Religion

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Izawwlgood
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:37 am UTC

wölfdale wrote:i do not use it as one, but just as another way to look at things. some people are so against believing that they become so very blind and prolificly numb to the idea of faith. i will pray for all of you who are lost, cause you all need him more than anyone.


Right back atcha I suppose. I'm not going to take offense at this, because I don't believe you meant it to be offensive (quite the opposite I'd wager!), but just as you, a presumably religious Christian individual, would take offense to me laughing at the idea of God, please respect the fact that some may take offense to you proffering your God to save them.

The problem I have is with your language, and I mean this in the most civil way possible, is that it appears very arrogant, presumptuously implying that your way is the correct way, and for not following your way, I am (we are) lost and need saving by your pious graces. I respect your desire to pray for me, but please also respect my desire to not be prayed for, at least not in a manner that indicates your preventing me from suffering. Pray for my acceptance into graduate programs, or my happiness, or my beer to ferment properly and taste wonderful, but please, don't pray for my soul. That's mine, and the territory it encompasses are of my concern, not yours. Respect my boundaries, and I'll respect yours.
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Re: Religion

Postby clintonius » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:17 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:but please, don't pray for my soul. That's mine, and the territory it encompasses are of my concern, not yours.

If indeed it is extant at all, which many of us disbelieve.
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Re: Religion

Postby Hammer » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:53 pm UTC

Two friends of mine, one Christian and the other pagan, were having a conversation about this. The Christian said, "But, if I see you drowning, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't throw you a life preserver?" The pagan answered, "The problem is that you assume that I'm drowning."

I felt that exchange summed it up pretty well.
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Re: Religion

Postby nadreck » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

TheOrangeMan wrote:Many people think that science has robbed our world of wonder, but I disagree.


So do I. I think that one of the main purposes of religions from the first one invented to today, is to harness the natural curiousity and wonder that people have for the world universe around them and sublime it into support of an individual or group for the benefit of that individual/group (>90% of the reason) or to sublime it into a program of activity that some human paternalisticly feels is better for the rest of the masses(still as bad).

EDIT: oops, I still should add that I, like TheOrangeMan, see science as enhancing the wonder, and yes I have read wonderful poetry as well as wonderful equations. I am saying I think religion steals the real wonder and replaces it with something a little perverse and dirty compared to the natural wonder.

I don't believe in any god or gods, but I am not willing to go out on a limb and say that I believe in their non-existance either no matter how unlikely I think it is. So I lable myself an agnostic.

I do say that there are many versions of god that have been invented by mankind that I feel are evil and if it turned out that they, as portrayed by their religions by their adherents, were real, that I would say thanks but no thanks to their heavenly reward and march off to the opposite camp.

There is an old saying: "Faith, without good works, is dead" I say, "Good works don't need faith in anything but people"
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Izawwlgood
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:07 pm UTC

Hammer wrote:Two friends of mine, one Christian and the other pagan, were having a conversation about this. The Christian said, "But, if I see you drowning, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't throw you a life preserver?" The pagan answered, "The problem is that you assume that I'm drowning."

I felt that exchange summed it up pretty well.


I really like that. I further wonder how a Christian would feel knowing a faith, one particularly contradictory to their own faith, was praying for their well-being. Burnt offerings to the solstice or a bowl of milk out at night for the brownies.

I imagine it'd be akin to a Hindu (of whichever persuasion this applies to) being offered a nice, juicy tenderloin, and being told it was the blue heifer that indicates the messianic age was upon us, and What an honor!

To reiterate, my problem, and apparently some others here as well, is that these attempted acts of compassion and kindness are really condescending and presumptuous. At it's core, it exemplifies an ideology of not truly wanting to save someone else, but to make them just like you.
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Re: Religion

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:31 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
I really like that. I further wonder how a Christian would feel knowing a faith, one particularly contradictory to their own faith, was praying for their well-being. Burnt offerings to the solstice or a bowl of milk out at night for the brownies.


Loved by a friend, even if I believed them misguided. I would invite them to discuss their faith and my own in open, honest dialogue.

Izawwlgood wrote:To reiterate, my problem, and apparently some others here as well, is that these attempted acts of compassion and kindness are really condescending and presumptuous. At it's core, it exemplifies an ideology of not truly wanting to save someone else, but to make them just like you.


Izawwlgood wrote:The problem I have is with your language, and I mean this in the most civil way possible, is that it appears very arrogant, presumptuously implying that your way is the correct way, and for not following your way, I am (we are) lost and need saving by your pious graces. I respect your desire to pray for me, but please also respect my desire to not be prayed for, at least not in a manner that indicates your preventing me from suffering.



Ephesians 2:8-9
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 3:27
27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.

Evangelism should never be arrogant. It's not my way, and I certainly can't save anyone by my "pious grace". Any Christian who acts otherwise needs to see what the Bible says. It's all about unmerited grace. As my father is fond of saying, "Evangelism is nothing more than beggars telling beggars where they were given bread." I take as much credit for my salvation as a man who was resuscitated can take credit for saving himself from drowning. "...please respect my desire to not be prayed for..." might as well be "please respect my desire to drown," to a Christian. It's folly in your eyes and even offensive, I know. Yes, I believe that there is a correct way. Yes, I think people should follow the correct way rather than an incorrect way. I don't think that I'm somehow superior for being a Christian. I'm not smarter or wiser or more enlightened for "finding God", because He found me. He wanted a relationship with me, and I cheated on Him every chance that I had. He offered to take me back. What exactly do I have to be proud of?

This is from another thread in which a related conversation took place. I hope it helps. Spoilered for length.
Spoiler:
Peter_G wrote:Christian street preachers, they annoy the fuck out of me, btw if you see one ask if you can borrow their bible, open it to matthew 6:5, and read them the passage;

"But you, when you pray, enter into your closet and when you have shut the door pray to your father which is in secret, And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men". It should shut them up.

I'm not religious, just well educated in religion.


You're taking that verse out of context. That's talking about prayer, not preaching. Jesus was directing that statement towards the Pharisees, who would go to crowded areas to pray loudly not intending to talk humbly to God, but to announce their "godliness" to anyone within earshot. To quote Luke 18:9-14:

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

This is what Matthew 6:5 is talking about. It doesn't make any sense to interpret this as, "Only evangelize when no one else is around." God should be the focus of praying, not impressing others.[/quote]

Can someone hand me a bucket of cold water for the burn I just got? And people who stand on boxes, shouting out to everyone in earshot about their faith and how if you don't join it you go to hell are talking humbly to god?[/quote]

I didn't say they were talking to God at all. You posted a verse about praying in public while complaining about people preaching in public. Preaching and praying are very different things. I don't think that they're trying to pray or exalt themselves. Making a spectacle of oneself while praying is generally unwise, in my opinion. But anyway, street corner evangelists... Look at it from their perspective for a second. In their minds, they're standing at the entrance of a bridge yelling, "The bridge is out! If you drive this way, you'll go off a cliff!" They think that though they may annoy some, their message is so important for the well-being of others that it would be unloving not to bother you with it. Honestly, which would offend you more? Would you rather have someone say, "I believe that you are in danger of going to hell and I don't want you to experience that," or "I believe that you are in danger of hell, but I don't care about you enough to try to warn you,"?

Anyway, I believe that those people have their heart in the right place (mostly), but are a classic example of doing it wrong. If someone becomes a Christian just because they want "fire insurance" they have grossly misunderstood what it means to be a Christian. People (Christians and unbelievers alike, I'm afraid) erroneously look at God as the Cosmic Policeman who's going to throw you in the slammer if you break the rules. Rather, Christians believe that man was intended to have a relationship with God. God is holy, but man sinned, creating a rift between God and man. One cannot have a relationship with God while being a slave to sin anymore than one can have a loving relationship with their spouse if they are continuously cheating on them and physically and verbally abusing them. Like any relationship, there are rules. Breaking the rules results in a broken relationship. God is just, so if we break the rules, we reap the consequences, separation from God. Jesus is God coming to us offering a way to fix the relationship when He has every right to say, "You all chose to live apart from me, so you'll have to live with that forever,".

Becky Pippert wrote:Think how we feel when we see someone we love ravaged by unwise actions or relationships. Do we respond with benign tolerance as we might toward strangers? Far from it...Anger isn't the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference...God's wrath is not a cranky explosion, but his settled opposition to the cancer...which is eating out the insides of the human race he loves with his whole being.


Hell is not physical torture. It's not getting burned alive forever. Fire is a metaphor for judgment and justice. No one in hell is yelling, "God, I'm sorry! Give me another chance!" Heaven and hell are the eternal development of our spiritual lives.

C. S. Lewis wrote:Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others . . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God 'sending us' to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.

...

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says in the end, 'thy will be done.' All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.


Feel free to PM me anyone wants to talk about anything even remotely related.

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Re: Religion

Postby schmiggen » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:28 pm UTC

ParanoidAndroid wrote:Yes, I believe that there is a correct way. Yes, I think people should follow the correct way rather than an incorrect way. I don't think that I'm somehow superior for being a Christian.


Something a lot of people often do is frame an argument in such a way that a particular thing is implied in a straightforward manner while they continue to believe, whole-heartedly, that they have not even suggested that idea, since they did not directly mention it or even denied it by name.

It is rarely convincing. :/

ParanoidAndroid wrote:I'm not smarter or wiser or more enlightened for "finding God", because He found me.


If it was through no action of your own that you came to the "correct way," why is it that there are others who have not been found in the same manner?


But still, why is it okay to assume that those who aren't Christian need saving? By your father's analogy -- do we all look like beggars who are longing for bread?
Kabann wrote:Aw hell, as far as I'm concerned the world started in late 1967. Everything else is just semantics and busy-work.

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Re: Religion

Postby chaosspawn » Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:38 pm UTC

ParanoidAndroid wrote:Evangelism should never be arrogant. It's not my way, and I certainly can't save anyone by my "pious grace". Any Christian who acts otherwise needs to see what the Bible says. It's all about unmerited grace. As my father is fond of saying, "Evangelism is nothing more than beggars telling beggars where they were given bread."
Just wanted to toss my two bits in.

The problem is evangelism is always arrogant to anyone that has their own beliefs. Basically you are telling someone that their way is wrong, and your way is correct. By telling people that you're way is the right one, you discount that they may have already found their own way and that it is equally valid. Moreso you seem to imply that your way is the only correct way. I think that there can be many paths to whatever diety/power cosmic there may be.

I was going to extend the swimming analogy, but I'll run with the beggers one. Everyone may be beggers too, but just because you've found a source of bread doesn't mean it's the only charity in town. The Hindu has found another house offering food to the poor, and even the atheist has found herself a soup kitchen. However, that person having an existential crisis has no food, and would appreciate being told where some is. However, he still has a choice on who to accept food from. So as I see it, it really makes no sense to me that you'd prefer everyone only accept handouts from your specific patron.

I have no problem with preaching that you have a path to salvation, merely when you preach that it is the path to salvation. In my varied dealings with faith and spirituality I have found a path that works for me. It may not be the same as your path, but I think they still lead to the same place.
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:44 pm UTC

ParanoidAndroid wrote:Loved by a friend, even if I believed them misguided. I would invite them to discuss their faith and my own in open, honest dialogue.


And if you found them as firmly rooted in their faith as you are in your own? Perhaps you are the one who needs saving, as your lack of acceptance of <<something else>> condemns you to something far worse then your version of Hell. Perhaps by explaining to them that your love for your God, and his love for you, renders their faith 'incorrect' or lesser, and in doing so, you deeply offend them. Surely you don't intend to, but just as me telling you that your faith is not for me would cause you some degree of strife (desire to save me perhaps?), perhaps you should reflect upon your actions affects on others. If your intention is to truly be all loving and all accepting and all caring, why not let the lambs find their own way to God or whatever the equivalent may be?

In fact, this is something that bothers me about all evangelicals, no matter their faith (meaning, those who preach their own religion to anyone outside their congregation): Every faith I've ever seen has some variant of the golden rule, some sort of 'respect thy neighbor and let them be', but I've yet to see this practiced. If you truly believed your truth was THE truth, then you have nothing to fear, and should be content in the knowledge that someday, somehow, everyone will eventually come to it. But you don't! You aren't content, you aren't under the belief that everyone will come to your truth, and because of that, I can only reason that you don't believe in your truth's ubiquitousness.

ParanoidAndroid wrote:It's folly in your eyes and even offensive, I know. Yes, I believe that there is a correct way. Yes, I think people should follow the correct way rather than an incorrect way. I don't think that I'm somehow superior for being a Christian.


You just contradicted yourself twice. First, you admit that evangilism offense to some, but that your belief in the correct way merits being offense. You further posit that you are not superior for your beliefs, which would seem to indicate to me that you ought to stop demonstrating them to others.

But you do demonstrate your beliefs, because, frankly, part of your belief is the ideology of telling others what you believe in. Frankly, I don't get how you can claim;
1) Other's are wrong.
2) You are right.
3) You are not superior for being right.
4) Others should be told/made to follow the 'right'.

Look, I want you to know I respect your beliefs, and admire your ability to have faith. Religion has been a long and arduous road for me personally, and it's only the last 4-5 years I've started to come to grips with my own beliefs. I don't want you to think I'm arguing with you because of your faith. I'm disagreeing with your evangelism.
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Re: Religion

Postby proof_man » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:33 pm UTC

are you guys attacking evangelical christianity because:

1) relativism is not part of its belief structure? or that it is 'arrogant' to think that you are correct about something that other people don't agree with?

2) part of its belief structure is that it is better for more people to be part of the faith?

i can think of plenty of other ideologies that are just as 'guilty' of these two things and don't get nearly as much flack.

how is it possible to possess any piece of knowledge and not be fall under #1? believing that there are different ways to do something is just as much a contestable idea as believing that jesus is the only way to God and i don't think it should be exempt from the accusations of 'arrogance' just because it is a meta-belief that declares itself to be humble. it ultimately falls to the complaint that 'you are intolerant of my intolerance of your tolerance'. in other words, you can attack evangelical christianity for many reasons, but not because it fails to acknowledge relativism as valid, as that is pretty much a self-undermining position.

as for #2, i think that many other belief systems also fall under this. it seems that any attempt to assert something in a public sphere (or correct someone who is wrong on the internet) is just as guilty of the same impulse. evangelical christians might go out of their way to do this more than people arguing about things on the internet, but the difference is in the degree of effort, not the general principle.

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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:35 am UTC

Christians != evangelical Christians.

Sorry, you're basically saying that because by it's nature, evangelism is my definition of 'arrogance' that I cannot call it arrogant? That's crap. That's like saying (poor metaphor, I understand) that because a dog has a tail, I shouldn't fault it for wagging it. I didn't wag the dogs tail, the dog did. Evangelicals aren't being forced to push their beliefs on someone else, they're choosing to.

Being evangelical is not limited to Christianity, and I fault all religions or even modes of thought that seek to propagandize their belief system and foist them upon others. I fault all belief systems that find their own method of thinking superior to others, and yes, built into that belief is a reasonable degree of uncertainty that my way of thinking may not be correct. I'm open to listening, I'll hear you out. But I'll use my own judgement to determine whether or not you are correct, and when it comes to matters of the soul, I don't think theres a single authority, neither me nor the Pope nor a rabbi nor ParanoidAndroid.

Many religions, or at least sects within religions, are guilty of this arrogant brand of thinking, and I fault them all.

Believing that your way may not be the correct way for everyone is not an admission that it is anything but the correct way for you. If anything, I believe it should strengthen your own belief system, as you believe in it now for personal and experiential reasons, as opposed to blanketly accepting it as a truism.

Faith, in my opinion, is not something that everyone must approach or touch upon the same way. Gravity affects us all in the exact same way, faith does not. Again, if you merely accept your belief system as a truism because 'there is nothing else that is true' you haven't, to me, really embraced your faith, you've simply accepted it.

Favorite quote of all time is "A true gentleman knows how to play the accordion but chooses not to", meaning, you can't be a 'good' person unless you actively choose to not be a 'bad' person (and of course, choose to be a 'good' person). You cannot be a 'faithful' person unless you know what it is to be an 'unfaithful' person, because faith (again, to me), is about CHOOSING to believe in something.
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Re: Religion

Postby Roseate Spoonbill » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:59 am UTC

May I ask why it is wrong to impose ones beliefs upon others? By telling me that's wrong, aren't you imposing your beliefs on me?

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Re: Religion

Postby qetzal » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:08 am UTC

I hope you won't mind if I play Devil's advocate here (har!).

If ParanoidAndroid believes in a religion that holds itself to be the one true way to find God, and if his religion further holds that all believers have a duty to try to convert unbelievers, how can you argue that he should not do that? Unless, of course, you're arguing that his religion is wrong.

You may feel that in trying to convert you, he is denigrating your beliefs. But in saying he's wrong to do so, aren't you denigrating his? You're asking that he practice his religion according to your standards.

Personally, I think there's something to be said for acting consistently with your beliefs. I generally respect people who try to do that, even if I don't respect their beliefs per se. (I'm an atheist, FWIW.)

Of course there are limits. I wouldn't respect someone whose religion says unbelievers should be killed or locked up or something. But I don't think proselytizing or praying for people goes beyond acceptable limits.

Edit: Ninja'd! <chagrin>

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Re: Religion

Postby Jorsh! » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:23 am UTC

Roseate Spoonbill wrote:May I ask why it is wrong to impose ones beliefs upon others? By telling me that's wrong, aren't you imposing your beliefs on me?

So who gets to impose? I suggest the people who do not want to be bothered may have the right-of-way on this one.

When I was 17, a local church youth group volunteer announced to the 50-odd participating kids (who were promised a nice, secular event) that they were going to "burn in eternal Hellfire" for not belonging to her church. Several younger children were on the verge of tears. It may be an extreme example, but I can't in good conscience let this kind of thing slide just to avoid imposing on an imposer.
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Re: Religion

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:47 am UTC

schmiggen wrote:
ParanoidAndroid wrote:Yes, I believe that there is a correct way. Yes, I think people should follow the correct way rather than an incorrect way. I don't think that I'm somehow superior for being a Christian.


Something a lot of people often do is frame an argument in such a way that a particular thing is implied in a straightforward manner while they continue to believe, whole-heartedly, that they have not even suggested that idea, since they did not directly mention it or even denied it by name.

It is rarely convincing. :/


Okay, just looking for some clarification here. Are you saying that sometimes Christians have a superiority complex? In that case, I agree. Are you saying that I actually have a superiority complex and am simply in denial? One of the core tenets of the Christian faith is that no one is superior. No one is good enough but Christ. I believe that I'm a sinner who received grace.

schmiggen wrote:
ParanoidAndroid wrote:I'm not smarter or wiser or more enlightened for "finding God", because He found me.


If it was through no action of your own that you came to the "correct way," why is it that there are others who have not been found in the same manner?


But still, why is it okay to assume that those who aren't Christian need saving? By your father's analogy -- do we all look like beggars who are longing for bread?


I direct you to Romans, because that is another topic.

Well, the Bible teaches that everyone needs saving, and you know how we Christians are about the Bible...Yes, by my father's analogy we are all beggars looking for bread. To use a rather cliched saying, we spend our lives trying to fill a God shaped hole in our hearts. I wholeheartedly recommend the book of Ecclesiastes.

chaosspawn wrote:
ParanoidAndroid wrote:Evangelism should never be arrogant. It's not my way, and I certainly can't save anyone by my "pious grace". Any Christian who acts otherwise needs to see what the Bible says. It's all about unmerited grace. As my father is fond of saying, "Evangelism is nothing more than beggars telling beggars where they were given bread."
Just wanted to toss my two bits in.

The problem is evangelism is always arrogant to anyone that has their own beliefs. Basically you are telling someone that their way is wrong, and your way is correct. By telling people that you're way is the right one, you discount that they may have already found their own way and that it is equally valid. Moreso you seem to imply that your way is the only correct way. I think that there can be many paths to whatever diety/power cosmic there may be.


Emphasis mine. That is precisely what this entire post is doing. You are also implying that your way is the correct way. You are saying that I am incorrect in believing my religion to be the only true one, and that you are correct in believing that there are many paths to God. We're both making differing truth claims about universal truths. My worldview says, "Go out and tell people," yours does not. There's nothing arrogant or inherently wrong with that. It's just disagreeing.

chaosspawn wrote:I was going to extend the swimming analogy, but I'll run with the beggers one. Everyone may be beggers too, but just because you've found a source of bread doesn't mean it's the only charity in town. The Hindu has found another house offering food to the poor, and even the atheist has found herself a soup kitchen. However, that person having an existential crisis has no food, and would appreciate being told where some is. However, he still has a choice on who to accept food from. So as I see it, it really makes no sense to me that you'd prefer everyone only accept handouts from your specific patron.

I have no problem with preaching that you have a path to salvation, merely when you preach that it is the path to salvation. In my varied dealings with faith and spirituality I have found a path that works for me. It may not be the same as your path, but I think they still lead to the same place.


I don't believe that there are many paths to salvation. No Christian does (at least, none should if they understand what they believe).

John 14:6
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Matthew 7:13-14
13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

To use the swimming analogy: yes, I am assuming that the person is drowning. Even if I'm way off base, I should still try to help a person I believe to be drowning. I don't believe any beggar can find food anywhere else. I know you disagree with me here. You believe that our paths lead to the same place. I do not. You say, "I have no problem with preaching that you have a path to salvation, merely when you preach that it is the path to salvation." Basically, you think that I am wrong, you are right, and I should agree with your beliefs. Once again, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing or thinking that someone else is incorrect, and there's nothing wrong with telling them so.

Izawwlgood wrote:Christians != evangelical Christians.


It depends on what you mean by evangelical Christian, as some use that phrase to refer to specific denominations. If you simply mean "Christians who evangelize", then you have a problem with Christianity itself, not just certain types of Christians.

Mark 16:15
15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Sorry, you're basically saying that because by it's nature, evangelism is my definition of 'arrogance' that I cannot call it arrogant? That's crap. That's like saying (poor metaphor, I understand) that because a dog has a tail, I shouldn't fault it for wagging it. I didn't wag the dogs tail, the dog did. Evangelicals aren't being forced to push their beliefs on someone else, they're choosing to.

Being evangelical is not limited to Christianity, and I fault all religions or even modes of thought that seek to propagandize their belief system and foist them upon others. I fault all belief systems that find their own method of thinking superior to others, and yes, built into that belief is a reasonable degree of uncertainty that my way of thinking may not be correct. I'm open to listening, I'll hear you out. But I'll use my own judgement to determine whether or not you are correct, and when it comes to matters of the soul, I don't think theres a single authority, neither me nor the Pope nor a rabbi nor ParanoidAndroid.

Many religions, or at least sects within religions, are guilty of this arrogant brand of thinking, and I fault them all.


You are saying what every single evangelical religion says. "You do not believe what is true. X is true, not Y. You ought to believe X, and you are wrong for believing Y." The last sentence here says it all. You have made a very moral judgment over the vast majority of religions, declaring fault and ruling the parties in question guilty. On what premise do you base this? Why shouldn't I do this? Why should your disdain for my belief system require me to follow your own, other than you think mine wrong and yours right? "It just pisses me off," seems to be a silly reason to declare that the majority of the world should change its beliefs and behaviors. I'm not going to twist anyone's arm to try to get them to come to church or become a Christian. I will try to persuade them through reasonable dialogue exactly like people do every single day on Serious Business. Seriously, any thread on the SB board is no more than one proponent of a belief system (be it political, economic, philosophical, etc.) arguing why their viewpoint on a matter is correct and why another is wrong.


Believing that your way may not be the correct way for everyone is not an admission that it is anything but the correct way for you. If anything, I believe it should strengthen your own belief system, as you believe in it now for personal and experiential reasons, as opposed to blanketly accepting it as a truism.


To paraphrase Kierkegaard (I think): The greatest danger Christians face is loving Christianity more than the truth. If I did not think Christianity was true, I would not believe it. I don't base my belief on the urgings of my pastor, my parents, and certainly not the pope (protestant here). I, too, am open to listening and will hear others out. The fact that I already believe something does not make this impossible. "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." I might be wrong. We all might be wrong. I have considered other beliefs. I have held other beliefs. I didn't always believe in God. I've struggled with doubt, perhaps more than most Christians.


Faith, in my opinion, is not something that everyone must approach or touch upon the same way. Gravity affects us all in the exact same way, faith does not. Again, if you merely accept your belief system as a truism because 'there is nothing else that is true' you haven't, to me, really embraced your faith, you've simply accepted it.

Favorite quote of all time is "A true gentleman knows how to play the accordion but chooses not to", meaning, you can't be a 'good' person unless you actively choose to not be a 'bad' person (and of course, choose to be a 'good' person). You cannot be a 'faithful' person unless you know what it is to be an 'unfaithful' person, because faith (again, to me), is about CHOOSING to believe in something.


Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.”

If I'm understanding you correctly (it is 3:00 AM), I agree, at least mostly. There isn't any one reason that will convince everyone. No one should believe something without serious thought and consideration. Effective evangelism isn't a slick commercial or power point presentation. I've never been a fan of ''door to door" evangelism. It's impersonal and it treats people like targets or customers. Evangelism that relies on pamphlets and one-size-fits-all speeches ignores the basic truth that people are unique. I have plenty of non-Christian friends. I don't berate them and I don't bring up God in every situation. David Bazan, the most honest Christian musician on the planet, put it like this:

"You were to busy steering the conversation toward the Lord
to hear the voice of the Spirit begging you to shut the fuck up.
You thought it must be the devil trying to make you go astray.
Besides, it couldn't have been the Lord because you don't believe he talks that way."

I have an innumerable amount of problems with how evangelism is ill performed by well-meaning Christians. Jesus was the guy who dined with prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors that the religious leaders of the day wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. And yet we as Christians struggle with relating to unbelieving co-workers on a personal level? Christians are called to be so loving that non-Christians will see the way we act without even knowing us and say, "Oh, they must be a Christian." The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. I've had intellectual debates, and I've had emotional conversations with people who just have questions. There isn't a single right way to share one's beliefs with others, but there are plenty of wrong ways.

Jorsh! wrote:
Roseate Spoonbill wrote:May I ask why it is wrong to impose ones beliefs upon others? By telling me that's wrong, aren't you imposing your beliefs on me?

When I was 17, a local church youth group volunteer announced to the 50-odd participating kids (who were promised a nice, secular event) that they were going to "burn in eternal Hellfire" for not belonging to her church. Several younger children were on the verge of tears. It may be an extreme example, but I can't in good conscience let this kind of thing slide just to avoid imposing on an imposer.


Yes, that is an extreme example, and it is inexcusable. I can tell you similar stories, unfortunately. Christians need to seriously re-examine their evangelism in light of the Bible's view of evangelism. I fully admit that it's an area where we are deficient and prone to make mistakes. This is not Christianity being defective, it is Christians being imperfect. In our zeal to preach the love of Christ, we oftentimes forget to practice his love. Sorry.

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Re: Religion

Postby proof_man » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:24 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Sorry, you're basically saying that because by it's nature, evangelism is my definition of 'arrogance' that I cannot call it arrogant? That's crap. That's like saying (poor metaphor, I understand) that because a dog has a tail, I shouldn't fault it for wagging it. I didn't wag the dogs tail, the dog did. Evangelicals aren't being forced to push their beliefs on someone else, they're choosing to.

i'm saying that your definition of arrogance is ill-formed because it does not just apply to evangelism or religion, but to every instance of self-expression where you seek to share knowledge. if you are only talking about instances where people force their beliefs upon others (which you specified at a different point), then what do you specifically mean by this? how much leverage do they have over you?

also, why should spirituality that is personal be inherently more authentic than social spirituality? i'm not saying that a personal spiritual path is illegitimate, just that i don't see how it is the only acceptable form.

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Re: Religion

Postby chaosspawn » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:05 pm UTC

ParanoidAndroid wrote:You are also implying that your way is the correct way. You are saying that I am incorrect in believing my religion to be the only true one, and that you are correct in believing that there are many paths to God. We're both making differing truth claims about universal truths. My worldview says, "Go out and tell people," yours does not. There's nothing arrogant or inherently wrong with that. It's just disagreeing.
Hmm, I find that I am not actually going to seriously fault people for preaching their beliefs, even claim their way as the only right way. The principle of evangelizing is not what I actually take issue with, after all how can an idea spread if no one ever discusses it? Really a lot of concern boils down to the methods employed, especially when such cause discomfort or suffering of others. It feels like its easier to justify such measures with religion, because arguably you're not fighting over something more important that the person's corporeal life, thus such concerns are ignorable. Granted though you seem to hardly be advocating that, and such measures are typically only undertaken by a small minority, but that still is enough to sully the practice for most.

I did understand the main point of contention is in how we believe people can be saved: Where you see one, I see many. I'll instantly mistrust anyone when they say the have the one and only true answer to anything, moreso when they also claim to have the only method at arriving at such a truth. Even in a field as pure as mathematics, truths have a myriad of ways to reach them. Everything in my experience of life contradicts the notion that there is a singular answer to something and a singular method to acquire that answer. The only time such a situation arises is in a very restricted and controlled environment, such as a very simple computer game. To me if your way is right that makes god less interesting, not more. Yeah, this merely was an exposition on why I believe differently than you do, but I wanted to try and articulate it to myself even.

ParanoidAndroid wrote:I don't believe that there are many paths to salvation. No Christian does (at least, none should if they understand what they believe).
At least you believe that no Christian (of your particular denomination) should believe so. The problem is there's hardly a unified front on what people should believe out of Christianity. Even going so far as to accept the Bible as a particular brand of truth, there are still many differing and contradicting interpretations of the scripture. Basically it comes down to who you trust to help you understand it, if you put no credence into what the Pope says, you won't believe his interpretation of the Bible. It seems it's constantly argued that everyone else's interpretations are wrong and are merely to advance their agenda, or purposely misconstrued to allow them to avoid cognitive dissonance with another 'incorrect' belief they have. Without some external way to figure out who got it the most right, I find myself at a loss to believe any one person in that regard. (And will undoubtedly come up with my own interpretation of things.)

ParanoidAndroid wrote:To use the swimming analogy: yes, I am assuming that the person is drowning. Even if I'm way off base, I should still try to help a person I believe to be drowning.
The question is then what do you do then after they try to convince you that they are in fact fine? Can they convince you that they are in fact fine? Also how far would you carry things in order to save them, is dragging them back to shore against their will something you'd feel obligated to do? How could you justify not doing so if you honestly believed they needed the help?

Roseate Spoonbill wrote:May I ask why it is wrong to impose ones beliefs upon others? By telling me that's wrong, aren't you imposing your beliefs on me?
Ohh let me construct a silly example and use utilitarian metrics.
Assume a population of 100 where everyone has the belief that they should impose their beliefs on others, also assume that everyone has a different belief set. Now if no one is allowed to impose their beliefs, then everyone is imposed on once, because their belief about imposing is imposed. Thus the imposition value of this situation is 100. Now assume that everyone does impose their beliefs. Now each individual is personally imposition free, but they will impose their beliefs on the rest of the population. Thus everyone has 99 incoming impositions from everyone else. Making the imposition value of this scenario is 9900. Given that: in order to maximize the value of [not being imposed on], a minimum imposition value is required. Thus we conclude that the better situation is one where no one is allowed to impose. Q.E.D.

OK, that may be a bit silly. Alternatively let's substitute imposing beliefs with free speech as our value. Using this as our only value, assume I am yelling (or saturating any other communication outlet with) nothing but pure noise. Ignoring any other values (e.g. disrupting the peace, any applicable FCC laws), I am entirely withing my rights to exercise my free speech in such a manner. However, doing so would be completely detrimental to everyone else because they would find it difficult to impossible to exercise their own right to any degree of effectiveness. Thus it it better to impose upon me (and everyone else) a restriction on utilization of free speech to better allow the group as a whole to utilize their rights.
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Re: Religion

Postby oxoiron » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

ParanoidAndroid wrote:David Bazan, the most honest Christian musician on the planet...
Kip wrote:Napoleon ParanoidAndroid, like anyone can even know that.
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Re: Religion

Postby westcydr » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

So a good analogy for what people who go out soul hunting would be Peter Griffin, in the episode of Family Guy where he gets a CPR certificate?
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:41 pm UTC

Yay discussion!

proof_man wrote:i'm saying that your definition of arrogance is ill-formed because it does not just apply to evangelism or religion, but to every instance of self-expression where you seek to share knowledge.


Theres a difference between telling someone their belief, and trying to swing someone to their side. I'm posting here, because I am of the persuasion that everyone should be privy to MY opinion, but I certainly don't think (or hope!) that everyone comes around to it. But evangelism of every kind is firmly based on the desire to make people believe what they do. Hey, if there were just dudes who felt strongly about what they did and had pamphlets saying "Check it out, Jesus is the man!" I'd probably enjoy talking with them, but they AREN'T. They are dude's with pamphlets saying "You're going to hell and are a bad person, if you do what I do, you'll goto heaven and be a good person".
Note: Christian evangelicals aren't the only kind. The chabad house down my street is fairly evangelical in their opinion of my level of effort towards Judaism.

ParanoidAndroid wrote:Well, the Bible teaches that everyone needs saving, and you know how we Christians are about the Bible ... To use a rather cliched saying, we spend our lives trying to fill a God shaped hole in our hearts.


And that is, in my opinion, one reason Christianity has been so prolific and influential on history; it doesn't sit on it's laurels and do 'it's own thing', it actively forces itself on others. But back on track, you've got two separate points you have tried to unify, and I'm curious as to your thoughts:

1) Everyone needs saving, and the way to be saved is through Jesus.
2) Everyone tries to save themselves, but the route to being saved is God (the Christian god).

What if the hole in your heart is different then the hole in mine? Why would you assume that what filled you satisfactorily/completely would fill me the same way? Because you have faith that your way is the right way, and perhaps more importantly, that my way is the wrong way. But like Hammer's friend said, we may not think we're lost or in need of saving, and your assumption that we are is just as likely to be incorrect as our assumption that we're doing just fine.

ParanoidAndroid wrote:If you simply mean "Christians who evangelize", then you have a problem with Christianity itself, not just certain types of Christians.


I have problems with all religion, but that's aside the point. My problem with evangelism is it's supposition that other people need saving. That has nothing to do with Christianity per say, as I know many, many Christians who are very spiritual/faithful and have no desire to bring other's into Christianity. All religions have a line about 'share how awesome we are with others', but only evangelicals interpret that as 'Pull as many as possible to our team'.

ParanoidAndroid wrote:You are also implying that your way is the correct way. You are saying that I am incorrect in believing my religion to be the only true one, and that you are correct in believing that there are many paths to God. We're both making differing truth claims about universal truths. My worldview says, "Go out and tell people," yours does not.


Hmm, I see how this would be a contradiction. I guess the difference I'd like to draw is that I'm not telling you to do anything, merely explaining to you why I hope you stop. You are telling me to be saved by becoming a Christian (which I do note, you haven't yet, but you have implied that I am lost unless I do, and have implied you want to save others), and I frankly don't care much if you continue to, or stop, evangelizing, I'm just expressing my opinion of evangelism.

But yes, you're assertion that my belief about numerous paths to God compared to your belief that there is only one is a valid point. As I've mentioned, I respect you choice to believe in one path, and have not tried to convince you of other path's legitimacy. The difference is, I've not invalidated your belief, whereas you've invalidated everyone else's.

Jorsh! wrote:When I was 17, a local church youth group volunteer announced to the 50-odd participating kids (who were promised a nice, secular event) that they were going to "burn in eternal Hellfire" for not belonging to her church.


Religion has put me to tears a number of time, and sadly, I don't believe this example is an 'extreme' variety, I think it is actually quite common.

Roseate Spoonbill wrote:May I ask why it is wrong to impose ones beliefs upon others? By telling me that's wrong, aren't you imposing your beliefs on me?


A couple other people used the word 'wrong' here. I don't think I ever said it was 'wrong' to evangelize your beliefs, nor did I tell anyone to stop. I did say I found it arrogant, that it was a choice, and that I disagreed with it.
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Re: Religion

Postby TheAmazingRando » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:20 pm UTC

The thing with evangelism is that it doesn't have to mean dragging people into a spiritual conversation if they don't want to. To quote Paul:
1 Corinthians 9:19-20 wrote:And to the Jews I became a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those under the law . To those who are without a law I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
Basically, Paul changed his discourse and his actions to match those people he was reaching. The idea that there is a single, universal method of evangelism that must be followed, all social taboos be damned, is not supported by the Bible. You can go door to door and hand out bible tracts or approach people in supermarket lines, and you'll be obeying the command to preach, but you'll be lacking the common sense about preaching that Paul provides.

We live in a society where religion is considered private and personal, and where people who are interested in it research it and ask questions about it. Randomly starting spiritual conversations is going to annoy people, alienate them, and push them away, as well as cultivate an image of Christians as arrogant. A much better method of evangelism, I think, is to live your life according to Christian principles so as to provide a counter-example to the stereotype of Christians as stuck-up, arrogant, hypocritical people, and to know enough to discuss it when people want to discuss it with you.

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Re: Religion

Postby clintonius » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:37 am UTC

Sorry if this interrupts a bit, but I wanted to respond to this comment:

Jorsh! wrote:
Roseate Spoonbill wrote:May I ask why it is wrong to impose ones beliefs upon others? By telling me that's wrong, aren't you imposing your beliefs on me?

So who gets to impose? I suggest the people who do not want to be bothered may have the right-of-way on this one.

Jorsh, I agree with you, except I would not call it an imposition. It comes down to principles of commission and omission. Roseate, your conclusion that someone telling you to stop evangelizing them is an imposition is off because they are not, in turn, trying to convert you to their belief system (which would be an act of commission). They are simply asking you to shut the fuck up (omission).
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Re: Religion

Postby tday93 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:15 am UTC

ah, i love the smell of religious debate in the morning, its better than fresh brewed coffee...


well, i recently converted to Baha'i from Christianity, for the sole reason of the "burn in eternal Hellfire" thing, as well as the general arrogance of most of the Christians in my area, it really ruined the religion for me...

anyways, due to this, and my pretty liberal interpretation of Christianity even befor conversion, not to mention the large conservative christian population at my school, I started the "People at Huntington Beach High School that Believe tday93 is Going to Hell" list...

sadly, its getting quite large...
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Re: Religion

Postby Kaiyas » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:21 pm UTC

tday93 wrote:well, i recently converted to Baha'i from Christianity, for the sole reason of the "burn in eternal Hellfire" thing, as well as the general arrogance of most of the Christians in my area, it really ruined the religion for me...


Could you elaborate on what happens in the Baha'i religion? I'm curious.
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Re: Religion

Postby tday93 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:33 pm UTC

Kaiyas wrote:
tday93 wrote:well, i recently converted to Baha'i from Christianity, for the sole reason of the "burn in eternal Hellfire" thing, as well as the general arrogance of most of the Christians in my area, it really ruined the religion for me...


Could you elaborate on what happens in the Baha'i religion? I'm curious.



this helps alot:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahai

but in general the main points of the religion are the unity and equality of mankind, as well as the unity of the worlds religions. Baha'is believe that each individual religion is simply a different interpretation of the same larger truth that was tailored for a given culture and time period.

Generally the main goal is the search for truth, and that truth needs to be a combination and faith, because without faith science is blind, and without science backing it up, faith becomes mere superstition
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Re: Religion

Postby Kaiyas » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:39 pm UTC

tday93 wrote:without faith science is blind, and without science backing it up, faith becomes mere superstition


Sorry for nitpicking, but science works to the exclusion of faith.....

Thanks for the link, though :D
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Re: Religion

Postby tday93 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

Kaiyas wrote:
tday93 wrote:without faith science is blind, and without science backing it up, faith becomes mere superstition


Sorry for nitpicking, but science works to the exclusion of faith.....

Thanks for the link, though :D



not in every aspect, well at least that my belief...

but no problem
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Re: Religion

Postby McCaber » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:52 pm UTC

tday93 wrote:
Kaiyas wrote:
tday93 wrote:without faith science is blind, and without science backing it up, faith becomes mere superstition


Sorry for nitpicking, but science works to the exclusion of faith.....

Thanks for the link, though :D



not in every aspect, well at least that my belief...

but no problem

Yeah, I find that religion gives science a motivation and science gives religion a ground. They work in separate circles.
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Re: Religion

Postby qetzal » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:47 pm UTC

McCaber wrote:Yeah, I find that religion gives science a motivation and science gives religion a ground. They work in separate circles.


Religion certainly gives some scientists motivation, but I don't think it motivates science itself.

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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:57 pm UTC

I absolutely don't believe religion and science have much reason to intermingle at all. There are certainly immoral things to do within science, but as religion has soundly proved time and time again, faith has nothing to do with how moral a person you are, and by it's track record, science, in my opinion, is actually doing much better then religion is in terms of moral judgments.

Science without religion simply relies on scientists moral judgment (i.e., don't clone yourself and harvest your clones organs, that's cruel). Religion without science is still religion, but with smaller churches and no flying buttresses.

Don't ever try and combine to the two, or find answers for one within the other. Religion is concerned with matters science doesn't trifle with, and unless you interpret the bible literally, religion and science can mesh quite nicely without contradicting one another.
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Re: Religion

Postby HadouKen24 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:11 am UTC

Religion certainly gives some scientists motivation, but I don't think it motivates science itself.


Francis Bacon, one of the founders of the modern scientific method, was motivated explicitly by Protestant theology. The potential of science to improve man's lot, he thought, meant that it must be pursued as partial penance for the Fall. This aspect of faith, like all the others, was to be pursued by the layman as well as the priest.

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Re: Religion

Postby clintonius » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:50 am UTC

See, now, I'm of the mind that the paths of science and faith necessarily cross if you follow their conclusions back far enough. The notion that science and faith work separately from one another is fine and dandy when you're trying to avoid pissing off people in one camp or the other, but when you look at the normative claims made by both groups (the creation of the world, for instance, or the interference by a god in the happenings of that world), you'll see that religion and science do in fact come into conflict.
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Re: Religion

Postby tday93 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:02 am UTC

McCaber wrote:
tday93 wrote:
Kaiyas wrote:
tday93 wrote:without faith science is blind, and without science backing it up, faith becomes mere superstition


Sorry for nitpicking, but science works to the exclusion of faith.....

Thanks for the link, though :D



not in every aspect, well at least that my belief...

but no problem

Yeah, I find that religion gives science a motivation and science gives religion a ground. They work in separate circles.



exactly


See, now, I'm of the mind that the paths of science and faith necessarily cross if you follow their conclusions back far enough. The notion that science and faith work separately from one another is fine and dandy when you're trying to avoid pissing off people in one camp or the other, but when you look at the normative claims made by both groups (the creation of the world, for instance, or the interference by a god in the happenings of that world), you'll see that religion and science do in fact come into conflict.


obviously, conflicts do arise, but the reason i so much prefer bahaism, is that if the do come into conflict, the religion itself says that science wins
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Re: Religion

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:58 am UTC

clintonius wrote:See, now, I'm of the mind that the paths of science and faith necessarily cross if you follow their conclusions back far enough. The notion that science and faith work separately from one another is fine and dandy when you're trying to avoid pissing off people in one camp or the other, but when you look at the normative claims made by both groups (the creation of the world, for instance, or the interference by a god in the happenings of that world), you'll see that religion and science do in fact come into conflict.
They can cross, but that doesn't mean they have to. One can, for example, interpret the creation stories in Genesis as allegorical (and given the fact that there are two of them, and they contradict each other if taken literally, this is a reasonable approach), and focused mainly on humanity's relationship with God, and with the world. The important thing isn't that the details of creation are historically accurate, rather that the principles the stories present are true, and so the message is not at all contradicted by any scientific theory on how the world was formed. And, until you can scientifically prove the nonexistence of God, it won't be.

Religion can quite easily contradict with science, and there are plenty of people on both sides who are more than happy to paint the picture of a great war between science and religion, but that doesn't mean the contradiction is inevitable.

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Re: Religion

Postby clintonius » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:38 am UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:The important thing isn't that the details of creation are historically accurate, rather that the principles the stories present are true, and so the message is not at all contradicted by any scientific theory on how the world was formed. And, until you can scientifically prove the nonexistence of God, it won't be.

Of course, one must demonstrate that the princicples are "true" in order to gain any scientific credibility. Also keep in mind that the burden of proof is not on those who disagree.
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Re: Religion

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:51 am UTC

clintonius wrote:Of course, one must demonstrate that the princicples are "true" in order to gain any scientific credibility. Also keep in mind that the burden of proof is not on those who disagree.
I don't understand what your saying here. I never claimed that the principles in Genesis were scientific, just that they don't contradict known science. They aren't scientifically credible, but why should they need to be? That's my whole point: they are completely unrelated to science, therefore do not cross paths with it.

Religion and science will inevitably cross paths if you insist that all religious beliefs be analyzed scientifically, but if the religious beliefs don't claim to be scientific, and don't contradict known science, and are the sort of things that cannot be analyzed scientifically (the existence of God, the spiritual relationship between God and humanity), there's no reason that science should enter the equation in their analysis. If it does, it's because religion contradicts the worldview that all true things must be scientifically proven, not that it contradicts science itself. And, while I don't believe it takes faith to believe that "if X is proven scientifically, X is true" (since empiricism, after all, is fairly common sense), I believe it does take faith to believe that "If X is true, X can be proven scientifically," unless you can scientifically prove that statement.

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Re: Religion

Postby TheOrangeMan » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:45 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:And, while I don't believe it takes faith to believe that "if X is proven scientifically, X is true" (since empiricism, after all, is fairly common sense),


Strictly speaking, even beliefs based on science require a certain degree of faith. All things considered true scientifically (and mathematically) are derived from other truths that can be proven without stating the first truth, i.e. if X is proven by Y, Y can be proven without mention of X. The structure of this sort of logic is hierarchical, and at its base are several truths that cannot be proven. These truths are called axioms and, by definition, must be taken on faith. In mathematics, something like 1 * x = x might be an axiom (depending on which field of mathematics you're talking about). Scientific axioms are harder to pinpoint; things like gravity that seem self evident are actually the result of interactions between subatomic particles which, in turn, may be described as the vibration of strings or even the orientation of higher dimensional partials (can't remember what that theory was called, but I'm just using examples). If you choose to base your view on string theory, then the existence and consistent behavior of strings are axioms.

The difference between science and religion is that science strives to minimize the number and complexity of axioms. In addition, science is willing to change axioms it already has if the resulting model is more scientifically sound (such as 10 dimensions instead of 3, again, if you choose to base your view on string theory). Also, since science is primarily working backwards, it allows the existence of several theories all considered potentially valid. Any denomination of any given religion considers itself to be the one, true religion. There are potentially devastating consequences to picking the wrong religion as opposed to picking the wrong scientific theory (damnation vs. simply being wrong).
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Re: Religion

Postby tday93 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:50 pm UTC

TheOrangeMan wrote:
Any denomination of any given religion considers itself to be the one, true religion. There are potentially devastating consequences of picking the wrong religion as opposed to picking the wrong scientific theory (damnation vs. simply being wrong).



This is a bit to broad of a statement, Baha'i believes that all other faiths are valid, and are in fact part of itself. Buddhism as well believes that any given faith that is not Buddhism is equally valid. And in many religions there is no consequence, in Baha'i there is no version of eternal damnation, and i'm pretty sure other religions hold this same belief.
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Re: Religion

Postby westcydr » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:44 am UTC

tday93 wrote:
TheOrangeMan wrote:
Any denomination of any given religion considers itself to be the one, true religion. There are potentially devastating consequences of picking the wrong religion as opposed to picking the wrong scientific theory (damnation vs. simply being wrong).



This is a bit to broad of a statement, Baha'i believes that all other faiths are valid, and are in fact part of itself. Buddhism as well believes that any given faith that is not Buddhism is equally valid. And in many religions there is no consequence, in Baha'i there is no version of eternal damnation, and i'm pretty sure other religions hold this same belief.

Judaism also has no eternal damnation.. how many religions that are not Christianity do believe in eternal damnation?
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Re: Religion

Postby roc314 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:59 am UTC

westcydr wrote:Judaism also has no eternal damnation.. how many religions that are not Christianity do believe in eternal damnation?


Islam for one.
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