Atheism

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#91
ted_bloody_maul said:
Mighty_Emperor said:
ted_bloody_maul said:
Mighty_Emperor said:
I suspect so - so little time and so many forums.

They have a more detailled PM awaiting them but if this is the end of the hitting nad run spamming (at least it is of a more "emlightened" kind) then I'll tidy everything up later. It is splashed all over the net (by them) if anyone has an urge to read it.
Tell me about it - I actually stopped posting on the tittytalk.com forum because this guy started taking up so much of the discussion.
I'm sorry to hear that - it affects us all in different ways.
It's just boobybabble.com for me now. :cry:
I bet you feel a right tit now.
 

Bistoinferno

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#93
When they cannot prove, they must accept the existence of super power above the logic.
That doesn’t make sense. You can’t prove that any religion is false really as there will always be some argument for its existence. I’m assuming you don’t think all religions are true so what are you talking about??
 

ArthurASCII

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#95
Debate I can handle, but when multiple threads are started merely for the purpose of massaging one's karma by pushing a party line, I can only... :roll:
 
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#97
Is there a God?

To believe or not to believe

May 31st 2007
From The Economist print edition


A writer who believes in science not God; a scientist who believes in both. But why are they that way? Nobody knows


SINCE arguments about God have run for thousands of years, it is a little peculiar to ascribe overwhelming importance to the publication of Darwin's “On the Origin of Species” in 1859. Yet the book did have a soul-sapping effect on unsuspecting Christians. In “Father and Son”, a memoir about loss of faith published anonymously in 1907, Edmund Gosse describes how it drove his father, himself an eminent zoologist, to take him to live on top of a cliff, cutting him off from the world in an attempt to protect him from this heretical notion. The plan didn't work. Some spirit of rebellion stirred in the son, sending his mind wandering during marathon prayer sessions, and he broke free in his teenage years. His father, disappointed, stuck with the God of Abraham.

Looking at the recent crop of books on God and religion, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that whether people end up like Mr Gosse or like his father depends on whether they have an intrinsic feeling for religion or not. Christopher Hitchens, a polemicist whose tone is that of an erudite straight-talker, does not. Like Mr Gosse, he started non-belief young. Near the beginning of “God is Not Great” he describes his rebellion when confronted with an effusive divinity teacher at school who pointed to the beauty of hedgerows in the English countryside as evidence of His creation. Mr Hitchens has been skewering the syllogistic arguments of the religious in the name of science ever since.

Francis Collins, on the other hand, has it. Like Mr Gosse senior, Mr Collins is a scientist and a Christian. He confronts Darwin daily in his work as head of the human genome project. He writes well about how, as the code on which DNA is written began to reveal itself, his faith and sense of wonder increased. He stood by Bill Clinton (and worked with his speechwriters) when the then American president talked about DNA as “the language in which God wrote creation”. Mr Collins has no time for intelligent design but conceives God to be of the non-interfering sort, a kind of divine CCTV camera. Yet he believes that Jesus was His son and he prays regularly.

Belief in God and subscription to a religion are not quite the same thing, although both books treat them as if they were. Mr Hitchens makes the untestable case that the world would be better off without religion altogether. Stupid religious people would stop fighting stupid religious wars and a new enlightenment would ensue. The book is entertaining, meandering and at times disingenuous. Nobody ever went to war for atheism, says Mr Hitchens. But atheists tend to find other reasons to kill each other. To the objection that irreligious fascists and communists found plenty of non-religious reasons for murder in the 20th century, Mr Hitchens retorts that these beliefs were types of secularised religion, and as such do not count.

What is missing from the book is much sense of what a world without religion, or one that had not had religion in it, might look like. Lots of the principles that Mr Hitchens holds dear, like tolerance and justice, are secularised versions of religious ideas. Religious folk often do the right thing for what Mr Hitchens would call the wrong reasons. Taking faith away would in many cases take away the will to do them. That cost is worth considering.

Mr Collins argues for what he calls “theistic evolution”, which he reckons is yet to catch on because it has such a terrible name. Though the mechanism of the origin of life is unknown, he says, once evolution was under way no special supernatural intervention was required. As for those parts of the Old Testament that bend the laws of physics, they are symbolic and should be read as such.

This is a God that would be almost as unfamiliar to Edmund Gosse's father, to John Calvin or the pope as it would to a Roman sacrificing a bull to Mithras. And for all their clarity, Mr Collins's arguments about why he believes in God do little to explain why he is a Christian. To understand that, it is probably enough to look at the Gosse family and conclude that either you get it or you don't.

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
By Christopher Hitchens.
Twelve Books; 288 pages; $24.99.
Atlantic Books; £17.99

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.
By Francis Collins.
Free Press; 304 pages; $26.
Simon & Schuster; £17.99

http://www.economist.com/books/displays ... id=9253863
 

ghostdog19

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#99
ArthurASCII said:
Debate I can handle, but when multiple threads are started merely for the purpose of massaging one's karma by pushing a party line, I can only... :roll:
What, you mean like all the secularist religion slamming threads that crop up in Religion and Cults?
 

Bertie_Akbar

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Bistoinferno said:
When they cannot prove, they must accept the existence of super power above the logic.
That doesn’t make sense. You can’t prove that any religion is false really as there will always be some argument for its existence. I’m assuming you don’t think all religions are true so what are you talking about??
But if the said quote is said with conviction and some amount facial hair - then it must be true. What is it with religions and hair anyway? They're no better than teenagers ! ;)
 

rjmrjmrjm

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'Respect atheists', says Cardinal
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor urges deeper understanding between believers and non-believers

The Archbishop of Westminster has urged Christians to treat atheists and agnostics with "deep esteem".

Believers may be partly responsible for the decline in faith by losing sense of the mystery and treating God as a "fact in the world", he said in a lecture.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor called for more understanding and appreciation between believers and non-believers.

The leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales said that a "hidden God" was active in everyone's life.

The Cardinal's lecture at Westminster Cathedral comes after a spate of public clashes over issues such as stem-cell research, gay adoption and faith schools.

Mystery of God

He expressed concern about the increasing unpopularity of the Christian voice in public life, saying: "Our life together in Britain cannot be a God-free zone and we must not allow Britain to become a world devoid of religious faith and its powerful contribution to the common good."


Proper talk about God is always difficult, always tentative.
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor

Last year, he complained of a "new secularist intolerance of religion" and the state's "increasing acceptance" of anti-religious views.

To stem this tide, he said Christians must understand they have something in common with those who do not believe.

God is not a "fact in the world" as though God could be treated as "one thing among other things to be empirically investigated" and affirmed or denied on the "basis of observation", said Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.

"If Christians really believed in the mystery of God, we would realise that proper talk about God is always difficult, always tentative.

"I want to encourage people of faith to regard those without faith with deep esteem because the hidden God is active in their lives as well as in the lives of those who believe."

There's absolutely no reason to take seriously someone who says, 'I believe it because I believe it'.
Richard Dawkins, scientist

But Richard Dawkins, scientist, staunch atheist and author of books including The God Delusion, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the cardinal's comments carried no weight.

Referring to God as an "imaginary friend", Mr Dawkins said: "When talking to a politician you would demand proof for what they say, but suddenly when talking to a clergyman you don't have to provide evidence.

"There's absolutely no reason to take seriously someone who says, 'I believe it because I believe it.'

"God either exists or he doesn't. It's a matter of the truth."
I think this is a little ungracious of Dawkins.
 

barfing_pumpkin

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Yeah, Dawkins can be as irritating as hell sometimes - but in this instance, I don't think his response all that ungracious when the clergyman says:

Our life together in Britain cannot be a God-free zone and we must not allow Britain to become a world devoid of religious faith and its powerful contribution to the common good.
In his opinion, of course! After all, why shouldn't Britain be a god-free zone? For all he knows, it might be a better place for it.
 

LaurenChurchill

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I dunno, I think it's a pretty rude statement to make.

The priest is warning people not to let the world lose faith. A statement in line with his beliefs and I respect that.

If Dawkins knew how to make a similar statement in line with his own beliefs I would respect that too, but he never does. His idea of religous 'witnessing' (i suppose you would call it) is simply to ridicule people with oppoing views. He may make valid arguments for his own stance but they are lost in the muck of name-calling and belittlement (sp?).
 

ted_bloody_maul

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It depends how you know God, though. If you know him as a Jehovah's Witness does it might matter if you're in need of a blood transfusion (I would have been dead at 23 if I knew God as they did).

I can't see that Dawkins comments are anything more than a reasonable response to the claims of the cardinal, tbh. Sometimes it's neccessary to be a little intemperate to cast the absuridty of a claim in the correct light. In any case I'm sure the cardinal isn't complaining since clearly God is working through Dawkins when he makes such remarks.
 

LaurenChurchill

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But he's always intemperate. Surely there's a point at which he could just sit down, shut up and stop insulting everyone else for the sake of his own point of view.

Edit: although that was directed at Dawkins it's also intended for other people who do the same thing
 

ted_bloody_maul

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LaurenChurchill said:
But he's always intemperate. Surely there's a point at which he could just sit down, shut up and stop insulting everyone else for the sake of his own point of view.

Edit: although that was directed at Dawkins it's also intended for other people who do the same thing
I personally don't find him intemperate although I suspect that's because I happen to share his views. It's about perspective, I suppose. If you're a believer then I suppose his views might seem offensive but if you're not a believer then you might find the notion that you're relieved of your faculties by the divine will of God somewhat more insulting. In any case, Dawkins beef is as much to do with the credibility accorded by many who are not even believers themself but due to a mixture of tradition and political correctness abandon principles they laud as fundamental to their trade.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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Basically that a level of credibility is given to the offices of certain religions which wouldn't be extended to others when making the kind of unsubstantiated claims made in this instance. Hence this statement from Dawkins:

"When talking to a politician you would demand proof for what they say, but suddenly when talking to a clergyman you don't have to provide evidence. "

I doubt Dawkins is particularly bothered by people believing in what he views as nonsense (he's not especially vocal about cults or fringe groups). He is most probably bothered by the acquiescence to fanciful notions of a media which trumpets its own virtues - freedom, bravery, intellectual rigour, public service, truth-seeking and reporting etc - especially when (in theory at least) it does not accord the same mild manners to others. This issue is made worse by the fact that many of these (minority) religious figures would seek to assume the role of the politician to influence our laws and customs.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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LaurenChurchill said:
I still don't get it sorry. Do you mean he has issue with laws being based on religious beliefs and the like?
Well he probably does with that as well but in this instance I'm referring to what he's saying about credibility being afforded to a figure because their views are religious rather than political. Were a politician to express views which claim no need for evidence then the press, radio and television would (rightly) take him/her to task for it.
 

lupinwick

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What is the problem with increased understanding between believers and non-believers? This is partly what the arch-bishop was requesting. In the context of that, Dawkins' comments are indeed unhelpful and counter-productive and even more likely to cause offence.

A bit of tolerance on both sides would be easy and would not damage too many egos.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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It isn't attempting to increase understanding between believers and non-believers. It's attempting to end debate by declaring it worthless, largely because the secularist side is generally going to win (read the cardinal's comments at the end of the original article - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7390941.stm - to see why).

The cardinal is effectively appealing to his flock (and other believers) to respond to questions by saying "we can never really know" whilst holding the contradictory position that - in fact - only they really know. And people talk about the dumbing down of the media..? I suppose not questioning such fantastical statements might lend some weight to such criticism.

It's also worth noting that the version of the article posted here omits these comments by the cardinal:

Later, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme why he thought it was dangerous to be governed by reason alone.

He said saying that "supposedly faithless societies" ruled only by reason were like those created by Hitler and Stalin, ripe for "terror and oppression".


That doesn't strike me as reaching out in a spirit of tolerance. It strikes me as attempting to wriggle out of a debate whilst sneakily claiming that the Godless are ultimately doomed to their own immoral savagery. Personally, I'm a little offended by that.
 

LaurenChurchill

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But those comments aren't the ones that Dawkins was responding to. He was referring to the bishops attempts of reconciliation between believers and non-believers. And I do take reconciliation to be what he was attempting there.

I've probably taken it the wrong way but it seems to me that claiming he's declaring the debate worthless because he believes he's right anyway would be incredibly hypocritical because then that mean that you're saying that YOU are right and he's wrong.

And what's wrong with ending a debate while still believing you were right? If it ends animosity, who cares?
 
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