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Author Topic: If Al Qaida were like the Mormons
TomDavidson
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quote:
You are adding all sorts of restrictions that are not inherent in the phrase.
It's precisely because there are no restrictions on the phrase that it's falsifiable, Katie, for any given definition of "pure" -- and almost any definition of "shall," with the exception of "after death, where we have no evidence that anything happens and thus no evidence to the contrary, either."

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quote:
I'm not even sure what the last part of your post is supposed to mean...
Setting up a cycle of supposed psychological feedback reinforced by the imagined word of God is a pretty good way to purge oneself of doubt, even doubt of one's own "purity."
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katharina
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Baloney. People do it all the time - you do it constantly.
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TomDavidson
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I reinforce my self-image based on input from God? *blink* Or are you referring to some other sentence?
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Scott R
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quote:
Setting up a cycle of supposed psychological feedback reinforced by the imagined word of God is a pretty good way to purge oneself of doubt, even doubt of one's own "purity."
Hmm... we must know different people. The people I know who believe (and I believe them) to have spoken with God are among the most self-doubting people alive.

That's why there are so many jokes about Jewish/Catholic/Mormon guilt.

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c.t.t.n.
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Tom, what's the strategy here? Are you attacking A. religious institutions that get too big, or B. ignorance in general, of the type that leads to "something just happened that was different from my normal daily experience, therefore it MUST HAVE BEEN an almighty God!", or what?
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TomDavidson
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Closer to B. Size has no impact on my opinion of a religious institution. [Smile]

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Edit: more specifically, I'm attacking the claim that purity will reliably ensure communication with God.

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Scott R
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quote:
I'm attacking the claim that purity will reliably ensure communication with God.
It's a stupid thing to attack, Tom. There are just too many variables (I pointed these out last page) that you just can't control or know to make a logical argument against the premise.

And really, you haven't made much of an attack. You've said, 'Baloney,' and that's it.

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King of Men
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OMGlol, teh peoples haev stolorized my teh thread...

Anyway. The discussion about purity I find quite uninteresting, so let me get back to the point.

quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:

Fine; but then you've got two sets of equally reliable evidences (does that have a plural?) in favour of completely contradictory facts. (I take it we agree that there is no way to reconcile the Scientologist and Mormon cosmologies.) How can you choose between them, then? You cannot very well argue that the historical accident that the Mormons got to you first is evidence for their factual claims!

Evidenci? Evidences? Evidencises? [Wink]
Well, now. That's interesting. As a favour, could you possibly respond to my actual point instead of the little throwaway comment? If you wish, you could also try to figure out for yourself why you wanted to evade the question.


quote:
quote:

I do not understand the distinction you are making. What is the factual proof?

As stated quite a few posts before, you start out basic with feelings and impressions. As you follow them and observe the results of following such impressions you grow confident and are able to detect more distinct messages from God. And as quoted before

"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

Purify your heart with righteous living and that is the result, at least according to Jesus. Would you agree that if there is a God and he could appear to you, he could do so in such a manner as to leave you bereft of any more doubt?

I still do not see what any of this has to do with factual proof. How is it different from what the Scientologists report of their internal states?

quote:
quote:

But we are not discussing what is good; I don't think we disagree very much on that. We are discussing what is true.

This could be a snag in our discussion. I believe true and good are equivalents. At least that all that is true should be sought after. If its good then it supports the truth.

The more truth you posses the more capable of good works you are.

But perhaps you are suggesting that there is no correlation between truth and happiness. Yes/No?

I don't think there is any such correlation except in the most egregious cases of cognitive dissonance, no. (That is, truth doesn't make you happy, but sufficient untruth can make you unhappy. Small amounts of untruth don't necessarily do so, though - otherwise we would both have to believe that, say, Wiccans are much more unhappy than we are.) However, that is not the argument I am making. What I am saying is that we are discussing whether or not there really does exist an actual god; how your belief makes you feel is totally irrelevant to that discussion.
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Amanecer
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quote:
But perhaps you are suggesting that there is no correlation between truth and happiness. Yes/No?
I find the idea that truth and happiness are correlated to be disingenuous. It limits the search of truth to only those things that make you happy. As nice as that may be, it tells you absolutely nothing about the actual state of reality. It only tells you that you like the things you like. Thatís hardly a good measure of truth.
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BlackBlade
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quote:

Well, now. That's interesting. As a favour, could you possibly respond to my actual point instead of the little throwaway comment? If you wish, you could also try to figure out for yourself why you wanted to evade the question.

You got me wrong KOM I figured your next comment within the post was an extension of that phrase and that my words to some degree had clarified your question pertaining to the first paragraph.

How do we determine between Scientology and Mormonism? Um, you might consider seeing which one to your satisfaction produces the results it has promised to produce? As far as I understand it, Scientology does not pretend that God himself will actually start communicating with you if you adhere to its doctrine (correct me if I am wrong). Mormons can usually cite an experience where they themselves actually went before God and requested confirmation that Mormonism is in fact true. Its an experience that to most is good deal more convincing then even say hearing a voice describe itself as God. Until its actually experienced by an individual you really cannot convey its distinctness any more then you could, to steal a metaphor from a prominent Mormon, "Explain to me assuming I have never tasted salt, what salt tastes like."

Certainly you can agree that were you to explain some of the higher principles of physics I would see nothing but nonsense in the jargon you explained to me, regardless of truthfulness. Mormonism only convinces when you work from the ground up.

quote:

I still do not see what any of this has to do with factual proof. How is it different from what the Scientologists report of their internal states

Again I do not understand what Scientologists state obedience to their dogmas results in. Could you illuminate my understanding, if its too much of a bother Ill actually sit down and read on it. But do you not understand that for Mormons you actually learn things that are demonstratively true by obedience to God? My dad's a banker, he works in corporate risk.

Its not uncommon for him if he has worked out all the bells and whistles in a deal to occasionally just feel wrong about something, or conversely very right. He often prays if he is unsure about a particular loan. He has yet to follow an impression after prayer and see unfavorable results. This certainly does not prove God's existence, but at least for my father, he has more reason to believe God is listening to his prayers then that he has been consistently lucky over the course of his 30 years in banking.

As for your comments on correlation between truth and happiness I think we will just have to disagree. Or what I mean is, that you are right, in a Godless universe there really shouldn't be any intrinsic happiness to be found in truth, or anywhere else really for that matter.

In a universe where a righteous God who is interested in raising the human race there certainly must be a way to distinguish between truth and error in matters that are not always clear.

If we could not judge the result of any decision to be pleasing or unpleasing (Apoligies to Mill for doing a diservice to utilitarianism) how could we establish ANY sort of pattern of behavior? I should think were that the condition of things the human race would not be disposed to do anything other then die out.

Again KOM are you saying that you are stoical about science, in that you care nothing for the empowerment that knowledge brings? In a godless world what can we possibly gain from improving the condition of the human race, if we could even really nail down what improving meant.

Are we simply focused on firing off the nerves in our brains that produce the sensation of pleasure?

Would there be anything wrong with hooking a button up to the pleasure section of everybody's brains?

Rats so connected do nothing but press the button until they starve to death. Is there anything arguably wrong with the human race experiencing the same fate?

I'm trying to not be snarky, I honestly would like to understand what your take on the universe is, since for you its devoid of any God.

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King of Men
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quote:
How do we determine between Scientology and Mormonism? Um, you might consider seeing which one to your satisfaction produces the results it has promised to produce?
Ok, that's good experimental science. So why haven't you? Have you actually tested the precepts of Scientology to check whether it does what it says it does?

Now, I do understand that you can't very well go around testing every religion in the world; there's not enough time. This being so, you're going to have to take people's word for things. (Truly, it is the same in science - I'm not about to go around duplicating experimental results from the fifties, just to check that they got it right.) So, why do you not take the Scientologists' word that they are better, happier people for having got rid of their body thetans? Or, supposing you do, why do you not accept their reasoning that this proves the existence of body thetans? Because this is exactly the same reasoning that you are using to support your belief in Joseph Smith's word.

(You should please note that my own position is consistent on this: I don't take the Scientologists' word for it, and I don't take yours, either.)

I am assuming in all this that you believe that the Scientologists are just plain wrong about body thetans, that there ain't no such critter - in other words, your position on their cosmology is similar to mine on yours. (The Wiki has a good article about body thetans, if you're not quite clear on what I'm talking about.)

quote:
Certainly you can agree that were you to explain some of the higher principles of physics I would see nothing but nonsense in the jargon you explained to me, regardless of truthfulness. Mormonism only convinces when you work from the ground up.
Yes, but then I can show you a bubble chamber and make accurate predictions about what will happen if, say, I introduce a radioactive source. Or to take something a bit less esoteric, switch on the computer. That's precisely what makes science different: Its predictions work every time. But Scientology and Mormonism share this trait of only being convincing if you set out to be convinced. (Or as you put it, hoping that it may be true.) Genuine truths, in my opinion, don't need any such qualification. Possibly we won't agree on this; but I still have not heard from you any convincing argument for why one should hope to be convinced of Mormonism and not Scientology.

quote:
Its not uncommon for him if he has worked out all the bells and whistles in a deal to occasionally just feel wrong about something, or conversely very right. He often prays if he is unsure about a particular loan. He has yet to follow an impression after prayer and see unfavorable results.
Oh, really? Got statistics of this, do you, showing the average repayment rate for prayed-on loans and non-prayed-on loans? Or could this, just possibly, be only the impression of a man with good reason to forget about the slightly doubtful cases? Incidentally, if Mormons are consistently more successful in business than other groups, you'd think Wall Street would have noticed, and converted en masse.

quote:
In a universe where a righteous God who is interested in raising the human race there certainly must be a way to distinguish between truth and error in matters that are not always clear.
Agreed; but you are arguing that the latter shows the former, without establishing the latter except by reference to the former! Where I come from, that's called circular.

quote:
Again KOM are you saying that you are stoical about science, in that you care nothing for the empowerment that knowledge brings?
No, but I don't confuse my personal feelings on the matter with evidence about what's really true.

quote:
Would there be anything wrong with hooking a button up to the pleasure section of everybody's brains?
It seems to me that you are wandering off towards the old fallacy of atheists not having a source of ethics. We do; it's just not the same source that you appeal to. To answer your question, I would consider it a Bad Thing if the human race died out; but I don't feel any need to have a deity agree with me. I'm quite happy to reason from my own preference in the matter.

More generally, the question you are asking can be put just as well to a theist. "Why does an atheist care about happiness, or the survival of the human race?" Well, why does a theist? You say that following the precepts of your god makes you a better person; fine, but why do you care? The answer clearly cannot be 'God says I should care', that just puts the question at one more remove. So, whatever answer you come up with, I can make the same answer.

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BlackBlade
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My apologies KOM, I was about to get to this thread when my wife walked up and said she would like to go home now.

Do me the courtesy of waiting until tomorrow for my responses.

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BlackBlade
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Just a heads up, I can't get to this thread until tomorrow, very sorry.
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King of Men
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No hurry.
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BlackBlade
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quote:

Ok, that's good experimental science. So why haven't you? Have you actually tested the precepts of Scientology to check whether it does what it says it does?

Now, I do understand that you can't very well go around testing every religion in the world; there's not enough time. This being so, you're going to have to take people's word for things. (Truly, it is the same in science - I'm not about to go around duplicating experimental results from the fifties, just to check that they got it right.) So, why do you not take the Scientologists' word that they are better, happier people for having got rid of their body thetans? Or, supposing you do, why do you not accept their reasoning that this proves the existence of body thetans? Because this is exactly the same reasoning that you are using to support your belief in Joseph Smith's word.

(You should please note that my own position is consistent on this: I don't take the Scientologists' word for it, and I don't take yours, either.)

I am assuming in all this that you believe that the Scientologists are just plain wrong about body thetans, that there ain't no such critter - in other words, your position on their cosmology is similar to mine on yours. (The Wiki has a good article about body thetans, if you're not quite clear on what I'm talking about.)

Because the claims of my religion thus far have all shown themselves to be true. Until I find it lacking why would I quit seeing if it continues to do so?

quote:

Yes, but then I can show you a bubble chamber and make accurate predictions about what will happen if, say, I introduce a radioactive source. Or to take something a bit less esoteric, switch on the computer. That's precisely what makes science different: Its predictions work every time. But Scientology and Mormonism share this trait of only being convincing if you set out to be convinced. (Or as you put it, hoping that it may be true.) Genuine truths, in my opinion, don't need any such qualification. Possibly we won't agree on this; but I still have not heard from you any convincing argument for why one should hope to be convinced of Mormonism and not Scientology.

We will just have to disagree, you see hope as conditioning yourself for a response, I see hope as actually caring if there is a God or not. If somebody was indifferent about the matter why should God jump in front of him and say, "Hey! Here I am!" Such a person would only be worse off because now they could not doubt in God, but they would be required to either go with God's program or else oppose it.

It would be the equivalent of you showing me what happens in a bubble chamber, and then because I have witnessed it and comprehended it, being required to promise I would dedicate my mental faculties to physics.

I've said it before, knowing the purpose of life and the existence of God, if true, is so important, yet not truth that the average Joe would profit from knowing if they are not eased into it.

quote:

Oh, really? Got statistics of this, do you, showing the average repayment rate for prayed-on loans and non-prayed-on loans? Or could this, just possibly, be only the impression of a man with good reason to forget about the slightly doubtful cases? Incidentally, if Mormons are consistently more successful in business than other groups, you'd think Wall Street would have noticed, and converted en masse.

Such data would not be useful for myriad reasons. Its impossible to know if a Mormon is actually practicing or has simply not chosen to have their names removed from church records. Not to mention their real life habits. If they are self described Mormons but commit adultery every week they certainly cannot be expected to be any different from your average Joe.

Not only that you seem to think that Mormons believe that if you are righteous you are wealthy. While there are Mormons who might strongly believe this, it is not taught anywhere.

Can I not make the same arguement that scientists might "forget" about slightly unfavorable results? My father has no more reason to be dishonest than a scientist does. I do admit that its quite possible for people to make mental notes of favorable outcomes and simply forget the unfavorable ones when it comes to anything. But that does not mean EVERYONE makes that mistake. Were I actually to supply statistics, and its unreasonable for my father to have done so, I doubt you would be convince of the truth of my father's experience.

quote:

Agreed; but you are arguing that the latter shows the former, without establishing the latter except by reference to the former! Where I come from, that's called circular.

It would be circular reasoning if I was saying that. I said that assuming the former is true the latter would follow. At least accept the possibility of the former being true, without resorting to invisible pink unicorn parallels to make a serious consideration of God ridiculous. Assumptions are used within the realms of science ALL the time.

quote:

No, but I don't confuse my personal feelings on the matter with evidence about what's really true.

When it comes to a system of ethics how can you use anything other then feelings to denote truthfulness? Unless you believe a system of ethics is impossible to prove.

Religion does make scientific claims, but those claims are completely useless if its ethical plans are not in fact true. What use is it knowing how God created the earth, if our sins will inevitably send us to hell. Wouldn't it be more relevant for men to know that there was a way to avoid such a catastrophe?

quote:

It seems to me that you are wandering off towards the old fallacy of atheists not having a source of ethics. We do; it's just not the same source that you appeal to. To answer your question, I would consider it a Bad Thing if the human race died out; but I don't feel any need to have a deity agree with me. I'm quite happy to reason from my own preference in the matter.

More generally, the question you are asking can be put just as well to a theist. "Why does an atheist care about happiness, or the survival of the human race?" Well, why does a theist? You say that following the precepts of your god makes you a better person; fine, but why do you care? The answer clearly cannot be 'God says I should care', that just puts the question at one more remove. So, whatever answer you come up with, I can make the same answer.

Far from it, I believe atheists can have codes of ethics, even demonstrate their usefulness. I was just wondering how you personally would justify universal participation in any code of ethics you could devise.

Religion if it simply told people how to minimize suffering and maximize happiness would still not be useful as a means of answering questions science cannot possibly provide.

I care about the survival of the human race because I have learned that there there is an important purpose behind every human being, that is frustrated by our universal demise.

Do you know of any important purpose behind mankind's existence?

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King of Men
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quote:
Can I not make the same argument that scientists might "forget" about slightly unfavorable results? My father has no more reason to be dishonest than a scientist does.
You certainly can make that argument. But this is precisely why science has peer review, and why it is purposely a 'praise-free zone' : We are relentlessly critical of everything, exactly in order to force people to document.

Also, you should please note that your father does in fact have a bit more reason than a scientist to cheat: To wit, he believes in his god, and would not wish to see any evidence spoil that belief. Now, I'm not saying scientists have no cherished beliefs, but it is rather rare for those beliefs to touch on their work. Take me, for example : I think you'll agree that I have no particular emotional preference for the value of r_b^* (which I'm currently trying to measure) to be 0.15 or 0.3.

quote:
without resorting to invisible pink unicorn parallels to make a serious consideration of God ridiculous.
The IPU is useful as a thought experiment, precisely because few men have any preconceived notions about such a thing. If you think the notion so ridiculous, what part of men walking on water, rising from the dead, and healing by touch is not ridiculous? This is not mockery, it is serious questioning.

quote:
Because the claims of my religion thus far have all shown themselves to be true. Until I find it lacking why would I quit seeing if it continues to do so?
If you'll notice, I already said I accepted that you cannot personally test every religion in the world. But perhaps you'd care to answer my other question, thus:

quote:
So, why do you not take the Scientologists' word that they are better, happier people for having got rid of their body thetans? Or, supposing you do, why do you not accept their reasoning that this proves the existence of body thetans? Because this is exactly the same reasoning that you are using to support your belief in Joseph Smith's word.
quote:
When it comes to a system of ethics how can you use anything other then feelings to denote truthfulness? Unless you believe a system of ethics is impossible to prove.
Why do you keep jumping from facts to ethics and back again? You asked me whether I had any feelings about the truthfulness of science; that has nothing to do with any system of ethics.

quote:
Religion does make scientific claims, but those claims are completely useless if its ethical plans are not in fact true. What use is it knowing how God created the earth, if our sins will inevitably send us to hell? Wouldn't it be more relevant for men to know that there was a way to avoid such a catastrophe?
But that all relies on the scientific claims being true. If there is no hell, then who cares how to avoid it?

quote:
Religion if it simply told people how to minimize suffering and maximize happiness would still not be useful as a means of answering questions science cannot possibly provide.
I maintain that it does no such thing anyway.

quote:
I care about the survival of the human race because I have learned that there there is an important purpose behind every human being, that is frustrated by our universal demise.
But why do you care about that purpose? The point I'm making is that somewhere, if you pursue this line, you come up against a question where anyone, theist or atheist, has to say "Well, I just do, that's all." Yet theists often seem to think they are scoring a telling point by asking such a question, because the atheist has one less intermediate answer.
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BlackBlade
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quote:

ou certainly can make that argument. But this is precisely why science has peer review, and why it is purposely a 'praise-free zone' : We are relentlessly critical of everything, exactly in order to force people to document.

Also, you should please note that your father does in fact have a bit more reason than a scientist to cheat: To wit, he believes in his god, and would not wish to see any evidence spoil that belief. Now, I'm not saying scientists have no cherished beliefs, but it is rather rare for those beliefs to touch on their work. Take me, for example : I think you'll agree that I have no particular emotional preference for the value of r_b^* (which I'm currently trying to measure) to be 0.15 or 0.3.

I think science being a, "praise free zone." is very much an ideal but not a reality. I can accept there are many scientists that look at the evidence and let it speak for itself, but I doubt even MOST scientists do this. Thats just my experience with humanity, I have no data to back it up.

My father does not have to be dishonest about whether or not God has helped him in his job. Its not like God tells my dad what to do all the time. Occasionally, in fact MOST of the time my father simply works the entire thing out in his head and makes a decision. He has had occasions where he felt bad after forming a conclusion and modification proved to be the right choice. Other times he had concluded it was a bad idea but felt that he should go ahead anyway. Those feelings have yet to let him down, and I am certain that if they had in any major degree my father is not an idiot and would question his trust in them.

quote:

The IPU is useful as a thought experiment, precisely because few men have any preconceived notions about such a thing. If you think the notion so ridiculous, what part of men walking on water, rising from the dead, and healing by touch is not ridiculous? This is not mockery, it is serious questioning.

Because there is purpose behind everything Jesus did that was miraculous. You didn't see Jesus saying, "Hey check this out guys!" and proceeding to do a triple back flip. In fact the bible explicit outlines that when Jesus was asked to manifest his powers inappropriately he never would, and would often explain why it would be unwise to do so.

Is there some chronicle of the IPU's actions that demonstrate why he/she is invisible, pink, and a unicorn? Or even why the IPU exists? Even if you could create some story that answers all these questions, does the IPU provide a means of contact that any individual can test out to their own satisfaction?

quote:

So, why do you not take the Scientologists' word that they are better, happier people for having got rid of their body thetans? Or, supposing you do, why do you not accept their reasoning that this proves the existence of body thetans? Because this is exactly the same reasoning that you are using to support your belief in Joseph Smith's word.

Perhaps I am wrong to believe that my own personal perception of my own religion is flawed. But if we cannot rely on our own senses how can we rely on anything? How do you know there isn't a branch of science previously unknown that proves everything you believe about physics is wrong? Well you don't, but that does not stop you from continuing to operate within physics and try your best to work within that system as it has yet to disappoint.

You seem to think Mormons believe, "Mormonism makes me feel happy therefore its true." Mormonism is true because you can live out the doctrine and personally experience God by testing it out. If you do not feel satisfied after having done the experiment then its God's responsibility to explain his actions. If scientology is right, I should be able to find something within it that my religion lacks that is indisputably valuable. But right now I have found enough within Mormonism to warrant my belief in it.

I don't have the time to go prove scientology wrong, and perhaps they are more true then Mormonism, but as far as I can see, Mormonism has demonstrated to me why I ought to continue to invest in it. If it turns out another religion was right all along, I leave the burden of explaining to me how I could be so completely duped into Gods hands, or whatever entity is in charge. If there is no God I doubt Ill much care when I am dead.

I can't expect you to investigate EVERY religion KOM, just as you cannot be expected to investigate EVERY branch of science. I have at least admitted to the possibility that I am wrong, do you feel that way? edit: As in do you accept the possibility that YOU may be wrong?

quote:
Religion if it simply told people how to minimize suffering and maximize happiness would still not be useful as a means of answering questions science cannot possibly provide.

I maintain that it does no such thing anyway.

Does no such thing? Or claims to do no such thing?

Religions explain MANY things that science cannot prove or disprove.

quote:

But why do you care about that purpose? The point I'm making is that somewhere, if you pursue this line, you come up against a question where anyone, theist or atheist, has to say "Well, I just do, that's all." Yet theists often seem to think they are scoring a telling point by asking such a question, because the atheist has one less intermediate answer.

Or perhaps religion CAN adequately explain the answer to this question even though no scientific protocol has been devised to answer this function.

Science cannot prove the purpose behind reality, it simply calls it how it sees it. But is it really safe to say that because we cannot say yes or no, we should by default operate under the no premise?

Not saying we should operate under the yes premise either, but shouldn't yes warrant exactly as much consideration as no?

[ November 06, 2006, 04:44 PM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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King of Men
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quote:
Is there some chronicle of the IPU's actions that demonstrate why he/she is invisible, pink, and a unicorn? Or even why the IPU exists? Even if you could create some story that answers all these questions, does the IPU provide a means of contact that any individual can test out to their own satisfaction?
Yes; but since we already went through all this with Scientology, I won't bother.

quote:
You seem to think Mormons believe, "Mormonism makes me feel happy therefore its true." Mormonism is true because you can live out the doctrine and personally experience God by testing it out.
I do not see any difference between the two statements. They both rely on unprovable internal feelings that every other religion also claims.

quote:
If scientology is right, I should be able to find something within it that my religion lacks that is indisputably valuable.
Truth, for example? But I begin to wonder if we're talking past each other. Let me try it again from the top. I assert, and if I udnerstood correctly you agree, that there is no reason to believe things that have zero evidence in their favour. We disagree on the amount of evidence there is for Mormonism. Let me now make the further argument that you should not believe something if there is equally good evidence for a different, exclusive theory. Please tell me if you agree with this or not. Then tell me what makes the evidence for Mormonism better than that for Scientology, bearing in mind that "they got to me first" is not an argument, it's a coincidence.

quote:
Or perhaps religion CAN adequately explain the answer to this question even though no scientific protocol has been devised to answer this function.
I believe you completely missed the point I was making. I suggest you reread my post.
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BlackBlade
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quote:

I do not see any difference between the two statements. They both rely on unprovable internal feelings that every other religion also claims.

Where are you getting this from? I've stated many times that the initial positive feelings are only to encourage you to continue. As you continue you obtain stronger and stronger evidence for your belief. In the end yes you can see God and talk with him, and even have constant communion.

If you care not to invest enough time to test this out thats purely your business but don't keep saying that Mormons all believe in God because everytime they do think about him they get warm fuzzy feelings. Theres much more to it than that.

quote:

I believe you completely missed the point I was making. I suggest you reread my post.

I did, and I am not sure why you think I don't understand it.

Were there a purpose behind all that exists how would science demonstrate it?

quote:

Truth, for example? But I begin to wonder if we're talking past each other. Let me try it again from the top. I assert, and if I understood correctly you agree, that there is no reason to believe things that have zero evidence in their favour.

Yes, but with the qualification that there ARE things that are true of which we have no conscious understanding or even awareness of. But thats not really important.

quote:

Let me now make the further argument that you should not believe something if there is equally good evidence for a different, exclusive theory. Please tell me if you agree with this or not. Then tell me what makes the evidence for Mormonism better than that for Scientology, bearing in mind that "they got to me first" is not an argument, it's a coincidence.

I do not believe Scientologie's claims because Mormonisms claims which I have verified for myself to be true cannot coexist in a universe where Scientology is true. I do not know why you think Scientologie's evidence is just as good as Mormonism's as you have tested out neither (correct me if I am wrong.). Simply put, I could not have had the experiences I have had if Scientology were true. Therefore if it was true I would NOT have had the experiences I have had within Mormonism and would probably be religionless unless persuaded otherwise.
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King of Men
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quote:
Where are you getting this from? I've stated many times that the initial positive feelings are only to encourage you to continue. As you continue you obtain stronger and stronger evidence for your belief. In the end yes you can see God and talk with him, and even have constant communion.
Because your 'constant communion' is just another variant of warm happy feelings. It's an internal state of your brain, and evidence of nothing except that your brain is capable of

a) Reaching a certain internal state
b) Taking that state as evidence for your particular brand of god.

I understand that you think your constant communion is different. The point is, I don't believe you. Instead, I believe that the Scientologists are right when they say they've experienced 'clarity', and that you are right when you say you've experienced 'constant communion', but you're both wrong when you say this proves your respective cosmologies.

quote:
I do not believe Scientologie's claims because Mormonisms claims which I have verified for myself to be true cannot coexist in a universe where Scientology is true.
This is just a rephrasing of "I think Mormonism is true", which I already knew. Obviously, if Scientology is true, then you could, in fact, have such experiences in a world in which Mormonism is not true; since that's what we are discussing, just asserting "It cain't be so" isn't very helpful. Or, to put it another way : I take it we agree that there are no pink elephants. Now, in a world in which there are no pink elephants, you cannot experience pink elephants crawling up your legs, am I right? And yet many people each year experience precisely this.
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BlackBlade
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quote:

Because your 'constant communion' is just another variant of warm happy feelings. It's an internal state of your brain, and evidence of nothing except that your brain is capable of

a) Reaching a certain internal state
b) Taking that state as evidence for your particular brand of god.

I understand that you think your constant communion is different. The point is, I don't believe you. Instead, I believe that the Scientologists are right when they say they've experienced 'clarity', and that you are right when you say you've experienced 'constant communion', but you're both wrong when you say this proves your respective cosmologies.

You are right, MY experiences do not prove the truth for anybody else. And perhaps you are content with the time and effort you have thus far expended seriously considering religion, I personally think you are drawing a very hasty encompassing conclusion. But then again I do not know the inner workings of your mind, but assuming you know enough about "constant communion" to know that it is bunk to me demonstrates a hasty generalization of what religion brings to the table.

quote:

This is just a rephrasing of "I think Mormonism is true", which I already knew. Obviously, if Scientology is true, then you could, in fact, have such experiences in a world in which Mormonism is not true; since that's what we are discussing, just asserting "It cain't be so" isn't very helpful. Or, to put it another way : I take it we agree that there are no pink elephants. Now, in a world in which there are no pink elephants, you cannot experience pink elephants crawling up your legs, am I right? And yet many people each year experience precisely this.

I really don't quite grasp what you are getting at. Scientology and Mormonism cannot BOTH be true just like Alchemy and Chemistry cannot BOTH be true.

I think the phrase that threw me off was, "And yet many people each year experience precisely this."

I do not understand what you are trying to say.

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King of Men
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quote:
I really don't quite grasp what you are getting at. Scientology and Mormonism cannot BOTH be true just like Alchemy and Chemistry cannot BOTH be true.
I understand that. But what I'm saying is that you could have your experiences of god even if Scientology were true. Similarly, it's possible to experience pink elephants on your legs even without the pink elephants actually existing.

Let me put it another way: I understand that you believe your experiences prove Mormonism true. The point is, though, that I disagree; that's what we're arguing about! So just reasserting "If Mormonism is false, my experiences couldn't exist" doesn't add anything to the discussion; it's just a restatement of the issue in dispute.

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BlackBlade
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OK, I never once thought that my own experiences make Mormonism true, and therefore everybody needs to acknowledge that truth right now.

But do you agree (regardless of whether or not you believe you are obligated or required to) that until you try the beast out you cannot always judge what it is?

I could be wrong about Scientology, it might offer me 1000X the substance that Mormonism does. But at least from my perspective having tried Mormonism out, I have found it to be FAR more convincing and truthful then any other religion I have experienced. Until I encounter something better, or until Mormonism lets me down, I feel justified in persuing it.

My experiences don't make it true for you, fine, but how are you as an atheist going to convince me that YOU know better?

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King of Men
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quote:
I could be wrong about Scientology, it might offer me 1000X the substance that Mormonism does. But at least from my perspective having tried Mormonism out, I have found it to be FAR more convincing and truthful then any other religion I have experienced.
Just out of curiosity, how many is that?

quote:
My experiences don't make it true for you, fine, but how are you as an atheist going to convince me that YOU know better?
By pointing out that atheism is the default state; nobody is born a theist. If you want to make extraordinary claims, it is your business and none of mine to provide the evidence.

And you should please note, if your evidence is of such a nature that it cannot convince any other person, then you should not believe it yourself, either. To act on unprovable 'inner convictions' is the path that led to the Satanic-child-abuse hysteria of the nineties, among many other evils.

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BlackBlade
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I enjoyed that post KOM. I might get to responding tonight, but most likely tomorrow. Hope to having something worth responding to then.
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King of Men
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I'm sure you must have meant "something worth responding with".
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
I'm sure you must have meant "something worth responding with".

No I meant "to" as in, "I hope I can write something worth considering and warranting a response with substance.

quote:

Just out of curiosity, how many is that?

Why does the exact number actually matter? Is there a threshold we could agree on? I'm not trying to avoid the issue, I just see the question as having no good answer regardless of what I might say.

quote:

By pointing out that atheism is the default state; nobody is born a theist. If you want to make extraordinary claims, it is your business and none of mine to provide the evidence.

And you should please note, if your evidence is of such a nature that it cannot convince any other person, then you should not believe it yourself, either. To act on unprovable 'inner convictions' is the path that led to the Satanic-child-abuse hysteria of the nineties, among many other evils.

Nobody is born a theist you say? Apparently SOMEBODY was born an atheist and became a theist without being raised as such, otherwise how could we have religion at all. Or else perhaps people have evolved to have a naturally tendancy to believe in God, as theism has always been more numerous then atheism, at least from recorded history. Or perhaps you believe as scientific thought advances theism will decrease.

I remember you once linking a wikipedia article on a study that set out to see if there is a correlation between holding a degree and religious belief. Having trouble finding it again.

I personally believe the theism IS a default state. That people are wired to tend to believe in God. I think if somehow you could wipe the conciousness of humanity clean of all religion, and could somehow erase all religious evidence from the earth, that there would be 2 outcomes.

1: People would still eventually lean towards the concept of a force the can explain that which they do not understand. This would eventually be described as God or another equivalent word.

or more likely based on my own beliefs

2: God would simply visit somebody again, explain how things are and instruct him to share the message with others. Religion would cover the world again from there, deviations from this message would arise and we would have the original message once again buried in a sea of man made alternatives.

KOM I was simply agreeing with you that testing out Mormon doctrine and finding it to be true proves it for me and me alone. The ramifications of such a conclusion obligate me to help others by presenting the truths I have learned and encouraging them to try them for themselves, fully confident they will reach the same conclusion.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
I'm sure you must have meant "something worth responding with".

No I meant "to" as in, "I hope I can write something worth considering and warranting a response with substance.
Oopsie, I thought you were being snide, and you weren't. My bad.

quote:
Just out of curiosity, how many is that?
Why does the exact number actually matter? Is there a threshold we could agree on? I'm not trying to avoid the issue, I just see the question as having no good answer regardless of what I might say.[/quote][/quote]

Well, there's not much difference between one and ten, but there's a huge difference between one and zero. If you haven't tried any other religions, then "Mormonism is more satisyfing than any other religion I've tried" kind of loses its punch.

quote:
Nobody is born a theist you say? Apparently SOMEBODY was born an atheist and became a theist without being raised as such, otherwise how could we have religion at all. Or else perhaps people have evolved to have a naturally tendancy to believe in God, as theism has always been more numerous then atheism, at least from recorded history. Or perhaps you believe as scientific thought advances theism will decrease.
That's already happening, yes. I suppose I will have to backtrack a little on the nobody born a theist thing, though maybe you could argue that the first guy to invent a god was just a clever conman. Even if he believed his own propaganda, though, he was certainly a pig-ignorant caveman; I do think we've advanced enough in explanations for the universe that we needn't take his word for anything.

But anyway, disbelief is the natural state in the same sense that disbelief in invisible pink unicorns is the natural state: Why should you believe in something there is no evidence for? The burden of proof is on the guy making an assertion of existence.

quote:
KOM I was simply agreeing with you that testing out Mormon doctrine and finding it to be true proves it for me and me alone. The ramifications of such a conclusion obligate me to help others by presenting the truths I have learned and encouraging them to try them for themselves, fully confident they will reach the same conclusion.
I object to your formulation 'finding it to be true'. You have found that it gives you personal satisfaction, or to put it less charitably, that it gives you the warm fuzzies. This is not truth, not even 'truth for you', not that I agree there is any such concept. Either a thing is true or it isn't. If you can't prove it, then you shouldn't believe it.

I suspect this is where we'll end up just disagreeing; clearly, you don't accept this, which I consider a fundamental premise. But just once more I'm going to point out that there are people who have precisely the same level of conviction that you do in their beliefs, and offer the same mental states as proof, and we both agree they are utterly wrong. Do you agree, then, that it is possible for inner convictions to lead you to false belief?

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BlackBlade
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quote:

Well, there's not much difference between one and ten, but there's a huge difference between one and zero. If you haven't tried any other religions, then "Mormonism is more satisyfing than any other religion I've tried" kind of loses its punch.

Put me in the between 2-10 camp then.

quote:

But anyway, disbelief is the natural state in the same sense that disbelief in invisible pink unicorns is the natural state: Why should you believe in something there is no evidence for? The burden of proof is on the guy making an assertion of existence.

I'd agree that belief in no specific God is a default state. But once again I am positive were religion completely erased, people would devise the concept of a God all by themselves. I cannot conceive of another idea that has been so prevalent throughout all of humanity for so long and yet today is generally agreed upon to be false. Not that democracy makes fact, but either people are just by random chance wired to believe in God, or else God programed us with a propensity to believe in him, at least those are the only explanations I can have for the widespread belief in God that covers almost all of humanity throughout recorded history.

quote:

I object to your formulation 'finding it to be true'. You have found that it gives you personal satisfaction, or to put it less charitably, that it gives you the warm fuzzies. This is not truth, not even 'truth for you', not that I agree there is any such concept. Either a thing is true or it isn't. If you can't prove it, then you shouldn't believe it.

I suspect this is where we'll end up just disagreeing; clearly, you don't accept this, which I consider a fundamental premise. But just once more I'm going to point out that there are people who have precisely the same level of conviction that you do in their beliefs, and offer the same mental states as proof, and we both agree they are utterly wrong. Do you agree, then, that it is possible for inner convictions to lead you to false belief?

You haven't had MY experiences, and thus you are not informed enough to pass judgements on them. I would not call it, "warm fuzzies." I have felt quite distinctly the guidance of God in my life. I have felt impressions and fully formed ideas emerge into my consciousness. I still have my free will, when I try hard to practice the principles I have encountered in Mormonism I can feel greater distinctness in my contact with God, when I grow lax, or do wrong I can feel it slacken. I've experienced many times over and over, I don't even consciously think about it, I just realize it one day that its happening.

We have had this exchange many times.

God truely exists, but it is His intention that in the process of us coming to know him, we prepare to be like him, if we do not, knowing he exists can only make us unhappy.

I doubt you or I would enjoy living in a world where we are expected to be perfect if we had no disposition to be such. I do not believe that when we die we go into the afterlife any different then we were the moment we died.

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King of Men
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quote:
I'd agree that belief in no specific God is a default state. But once again I am positive were religion completely erased, people would devise the concept of a God all by themselves. I cannot conceive of another idea that has been so prevalent throughout all of humanity for so long and yet today is generally agreed upon to be false.
You must not have tried very hard, then. "Slavery is necessary", "Our Tribe is better than Their Tribe and deserves to take their women", "The Earth is flat and the Sun orbits it" - just off the top of my head.

Also, would you please knock off the 'random chance' bit? If indeed we have evolved to have a propensity to believe in gods, then it's because there was some advantage to such belief; ain't nothing random about it. One advantage is clear: An extra reason for people to sacrifice themselves for the tribe, with the obvious kin-selection effects. Another possibility is that supernatural beliefs - I speak here of such things as "There is a spirit in every tree and river", which I trust you'll concede are the precursors to the more developed religions of today - are just a side effect of our brains being geared to notice patterns and motivation. The evolutionary advantages of being able to think about other people's motivation are obvious; in fact, it's such a huge advantage, a tiny little side effect like starting to impute motivation to trees, weather, and lions is totally irrelevant. In any case, the point is that there are obvious ways for supernatural beliefs to get started without any appeal to either 'random chance' or divine intervention.

Finally, for your assertion that religions would arise again if wiped out, that may be true if you also wiped out all knowledge of the scientific method. I strongly suspect, however, that it would not be true if you maintained our current level of methodological knowledge - not necessarily the technology or even the theoretical knowledge, but the meta-knowledge about how you can arrive at answers. You don't need to invent a river god to explain yearly floods, if you are able to observe weather patterns and snowmelt.

quote:
You haven't had MY experiences, and thus you are not informed enough to pass judgements on them.
Not relevant. I don't care what your internal feelings are; the point is that they are not sufficient reason for either of us to believe anything. Please answer my question: Do you agree that internal conviction can lead to false beliefs?

[ November 09, 2006, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: King of Men ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
when I try hard to practice the principles I have encountered in Mormonism I can feel greater distinctness in my contact with God...
More accurately, you feel certain senations that you believe to reflect contact with God, and complying with directives you believe to be from God increases your receptiveness to those sensations.
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King of Men
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As an incidental aside, you might want to take a look at ph's description of how complying with her inner demon made the compulsions more compulsive.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
You must not have tried very hard, then. "Slavery is necessary", "Our Tribe is better than Their Tribe and deserves to take their women", "The Earth is flat and the Sun orbits it" - just off the top of my head.

None of those ideas can be found in every single culture throughout history. The Chinese did not practice slavery, When did Americans as a culture say, "Our tribe is better than their tribe, and we should carry off their women?" Or were you just throwing the women clause as an afterthought and your main focus is, "Our tribe is better than their tribe, lets kill them?"

Even then, would you say EVERY single civilization or group of people whenever they take up arms says, "We are better then they are, lets kill them?" Or is it a lot of the time, "There isn't enough to eat, theres space and food there, lets take it from the weaker people?" I do not think you can demonstrate that every group of people in the history of the world is guilty of the tribalism you have described, but I defy you to find a group of people who for a long time were atheistical.

Can you demonstrate that the flat earth/earth as the center of the world idea was prevalent throughout history AND around the world? I honestly do not think it can be done.

quote:

Also, would you please knock off the 'random chance' bit? If indeed we have evolved to have a propensity to believe in gods, then it's because there was some advantage to such belief

Oh come now, even a casual glance at humanity demonstrates that people do not mate purely for the genetic advantage. I myself am proof of this, I didn't have to prove myself as the strongest buck in the herd to convince my wife to propagate the species with me. Many people settle down and have children with no thought towards whether or not they are optimizing the genetic code their children will be born with. I don't mean to be demeaning when I say, "random chance." By random chance I simply mean there is no purpose behind anything. I was under the impression that you believed the origin of everything might be explained by science, but certainly there is no deliberate design behind everything. Correct me if I am wrong.

Though your explanation might supply the reason why SOME religions came into existence I do not think it covers the entire spectrum. I doubt every religion came about because it increased survivability. Buddhism being one that comes into mind. Assuming we can trust that Prince Siddhartha did indeed see the suffering of the world and pondered his own mortality and then after meditating under a tree became enlightened, how does this increase his chance for survival? How would religions get away with encouraging celibacy based on reasons of survival?

quote:

I speak here of such things as "There is a spirit in every tree and river", which I trust you'll concede are the precursors to the more developed religions of today

FYI (I hope this might interest you from an educational standpoint) Mormons believe religion as it exists right now existed from Adam onward, but it has repeatably become corrupted by men, and has had to be restored via God's intervention. Adam gets the gospel, by Noah's time its corrupted, things start over with Noah, by Abraham's time its corrupted, by Moses' time its corrupted, by Jesus' time its corrupted, by Joseph Smith's time its corrupted. Not really inviting debate just suggesting that not every religion believes that religion started out primitive and through trial and error has refined its arguments.

Your suggestion about the evolutionary advantage of being able to identify motivation in others was interesting, as was your description of the background of the first theist. But I really cannot see why it was that when the first guy developed the idea for religion it took such a strong hold on humanity. Or were you suggesting lots of people in lots of places devised the same idea which is why religion has such widespread influence?

quote:

Finally, for your assertion that religions would arise again if wiped out, that may be true if you also wiped out all knowledge of the scientific method. I strongly suspect, however, that it would not be true if you maintained our current level of methodological knowledge - not necessarily the technology or even the theoretical knowledge, but the meta-knowledge about how you can arrive at answers. You don't need to invent a river god to explain yearly floods, if you are able to observe weather patterns and snow melt.

You are simplifying religion again. Not every religion has said, "Well the river god makes the river go." Or "The sun God is making the sun come out again."

There are plenty of quasi theist explanations for all these phenomina. "God ultimately caused the sun to form, and it like all other stars functions as it ought to, it is fulfilling the measure of its creation." You don't have to introduce any strange rituals as a means to convince God to alter the design of the sun, in fact for Mormons, the act of prayer is a means by which somebody attempts to understand and align themselves with God's will rather then attempting to change God's mind.

But I suppose that matters not, attempting to manipulate the unexplainable and attempting to simply understand it probably look the same way to you when done in a religious vein, one just looks suspiciously more like science.

Tom: Please don't presume to tell me you know better about what I have experienced. I can tell the difference between a mere emotion and an impression, though I often intermingle the vocabulary, when I discuss religion. When I study out a theory in my philosophy class or in a political science class I get impressions and ideas that rise to the surface. Thats my mind reasoning, when I hear my best friend's father died of a heart attack, I feel the memories and emotions invoked by my relationship with him rise to the surface, thats a feeling.

When I reason a situation out in my mind, and feel the emotions that is invoked by the situation, and upon praying find a completely different result, I have judged that result to be neither a feeling or mere reasoning, but an idea from a completely separate source, God.

quote:

As an incidental aside, you might want to take a look at ph's description of how complying with her inner demon made the compulsions more compulsive.

I'd expect that result. I myself have found that compliance with my weaknesses makes them all the more difficult to overcome. Its a simple principle of, "What you seek after, you get." Go exercise, eventually it becomes easier and easier to do so and more and more rewarding. Try drugs, eventually it becomes more and more difficult to stop using them.
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King of Men
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quote:
Oh come now, even a casual glance at humanity demonstrates that people do not mate purely for the genetic advantage. I myself am proof of this, I didn't have to prove myself as the strongest buck in the herd to convince my wife to propagate the species with me. Many people settle down and have children with no thought towards whether or not they are optimizing the genetic code their children will be born with.
This shows a total and utter misunderstanding of how evolution actually works. The motivations of the actual humans involved are completely irrelevant.

quote:
Its a simple principle of, "What you seek after, you get." Go exercise, eventually it becomes easier and easier to do so and more and more rewarding. Try drugs, eventually it becomes more and more difficult to stop using them.
Yes. What does this have to do with truth? The exact same argument applies to what you said, that's the whole point.

quote:
Assuming we can trust that Prince Siddhartha did indeed see the suffering of the world and pondered his own mortality and then after meditating under a tree became enlightened, how does this increase his chance for survival? How would religions get away with encouraging celibacy based on reasons of survival?
You are confusing a propensity to believe in supernatural stuff, which can be explained by genetic factors, with the actual substance of those beliefs, which is purely cultural. You are also confusing an extremely evolved religion, Buddhism, with the earliest beginning of religious belief, which is what I was talking about.

quote:
You are simplifying religion again. Not every religion has said, "Well the river god makes the river go." Or "The sun God is making the sun come out again."
No. But oddly enough, all the early religions that we are aware of did precisely this. I think it's you that's simplifying, by treating 'religion' as a unified concept, capable of being treated the same at every stage of human development. Again, I was talking about how religion gets started, not the current, extremely evolved manifestations.

quote:
Not really inviting debate just suggesting that not every religion believes that religion started out primitive and through trial and error has refined its arguments.
Since I don't believe in the historicity of Adam, Noah, or Abraham, and am ambivalent about Moses and Jesus, I find this pretty unconvincing. If you would please stick to actual archeological evidence?

quote:
When did Americans as a culture say, "Our tribe is better than their tribe, and we should carry off their women?"
Right up to 1960, when the last attempts to 'Americanise' the Indians ended. Though at the end they were focusing more on children than on women, it's true.

quote:
But I really cannot see why it was that when the first guy developed the idea for religion it took such a strong hold on humanity.
Because of the aforementioned propensity to believe in motivation, plus wanting control over the environment. When you come home tired and hungry after a days' failed hunting, are you going to blame random chance and hope for better luck the next day? Of course not; it's much more satisfying to conclude that the Hunt God is pissed at you, and can be propitiated with a dance. That way you feel you are doing something, and also it coincides with the kind of situation that primate brains are supremely well equipped to understand.

quote:
Please don't presume to tell me you know better about what I have experienced.
He didn't. He re-expressed it in an accurate way that doesn't take for granted the conclusion we are arguing about. Nobody is saying that you haven't had strong experiences. What we object to is your interpretation of the experience; it is just not very productive to say "Well, I know I experienced God" when that's exactly what we are arguing about! You do not know any such thing, and should not use language to try to bludgeon us into accepting your interpretation.

That aside, you still didn't answer the question : Can internal feelings lead to false beliefs? Yes or no.

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BlackBlade
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quote:

Can internal feelings lead to false beliefs? Yes or no.

Sorry I don't know why I didn't answer this in my last post.

Yes I am quite sure that internal feelings lead to false and true beliefs, it happens all the time.

Having said, and again judging from my own experience, communique from God is NOT the same thing as having a feeling, though feelings often accompany it.

quote:

He didn't. He re-expressed it in an accurate way that doesn't take for granted the conclusion we are arguing about. Nobody is saying that you haven't had strong experiences. What we object to is your interpretation of the experience; it is just not very productive to say "Well, I know I experienced God" when that's exactly what we are arguing about! You do not know any such thing, and should not use language to try to bludgeon us into accepting your interpretation.

Rewording it so that it conforms with his own view of my words does not make it "more accurate." KOM you CANNOT object to my interpretation of my own, "strong experiences" as YOU have yet to say you have had equivalent experiences. You have yet to say you have ever had an experience akin to what I would call "hearing God's voice." and so we cannot possibly draw conclusions about MY experiences.

You MIGHT start treating me as a rational person who does not simply forget events that go against the dogmas I was raised with. I'm not using language to bludgeon anybody into agreeing with me, in fact it is YOU that is doing it.

Again to use the analogy,

"Assuming I have never tasted salt, please describe to me what salt tastes like."

I am trying to in a respectful rational way explain that my experiences with God are not limited to, "happy fuzzy feelings." I have had profound experiences that defy any logical explanation that I could supply, and I consider myself to be quite skeptical.

Forgive me if it is DIFFICULT to describe salt to the uninitiated. It is equally difficult to touch on things I hold sacred without casting them to your open scrutiny and sometimes scorn. You see this as demonstrating a lack of real evidence, I see it as evidence that you lack experience with religions that don't fall back on the words of others and unverifiable axioms.

I know that in previous posts I have given the impression that, "happy feelings" indicate truth. Such was not my intention. I am not sure how to adequately describe the metaphysical processes that bring somebody from agnosticism or even atheism into theism. I just know that following the moral codes of my religion have made me a better person, and in the course of attempting to communicate with God using the principles my religion suggested I have seen results that I consider to be real, I'm sorry that you cannot peer review them, I can only suggest you yourself test it out for yourself and then decide if there is anything to it all.

If you decide not to, or deem it unnecessary, that's fine, you give me the impression of being a honest man, you are at least better grounded in your atheism then most I've seen.

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King of Men
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quote:
Having said, and again judging from my own experience, communique from God is NOT the same thing as having a feeling, though feelings often accompany it.
I think we have different understandings of the word 'feeling'. I intended it to mean 'perception of events that other people do not observe'. 'Conviction', 'experience', 'vision' might also serve. Do you still agree, then, that these can lead to false beliefs?

quote:
You MIGHT start treating me as a rational person who does not simply forget events that go against the dogmas I was raised with.
I do not see where I accused you of doing anything of the sort. I said that your interpretation of what you have seen as "God's voice" is not accepted by anyone else in this debate, and to continue to refer to it as such is counterproductive and an assumptive use of language.
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BlackBlade
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quote:

I think we have different understandings of the word 'feeling'. I intended it to mean 'perception of events that other people do not observe'. 'Conviction', 'experience', 'vision' might also serve. Do you still agree, then, that these can lead to false beliefs?

That does indeed clear alot up. You will have to forgive me I need some time to consider that concept.

quote:

I do not see where I accused you of doing anything of the sort. I said that your interpretation of what you have seen as "God's voice" is not accepted by anyone else in this debate, and to continue to refer to it as such is counterproductive and an assumptive use of language.

Fair enough. King of Men, would you agree that for early humanity having no rational scientific explanation or even indeed a tradition of scientific thought, that it would have been unlikely that early humans could have been atheists?

Would it be plausible for aliens to have planted the seeds of religion around the world and given thousands of years of time, those ideas modified by men, evolved into the numerous religions we have today?

edit: I guess I am trying to ascertain whether you disbelieve a character like God could exists. Or that religion does not necessarily have its origins within humanity.

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King of Men
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quote:
Fair enough. King of Men, would you agree that for early humanity having no rational scientific explanation or even indeed a tradition of scientific thought, that it would have been unlikely that early humans could have been atheists?
Depends a bit on what you mean by 'atheism'. I think it's certainly fair to say that they did not believe in a single all-powerful god; they did not believe that gods were necessarily or even chiefly benevolent; and they didn't believe that gods or spirits were necessarily very powerful. Still, they almost certainly did believe in some variant of religion, yes.

quote:
Would it be plausible for aliens to have planted the seeds of religion around the world and given thousands of years of time, those ideas modified by men, evolved into the numerous religions we have today?
In a word, no. Not saying it's impossible, just that there is a much simpler explanation which doesn't require an intelligent, space-traveling species to play at Silly Buggers.
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BlackBlade
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KOM: I agree that one's perceptions can be misleading, but if we can't trust our perceptions at all, how can we believe in anything?
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fred
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Interesting thread. Although Scientology has certain fundamental principles that the subject is built upon no one is expected to "believe" in them. Rather he/she is supposed to examine them and determine if they are true by the application of them in the physical universe.

It's tough discussing religion with someone who believes that all feelings, thoughts etc. originate from the response of the brain to external stimuli and that there is no spiritual side to existence.

Fred

[ December 12, 2006, 05:48 PM: Message edited by: fred ]

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King of Men
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Conversely, it's hard to argue science with someone who believes in invisible ghosts with no measurable effects. But thanks for bumping the thread, I'd forgotten about it and didn't see BlackBlade's last post, there.

I did not say you could not trust your perceptions at all. I said that when your perceptions lead you to believe things that nobody else can perceive, you are in trouble. Consider: There exists a class of things that everybody agrees on, such as "The sun is warm". To mistrust this on the basis that your perception can fool you is philosophically possible, but not very interesting - you can't get anywhere from there. There also exist some things that you need a bit of specialised equipment to perceive, like bacteria; and there are still people who don't believe in these. Here, as a general rule, we accept the perception if it gives good results, such as medicines that make large numbers of patients better; we also do our best to ensure that people can see at least the basics for themselves, in high school bio labs and such. Then there exist things that take a lot of specialised equipment, like particle physics; I suspect that most people accept this on the basis that it doesn't really matter to them, and the long-haired types might otherwise be coming up with actually dangerous stuff, so let them do what they want; and philosophically I can't say they're wrong to take such an attitude. (I dread the day when the taxpayers catch on to our scam and cut the funding for all my cool toys.) Again, though, quantum mechanics gives you useful stuff like computers and lasers; so we accept the theories as true on the basis of the first class of things. Even people who think computers are evil rarely deny that they actually do work.

But then there are things which require not only a specialised habit of thought to perceive, but also leaps of logic, and leaps which everybody makes differently. Let us consider your faith; you say it makes you a better person, and that might quite possibly be true with reference to things of the first kind: Given some definition of 'better', it would be possible to measure your 'goodness' before and after you became a Mormon. But I'm willing to take your word for this; where I differ is when you leap from such a fact, plus whatever it is that you describe as communing with god, to the truth of Smith's visitation by Moroni. That's a leap of logic which nobody else makes unless they've first put in a lot of effort to convince themselves that Mormonism is true. You say this yourself: Search, ponder and pray, quoth you. But other missionaries make precisely the same request in support of totally different truths! (As witness fred here.) Now, truth does not depend on which set of missionaries got there first. If exactly the same procedure leads two people to different conclusions, then there's something wrong with the procedure! That is the part of your perceptions you should not trust: The bit that's not referrable back to perceptions of the first class, ones that everyone can agree on.

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fred
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"Conversely, it's hard to argue science with someone who believes in invisible ghosts with no measurable effects."

(I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here.) Do you mean it's hard to convince someone of a scientific principle because they have a belief in "invisible ghosts"?

Fred

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BlackBlade
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quote:

I did not say you could not trust your perceptions at all. I said that when your perceptions lead you to believe things that nobody else can perceive, you are in trouble.

And it is here I completely agree with you, but for some reason you believe Mormonism cannot have results that can be repeated by any human being and validated in that manner.

You further argue that you do not need to test it out for yourself as you cannot be expected to try out EVERY religion. We compared it to science but I feel the comparison is invalid as generally speaking its impossible for 2 religions to both be completely true and yet its quite possible for biology and astronomy to not step on each others toes. The immense ramifications of the conclusions religion draw IMO warrant a serious consideration of them. It does not mean you have to become the equivalent of a monk within every religion to give it a serious consideration. It merely means that you admit that there is a possibility that one may be right, and you observe them until you can without malice honestly conclude there is something wrong with one and move on.

quote:

where I differ is when you leap from such a fact, plus whatever it is that you describe as communing with god, to the truth of Smith's visitation by Moroni

And because you have not experienced "communing with God" I have absolutely no problem understanding that you disbelieve me. But again KOM until you've tasted salt, how could I possibly convince you that there is anything like it?

quote:

But other missionaries make precisely the same request in support of totally different truths! (As witness fred here.) Now, truth does not depend on which set of missionaries got there first. If exactly the same procedure leads two people to different conclusions, then there's something wrong with the procedure! That is the part of your perceptions you should not trust: The bit that's not referrable back to perceptions of the first class, ones that everyone can agree on.

But again you are assuming that when say two born again Christians say, "We have found Jesus!" and that when I say, "God has witnessed to me his word is true," that we are both experiencing the exact same thing.

Now perhaps God did indeed say to them, "Jesus is your Lord and savior." I can agree with that, as God has informed me of the exact same truth. Lets say they go further and say, "God has told me The Book of Mormon is NOT true." I have had that said to me more then once.

Well I cannot presume to feel things for them, all I can do is conclude that they have made an observational mistake, as based on my own experiences they are wrong.

We've argued this principle in circles about how God should be something we can prove to anybody. Well I am of the opinion that if somebody honestly tests the doctrine they will find that it delivers on all that it promises to deliver, and having God manifest the truthfulness of a thing to you is no small thing IMO.

If Christianity could be scientifically proven it would ruin it, as then we would be obligated to accept God's true way right then and there, and not everyone is ready for that kind of commitment. It would be like being required to propose to a girl after dating her once.

Seriously KOM if we discover the gene for say cancer it would become irresponsible for a parent not to pay the hospital fee to turn that gene off in their children. If you knew right now that God was God and he had rules for you to follow, and if you reject them you are doomed to a life of misery, would you resent the fact that you had absolutely no chance to decide for yourself if you even wanted to know that?

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King of Men
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The argument from free will is, firstly, based on the assumption that your religion is correct - if some other god is the true one, or if there is no god, then it just doesn't apply. So it is circular reasoning: Because my god is true, he is not provable; therefore your arguments about provability do not show untruth. This is completely unconvincing to anyone who doesn't already believe.

Secondly, it is not relevant to the question of what is true. You can't say "There are good reasons for this not to be provable, but it's still true". If you can't prove it, then the reason you are unable to prove it doesn't matter; you should not believe it. Especially if the reason you cannot prove it requires you to believe in its truth in the first place!

And thirdly, it rests completely on your personal interpretation of free will. To give out information does not interfere with free will, it perfects it. In your analogy of the cancer gene, the parents are still free to be irresponsible; but now they know that they are being so. Before, they had no idea whether they were being responsible or not. That's not free will, that's just ignorance.

quote:
Well I cannot presume to feel things for them, all I can do is conclude that they have made an observational mistake, as based on my own experiences they are wrong.
Wrong. You could also conclude that you have made an observational mistake, or that both parties have made one, or better still that there is not sufficient evidence to draw any conclusions, and you should withhold belief in either party's claims until there is. Your "all I can do" is dis-ingenuous; you haven't really considered the other possibilities.

quote:
But again KOM until you've tasted salt, how could I possibly convince you that there is anything like it?
But many people have tasted the salt, and they disagree with you about what it shows about pepper! I'm perfectly willing to take your word for the salt, I just don't accept your logical leap to the existence of other spices. That does not follow.
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Hitoshi
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Not to derail the topic further, but I've always found door-to-door missionary work saddening and frustrating. I know the people who do it have good intentions and are good people, but believing I need to be saved and informing me of that comes across as incredibly arrogant. It's acting as though I have absolutely no clue about spirituality and I was unable to come to any conclusion on my own, so I must be told of "the right way." I just don't understand it. Again, I'm not saying anything bad about the people who do it, I just don't like being told such things. Though I'd gladly receive them (provided they're not fire-and-brimstone-if-you-sin types) and at least listen politely before declining. I know how hard it must be to go door to door and face rejection.

Though, if anyone did come to my door and was rude or a jerk, I'd have a wonderful way of ending the conversation if they persisted and ignored my sign/rejection. *insert evil laughter*

Anyways, the video was hilarious. I wish it was longer!

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BlackBlade
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quote:

The argument from free will is, firstly, based on the assumption that your religion is correct - if some other god is the true one, or if there is no god, then it just doesn't apply. So it is circular reasoning: Because my god is true, he is not provable; therefore your arguments about provability do not show untruth. This is completely unconvincing to anyone who doesn't already believe.

That is not my argument at all. I think even you can concede that if there was a God and he did wish us to scientifically prove his existence that we would at least have BEGUN by now to do so, or else God has seemingly ignored the last several thousand years worth of human beings. So either there is is no God, or if there is one he is either found without the tools of science that we currently possess.

You can PROVE God's existence for yourself. Though you cannot prove it FOR somebody else. Surely you cannot prove anything physics related to me beyond the grounding I already have in it. And in like manner I cannot prove to you any of the goodness found in my religion beyond good ideas and moral teachings found within my religion's literature.

quote:

And thirdly, it rests completely on your personal interpretation of free will. To give out information does not interfere with free will, it perfects it. In your analogy of the cancer gene, the parents are still free to be irresponsible; but now they know that they are being so. Before, they had no idea whether they were being responsible or not. That's not free will, that's just ignorance.

Information must be intelligently meted out. To use another example if your parents were in a car accident, both were in a coma, and yet the doctors have been as accurate as possible in gauging their brain activity to be within the realms of, "vegetables." They then say to you at the hospital, "You need to pull the plug or else pay for the life support the rest of their lives, and you need to decide in the next 5 seconds." Either choice has validity, and we are grateful the doctors can give you their brain activity to the best of his ability, that information is valuable, but certainly you would need time to weigh that decision.

However when it comes to God and having a full knowledge of all that he is and his intentions, deciding to deliberate is not an option.

This has nothing to do with my own interpretation. I know of no man or woman who believes in indiscriminately handing out knowledge of all sorts to any person who desires to know it. With that sort of a system anybody could have a nuclear weapon, and people with enemies would find themselves dead more often.

quote:

But many people have tasted the salt, and they disagree with you about what it shows about pepper! I'm perfectly willing to take your word for the salt, I just don't accept your logical leap to the existence of other spices. That does not follow.

I'm not sure I follow you. Are you suggesting that we must take all who say they have experienced God on their word? If so, I'd be the first to admit that that has little value even if they were all right it means God is one confusing entity, or else has a very laissez-faire way of running things.

KOM, I fully understand that with so many people claiming to have the formula for God and insisting that it works, it makes no sense to just assume I'm telling the truth.

All I can say is that I am convinced that if you tried the salt my God gives out you would understand that its the real deal, others merely offer immitation salt. Obviously thats just my word, but I offer it after having experienced others salt.

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King of Men
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quote:
You can PROVE God's existence for yourself.
No, you can not. This is precisely the core of our disagreement, and I wish you would not consistently state your side of it as fact. One more time: What you accept as proof to yourself, I would not accept even for myself, because I am aware of the many ways in which the mind can fool itself. Especially when you have first gone through a long process, as you describe, of deliberately trying for a certain result!

quote:
However when it comes to God and having a full knowledge of all that he is and his intentions, deciding to deliberate is not an option.
Dude, that's a bad argument even by your own theology. What is a human lifetime, if not "time to deliberate"? You are trying to impose your own rule, namely "If God is conclusively proven to someone, he has to decide right away", on what your god can do or not do, in order to support your interpretation of free will!

quote:
I'm not sure I follow you. Are you suggesting that we must take all who say they have experienced God on their word?
No, I'm suggesting that we take their word for "I had a really wonderful/deep/life-changing experience" but not for "And this shows God exists".

quote:
KOM, I fully understand that with so many people claiming to have the formula for God and insisting that it works, it makes no sense to just assume I'm telling the truth.
You are discussing the wrong thing, there; this is not about whether I believe what you are saying, but about whether you should believe the conclusions you have drawn about your experiences. Let me lay it out again: You agreed that it is possible for sincere people to have a deep, spiritual experience which they absolutely, 100% believe is from their god, and yet nevertheless be wrong in what they think they were told. Yet you refuse to consider the possibility that you are one of those people. Your language is telling: "All I can do", "All I can say", "I am convinced". Well, why are you convinced? You are convinced that your experience was from your god, because the experience told you that it was from god; and it couldn't be lying, because... it was from your god! (Which you know because it told you it was, and...) Do you really not see that this is a bad argument, even for yourself? Is it possible that you do not believe that the "God-told-me-Smith-was-mistaken" people have gone through exactly the same process? If they can be mistaken, why can't you? If you know that a process can lead to bad results, why do you trust the process when it is yourself doing it?

The debate is spreading out a bit, again. Please, if you answer anything in this post, answer the previous paragraph; it is the crux of the whole matter.

quote:
All I can say is that I am convinced that if you tried the salt my God gives out you would understand that its the real deal, others merely offer immitation salt. Obviously thats just my word, but I offer it after having experienced others salt.
And I am convinced that you are wrong, because I know people who have tried that salt, for many years in fact, and who consider it a fake. (I think it was KarlEd, though I could be wrong; anyway, it was a poster hereabouts.) You've had this discussion before, and all you could say was "Well, if you tried it just a little longer, I'm sure it would work out - I don't understand why it didn't work right away, but you gotta have faith, as I do." If your salt doesn't work as you think it should, isn't it time you re-evaluate it?
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King of Men
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quote:
This has nothing to do with my own interpretation. I know of no man or woman who believes in indiscriminately handing out knowledge of all sorts to any person who desires to know it. With that sort of a system anybody could have a nuclear weapon, and people with enemies would find themselves dead more often.
Right. In other words, we do not consider free will to be the most valuable possible thing. If we did, we would hand out information on making nuclear weapons to everyone, and take the consequences of people having extra choices. But this is a choice we make where we weigh free will, which we like, against other things which we do not like. We don't refrain from handing out nuclear information on the grounds that it would hamper free will, because it doesn't. But that is the argument you are making with respect to information on the existence of your god, and it is not a good one.
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BlackBlade
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KOM: If I modified my statement to be, "I have evidence enough for myself that I am convinced that there is a God and He can communicate with me" would that be better? Certainly I have already agreed that I can't PROVE God existence FOR somebody else.

I have also already admitted earlier that your perceptions can deceive you.

And yes I agree that if you have a predetermined goal in mind then the experiment likely is not reliable. But even you have to admit that if I hope that by mixing hydrogen and oxygen together that I will get the water the chemistry book assures me I will get, and that my feelings won't get in the way of the result.

I have known atheists determined to find flaws in Mormonism, coming to the conclusion that it must be true. Assuming they are being honest in their motives how do we explain that? Simple mindedness? Gullibility?

Look I understand that you believe my reasoning being based on perceptions is not good enough, but I am convinced that if you could fully understand what I have experienced you would see its just so complicated it would be impossible for me to just ignore it all. I also feel that Mormonism makes intellectual and academic sense. Its not a religion full of supernatural impossibilities that could never be true, though you may disagree can we at least agree that there is not much mysticism behind it?

Yes it is possible in theory to persuade me not to believe, but I've said it before I probably would not be sure of anything ever again.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Assuming they are being honest in their motives how do we explain that? Simple mindedness? Gullibility?
Yes. Keeping in mind that ALL people are simple-minded and gullible to varying degrees, and thus this is not a character judgement.
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