wasn't partly to do with their targeting of Christians for particular tortures (the fact that the Christians were in prison in the first place was usually connected with their confession of religious belief).
genghiscant

Has anyone actually watched the video?
JMC

On this forum? I don't know, I only put it up a few minutes ago! I have watched it, plus the other parts, and if you click on the link it will tell you how many times it has been viewed on Youtube.

ETA: Oh, you meant the video you posted! I haven't... I don't tend to click on random links with no explanation of what might be on the other end (something "interesting" -- in one person's opinion!)

If you put [ video ] [/ video ] (without spaces) tags around the link it will be embedded in the post like the video I posted, and therefore posters can at least see what the video is about before having to click on any links.
Rose

I'm in two minds on Richard Dawkins.

On one hand, I know he is entitled to his opinion that he is qualified to hold an opinion on biology ( whereas I suppose I'm not, not being a Prof and all) that he must find it really annoying when some unqualified fundamentalist Christian ( or other religion) waltzes up to him and trashes most of his life and studies, by resolutely saying it is all nonsense and a book written thousands of years ago is right.

It must be really annoying  for Prof Dawkins when he finds students studying his subject, limiting their potential, because they firmly believe in religion and a religious text book rather than what is in front of them.

It also must be very annoying when someone who doesn't possess your knowledge and doesn't appreciate the hard work you put in, comes up and blows it all away by smugly declaring the bible alone holds the truth and he is wrong!

To him it must look like a sort of put down.

I suppose it is hardly surprising  he isn't  a lover of religion!

On the other hand, the man grates on me!  It isn't because I believe the bible to be true, I think it is because he comes across as preachy.

Also I am not sure he understands the arguments of the more subtle Christians he seems to point his argument at the more radical ones.

It comes down to interpretation I suppose, the ones that annoy him most are probably the more radical ones.

I often am one of the first people to criticise him and I think it is because he is preachey, preaching Athiesm and I absolutely hate having someone preach at me. Doesn't matter what they are preaching! Religious or not!

I think I just don't like being told what to think, be it from a bible thumping Christian ( or Koran thumping Muslim ) or a science book thumping Athiest/scientist !

Push me towards a way of thought, and I'll push right back the other way.



I don't have an issue with him lecturing on biology and am not at all upset because he doesn't believe or include God. ( I probably would be more upset if he did! In fact I know I would!)

I just have an issue with him when he steps out of his subject and appears to paint everyone else ( non Athiests) as some sort of extremist!

I have listened to a little bit because I had to go to work but it appeared to be in line with all his other videos.

I'll watch it all the way through when I get home, but I don't think I am going to see anything new!

Julie
Rose

Ketty wrote:
Rose wrote:

I thought that sort of thing was only supposed to happen in the bear pit?

If someone had a dig at you like that, it would go straight there!

Double standards, Ketty?

Moderator! Moderate thyself!



What are you squealing about now "Julie"?

What dig, where?  Delbert made a comment about Richard Dawkins - the same comment could be made about Joseph Smith, but don't let that stop you having your little rants.  

As was said elsewhere (the last sentence):  
Leonard James wrote:



and  
Quote:
maybe you need a manual on how MBs work?  


Now, unless you have something to add to the discussion . . .



and now it's your turn to add something to the discussion, unless barbs aimed at Ralph and the LDS is all you've got!




Puttum up!

Lets see your contribution!

Julie
Ketty

The Boyg wrote:


Although to gratuitously introduce Joseph Smith in such a manner would be off-topic for this thread,f


Not at all.  It's just throwing back the same argument.  Snot my fault if you can't follow that logic.  
The Boyg

Ketty wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Although to gratuitously introduce Joseph Smith in such a manner would be off-topic for this thread,f

Not at all.  It's just throwing back the same argument.  Snot my fault if you can't follow that logic.  


How is a entirely gratuitous and incongruous reference to Joseph Smith "on topic" for a thread about a video of Richard Dawkins?

It would be like me saying that the statement that Ralph2 made could be applied equally to Pee Wee Herman. Whilst it might (or might not) be true it is also entirely irrelevant to that which was being discussed.


#justsayin  
Ketty

The Boyg wrote:

How is a entirely gratuitous and incongruous reference to Joseph Smith "on topic" for a thread about a video of Richard Dawkins?

It would be like me saying that the statement that Ralph2 made could be applied equally to Pee Wee Herman. Whilst it might (or might not) be true it is also entirely irrelevant to that which was being discussed.


Whatever.    If your complaint is about stuff going off track, then it's simple: stop doing it, and post something you consider relevant.

Leonard James

JMC wrote:

Atheism can inspire anti-theism in a person, and that certainly has led to unimaginable cruelty against people who would not give up their faith.

Por ejemplo:


Link


The above can be blamed on Soviet communism, certainly, but I think it naive to think that the persecutors' atheism wasn't partly to do with their targeting of Christians for particular tortures (the fact that the Christians were in prison in the first place was usually connected with their confession of religious belief).


Their aim was to convert to communism, not atheism.

I repeat, atheism is simply disbelief in gods, and involves no instructions to proselytize.
JMC

Leonard James wrote:
JMC wrote:

Atheism can inspire anti-theism in a person, and that certainly has led to unimaginable cruelty against people who would not give up their faith.

Por ejemplo:


Link


The above can be blamed on Soviet communism, certainly, but I think it naive to think that the persecutors' atheism wasn't partly to do with their targeting of Christians for particular tortures (the fact that the Christians were in prison in the first place was usually connected with their confession of religious belief).


Their aim was to convert to communism, not atheism.

I repeat, atheism is simply disbelief in gods, and involves no instructions to proselytize.

But you claim to be here to proselytize (posts available on request). Your atheism has no bearing on your decision to proselytize here? So it is just in your nature to try and change people's beliefs to your own, and if you happened to believe in the claims of Islam, we'd find you on forums trying to get people to confess no god but Allah?

If not, and actually your desire to proselytize is down to your firm conviction that there are no gods (atheism), then you have to concede that atheism does inspire people to proselytize, regardless of any "instructions". Remember, you said:

Quote:
I accept that many cruel despots have been atheists too, but their atheism did not inspire their cruelty


"Inspire", not "instruct". Atheism does not inspire people to proselytize?

Once you concede that atheism does inspire that, then it is obvious that certain people will be quite willing to use violence, threats and torture to carry out their proselytizing. After all, if you want to go down the route of there being "no instructions" in atheism to convert people, then it is also true that there are "no instructions" to leave people alone either. There are no instructios inherent in atheism at all either proscribing or prescribing behaviour. Therefore there is nothing within atheism telling people not to use violence against people to stop them believing in God. So, as I said, if atheism inspires anti-theism, then atheism in two simple steps can inspire cruelty and violence towards people of faith.

To say that atheism has nothing to do with communists' desire to persecute, torture and murder Christians smacks of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. By all means invoke it, but then don't be surprised if Christians invoke the same; after all, whilst Christianity has instructions to evangelize, it also plainly has instructions not to use violence or coercion (generally, not just specifically in evangelizing). Atheism doesn't have any such instructions against violence, so no claims can be made that an atheist being cruel to a Christian is not being a "real" atheist.
Leonard James

Believe whatever you like, JMC.

Atheism is simply disbelief in gods, and doesn't instruct anybody to proselytize.

That many atheists do so is off their own back ... not because atheism requires it.
JMC

Leonard James wrote:
Believe whatever you like, JMC.

Atheism is simply disbelief in gods, and doesn't instruct anybody to proselytize.

That many atheists do so is off their own back ... not because atheism requires it.


I'm not disputing any claims about requirements to proselytize (or lack thereof). I'm questioning your claim that religious beliefs, including Christianity have "inspired" cruelty and violence.

If you want to use the looser term "inspire" then the claim can just as equally be leveled at atheism too (but at least Christianity does have proscriptions against cruelty and violence, even if misplaced zeal might sometimes mean they have been contravened; atheism does not have such proscriptions).

A Christian who violently/cruelly tries to convert other people is "inspired" by his religious beliefs, but is simultaneously contravening his faith's own instructions upon using violence.

An atheist who violently tries to suppress religious belief is "inspired" by his own atheism, and what's more is not contravening any instructions required by being an atheist if he uses violence.
Shaker

JMC wrote:
If you want to use the looser term "inspire" then the claim can just as equally be leveled at atheism too (but at least Christianity does have proscriptions against cruelty and violence, even if misplaced zeal might sometimes mean they have been contravened; atheism does not have such proscriptions).

A Christian who violently/cruelly tries to convert other people is "inspired" by his religious beliefs, but is simultaneously contravening his faith's own instructions upon using violence.

An atheist who violently tries to suppress religious belief is "inspired" by his own atheism, and what's more is not contravening any instructions required by being an atheist if he uses violence.


Atheism has no proscriptions against violence, but neither does it have any injunction for it either. There's no reason why it would, any more than the list of ingredients on the side of a cereal box would, since as Leonard has repeatedly pointed out atheism is simply the term used to identify a specific lack of belief. It can't proscribe violence because there's no reason why it should - but nor can it inspire or enjoin violence because there's no basis in atheism alone to do so. It simply isn't there: atheism is perfectly and absolutely neutral in this regard, which you omitted to mention. Violent atheists have to have some other justification from somewhere else to be violent. As we've seen, it's usually the pursuit of power.

Which has also of course applied equally to those who claim religious belief of all brands  
JMC

If atheism can inspire anti-theism then atheism can inspire violence, because without doubt Christians have suffered due to their faith at the hands of people who wish to eradicate religion. It's not a simple one-step process of "I don't believe in gods, therefore people who do should change their beliefs or die", but then it's not a simple one-step process for people with religion who have used violence and cruelty either.

Leonard used the broad term "inspire", and with that word he cannot say religion inspires violence but atheism doesn't. He could have said that religion explicitly teaches the use of violence and cruelty to gain converts whereas atheism doesn't, but then that wouldn't be a strictly true statement because not all religions do (including Christianity).

To say that some religions have taught the use of cruelty and violence to gain converts is uncontroversial. To say, imprecisely, that "religious belief" in general has "inspired" violence but atheism hasn't is not justifiable.
Shaker

JMC wrote:
If atheism can inspire anti-theism then atheism can inspire violence, because without doubt Christians have suffered due to their faith at the hands of people who wish to eradicate religion. It's not a simple one-step process of "I don't believe in gods, therefore people who do should change their beliefs or die", but then it's not a simple one-step process for people with religion who have used violence and cruelty either.

Quite right - parity again, you see.

Quote:
Leonard used the broad term "inspire", and with that word he cannot say religion inspires violence but atheism doesn't.


Yes he can for the reason previously given - violence vis-a-vis atheism has to come from somewhere else other than atheism. There has to be an extra-atheistic source. You can no more get from "I don't believe any gods exist" to murder, massacre and mayhem than you can get from "I don't like tennis" to the same - there has to be an extra element from somewhere else.

There's no link between the lack of belief in gods and violence - it is, in the most literal sense of the phrase, a non sequitur, or, to put it another way, "You can't get there from here." Atheism and violence are two ends of a broken chain with a big gap in the middle - in short, unconnected. To bridge the gap you have to have the middle bit, that missing link in the chain, from somewhere else. It can be aggressive antitheism; it can be the overriding pursuit of secular power; it can be something or anything else. But what you can't do is get it from atheism alone, because atheism only claims one thing and that has nothing whatever to do with violence.
JMC

Shaker wrote:

But what you can't do is get it from atheism alone, because atheism only claims one thing and that has nothing whatever to do with violence.


Well the same can be said of theism. It seems that to be so strictly pedantic with the use of the term atheism renders any comparison with religious belief inappropriate. Which is what Leonard did.
Shaker

JMC wrote:
Well the same can be said of theism.

It could, but the person saying that would be wrong - as the example of rather too many Muslims, for example, demonstrates.

Quote:
It seems that to be so strictly pedantic with the use of the term atheism renders any comparison with religious belief inappropriate. Which is what Leonard did.

It always depends on context, I'd have thought?
JMC

Shaker wrote:
JMC wrote:
Well the same can be said of theism.

It could, but the person saying that would be wrong - as the example of rather too many Muslims, for example, demonstrates.


Theism and violence are two ends of a broken chain with a big gap in the middle - in short, unconnected. To bridge the gap you have to have the middle bit, that missing link in the chain, from somewhere else. It can be aggressive Islam; it can be the overriding pursuit of secular power; it can be something or anything else. But what you can't do is get it from theism alone, because theism only claims one thing and that has nothing whatever to do with violence.
Shaker

JMC wrote:
Theism and violence are two ends of a broken chain with a big gap in the middle

Not according to some of the texts I've read, they're not.

Quote:
theism only claims one thing

Theism claims a very great many things, many of them - perhaps most of them - mutually incompatible when compared between theists.

Deism only claims one thing.
JMC

Shaker wrote:
JMC wrote:
Theism and violence are two ends of a broken chain with a big gap in the middle

Not according to some of the texts I've read, they're not.


Theism is merely the belief in gods or a God. If you're wanting to use atheism in its broadest term - as you have done - then theism must be defined in its broadest term too. If you're wanting to reference a particular religion and its text under the umbrella of theism, then it is acceptable to reference a particular anti-theistic movement under the umbrella of atheism.

In both cases it is the same number of potential steps:

1) Theism --> a particular religious belief that advocates violence --> violence.

2) Atheism --> a particular secular movement that advocates violence ---> violence.

In the first instance you're citing Islam as a "particular religious belief", and in the second I am thinking of the numerous examples of Soviet-style communism as a "particular secular movement". What Leonard has done is compare "atheism" with "a particular (or a number of particular) religious belief(s)", which is not a like-for-like comparison.
Leonard James

JMC wrote:
What Leonard has done is compare "atheism" with "a particular (or a number of particular) religious belief(s)", which is not a like-for-like comparison.


What Leonard has done is point out that atheism has no edicts ... but religions do. Read any of their scriptures and you will learn that such is the case.
JMC

Leonard James wrote:
JMC wrote:
What Leonard has done is compare "atheism" with "a particular (or a number of particular) religious belief(s)", which is not a like-for-like comparison.


What Leonard has done is point out that atheism has no edicts ... but religions do.


.... which is not a like-for-like comparison. Theism (the actual opposite of atheism) is merely the belief in gods: there is nothing inherent in the term requiring theists to belong to a religion. Many - even most - do, but then the majority of atheists also have their own set of beliefs, and organizations, and secular philosophies too. To say that some of these atheistic groups have not explicitly instructed violent conversion is simply not true.

You may say - "well I'm not a communist, so I am not part of the violence taught by atheistic groups." Well, the majority of theists (probably all of us) on this board can say that they are not part of religions that teach the use of violence to convert people either. So it was an utterly fruitless point for you to make in the first-place.

To try and, for example, cite Islam as an example of theism inspiring the use of violence to convert people is no different from citing Soviet communism as an example of atheism doing the same.
Leonard James

JMC wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
JMC wrote:
What Leonard has done is compare "atheism" with "a particular (or a number of particular) religious belief(s)", which is not a like-for-like comparison.


What Leonard has done is point out that atheism has no edicts ... but religions do.


.... which is not a like-for-like comparison. Theism (the actual opposite of atheism) is merely the belief in gods: there is nothing inherent in the term requiring theists to belong to a religion. Many - even most - do, but then the majority of atheists also have their own set of beliefs, and organizations, and secular philosophies too. To say that some of these atheistic groups have not explicitly instructed violent conversion is simply not true.

You may say - "well I'm not a communist, so I am not part of the violence taught by atheistic groups." Well, the majority of theists (probably all of us) on this board can say that they are not part of religions that teach the use of violence to convert people either. So it was an utterly fruitless point for you to make in the first-place.

To try and, for example, cite Islam as an example of theism inspiring the use of violence to convert people is no different from citing Soviet communism as an example of atheism doing the same.


Further comment is pointless. We will have to agree to disagree.
JMC

Leonard James wrote:

Further comment is pointless. We will have to agree to disagree.


So you disagree that it isn't a like-for-like comparison to compare non-specific atheism with a specific type of theism (religion)?

I can't agree to disagree if you're not clear what specifically you're disagreeing with. Alternatively, if you just don't want to try and justify your original comments then just say that instead.  
Shaker

JMC wrote:
Theism is merely the belief in gods or a God.


No it isn't. That - again - is deism: the belief that a creator god exists, that and no more. No involvement with the cosmos.

Theism on the other hand is more specific: not only does a deity exist but - depending on religious tradition - is a personal and personalistic entity with an active engagement with and interest in the universe.

And, surprise surprise, a very specific interest in human beings especially, apparently  
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
JMC wrote:
Theism is merely the belief in gods or a God.


No it isn't. That - again - is deism: the belief that a creator god exists, that and no more. No involvement with the cosmos.

Theism on the other hand is more specific: not only does a deity exist but - depending on religious tradition - is a personal and personalistic entity with an active engagement with and interest in the universe.

And, surprise surprise, a very specific interest in human beings especially, apparently  


Interesting.

When defining atheism, it's all "etymology rules OK" - but with theism, atheists can apply all of their own attachments to the definition.
JMC

Quite. In any case, even with theism being defined as belief in a creator and ruler God (or gods), it is still not useful or fair to compare "religion" with "atheism", as religion is varied and just one (not necessarily inevitable) consequence of theism (c.a. all those "spiritual but not religious" types).

Therefore to compare a consequence of theism with "mere" atheism-which-means-no-belief-in-gods-and-nothing-else-whatsoever-thankyouverymuch is not a like for like comparison. This is what Leonard did, but he apparently disagrees that the comparison is unfair.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Interesting.

When defining atheism, it's all "etymology rules OK" - but with theism, atheists can apply all of their own attachments to the definition.

Atheism means a lack of belief in any gods. It's the opposite of theism, as JMC has already said.

Deism means a belief in an uninvolved, hands-off creating god - one present at the beginning to kick things off but with no further engagement thereafter.

Theism means a belief in at least one (can be more) personal, personalistic, involved and engaged deity.

These are the standard definitions of these words.

By all means, feel free to follow JMC's habitual practice of making a simple matter inordinately more complicated and certainly massively more tedious than it actually needs to be, but I'm quite happy to go along with custom, history and the majority understanding of three pretty clear terms, myself.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Interesting.

When defining atheism, it's all "etymology rules OK" - but with theism, atheists can apply all of their own attachments to the definition.

Atheism means a lack of belief in any gods. It's the opposite of theism, as JMC has already said.

Deism means a belief in an uninvolved, hands-off creating god - one present at the beginning to kick things off but with no further engagement thereafter.

Theism means a belief in at least one (can be more) personal, personalistic, involved and engaged deity.

These are the standard definitions of these words.

By all means, feel free to follow JMC's habitual practice of making a simple matter inordinately more complicated and certainly massively more tedious than it actually needs to be, but I'm quite happy to go along with custom, history and the majority understanding of three pretty clear terms, myself.


No, you can't shut down discussion just by saying that disagreement is too complicated!

I disagree that in practise Atheism simply means lack of belief in a god. By that definition, a tortoise would be an atheist.

A more realistic description of an atheist is a person who knows what is meant by "god" and has decided that there isn't one.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
A more realistic description of an atheist is a person who knows what is meant by "god" and has decided that there isn't one.

I for one don't know what's meant by "god" - that's why I'm a non-cognitivist. A word without referent or definition is just noise, and while some people have attempted to supply definitions for the word (there's still no referent, of course), there are so many of them, and they're so vastly different, and usually mutually incompatible, and certainly incoherent, that the word is meaningless.

As somebody or other once said, the less the concept "god" becomes incomprehensible the more it becomes absurd, and the less it becomes absurd the more incomprehensible it becomes.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
A more realistic description of an atheist is a person who knows what is meant by "god" and has decided that there isn't one.

I for one don't know what's meant by "god"


You have been using the word an awful lot for someone who has no idea what it means!
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
You have been using the word an awful lot for someone who has no idea what it means!

In the very long and so far fruitless attempt to get those who claim to believe in such a thing to explain precisely and clearly what they mean by it. Most of the time what comes out is the conceptual equivalent of candyfloss, but insofar as anybody occasionally gets a bit more concrete, Tom says this, Dick says this and Harry says that ... so I consider myself justified in forming the opinion that it's man-made, self-created verbiage in the first instance.
Shaker

Quote:
"The Atheist does not say 'There is no God,' but he says: 'I know not what you mean by God; I am without idea of God; the word 'God' is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation. I do not deny God, because I cannot deny that of which I have no conception, and the conception of which by its affirmer, is so imperfect that he is unable to define it to me'."


Charles Bradlaugh, 1864.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
You have been using the word an awful lot for someone who has no idea what it means!

In the very long and so far fruitless attempt to get those who claim to believe in such a thing to explain precisely and clearly what they mean by it. Most of the time what comes out is the conceptual equivalent of candyfloss, but insofar as anybody occasionally gets a bit more concrete, Tom says this, Dick says this and Harry says that ... so I consider myself justified in forming the opinion that it's man-made, self-created verbiage in the first instance.


Well, if I say that I believe in a First Cause, which unlike that which we observe, exists without being caused and which confers existence upon other things, and which continues to exist, and which has awareness.. I do not think you would struggle to realise that you could apply the noun 'god' to what I am describing. It is disingenuous of you to pretend you have absolutley no idea what people mean when they use the word (What? Is it an antelope of some sort? Or a kind of soup?)

Of course, people who believe in that thing have different ideas about what it wants and how it makes its wishes known, but that is neither here nor there.
genghiscant

cyberman wrote:
Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
You have been using the word an awful lot for someone who has no idea what it means!

In the very long and so far fruitless attempt to get those who claim to believe in such a thing to explain precisely and clearly what they mean by it. Most of the time what comes out is the conceptual equivalent of candyfloss, but insofar as anybody occasionally gets a bit more concrete, Tom says this, Dick says this and Harry says that ... so I consider myself justified in forming the opinion that it's man-made, self-created verbiage in the first instance.


Well, if I say that I believe in a First Cause, which unlike that which we observe, exists without being caused and which confers existence upon other things, and which continues to exist, and which has awareness.. I do not think you would struggle to realise that you could apply the noun 'god' to what I am describing. It is disingenuous of you to pretend you have absolutley no idea what people mean when they use the word (What? Is it an antelope of some sort? Or a kind of soup?)



Of course, people who believe in that thing have different ideas about what it wants and how it makes its wishes known, but that is neither here nor there.


Your description of god is bound to be different from other peoples description. There are probably as many descriptions as there are believers. You said on here once that god doesn't have arms & legs or kidneys. I've met people who picture exactly that.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Well, if I say that I believe in a First Cause, which unlike that which we observe, exists without being caused and which confers existence upon other things, and which continues to exist, and which has awareness.

... you will have all your work ahead of you demonstrating (1) that such a thing even exists in the first place and (2) that even if you fulfill condition (1) and that it does exist, that this First Cause is the sort of conscious, personalistic, bodiless person with likes and dislikes, preferences for this and that state of affairs which a great many theists mean when they use the word God (and not First Cause). If there even was such a thing as a First Cause, why should it be readily identifiable as a rather obviously super-inflated version of a human being with human emotions (pretty well all of them) rather than some entirely impersonal, neutral, abstract principle (which is what I would expect a First Cause to be) unless the whole kit and caboodle is a wholly man-made concept, a projection of entirely human characteristics?

For example, I see that "awareness" was quietly smuggled in there. Where did that come from and why? If I actually believed (I don't - I don't have any beliefs at all in this regard; I don't know anything and don't believe anything) that there was such a thing as a First Cause of the universe, I wouldn't/couldn't believe that that thing, that First Cause, was "aware" because I would immediately think to myself that that would be ruled out of court by being parochial and anthropocentric. I would be embarrassed to hold to such a position because I would take it to be so very painfully obviously a humanly-created idea - that the thing, whatever it may have been, which gave rise to the cosmos (if anything actually did, which we don't know) was "aware" in the way that I as a human being am aware.

It all strikes me as nothing more than exactly the sort of thing that this kind of mammal would cook up, just as you would expect if you know a little about the human species and know a bit of anthropology and psychology. As for those who think otherwise, I see absolutely no justification for that assumption whatsoever. Saying that a, or the, First Cause of the cosmos is "aware" strikes me as self-evidently ad hoc, some made-up whatsit drafted in at the beginning of the discussion simply to shore up the idea of an "aware," which is to say conscious, personal, personalistic deity, essentially a great big super-inflated human being, supernatural (that is to say, imagined to be not made of matter-energy as actual human beings are) but with all the human likes and dislikes, approvals and disapprobations, punishments and forgivings and all the rest of it with none of the apparatus which gives rise to them in humans.

Quote:
It is disingenuous of you to pretend you have absolutley no idea what people mean when they use the word (What? Is it an antelope of some sort? Or a kind of soup?)


Antelope and soup I'm rather familiar with. I had some soup last night, for example. I've never seen an antelope in the flesh, but I've seen many of them on the telly.

Without a similar level of apprehension of the concept as antelope and soup, "God" is just noise and remains so. If you're trying to explain an unfamiliar concept to somebody else who has no grasp of it then it's practically always possible to approach it by means of the familiar - that's to say by comparison with the known, through analogy, metaphor, simile and so forth, however rough-and-ready and imperfect these may be. But "God" is a perpetually moving target: even when those few who are able to do so try to put their case over by comparison with the familiar, it simply vanishes into thin air.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
But "God" is a perpetually moving target: even when those few who are able to do so try to put their case over by comparison with the familiar, it simply vanishes into thin air.


This simply isn't true. If someone presented you with a cup of tea, and called it God, and acte dlike that is what they usually think people mean when they say "God", it would certainly occur to you that this is different from what people usually mean when they say "God". If it were "just noise", then this could not be the case.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Well, if I say that I believe in a First Cause, which unlike that which we observe, exists without being caused and which confers existence upon other things, and which continues to exist, and which has awareness.

... you will have all your work ahead of you demonstrating (1) that such a thing even exists in the first place


To whom would I need to demonstrate that, and why?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
To whom would I need to demonstrate that

Anybody whom you expect to take your belief seriously.

Quote:
and why?

If you wish them to give your beliefs credence.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
This simply isn't true.

Sure it is. I've had the unfortunate experience of reading around enough theology to know that it is.

Quote:
If someone presented you with a cup of tea, and called it God, and acte dlike that is what they usually think people mean when they say "God", it would certainly occur to you that this is different from what people usually mean when they say "God". If it were "just noise", then this could not be the case.

Is that any different - in any way - to passing off a definition of "God" with such spurious twaddle as "being itself," "the ground of being," "the universe/cosmos itself", "nature" and similar, as a great many highly-regarded theologians past and present have done and do? Not as far as I can see.

If, when you refer to what people usually think they mean when they say "God", you mean a conscious, aware as you would have it, personal, personalistic, supernatural (non-matter/energy) entity with likes and dislikes, preferences for this or that state of affairs over this and that state of affairs - essentially a supernatural giant person with none of the apparatus that makes a person a person - then that's merely one of a huge array of different conceptions of a deity and a highly popular one (arguably the dominant one) amongst ordinary believers at large.

But that just makes it common, that's all. Hinduism, for example, acknowledges that while this sort of belief isn't "true," there are psychological reasons why so many people adhere to it, something that Christianity would do well to catch up on.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:


If, when you refer to what people usually think they mean when they say "God", you mean a conscious, aware as you would have it, personal, personalistic, supernatural (non-matter/energy) entity with likes and dislikes, preferences for this or that state of affairs over this and that state of affairs - essentially a supernatural giant person with none of the apparatus that makes a person a person - then that's merely one of a huge array of different conceptions of a deity and a highly popular one (arguably the dominant one) amongst ordinary believers at large.


Someone with a similar user name to yours recently said that they had no idea at all what people meant when they said 'God'. As far as he was concerned it was just noise.

Perhaps he would be interested to know from where you got all these ideas copied above! Unlike you, he would not have been able to list these things that people mean when they say God.
Ketty

Shaker wrote:

In the very long and so far fruitless attempt to get those who claim to believe in such a thing to explain precisely and clearly what they mean by it. Most of the time what comes out is the conceptual equivalent of candyfloss, ...


When an unbeliever wants to go beyond the concept of some big old beardy ex Jew and now Christian bloke up in the sky, the exercise must be fruitless.  We are trying to confine something that's not able to be confined by our limited human brains and our limited words and our limited understanding, and our limited intellect however imaginative or learned we are.  Looking through that limited lens, it must be like airy, fairy, woolly 'conceptual candyfloss' to explain Spirit and who is (The Lord) God (Almighty).  He just 'is'.  He is I AM.  He is Alpha and Omega: omnipresent,  omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent.

But we can know some of GOD through the Bible and in His human form of Christ Jesus - the Son of God made son of man, so that sons of men may become adopted sons of God.

Other people will have other explanations of other gods.
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Someone with a similar user name to yours recently said that they had no idea at all what people meant when they said 'God'. As far as he was concerned it was just noise.

Perhaps he would be interested to know from where you got all these ideas copied above! Unlike you, he would not have been able to list these things that people mean when they say God.

I remember that - perhaps you weren't paying attention when chappy with a similar user name to mine observed that that was just one interpretation of the word, one of countless different and more often than not mutually contradictory, mutually exclusive ones, because I distinctly remember that being said.

Given that there are in practical terms almost as many different definitions of the word as people to be asked, the lack of any consistent, coherent definition (i.e. one which isn't a constantly moving target; one which doesn't have all the structure and rigour of a Bird's trifle) is what makes it just noise. If I'm unfamiliar with a particular thing and ask around - ask people who claim to know what it is - and I receive not a consistent set of answers but any number of incredibly disparate, widely divergent answers (Tom says this, Dick, says this, Harry says that, and so forth) I'm going to conclude that nobody really knows what they're on about, and furthemore will conclude that the thing is likely to have no existence save in the minds of those people, hence the fact that they seem free to make up their own definitions of it just as it suits.

There's an old medical maxim to the effect that if there seem to be a great many different would-be "cures" for a particular condition (such as the common cold, for example, or maybe a hangover) you can pretty much take it as read that in fact there's no real cure, just a lot of folk remedies, old wives' tales and half-arsed wishing, guessing and hoping.

It looks to me very much as though that principle applies here as well.

Quote:
Perhaps he would be interested to know from where you got all these ideas copied above!

Perhaps he's read a lot, and in this regard specifically read a lot of what people have tried (and failed) to say and embarrassed themselves in attempting to explain this thingummy-whatsit-whatchamacallit they claim to believe in.

It's probably that.
Shaker

Ketty wrote:
He just 'is'.  He is I AM.  He is Alpha and Omega: omnipresent,  omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent.

Which of those attributes are you actually going for, since you patently can't have all of them simultaneously?
IvyOwl

But if the God concept is as you say:-

Quote:
We are trying to confine something that's not able to be confined by our limited human brains and our limited words and our limited understanding, and our limited intellect however imaginative or learned we are.


Then that makes anyones attempt at trying to define it as good or as bad as all others. There have been many attempts to explain the unknowable over all different cultures since the dawn of mankind. Since sentient creatures had the ability and time to look up and wonder they have come up with creative notions to answer the Big Question. (It would be interesting to know what the Neanderthals and others came up with. No doubt some of their notions lived on, to be honed and redefined, as do some of their genes)

But in saying:-
Quote:
But we can know some of GOD through the Bible and in His human form of Christ Jesus - the Son of God made son of man, so that sons of men may become adopted sons of God.


You are starting off from a big supposition ie that the God of the Bible is the only one that has any validity.

In saying that:-
Quote:
When an unbeliever wants to go beyond the concept of some big old beardy ex Jew and now Christian bloke up in the sky, the exercise must be fruitless.


You are being a tad disingenous. You may feel that as a believer you have gone 'beyond' but nevertheless that's where your jump off point is. You haven't gone so far beyond that you can ditch that version of God that came to you via 'limited human imaginations' at some point in the past. So you are already starting to define this great unknowable because you believe this to be 'The One'.

An atheist or non-Christian debating with a Christian on what the nature of God might be can hardly be blamed if they bring the OT Abrahmic God into it.

We don't know the answer to the Big Question If anyone wants to run with the notion of an indefinable 'God' as a prime cause fair enough but what I don't get is why on earth suppose that the OT God is it? Especially when you go on to say that even that God is 'unknowable'.
Ketty

Shaker wrote:
Which of those attributes are you actually going for, since you patently can't have all of them simultaneously?


I can't.  He can.  He's God.
Ketty

IvyOwl wrote:
You are starting off from a big supposition ie that the God of the Bible is the only one that has any validity.


You are starting from a demand that any other should have any validity for me.  They don't.  As I said: Other people will have other explanations of other gods.
IvyOwl

I'm not demanding any such thing ..... merely pointing things out. If you personally believe that the God depicted in the OT is the one true one then fair enough. It would seem that that God answers a deep need for you and gives your life purpose and meaning. I'm not trying to argue you out of that belief.

What I am pointing out is that as far as coming up with a definition of God 'I believe in something I can't fully understand or fathom' doesn't actually get us very far. I'd have said the same to a believer in any other God if they were playing the 'I can't define it' card during the course of a discussion as to what a God actually is.

Nothing to discuss if the terms are so ...... oh we're back to what Shaker said about Candyfloss notions.
Shaker

IvyOwl wrote:
There have been many attempts to explain the unknowable over all different cultures since the dawn of mankind.


All of them absolutely and utterly pointless, since you can't say anything at all about something deemed to be unknowable, including that such a thing even exists. Anything truly unknowable is just that - unknowable, including whether anything like that is even there in the first place. You won't know, because it's unknowable. You can, up to a point, say something about a thing which is partly unknowable - that gives you some purchase on the concept, even if only a little. But unknowability is just that - unknowability: and if you take the word on its face with its plain meaning, an unknowable thing is just that. Unknowable. Not only do you not know its attributes, you don't even know that it exists. You've just stated as much as soon as you invoked the concept of unknowability.

This might look like semantics, but it's a patent feature of reality. If something is unknowable, it's unknowable and you can't say anything at all about it including that it exists, because if it's unknowable, how do you know? If you claim that it exists it might be very mysterious but clearly not totally mysterious, because you think that something is there and something isn't completely unknowable.

Quote:
You are being a tad disingenous. You may feel that as a believer you have gone 'beyond' but nevertheless that's where your jump off point is. You haven't gone so far beyond that you can ditch that version of God that came to you via 'limited human imaginations' at some point in the past. So you are already starting to define this great unknowable because you believe this to be 'The One'.


Ketty

IvyOwl wrote:
I'm not trying to argue you out of that belief.


I didn't think you were.

IvyOwl wrote:
oh we're back to what Shaker said about Candyfloss notions.


Well, yes.  I agreed with the idea that to unbelievers and looking through your lens it must be like airy, fairy, woolly 'conceptual candyfloss'.  It's bound to be.  As the Bible tells us:  But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognising, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
To whom would I need to demonstrate that

Anybody whom you expect to take your belief seriously.

.


And why would I need them to do that, when all I am doing is talking about the meanings of the words I am using, and not about whether my beliefs are correct or not?

It is almost as though you completely forgot what we were talking about, and succumbed to a knee-jerk response!

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