What's your general opinion of Christianity?

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FAST6191

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Right... You can believe that falling off a skyscraper is dangerous or that you need to eat properly to stay healthy, but teaching it to kids? That's a problem. What if they actually follow such ludicrous advice!


If by "gets me places" you mean "makes me contradict myself wildly", sure. How's that "don't cause pain or deprive others of resources" thing working out for you when you argue for a genocide of little babies? Even if you were to argue "abortion only until pain can be felt", which is a very inconsistent line to mark the beginning of human life (the doctor gives you anaesthesia, you stop being a person), I'd at least call life a resource, a primary one.

--


Let's try to eliminate your hypocritical moral outrage against Christianity from the discussion using a hypothetical. Let's say a new religion shows up and it says "God exists, He's a personal being - and He hates people". Would you then believe that religion? Because none of your arguments thus far seem to contradict God's existence, only His loving nature and/or His almighty nature and/or His three-personal nature. You're being heretics, but not atheists. Let's say a god exists, but is not like the Christian God outside of being personal. Why would you not believe in that one?

Eating right and falling from heights has quite demonstrable results and will work forever. Sky daddy promotes a line of thought I don't find to be healthy, much less to teach to undeveloped minds. As such your stuff is not analogous to my reading and thus falls flat here.

Where have I argued for a genocide of babies? The abortion thing (which again I would frame differently) is very much a selective process depending upon the needs and desires of the host. Equally I never said anything about pain for that -- you went there just now for that. I have always gone with viability, maybe with a proviso for the health of the host or likelihood of the parasite being able to lead a reasonable life. Perhaps rather than pain harms done would be better -- even if you have CIP or are loaded with anaesthetic then slicing you will still be a harm.

Why would I believe it just because it is a thing? Equally how have I not been opting for atheism? If trying to demonstrate the suppositions for a god are logically inconsistent (or outright fallacy).
 
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UltraDolphinRevolution

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N My ex-grilfriend's Baptist preacher said that babies automatically go to heaven because they haven't sinned
If this is true, then killing babies is doing them a favor. Remember: If we don't kill them, they might be ETERNALLY suffering. Again, can a Christian explain how this isn't the case? A mother who killed her children because she didn't want them to go to hell? Isn't she smart or a self-sacrificing person?
By that logic, we should have one baby killer who kills a billion babies -> one billion go to heaven and only one person goes to hell.
 

UltraDolphinRevolution

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I keep trying to go back to "is God real?"
Why does God hide from us? I really want to know. This is an even bigger problem than the problem of evil.
I once believed in God (or at least hoped he existed), but I no longer do because I realize there is not a single evidence for his existence. It's strange how all the religions have started before the advent of cameras (I guess we laugh at Mormonism because it arrived so late to the party; basically the same claims as Islam but too close to our own history).
So now that I have rejected (?) God, I will go to hell? You just stated you would worry about me.
I've never had a Road to Damascus vision or any other supernatural thing happening to me. Why is God treating me differently? Oh, so he will judge me based on how much I knew? Well, I don't know he exists, nobody knows - so we all go to heaven then? Great! Except possibly you... since you seem to know he exists. Now I'm starting to worry about you.

So do you have any reason FOR his existence? I'd say this is a very good one against his existence.
 

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Why does God hide from us? I really want to know. This is an even bigger problem than the problem of evil.
He doesn't. There is a book that even describes His chase after humans, it's called a Bible. Better question would be why are we trying to run from Him.

I once believed in God (or at least hoped he existed), but I no longer do because I realize there is not a single evidence for his existence.
Do you believe that Caesar conquered Gaulle in I century B.C.? Would you call that a historical fact? I assume you weren't there, you probably never held a single historical text or any physical remain that would prove it. Way to go, you only believe it because you've been told.
What's that? Even if you personally never had the evidence in your hands, it does exist? Texts that have been verified according to strict hermeneutical standards for example. In this era of the Internet it probably wouldn't be too difficult to read the reproductions yourself.
Hey, guess what has even more legitimacy based on those very same standards. The eye-witness accounts of Jesus and his actions. The only reason the New Testament is not treated widely as absolutely legit historical source, more legitimate than many other stuff we rely on for our historical knowledge, is because it contains miracles. Wow, way to bring your own bias to the evidence in order to dismiss it.
You don't believe Jesus was divine God made flesh is because you don't believe the texts. And you donn't believe the texts because you don't believe in miracles (like a divine God becoming human). That's not an "argument", that's a dog chasing its own tail. You're close, buddy, don't give up, it's gotta get tired someday.

It's strange how all the religions have started before the advent of cameras
Clearly you haven't heard of how divined "inclusivity", "equality", "diversity", "feminism", "politics" and countless others have become. One of the worst is "progress", a consequence of the "evolution faith". What is old is always worse than what is new, because the whole world revolves around naturally-occurring improvement. No steps back possible, any new ideology must be superior to that old stuff. Of course the same person to believe nature has been ruined by our industrial progress, our roads, our cities, our factories and it used to be much better in its wild, untouched state, but hey, that's doublethink for ya.
A person who doesn't believe in something, will believe in anything. It's human nature to seek something beyond this world, a meaning, a purpose, a source.

I've never had a Road to Damascus vision or any other supernatural thing happening to me. Why is God treating me differently? Oh, so he will judge me based on how much I knew? Well, I don't know he exists, nobody knows - so we all go to heaven then? Great! Except possibly you... since you seem to know he exists. Now I'm starting to worry about you.
You don't know if God exists - but unlike those African villagers you've mentioned before, you've had a lifetime in an environment that allows you to do research. The fact you're here proves you know of Jesus Christ, of at least some of the claims He made, of possible interpretations many people hold (though admittedly, it's got to you surprisingly twisted). And it doesn't seem to me like you're approaching them with an honest "okay, let's hear what this belief is about, really try to wrap my head around it before judging whether or not it might possibly be true". No, you're approaching what you clearly don't know that well with a pre-made certainty that you know best whether it's a hoax or not, a bunch of bullsh*t or the truth. I mean, this "obvious nonsense" has only been around for over two millennia, people have died for it, people have changed their lives due to it... And throughout all that time, none of these people have noticed what your superior intellect noticed - that it's very obviously stupid and can't be reasoned for (and thus can be dismissed). Wow. You sure you're an atheist? Because your claims make you more of a god.
 
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UltraDolphinRevolution

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He doesn't. There is a book that even describes His chase after humans, it's called a Bible. Better question would be why are we trying to run from Him.
I'm not trying to run from him. I've tried to find evidence for anything supernatural but failed so far.
There is a book that describes how God actually chose the Arabs as his favorite people. Why don't you believe in that book? Or any other religious book?

Do you believe that Caesar conquered Gaulle in I century B.C.? Would you call that a historical fact? I assume you weren't there, you probably never held a single historical text or any physical remain that would prove it. Way to go, you only believe it because you've been told.
First of all, I do not believe it. I haven't done research into this event (if it took place). Winners write history so I would approach it as a skeptic.
Whether or not this event took place may or may not be interesting. But being wrong about it doesn't cause eternal suffering.

The eye-witness accounts of Jesus and his actions. The only reason the New Testament is not treated widely as absolutely legit historical source, more legitimate than many other stuff we rely on for our historical knowledge, is because it contains miracles. Wow, way to bring your own bias to the evidence in order to dismiss it.
So do you believe Muhammad split the moon? Are you biased against it just because it is a miracle?
Of course miracle claims have to be investigated more carefully.
Eye-witness accounts of Jesus and his actions? There are none. Paul is not an eye-witness of Jesus' deeds. The gospels were most likely not written by eye-witnesses.

You don't believe Jesus was divine God made flesh is because you don't believe the texts. And you donn't believe the texts because you don't believe in miracles (like a divine God becoming human). That's not an "argument", that's a dog chasing its own tail. You're close, buddy, don't give up, it's gotta get tired someday.
Again, the same is true for u with regards to 99% of religious claims. You just make a biased exception for Christianity.
I don't believe Jesus is God made flesh because I have no reason to think that God exists. And you have failed to provide any so far. My understanding of the universe allows me to conceive of sth eternal. But that could be the universe itself. If there was no time "before" the universe, I can't even imagine a "before".
But I'm pretty s

Clearly you haven't heard of how divined "inclusivity", "equality", "diversity", "feminism", "politics" and countless others have become.
More baseless assumptions. No wonder you believe in God. I know quite bit about it. It's a different topic.
Religious claims of God interfering in world politics and wars have - not surprisingly - become rare these days. Again, God must be hiding.

You don't know if God exists - but unlike those African villagers you've mentioned before, you've had a lifetime in an environment that allows you to do research. The fact you're here proves you know of Jesus Christ, of at least some of the claims He made, of possible interpretations many people hold (though admittedly, it's got to you surprisingly twisted).
I didn't bring up African villagers. Almost all Africans believe in either the Christian or Muslim God. It's hopeless.
My research has been quite extensive, btw. No need to act superior,"buddy".

And it doesn't seem to me like you're approaching them with an honest "okay, let's hear what this belief is about, really try to wrap my head around it before judging whether or not it might possibly be true". No, you're approaching what you clearly don't know that well with a pre-made certainty that you know best whether it's a hoax or not, a bunch of bullsh*t or the truth.
I've studied the claims extensively for many years and WANTED them to be true. I stopped self-deceiving myself at some point. There are people who dismiss claims right away, I'm not one of them.

for over two millennia, people have died for it, people have changed their lives due to it
3 arguments with 0 weight!
-If age is of any relevance, Scientology will be true one day. Why aren't you a Hindu then?
-People have died for many things, that's irrelevant. It only shows that they believed in it; it doesn't show whether sth is true. We don't really know who came up with the claim that Jesus BODILY resurrected and whether they died for it.
-People change their lives due to all sorts of things, including feminism, Scientology and 'insert ideology/religion here'.


I would like to ask you a few things:
a) Do you believe in Darwinian evolution?
b) Do you believe the dead rose when Jesus died and walked around Jerusalem? Why does only the Gospel of Matthew mentioned it? Or do you interpret it as not literal? Then can't we do the same regarding Jesus resurrection?
c) Do you have any reason for believing in God? (Other than wishing it to be true)
 

eworm

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So do you believe Muhammad split the moon? Are you biased against it just because it is a miracle?
Koran having been dictated by Allah word by word is supposed to be the only miracle in Islam. The stories like the one you've mentioned contradict that basic idea and have most likely been added later. So no, in this case I indeed don't believe in it.
However, try to use the same justification with Christianity and you have nothing substantial the miracles would've been added to. There is no Christianity without miracles like the Virgin Birth or the miraculous healings Jesus performed or the Resurrection or the Ascension.
Without those all you are left with is the most insane guy in the world (believed himself to be God, that's pretty nuts) somehow gathering a big group of followers (still ready to die for his nonsense after he got crucified) by spouting the exact things they as Jews would find blasphemous to their faith.

3 arguments with 0 weight!
-If age is of any relevance, Scientology will be true one day. Why aren't you a Hindu then?
It's not the age, it's the survivability. You claim Christianity is nonsense and pretty obviously so. Yet somehow people have been collectively retarded for millennia and failed to see it, while inventing all of the science, technology and civilisation we have now.

-People change their lives due to all sorts of things, including feminism, Scientology and 'insert ideology/religion here'
-People have died for many things, that's irrelevant. It only shows that they believed in it; it doesn't show whether sth is true. We don't really know who came up with the claim that Jesus BODILY resurrected and whether they died for it.
Oh, we do know they died for it. Historical texts do describe this "bizarre sect" and what was done to eradicate it. Spoiler, it didn't work.
It's true that people believing something doesn't prove it to be true. I've argued the same thing about morality in this very thread. But in the particular instance you're quoting, I wasn't arguing it's true - I was arguing that it was incredibly convincing, enough to die for and therefore it can't be as "obviously nonsensical" as you claim it to be.



I would like to ask you a few things:
a) Do you believe in Darwinian evolution?
b) Do you believe the dead rose when Jesus died and walked around Jerusalem? Why does only the Gospel of Matthew mentioned it? Or do you interpret it as not literal? Then can't we do the same regarding Jesus resurrection?
c) Do you have any reason for believing in God? (Other than wishing it to be true)
a) It seems to be a likely description of the way some live organisms change in time and it has sufficient scientific backing to warrant a "probably true" label, sure.

b) I see no problem interpreting it literally. Lazarus was brought back to life by Jesus, the blind were given sight, the demons were chased from people, there are many miracles in the Bible and considering the format of the Gospels - that of a historical "reportage" rather than myths and stories - I do believe most of them did happen.
This particular one you've mentioned I can shrug my shoulders at, to be fair, for it doesn't matter. It would be like two eyewitnesses of a murder being consistent on everything, except one mentioned that the killer sneezed before leaving the crime scene and the other said nothing like that. The rest of the testimonies are what's important, no judge would withhold the sentence until the sneeze situation was made clear.
And no, we can't just interpret Jesus's Resurrection as a symbolic thing, because without it, everything else in the Gospels, arguably in the Old testament as well - makes no sense. You don't take away the murder from a crime novel and pretend the story is basically still the same.

c) You seem to have a schizophrenic argument here. On one hand, my God can't be real, because His existence comes with the possibility (I'd argue necessity) of hell and many harsh moral responsibilities and limitations and whatnot. One the other hand, it's just wishful thinking on my part. Why would you assume I want God to be real? Is wanting something the only reason for belief or could my intellectual honesty have something to do with it?

I'd like to answer that last question a bit more broadly, but I want to know where I'm standing with you, so here are my own three questions for you, if you don't mind:
a) Do you believe in souls, humans (and/or animals) having a core element to them that is not physical, nor a result of bodily functions?
b) Do you believe in free will?
c) Do you believe that if the world had developed differently, perhaps at the first millisecond of all time, that we could've come to live in a world where 2+2 would equal 7 or you could both stand and not stand at the same time or a result could precede the cause - a world in which the basic principles of logic would not apply?
 

UltraDolphinRevolution

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Koran having been dictated by Allah word by word is supposed to be the only miracle in Islam. The stories like the one you've mentioned contradict that basic idea and have most likely been added later. So no, in this case I indeed don't believe in it.
The Quran is not the only holy text in Islam. But I don't want to get off topic. Instead I want to know: Why don't you believe the Quran has been dictated by God (miracle)? Why don't you believe Joseph Smith's miracles and others? Are you biased perhaps?

Without those all you are left with is the most insane guy in the world (believed himself to be God, that's pretty nuts) somehow gathering a big group of followers (still ready to die for his nonsense after he got crucified) by spouting the exact things they as Jews would find blasphemous to their faith.
Jesus was not the only end times prophet. And yes, he might have been insane. The question is: Why do you still believe in him, even though he was wrong about his return? It didn't happen during their generation (as he claimed).

It's not the age, it's the survivability. You claim Christianity is nonsense and pretty obviously so. Yet somehow people have been collectively retarded for millennia and failed to see it, while inventing all of the science, technology and civilisation we have now.
Another fallacy (that's number 4): the number of people believing sth is irrelevant. If it were relevant, Christianity would be true now but Islam would be true by the end of the century. Makes no sense, right? And again, Hinduism has survived longer than Christianity. The same is true for Taoism and Judaism. And esp. Hinduism is still practiced by A LOT of people.

Oh, we do know they died for it. Historical texts do describe this "bizarre sect" and what was done to eradicate it. Spoiler, it didn't work.
It's true that people believing something doesn't prove it to be true. I've argued the same thing about morality in this very thread. But in the particular instance you're quoting, I wasn't arguing it's true - I was arguing that it was incredibly convincing, enough to die for and therefore it can't be as "obviously nonsensical" as you claim it to be.
Martyrdom increases the number of followers. It's also true for the 9/11 attacks (more converts to Islam in the US). There are psychological reasons for that (don't want to get into it).
In addition to Martyrdom, Christianity spread because it appealed to the weak (slaves, women -> 50% of the population) and was trendy as it was very similar to other cults at the time (which had initiation rituals and were mysterious) like Mithraism. The old Gods were no longer appealing. Religious trends change.

a) It seems to be a likely description of the way some live organisms change in time and it has sufficient scientific backing to warrant a "probably true" label, sure.
SOME organisms? All life on earth. From single cells to humans. Do you doubt that?

b) I see no problem interpreting it literally. Lazarus was brought back to life by Jesus, the blind were given sight, the demons were chased from people, there are many miracles in the Bible and considering the format of the Gospels - that of a historical "reportage" rather than myths and stories - I do believe most of them did happen.
This particular one you've mentioned I can shrug my shoulders at, to be fair, for it doesn't matter. It would be like two eyewitnesses of a murder being consistent on everything, except one mentioned that the killer sneezed before leaving the crime scene and the other said nothing like that. The rest of the testimonies are what's important, no judge would withhold the sentence until the sneeze situation was made clear.
And no, we can't just interpret Jesus's Resurrection as a symbolic thing, because without it, everything else in the Gospels, arguably in the Old testament as well - makes no sense. You don't take away the murder from a crime novel and pretend the story is basically still the same.
Fair enough. Except that sneezing is SLIGHTLY less significant than a freaking zombie show all over town. In my humble opinion it reduces the significance of Jesus own supposed resurrection. Jesus brings other people, yes, but I have always read them as sth like a near-death story. Then Jesus showed up and the person who had just been thought of as dead, was alive again. That's different from a zombie apocalypse in the capital... (they had clearly been dead).

c) You seem to have a schizophrenic argument here. On one hand, my God can't be real, because His existence comes with the possibility (I'd argue necessity) of hell and many harsh moral responsibilities and limitations and whatnot.
Your version of God can't be real because a "God is love" kind of God wouldn't be worse than any murderer in history. At least the Saudis who killed the diplomat recently had the decency to let him die after torturing him.
We can't live without sustaining us, right? So then why doesn't God just let people stop existing if they are not willing to go to heaven? Since you claim nobody goes to hell against his/her will...

One the other hand, it's just wishful thinking on my part. Why would you assume I want God to be real? Is wanting something the only reason for belief or could my intellectual honesty have something to do with it?
You still haven't provided evidence. All four arguments are highly fallacious. Is there anything else?

a) Do you believe in souls, humans (and/or animals) having a core element to them that is not physical, nor a result of bodily functions?
No. Our conscience is the result of brain activity. If certain parts of the brain are damaged, our personality changes. When the brain is dead, our conscience is gone. And since I believe in Darwinian evolution, it makes no sense to assume that we are different from animals. How could we have souls but not animals? We are relatives (biologically speaking). At what point did we receive a soul? When we branched off from cells that could process sunlight? (plants) When we became mammals? etc
When I still believed in (/hope for) God I assumed that evolution was true but that God made humans just pop into existence at some unknown time. But now I realize how much self-deceiving it takes to believe that. We all share the same basic proteins. Humans, worms and even more simple forms of life. Or was God doing that on purpose to deceive us?

b) Do you believe in free will?
Considering the absurdity of my writing this against/without my will... I sure hope so! I could be convinced otherwise.

c) Do you believe that if the world had developed differently, perhaps at the first millisecond of all time, that we could've come to live in a world where 2+2 would equal 7 or you could both stand and not stand at the same time or a result could precede the cause - a world in which the basic principles of logic would not apply?
This is the world I find myself in. A world in which effects come after causes, 2+2 equals 4 etc. It might be possible, it might not be. It doesn't effect my life at all. It's like the question: Could our lives just be a simulation. We wouldn't know and we couldn't change it even if it were so.
The question of whether God exists does affect me. I could be threatened (by individuals and even the state) for offending someone's beliefs. I could end up in eternal suffering of a particular God among thousands. So that's why I studied these things. Now I somehow regret it and wish I could get this wasted time refunded. Being blissfully ignorant is even a good thing in Christianity as it ensures a less strict judgement.
 
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FAST6191

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It's not the age, it's the survivability.

A favourite analysis ponders whether polytheism largely gave way to monotheism because of the same reason big corporations survive more easily than lots of small ones (primarily singular focus and less overhead).

But yes I have no problem going with the notion that the overwhelming majority of humans in history have lacked the critical thinking (or been suppressed hard enough) that religion stuck around, and continued to worm its way into things (it is not like it remained static throughout that time either).
 

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Whats Your General Opinion of Islam? Hindu? GhostBusters?.....DOGMA!!!

The Christianity everyone is referring to is Imposters.

Jesus is God and he died for everyone GodBless!
 

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Our conscience is the result of brain activity. If certain parts of the brain are damaged, our personality changes. When the brain is dead, our conscience is gone. And since I believe in Darwinian evolution, it makes no sense to assume that we are different from animals. How could we have souls but not animals? We are relatives (biologically speaking). At what point did we receive a soul? When we branched off from cells that could process sunlight? (plants) When we became mammals? etc
(...)
Considering the absurdity of my writing this against/without my will... I sure hope so! I could be convinced otherwise.
So you believe in free will and believe that consciousness is only the result of brain activity. You believe you're a pre-programmed robot, completely reactionary to the circumstances outside and inside your physical body, but also believe you (whatever "you" means) can make choices and freely refuse to follow what the body wants.

It's good to know I haven't been arguing with a person who holds opinions and can reason, but with a biological algorithm that is incapable of saying anything outside the result of countless circumstances affecting a particular, very complex vegetable.

Sorry, but you can't really believe (indeed you surely don't) that consciousness is only and solely the result of brain activity, because if it were, "believe" would be a word without meaning. Or rather, the meaning we assign to it, would be not just false, but impossible.

If we can't agree on humans being capable of reason, doubt, will and a certain degree of self-definition, we can't argue. We can't disagree, we can't even really talk. As in, literally can't. How do you "argue" with what can't think?

Bodies are our cars, the brain is the steering wheel and the pedals, but you don't get to argue about traffic laws - indeed there can't be any - when you don't believe in drivers.

Sorry, I hoped we could find some really basic common ground and then slowly discuss from there until we reach the very first philosophical point where our ways of thinking split, but clearly it won't go anywhere. You don't believe in yourSELF. I'd say the argument is over, but for you it couldn't have began...
 
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That is an interesting way to diving out of a discussion, not sure I have seen it as fully realised (though still massively underwhelming) as that before. Or maybe it is just a slight twist on the meaninglessness one I have read for years.

"pre-programmed robot"
No, if nothing else I imagine the person you are discussing that with is aware of developmental psychology. The programming is an ongoing process. There are doubtless things programmed in at a biological level (active programmable processing is more expensive in energy and resources than dedicated single task processing)

"but with a biological algorithm that is incapable of saying anything outside the result of countless circumstances"
You say it like it is a bad thing. I would probably also ponder how much entropy affects things.

Similarly said algorithm is evolving, self selecting and self reinforcing and has outputs that, so far as we can tell, we don't otherwise see happen (or happen at all commonly) with plain old physics and thus is worth at least protecting to see where it goes. By virtue of said large number of variables the algorithm is also fairly hard to predict the output of (though still possible) which makes its results even more interesting.
Can't wait to see what becomes of these lines of logic when we develop human level AI and beyond.
 

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Great thread lol
Actually, I think that christianity is such a weird phenomenon, I feel like it actually gets people further away from finding meaning in life or trying to answer the though questions. In some countries, cristianity is just a social, family tradition more than something that is developed from internal reflections or questioning, which is the proper way to approach a religion, in my opinion.
Some people are born into it and get really used to it. So much so, that it becomes the normal and just another reason to see other people that think differtly from them as the "other".
As a somewhat spiritual atheist, this sums up why I'm not particulary favorable to any religion.

There are some christians that I admire deeply though, not conservative or right wing at all, just taking really f'ing seriously the values of Jesus, and loving their neighbours as theirselves. They were very active in the community, bringing meals to the elderly, helping stranded teenagers and all sorts of other useful charitable work. Basically, they are kick ass and very cool.

So, I think that Christianity like any other religion should be taken with a grain of salt, I think that everybody should develop their beliefs in their own time and not be taught what to believe since birth. But that it carries also a lot of good, fundamental values that have been true across millennia of human history. As do some other books other than the Bible. I think it would be great if we could just incorporate these teaching in our day to day, twenty-first century life without fighting each other for something that doesn't even literally exist.
 

UltraDolphinRevolution

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So you believe in free will
Yes, unless it's an illusion, but I do believe I have free will

and believe that consciousness is only the result of brain activity.
Yes.

You believe you're a pre-programmed robot, completely reactionary to the circumstances outside and inside your physical body
How does that follow from the two premises?
I believe I make my own decisions, how am I then pre-programmed?!

Please apologize for the straw man and reply to my former discussion points. Unless you are able to show me how your conclusion follows from the premises.
 

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How does that follow from the two premises?
I believe I make my own decisions, how am I then pre-programmed?!
Please apologize for the straw man and reply to my former discussion points. Unless you are able to show me how your conclusion follows from the premises.
The brain is physical, biological. Its activity - which you claim includes the free will - is therefore dependent on the physical and biological forces affecting it from within and without. And nothing else, for you admit there is no supernatural soul or any element beyond the physical to the "self". Thus, if it's wholly dependent on the physical and biological, it cannot produce a result that's beyond the natural outcome of those. Drawing more and more 2D squares on a sheet of paper won't turn that sheet of paper into a 3D cube and increasing the complexity of an algorithm will not make it capable of choosing whether it should follow its own elements or not. For the brain to question what the purely biological results of its activity are, it needs a user beyond itself.
Unless you're saying that nature's laws are inconsistent and their rules change every once in a while for no reason? That would allow you to say that although the brain is biological, the results don't necessarily follow from what the biology would claim. Of course that'd also be you admitting miracles can - and do - exist.
 
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UltraDolphinRevolution

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We can build an AI that is able to say "ah" or "oh". If we pre-program it to sing "ah-oh-ah-ah-oh" then that would be pre-programed. But if we don't program it this way, even the AI has free will.
Sometimes we program an AI so that it chooses "oh" 70% of the time (for example) and "ah" 30% of the time. But even then we don't know the order of arrangement, even then the AI has free will (albeit to a lesser extent).

Therefore, as a biological being I am only restricted ("programmed") in the sense that I can't choose to fly like a bird or to feel like a woman or to think like a Gorilla etc because I have to work with what I have (body including brain).

If you choose not to engage with people who don't believe in God but don't think they are pre-programmed, you are propably excluding a billion people or so. Even people like Richard Dawkins who deny free will, wouldn't use the word "pre-programmed", I assume.
 
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eworm

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We can build an AI that is able to say "ah" or "oh". If we pre-program it to sing "ah-oh-ah-ah-oh" then that would be pre-programed. But if we don't program it this way, even the AI has free will.
Sometimes we program an AI so that it chooses "oh" 70% of the time (for example) and "ah" 30% of the time. But even then we don't know the order of arrangement, even then the AI has free will (albeit to a lesser extent).

Therefore, as a biological being I am only restricted ("programmed") in the sense that I can't choose to fly like a bird or to feel like a woman or to think like a Gorilla etc because I have to work with what I have (body including brain).

If you choose not to engage with people who don't believe in God but don't think they are pre-programmed, you are propably excluding a billion people or so. Even people like Richard Dawkins who deny free will, wouldn't use the word "pre-programmed", I assume.
Clearly we don't have the same definition of "free will". Of course we're limited in our choices by physics, biology, genetics, all that. Saying "I can't fly" doesn't mean "I don't have free will", on that we agree. However, my point is "free will" is the ability to question our "programming". This is the #1 thing human reason has over any and all other (non-God) reason, including AI. We can program AI to question all the programming it has, but not that programming. If we allow it to say "ah" and "oh" in any order, it will be able to randomly "choose" the order - but it won't be able to say "f*ck it, I feel like 'eh' today, what'chu gonna do". It will still be "ah" and "oh". And "randomness" doesn't mean "will" anyway.

If the brain has no "driver" and is itself one, then in theory we could, provided we had perfect knowledge of how the brain works, be able to take a child, constantly feed him a very specific set of circumstances, experiences, foods, knowledge and all that - and know upfront exactly what they were gonna do on March 17th, 3:05 PM three years later. If that sounds closer to free will to you than to brainwashing and manipulation, we won't agree on anything. Your assumption must result in the conclusion that predicting a person's behaviour is no different, albeit incredibly more complicated, then predicting the weather. The weather has no free will, it's but a result of what has been and the "cause and effect" laws that govern it. So is a brain activity without an "outside" self.

In short, there's some programming we can't disobey (spiritual programming, the essence of what we are as creatures) and there's programming we can disobey to an extent (biological programming) by having free will. The very fact we can ponder "are we capable of questioning our programming" shows we're capable of questioning our programming.

And no, I don't "refuse to engage" with people who believe what you do. I try to make it a rule not to refuse to engage with anyone who's willing to engage regardless of their opinion, as long as I see a possibility of such engaging being somewhat fruitful and/or interesting. But in this case I see no point in arguing about God or religion if we disagree on the very grounds that should make discussion possible. We can keep talking about what is or isn't free will, but that's not really this thread any more.
 
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If we allow it to say "ah" and "oh" in any order, it will be able to randomly "choose" the order - but it won't be able to say "f*ck it, I feel like 'eh' today, what'chu gonna do". It will still be "ah" and "oh".
Only because it is a simple example. To rebel against sth is part of our behavioral repertoire.
I assume you don't believe Bonopos (our closest relative) have free will. You'd have to demonstrate that we are fundamentally different. I think we just happen to have a larger repertoire.

If the brain has no "driver" and is itself one, then in theory we could, provided we had perfect knowledge of how the brain works, be able to take a child, constantly feed him a very specific set of circumstances, experiences, foods, knowledge and all that - and know upfront exactly what they were gonna do on March 17th, 3:05 PM three years later. If that sounds closer to free will to you than to brainwashing and manipulation, we won't agree on anything.
If it were possible to predict it like that, then free will wouldn't exist. But I do believe it exists. The famous experiment conducted by Benjamin Libet has a number of problems so I am not convinced of his conclusions.


Your assumption must result in the conclusion that predicting a person's behaviour is no different, albeit incredibly more complicated, then predicting the weather. The weather has no free will, it's but a result of what has been and the "cause and effect" laws that govern it. So is a brain activity without an "outside" self.
I disagree. I think you could theoretically forecast the weather of the year 3000 but you can't reliably predict whether I go to work tomorrow.

We can keep talking about what is or isn't free will, but that's not really this thread any more.
We only got side-tracked because you assumed I didn't think there is free will (which is false) and because you don't want to engage with people who assume they don't have free will.
Actually, I could flip it around:
If God knows everything, he knows exactly how you will respond to this post. Therefore, you do not have free will.
So why am I even talking with you?
But I'm not that childish. Let me explain:

Let's say Fred does not believe in free will. If I change his opinion on topic X (let's say global warming), I will view it as changing or influencing his will/mind. But he will view it as being the result of determined events.
So what? In my worldview, engaging with Fred makes sense, and in his worldview he had no choice but to change his mind. In any case, it makes sense to engage in conversation because our worldview only determines the interpretation after the event.

Let's get back to Christianity: Why did you only admit to some kind of evolution? How did humans come about?
 
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eworm

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I think you could theoretically forecast the weather of the year 3000 but you can't reliably predict whether I go to work tomorrow.
I still genuinely don't understand how you can say that. I'm not trying to "gotcha" you here, I actually don't see your logic. If I knew everything about how your "purely biological" brain ticks and about the information that has influenced it thus far and the information that will influence it until the time comes for you to go to work tomorrow - what would prevent me from doing the "math" and predicting your brain's reactions?

Actually, I could flip it around:
If God knows everything, he knows exactly how you will respond to this post. Therefore, you do not have free will.
So why am I even talking with you?
But I'm not that childish.
This puts me in an uncomfortable spot. Either you're really "not that childish" and know the simple (and old) answer to this supposed paradox or you don't and you genuinely thought this was a "point for you". I want to assume the former, but that would mean you attempted to "one-up" me with something you knew wasn't a legit argument. So you seem either dishonest or uninformed due to this statement and I think the latter is better after all. We're all misinformed about plenty of stuff.

Let's say Fred does not believe in free will. If I change his opinion on topic X (let's say global warming), I will view it as changing or influencing his will/mind. But he will view it as being the result of determined events.
So what? In my worldview, engaging with Fred makes sense, and in his worldview he had no choice but to change his mind. In any case, it makes sense to engage in conversation because our worldview only determines the interpretation after the event.
This makes sense until you realize that free will existing or not - or the nature of it - doesn't have any immediate relevance to the problem of global warming. But it has a lot to do with Christianity. It's a basis on which many of my further points will, at least partially, stand. It's one of the deepest-reaching underlying premises of all my arguments. If you take it to be false, you won't even have to argue my further points, you'll just point to that basis and say "well, you're making a wrong assumption there, so this whole argument is invalid". And logically speaking you won't be wrong - it's important to spot the premises under the argument and question those first. But you're now saying it's not important to have our premises straight before launching into a debate. And i can't agree with that, I'm sorry.

Let's get back to Christianity: Why did you only admit to some kind of evolution? How did humans come about?
Let's get back to astronomy: Have you ever made a wish upon a star?
That question is not an astronomy question, it has nothing to do with science.
Your question is similar - it has nothing to do with Christianity.
God could've created humans in countless ways, most of which we couldn't even imagine. So? The points Christianity actually makes is that however He created us:
- He created us
- He also created everything else
-
all He created was good
- He made us in His own image
- He created us so He could love us
- we rejected Him out of pride and f*cked it up
And many other, actually important stuff. If the Bible has, in fact, taught the creation of humans to have been a lengthy process involving big changes in other animals - you wouldn't be a Christian regardless. Maybe you'd begrudgingly accept we had "this one thing sort of correct" or maybe you'd be doubting evolution, demanding more proof. Either way, evolution doesn't and can't disprove Christianity. It's not relevant.
Unless of course you think the Bible includes a careful historical account of prehistorical times, in which case, welp, got me there.
 

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This has been an interesting read. As I see it Christianity has outlived it's purpose, which, as I see it, was to spread a common moral code among the populace. And before anyone starts talking about God, if he even exists, he wasn't involved.

Now I have a few questions to @eworm :
  1. Where does God come from? You probably know where I'm heading with this question, but still humor me.
  2. Before I can really ask the question I want to ask, I need some clarification. What are the characteristics of God? God is often described as all-powerful, all-knowing, well generally omnipotent. What of this holds in your belief?
  3. The last thing that interest me is the discussion of free will. I tried to figure out how you define free will from your posts, but just couldn't get any good definition, so would you be so kind to provide one, or if I missed it a place to look?
I doubt anything I say will be able to change your view on religion, and I doubt you'll be able to change mine, but I find this discussion interesting and hope that you'll respond.
 
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