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The Awful Truth


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Initial post: 25 Jul 2013 11:31:05 BDT
AJ Murray says:
We often see statements being made here, by Christians mostly, to the effect that God is non-physical:

"...science only examines and addresses the physical, it is most unlikely to find any non-physical answers."

This is one of those times when you want to ask what the hell the person thinks they are talking about since this category that they have plucked from thin-air has no real substance. What is non-physical? The usual answer is that it is composed of spirit. So what is spirit? It's non-physical apparently. We never get to the heart of this and so this attribute never quite reaches the level of an explanation. One assumes that the person speaking has some ontological basis for their declaration, yet there is never any reasoning given as to *how* they would acquire this knowledge that their deity has this particular attribute. Is this knowledge sucked out of one's thumb?

What it is really, is a bolthole. An excuse. A rationalisation of why their deity is so lacking in evidence and so blatantly unevident in the real world. It is offered as a escape hatch in any discussion in which the sceptic points out that there is no evidence for their deity.

When you read any scripture all the actions attributed to these deities are entirely played out in the physical realm. That is kind of the whole point of deities, because there is little call for a deity that does bugger all. Jesus walks on water, turns water into wine (not at the same time obviously), Geb's laughter causes earthquakes and for the writers of these scriptures they did not conceive of non-evident deities since they believed them to be something intimately involved with this physical world. Their actions were physical. The universe as imagined in scriptures is one in which magical events by these deities are commonplace everyday occurrences. They are entirely natural to the universe.

The awful truth is that this conception of a universe has been discarded by the assiduous study of reality around us. If it were true that deities tinkered with the physical realm in such a fashion, these occurrences would be considered by science as natural and would be catalogued and incorporated purely as a matter of course into every theory and description of the world around us.

The fact is that they have not. The reason for this is that they do not occur. What the believer actually has are stories, lots of anecdotes, rumours and hearsay elevated to the status of fact through constant repetition and fervent belief. What we see is that stories outwith their chosen religion are treated sceptically, whereas those clothed in the vestments of their faith are accepted uncritically even though there is little difference between the two.

It seems bizarre that so much of religious belief is maintained on there being some unknown substance that could possibly be a enabler for their beliefs, yet since it is unknown, what then are their beliefs really based upon? In reality it is the beliefs that come first and these fanciful notions are an afterthought, some post-hoc rationalisation offered as justification for why they should believe as they do.

So the next time someone mentions the non-physical aspect of their preferred deity, question the speaker, chase down this definition of what they are talking about because you will find in the end that they are merely assuming their conclusion as it is a key element of their worldview that it *must* be true. It is not a conclusion reached through reason, nor through investigation, but one assumed because they have no other recourse.

In the end though, we can simply dismiss all these beliefs in deities because they are just a story. Nothing more substantial than that. When someone threatens me with Hell, or Satan, it has no more impact than someone threatening me with Klingons or Darth Vader. These are characters from stories, of no more substance than a deity.

It's just a story.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 14:01:26 BDT
Stu says:
very true AJ,but have we not been telling the theists this very same thing since this forum was opened?What do they say to us in return? Yes you have it AJ evidence do they not? Yet it should be them giving us the empirical evidence of this so called god who was supposed to have created earth,and man then in his own likeness well he must have been a very funny looking non existent chap must he not to be white black yellow? is he striped?

Posted on 25 Jul 2013 14:13:52 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 4 Aug 2013 12:03:41 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 14:18:54 BDT
Stu says:
both very very sad yet funny at the same time bellatori,which to me is a shame in a way

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 14:29:08 BDT
Drew Jones says:
IIRC what she actually suggested is that her god won't play ball if he is being tested, I imagine that this isn't restricted to just scientists but sceptics generally looking out for a consistent or significant change in the data.

Under this idea prayer, with it's expectation is a test her god won't attend to and is itself redundant. Or, at least, you have to expect it to be ineffective for it to have any chance of being effective.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 17:25:55 BDT
AJ Murray says:
stu,

On balance it does appear that just as atheists lack belief, theists lack evidence. Otherwise we would inundated with so many hard facts that could be tied specifically to whatever deity is believed in. Where it approaches the absurd is when an inventive excuse for this inability to produce evidence is whipped up; this deity is non-physical, that deity is non-empirical, it's a special kind of deity that does physical things but through unknown means!

Which prompts the questions of how they know this? It is certainly not through examination and how would they know if this deity did anything at all? How can they distinguish between a deity existing and a deity not existing. Something non-existent doesn't leave evidence either.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 17:47:49 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Bellatori,

I suspect that when they heard they were being prayed for they must have thought they were even worse shape than they had initially thought, a sort of reverse placebo effect.

To be honest i'm finding it hard to find an upside for Christians in this:

1. God is aware that people are investigating the possibility of providing suggestive evidence of its existence.

2. A positive result would quite possibly represent the best argument in favour for following the teachings of Christianity

3. and devotees armed with such facts could bring into the fold God knows how many lost souls that would previously end up in torment.

So with all that in mind God decides deliberately not to intervene on the behalf of these praying Christians in order to uh.. what?

Prove it's homologous to a non-existent being?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 17:49:41 BDT
AJ Murray says:
But where does the idea that her God mustn't be tested come from?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:01:13 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 4 Aug 2013 12:03:45 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:11:22 BDT
O.Binladen says:
Tom M is going to have a fit, then tell you how dumb you are, Diane is going to ask you for empirical evidence, though she won't know what for, Bradders will point out that gay men are despised by god, Slade will make a snide comment about you personally with no real attempt to engage your post, they'll all talk about abortion using words like murder, and babies, but the truth is that your post is entirely factually correct.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:14:17 BDT
O.Binladen says:
You'll notice of course that god may test us, one is reminded of the appalling treatment meted out to Job, just for a bet, even though god knows we exist, and has nothing to gain from it. However, we may not test god, according to Diane, though she becomes fairly reticent when asked why, usually resorting to snorts of derision.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:25:28 BDT
J Doyle says:
It is handy therefore that the Bible does indeed include a test for God. See 1 Kings 18:16-40.

Then [the prophets of Baal] called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "Baal, answer
us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around
the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he
is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened."

So where is the Christian god? Is he deep in thought, busy or travelling? Maybe he too is asleep?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:28:17 BDT
AJ Murray says:
It's in the Bible. Meh. It's just a story.

Interesting how much evidence was allegedly around when people could barely tell their asses from their elbows. This deity had no reservations about whupping up a miracle or three upon demand back then. He even let Thomas finger him until he was satisfied. Back then, when there was no reliable way of recording such things.

These days. Not so much.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:37:28 BDT
Stu says:
very tru OB and tom m has left a huge post having a go at mrs shaw on the kids in oaklahoma thread,just as my visitors come with their two children who were the most misbehaved children i know,and i am glad they have just gone peace returns

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:42:25 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 18:52:46 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 26 Jul 2013 09:10:54 BDT]

Posted on 25 Jul 2013 19:08:40 BDT
DB says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:17:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Jul 2013 19:40:11 BDT
Withnail says:
That's a bit of a leap. Go ahead and join up the dots.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:20:33 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 4 Aug 2013 12:03:48 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:21:21 BDT
AJ Murray says:
*sighs*

Yes dear.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:22:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Jul 2013 19:23:18 BDT
O.Binladen says:
Did it occur to anyone within the church to point out to those priests they would go to hell? Or threaten to excommunicate them, to speed the process along.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:22:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Jul 2013 19:24:47 BDT
O.Binladen says:
So you're saying that your non-belief in unicorns is a faith? Wow. You have lot's of different faiths then? One for each thing you don't believe exists, but can't provide empirical evidence for the non existence of, which is everything, as it's impossible to prove a negative.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:32:48 BDT
AJ Murray says:
That chap, Rev Gerald MC Fitzgerald, did actually recommend that these priests be excommunicated but apparently the Vatican disagreed. You have do something much worse that systemic child rape to get automatically struck off, like ordinating women.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:34:58 BDT
Stu says:
you didnt mention the mermaids OB

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2013 19:37:37 BDT
Stu says:
like threaten to tell the papers what the vatican does behind closed doors
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  314
Initial post:  25 Jul 2013
Latest post:  2 Aug 2013

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