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Author Topic: A question for atheists
Joldo
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Honestly, I don't fear my oblivion so much as I fear the oblivion of those I love. The idea that they'll be gone forever is somewhat more disturbing to me than me being gone forever.

But just 'cause I fear doesn't mean I can do anything about it, except to enjoy every moment I still have them. I don't know what will come, but I refuse, still, to fear it. Because I cannot prevent it yet.

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Corwin
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I just love the "yet". You can tell you're on a science-fiction author's site. [Smile]
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eslaine
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quote:
Originally posted by Morbo:
Wait, I'd still be on keyboards? Next cycle I wanna be lead guitar. [Wink]

Hey, I'll take over keys and show you what they can do!
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0Megabyte
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Corwin:

Yes.

I'd love, personally, to write a story about a guy who has effective immortality due to the technologies of the future.

Yeah, I imagine some people would get bored after awhile, but why not do something original, and have the immortal, you know, really enjoy living and not get bored?

I've only seen such a thing in one story: the comic series The Sandman. OF course, I had this idea long before I read that comic, and it still has nothing to do with it, conceptually.

Immortality without boredom. After all, at least at this poitn in time, people are always writing more books!

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Juxtapose
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I could see a de facto immortal getting bored with earth, amassing a vast fortune and throwing it all into a space-travel venture. He/she could become the ultimate explorer.

I'd imagine that'd keep one busy for, oh, millennia at least.

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King of Men
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Clearly, any immortality technology will create a strong Darwinian pressure towards people who are able to make their own entertainment for millennia on end.
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Flaming Toad on a Stick
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When you say "immortal", do you also assume "invincible"? Because there's a lot more that can kill you than just the decay of your body. Given an infinite amount of time, the odds are overwhelmingly supportive of something killing you.
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Morbo
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KoM, I agree but I might term it post-Darwinian pressure. An immortality technology would supplement (or entirely replace) the current generational cycles at the heart of evolutionary theory. Essentially the immortals would become their own next generation, but without gene mixing due to sex.
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Starsnuffer
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Hence the need for sturdy robo-bodies and back-up selves on the hard disk back home (Resurrection ship from Battlestar Gallactica). I think it's obvious anyone living forever would go to space some time. It's a whole lot bigger and therefore more interesting than the measly little Earth. More things to explore.

"If the Roman Emperor Nero has been burning in hell for nearly two thousand years, then how could Adolph Hitler, who was responsible for the deaths of millions, ever catch up to him in punishment suffered?" -Ron Lambert

Well. Assuming they burn in hell for an infinite length of time, they both burn for an infinity of time.(∞+c=∞) so... It's not much of an issue unless you assume a finite length of burning. As long as whoever's in charge of that burning knows when it's going to cease he could turn Nero's fire off the appropriate length of time before Hitler's. ORR You could just assume that since they'll both be burning for a long time the percent difference between their two sentences is negligible.

Yeah... Ron... Are you providing the counterpoint here? Showing that hey, can't hurt to believe? or Are you trying to get some converts... I'm not sure of the pertinence of your posts in here "A question for atheists."

I don't mean too much offense

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steven
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Who's to say that immortals wouldn't eventually develop technology good enough to explore space without ships? How about simply flying around in a space suit? If you live hundreds of thousands of years, that's a long time to be coming up with new tech, particularly if your understanding of medical tech allows you to augment your intelligence. A species that can consciously augment its own intelligence...that's a whole other ballgame.
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0Megabyte
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I'd imagine most "immortals" would die eventually, considering all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes.

Of course, robo-bodies and whatnot would help.

But copies of my personality on a hard disk?

That would be something like me, yes. And other people might not notice a difference. But it wouldn't be me. My sense of self is at least partly due to continuity of experience. If I died, my brain and thought patterns eliminated, a mere copy would not be the same as me.

It'd just be, like, a twin.

Actually, I already thought about that. A character living thousands of years, but making a computer back-up, basically. So, when he dies, the backup activates. Since it doesn't have a body and doesn't have the very last few memories, the back-up, which, considering the design, has essentially an identical personality, knows it's not the real one, and it disturbs the copy greatly.

Of course, as the friends of the dead guy would point out, this copy is agonizing over it in exactly the same way the original would have agonized, if he'd been in the same position, and whatnot...

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sylvrdragon
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A bit tangential, but something that's been bouncing around in my head for a while now (This means that it's a theory. AKA opinion. I'm not going to put "IMO" every other line, so deal with it).

I think humans are just glorified computers. The difference is nothing more than added complexity. Same with animals. We have memory, processing speed, RAM (short term memory), etc. DNA is nothing but a huge Operating System.

Dreams, Art, Emotions, Philosophy; all the stuff that romantics say make us human (and put us above the animals, etc.). It can all be explained by the connections our brains make among the information we have at our disposal executed by our motives (Software?); some of which are not completely conscious.

I actually believe that as we develop more and more complex computers, we will eventually reach the limit of what we can do with non-biological parts. I think this is the path to true AI. The problem as I see is, as we get more and more complex, the results will be less and less perfect as greater capabilities will require more input. With this much capability though will come the imperfections of the human mind. Eventually, I think we'll create a sentient computer. Of course, it is my belief that it will be completely biological by this point, so whether you can call it a computer is still up in the air.

If there are still Creationists by this point, they're gonna be pissed when they find out that it doesn't take a God to make a human being. [Wink] (Though it does kind of open a window that maybe we were created by some OTHER sentient race. Maybe Earth is just a big science fair project)

Of course, this is assuming we don't blow ourselves up long before that point.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
When you say "immortal", do you also assume "invincible"? Because there's a lot more that can kill you than just the decay of your body. Given an infinite amount of time, the odds are overwhelmingly supportive of something killing you.
Since immortality would cause a population throughput bottleneck, as population increases, people who still want to have babies would tend to want to kill off the old people that ought to be dying and making room for the next generation.
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Starsnuffer
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You'd have an evolutionary selection for people who don't want kids... Or just a diffusion of people throughout the universe to prevent overcrowding. But yeah, some kind of war between immortals and baby-havers might help that selection out... (Obviously speculative, probably not that well put, but I think you get the drift. Immortal people would have to select for not procreating to maintain enough energy to survive, or just get more energy faster than demand for it goes up).

"Though it does kind of open a window that maybe we were created by some OTHER sentient race. Maybe Earth is just a big science fair project"
***The book:Contact spoiler***


Like the end of Contact!

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King of Men
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quote:
You'd have an evolutionary selection for people who don't want kids...
You would most certainly have nothing of the kind, for the good and simple reason that such a trait doesn't get passed on to the kids the people in question don't want to have.

[ December 30, 2007, 02:02 AM: Message edited by: King of Men ]

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Starsnuffer
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Hmm too true. *feels dumb* ... dang
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Starsnuffer
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Hmm too true. *feels dumb* ... dang...
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Ron Lambert
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Discussion of immortality really does not work well for evolutionists. Immortality and evolution would seem to be mutually exclusive. Personally, I would rather believe in immortality than in evolution.

However, I have to add a caveat. The word immortality really means "not subject to death," so, as has already been pointed out here, being immortal does not just mean that you do not age, it would have to mean that you are unkillable. Nothing in the universe could kill you, not even diving through the heart of a star.

Many Christian denominations, as well as non-Christian religions, teach that there is a human soul, a sort of being within a being, that is unkillable. I think this belief is presumptuous. Cannot the Creator kill what He has created? The Bible says only God is immortal: "...God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal...." (1 Timothy 6:15, 18; NIV) Assuming it is only common sense that the Creator could kill any of His creatures (if He created them, He could uncreate them), it would seem to be necessarily true that only God is immortal, in the sense of being unkillable. The Bible does flatly declare that God can destroy "the soul" (however you define it): "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28; NKJV)

One more "but" has to be added when considering immortality in light of the Bible teachings about it. While only God has original immortality in Himself, unborrowed and underived, the Bible also promises that part of the gift given to the Redeemed at the Second Coming of Christ is immortality: "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'" (1 Corinithians 15:53, 54; NKJV) Romans 2:7 and 2 Timothy 1:10 also state that immortality is part of what humanity receives in Christ. Apparently this means that God will not allow the Redeemed to be killed by anything in the universe. So our immortality, unlike God's, is borrowed and derived--from Him.

God is the Source of Life, and of Existence itself. As Paul said in Acts 17:28: "...for in Him we live and move and exist...." (NASB) As long as we remain in fellowship with God, we need never die. But if we are separated from God (and all of us presently in this world still are, to some extent), then we must die, and cannot live. Indeed, the only reason any of us still live now even for a while, before we have been changed at the Second Coming of Christ, is because God has chosen to sustain the existence of us sinners long enough for as many of us as possible to chose to accept the salvation He has already obtained for the whole human race in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The pain it has caused the heart of God to sustain the living of us sinners since the inception of sin, is revealed to our dull senses at one point in space and time at the Cross of Calvary. He will not go on bearing this burden forever. Ultimately He will utterly rid the universe of all that is evil, and regrettably, anyone who refuses to be parted from it.

[ December 30, 2007, 01:12 AM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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King of Men
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quote:
Discussion of immortality really does not work well for evolutionists. Immortality and evolution would seem to be mutually exclusive. Personally, I would rather believe in immortality than in evolution.
That is not true if the immortals have children. If some immortals have children faster than others, and the trait is inheritable, then eventually the faster-breeding kind will come to dominate the Universe even though there are still many slow breeders. At some point, admittedly, they are standing on one another's heads, so it can probably be assumed that true immortals either have no children, or are not subject to the usual laws of physics.

However, all that is not relevant anyway. Immortals are not subject to evolutionary theory, but what of it? Neither are solar systems, cars, or atomic nuclei. Right now the two categories "Living things" and "Things that evolve biologically" have 100% overlap, but there is no requirement for this always to be true.

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Puppy
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When I contemplate the idea of oblivion, it isn't the oblivion itself that scares me. It's the thought of losing a future that I've invested in. There are things I really like about living, and there are plans I have for the future, both of which would come to an abrupt end if I were to cease to exist. So while I'm sure oblivion itself is not unpleasant, living with the idea of it, and all that it would cost me, isn't a lot of fun.

Of course, that's also true of the form of death that religious folks (like myself) believe in. Unless you're truly and utterly subsumed in your faith, you likely have some joys and plans that would end with the afterlife, too, even if the afterlife is quite pleasant. If I die, and being dead is awesome, but I'm not there to participate in my daughters' weddings, or I never get to design a video game again, or whatever, then that still sucks. Death is a necessary part of life, but it's about the suckiest part, almost no matter what you believe [Smile]

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0Megabyte
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Ron said:

"Indeed, the only reason any of us still live now even for a while, before we have been changed at the Second Coming of Christ, is because God has chosen to sustain the existence of us sinners long enough for as many of us as possible to chose to accept the salvation He has already obtained for the whole human race in the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ."

That's sure nice of God, after he made it impossible for me to not sin, by making me born with the sins of Adam and Eve, and further writing into my very genes (either personally, or ultimately by allowing Adam and Eve's sins to affect me) orders that go against his will, to let me live!

What a wonderfully generous god yours is to give me some time in a universe that shows no actual evidence of his existence, before then broiling me in eternal pain for all eternity for not believing in something which evidence points towards no more than Russel's Teacup.

"The pain it has caused the heart of God to sustain the living of us sinners since the inception of sin, is revealed to our dull senses at one point in space and time at the Cross of Calvary. He will not go on bearing this burden forever."

You know, considering how little our petty actions could possibly harm a literally immortal, omnipotent being such as your god, I have a message for him, the same message given to me by my mother over slights of relatively vastly more serious magnitude:

Stop having such a thin skin, you big baby.

Crying over the milk you spilled will do no good, and lashing out at us for it is the most ultimate evil any being concieve of. Stop being so pathetic and grow up, Yahweh.

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Lord Solar Macharius
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Question in regards to the concept of an immortal soul:

Assuming you define the soul as a "self" which you identify with, how do you reconcile that belief with people who suffer a lobotomy or other brain damage and come out the other end with (possibly the same memories and skills but) completely different personalities?

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Ron Lambert
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0Megabyte, your problem is you have way too small an idea of God.

Because God sustains every breath of our existence from moment to moment, He is forced to have the knowledge of evil--our evil--which He knows from the inside out. He knew what it was to be the victims cast into the furnaces of Dachau. He knew what it was to be the Nazi prison guards hurling the victims into the furnaces. This is the kind of knowledge of evil we force Him to have. Recoiling from this certainly does not make Him "thin-skinned!"

God is not only omnipotent and immortal, He is also perfectly Holy and sinless by nature. His very being is incompatible with evil. He demonstrated to us at Calvary that He will not embrace evil, but has chosen to separate Himself from it, when He in the form of His Son "was made to be sin for us." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Calvary revealed to us a schism in the heart of God we cannot imagine, that cut to the foundation of His being. Because God made this choice, the universe is secure for all the future. God will never change His mind and embrace evil. He has refused to, at all cost.

It is true that God does leave us with the tendencies toward sin in our physical and mental and emotional natures that we have inherited as part of the general genetic deterioration of the race that has resulted from the curses brought upon us by the sin of our race. God has also made it possible for us to make the essential choice to turn toward Him despite this, and acknowledge that He is the One Who is truly righteous, and no creature ever can be to the same extent. What God is concerned with right now is perfecting our faith, so that we are whole-hearted in trusting Him. As Jesus said would be His concern when He returns to earth: "...when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8; NASB)

He does not perfect our intrinsic nature now, because it is His purpose to show that righteousness is not a matter of nature, it is a matter of faith. Lucifer was a perfect, sinless angel in Heaven when he invented sin. Thus angelic perfection of nature failed in heaven. Adam and Eve were perfect, sinless beings in Eden, the Paradise Garden planted by God, when they chose to sin. Thus human perfection of nature failed in Eden. Sin--and righteousness--are not a matter of our nature.

Lucifer originally argued that creatures who are already perfect in nature do not need to defer to or depend upon the righteousness of God. The ensuing history of sin--in heaven which led to war among the angels, and on earth since the fall of our first parents, reveals the true consequences of this self-delusion, and refutes the claim of Lucifer/Satan that by selfish striving we can evolve into godhood for ourselves. When unfallen angels saw Satan attempt to murder Christ, the last remaining vestige of their sympathy with him was finally severed.

But still God wants to make it abundantly clear that even in those of the human family whom He redeems, it is faith, not intrinsic nature, that is what matters. The ransomed of earth must show their faith is wholly in a righteousness that is outside of them, in God alone (imputed to them in Christ, who joined Himself to humanity); and that they renounce all confidence in human self-righteousness--even the supposed "holiness" of human churches and religious institutions and traditions, when they are in opposition to the righteousness and authority of God.

God is using the human race to justify Himself, in the debate He has with Satan, by making us to be the last, compelling argument that vindicates His honor. Christ is exhibit A, and the ransomed of earth will be exhibit B. Together, no question in the debate will be left unanswered. Thus we have the privilege of glorifying God in a way that will resound throughout all the future of the universe.

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Samprimary
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Why is there a big religious preach-out in the question for atheists thread

was ron just hard-pressed to make a bible citation quota for 2007 or what

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rivka
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Plenty of atheists feel the need to make lengthy statements in religious threads.
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Xavier
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quote:
This is the kind of knowledge of evil we force Him to have.
The idea of humans forcing an omnipotent deity to do anything is laughable.

Sometimes I wonder how people who say things like this don't have their heads explode from the cognitive dissonance.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Immortals are not subject to evolutionary theory, but what of it? Neither are solar systems, cars, or atomic nuclei.
Cars are indeed subject to evolutionary theory.
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King of Men
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Not the Darwinian kind.
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Lord Solar Macharius
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I once saw these two mercedes...but that's another thread.
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0Megabyte
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"0Megabyte, your problem is you have way too small an idea of God."

On the contrary. I never believed in that kind of god in the first place. It's not my concept of God I'm responding to, but yours.

"Because God sustains every breath of our existence from moment to moment, He is forced to have the knowledge of evil--our evil--which He knows from the inside out. He knew what it was to be the victims cast into the furnaces of Dachau. He knew what it was to be the Nazi prison guards hurling the victims into the furnaces. This is the kind of knowledge of evil we force Him to have. Recoiling from this certainly does not make Him "thin-skinned!""

But your god is supposedly omniscient. He knew exactly how it felt anyway, and further knew every single possible future, and how each and every one of those possible futures for every single possible person felt.

He knew evil, the worst possible evils, grander evils than have ever occured in this world, with perfect knowledge both how it feels to commit it, and how it feels to be victimized by it, and precisely knows how it feels to be human, and further, has perfectly accurate memory of this.

All this he knew and knows and will know, before He ever even made us. All this is? This is merely one of the possible branches of history he already foresaw. He's already felt it. And he's felt every other possibility, that did not exist, equally so.

How can you be so bold as to claim an infinite entity could possibly feel this reality so much more strongly than everything else, when he literally knows EVERYTHING?

How can you dare presume God is such a little thing, so weak as to be forced into anything by us?

That's my point. Nothing we do can effect your god, either way. And we certainly can't hurt him. What is the feeling of such things, to something that has infinite power, infinite knowledge, infinite presence, etc?

Vastly less, on the relative scale, infinitely less, in fact, than a mosquito bite is to us. For him to get so angry at us for this as to force us to suffer eternal torment of the highest possible type, merely, again, for something we had no say in... well.

Such a being, in addition to being infinite in its knowledge and power, would also be infinite in its evil.

But I never believed in that god, I knew yours was false from my youth, Ron.

"God is not only omnipotent and immortal, He is also perfectly Holy and sinless by nature. His very being is incompatible with evil. He demonstrated to us at Calvary that He will not embrace evil, but has chosen to separate Himself from it, when He in the form of His Son "was made to be sin for us." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Calvary revealed to us a schism in the heart of God we cannot imagine, that cut to the foundation of His being. Because God made this choice, the universe is secure for all the future. God will never change His mind and embrace evil. He has refused to, at all cost."

Incompatible with evil? Then evil would never have existed, becauses it is only because He made the universe that evil exists. Ultimately, his act of creation is the cause. And he knew this from the beginning.

Further? Your interpretation of the events at Calvary are merely an interpretation. You have no real idea what God intended, even if God is real. You merely believe you know, and have not even any evidence stating that the event even happened the way you think it happened.

Further, why would God have to cut out part of Himself, if evil did not exist in His heart in the first place? You proclaim an infinite being that exists outside of time made a choice within time, and speak, then, as if this choice is infinite and unchanging.

What blasphemy, limiting your infinite, all powerful god in such a way.

"It is true that God does leave us with the tendencies toward sin in our physical and mental and emotional natures"

Aww, how sweet, considering he gave them to us in the first place, ultimately.

"that we have inherited as part of the general genetic deterioration of the race that has resulted from the curses brought upon us by the sin of our race."

Bull. We have not deteriorated genetically. We simply have not. The genetic evidence actually shows vast evidence of advancement, at least in regards to things such as our intelligence, in the hundreds of thousands of years preceeding the present.

If we are deteriorating genetically, when did it stop? Are we still deteriorating? That's simpyl not true, we know that. I am not genetically inferior to my parents. My generation is not inferior to yours. In fact, socially, we are superior, and genetically not at all less than you.

When did it stop? If you really believe history is as short as you think, what was the date, since it would be within the realm of human history, and I'm not just talking about Jewish myths.

Show me the genetic evidence.

But you won't, because you can't. You speak of things you do not know, and you hold your ignorance as a bulwark against the very truth you claim as your own.

Further. The sin of our race?

We are to be cursed because, specifically, Adam and Eve ate of some stupid fruit that God decided, stupidly, to give magic powers, and then warned the INNOCENT Adam and Eve, WHO DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT DOING WRONG EVEN WAS, according to your bible.

Further, God, being omniscient, knew this would happen when he made Adam the way he did. (which way did he do so, again? The two Creation stories contradict each other.)

And he knew he'd curse us all before he made this world. And he still did so, and still cursed us, for something we did not do. We did not eat of that fruit, Ron! Punishing us for this is about as sensical as me punishing you for my brother stealing something from me.

Anyone who is so perverse as to dare call this justice, is not worthy to speak for any decent god in the first place. Nor for anything else, for that matter.


"God has also made it possible for us to make the essential choice to turn toward Him despite this, and acknowledge that He is the One Who is truly righteous, and no creature ever can be to the same extent."

Again, how generous of him to allow it to be possible for us to turn towards him, after stacking the deck against us in such an unjust manner!

"What God is concerned with right now is perfecting our faith, so that we are whole-hearted in trusting Him."

Again, faith, faith, faith. Believing in things without seeing, without evidence!

Why would any god ask of this? Why would any god as us to act without real knowledge? This is not even a legitimate choice.

In the Bible stories, the choice would have been legitimate. God acted. "You can't test God!" was a laughable statement, for he was tested all the time.

He spoke, literally, to people. He revealed himself in miracles that shook the earth and did the impossible.

He brought the dead back to life!

If you live in a world where these things are occuring, then yes, there's a legitimate choice. Whether to side with this god, or to instead join... whatever else. Oppose him, perhaps.

There's a real choice.

But this world we live in is not the world of bible stories. This is reality, and there are no miracles, there is no evidence, and even the Bible itself was merely made by man.

Show me a miracle. A legitimate one. And don't give the excuse that God can't be tested. If that was the case, why did he make a show of tests? Why is the God of the Bible such an exhibitionist?

Parting the Red Sea is rather dramatic, after all.

In this current world, however, there is no legitimate reason to trust God. Because there is no evidence that God even exists.

Your current god is like the idols of Baal worshipped by the 400 prophets of Asherah.

If you asked God to retry the same scenario, to make the sacrifice burn of its own? God would act no more than Baal did then.

Let me be clear: Your god is as silent as Baal was in that story. Perhaps he's sleeping, or maybe in some far away land. Pray a little harder and he might hear you.

Here's the deal: Faith, believing in something, requires it to exist. You've done nothing to show God's existence, and nothing in this universe that we've yet seen shows that he's here, anymore than Baal is.

Why should I believe in your god anymore than I believe in Baal? (Which is, not at all)

If this is God's intent, to be silent, to be invisible, and his intent is to punish us for not believing in a being for which there is no more evidence than Baal, for which believing in him is, quite literally, a crapshoot based mostly on where you're born... then the only word to describe it is evil.

Remember. I never believed in such a limited, petty god to begin with. When I became an atheist, my realization was different. I always disbelieved in the evil being you praise, Ron. Always.

"He does not perfect our intrinsic nature now, because it is His purpose to show that righteousness is not a matter of nature, it is a matter of faith. Lucifer was a perfect, sinless angel in Heaven when he invented sin. Thus angelic perfection of nature failed in heaven. Adam and Eve were perfect, sinless beings in Eden, the Paradise Garden planted by God, when they chose to sin. Thus human perfection of nature failed in Eden. Sin--and righteousness--are not a matter of our nature."

You keep talking about these events as though they happened.

How would YOU know what happened in Heaven, before humanity's existence? How could any human?

Oh, yes, God's inspiration. God planting thoughts in their heads. Well, how do you know God did so? Because you believe it.

Regardless of my nitpickyness about Lucifer and all that mythology, let's see:

If human nature failed, if the nature God made failed, well, how is that our fault?

God is the one who made it. God is the one who created us, precisely the way we are, knowing full well what would happen.

How perverse it is to blame us for such things.

You claim righteousness is based on faith.

You dare claim that being good and true in this world is based on believing something without evidence.

Faith does not create righteousness: All you need is to take a stroll in a madhouse to know this is true. That's all the evidence you need to know that faith is not what you say, does not, in and of itself, create what you say.

And the chances of choosing the correct god out of the millions? Your god brings forth no more evidence than any of the others.

Do you realize how unlikely it is to believe in the right one, based on those odds? You do realize, further, that the religion you believe in is statistically greatly affected by the environment you were born in?

You believe in Christ because you were born here. You would most likely believe in Allah, if you were born in Turkey.

Do you really not realize this? Do you not see how unjust this demand of "faith" is?

How evil God would be, if he really acted the way you claim?

Once I heard that, of God, you can not say anything about what God is, but only what God is not.

Of your claims of what God is, I will say this: "God, Thou Art Not."

---

The rest of your post is a bit of a rehash of the rest, and I already gave my opinions about it above.

But let's be clear, as absolutely, positively clear as possible.

There was no ressurection.

Christ did not rise again. That is fact.

Jesus was a preacher in Judea, a bit of a revolutionary who got on the bad side of the people in power.

They went to the Romans and had him executed.

He died on that cross on Calvary.

And then...

nothing. He was dead. He did not go into Hell, and three days later, he did not come back.

He did not walk on Earth for 40 days, and then ascend to heaven to sit at the right hand of the father, forever and ever.

Jesus, the man you call Christ, messiah... is dead. And so is my father. And so is my grandmother, regardless of her faith. And you, too, when the end comes, will die, Ron, and that will be it, that's the end, the game is up, there will be no continue screen.

Those who do ill will not be punished after death. The righteous will not gain any reward.

There is no heaven. There is no hell. There is no purgatory, limbo, or anything else. This world, this unfair, unjust world, where our very existence destines us to die, is everything we will ever have.

There is no justice here, no equality, nothing except what we make ourselves. No good but the good we ourselves do, no righteousness but our own fallible acts of goodness. Faith brings nothing but a psychological comfort, and not even a unique one.

In the end, everyone dies, and all ends. Justice, goodness, all of this has nothing to do with it.

Death is the end, Ron.

Nobody goes to heaven or hell. Nobody is judged. Death, you see, is equal.

What matters, then? How you live! Though death will end it, you still live now, and still have the chance to enjoyment.

You are already more fortunate than many. Seize that unjustly taken fortune, and use it. For yourself, yes, but for others as well.

The things religion, including yours, say to do. Giving to the poor. Helping those in need. Loving each other.

Those are not merely the realm of religion.

That's the central core to civilization. All civilizations. It is not unique, but it is yet more precious in this real world, a world where, when you die, the only thing left is those shards of your soul recorded on paper and hard drives.

Life is precious, and love is the key to civilization, to being truly human. That, Ron, does not change.

But I reject the evil you preach as good. I reject the cruelty you perversely hold as a kindness, and the madness you hold as wisdom.

For you only have words. And I? I have the world.

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Tara
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Hi, I found another good quote whilst rereading The Amber Spyglass over my endless days of Christmas break:

"'When we were alive, they told us that when we died we'd go to Heaven. And they said that Heaven was a place of joy and glory and we would spend eternity in the company of saints and angels praising the Almighty, in a state of bliss. That's what they said. And that's what led some of us to give our lives, and others to spend years in solitary prayer, while all the joy of life was going to waste around us and we never knew.

'Because the land of the dead isn't a place of reward or a place of punishment. It's a place of nothing. The good come here as well as the wicked, and all of us languish in this gloom forever, with no hope of freedom, or joy, or sleep, or rest, or peace.

'But now this child has come offering us a way out and I'm going to follow her. Even if it means oblivion, friends, I'll welcome it, because it won't be nothing. We'll be alive again in a thousand blades of grass, and a million leaves; we'll be falling in the raindrops and blowing in the fresh breeze; we'll be glittering in the dew under the stars and the moon out there in the physical world, which is our true home and always was.'"

(page 320 of the 2002 version)

Funny how in a book that's supposed to be heretical and godless, I actually found something to believe in...

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Not the Darwinian kind.
Umm, yes they are, in most aspects. Think of a car as a meme.
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Starsnuffer
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1. 0Megabyte: I think I love you. That was impressive.
2. Tara: Thanks for that last quote, and I share the sentiment. I thought that bit was very inspiring... Good books, those.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
quote:
Not the Darwinian kind.
Umm, yes they are, in most aspects. Think of a car as a meme.
Precisely the point: Memes evolve by Lamarckian, not Darwinian, evolution.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
God is using the human race to justify Himself, in the debate He has with Satan, by making us to be the last, compelling argument that vindicates His honor.
Ron, your version of God makes me feel great sorrow for you. It must be horrible to think that you are honoring God by being irredeemably evil enough to prove His point to the peanut gallery.
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0Megabyte
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Starsnuffer:

*blinks* Uh... thank you. ^^

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Not the Darwinian kind.
If you're going to get picky, Darwin didn't identify the genetic reasoning behind changes between generations, he only specified that they did occur. Lamarck assumed that changes that occurred during a generation could be passed on to the next generation, which is false because there is no biological mechanism to do so. If you're going to make the point, you can't afford to leave out Mendel, who supplied the inheritance mechanism to complete Darwin's picture.

Memes may be modified by Lamarckian evolution, but they survive by Darwinian evolution.

Cars rarely evolve during a single generation, but selection pressure (market forces) determine whether modifications are propagated through the species.

And your initial statement had nothing to do with Darwin or otherwise, you said that cars are not subject to evolutionary theory, which is flat out wrong.

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Ron Lambert
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I rest my case.
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Enigmatic
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You do? Really? Thanks!

--Enigmatic

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Achilles
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Plenty of atheists feel the need to make lengthy statements in religious threads.

It does seem to go both ways in many cases.
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Shawshank
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This thread is really angry. That's why I haven't participated. It's a little too vitriolic for me.

[Angst]

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Shawshank
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quote:


quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Plenty of atheists feel the need to make lengthy statements in religious threads.

It does seem to go both ways in many cases.


Is there a problem with either one of these situations? I love the power of the discourse.

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Achilles
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No, but it seems silly sometimes.
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Mucus
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It just seems particularly amusing in this thread since it is named "A question for atheists" [Wink]
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suminonA
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There's no reason for a theist not to read and participate in a thread "aimed" at atheists. And vice versa. I think that questions are always welcomed. Not so sure about the over-quoting of the favourite scriptures, though. (At what point does it turn into prostelysing?)


A.

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Shawshank:
This thread is really angry. That's why I haven't participated. It's a little too vitriolic for me.

[Angst]

Yes, and that's exactly what I was hoping would not happen, vis--vis, my first sentence in my original post, specifically because I didn't want it to degenerate into an argument. I don't own this board, so I'm not going to tell anyone they can and can't post wherever they want to, but I was actually hoping no theists would participate, since my original questions are not applicable to them.

However, for those who did answer my original questions, I am grateful that you did so, truthfully and insightfully, with respect and without reproach.

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Rakeesh
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I'm not going to get involved in the heavier discussions, but something quoted in the thread makes me laugh.

It was the anecdote about the high school chemistry teacher talking about Moses and the Ten Commandments.

Heh, if I understood correctly, she referred to them as, "...stupid common sense rules..."

OK, setting aside things like the idolatry commandment...I marvel at how foolish someone can be, to refer to common sense rules as foolish. If they're common sense rules, by definition they're not stupid. Atomic weights and other scientific knowledge is very important, but as far as humanity is concerned, the 'common sense' rules are much more important.

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Starsnuffer
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But doesn't it seem silly to use your divine might to tell everybody "Be good now."

It just seems to me that we'd figure out that killing people and stealing from each other wasn't a way to succeed against rival tribes/groups/civilizations. And somewhat ironic that in place of some useful science that would have improved quality of life and spurred on future advances (antibiotics, for example would have given those who received that tablet a significant leg up over those who did not get the tablet) they received a list of "common sense rules"(not saying you said it, but that it has been said).

"If they're common sense rules, by definition they're not stupid."
And if they're common sense rules, you don't need to be commanded to follow them!

"Plenty of atheists feel the need to make lengthy statements in religious threads."
I wouldn't butt my head into a discussion between theists in a thread called "a question about soup making for theists" and offer my atheistic methods of soup making. (note: I hate having to make these notes subnote: I am not proposing that an asinine thread such as theistic soup-making would be a thread made by theists or atheists specifically to exclude the other group. I was using it as an off-the-top-of-the-head example for a name, facetiously.)

THAT is where my objection to theistic comments in this thread comes from, busting into a peaceful debate with palm extended, radiant back-lighting and a bible tucked under one arm preaching scripture to us, scripture about a non-atheistic view of the afterlife, which was not allowed for in the original post.
(I realize that it's not MANDATORY to respect the thread starter's wishes, but it seems like it would have been nice, but then we would not have gotten megabyte's rant, so maybe it was worth it)

(I have a lot of little asides in my posts...)(I hope I don't offend people too horribly by my caricaturization or irreverent references to things like Ron's ?valiant? posts here. that little attitude just seems to slip through in my sarcastic personality... So, soorry if you hate me sometimes, but realize I do feel sorta bad... sometimes... ? I hope you get what I'm saying, and that this whole post hasn't been a bunch of gobbledygook... which it may have now devolved into.)

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Starsnuffer:
It just seems to me that we'd figure out that killing people and stealing from each other wasn't a way to succeed against rival tribes/groups/civilizations.

Because we're doing so well at that.

*sigh*

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Starsnuffer
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... I am... but true, there's a lot of bad stuff in the world.
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