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What did you expect!!!!


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Showing 26-50 of 67 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2007 16:19:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jul 2007 21:06:15 BDT
Susan says:
EB,

I went the other way, from church going anglican to atheist (as did my wife who came from the catholic direction). I don't feel defensive and i am fairly open with my position to those who ask although I don't discuss it in situations were i might be considered "in authority" such as with undergraduate students- I would much rather encourage people to think for themselves. Also i would say that I felt more afraid as a believer as i was always concerned by the fact that there was obviously an arbitariness about my beliefs based on what my parents our guardians fed me as a child. I would also disagree (as a parent) that children are "spiritual" they certainly rely on their parents to be told about things they should know, fire burns etc. If you tell them supernatural forces exists then sure, they will have a supernatural "sense", but this proves nothing to me.

I have been trying to think whether I used to look down on atheists or not. I suspect that my belief was very personal and therefore I felt what others felt did not matter to me. I also remember feeling that atheists were kind of spoiling the party, but then I never proselytised or tried to tell others what to think. Lets face it the current atheism is mostly a response to current political manifestations of religion, something that concerns me enough to post here.

all the best

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2007 23:49:38 BDT
J. Kinory says:
"My point is that it is rude, arrogant and pointless to question someone's intelligence based on their beliefs - I believe in opening up debate and exploring what and how other people think. I don't think this is even a matter of faith, just intelligent thinking and good manners"

My point was that saying "I don't question people's intelligence, because I am a Christian" doesn't seem to me consistent with the fact that plenty of Christians do question atheists' intelligence. I can't see, therefore, how being a Christian has any bearing on this particular issue.

Let's take your position to an absurd or extreme point, in order to test it. If someone insists on crossing red lights because they believe they are impregnable, would you or would you not question their intelligence?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2007 08:27:18 BDT
S. Gilmore says:
J. Kinory, I was agreeing with you when I said that I don't think that it's a matter of faith to not question other people's intelligence. Of course lots of people will say other people are stupid simply because they disagree with them - but as I said that is rude and arrogant.

I'd also remind you that plenty of atheists question Christians' intelligence (Prof Dawkins appears to be one of them). But this (from whichever side it comes) closes off debate - any argument can be ended with 'you just don't understand, you don't know how to think' or similar comments.

About the red lights example, I don't know that it would be their intelligence I'd be questioning, more likely their sanity...

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2007 10:06:08 BDT
Dear Mr Halsall,

I appreciate your response. My family have had similar experiences to you, in the sense that my mother, who was a frequent church attender, is now an atheist, as is my father. Niether of them discussed relgion with me as a child, as they wanted me to come to my own conclusions. As a child, I did have spiritual experiences, but did not recognise these as such until I became an adult. Obviously I don't expect you to agree, since our experiences are our own.I do appreciate your comments, however and wish you all the best.

God bless
Esther

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2007 10:22:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jul 2007 11:45:32 BDT
Dear J Kinory,

being a Christian has every bearing in this case. I follow the teachings of Jesus, in that we should be humble and try not to judge others. I do not speak for all Christians, since I also, have been made to feel inferior by many so- called Chrisitans, who are more arrogent then some atheists.

In response to your "absurd or extreme point" I am only human and do not pretend to be otherwise. I am sure that my automatic reaction might be "what on earth?" I'll let you know when it happens! I am not claiming that I never judge people- that would be a lie, but I do try not to, or I do at least question myself about my judgements. Treat others as you would like to be treated is something that I try to adhere to. Again, I cannot speak for other Christians.

God bless
Esther

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2007 16:23:30 BDT
Alan Davies says:
I prefer Carl Sagan's assault on the religious myself, but having said that I've read six of Dawkin's books and though making no pretence to have understood them all completely, I still admire his stance, right or wrong. Of course, the assault is upon the monotheistic cults of the the Middle East upon which our Western culture has been based, not forgetting the modern rise of Islamic fundamentalism as well. They are all based on myth, forgery, mistranslation, misinterpretation and downright lies, mostly with the aim of consolidating power over the gullible and the incredulous. Incidentally, I've read many books about religion over the years so I have an inkling of the standpoint of both camps. If any religion does appeal to me then I would adopt the Buddhist standpoint that postulates no god as such, but the development of a true human being. It's not perfect either, but one thing in its favour is that in its 2500 year history it has never persecuted anyone or burnt them at the stake. Neither does it advocate the flying of aeroplanes into tall buildings. It too may be false, but it's the best I've come across. The religion of the scientific age as Einstein himself called it.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jul 2007 14:42:19 BDT
office_tramp says:
I think that rather proves the athiest's point that being religious does not - de facto - make anyone a better person.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jul 2007 14:57:00 BDT
I would like to try to understand in what sense you can possibly interpret what I said to mean that Religion does not make anyone a better person? Did you actually read my post? If everyone did try to follow Christianity in a true sense and not just to meet their own agenda, they might then be better people. I don't expect you to suddenly change your mind, but I would appreciate it if you took the time and effort to read what I have written, just as I have read your posts. I do find it interesting that you seem so determined to dismiss any points I have made. That's fine, it's your choice. I know that I have peace in my life and I only really began to feel that when I accepted that God was real.

When I stated that we all judge people, this is true, but God is loving and does not expect us to be perfect. He alwasy forgives us when we ask Him to.

God bless you. Please try not to respond in anger if you want to protest at my comments. Believe me, I feel no anger towards non believers. As I have stated before, I used to be one.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jul 2007 13:38:28 BDT
office_tramp says:
"I follow the teachings of Jesus, in that we should be humble and try not to judge others. I do not speak for all Christians, since I also, have been made to feel inferior by many so- called Christians, who are more arrogant then some atheists."

That was the bit I was replying to - but it was a point that has been made by others on here as well, so it was a kind of collective reply. I am not attempting to be dismissive or making this personal in any way and am definitely not going to be posting anything in anger! My point was that as an atheist I see a lot of people who's professed religious belief seems not to have any baring on there actual behaviour - which I feel tends to reinforce my position. All self confessed Christians would say that they also 'followed the teachings of Jesus' on the understanding that this meant they must behave in a humble and non-judgemental way, and then proceed to behave in exactly the opposite way! This lack of self awareness usually manifests itself in the kind of arrogance you were talking about having to put up with, and that i am all to familiar with. But they all THINK they are the 'true Christians'.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jul 2007 16:04:22 BDT
I agree with that. I think far too many people call themsleves Christians, becasue they go to church, but then behave badly to others. I am not an angel and don't profess to be, but I am not going to deny that some religious people do have a total lack of self awareness. Churches are often led by men and men are weak. It is God who we should look to for guidence, not men.

God bless
Esther

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2007 08:57:54 BDT
I wanted to comment on this sentence:

"I don't mind if people don't believe in God, but leave all us believers alone."

It would be great if such a truce was possible, and some people (even the religious ones) believe there's this sharp distinction between a set of religious beliefs and the real world. Presumably because God isn't really "here" or "outside" our cosmos.

However, as especially Sam Harris (The End of Faith) has demonstrated, when you have (religious) assumptions about the true working of life, the universe and all that, those assumptions will definitely have real-life consequences. As Harris asks in his book: would those suicide bombers really have done their deed if they DIDN'T believe in a life after death? Would the families having lost a sucidide bomber son really be so ecstatically happy had they NOT believed in life after death?

Religious people and their equally faith-driven political ideologues have never in the history of humanity left anyone alone. They have, in varying levels of aggressiveness, impacted the lives of those around them. Some limiting their influence (in modern times) to simply preaching and proselytizing, and in older times - and presently in Sharia driven countries like Iran and the Saudi Arabia - murder, torture and conquest is on the menu.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2007 00:59:08 BDT
Chiquita says:
Bezerus Bezby,

I wonder why you keep coming back to the fact that you used to be an atheist? Why do you consider this significant? If I said I used to be a Christian and am now an atheist, would it lend more authority to my position?

I also read Alister McGrath's Dawkin's Delusion, and it seemed rather intransient and unsatisfying. Ultimately the arguments, rather than building a case for belief, answered Dawkin's points with none of the logic or coherence I would have hoped for. Its seems the best argument that believers can come up with is that they have "faith" and "know/feel" God in a way that non believers can never hope to, this enables them to transend all logic and reason and the scientific need for proof.

Ok then -- I believe in the belief that God does not exist and no one who believes can experience what it is like unless they also do not have belief, res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself and proof is self evident).

Bless you in the name of Deep Space Nine.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2007 07:08:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Aug 2007 20:09:51 BDT
J. Kristensen

"As Harris asks in his book: would those suicide bombers really have done their deed if they DIDN'T believe in a life after death? Would the families having lost a sucidide bomber son really be so ecstatically happy had they NOT believed in life after death?"

In all probability, yes. They would have found something else to believe in - and die for. It is not the specific content of their beliefs which leads people to commit such acts. It is the type of people they are.

It is naive to suppose that, if all religion were abolished tomorrow, all atrocities would cease.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2007 07:36:28 BDT
Hello John

It may be overly simplistic to suggest that if religion were abolished tomorrow, all atrocities would cease, but I don't believe that RD is suggesting that. I do believe it is ignoring the evidence of history to suggest that "It is not the specific content of their beliefs which lead people to commit such acts." Whilst the powerful may have manipulated (and continue to manipulate) the general populace through their beliefs for more material ends (land, dominance etc), those specific beliefs and their propagation have nevertheless been extremely powerful motivators. Yes, it is the kind of people they are. No, religion alone cannot be held responsible for the suffering of millions down the years, but it is not naive to argue that if our approach to life was more rational, less based on superstition, then at least one of the weapons used by the unscrupulous would become much less useful.

But we've been here before with this debate...!

'Jean'

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2007 08:12:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Aug 2007 17:30:23 BDT
Hello 'Jean',

"Whilst the powerful may have manipulated (and continue to manipulate) the general populace through their beliefs for more material ends (land, dominance etc), those specific beliefs and their propagation have nevertheless been extremely powerful motivators."

Certainly. But my point is that, if it had not been these specific beliefs, it would probably have been other beliefs.

99.9% of the people who share the suicide bombers' beliefs about the desirability of martyrdom do not become suicide bombers. Because they are not the kind of people who become suicide bombers. The manipulators, of all persuasions, know which people to recruit.

John

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2007 22:29:04 BDT
Hi John

Sorry, I'd not picked up on the 'suicide bomber' specific in this debate. My previous points are about the use/abuse of religion in general, though my tendency is to recall the troubles in Ulster.

I don't believe that religion is solely responsible for the atrocities committed in its name. However, I do believe it is a contributory factor. Nor do I believe is it as simple as the recruitment of the vulnerable to a non-relgious cause. Nor do I believe that only the powerful are to blame for the ills of the world.

The most obvious analogy is with the rise of Nazism in the Thirties. A large enough proportion of the ordinary population was sufficiently convinced by the 'policies' of the National Socialists to vote them in. The climate of anti-semitism could be capitalised upon because it has been an integral part of European history. The fact that not everyone was anti-semitic because of the argument that 'the Jews killed Jesis' does not detract from its use in history as a motivator for many. The popularity of simplistic ideals and beliefs, including religious ones, meant that atrocities were possible, were tolerated by many and have created a mindset that remains prevalent. Not everywhere, and not in all strata of all societies, but still with sufficient strength to convince some that the promise of eternal life is worth dying for: the religious believe this themselves - look at the arguments being put forward in other threads that it is not how you live your life that matters, but that you embrace God/Jesus, join his gang, acknowledge your sinfulness and heaven is yours. It's been a powerful argument for hundreds of years. The fact that it has been associated with social and political struggles does not undermine its power. Whilst I can think of one or two reasons for which I might die (defending family etc), I don't think the list is long - not as long as you imply.

'Jean'

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2007 22:43:09 BDT
You bet indeed. I won't be reading Mcgrath as it's had terrible reviews!

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2007 22:46:25 BDT
Very true indeed. What makes people religious? Other people!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2007 11:06:41 BDT
K. D. Giles says:
Dear E.Beresford,
Re> I would choose not to make personal comments about an individual's intelligence whom I have never met.
Does that mean that if you heard of someone that was adamant that they had pixies living in their fridge, that you would accept this as a possibly rational belief until you had a chance to examine them personally?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2007 12:49:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Aug 2007 12:52:08 BDT
office_tramp says:
K.D. Giles

But what if 20 million other people were also convinced about E.Beresford's fridge pixies? What if an incredibly powerful and wealthy multi-national corporation depended totally on that belief to exist? It wouldn't look so silly and irrational then...

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2007 13:14:25 BDT
S. ASHLEY says:
Dear Mrs Corcoran - As a beliver in God and the risen Jesus Christ - I feel that it is imperative that any beliver should read Mr. Dawkins publications. The reason for this is that how can one defend thier faith when they don't keep up with the pre-suppositions of this World. A verse in scripture found in the book of Peter read: "Be at ALL times in a position to give an account for the hope that is in you. Unfortunately we live in a very controlled, humanistic and materialistic world that has a bias towards Evolution. As a Christian I am actually really happy that Mr. Dawkins published the God delusion, for example - how can someone have the stupidity to comepared having a belief in God to that of santa claus. You tell me how many people you know that came to faith in santa claus in their mid teens - 20's 30's 40's? I know of many people that have came to know Christ! Mr. Dawkins is a fantastic orator but this time takes a step too far. For me, anyone whether believer or non should read this book - it is a shambles.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2007 13:34:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Aug 2007 15:16:03 BDT
Mr H says:
S ASHLEY

"I know of many people that have came to know Christ!"

They don't know christ. Neither do you.

You only know what other people have told you and what other people have written down, which can be clearly demonstrated to be at best grossly unreliable.

Everything any believer knows of god, christ, the holy spirit, etc, has come from someone else initially, and then through interpretation of everyday events from a misguided viewpoint.

Any and every so called spiritual event, can be explained without the need for god.

No one "knows" christ.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2007 17:57:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Aug 2007 18:32:56 BDT
John Coats says:
Hi, 'Jean'.

"The most obvious analogy is with the rise of Nazism in the Thirties. A large enough proportion of the ordinary population was sufficiently convinced by the 'policies' of the National Socialists to vote them in."

Absolutely. And the interesting thing about this movement is that it was, at least nominally, secular. It is true that Hitler and his 'production' people used techniques more usually associated with religion (mass rallies, processions, an Aryan pseudo-mythology, chanting, icons etc.). But this only goes to prove my point. People who are searching for something to believe in will accept any old codswallop - and many will even be prepared to die for it.

But it is worthy of note that, just as only a minuscule minority of Muslims become suicide-bombers (their psychological profiles are very interesting), so also among the Christians - who all believe, in theory, that martyrdom for the faith is Good Thing - there are vanishingly few who actively seek martyrdom. There are, proportionately, probably no more religious martyrs than there are political martyrs.

John

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2007 21:34:36 BDT
E. Hyde

"No one "knows" christ."

How do you know?

John

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2007 21:59:15 BDT
Mr H says:
J Coats,

You are kidding, right?
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Discussion in:  The God Delusion forum
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Total posts:  67
Initial post:  3 Jul 2007
Latest post:  1 Apr 2014

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Paperback - 21 May 2007)
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