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Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:06 PM

What is happening in the religious world?

For sometime I have been asked to answer a series of questions about where theology is headed and how religion—principally Christianity—is plotting a fresh course. Some of these inquiries come as “gotcha” questions, and for sometime I have refused to dive down into that sort of non-dialogue. But others have been honest efforts to inquire as to where religion is moving. Over the next few weeks I will try and deal with the serious questions that have been raised, realizing that I may be accused of lecturing. I’ll take the risk and try to ignore the rocks, because I take seriously many of the questioners and the issues they raise. Those who continually state that all religion is irrational and superstitious will probably maintain their attacks, but I am not talking to them, nor will I respond. There is no discussion with a closed mind and an angry spirit. My purpose is not to convince anyone or convert anyone, but to shed some light on what is happening in the religious world, both in the academy and throughout the church.

In this initial reply I want to examine why so many find it difficult to accept the fact that theology changes, and thus find it hard even to hear about what is currently going on in religious circles. There are good reasons for this hesitation.

Most members of American churches are steeped in the old style of looking at their faith and the theology behind it. It is an approach which is both arcane and fading. It defies serious thought. It may border on superstition. For them God is still a person, a He, an omnipotent superman in the sky who looks down with both kindness and judgment. The Bible is taken literally. Supernaturalism controls God’s activities and nature. Only their religion is valid. Everyone else is wrong and subject to the hellfire prescribed for unbelievers. Science is an enemy if it contradicts the Bible or church doctrine. Women are second-class. Homosexuals are condemned and ancient tribal laws are honored. And there is more—much more.

When progressives, atheists, agnostics and the “nons” look at Christianity, this is what they see because there is so much of it. Thus they assume that this is what religion really is about. What is more, they are convinced that there is no other way to explain religion, or to talk about God. The mistake they make is holding that religion is exactly what traditional fundamentalists hold. While they reject fundamentalism—as they should—they cannot get by believing that this is all there is on the religious horizon. God is omnipotent, unmovable and unmoved. Religion is written in stone forever. Rejecting fundamentalism but insisting on defining all religion as fundamentalist do is a circular approach which allows no light or no new insight. All serious disciplines would be ground to a halt if that concept were universally accepted. Thankfully intelligent people are always open to what is being discovered and thought. I would not want to encounter a scientist or a physician or industrialist who thought otherwise.

In my next string I’ll try to explain why both religion and anti-religion have arrive at this place. It has to do with what we all assume is the final word about rationality uttered in the Enlightenment, and how is has defined both religion and its critics.
Obviously I have not yet addressed any of the questions, but just suggested why we have come to this impasse.

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Reply What is happening in the religious world? (Original post)
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 OP
Warpy Mar 2012 #1
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #23
skepticscott Mar 2012 #71
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #73
skepticscott Mar 2012 #82
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #76
Warpy Mar 2012 #83
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #84
Warpy Mar 2012 #86
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #97
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #103
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #104
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #105
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #107
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #108
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #109
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #110
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #111
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #112
GliderGuider Mar 2012 #121
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #123
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #133
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #136
laconicsax Mar 2012 #2
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #3
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #24
southernyankeebelle Mar 2012 #4
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #25
southernyankeebelle Mar 2012 #33
mr blur Mar 2012 #49
southernyankeebelle Mar 2012 #50
mr blur Mar 2012 #57
southernyankeebelle Mar 2012 #59
mr blur Mar 2012 #77
southernyankeebelle Mar 2012 #81
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #53
mr blur Mar 2012 #58
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #60
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #63
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #61
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #64
mr blur Mar 2012 #79
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #52
southernyankeebelle Mar 2012 #69
stopbush Mar 2012 #5
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #54
trotsky Mar 2012 #56
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #62
trotsky Mar 2012 #90
skepticscott Mar 2012 #72
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #65
AlbertCat Mar 2012 #66
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #78
skepticscott Mar 2012 #6
humblebum Mar 2012 #7
skepticscott Mar 2012 #9
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #14
rexcat Mar 2012 #8
tama Mar 2012 #10
rexcat Mar 2012 #16
tama Mar 2012 #30
rexcat Mar 2012 #37
tama Mar 2012 #48
rexcat Mar 2012 #51
tama Mar 2012 #70
rexcat Mar 2012 #75
tama Mar 2012 #88
rexcat Mar 2012 #99
skepticscott Mar 2012 #39
tama Mar 2012 #46
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #44
tama Mar 2012 #47
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #27
rexcat Mar 2012 #34
Humanist_Activist Mar 2012 #36
mr blur Mar 2012 #11
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #28
trotsky Mar 2012 #12
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #22
edhopper Mar 2012 #26
tama Mar 2012 #32
edhopper Mar 2012 #42
Starboard Tack Mar 2012 #41
edhopper Mar 2012 #43
AlbertCat Mar 2012 #67
LineLineLineLineLineReply !
edhopper Mar 2012 #68
AlbertCat Mar 2012 #87
tama Mar 2012 #89
edhopper Mar 2012 #93
tama Mar 2012 #94
edhopper Mar 2012 #115
tama Mar 2012 #116
skepticscott Mar 2012 #31
trotsky Mar 2012 #40
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #45
trotsky Mar 2012 #55
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #85
trotsky Mar 2012 #91
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #95
trotsky Mar 2012 #98
mr blur Mar 2012 #113
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #114
skepticscott Mar 2012 #117
trotsky Mar 2012 #118
skepticscott Mar 2012 #13
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #15
rexcat Mar 2012 #17
skepticscott Mar 2012 #29
mr blur Mar 2012 #18
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #19
mr blur Mar 2012 #38
rexcat Mar 2012 #20
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #21
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #80
deacon_sephiroth Mar 2012 #35
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #74
Arugula Latte Mar 2012 #100
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #102
jeepnstein Mar 2012 #92
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #96
jeepnstein Mar 2012 #101
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #106
trotsky Mar 2012 #119
tama Mar 2012 #122
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #126
mr blur Mar 2012 #128
tama Mar 2012 #132
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #129
trotsky Mar 2012 #134
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #120
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #124
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #125
Green_Lantern Mar 2012 #127
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #130
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #131
cleanhippie Mar 2012 #135
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #137
Goblinmonger Mar 2012 #138
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #139
skepticscott Mar 2012 #140
trotsky Mar 2012 #141
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #142
trotsky Mar 2012 #143
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #144
trotsky Mar 2012 #145
Thats my opinion Mar 2012 #146
trotsky Mar 2012 #147
skepticscott Mar 2012 #148

Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:14 PM

1. All religion that relies on faith is irrational, which means all of it.

However, it might be very rational to keep it, albeit compartmentalized aside where it doesn't interfere with a daily life that needs to be more rational. It's an irrational safety valve to use when the world itself is becoming less rational and one's life is spinning out of control due to phenomena completely out of one's control. Belief in a higher purpose and the mystery of life can allow one to derail rage and despair and get on with trying to get into a more rational place in that life.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:31 PM

23. Rationality can be a very broad term or a very narrow one.

I admire the trust in the "I think therefore I am" of Descartes, as ONE way of understanding reality.
The world would be poorer without it. But so would it be without other ways to live. More about that later.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #23)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 02:10 PM

71. "more later"?

"be patient"?

Do you ever get tired of putting off direct inquiries? Have you never, in all your many years, thought about these things enough to provide a coherent response?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #71)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 02:31 PM

73. I didn't address "be patient" to you.

I don't address anything to you. you ought to know that by now. I do address many others.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #73)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 04:07 PM

82. I must have missed the rule

that forbids anyone but the original poster from responding to a comment.

And please don't assume that I care whether you respond to me or not. I gave up hope long ago of seeing honest and substantive responses from you to much of anything. But your failure to respond with substance and your constant dodging of direct questions when the answers would undermine your agenda will continue to be pointed out. There are many non-posting people here trying to make up their minds about important questions, and your inability and unwillingness to back up your claims is highly relevant.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 02:55 PM

76. no...it depends on what you have faith in..

You can have faith in rational things.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #76)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 04:42 PM

83. If it's rational, it doesn't require faith. It requires proof

and even if you didn't do the proof yourself, you know that it has been done because you have directly or indirectly observed it.

While you might be citing the working hypothesis in science, even that doesn't require faith as continuing observations are being made that will either prove or disprove it.

Again, anything that requires blind faith and resists any attempt to prove or disprove it is irrational. That would mean the religious stuff that sensible people compartmentalize in a "break glass when disaster strikes" part of their brain. It's most likely protective and quite sensible to keep. However, it's a very poor guide for everyday decision making because of its irrational nature.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #83)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 04:59 PM

84. I looked up what rational belief is and yes it requires evidence and/or reason but..

Just because something is not rational doesn't mean it is crazy or impossible.

Many people believe in irrational things. Believing you love your children is irrational.

Irrationality can be argued as the reason we exist.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #84)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 07:26 PM

86. That was written by a believer

and they are incapable of describing anything except in terms of belief.

The truth is that facts exist whether or not anyone believes in them. One fact can be a person's emotional investment in one's children, something that is not universal but which is a fact for the people who have it.

Irrationality might be why you exist. I exist because my mom and dad had sex.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #86)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 12:02 PM

97. truth is facts exist but the human mind has its limits

There are facts that are beyond human understanding.

You saying certain parents have an emotional investment in their children is somewhat irrational. How do you really know it is emotion and not hormones?

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #97)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 01:02 PM

103. If it is beyond human understanding, how can it be a fact?

Can you give an example or two of a fact that is beyond human understanding?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #103)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 01:13 PM

104. sure

We don't know the facts about what happens after death.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #104)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 01:21 PM

105. So the fact itself is that we don't know.

I can accept that, but not knowing (the fact) is not beyond human understanding, right? If we understand that we do not know, that itself is not beyond understanding.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #105)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 01:29 PM

107. all I'm saying is

Not everything makes sense.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #107)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 01:56 PM

108. I agree. Not everything makes sense...yet.

But to chalk up that which we do not understand to some mysterious force or supernatural diety is nonsense, IMO.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #108)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 02:08 PM

109. I agree

I don't think of God as some force working outside nature.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #109)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 03:25 PM

110. Interesting. Can we continue this conversation?

When you say that you do not think of god as some force working outside of nature, are you implying that "god" is some natural force? And if so, if it is working within the natural world, shouldn't we be able to detect and measure it?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #110)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 03:57 PM

111. only if god was a material entity...

You can't measure other intangible things like love or happiness. I'm not saying god is a force that acts upon objects. That requires mass.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #111)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 04:54 PM

112. So if god is just some intangible force, like love or happiness...

(and I think love and happiness are emotions, not some intangible force) but does not act upon the natural world but simply exists in it, does it require devotion and worship?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #112)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:23 AM

121. Devotion, worship and prayer are not for the benefit of "God"

Just like expressions of secular gratitude or forgiveness, they are for the benefit of worshipper, the person expressing the feelings, saying the prayer.

IMNSHO

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #112)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:44 AM

123. I'm not saying they are forces of nature..

I'm saying love and happiness are not measurable things. No, I don't think God requires devotion...people are the ones who developed ritualism.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #123)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:49 PM

133. I'm ok with that. I think we're on the same page.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #133)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 02:10 PM

136. The concept of God being all powerful and capable of exerting energy...

Defies spirituality due to what we know about physics.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:35 PM

2. The problem isn't what you think it is.

 

Atheists, agnostics, etc. don't focus on the fundamentalists because it's what we foolishly believe that it represents religion, we focus on it because:

-It represents the majority or near majority of Christianity in the United States. You have acknowledged this, so don't even bother trying to deny it.
-It presents a very real threat to progressivism and cannot be ignored.

We're not going to just say, "well, that's their thing" and move on to other topics. The sooner you accept this and realize that when we attack the fundamentalists, we're not attacking you, the happier you'll be.

There's another aspect to this that I've intentionally left out. Warpy briefly touched on it upthread.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:38 PM

3. But you never answer the question of what it is that is on the horizon.

You spend a lot of time telling us what it is not, but no time telling us what it is.

And I see one problem I would like to address about your essay. You say in paragraph 3:
Most members of American churches are steeped in the old style of looking at their faith and the theology behind it.


Then you say in in paragraph 4:
Rejecting fundamentalism but insisting on defining all religion as fundamentalist do is a circular approach which allows no light or no new insight.


So which is it? Are "most members of American churches" part of the "old tradition" or is it unfair to paint most with that brush?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:33 PM

24. Be patient.

I don't see the contradiction you point out. Can you clarify?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:51 PM

4. As a catholic I don't even recognize the church I grew up in. I still have my faith and beliefs but

 

I refuse to go to organized church and going to confession. I feel they are no better than the rest of us. There was a time I was proud to be a catholic.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #4)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:38 PM

25. So what is left of your faith?

And where did you get it? I live with a number of Catholics who take the same stand you do. Most of them, however, are active in some non-Catholic community--in churches which reflect what I am trying to say in this series of posts..

Perhaps the medieval pope was right when he said, "The church is like Noah's ark. The only way to tolerate the stink inside is to know about the storm outside."

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #25)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 02:14 PM

33. Well I was born a catholic and I could never change that. I just have my personal relationship

 

with god. I remember when I was having a serious problem worrying about my husband and this job he had and didn't have a choice to leave. I had a strong faith praying to god and I use to go to daily morning mass. I would never let my husband see me cry because he was having a hard time at this job. He never brought his work home but I could tell he was stressed out from this job. I thought he would kill himself because for a time there was no way out. Finally when he went to work one morning. I sat on my bed crying my eyes out by myself and writing a letter to god. I expressed everything that was hurting me inside. I ended up writing a long letter. When I finished it I folded it up and felt so much better. A couple of times I took it out and would reread it. Finally one day my husband came home and told me we were getting orders and we would be leaving. He was so happy and I was happy for him. I realized then and there god was listening to me and my wish for my husband came true. I had the faith that god would send us back to what his prior job was. He happened to work in a chapel on a military base. I don't go to organized church any longer. Every year we give to this friend of family organization that collects money to buy things for teens during christmas. The need for that age group needs help. Plus we send money to an Indian School. To cancer organization, and to the christmas angel names on the trees. We usually pick 2 people. My health doesn't permit me to get involved in the community. But if they ask for something I usually send or do something. I have 2 grandkids and I help them alot because their parents don't make alot of money. Many times when I give to the local community I make sure not to put my name on the gifts. Once you get picked up on a charity you get calls from everyone. I live on a fixed income so I give but it isn't much.

I just to go to organized church. I rather do things quietly and personally. Once we gave a lady $300 because we overheard her talking to her mother about where she could get the money because she was a waitress and she needed the money to finish the adoption of a child. We got the information from the mother when the waitress wasn't around and made out a check to the place she needed the check to go to. We just felt we needed to help because my husband was an adopted child and he got a break in life. He wanted to help someoneelse. No strings attached. The mother couldn't believe it. We left and never heard from them. We felt good. Now that is faith working in my eyes.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #33)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 05:52 PM

49. Well, respect to you for your caring actions. But,

you say,
Now that is faith working in my eyes.


Surely you aren't suggesting that without your "faith" you would not have been capable of what is actually a very laudable Humanist act? You are obviously a caring person - why do you seem to need to believe that a supernatural force made you that way?

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Response to mr blur (Reply #49)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 06:32 PM

50. My father-in-law never ever went to church. But I know he was a man of faith. I never heard him

 

say a bad thing about anyone. You don't have to believe in god to be a good person. I happen to know many good people who believe in different faiths or don't even believe in god. I don't know how to explain it to you. My husband always said no one has a right to judge a person's relationship someone has with god. That is between that person and god. I don't know how else to explain it to you. I don't understand how else to explain it.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #50)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 09:54 AM

57. I was not attacking you -

I have respect for your actions. We are obviously not going to understand each other and have no wish to insult you by questioning your POV any further.

Thanks for your reply.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #57)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:21 AM

59. Wait, wait. I wasn't trying to attack you. I think your a very thoughtful person. I am

 

trying to find the right words to explain to you and I don't think I was doing it. I don't have a college education so I am limited in my writings. I just can't seem to find the right words. Please don't take offense. I really wasn't trying to offend you and I don't think you were trying to offend me.

Your a deep thinker, I like that. You don't seem to be judgemental.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #59)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 02:58 PM

77. Not offended, truly, and glad you weren't either.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #77)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:46 PM

81. Well good you have a nice day too.

 

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Response to mr blur (Reply #49)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 11:42 PM

53. Instead of trying to convert her to your way,

something I would get blasted for, why not just let the seeds in her grow in their own way?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #53)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 10:22 AM

58. You know, your arrogance can be breathtaking.

You presume I'm trying to "convert her" to my "way". Do you even realise how ludicrous that sounds. "Convert" the lady to not believing in a god? How, or why, would I do that? Your attitude to southernyankeebelle, by the way, seems to me to be patronising in the extreme.

You seem to spend half your time complaining that the nasty atheists don't and won't understand you and your progressive insights on theological thinking (to the extent that you've taken it on yourself to treat us to a series of enlightenment lectures), and the rest of your time deliberately not understanding the point of view of anyone who fails to appreciate your unparalleled understanding of theology.

You seem torn between telling everyone else what you've decided they're thinking and telling everyone else what they should be thinking.

You don't seem to want a dialogue, but a lecture theatre.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #58)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:24 AM

60. I have been asked a series of interesting questions for which there ares no simple answers.

If I don't respond, that's bad. If I do--according to you--that's bad. So my suggestion is you just don't read my "lectures" and let those who want to engage in a reasonable conversation do so.

And I won't read your personal attacks.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #60)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:36 AM

63. Oh boo-fing-hoo.

If you would, for once, just listen to what people are saying to you...

Oh, nevermind, you have been told this ad nauseam since you first got here. You don't want to listen.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #49)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:27 AM

61. Here is what looks like a--"why don't you just give up on religion" evangelistic message

why do you seem to need to believe that a supernatural force made you that way?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #61)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:37 AM

64. Why can't you just answer that simple question?

Afraid of the answer?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #61)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:26 PM

79. Wrong, as you are perfectly aware.

I suggested that the lady seems like a caring, helpful person and that she could take the credit for that, not her faith.

In the event, she understood and agreed that one could be good without a god. Shame all your endless studying hasn't led you to that simple insight.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #33)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 11:40 PM

52. Keep on doing the good things you are about.

Who knows, a renewed and very different faith might follow.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #52)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 12:48 PM

69. Well who knows. God plants us where he wants us to bloom, right? LOL. I alway thought

 

no matter if you have faith even in people and do the right thing the best way you can without hurting others then you can't go wrong.

PEACE

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 09:51 PM

5. Plotting a new course for religions like Xianity is akin to

plotting a new course for belief in fairies.

Why bother?

Why plot a new course in religion when you can simply toss belief in make believe and replace it with something real and constructive?

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 11:44 PM

54. Who are you trying to convert--and why? I thought that was out of bounds.

It would be if I tried it.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #54)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 09:23 AM

56. If so, then this whole discussion board is out of bounds.

I mean, you're speaking about your beliefs in positive ways so it sounds like you're trying to convert people too.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #56)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:35 AM

62. If I ever infer that

someone should give up on their non-belief, call me on it. Let me know if I ever call atheism stupid or any other put downs, and I'll apologize.

If you confuse that with "speaking about (my beliefs) in a positive way" what do you suggest I do?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #62)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 07:15 AM

90. You've never apologized for the slam that started it all.

You know the one.

My other point, of course, is that you have done just that - confused someone (specifically atheists) speaking about their views as an effort to try and convert others.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #54)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 02:27 PM

72. You do try

And so does pretty much everyone else here. What about it? The main reason for posting here is to influence the thinking of others. That's what a discussion board is all about.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:42 AM

65. that's not an evangelistdic message calling me or someone to change their mind and

"replace it with something real and constructive."?

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 11:52 AM

66. Plotting a new course for religions like Xianity is akin to...

.... all theology. It's all arguing about whether Santa comes down the chimney head first or feet first. Theology... like plotting a "new course for Christianity" is just a bunch of circular, insulated mish-mashing in a (vain) attempt to make this Stone Age and Bronze Age mythology relevant.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:07 PM

78. because you offer no way of knowing it is make believe and secondly...

You can't convince everyone that faith is a waste of time.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 10:04 PM

6. Why do you always

have to misrepresent other people's positions to make your arguments? NO ONE on this board has said that it is "difficult to accept the fact that theology changes". I defy you to point to one post that has stated this. In fact, as has been pointed out over and over on this board, by the very people you refer to, theology has evolved and diverged constantly throughout history. We ALL realize that, and with almost uncountable denominations and splinter groups just within Christianity, how could any rational and intelligent person think otherwise?

The issue, which you have constantly refused to address in an honest and substantial fashion, is what makes one "theology" any better, any more real, any more true, any more of an accurate reflection and understanding of the nature, intentions and wishes of god than any other?

If you're going to start even more threads in which you refuse to answer direct questions (instead, calling everything that upsets your agenda "gotcha"), why should anyone take what you say seriously?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 11:44 PM

7. The ones who are the most sensitive and defensive about their past are atheists.

 

Barely a mention of any atheist past, and the daggers and jeers start flying.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 05:46 AM

9. Irrelevant non-response

The OP really doesn't need your help to dodge the specific issues I raised.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:09 AM

14. You're projecting again.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 02:13 AM

8. You have several frames here that are annoying to the atheist...

Yes we atheists think that religion based on faith is irrational. We are not going to let go of that premise because we have good reason to believe it and it has been well stated by many of us atheists on this forum. You also don't seem to understand that the majority of atheists, if not all, come from a religious background. I find yours and other theists on this forum to have a condescending attitude towards atheists. It might help if the theists on this forum would try to understand where we are coming from for we do understand, for the most part, where you are coming from since this country is overwhelmingly theist in nature and the US has more in common with the Middle East than with Europe as far as religion and tolerance goes but that is through the lens of the atheist. But I must also say that Europeans have their issues with religious tolerance. It would therefore seam that religion is divisive no matter how you shake it out.

As far as religion goes it does change, sometimes for the better but more often for the worse. The religions based on Abrahamic constructs are exclusionary, not inclusive. That is just the nature of the beast and that is where the conflict with other religions, within the christian sects and especially with atheists has its basis.

One more point. How can you justify that the "omnipotent superman in the sky" (your words) is kind. I don't really see any kindness coming from some dude in the sky but I do see famines where people starve, horrible illnesses which cause great suffering and a dash of cruelness in the world. If there were a kind dude in the sky who could stop the starvation, illnesses, etc. and doesn't that makes him/her/it not kind but rather sadistic? Not the kind of thing I would want to revere. On the other hand people can be good and do good things but it does not take some dude in the sky to make that happen.

The last thing I want is a lecture on religion. Sorry but I got enough of that over the course of my life.

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Response to rexcat (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 06:30 AM

10. Fait or confidence per se

 

is not necessarily irrational, if by rational we mean consistent thinking and development of world views. The 'leap of faith' in e.g. Kierkegardian sense of the term comes to very close to 'satori' of zen.

As for Abrahamic religions, the history of Hebrew tribal war god beating enemy tribes is a big burden to get rid of. On the other hand, the God of Christ has striking similarities with the Pure Land Buddhism. And then the history of Xian Church replacing Emperor worship as the official cult of Roman Empire... militant, violent and imperialistic describes both ancient Rome and new Rome that has Capitolium and Senate in Washington DC. Religion of imperialistic and violent state or tribe is fear and greed, social cohesion through common enemies and worship of Mammon.

The problem of "Liberal theology" is that it is not militant enough against the great evils and sins of worship of imperialistic state and Mammon, but with affiliation with the other US corporate party of imperialism act more like "Good Cop" enablers of the RW nasties.

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Response to tama (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:24 AM

16. As far as irrational...

I see it as accepting something without proof. That is counter to atheists rational world view. If it is not rational to the atheist it must be irrational to the atheist. This is a simple concept and I subscribe to the KISS philosophy.

I see nothing original about Christianity. One can go back to earlier religions and find the same stuff outlined in the Christian holy book. It would appear they borrowed from other religions what they wanted. There are many religions with "virgin births." Don't kill makes sense since we require group cohesion is vital to our survival. Destroy the cohesion and our species does not survive or for that matter the society does not survive.

I see religion as a power play. It is about the few keeping the masses in line so the few can dominate. The Catholic Church is a good example of this. That is why we see cults popping up all the time. It is all about power and how to manipulate the masses to keep the power.

"Liberal theology" will never be militant for once it does they will end up devouring its self. They are afraid to confront the RW nasties as you put it.

edited for clarity

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Response to rexcat (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 01:23 PM

30. Do you accept number theory?

 

Any logical system complex enough to contain number theory (which includes e.g. irrational and transcendental and imaginary numbers ) contains propositions or "a priori truths" that cannot be proven within a finite set of axioms.

The Gödel's proof of unprovability and other related issues of logical undecidables are of course not irrational statements, but rational understanding of them needs to look at them in a wider context than binary opposition between rational and irrational. And in this day and age world view that refuses to accept e.g. Gödel's proof of unprovability cannot be considered rational, but more like wishfull thinking and denial.

And analogically to theism, antitheism and atheism the "leap of faith"/"satori" etc. would seem to point to arational instead of rational or irrational. And the number theorical set of transcendental numbers is the mathematical area of arationals, in some sense.

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Response to tama (Reply #30)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 02:39 PM

37. Well...

Something which is arational is not grounded in rationality but is not necessarily irrational i.e. going directly against rationality. It typically applies to beliefs in areas for which no firm rationality-based conclusions have been reached.

Misuse
It is often used as a sort of "weasel concept" to justify belief in that which is extremely unlikely but nonetheless not provably false.


Carl Sagan sums it up very well: “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persisit in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring”

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Response to rexcat (Reply #37)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 05:18 PM

48. Re Sagan quote

 

We all tend to identify our collective and private delusions with "universe as it really is". To begin with, is "as it really is" any definition of it, to begin with?

And if there is room for choice in any form - observer participation, holography, etc., you name it - to the experience of living-in, wouldn't you prefer satisfying and reassuring universe to dissatisfying and insecure or some other form of Hell of your own making? Perhaps the real wisdom of the Sagan quote is about attitude of acceptance instead of any "objective" definition of "as happens".

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Response to tama (Reply #48)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 09:11 PM

51. I think skepticscott has got it right...

I was going to go down the path that Gödel's theory was related to mathematics and not related to philosophical matters but really didn’t want to engage you on it. It is nice of you to take Gödel out of context. I have come to the conclusion that you are more into word games, verbal masterbation and obfuscation rather than meaningful dialogue.

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Response to rexcat (Reply #51)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 01:52 PM

70. Sadly

 

it's you that in espressis verbis refuse to engage meaningful dialogue and discussing matters, and instead retort to insulting persons or their writing styles.

Your conclusion is obviously nothing than projection.

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Response to tama (Reply #70)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 02:43 PM

75. No...

you did admit to "word play." Personally I find your style of writing to be confusing. By the way this is a criticism of your writing style. If you wish to take it as insulting that is your problem.

If you want meaningful dialogue your approach is not working. When I read any of your posts I have to read it several times and try to decipher the intended meaning. Personally this gets old and it has come to the point that your posts are not worth reading. If your intention is to make people feel stupid that approach may fail you in the long run. For example, using mathematical theories written in the 1920’2-1930’s and apply it to something unrelated then someone might question your intellectual honesty.

I don't think it is projection on my point. I don’t play games with words. I do a lot of technical writing in my job so I like to make it brief, relevant and to the point. Obviously that is not your “style.”Surprisingly your post that I am responding to is the most cogent post you have written. If you would take the time to be concise and clear in your posts that would serve you better than your current style.

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Response to rexcat (Reply #75)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 06:39 AM

88. OK

 

so you have serious background . I've been a professional translator and done also technical writing, but also poetry with interest and academic background in many things, among them general linguistics and philosophy of language.

It seems obvious that linguistic communication (including internal dialogue of conscious thinking) gives form and shape to our deeper sensations and thoughts and "knowing by heart", as the English expression says, and thus also restricts the scope and variety of meaning (in terms of general linguistics, morphology and syntax restrict the scope and variety of semantics and pragmatics).

We approach dialogue and communication with different backgrounds and expectations, and your criticism is a good remainder to be more consciouss about them. I see playfull and creative attitude to linguistic communication a good antidote against dogmatic belief in propositional sentences - whether those propositional sentences represent belief systems of biblical literalism or pseudoskeptic scientism.

Propositional sentences are good servants in right context (e.g. technical manuals) but bad masters as ideological constructs and hierarchical power systems, and I like and try to be critical and skeptical of all belief systems based on propositional sentences aka 'literalism', regardless of the specifics of the belief system. This criticism is more general and not allways easy to express clearly, especially as people or persons tend to identify with their belief systems of propositional sentences and be very emotional about them.

***

Gödel's proof is not unrelated in this context, as it put the end to the dream that all of math could be derived from propositional logic. Gödel's proof is also not unrelated to his philosophy of mathematical Platonism - that math is deeper and more fundamental than classical physics and neurology. In terms of logic, mathematics and rationalism in general it is not an exaggeration to speak about pre- and post-Gödelian eras, though in many minds the pre-era ideas and attitudes still prevail. Change is usually a slow and gradual process, and AFAIK what is taught in schools about math etc. is still pre-Gödelian to great extent.

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Response to tama (Reply #88)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 12:34 PM

99. You have made some good points...

II would rather see us working together for better understanding than fight. Sometimes we will have disagreements and we all need to accept that.

I have a mixed background. I first started off as a theater major and ended up in the sciences. During college I had a run in with a low draft number and no way to get a deferment (Viet Nam era) and ended up in the service. After my encounter with the military I went back to school and majored in the sciences but took literature classes and some liberal arts classes. I was able to do this because of the GI bill. We all come into this thing with varied backgrounds. Sometimes it is difficult to assess the situation on the "internets" and can cause confusion to all parties involved so I like to be a clear in my writings as humanly possible.

By the way I still disagree with you on the math thingy!

Peace!!!!

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Response to tama (Reply #30)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 03:31 PM

39. Sorry, fail

The proof of things in a deductive system of logic is not analogous to evaluating the existence of things like gods in the physical universe, which is always an INductive process. Godel's proof do not transfer directly from mathematics to inductive, empirical inquiry.

And his proofs simply involved resort to self-reference, not any fundamentally new and different way of thinking about logic or the world. The existence of self-referential statements like "This sentence is false", that had no decideable truth value had been known for millennia. Godel's main breakthrough was discovering how to make mathematical statements about number theory self-referential, a much trickier thing than doing it with ordinary words.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #39)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 04:53 PM

46. Fair enough

 

and you make excellent point about Gödel's breakthrough being about mathematical self-reference.

As for rationalism and theology, when you begin from "things like gods IN physical universe", instead of e.g. as contemporary theoretical physics does: things like physical universes in Number Theory/"Panentheistic God" as Platonia, it's easy to see where the discussion about rational theology fails. Is it absolutely necessary to use the word "God" in this context? No, but there is also no absolute necessity not to, and some good reasons to do so.

And yes, empiricism is equally important as the scientific method is a dialectical relation between mathematical rationalism and empiricial data. And the question is about finding consistent whole of mathematical relations with best fit with the empirical data. And certainly not passing or denying the fact of self-reference as fundamental relation.

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Response to tama (Reply #30)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 04:29 PM

44. Please offere more of a description of the arational. nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #44)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 04:58 PM

47. Just a word play :)

 

Ceasing of the inner dialogue (ie. thoughts about thoughts, self-reference) is a more common description.

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Response to rexcat (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:46 PM

27. I see kindness

built into that lives of people of faith all around the world. Take kindness exemplified by religious people of all sorts out of the world and you have even greater human tragedy. I have been in 50 nations and have worked side by side with the overwhelming benevolence born of faith. It is not the only way, but it is the Jesus way.

And I don't think God is the "omnipotent superman int he sky." Reread my post.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #27)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 02:20 PM

34. Religion is not a precurser to kindness...

humans are a cooperative species because the social order in necessary for survival. I can find many an instance of religious people being unkind and I have been on the receiving end of that unkindness. Not all people of faith or people who lack faith are all kind or all unkind. Humans are a mixed bag. Morality which "kindness" is a part does not require religion. I think it is hardwired into our DNA through the process of evolution.

As far as "Jesus" goes he probably was a historical person but the one described in the Christian holy book, probably not. I don't accept the divinity of Jesus or anyone else. I am just not wired that way. I probably have a mutated god gene.

Sorry about giving you credit for the "omnipotent superman in the sky" phrase. You are correct. My bad.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #27)


Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 07:04 AM

11. The problem that you repeatedly seem to show,

is that you constantly complain that we atheists "lump together" fundamentalists and more 'progressive' "people of faith" and criticise you all as if you all believed the same thing. Well, the point that you never seem to get is that you do all believe the same thing, in that you define yourselves in terms of your faith which, to you, is of more importance (and automatically worthy of respect) than any scientific search for answers or proof.

So your constant stressing of "new" ways of looking at theology is of little interest to people who don't really care about how you arrived at and justify your faith, whatever it might be because, well... I'll just say that my sig-line was not chosen at random.

Religious apologists remind me of those old Bishops arguing about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin when the answer to a rational person is "None", because there aren't any.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:49 PM

28. i never said and don't believe that

my faith is of more importance (and automatically worthy of respect) than any scientific search for answers or proof.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 07:59 AM

12. A few questions (none of them the evil "gotcha" variety)...

Although I suspect you won't want to answer them anyway.

1) What qualifies you to declare the direction that all Christian theology is headed? Which particular churches, sects, and institutions do you officially speak for, and what is your position in each?

2) As others have noted above, do you acknowledge that the fundamentalists and those who DO see a god who is "omnipotent, unmovable and unmoved" vastly outnumber you and form the general impression of Christianity because of that?

3) What is "anti-religion" and do you think it is possible to not believe in gods, and voice one's opinion about that, but NOT be "anti-religious"? Or could you perhaps avoid using the negative language of "anti-" and instead call these folks "pro-reason" or "pro-secularism" or some other term that they would prefer? Maybe you'd get a better reception to your ideas and thoughts if you didn't start right off the bat bashing everyone who might hold a different opinion than you.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:23 PM

22. Try this.

1- I never said "all". That is you word.
I don't officially speak for anybody--but what I suggest is what goes on in most ecumenical seminaries, among the leading edge of main-line churches, in the scholarly academies of the world, in the Jesus Seminar, the Westar institute, The Society of Biblical studies, in a plethora of books--including mine--to name a few places

2-I have consistently noted that as well.

3-If you want to know what anti-religion is, just read through tons of the responses in both DU2 and DU3. I do fine with pro-secularists. They have many solid things to say. They tend to be good partners in the dialogue. The anti-religion which also is widely spread here doesn't leave much room for discussion.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #22)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:38 PM

26. Why is the personal, omnipotent God

more easy to reject as irrational than your undefined, undetectable "energy" which permeates the Universe?
Atheist don't reject just religion, we reject the notion of God. Whether it's your concept or an evangelical's.
Yes there is discussion about the harm religion does to society, but however you want to characterize it, if you talk about a soul, the divine or god entity, we just don't see anything to support those notions.
"Not all Christians" is the same as "not all Bigfoot believers". Some are wackier than others, but they are all wrong.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #26)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 01:27 PM

32. For nth time

 

youre "rejection of notion of God" seems to be closer to antitheistic active disbelief than atheist (as usually defined here) rational skepticism.

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Response to tama (Reply #32)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 04:20 PM

42. true

my language was inelegant. I should not have used the word "notion".

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Response to edhopper (Reply #26)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 04:00 PM

41. You do not speak for all atheists

Some of us do believe in a human spirit/soul. Has nothing to do with believing in a Divinity or Creator or some other all knowing Omnipotence. Just a good old life loving, infinity embracing soul. So, you might want to think about using the word "I", or wait until "We" elect you spokesperson.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #41)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 04:25 PM

43. You are right

I am talking more as a secular humanist than a simple atheist. Sorry.

Though the OP seems to be an atheist as well, since he rejects the Biblical God and not a Christian.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #26)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 12:06 PM

67. undefined, undetectable "energy"

If it's undefined

and undetectable


it's useless. Things in the "real" world are detectable and defined.... even "dark matter" and "dark energy" (we don't know what they are but we can DETECT their influences: the shape of galaxies... the acceleration of the expanding universe). If some god (of which "an undetectable energy" is NOT a definition) is undetectable, he is useless and may as well not be here.

Again, all these redefinitions of what a god is. We know "god" does not mean "all the love that ever was" or "an energy that dances on the head of a pin and brings warm and fuzzy feelings to me... me... me!) We all know the definition of "god". He must be an entity. He must be supernatural somehow. And as any sensible person knows, the supernatural does not exist.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #67)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 12:17 PM

68. !

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Response to edhopper (Reply #68)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 07:29 PM

87. Burnin' down the house....

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #67)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 07:01 AM

89. AFAIK

 

Most general definition or mathematical description of 'energy' are vectors in Hilbert spaces.

What about 'attention', for example? When a physicist and/or mathematician "puts his mind in" and gives intentional attention to solving a proof of a conjecture or other theoretical problem, and gets the work (Gr. 'ergon') done after much toil, why not call also 'attention' and 'intention' a form of energy? And hypothesize that at most general level also attention and intention can be described as a vector from a point in a Hilbert space pointing to another point?

Next question, how do you detect (and/or quantitatively measure) intention and attention?

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Response to tama (Reply #89)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 09:43 AM

93. Because it's not

I may drink a Red Bull and have extra "energy", but it's just not the same thing.
It's not what physics would characterize as energy.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #93)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 10:19 AM

94. Well,

 

according to current physical theories, energy is not a "thing" at least in the basic meaning of 3D-object but something more fundamental, and 4 or 3 basic forces are not either "the same thing", but according to some theories they are different low-temperature manifestations of same unified force. A "Theory Of All" that would exclude consciousness, intention and attention from nature (and/or consider them supernatural) would not be a theory of All but just a theory of some... err... things

Also "physics" as a personified subject of a sentence is just a figure of speech, which as we know can easily deceive. To my understanding theoretical physics is not an invitation to stop thinking and accept current theories (with their all known limitations) as the Word of Authority - on the contrary! That's what some religions do, and that's what general consensus on this forum does not like about those religions.

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Response to tama (Reply #94)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 10:03 PM

115. It is also not a license to

throw away current knowledge for a highly speculative, uncorroborated theory counter to what we do know.

And yes it's a figure of speech that you fully understood, and therefor did not need to make a pissy, unwarranted remark to score a point.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #115)

Sat Mar 17, 2012, 02:13 AM

116. There is need,

 

perhaps not to throw away current theories, but to keep on speculating and widening the horizons as we know perfectly well that current theories are deeply flawed as they don't match together.

Sorry for the pissy remark, the point was not to make you feel bad and the target was English language and more generally how figures of speech like difficulty to avoid "thingness" and subjectifying abstract concepts can be very misguiding when trying to express e.g. scientific ideas.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #22)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 01:24 PM

31. You've also suggested

Well, no, you've flat-out declared that most seminaries in the world teach a welcoming and affirming attitude towards gays and lesbians. We all know how little truth there was in that. Your credibility about anything in "theology" that goes on outside of your little ivory tower think tanks is zero.

Unfortunately, I lost the pool on when your first book sales plug would come. I had post 31.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #22)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 03:34 PM

40. So basically you're saying that:

1) This is your opinion only (how very appropriate!) and not any kind of grand declaration of where Christian theology is heading, despite what you said in the OP.

2) The vast majority of Christians today don't even buy into your starting point, let alone the direction you think it's going, despite what you said in the OP (and in many other threads).

3) You didn't answer my questions.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #40)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 04:53 PM

45. To clarify

1-It is far more than just my opinion. It is the way the groups you asked for, and I partially listed, are moving.

2- It is strange that you just don't want the sort of things I describe to happen. They are happening. Why is that a threat? It seems to me that you might even applaud even if you didn't agree.

3-I thought I answered the non gotcha part of your question.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #45)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 07:01 AM

55. ...

1) So you claim - but then you admit you don't speak for anyone else. Very difficult to make any sense of that.

2) What I'd love to see is a move away from religion completely, but of course I would prefer existing religion to become more tolerant and accepting of reason and secularism. I don't appreciate your false accusation that I *don't* want to see this. What I am pointing out, however, is that by far the largest number of Christians in this country do NOT subscribe to your worldview, and therefore are NOT moving in this kinder, gentler direction. This is an observation - one that clearly makes you so uncomfortable you'd rather attack my motivations than deal with it.

3) Nope.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #55)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 06:16 PM

85. But if there is a part of the church moving in the direction I suggest,

why can't you just applaud it, without agreeing with it, instead of continually dumping on it?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #85)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 07:59 AM

91. Hooray!

Glad for you! And as I made clear upthread, I'm all in favor of any effort to make religion more tolerant and accepting of other viewpoints.

But pretending, as you often do, that the bulk of of Christianity isn't the "true" religion or that it is irrelevant, gets us nowhere. Since you're ignoring them, they most certainly will not be part of your glorious revolution and will continue to make life hell for the rest of us.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #91)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 11:49 AM

95. They also make life hell for me,

and I'm right in the midst of it. And I'm not ignoring them in the rest of my life----which is far larger than what shows here.
Here are battles where there ought to be colleagues, even if we come at things from a very different perspective.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #95)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 12:27 PM

98. You just contradicted yourself again.

"I'm right in the midst of it."

No, you're not. Because you've told us countless times that those of us who make a statement based on what the majority of US Christians believe are wrong, because that's not true in the groups of theologians you hang out with.

If you're so damn worried about how a handful of atheists on an anonymous Internet message board are reacting to your Christian preaching, perhaps your efforts would be better spent preaching your new, improved gospel on the tons of fundamentalist and mainstream Christian sites out there. Because guess what, most of the Christians on DU are already pretty liberal and tolerant. Now, a lot of them have work to do on extending that tolerance to non-believers and secularism, but your message sure isn't going to help in that department.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #98)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 05:35 PM

113. +1 (nt)

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Response to trotsky (Reply #98)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 09:50 PM

114. I am right in the middle of the struggle between liberal Christians and the fundamentalists,

not among snipers from the rooftops taking potshots at both.

It would be great to think that other liberals were guarding my back, instead of......

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #114)

Sat Mar 17, 2012, 09:24 AM

117. No, you're not

You're standing in your ivory tower proclaiming that the beliefs, god concepts and theologies of most "Liberal Christians" are outdated and just plain wrong.

Who's the one taking potshots?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #114)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 07:22 AM

118. Oh, you are?

What Christian boards are you on? What is your username on each? I'd like to check in on them and support you! I've got your back! Send me a PM if you don't want to blow your cover!

Speaking of guarding my back, wow, that took some nerve. Would be nice if liberal Christians had my back on issues concerning the separation of church and state, but most here take a dump on those. The street goes two ways.

But look, you've got to understand that as an atheist who thinks religion - in particular, your religion - is impeding liberal social progress in this country and around the world, I'm not going to give you three cheers when you post your sermons here. Go fix the faith as practiced by the vast majority of your fellow Christians, and then I'll consider cheering.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:00 AM

13. And yet again

you post a long-winded diatribe full of questionable logic, smears and false characterizations (to name a few), and then disappear, declining to respond to substantive criticism in any way, meaningful or otherwise.

I suspect we'll only see you back here when someone way down the thread posts something sufficiently fawning, so that you can respond with "Excellent Post!" or "Very Thoughtful and Intelligent Response!"

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:11 AM

15. Well, if you wouldn't be posting such "gotcha" stuff

he might respond to you.

Edited to add: you big anti-religious heathen.
Re-Edited to add: for any particular juries, I'm joking with the person I'm replying to and he's aware of that.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:27 AM

17. You had better watch out...

your re-edit might not be sufficient in this forum.

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Response to rexcat (Reply #17)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 01:15 PM

29. Or with the average level

of jury perceptiveness that we've learned to expect.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:29 AM

18. Now I'm offended!

I'm anti religious and you're mocking my sincerely-held beliefs!

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Response to mr blur (Reply #18)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:30 AM

19. But are you a heathen

Because I qualified it.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #19)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 02:51 PM

38. Ah, a "Gotcha" post!

You got me.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 10:34 AM

20. Every repsonse to the OP...

will be considered an attack and it was plainly stated that he would not repsond to posts that attacked his position. Of course just being an atheist appears to be an attack on all christians to some in the fold.

edited to eliminate the broad stroke attack on all christians since not all christians feel that being an atheist is an attack on all christians, or something like that.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 11:31 AM

21. What is happening in the religious world? It is devouring itself, that is what is happening.

And your feel-good accommodation of the extremists, along with your re-interpretation of the bible to fit into an increasingly secular society that sees no need for it, is doing nothing but greasing the wheels of its destruction.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #21)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:30 PM

80. I approach it the other way...

Secular society(frankly nonexistent) rejects religion because of rigid dogma and irrational beliefs, not because it has no need for religious institutions. 69% of Americans want religious institutions involved in administering social services. http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_report_detail.aspx?id=56103&category=330

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 02:32 PM

35. this remindms me of a quote



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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 02:37 PM

74. Christian mainstream theology(Christ resurrection, omnipotence) isn't primitive

It is based more on Platonic Greek philosophy. The philosophy where every object including the concept of God is just a representative of a perfect ideal.

The problem is the Church is stuck viewing the modern world through the lens of good being perfection and God can only be their picture of what perfection is.

They aren't willing to accept imperfection and see God in it.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #74)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 12:36 PM

100. The god of the Bible is largely a vengeful, murderous a-hole.

If that's the mainstream Christians ideal of perfection ... yikes.

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #100)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 12:59 PM

102. some Christian fundies only enforce OT views...

Scary.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Original post)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 09:38 AM

92. I'm asking myself the same question.

I'm seeing an awful lot of people who are somehow convinced that they can legislate morality. The problem with that is the New Testament pretty much rails against religious types who sought to do many of the same things today's crop of conservative politicians are trying to do. The damage they are doing to the Church is undeniable but they simply do not care.

And some of the things I've heard come from the mouths of "serious" Biblical scholars makes me wonder about their mental health. What they propose to use as scientific fact couldn't stand up to more than a couple of minutes of serious review by anyone. The only reason it would take that long is because it would take a bit for the laughter to subside.

I'm gearing up for a really good rant but haven't fully developed my thoughts. Let's let is suffice to say for now that some "scholars" are tying the entire premise of the Bible on some very questionable science. Problem is they insist that unless you accept their science you are invalidating the Bible entirely, you know, my way or the highway. In doing so they make it exceptionally easy to marginalize the Bible in general.

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Response to jeepnstein (Reply #92)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 11:53 AM

96. I probably will agree with you,

but I would like you to spell out what you are thinking. More important, what are you thinking?

Who are these scholars, and what are they saying?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #96)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 12:54 PM

101. Ken Hamm, for starters.

He puts Christianity in a precarious position. And he is quite up front with everyone that he's doing it. He'll stand right there and spout some of the most incredible bits of stuff as "science" and then make the assertion that the Bible hinges on him being absolutely correct. Lots of folks are falling in line with him and I'm not convinced it's for the better. It always smacks of trying to stuff God into a box and demanding he play by our rules.

There are plenty of others. I'm still chewing on this thing. Probably over-thinking it.

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Response to jeepnstein (Reply #101)

Fri Mar 16, 2012, 01:26 PM

106. young earth creationism (Ham's take)

is not only scientifically unsustainable--at best--but is biblically ridiculous. To try to make Genesis into a book of science is absurd both from a scientific and from a religious point of view. That sort of theological nonsense makes honest biblical scholarship all the more difficult.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #106)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:12 AM

119. So why aren't you on creationist sites trying to make your case?

If what they believe is "biblically ridiculous" and "theological nonsense," why aren't you presenting the truth and changing minds on those boards?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #119)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:31 AM

122. How do you know he isn't?

 

And why aren't you?

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Response to tama (Reply #122)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:05 PM

126. You've read his OPs

I'm sure he would be telling us he was if he was.

And I can't speak for trotsky, but it takes enough of my energy to try and convince fellow progressives that religion intruding on politics is a bad thing. Once all the progressives get in line, I'll gladly move on to the creationists.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #126)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:02 PM

128. Plus, one doesn't last very long,

these people aren't fond of people with different opinions, not to mention atheists.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #126)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:43 PM

132. Could it be

 

that you being "sure" (without evidence) is related with your need to "convince" fellow beings?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #119)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:12 PM

129. I've spent half a lifetime challenging them.

All I have time for in DU is in "religion."There are a few other interests of mine beyond DU.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #129)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:51 PM

134. So you gave up?

That's too bad.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #106)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:20 AM

120. I bet I could find a post from a creationist

that says the exact same thing about your position.

What ever happened to respecting the beliefs of others?

Have you ever considered that these religious changes you keep touting are just religion making changes to theology to fit in with the changes in scientific and secular understanding? And that the fact that they are doing this really lets us know that religion is not important and becoming more and more irrelevant?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #120)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:54 AM

124. it isn't making religion irrelevant...it is showing its true power and meaning...

It isn't all about how many days it took God to create the universe.

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Response to Green_Lantern (Reply #124)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:03 PM

125. Isn't it weird that the true power and meaning looks

more and more like a secular non-religious society with some God thrown in for good measure? Why do we need the God part, then?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #125)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 12:41 PM

127. what do you mean...what do you think the true power and meaning is?

How do you define secular?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #125)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:18 PM

130. Maybe you don't--and that's OK. Just don't make your "we" universal nt

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #130)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:27 PM

131. Kind of like you do with your theology

and condemnation of the creationists? Why do you get to make those kind of statements but I can't?

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #131)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:53 PM

135. Because you lack a deep understanding of theology.




Ad TMO has already shown that hypocrisy is a concept that he feels does not apply to him, so...,

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #131)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 03:24 PM

137. Strange!

We both take a dim view of the creationists. But when I do it, you squirm. Why?
Because you just don't want to face the fact that there are many theists who are not young earth believers?

Who said you can't?

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #137)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 04:24 PM

138. Because you are one leading the charge here

for "can't we all just get along." When an atheist dares to question you, you talk about "gotcha" questions and wonder why people would go after someone's beliefs. Above you said I shouldn't make the "we" include all people here. So you have a solid history of telling atheists to get a long and not make fun of other's beliefs. Yet you do that pretty easily with the creationists. Hypocrisy deserves to be pointed out.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #138)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:10 PM

139. Come on. You don't have the foggiest idea what I do to confront creationists.

If I don't go after them here, it may be because they are NOT here.

There are two kinds of questions. There are the "gotcha" question--and you know very well what I mean. They do not invite conversation. Then there are those who really disagree with me, but their response is neither sarcastic nor loaded. I spend a lot of time responding to them.

You are a bright person, and certainly know the difference.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #139)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:53 PM

140. A goodly number of posts here

are simply false, or intellectually dishonest in any number of ways. Those posts do not deserve "conversation"; they deserve nothing but to be called out for what they are...bullshit. I know you think labeling that as "gotcha" is a good way of dismissing someone who exposes nonsense (including the nonsense you post), and of avoiding giving answers to questions that undermine your agenda and your book sales, but it's a lame tactic that's getting very old. If you can't post accurately and honestly, and if you're afraid to defend your claims from criticism that isn't warm and fuzzy, it's YOU who is impeding discussion and conversation.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #139)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 07:19 AM

141. Because you've never told us what you do.

How about you tell us?

(Psst... guess what? We DO have a few creationists around here. Careful so you don't insult their religious beliefs!)

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Response to trotsky (Reply #141)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 01:02 PM

142. Creationists here and elsewhere

have a distorted view of Biblical literature and a distorted view of scientific data.
And distorted is a very polite word for the reality.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #142)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 01:53 PM

143. You still haven't told us what you do to combat them.

So you'll have to refrain from blaming us for not knowing.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #143)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 02:28 PM

144. If I mentioned what I have written, it would bring down you know what.

I have regularly taught both in congregations and in Seminaries where we hit this one head on.

You all claim it appears in DU 3(religion). Tell me where.I don't take it on here, because I don't see it.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #144)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 02:57 PM

145. No, I'm asking you where you are confronting the creationists and fundies and how.

You've already admitted you don't ever associate with them, because you criticize atheists who attack fundamentalist positions as not being pertinent to the theological circles you hang out it.

There are a few here, but I'm just wanting to know where you do this education of the majority of Christians to your minority point of view.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #145)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:19 PM

146. I don't think you really want to know.

I would cite for you one of my books, but then whats-his-name would jump up on account of my self-promotion. Send me a private message and I'll give you the citation.

It is interesting how a few of you never have anything to say about the substance of my posts--all you want to do is find some niche to pick at.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #146)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 07:23 AM

147. Books don't matter.

You should be confronting individuals directly. Like here on DU where you attempt to preach. Do the same thing, but on fundie/creationist boards. They aren't going to pick up your book or read your column, let's get real. Yes, you might get banned. But keep trying - isn't that what Jesus would want you to do?

BTW, most of the substance of your posts seems to complain about not getting the respect you think your viewpoint deserves. I'm telling you where you can preach actually to accomplish what you keep telling us is happening - a "new Christianity" (kindler, gentler, etc.) It's been pointed out to you now more times than I can count that your sweeter, fresher-smelling version is STILL a tiny, insignificant minority. You want to change Christianity? Engage CHRISTIANS, especially the ones who disagree with you (HINT: you won't find many of them on DU), and quit bragging to atheists and complaining that they don't appreciate you.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #146)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 07:25 PM

148. The "substance" of your posts has been

questioned, dissected and criticized more times than I can count, and you have rarely, if ever, even tried to respond honestly and directly. Unless you don't count claims presented as factual as "substance" and are reserving the label of "substance" for everything in your posts except what some other person dared to challenge and which you are conspicuously unable to defend.

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