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Thread: The God Thread

  1. #21

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus

    Thats more of a Catholic view really and not very convincing. Why are the majority of religious people not tearing each other part?, why are the majority living in peace with each other?.
    No, it is very much a Christian idea Seamus, ask a Baptist or a Methodist. The Christian world view makes little sense with original sin, it makes NO sense without it.
    Isn't there enough violence stemming from religion in the world to make you think there may be an issue? Ireland, India, the Middle East, Bosnia and Herzegovina for example have seen plenty of deaths based on religious bigotry and hatred in relatively recent history. You don't have to go back to the Crusades or the Inquisition.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus
    The vast majority do not want to kill each other!. The main bone of contention between the 2 nations is land. People in wars over the years have killed in other causes like nationalism - as i said before religion does not cause war, it is the power crazed leaders that do.
    Religion fuels the fire when it comes to fighting over resources or territory, as I've said before there is nothing quite like it when you need a reason to whip up hatred, even if your main objective is the acquisition of territory or wealth.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus
    Lame? - you asked for proof about the good work that is done in the name of religion and I have told you about some projects on my doorstep!. As i have already pointed out this is part of a network across the world. I understand the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and how their vast wealth could help eleviate world poverty but the church does not follow the true word of God as Jesus told rich people to give all their possessions away.
    I call it lame not just because the church is dripping with wealth and could do so much more to help, but because they claim to be God's representative on Earth. Seems like the state does more than God for the poor and sick these days. Religious organisations exist primarily to grow their numbers and increase their influence on the wider world. They aint a force for good, if you have some time watch this highly entertaining debate about this very subject.
    Beats a political debate any day!



    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus
    But you dont know the true figures, you're just using assumptions..
    Well even the Pope estimates there are around 2% (8000) paedophile Catholic priests in the church. I guess that figure is low for obvious reasons, its not great publicity for the church being the main one. I'd also say there are other factors at work here though - RC priests can't have sex with women meaning there is a greater chance of sexual deviancy developing, and some may join the priesthood for the very reason that they have a ready supply of children who can be abused in an environment that is fairly safe for the abuser. The child can be silenced with threats of punishment from God, and even if the abuse is exposed the church has a history of covering it up.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus
    The only people pulling the strings of the U.S President is the Oil Lobby, however I do agree that the Tea Party Republicans are a bunch that needs to be watched closely - they are Christian extremists.
    I think you underestimate the strength of religious influence in American politics, it has a lot of power. I'm not saying religion should be banned or that religious people are idiots. What I'm saying is religion should be challenged and exposed by educated non believers at every opportunity, to progress the work of reducing its influence in the world. The more voices that challenge these myths the more chance people will start to live their lives based on observable reality, and not on stories in holy books written thousands of years ago. That has to be a good thing, right?
    He's magic you kno-oow, Mauricio Poch-ett-ino!

  2. #22

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    No, it is very much a Christian idea Seamus, ask a Baptist or a Methodist. The Christian world view makes little sense with original sin, it makes NO sense without it.
    Isn't there enough violence stemming from religion in the world to make you think there may be an issue? Ireland, India, the Middle East, Bosnia and Herzegovina for example have seen plenty of deaths based on religious bigotry and hatred in relatively recent history. You don't have to go back to the Crusades or the Inquisition.
    The wars you mention were about land and governance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    I call it lame not just because the church is dripping with wealth and could do so much more to help, but because they claim to be God's representative on Earth. Seems like the state does more than God for the poor and sick these days. Religious organisations exist primarily to grow their numbers and increase their influence on the wider world. They aint a force for good, if you have some time watch this highly entertaining debate about this very subject.
    Beats a political debate any day!
    You are dismissing all the good works that are done in the name of religion, have you ever heard of church based charities like the Salvation Army?! - there are thousands of charities that are affiliated with religious organizations across the world. There are good and bad sides to religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    Well even the Pope estimates there are around 2% (8000) paedophile Catholic priests in the church. I guess that figure is low for obvious reasons, its not great publicity for the church being the main one. I'd also say there are other factors at work here though - RC priests can't have sex with women meaning there is a greater chance of sexual deviancy developing, and some may join the priesthood for the very reason that they have a ready supply of children who can be abused in an environment that is fairly safe for the abuser. The child can be silenced with threats of punishment from God, and even if the abuse is exposed the church has a history of covering it up.
    So now you are willing to believe what the pope says?. This is still all assumptions. There are sexual abuse scandals in the Police Force, Teaching, Care Homes and Government. There are also cover ups, Just look at the recent cases with Jimmy Saville, Cyril Smith and Leon Brittain. You make it sound as if the church is a huge Peadophile network!. You suggestion that Catholicism makes people Peadophiles is full of holes - maybe the Police should investigate all virgins?!.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    I think you underestimate the strength of religious influence in American politics, it has a lot of power. I'm not saying religion should be banned or that religious people are idiots. What I'm saying is religion should be challenged and exposed by educated non believers at every opportunity, to progress the work of reducing its influence in the world. The more voices that challenge these myths the more chance people will start to live their lives based on observable reality, and not on stories in holy books written thousands of years ago. That has to be a good thing, right?
    The vast majority of people who follow religion do not follow what is written in the Bible literally do they?. How many Christians do you know that are involved in stoning gay people and selling their kids into slavery?. People follow the bits that they like - usually the acceptable bits about helping others. There are of course those Tea Party weirdos in America talking crap about religion but every time the likes of Bachmann and Perry open their mouths the nation groans any even the religious Americans see through it. Their support is not the religious but the rich and since you are fond of the words of Christopher Hitchens here are the words of another Philosopher famed for his attacks on the church - Voltaire 'When it comes to money, everyone is of the same religion'.

  3. #23

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus

    The wars you mention were about land and governance.
    You're saying religion had nothing to do with those conflicts? Nonsense, don't ignore facts in order to score points on a discussion forum.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus
    You are dismissing all the good works that are done in the name of religion, have you ever heard of church based charities like the Salvation Army?! - there are thousands of charities that are affiliated with religious organizations across the world. There are good and bad sides to religion.
    Yep, Hamas does humanitarian stuff as well, don't ask me to be impressed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus
    So now you are willing to believe what the pope says?. This is still all assumptions. There are sexual abuse scandals in the Police Force, Teaching, Care Homes and Government. There are also cover ups, Just look at the recent cases with Jimmy Saville, Cyril Smith and Leon Brittain. You make it sound as if the church is a huge Peadophile network!. You suggestion that Catholicism makes people Peadophiles is full of holes - maybe the Police should investigate all virgins?!..
    No, you didn't read my post. I don't believe what he says. Where are you going with secular comparisons? Isn't the church meant to be Jesus on Earth? The church claims to be led by the Holy Spirit, raping children should be at 0%, there isn't a tolerance level.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus
    The vast majority of people who follow religion do not follow what is written in the Bible literally do they?. How many Christians do you know that are involved in stoning gay people and selling their kids into slavery?. People follow the bits that they like - usually the acceptable bits about helping others. There are of course those Tea Party weirdos in America talking crap about religion but every time the likes of Bachmann and Perry open their mouths the nation groans any even the religious Americans see through it. Their support is not the religious but the rich and since you are fond of the words of Christopher Hitchens here are the words of another Philosopher famed for his attacks on the church - Voltaire 'When it comes to money, everyone is of the same religion'.
    I absolutely agree that Christians pick and choose the verses in the bible that suits their concept of God. I absolutely agree that everyone is motivated by money. Your point is?
    He's magic you kno-oow, Mauricio Poch-ett-ino!

  4. #24

    Re: The God Thread

    Motivated by money and Power.

  5. #25

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    I'm not saying secular ideologies will lead to sunshine and lollipops for all Yeek, the point I'm making is that religion fosters division and bigotry, and as I've said there is nothing that can whip up hatred quite like religion can. From my point of view all religions are fiction - you can understand people fighting over territory and resources, but fighting over an invisible agent (whose nature varies depending on your flavour of religion, and none of them agree) is insanity. You have to concede that if what you believe about Jesus is false, your religion is not just utterly worthless, it is actually harmful. The same goes for every other religion of course.
    What about your current ideology about the eradication of religions? Is it one of peace? Can you not detect the irony of secularism perpetuating and fostering the very division and bigotry towards the religious in an apparent concern for "peace"? Most wars are a coming together of many, many factors. If you studied the causes of World War II you will note the mixture of an absurd Treaty of Versailles, Rise of Hitler in a weak Weimar Republic, and lots of other things. Most "religious wars" have little to with religion. How much of what happens in North Ireland is actually religious? Do they argue over the doctrine of baptism for example?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    The statistics indicate a decline in the Christian religion in first world countries, I believe that is mainly down to people having exposure to secular education, but also down to a greater understanding of how religions originate, and a greater understanding of ourselves (human psychology, how our brains work etc.). Also, a lot of Christian claims or biblical claims have been strongly challenged by secular scholars over the years, and the flaws have been exposed. The trouble is vast swathes of humanity never get a chance to at least explore other ideas about the origins of life, they are force fed a diet of religion from an early age and told it is a sin to question or doubt it. I'm sure you'd agree people should examine and interrogate whatever they are told, that's what I'd like see happen with religion. The trouble is that in many countries religion has a vested interest in making sure the masses are denied an education that allows them the chance to explore secular ideas about ourselves and the universe.
    Two things:
    1) The believe that Christianity is in decline is only a valid argument if you think of conversion as a matter of the will, i.e. I have decided today to be a Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim, and rationally redirect my mind towards their objectives.
    Christianity has a very different explanation of how people become Christians. Signs of so-called attrition of how people have "left the faith" usually prove that they were never Christians to begin with.
    It is because of the process of conversion, of being spiritually born again, that will ensure its health. This process is nearly impossible to measure for us to comment on its health. Historically it has been shown to explode in burst of growths at various times, i.e. Reformation, Great Awakening. Jesus said "I will build my church" in Matt 16. (by this it is referring to gathering his own, and not to a physical building). He will see out his own work.

    I will however comment about the recent popularity of secularism and humanist thinking. Many people think that this a new thing, and thus are tremendously optimistic about its ability to push out religions. It is not true. A cursory glance through history throughout its different eras and ages will show you that it will not happen.

    2) I agree that people should examine and interrogate whatever they are told but please subject whatever you believe about religion or secularist thinking to the same scrutiny you are proposing. Or let me re-word this in another way, scrutinize the atheistic popes that is Hitchens, Dawkins, and many others and examine what they say instead of, pardon me, "believing whatever they say". Chiefly, you may start with the following hyperbolic statements you have made in this thread or what I gather you seem to hold:
    a) "Religion is the source of all division and bigotry"
    b) "No good can come out of religion"
    c) "People who adopt religion have not thought through things themselves, if they have, the only logical outcome is secular thinking"

  6. #26

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Hill
    Yeeks, the Turin Shroud is being put out for public viewing again. what do you make of that?

    genuine article? fanciful symbolism? outright fraud?
    couldn't care less

  7. #27

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by yeek

    What about your current ideology about the eradication of religions? Is it one of peace? Can you not detect the irony of secularism perpetuating and fostering the very division and bigotry towards the religious in an apparent concern for "peace"? Most wars are a coming together of many, many factors. If you studied the causes of World War II you will note the mixture of an absurd Treaty of Versailles, Rise of Hitler in a weak Weimar Republic, and lots of other things. Most "religious wars" have little to with religion. How much of what happens in North Ireland is actually religious? Do they argue over the doctrine of baptism for example?
    Just to make the point again, I'm not proposing a ban on religion, I desire more freedom for people to explore alternative secular ideas rather than accept a religion they are told to believe in from childhood. The "secular revolution" necessarily has to be a peaceful one where people hear the arguments against religious beliefs and then make up their own mind. I'm saying it is the duty of thinking non believers to do as much as possible to break the hold religion has on humanity, to challenge the historicity of the holy books, to challenge the power religion has over the lives of people.
    I'm not saying religion is the cause of all warfare, but it often plays a significant role. The origins of violence in Ireland very much has it's roots in religion - King James taking his army to attack the Protestant army of William of Orange. Totally a Catholic versus Protestant issue, and the bigotry around that continues on into the 21st century. It may be the case that the fighting became more about nationalism as time went on, but their wouldn't be any fighting if there weren't Catholic and Protestant versions of the same religion.



    Quote Originally Posted by yeek
    Two things:
    1) The believe that Christianity is in decline is only a valid argument if you think of conversion as a matter of the will, i.e. I have decided today to be a Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim, and rationally redirect my mind towards their objectives.
    Christianity has a very different explanation of how people become Christians. Signs of so-called attrition of how people have "left the faith" usually prove that they were never Christians to begin with.
    It is because of the process of conversion, of being spiritually born again, that will ensure its health. This process is nearly impossible to measure for us to comment on its health. Historically it has been shown to explode in burst of growths at various times, i.e. Reformation, Great Awakening. Jesus said "I will build my church" in Matt 16. (by this it is referring to gathering his own, and not to a physical building). He will see out his own work.
    That is religious speak Yeek, and you can probably guess I'm not really interested in who you consider to be a "true Christian" and who you don't. I'm sure I could find plenty of people calling themselves Christian who would identify you as an apostate in the grip of Satan (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, possibly some Roman Catholics to name a few). It is all just religion mate, I understand that every religious person thinks their religion is "special" (and true of course, unlike all the others), I'm just not convinced by any of them. They can't all be right, as a man once said, but they can all be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by yeek
    I will however comment about the recent popularity of secularism and humanist thinking. Many people think that this a new thing, and thus are tremendously optimistic about its ability to push out religions. It is not true. A cursory glance through history throughout its different eras and ages will show you that it will not happen.

    2) I agree that people should examine and interrogate whatever they are told but please subject whatever you believe about religion or secularist thinking to the same scrutiny you are proposing. Or let me re-word this in another way, scrutinize the atheistic popes that is Hitchens, Dawkins, and many others and examine what they say instead of, pardon me, "believing whatever they say". Chiefly, you may start with the following hyperbolic statements you have made in this thread or what I gather you seem to hold:
    a) "Religion is the source of all division and bigotry"
    b) "No good can come out of religion"
    c) "People who adopt religion have not thought through things themselves, if they have, the only logical outcome is secular thinking"
    I agree that religion is still a very powerful force in the world, I won't see it significantly diminished in my own lifetime, but that won't stop me going to the grave railing against it. I think you're wrong about your own religion, Christianity in the West is under more pressure than Islam for example, because Christians no longer threaten death against those who deny it, people feel free to challenge it and are doing so. The UK was once a Christian country Yeek, it ceased being one probably 30 or 40 years ago.
    You are putting words in my mouth that I haven't said with points a, b, and c. Religion is a source of division and bigotry, not the only one. If religion is based on fiction as I believe you can understand why I would like to see it disappear. Killing a man because you want his land and resources is at least logical and understandable in terms of mammalian behaviour, however undesirable and traumatising. Killing a man, or hating him, because he believes in a different invisible agent is insane.

    Sure, religion has produced some good things over time, I'm not saying no good can come out of it. What I'm saying is the bad stuff that it produces is very bad, and can lead to a lot of suffering. If it is a work of fiction I don't really care about the worthy aspects of religion, we can preserve those aspects of it in the secular world. In fact we do, it's called civilisation. I heard an interview with a moderate Muslim the other week, talking about a chat he had with one of the leading lights in ISIS. He asked him "what makes you think your 60,000 are right, and 1.6 billion Muslims are wrong?" He replied that God has practically wiped out mankind before, with the flood, and that ISIS are the new "ark". He's not nuts, he just really believes in his holy book. That means he wouldn't hesitate to use weapons of mass destruction, as long as the "ark" survives. You can see why I'd like to see religion lose it's influence on humanity, the last thing you might witness in your life is a mushroom cloud courtesy of a man with fervent religious beliefs.

    Finally, no I don't think that everyone will be persuaded by an atheist world view, I just think there is more chance the majority will if they are allowed to examine the arguments, as has happened in the UK. I don't see Dawkins et al as "popes" by the way, the only thing we have in common is a lack of belief in a god or gods. I don't slavishly agree with everything they say, that's the beauty of being an atheist, I can say what I think without having to pin my colours to a set of doctrines. Nor do I have to ask an invisible agent if I'm on the right lines.
    He's magic you kno-oow, Mauricio Poch-ett-ino!

  8. #28

    Re: The God Thread

    On a lighter "divine" note I've recently been reading about the Cargo Cults, religions that sprouted up after the second world war. Not sure why I've not heard of them before, but read this article and I guarantee it will put a smile on your face. Go on, it only takes a minute to read.
    Praise John Fromm!
    He's magic you kno-oow, Mauricio Poch-ett-ino!

  9. #29

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Hill
    Quote Originally Posted by yeek
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Hill
    Yeeks, the Turin Shroud is being put out for public viewing again. what do you make of that?

    genuine article? fanciful symbolism? outright fraud?
    couldn't care less


    i certainly wasn't expecting that answer!
    its a bit harsh but my general reaction to these things that "surface" purporting to support or claim something related to Jesus is apathy.

    in the interest of defending myself though, there is no need for a shroud to tell us something about the historical Jesus. The historical Jesus is very easily defended through historical scholarship.

    I would like to point you towards this impressive defence of the historical Jesus (written by an atheist, I am immensely thankful as I have learned a lot). In this he addresses and tackles the mythical Jesus, and answers questions related to historical scholarship ("If Jesus existed why isn't he mentioned in Philo's writing?" - easy answer, the bloke lived in Egypt), as well as shown the writings of Tacitus (a Roman) and Josephus (a Jew) who lived in and around that era.

    The link is here:

  10. #30

    Re: The God Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    Just to make the point again, I'm not proposing a ban on religion, I desire more freedom for people to explore alternative secular ideas rather than accept a religion they are told to believe in from childhood. The "secular revolution" necessarily has to be a peaceful one where people hear the arguments against religious beliefs and then make up their own mind. I'm saying it is the duty of thinking non believers to do as much as possible to break the hold religion has on humanity, to challenge the historicity of the holy books, to challenge the power religion has over the lives of people.
    I'm not saying religion is the cause of all warfare, but it often plays a significant role. The origins of violence in Ireland very much has it's roots in religion - King James taking his army to attack the Protestant army of William of Orange. Totally a Catholic versus Protestant issue, and the bigotry around that continues on into the 21st century. It may be the case that the fighting became more about nationalism as time went on, but their wouldn't be any fighting if there weren't Catholic and Protestant versions of the same religion.
    Substantiate that - what are the primary Catholic/Protestant issues at stake in that war? Not an attack on you but a genuine question as I expect you to be more familiar with the topic that I am. The Northern Ireland history I am more familiar with seems to paint the strife of one group being denied rights and privileges in education, housing and so on, which seemed to set the pre-conditions for a lot of the ill. The setting for all of that is in the 20th century.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967

    That is religious speak Yeek, and you can probably guess I'm not really interested in who you consider to be a "true Christian" and who you don't. I'm sure I could find plenty of people calling themselves Christian who would identify you as an apostate in the grip of Satan (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, possibly some Roman Catholics to name a few). It is all just religion mate, I understand that every religious person thinks their religion is "special" (and true of course, unlike all the others), I'm just not convinced by any of them. They can't all be right, as a man once said, but they can all be wrong.
    You completely missed my point. Let me reword them this way:
    a) Is it a sad thing that Christianity is in a decline in the UK? Yes
    b) Is it a worry? No
    c) Why not?
    Reasons:
    - Because it is not the first time secularism has apparently displaced religion (Atheistic Greek philosophy, Enlightenment periods, Rise of Humanism)
    - Because throughout history these periods of rise and decline is consistent with Christian church history.
    - Because church history has demonstrated its growth in so-called bursts and these bursts usually address a decline (16th century Reformation to address false soteriology, 18th century Great Awakening in US/UK, 20th century Billy Graham evangelistic rallies, 21st century "Young, Restless, Reformed" phenomenon)
    - Because Christianity is more than what happens in the US/UK and its decline in these countries does not mean it will be replicated elsewhere

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickleman1967
    I agree that religion is still a very powerful force in the world, I won't see it significantly diminished in my own lifetime, but that won't stop me going to the grave railing against it. I think you're wrong about your own religion, Christianity in the West is under more pressure than Islam for example, because Christians no longer threaten death against those who deny it, people feel free to challenge it and are doing so. The UK was once a Christian country Yeek, it ceased being one probably 30 or 40 years ago.
    You are putting words in my mouth that I haven't said with points a, b, and c. Religion is a source of division and bigotry, not the only one. If religion is based on fiction as I believe you can understand why I would like to see it disappear. Killing a man because you want his land and resources is at least logical and understandable in terms of mammalian behaviour, however undesirable and traumatising. Killing a man, or hating him, because he believes in a different invisible agent is insane.

    Sure, religion has produced some good things over time, I'm not saying no good can come out of it. What I'm saying is the bad stuff that it produces is very bad, and can lead to a lot of suffering. If it is a work of fiction I don't really care about the worthy aspects of religion, we can preserve those aspects of it in the secular world. In fact we do, it's called civilisation. I heard an interview with a moderate Muslim the other week, talking about a chat he had with one of the leading lights in ISIS. He asked him "what makes you think your 60,000 are right, and 1.6 billion Muslims are wrong?" He replied that God has practically wiped out mankind before, with the flood, and that ISIS are the new "ark". He's not nuts, he just really believes in his holy book. That means he wouldn't hesitate to use weapons of mass destruction, as long as the "ark" survives. You can see why I'd like to see religion lose it's influence on humanity, the last thing you might witness in your life is a mushroom cloud courtesy of a man with fervent religious beliefs.

    Finally, no I don't think that everyone will be persuaded by an atheist world view, I just think there is more chance the majority will if they are allowed to examine the arguments, as has happened in the UK. I don't see Dawkins et al as "popes" by the way, the only thing we have in common is a lack of belief in a god or gods. I don't slavishly agree with everything they say, that's the beauty of being an atheist, I can say what I think without having to pin my colours to a set of doctrines. Nor do I have to ask an invisible agent if I'm on the right lines.
    No but you are parroting a lot of people. There is nothing novel about a lot of things that you are putting forth. If religions can't all be right, what is the basis for saying secularism must be right? There is no consistency.
    I am merely demonstrating to you that you are no different when you insist that your way about thinking of religions (they are all wrong) is the best way.
    If religion IS a source of division and bigotry why can't we also put secularism as a source of division and bigotry? It is at least equal in its power to divide and be bigoted against people who are religious.

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