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Source: (consider it) Thread: jlg's despair and death
Porridge
Shipmate
# 15405

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Sorry if this is a tangent, but: free will, as in Evensong's position that it's God-given.

Rubbish.

1. Assume aguendo that there is no God.

2. What sort of will have we got then?

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Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

Posts: 3925 | From: Upper right corner | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged
QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Process theology is firstly heterodox as it denies the hypostatic union. Apart from that it works especially on denying omniscience that demands that God be a fully tick-tocked out clock.

Punctuation, Martin. Do you mean that omniscience demands that God be a fully tick-tocked out clock? Or that, by denying omniscience, process theology demands that God be a fully tick-tocked out clock? Or something else?

Well, anyway, I'm grateful to you, Chorister, for the introduction - I think I rather like process theology, but then, I don't care that it's heterodox. What's that saying...? Orthodoxy is my doxy and Heterodoxy is another man's doxy? Something like that.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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Scot
Deck hand
# 2095

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
You do not study the intricate details of this or that religion before stating that you disbelief it.

Christians agree on virtually nothing except for the very broadest concepts, and sometimes not even those. I don't see any point in studying the intricate details of your version, when the next denomination down the road has a whole different set of detailed beliefs. It doesn't take a great deal of in-depth study to have an opinion about the tiny handful of universally shared Christian beliefs.
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Neither theists, nor atheists, are in practice hindered by some supposed disagreement about fundamentals between the religions. At least not concerning their choice to become theists or atheists, respectively.

Speak for yourself. The lack of internal consistency in Christianity played a significant role in my conclusion that the whole thing made no coherent sense and I needed to look elsewhere.

I won't go along with Marvin in wishing away my free will, or even my pain. I value every moment of my existence and I wouldn't change the nature of it. This life, and Jen's tragedy, makes more sense without having to perform mental gymnastics to reconcile it all to some self-contradictory omni-scient/potent/present/loving god who hides from statisticians but doesn't save dying children.

Some have acknowledged that they can't make sense of god in light of the world they know, but said that they still believe on the basis of their personal, inner experience of him. That position makes is understandable, even if I don't share it. (Based on my own inner experiences, if there is a god then the Calvinists have it right.) I'd much rather talk to someone who says, "I can't explain it, but I still believe" than listen to the folks to try to explain the inexplicable and defend the indefensible, usually at great length.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
in the second He's merely useless.

What, like a helpless baby in a manger, you mean?

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Some have acknowledged that they can't make sense of god in light of the world they know, but said that they still believe on the basis of their personal, inner experience of him..... I'd much rather talk to someone who says, "I can't explain it, but I still believe" than listen to the folks to try to explain the inexplicable and defend the indefensible, usually at great length.

Indeed.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Well said, Scot.

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این نیز بگذرد

Posts: 7549 | From: Natural Sources | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
Smudgie

Ship's Barnacle
# 2716

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Scot, you describe me. I don't understand it, I don't understand it at all. That's why I haven't posted on this thread or any similar.

I don't understand and can't rationalise any of the things that have happened within my family either. No matter how I try.

The closest I come is what Comet said about her daughter - there are loads of times when I make decisions which cause my children pain and anguish and where they believe I don't care, but actually it's the love I have for them which makes me make decisions which, at the time, they cannot understand and may even feel deep anger against me for. In fact, I have recently had to make decisions which they may never really understand or forgive me for and where I have to take the risk of losing them altogether, just to do what's right for them.... and that is bloody hard. I only hope that one day they may come to understand, just as it is only now in my own experience of parenthood that I truly understand some of the decisions my parents made.

But what it boils down to for me is that, no matter how much my mind may work in convoluted questioning circles, I cannot deny a God whose presence I feel in every sinew of my body and by whom I feel loved and cherished. And because of that, I have no option but to trust without demanding to understand. And it seems such a weak response when people are seeking answers - it sounds so glib and dismissive and evasive and lacking in any depth. But of all my emotions it is the strongest and, although there are plenty of times when I do wrestle with the "why"s of stories I cannot share here, even in my darkest moments it still remains.

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Miss you, Erin.

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Smudgie:



But what it boils down to for me is that, no matter how much my mind may work in convoluted questioning circles, I cannot deny a God whose presence I feel in every sinew of my body and by whom I feel loved and cherished. And because of that, I have no option but to trust without demanding to understand. And it seems such a weak response when people are seeking answers - it sounds so glib and dismissive and evasive and lacking in any depth.

Same here - in my darkest and most difficult times I find, underneath it all, a love which holds me.

Now I do question whether this is because in my earliest days I was loved and cherished, and that feeling is what I revert to.

I don't know - but I do know it's what keeps me believing in a loving God who cares deeply for every one of us. I don't think S/he intervenes at all - not because S/he can't, but because S/he won't. There would be no freedom if God changed events or stopped people from doing what they wanted. Love/change/hope/evolution only happen when allowed to do so imo.

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12666 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
Pre-cambrian
Shipmate
# 2055

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quote:
Originally posted by Smudgie:
I cannot deny a God whose presence I feel in every sinew of my body and by whom I feel loved and cherished. And because of that, I have no option but to trust without demanding to understand. And it seems such a weak response when people are seeking answers - it sounds so glib and dismissive and evasive and lacking in any depth.

You're right. To me it sounds like so much hyperbolic and sentimental mush. And when people try to slather me in it too - as with Boogie's "loving God who cares deeply for every one of us" - it gets me reaching for the [Projectile] bucket. Sorry.

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"We cannot leave the appointment of Bishops to the Holy Ghost, because no one is confident that the Holy Ghost would understand what makes a good Church of England bishop."

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Pre-cambrian:
To me it sounds like so much hyperbolic and sentimental mush. And when people try to slather me in it too - as with Boogie's "loving God who cares deeply for every one of us" - it gets me reaching for the [Projectile] bucket. Sorry.

You don't need to be sorry - I know exactly how it sounds. Nevertheless, it is true for me. I have been through some very dark times and I still can't shake off the perception that God loves.

I have tried - as I think it would be easier to be an unbeliever.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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It's something I struggle with because it's something I don't feel. Which probably underpins many of my struggles with other areas of the faith. I don't find it vomit-worthy though - just infuriatingly unattainable, like a jewel at the bottom of the ocean. Which, to a certain degree, leads me to resent those who have similar jewels in their hands.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
I don't see any point in studying the intricate details of your version, when the next denomination down the road has a whole different set of detailed beliefs. It doesn't take a great deal of in-depth study to have an opinion about the tiny handful of universally shared Christian beliefs.

It is perfectly fine to reject all (Christian) theisms by their "tiny handful of universally shared beliefs", whatever those may be. That's proper for a (Christian) atheist. It is also perfectly fine to refuse following any particular theism due to the disagreement on intricate detail. That's proper for an undecided / confused theist. But you say that you are an atheist because of the disagreement on intricate detail among Christianity. That's plain silly. It's like rejecting all of science in Newton's time, just because Newton and Huygens were disagreeing on the nature of light.

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
The lack of internal consistency in Christianity played a significant role in my conclusion that the whole thing made no coherent sense and I needed to look elsewhere. ... I'd much rather talk to someone who says, "I can't explain it, but I still believe" than listen to the folks to try to explain the inexplicable and defend the indefensible, usually at great length.

That's a case of double standards. If you are so congenial to blind faith, then you should not be particularly disconcerted by doctrinal dissonances in Christianity. You should be happily singing Kumbaya or reading the mystics or whatever. If you cannot stand inconsistency and incoherence in doctrinal matters, then you should be giving theological dunces short shrift.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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QLib (& [Smile] & hi by the way)

Process theology ... works especially on denying [the definition of] omniscience that demands that God be a fully tick-tocked out clock.

In other words that God MUST know what the spin of all 'currently' indeterminate electrons for eternity is, MUST know whether it will rain tomorrow, because He stands outside of time AND all time has already happened.

Which is of course ... imparsimonious to say the least.

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Love wins

Posts: 16889 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
But you say that you are an atheist because of the disagreement on intricate detail among Christianity. That's plain silly. It's like rejecting all of science in Newton's time, just because Newton and Huygens were disagreeing on the nature of light.

Wrong. Disagreement between Newton and Huygens on the nature of light certainly does tell us something about the state of science at the time, and the fact that scientists today are in much better agreement on the nature of light tells us something else about it today.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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Chorister - thank you, seriously. I had read some of the work of various process theologians, but in pieces that did not lay our the fundamental notions behind it. Fascinating.

One excellent article on the issue of God and human suffering is David Hart's "Tsunami and Theodicy", published in First Things back when. He writes beautifully, of course, but I found his treatment compelling. He touches on Voltaire, Dostoevsky, and Aquinas. But it speaks for itself.

Tsunami and Theodicy

It is lengthy but worth the reading. One small piece, as he leans toward his conclusion:

I do not believe we Christians are obliged—or even allowed—to look upon the devastation visited upon the coasts of the Indian Ocean and to console ourselves with vacuous cant about the mysterious course taken by God’s goodness in this world, or to assure others that some ultimate meaning or purpose resides in so much misery. Ours is, after all, a religion of salvation; our faith is in a God who has come to rescue His creation from the absurdity of sin and the emptiness of death, and so we are permitted to hate these things with a perfect hatred. For while Christ takes the suffering of his creatures up into his own, it is not because he or they had need of suffering, but because he would not abandon his creatures to the grave. And while we know that the victory over evil and death has been won, we know also that it is a victory yet to come, and that creation therefore, as Paul says, groans in expectation of the glory that will one day be revealed. Until then, the world remains a place of struggle between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, life and death; and, in such a world, our portion is charity.

[ 11. January 2012, 14:16: Message edited by: Laura ]

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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I think it is worth saying that not all Christians have that sense of underlying love. The counter example to that claim is St John of the Cross.

I have heard the anecdotally based theory (two examples use St John of the Cross and Martin Luther) that such experience depends on the behaviour of your earthly parents. Luther who had relatively decent earthly parents did feel loved even in great darkness, St John of the Cross' parents were less exemplary.

If this is the case I suspect you will find atheist who see the world as basically benign and those that see it as a cold harsh place in which they have to struggle to survive.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie Jon:
earthly parents

As distinct from alien ones?

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این نیز بگذرد

Posts: 7549 | From: Natural Sources | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Wrong. Disagreement between Newton and Huygens on the nature of light certainly does tell us something about the state of science at the time, and the fact that scientists today are in much better agreement on the nature of light tells us something else about it today.

Not wrong. While back in Newton's time one certainly could have been reluctant to believe in one theory of light over another, this would not have been sufficient grounds to dismiss physics as a whole, much less the entire scientific enterprise, least all human inquiry into regularities of nature! Atheism considers a large and significant part of human thought as false, or at the very least as mistakenly attributed (Feuerbach etc.). Such a radical stance cannot and must not be based on mere "detail". It must rest on sound principle and clear fundamentals. Or it is simply bullshit.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie Jon:
earthly parents

As distinct from alien ones?
You know as well as I do the Christian habit of referring to God as heavenly father! So a real distinction in this case.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20639 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
While back in Newton's time one certainly could have been reluctant to believe in one theory of light over another, this would not have been sufficient grounds to dismiss physics as a whole, much less the entire scientific enterprise, least all human inquiry into regularities of nature!

Yes, I understand, but what I was getting at is that looking with today’s eyes at disagreements on the details in science in the C17, we may now say certain things about the state of science as it was then. I feel your analogy would not work so well with two examples of modern scientists working in the field of light, in which greater agreement on the details would indicate that science itself has progressed.

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این نیز بگذرد

Posts: 7549 | From: Natural Sources | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
Scot
Deck hand
# 2095

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
It is perfectly fine to reject all (Christian) theisms by their "tiny handful of universally shared beliefs", whatever those may be. That's proper for a (Christian) atheist. It is also perfectly fine to refuse following any particular theism due to the disagreement on intricate detail. That's proper for an undecided / confused theist.

Thanks for your approval.
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
But you say that you are an atheist because of the disagreement on intricate detail among Christianity. That's plain silly.

I didn't say that. I offered my own, differing, personal experience in response to your sweeping claim that disagreements about religious fundamentals don't play a role in decisions to be theist or atheist. It's not just the "intricate details" that Christians can't agree on. It's the major components too.
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
It's like rejecting all of science in Newton's time, just because Newton and Huygens were disagreeing on the nature of light.

No. I can accept scientific knowledge even in the face of disagreement because there is a rational, knowable, repeatable means of resolving the differences. As you have already explained to me, deities, and the religions that worship them, aren't subject to empirical testing.
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
That's a case of double standards. If you are so congenial to blind faith, then you should not be particularly disconcerted by doctrinal dissonances in Christianity. You should be happily singing Kumbaya or reading the mystics or whatever. If you cannot stand inconsistency and incoherence in doctrinal matters, then you should be giving theological dunces short shrift.

You confuse what belief I can abide with what people I can abide. I am not congenial to blind faith in myself, but I do not insist that anyone else be like me. I do not insist that people have to have rational reasons for their spirituality or worldviews in order for us to have a conversation. If, however, you try to tell me that your religion explains how this or that feature of the real world works, I will challenge you if what you say does not make sense. I will not sit quietly while you slather me with inconsistent, untestable, illogical, ethically deficient drivel.

At least the "theological dunces", as you so charmingly refer to them, are often humble enough to admit what they don't understand, and acknowledge that they could be wrong.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Squibs
Shipmate
# 14408

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
I didn't say that. I offered my own, differing, personal experience in response to your sweeping claim that disagreements about religious fundamentals don't play a role in decisions to be theist or atheist. It's not just the "intricate details" that Christians can't agree on. It's the major components too.

I suspect that if you got 2 billion people together they couldn't agree on any one issue, including the seemingly incontrovertible fact that other minds exist.
Posts: 1124 | From: Here, there and everywhere | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Squibs
Shipmate
# 14408

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quote:
Originally posted by Laura:

One excellent article on the issue of God and human suffering is David Hart's "Tsunami and Theodicy", published in First Things back when. He writes beautifully, of course, but I found his treatment compelling. He touches on Voltaire, Dostoevsky, and Aquinas. But it speaks for itself.

Tsunami and Theodicy

Hart is excellent. He wrote an expanded work of theodicy based on that article called The Doors of the Sea. It's a small book but it's intellectually dense. Like all theodicies it ultimately fails to explain evil, and is therefore not entirely satisfying, but I don't think he is to be blamed for this. It remains a worthy contribution to a seemingly unanswerable question.

On a slightly different note, I would recommend listening to his fairly recent appearance on Unbelievable? . He was in dialogue with Terry Saunders of the BHA (or some such organisation). Hart might be less engaging in person - or over the airwaves at least - than in works like the excellent, yet misleadingly entitled book, Atheist Delusions, but it is fascinating to hear him go up against one of the more vocal and articulate humanists in Britain and do a job on him.

Posts: 1124 | From: Here, there and everywhere | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
The5thMary
Shipmate
# 12953

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quote:
Originally posted by Pyx_e:
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The answer is: because God is a capricious cunt.

I wish you'd release your inner poet and write us some worship songs, Marvin - they'd sure beat the saccharin ones most of us have imposed upon us.
I laughed and did a wee.

P

Yeah. I was eating potato chips and nearly choked on them. I have heard many not-so-nice terms for God but "capricious cunt" is a new one. Thanks for the laughs.

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God gave me my face but She let me pick my nose.

Posts: 3441 | From: Tacoma, WA USA | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged
Patdys
Iron Wannabe
RooK-Annoyer
# 9397

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I actually like Chuck Lorre's take on theodicy.
"Love, sex, food, friendship, art, play, beauty and the simple pleasure of a cup of tea are all well and good, but never forget that God/the universe is determined to kill you by whatever means necessary."

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Marathon run. Next Dream. Australian this time.

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
If, however, you try to tell me that your religion explains how this or that feature of the real world works, I will challenge you if what you say does not make sense. I will not sit quietly while you slather me with inconsistent, untestable, illogical, ethically deficient drivel.

Scot: I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but I've had a leading of the Spirit. You sugar-coat things too much.

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

Posts: 16882 | From: East Coast, USA | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
From what I read on this and a few other threads I think most of us could do a lot more being there.

Being there is what we are doing on the All Saints thread. This thread in Purgatory is for discussion.

To continue with Yorick's point - humans have an innate need to think we're special. That's why people like Marvin come along and get upset when they think God is being a selfish git for not appearing to treat us as if we are special.

I take your point and I can understand Marvin's.

'God as a selfish git' 15,000 words. Hmm. What an essay question. [Big Grin] UTS? GTS Berkeley? (Translated into American. The question, that is. [Big Grin] )

The tragic death of anyone, from whatever cause, is always shocking.

A simple, or, more like SOF, an extremely complicated answer, supposedly 'justifying the ways of God to man' by a religious apologist may seem 'No answer'. I fear a 'real' answer needs to come from 'someone in authority'.

Jesus answer about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air strikes me as very apt.

--------------------
Well...

Posts: 5108 | From: The Deep North, Oz | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
QLib

Bad Example
# 43

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
The tragic death of anyone, from whatever cause, is always shocking.

A simple, or, more like SOF, an extremely complicated answer, supposedly 'justifying the ways of God to man' by a religious apologist may seem 'No answer'. I fear a 'real' answer needs to come from 'someone in authority'.

Jesus answer about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air strikes me as very apt.

The lilies of the field (etc) is all very well in it's way - actually not a fat lot of help with daily living, but a useful reminder about attitude. But how is it any kind of response to mental, physical or spiritual agony? It simply isn't - and was never intended to be that.

Sometimes there is no answer, this side of death, to 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Some of us hope for an answer on the other side of death.

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Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):


Jesus answer about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air strikes me as very apt.

How is this apt?

Millions are neither clothed nor fed.

Millions of despairing people are not comforted.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Pre-cambrian
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# 2055

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And millions of birds die every winter from starvation and cold so even the initial claim is dubious.

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"We cannot leave the appointment of Bishops to the Holy Ghost, because no one is confident that the Holy Ghost would understand what makes a good Church of England bishop."

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Life is full of problems, whether or not you believe in gods. I don't see that Christians have an easier time of it than anyone else, and the problem with these is that they get in the way of this.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
the problem with these is that they get in the way of this.

True. But not all of us want to jump off the side of a mountain on a bike, and as we keep falling off when we cycle down to the shops the stabilisers come in pretty damn useful. Shame someone took them off us...

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Evensong
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# 14696

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Life is full of problems, whether or not you believe in gods. I don't see that Christians have an easier time of it than anyone else

But we have hope. Christ is risen. [Razz]

quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
and the problem with these is that they get in the way of this.

Hardly get in the way.

Need the foundations before you can fly.

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a theological scrapbook

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Porridge
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# 15405

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The only flying Christians I've encountered were a fictional nun and those in line with me at the airport. YMMV.

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Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Martin60
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# 368

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That hope is assured - in Jesus as always - QLib.

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Love wins

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Chorister

Completely Frocked
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
the problem with these is that they get in the way of this.

True. But not all of us want to jump off the side of a mountain on a bike, and as we keep falling off when we cycle down to the shops the stabilisers come in pretty damn useful. Shame someone took them off us...
Marvin, you are scarily reminding me of the children who never want to grow up and get out of nappies. Please tell me it isn't so. [Ultra confused]

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Scot
Deck hand
# 2095

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What exactly are you all do hopeful for? Several of you have said that it's not just about holding out for a better afterlife. We have established that the vast majority of the people suffering in this world can't expect god to do anything about it. Where does your hope point? Where, I mean, other than places we might better go with out own hands and feet, rather than by waiting and hoping on an ineffective god?

(Laura: Was that any better?)

[ 12. January 2012, 18:49: Message edited by: Scot ]

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Porridge
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# 15405

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And not only what are you hoping for, but why? Of what value, really, is hope? I can certainly see value in making plans, even if ultimately those plans don't come to fruition; you've at least taken steps (assuming planning is a step, and that planning leads to at least some execution) to bring about whatever end is desired.

Hope, though, esp. in the face of circumstances largely out of our control, seems, well, a little like a form of self-torture.

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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Martin60
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# 368

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So, Jesus isn't the answer then?

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Love wins

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Porridge
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# 15405

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What, exactly, would Jesus be the answer to?

In the absence of an actual God (and if there is such a being, absence does appear to be his/her/its salient characteristic), what is Jesus all about?

An itinerant 1st-century rabble-rousing rabbi preaches assorted ambiguous and/or (from the Roman perspective) vaguely seditious messages threaded together with an ethic of social justice for the poor and downtrodden. He has, as many similar figures of the time also apparently had, numerous miraculous deeds attributed to him by contemporaries, or near-contemporaries, and is ultimately executed by the military occupiers of his country when he starts getting up the noses of assorted authorities by attracting too much attention from the rabble.

After his death, his erstwhile followers found a movement in expectation of his imminent return from death -- an event which has yet, AFAWK, yet to occur. Despite this glaring omission, 2000 years on, the movement (albeit somewhat transmogrified) continues, with the usual mixed bag of consequences (edifying to horrific in range) of most human endeavors, including some offshoots managing to twist what we think was the original message into its nearly-180-degree-around-the-circle version, the Propserity Gospel. Even leaving that particularly perverse (and fortunately fairly small) manifestation of Christianity aside: If Jesus was the answer, what in bloody hell was the question? And what, in the name of all reason, is the hope?

--------------------
Spiggott: Everything I've ever told you is a lie, including that.
Moon: Including what?
Spiggott: That everything I've ever told you is a lie.
Moon: That's not true!

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Apocalypso:
And not only what are you hoping for, but why? Of what value, really, is hope? I can certainly see value in making plans, even if ultimately those plans don't come to fruition; you've at least taken steps (assuming planning is a step, and that planning leads to at least some execution) to bring about whatever end is desired.

Hope, though, esp. in the face of circumstances largely out of our control, seems, well, a little like a form of self-torture.

It's precisely because we can't control everything that we need hope.

Example:
I'm in a long-distance relationship, and we're making plans to end the long-distance part later this year. Hope is a big part of that. Some relevant circumstances are within our control, some aren't. While we're doing what we can to ensure it goes well, once we start making real changes to our lives, we will in part be running on hope. If we could control everything, we wouldn't need hope -- we'd know it would work out.

Now, I'm not expecting God to take care of any of this. The relationship will survive or fail based on our care for it, circumstances, and luck. Mainly what I expect from God is companionship.

I've been pondering what to say in response to Scot's and RooK's excellent challenges to the various positions of faith expressed here, and I think that's what it comes down to for me. God is beyond my comprehension and I think not only theodicy but most theological statements about God are a total waste of time, but throughout the various changes in my beliefs about God the belief that God accompanies me is the one that has been constant.

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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Apocalypso

Jesus is the answer to everything. The reason for everything. And yes I am that utterly vacuous. No really. The mystery of the God-Man explains, redeems, justifies everything. Of which He is creator. He'd better. He THEREFORE does. Of course He does.

Each of us in our own meaningless pit of autonomous suffering hell on the edge of the yawning cosmic abyss of nullness is in fact utterly, eternally significant.

Saved.

Creation OBVIOUSLY involves suffering for all concerned.

What's the problem?

[ 12. January 2012, 21:10: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Love wins

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Squibs
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# 14408

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
What exactly are you all do hopeful for? Several of you have said that it's not just about holding out for a better afterlife. We have established that the vast majority of the people suffering in this world can't expect god to do anything about it. Where does your hope point? Where, I mean, other than places we might better go with out own hands and feet, rather than by waiting and hoping on an ineffective god?

(Laura: Was that any better?)

Short answer: new creation, but a new creation that we are involved in ushering in now. If you are actually asking a sincere question - rather than setting yourself up for more of the same - then you should read/ listen to some Tom Wright.
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Scot
Deck hand
# 2095

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quote:
Originally posted by Squibs:
Short answer: new creation, but a new creation that we are involved in ushering in now. If you are actually asking a sincere question - rather than setting yourself up for more of the same - then you should read/ listen to some Tom Wright.

Indeed, we are involved in ushering in a new creation! We are. You and me, with our hands and feet. I have great hopes for the creations of human individuals and the human species. What do you hope that a silent, inactive, and possibly uncaring god will add to what we are doing for ourselves?

As I have told others upthread, I am here to debate. I am not interested in Tom Wright's ideas unless he comes here to explain and defend them. If you share his ideas, then please state them so we can discuss.

Ruth, I understand what you are saying. It is a little bit ironic that I, looking from a humanist perspective, have a great deal of faith and hope that I can find companions among the men and women in my life. I have been through some bitter times in the past few years. God wasn't there, as far as I could tell, but my friends were. Apparently I do not lack faith after all.

--------------------
“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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Squibs
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# 14408

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Indeed, we are involved in ushering in a new creation! We are. You and me, with our hands and feet. I have great hopes for the creations of human individuals and the human species. What do you hope that a silent, inactive, and possibly uncaring god will add to what we are doing for ourselves?

You know, Scot, it would be swell if you didn't beg the question in just about every paragraph you type. I get it. You don't believe in God (commonly spelled with a capital G). But it gets tedious after it transpires that your questions are merely devices used to cart fallacies in to the discussion.

I didn't ask you for your opinion. You asked Christians for theirs. The polite thing to do would be to at least pause long enough to listen.

quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
As I have told others upthread, I am here to debate. I am not interested in Tom Wright's ideas unless he comes here to explain and defend them. If you share his ideas, then please state them so we can discuss.

Then consider my suggestion withdrawn. I don't see why I should be expected to provide a synopsis of TW's views when he has done so on multiple occasions in the past - each and every time with more erudition than I could possibly muster.

You asked a question, I gave a brief answer and provided a name that you could research if you were of the mind. But seemingly you are looking for something else. Perhaps a bit of cut and thrust; the sport of debate. I can only say I'm not interested in that.

[ 12. January 2012, 22:56: Message edited by: Squibs ]

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Scot
Deck hand
# 2095

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Squibs, if I am begging the question, I am doing so using assertions that have already been voiced on this thread by numerous christians. I am far from the first or only poster here to say that, if there is a diety, he doesn't seem to be saying or doing much.


If you really believe that I should be listening to others' opinions without giving my own, then you misunderstand the purpose of Purgatory, the Ship's space for serious debate. By the way, it was the preference for a one-way lecture rather than discussion that drove me from the church years before I concluded that there is no real evidence of a god.


Posting a link (which you didn't even do) has never been an acceptable substitute here for expressing one's own opinions. If it was, then you might post a link to Wright and I might post a link to Hitchens, and someone else might post a link to the Vatican, and then the thread could be closed.


Now, if you'd like to discuss what you mean by a new creation, and how it explains the world we see, then bring it on. If you want to say that you still believe even though the world just doesn't make sense in light of your concept of a god, then I'll let it go, just as I have with others. If you take your ball and go home because I didn't play by your rules, then maybe someone else is up to explaining where and how this new creation is supposed to happen.

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Scot:
Ruth, I understand what you are saying. It is a little bit ironic that I, looking from a humanist perspective, have a great deal of faith and hope that I can find companions among the men and women in my life. I have been through some bitter times in the past few years. God wasn't there, as far as I could tell, but my friends were. Apparently I do not lack faith after all.

Were it not for some intense spiritual experiences, I'd be a humanist too. If there really is no God and those experiences are solely the product of my own brain, I'm okay with that. If there is meaning to our lives beyond that which we create for ourselves, I sure don't know what it is. But I can't let go of belief in God mainly because it would mean I'd have to deny my own experience.

In classical Christian terms, that would come under the heading of private revelation, which isn't persuasive to anyone but the person receiving the revelation. Others can certainly believe me when I say I've had these experiences, but it doesn't mean they have to believe in God too.

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Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

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quote:
Originally posted by QLib:
...The lilies of the field (etc) is all very well in it's way - actually not a fat lot of help with daily living, but a useful reminder about attitude. But how is it any kind of response to mental, physical or spiritual agony? It simply isn't - and was never intended to be that.

Sometimes there is no answer, this side of death, to 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' Some of us hope for an answer on the other side of death.

It was, I think QLib and Boogie, an answer to the unnecessary and seemingly allconsuming angst about everything so many people suffer from.

There are certain problems I think most decent people will be struggling with til the End of Time: war; famine; plague; poverty, slavery etc.

Death does seem to be pretty final from this end. What else is there to say? Eulogies tend to be for the living. One can interrogate; abuse and or condemn 'God' but it doesn't do much. I think we need to attempt to assist the bereaved.

--------------------
Well...

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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There is a Jewish idea that we're still in the 6th day of Creation, so things are a mess.

Neither putting it forth nor defending it, but I occasionally play around with it.

FWIW. YMMV.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17973 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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There is a Jewish idea that we're still in the 6th day of Creation, so things are a mess.

Neither putting it forth nor defending it, but I occasionally play around with it.

FWIW. YMMV.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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QLib

Bad Example
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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
I think we need to attempt to assist the bereaved.

Yes, by standing alongside them in their pain. If you try to console them by telling them to consider the lilies of the field, you might quite probably (and deservedly) meet with physical violence. Sometimes the best response to pain is to STFU and listen. If you want to (silently) consider the lilies to try and keep a grip on some kind of perspective, fine.

--------------------
Tradition is the handing down of the flame, not the worship of the ashes Gustav Mahler.

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