Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
A while back, I found this Christian pamphlet thingymabopper called Awake! lying around my house; apparently it had been given to us by some random door to door proselytizer. After procrastination for a few weeks, I've finally decided to do a post or 5 on it. It's got 30 pages, so it should be a decent amount of blog fodder. Is there one Who Should Determine True Religion?
The pamphlet starts off with a nice, big, bolded question:
It goes on to say the following:
Some find that question offensive. Given the sheer multitude of religious beliefs worldwide, they reason that anyone who claims to have a monopoly on truth must be narrow-minded, even arrogant. Surely, it would seem, some good is to be found in all religions or at least most of them. Is that how you feel?
Nope. I feel like idiocy is "to be found in all religions or at least most of them," and not overly much of use. Based on your phrasing, I feel like you agree with me on the negative to your question, but disagree on why.
There are, of course, situations in which it is prudent to allow for a variety of opinions. For example, a person might believe that a certain diet will make him healthier. But should he impose that diet on everyone else, as if it were the only way to healthy living? Certainly, it would be wise and modest on his part to allow for the possibility that someone else's choice of food might be just as good or even better, at least for that other person.
Sounds like a pretty good analog for religion, I would think. Why should you be arrogant enough to think that everyone else has to be wrong without any good evidence one way or the other? The only reason it's not a good analogy is because diets can be scientifically analyzed for effectiveness.
Is it the same with religion?
Wait, but I thought that was the point of your last paragraph, to say it was!
Are there a variety of acceptable alternatives from which to choose, depending on one's upbringing and way of perceiving things? Or is there one body of religious truth that applies to all mankind?
Well, based on your last paragraph's analogy, I'd say the former. Why?
Let us see what the Bible has to say.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then it goes downhill. First Flaw: Referring to the Bible as a source on whether or not Christianity is the true religion!
First, we will consider whether truth is even attainable.
Not exactly. We can be 99.9999999999% sure, but never 100%. However, we can assume that the 99% is truth until proven otherwise.
After all, if it is not, then there is little point in searching for one true religion.
So, since the answer is sort of, does that mean there is sort of a point in searching for one true religion, or is it an all or nothing thing?
Is religious truth attainable?
Shortly before he was killed, Jesus Christ told his interrogator, Roman Governor Pontius Pilate: "Everyone that is on my side of the truth listens to my voice." Pilate may well have been responding cynically when he said: "What is truth?" (John 18:37, 38) Jesus, on the other hand, spoke unashamedly of truth. He did not doubt its existence. Consider, for example, the following four statements Jesus made to various people:
"For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth." -John 18:37
"I am the way and the truth and the life." -John 14:6
"God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth." -John 4:23, 24
"If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." -John 8:31, 32
First, this still has nothing to do with whether or not religious truth can be found; the Bible isn't a reliable source for that kind of thing. Second, couldn't it just be that John had a truth fetish or something? Cuz all those come from John, and he probably wasn't remembering all direct quotes. Maybe he plugged in truth a couple times. Second Flaw: Assuming Jesus existed and that the Bible is a reliable source of quotes from him!
Since Jesus spoke so confidently of truth and of coming to know it, shouldn't we at least examine the possibility that religious truth exists and can be found?
Third Flaw: Assuming that it hasn't already been examined!
Is it just me, or is this entire goddamn thing basically to convert agnostics? Are they such a common thing nowadays?
Does absolute truth really exist?
No doubt you will agree that there are some things of you being absolutely certain.
Nooooooooooooooooooope. Fourth Flaw: Assuming truth exists despite inability to prove it, based on fallible human perceptions! All you managed to do was prove that Jesus thought like most people of that time would think: That their perceptions usually worked just fine, and there was no reason to doubt them.
You are sure of your own existence and that the objects that surround you are real.
Not really, no. Fourth.
The trees, the mountains, the clouds, the sun, and the moon- the material world- are not figments of your imagination.
I can't really be sure of that either. Seriously, stop it with the Fourth Flaw already.
Of course, there may be a few people who argue in a philosophical way that even those things are questionable. But it is unlikely you agree with such an extreme notion.
Yup, they exist. A lot scientist types and skeptics are counted among them, because they know how fallible people are. Of course, it's unlikely that it's true, but we can't be sure.
Then there are natural laws. Of these too, you can be absolutely certain. For example, if you jump off a cliff, you will fall; if you refuse to eat, you will feel hungry; and if you go without food for a long time, you will die.
A repeat of the Fourth and the introduction of the Fifth Flaw: Calling things laws of nature that really aren't! I mean, you could have a neurological disorder making you not feel hungry ever, or you could survive without food for a long period of time because of IV nutrients. Didn't Jesus supposedly go without food or water for a long time at one point?
With all this Fourth Flaw flying about, I'm considering not even looking at it. Or I could count how many times they talk about it. Hmmm... I think the latter. Funnier that way.
You do not wonder if such natural laws hold true for some but not for others. They apply to all mankind and are therefore said to be universal.
Well, obviously you don't think that, because they apparently don't apply to Jesus, who died even quicker than he should have on the cross if you believe the Bible. Is he immune to hunger and thirst at the cost of being very vulnerable to physical damage? Sixth Flaw: Hypocrisy! This one will get a lot of use, I bet. Also, Fourth #5!
The Bible alludes to one such universal law when it asks, "Can a man rake together fire into his bosom and yet his very garments not be burned?"
Sure, if he's only wearing pants, or he's scooping up firewalking coals. Or if he's wearing something fire retardant. Or if he's using his hands to protect said garments from immolation. Or any number of other things. Fifth Flaw again! Plus, Sixth Flaw: They have to believe in miracles, since they believe the Bible is the word of God, so why couldn't that be one? Fourth #6!
Indeed, when that was written, it was universally true that clothing would burn if brought into contact with fire. However, in stating this fact, the above Bible proverb is really making a bigger point, namely, that "anyone having [sexual] relations with the wife of his fellowman" will suffer adverse consequences. -Proverbs 6:27, 29.
Not necessarily. What if they don't get caught? What if everyone involved knew about the adultery and was fine with it? Seventh Flaw: Assuming everyone who does bad things gets punished, and Eighth Flaw: Assuming the things the Bible says are bad are, in fact, bad! Fourth #7!
Is that statement an absolute truth of which we can be certain?
Since absolute truths of which we can be certain do not exist, no.
Some would say no.
And they're right.
They claim that morals are personal, that they depend on one's upbringing, beliefs, and circumstances.
Yup, that sounds about right.
But consider a few of God's moral laws as found in the Bible. Are these not universal truths?
Nope. Fourth #8!
The Bible condemns adultery. (1 Corianthians 6:9, 10) Some people do not accept this Bible precept as truth, and they practice adultery.
Still, even they generally reap bitter consequences, which often include troubled conscience, divorce, and deep emotional scars for all concerned.
The first not if they're in a society that finds nothing wrong with it, because the conscience is mostly conditioned by societal norms. Second not if their spouses are fine with it. Third is the same as first.
Drunkenness is also condemned by God. (Proverbs 23:20, Ephesians 5:18) What happens when people practice it?
Wake up in a gutter with no pants, no wallet, and a giant hangover, going "What the hell did I do last night?"
In many cases they lose their job, their health, and their family, who also suffer emotionally. (Proverbs 23:29-35)
Wait, you're citing the Bible for the fact that most drunkards lose their health, job, and family? What the flying fuck? Anyway, those things only happen when you make a habit of it, and the losing your family thing sadly only happens extremely rarely in cases of wife-beating or child-beating; people are afraid of the beater or think "he loves me, really!"
Such consequences come even to those who do not believe drunkenness is wrong.
Except only if they make a habit of it. Nobody argues that alcoholism isn't bad, so Ninth Flaw: Strawman!
Does the truthfulness of these moral laws appear to be relative to the beliefs or perceptions of each individual?
Is and ought are different, yknow. That's the Tenth Flaw. And hell yes in the first case, and not really but the Bible condemns rather broadly in the second case, and it doesn't happen to all who don't follow the "moral laws". And, of course, you can't evaluate the truthfulness of a law, because TRUTH DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY! Laws aren't true or false, even if they get punished every time (and they don't. Especially not the "murder your son for saying "fuck"" or "murder your entire family for trying to get you to stop following Yahweh" ones. You don't see people getting guilty over not having stoned their son to death for saying the word "fuck").
Then there are the Bible's positive moral commands- such as commands to love one's wife, to respect one's husband, and to do good to others. (Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 5:33)
And to kill rebellious teenagers and those who try to convert you, stone rape victims because they didn't cry out unless it happened outside of town, and of course, the important command not to eat rabbits because they chew cud but don't have hooves.
Observing these commands brings beneficial results.
My examples definitely don't, in fact they do the opposite, and yours don't always. Respect your husband too much and you're a doormat, do good and often you'll get screwed by a con artist.
Would you argue that such moral counsel is good for some but not others?
My examples are good for nobody, and yours don't always do good for people. So yes.
Whether the moral laws of the Bible are followed or not brings consequences to people.
Well, yeah, because everything has consequences. Like stoning your rebellious child to death brings the consequence of killing your kid.
This fact argues that such laws are not just alternative points of view.
No it doesn't. Not following the laws of the Koran has consequences, too. Eleventh Flaw: Assuming that nothing else but following or not following the Biblical laws is the only thing that has consequences!
Rather, they are truths.
Evidence reveals that good consequences are realized when the Bible's moral laws are followed, but bad ones when they are not.
Horrible, horrible lies. Twelfth Flaw: Assuming all consequences of following Biblical laws are good!
So think, if they Bible's moral laws hold true for all mankind,
Sure, I'll take this little journey with you, but they don't.
what about the standards in God's Word regarding worship?
What about 'em? Thirteenth Flaw: Assuming the Bible is God's Word! That probably should have been included before this, but I'm too lazy to go back and edit it in where it should be.
What about its comments on what happens when we die and the hope we have for an everlasting future?
They're stupid and probably false, why?
It logically follows that these Bible teachings are also truths, provided for all mankind.
It logically follows from what? You saying that they are earlier? Dude, I'm spinnin round in circles! I guess it does logically follow, and is valid, but it's not sound.
Their benefits and consequences are not limited to only people who believe them.
Except for the guilty conscience parts, pretty much, yeah. But then again, the same is true of pretty much everything.
Truth can be found.
Jesus said that God's Word, the Bible, is truth. John 17:17
There's John's truth fetish again. Didn't I have a flaw for assuming the Bible was an accurate representation of what Jesus said, and assuming he exists?
yet, truth may still seem unattainable.
Cuz it is.
Umm, because we can't be sure of anything and all conclusions are tentative and can be disproved with new evidence?
Because so many different religions claim to teach what the Bible says.
No, that's not why. I just told you why. Since I'm assuming you mean the New Testament, too, what other religions claim to teach what the Bible says? Or do you mean sects, which is entirely different?
Which religion is teaching the truth from God's Word?
Probably none of them, because it's unlikely any of them have God's word? I'm pretty sure there was a flaw for this one too.
Must we limit the answer to just one religion?
Well, if you don't, you fall under the Sixth Flaw. Not necessarily anybody else, but you do.
Could not the truth, or at least parts of it, be found in a number of religions?
Next time on Awake!:
Is there one
Who Should Determine True Religion?
Monday, February 16, 2009
Everyone, of course, knows about Zombie Jesus.
But there's something not everyone considers: Zombie Jesus makes ghoul/vampire followers!
Think about it. Zombie Jesus makes his followers eat his flesh and drink his blood. So he's trying to make them like ghouls and/or vampires! This leads to the obvious conclusion: Zombie Jesus is trying to cause a Zombie Apocalypse (except with vampires and ghouls, even worse!), turning everyone to undead Christians!
So get a stake for the vampires, and a shotgun for the ghouls. It'll be tough to defend our atheism against the ravening hordes, but we'll try to outlast them.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Remember how I told you guys about my discussion with Rhology? This is a response to this post he made about me. By the way, Rhology, you named the post Ferretology? What the heck?
I tell you what - I wish I'd been thinking about stuff at this level when I was 15.
And I also wish I'd met someone like me now when I was 15. So, good deal for him!
It is a good deal for me, but not for the reason you think. It's because I hadn't really thought about DCT before this. You're still an idiot.
In response to my asking where God says we aren't brains in jars, Rhology says:
In the Bible.
First, that's an unreliable source that directly contradicts both itself and reality multiple times. Second, chapter and verse. Third, there's still the God lying possibility, and the not actually being authored by God possibility.
And in response to the God lying and not authored by God possibilities, he says:
Then you'd need to tell me how I can know ANYthing and not have a great reason to doubt EVERYthing if God is not telling the truth.
Really, you can't be sure you do. But you do, because it would be stupid not to. There's no point to it. And you already do have a great reason to doubt everything; it's called skepticism. Of course, you don't exercise skepticism, so you don't realize that doubt is actually a virtue, at least up until evidence is provided of the claim.
Note the lack of address of the "not authored by God" idea.
On pi=3, Rhology claims that God rounds to a single significant figure in that one instance, and I'd only have a point if it was wildly off mark, or as he said,
You'd have a point if He said the circumf was diameter times 58 or something, but He didn't.
Of course, God is known to have used numbers with more than one significant figure in the Bible, if he actually did in fact author the Bible, so this is stupid. When questioned on why God couldn't at least have gone to 31, Rhology says
Then you'd just complain that He only went to one sig fig. Seriously, let it go. Game over.
Actually, I wouldn't. Because there's actually a reason to stop there, said reason being it's the end of the whole numbers. So unless you're in the Discworld mail sorting machine, I'd say God is wrong here, and you're picking at hairs to try to get it to be right.
Okay, the 4 legged insects are in Leviticus 11. All insects have 6 legs, and you can't even say close relatives of the insects have 6 legs because their closest relatives are the 8 legged arachnids. Sources from Wikipedia and Consevapedia. The Conservapedia one actually lists a contradiction of its own, without realizing it, which is hilarious. In Leviticus 11 you can also find cud-chewing bunnies and bats that are actually birds. I'll quote all 3 off biblegateway.com's NKJV
‘These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth: 3 Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud—that you may eat. 4 Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; 5 the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; 6 the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; 7 and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.
13 ‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 14 the kite, and the falcon after its kind; 15 every raven after its kind, 16 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; 17 the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl; 18 the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture; 19 the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.
20 ‘All flying insects that creep on all fours shall be an abomination to you. 21 Yet these you may eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours: those which have jointed legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth. 22 These you may eat: the locust after its kind, the destroying locust after its kind, the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind. 23 But all other flying insects which have four feet shall be an abomination to you.
It's funny when you realize the Bible thinks people aren't animals, so they aren't covered by the non-4-footed-cloven-hooved-animals are forbidden clause. People aren't listed under forbidden foods!
When asked why any God, good, neutral, or evil, wouldn't let us see the truth, he says:
A good God? No.
An evil god? Plenty of reasons.
First, I've specifically stated before God could be neither good nor evil, and instead he's neutral, so there's a possibility you haven't covered. Everyone make note of that. Second, God can make the truth whatever the fuck he wants! Why would any God lie?
When it's pointed out God's text can be interpreted for completely different viewpoints, and which viewpoints one subscribes to is definitely affect by society, supporting my version of morality, he says:
It's TEXT. It has objective meaning by itself.
Or maybe you think I can legitimately say that your comment means that you have repented of your sin and trusted Jesus as Savior and Lord, and want to move to my town to come join my church.
Now, is that legitimate interpretation of your comment? It's not, is it? Why not? B/c it doesn't match WHAT YOU SAID.
Look at my post on connotation; that covers part of it. People vary in things they connote with different words, affecting their interpretation. The other parts are a lot of words have multiple definitions, and languages change, so translations are mucky, (fear, for example, is used more in the context of reverence and awe of God in the old versions, and now people think it means fear God literally; that's an example of changing languages) plus a lot of the Bible contradicts itself. Oh, and yes, that's technically a valid interpretation of my comment, but it's also an idiotic one. You could justify that interpretation by, for example, claiming I was playing devil's advocate. I also hijack the arguments of the first comment.
Leviticus 25 says the following: 39 ‘And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. 40 As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 And then he shall depart from you—he and his children with him—and shall return to his own family. He shall return to the possession of his fathers. 42 For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. 43 You shall not rule over him with rigor, but you shall fear your God. 44 And as for your male and female slaves whom you may have—from the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. 45 Moreover you may buy the children of the strangers who dwell among you, and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property. 46 And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves. But regarding your brethren, the children of Israel, you shall not rule over one another with rigor. You didn't address the idea of people believing them to be lesser because they aren't God's chosen, by the way, and the Bible does lead them to think that. It's also entirely possible that they believed others to be subhuman, even though the Bible doesn't say that. As long as they viewed others as outside society and lower in some way, my point stands.
I mean sociopaths have a tendency to do things viewed as immoral more than those who have empathy. So do you think this is true, and if not, why not? If so, how do you explain it without empathy-based morality?
I've successfully proven that morality is based on empathy, and I repeat myself to emphasize a point. I will grant, though, that Divine Command Theory has had some impact on it just because people are stupid enough to believe it.
When I say that I think it's something I wouldn't want to happen to me, you say "so?" So, that's the reason I view it as something that shouldn't happen. If it can happen to other people, it might happen to me.
Umm, no I won't suddenly disagree. I'll say that evil doesn't objectively exist, despite what the DCT idiots say.
If the people don't survive, that idea of morality doesn't survive. It's not the naturalistic fallacy, it's pointing out a hole in your scenario. By the way, the questions you forgot to address:
How did they come up with the idea? Why did they decide it was a fine thing to do in the first place? How do they survive if they have a violent culture that sees nothing wrong with rape and murder? How the flying fuck did they get that idea in the first place? Why did they decide it might appease the gods? Is there a way they could reason out this idea?
You're an idiot. Really. Seriously. I just gave you the reason I condemn it, you fucking numbskull! By the way, your comment doesn't have anything to do with my question, and do you really think people that aren't heard crying out when they're raped in a city should get a death sentence? What if they're gagged? What if there's a fucking knife at their throat?
If you don't hold to DCT, what do you hold to?
Now you're defending DCT. Yay. Anyway, just because God can create the universe doesn't have anything to do with his ability to decide right and wrong. Also, men have set down morality all through history! Look at any philosopher. The founders of the US took up some of those philosophical, man-made ideas, and that's why they decided that England governing them without consent was wrong! Should they not have had the idea of rebelling against what they viewed as immoral based on man-made ideas, because it's not a God-based morality, and was made by just some men?
This post will be improved upon a bit later, so don't respond quite yet Rhology. I'll update it when I have some more spare time.