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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Addressing Ginette's Answers ---- (religions of the world)

   
Author Topic: Addressing Ginette's Answers ---- (religions of the world)
CT
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Can you map groups/religions to the following beliefs?:

1) God does not exist
2) God does exist, but God is not the creator of the universe, it's the other way around: Human beings created God.
3) There must be some God who created the universe, but God's existence is completely irrelevant to us, because we cannot know God and we cannot have any relationship with God
4) God exists and has made himself known via his prophets and his word.
5) God exists and we can have a personal relationship with him.

It would help me a lot if I knew which religion believes what.

Ginette, it would be most helpful if you were to go through these and give use your best shot at answering the questions yourself, given what you already think. Even if that isn't much, it's a whole lot better starting point for the conversation with you.

What religions have you come across in course textbooks, classroom discussions, or casual conversations, and where would you put them in the list? Why?

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CT
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I'm porting over this snippet because it's likely quite useful:

quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
... Those categories aren't going to get at the actual differences within families of religions and you've left out non-monotheistic options altogether.

Ginette, if these questions are for your personal curiosity or seeking, you might want to reframe it as "God/gods."

If it's just to answer a question posed to you for an exam or essay topic, then all the more reason to start with your own answers and let the discussion flow from there. The best kinds of academic discussions are always give-and-take, and they generally best start out with making sense of where the question is coming from. Not just whether it was posed by a teacher, but where the questioner's understanding is. The answers can be better framed then and tailored to the situation as appropriate.

Funny enough, the same is true for personal questions.

Good luck, and have at it! [Wink]

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GinetteB
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CT you're just the sweetest person [Smile] [Wink]

The question comes from my opinion that the only thing that matters is, whether humankind has a (possible) RELATIONSHIP with God. If not, then what's the point in proving his 'existence'?

Now for why I put up my question in that way. I don't know! I guess I meant to show that list I made was nonsense, because if you look at it, believers believe in a RELATIONSHIP with God. 'Existence' is not relevant.

If you do not define 'existence' first, then you can't discuss 'God exists'. If you take the definition 'all that is' then you mean everything that at some point 'is' in this world. Which means it has to have a place in this world. So this definition implies that God does not exist. If you take the definition 'all we are aware of through our senses and that persists indepently without them' it also implies that God does not exist. So where can you find a definition of 'existence' that makes a discussion whether God exists or not meaningful? The point is, you have to make up a definition of 'existence' with room for things that 'are not' and that 'we cannot be aware of with our senses' and in doing so you make Gods 'existence' a possibility.
So my question is: give me a definition of 'existence' that makes God possible. And if you want my personal definition then I can only come up with this one:

God is existence.

And this definition makes the proposition 'God exists' into a proposition that is not valid.

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CT
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So it sounds like the original list of questions for mapping religions onto existence turns out not to be so relevant to what you are sorting through, yes? And the conversation is moving to to "relationships" rather than "existence?"
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Mucus
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I knew someone that had a RELATIONSHIP with a god once. They got pregnant.
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AchillesHeel
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And she was married at the time, the rumor mill worked over-time talking about that scandal.
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King of Men
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quote:
believers believe in a RELATIONSHIP with God. 'Existence' is not relevant.
How do you have a relationship with a nonexistent thing?
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GinetteB
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Exactly King of Men. That's my point:=)
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GinetteB
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So yes CT, I would say that if a relationship with God can be proven, then God must be there.
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CT
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I think the idea of "relationship" premises more than one entity. That is, the possibility of a "relationship" intrinsically relies on more than one entity involved for it to hold. I'm not sure how you could prove the existence of two entities by proving a relationship. It's rather circular, or a true instance of begging the question. You don't get to "relationship" as a concept without first going through "multiple entities."

How would you go about distinguishing "acting as if/thinking as if one is in a relationship" and "being in a relationship" without first presupposing the existence of multiple entities?

[ March 24, 2012, 01:20 AM: Message edited by: CT ]

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GinetteB
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That's in fact the same question King of Men asked, only in other words.

Billions of people in this world would answer 'yes' to this quesion: 'Is there a relationship with God in this world?' They say 'yes', because they feel this relationship (or connection) through their senses and have it confirmed by sharing their experience with others. So there's no point in discussing the existence of a connection with God, it's there confirmed by the majority of the worlds population.
Now, if there's one fishermen who thinks he has a fish on the other end of the line, you can doubt if that's true. But if there's billions of fishermen who say they have a fish at the other end of the line there's no denying that there is something there.

I think discussions should be meant to bring people together and strenghten the connections between people, instead of sharpen boundaries between individuals (and thereby groups) and loosen connections. They should be aimed at winning each others respect instead of getting right. Where it comes to feelings, there should be patience, tolerance and empathy while discussing, not irritation, anger, envy and what else.
That's a little bit hard, because we're human beings, so we could use some help from the systems and patterns we apply when exchanging ideas or discussing. As we are living in a dualistic world, where all our systems are based on having to make radical choices like 'yes' or 'no' or at best 'blanco', there's not much room for our very human feelings of doubt, our desire to reach a compromise and our curiosity that loves paradoxes. Imagine a poll, or some other voting system, where you still get 1 vote per person, but now this vote consists of 10 points you can divide over two choices/candidates. Apart from whether this would actually change the outcome of a vote compared to the old system, wouldn't it make you feel better if you could express your vote a little more as you feel it?

Our systems force us to be radical, I think that's a shame. In designing new systems (no matter what they are used for), we should be aware of this.

[ March 24, 2012, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: GinetteB ]

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CT
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Ginette, I can see this discussion is going in a way that brings you to express feelings and thoughts that are deep and precious to you in your life. That is both a vulnerable and a strong place to be in, and I respect it for both aspects.

I can also say that much of what you write here makes sense to me as an expression of feelings moreso than analytic discussion. There are times for each of these sorts of writings, and I hesitate to bring what I have to offer to your posts. Even if it looks as if you are inviting analysis, I cannot help but feel it would not be welcome and -- moreover -- just would not be helpful to either of us in any way. I don't want to do that.

I hope you will respect that I will continue reading out of interest and support, and I especially hope that you will appreciate that I honestly believe there isn't something I can bring to your writings in a helpful way. It is my lack, but can we be cool in this?

Best of luck. I will follow along peripherally. [Smile]

(May others bring something fruitful to the discussion, whatever it may be!)

[ March 24, 2012, 08:28 AM: Message edited by: CT ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Now, if there's one fishermen who thinks he has a fish on the other end of the line, you can doubt if that's true. But if there's billions of fishermen who think they have a fish at the other end of the line there's no denying that there is something there.
In my experience, saying that something must be true because many people believe it is generally reserved only for people who are insisting on things which cannot actually be proven true, and which are generally false.
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Bella Bee
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CT, once again demonstrating why I want to be just like her when I grow up. [Hat]
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GinetteB
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Yeah me too Bella Bee.

CT, you are right. I sincerely thank you for your precious last post.

Tom, sorry I used the word 'think'. I meant 'billions of fishermen who say...' I edited my post to change it.

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TomDavidson
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I'm not at all sure why having the fisherman SAY something makes a difference to this analogy.

I also wonder what the threshold is for "enough people are saying/thinking this that it must be true."

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GinetteB
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Tom, I think my point is, that I would want something better than the black and white true/false. In the first place because there is such a thing as partly true. And in the second place, not every truth is an eternal truth. If new evidence comes up, or new measuring tools, something that was true in the past can be proven only partly true or even false in the future.

Suppose 500 years ago I would be playing a chess match and at some point the world's best chess player, who is watching me playing, says to me: 'Now you should do this move, it's the best move you can come up with now.'
Nowadays the champion's idea of the best move can be checked with the help of computers. But back then I would have to rely on him being the worlds best chess player.

Why is finding the absolute truth important? Is it because false beliefs are dangerous? But then, a lot in the world we are living in right now is based on beliefs that once where thought of as the truth and are long proven wrong. Or is it because only the truth can serve us? But how do we know that what we find true now won't be proven wrong in the future, if you look at history?
Or is the truth important, because we want to find something that connects us as human beings, something we all agree upon, something to hold on to, something that brings order in the chaos?

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TomDavidson
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In the case of the existence of god, and moreover the proper "religion" desired by that hypothetical god, I don't see any room for partial truth.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Tom, I think my point is, that I would want something better than the black and white true/false. In the first place because there is such a thing as partly true. And in the second place, not every truth is an eternal truth. If new evidence comes up, or new measuring tools, something that was true in the past can be proven only partly true or even false in the future.

Suppose 500 years ago I would be playing a chess match and at some point the world's best chess player, who is watching me playing, says to me: 'Now you should do this move, it's the best move you can come up with now.'
Nowadays the champion's idea of the best move can be checked with the help of computers. But back then I would have to rely on him being the worlds best chess player.

Why is finding the absolute truth important? Is it because false beliefs are dangerous? But then, a lot in the world we are living in right now is based on beliefs that once where thought of as the truth and are long proven wrong. Or is it because only the truth can serve us? But how do we know that what we find true now won't be proven wrong in the future, if you look at history?
Or is the truth important, because we want to find something that connects us as human beings, something we all agree upon, something to hold on to, something that brings order in the chaos?

Appeal to flattery, appeal to authority, argument from incredulity, false dichotomy, and so on and so on.

I can tell you this: having this conversation with Tom, or with many an atheist, will not be productive unless you're willing to recognize the importance of formal logic. In fact, I think these conversations typically go on about 1000% longer than necessary because one or more parties does not understand logic as an epistemological tool.


(incidentally: my above statement contains, I believe, an *informal* fallacy or two. But I'd say that's only because I'm being lazy).

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GinetteB
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Oh yes I understand logic as an epistemological tool. But proposition logic designed as it is can only be applied on reality as we perceive it.
You both carefully avoid going into the discussion whether 'God exists' is a valid proposition. Why is that?

If you state that 'God exists' is a valid proposition, then proving whether this is false or true can only be done trough what can be found of God in reality as we perceive it, and that is God's connections with reality and his properties as shown through those connections, from where you might deduce the existence of the 'object' 'God'. If there are no such connections, then existence of an object 'God' outside our reality is irrelevant.

I think you're the ones being unrealistic tring to use formal logic on realms where it is not made for.

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Orincoro
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I'd say, no. You don't understand logic very well at all.
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Vadon
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To help make it clear what some of the logical issues in your position are, a proposition is not valid or invalid. Validity in formal logic has a particular meaning. Validity is a description of an argument--not an isolated proposition. A valid argument is one where if the premises are true, the conclusion cannot be false. A sound argument is one where the premises are all true. Your goal in constructing an argument is for it to be both valid and sound.

An argument is made up of propositions and based upon the relationship of those propositions (the logic) you hopefully reach a conclusion (which is, itself, a proposition). Propositions are just statements which can be either true or false. Our experience, perception, or knowledge does not influence what it means for a statement to be a proposition. For example, if I were to say "There are only 72 stars in the universe," it is pretty clearly false. I just need look outside and I'd see more than 72 stars and see that my statement is false. But my statement is still a proposition. The question for it to be a proposition isn't whether it is true or false as a matter of fact, what matters is that the statement can be true or false. All claims made about whether the proposition is true or false are separate considerations from whether the statement is a proposition in the first place.

To help you in making your argument, what you probably want to do is claim that arguments attempting to reach the conclusion "God Exists" are useless. If you change your claim to that, you can then strengthen your claim by building a sound, valid argument where that claim is your conclusion. You would want to explain what makes an argument useful, then show why arguments that conclude "God Exists" do not meet your standard of usefulness. Then people would engage your argument based upon whether they agree with your standard of what's useful, not with whether you have been making a logical argument.

I give massive props to CT for trying to engage with you in the debate you have been wanting to have, and not the debate you keep being pushed into. It's pretty rare to see someone who sees between the lines and tries to address what you mean to say, and not necessarily what you've actually said. I think it's clear that you have some pretty strong opinions on the matter and I hope you are able to find a satisfying way to express them and be heard.

ETA: For the record, I'm not Orincoro either. I'm just little ol' Vadon. I'd do a landmark, but I have no idea what I'd share or what land I'd be marking. [Smile]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Oh yes I understand logic as an epistemological tool. But proposition logic designed as it is can only be applied on reality as we perceive it.
You both carefully avoid going into the discussion whether 'God exists' is a valid proposition. Why is that?

We can stop here. We do not arrive at logical conclusions by starting with a premise that is not valid. The discussion has to start with a logically consistent argument that concludes that god exists. You can't start with e assumption that this premise is true. You very much want to, but you cannot.
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GinetteB
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1) I do not have strong opinions on the matter of God and religion. Orincoro can't read. He insists on accusing me of wanting to start from the premise that 'God exists' while the only thing I say is that it is a nonsense question. So why would I want to start from that???
Maybe Orincoro is reading between the lines something that is not there?

The fact that I think it is a nonsense question comes from using my common sense, not because of my faith in God or my religion (I don't even have one, just in case you're interested)

2) I do have strong opinions on using a logical system that is only valid within a certain context, you will only get in trouble and bite in your own tail. Do you really think our logical systems don't have to be adjusted for now and all eternity? (Do you fx think quantummechanics is a danger to the world? Because nobody really understands it and they work with probable truth?)

But you know, I am quite fed up here with this forum. I left it 8 years ago (back when there were all kinds of people around, back when the bullies didn't rule, quite right what Vadon says, this pushing thing)
It is all about willingness to understand.

I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research. ~Albert Einstein

So yes Vadon I move on... nice meeting you, nice seeing CT again. And may Hatrack once more become what it once was.

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Orincoro
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I can read. What you write is not exactly worth reading, but I *can* read.

A like that though, some insults, then some deflection and some whining about the way things used to be. Good for you.

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by GinetteB:
Oh yes I understand logic as an epistemological tool. But proposition logic designed as it is can only be applied on reality as we perceive it.
You both carefully avoid going into the discussion whether 'God exists' is a valid proposition. Why is that?

We can stop here. We do not arrive at logical conclusions by starting with a premise that is not valid. The discussion has to start with a logically consistent argument that concludes that god exists. You can't start with e assumption that this premise is true. You very much want to, but you cannot.
To be fair, if you want to assume a starting premise is true, you can do it and have a logically valid argument. You'd be begging the question, but it's still technically valid. It certainly isn't pursuasive and the argument isn't sound, but it is logically consistent. Accusing someone of assuming a premise isn't a matter of the logic being wrong, but that their argument fails to achieve a pursuasive conclusion. (Because if we don't make the same assumption as the argument provider, we won't reach the same conclusion.) In short, you're right that people shouldn't assume a premise is true for their argument. But it's not because to do so makes their argument logically inconsistent, it's perfectly consistent. It just isn't a good argument. [Wink]

But to Ginnette, I'd hope you'd reconsider leaving the forum entirely. It's true the overall activity has dropped significantly and I'd agree that there are fewer people that engage with arguments civilly. But we do still have some great members who simply choose not to enter controversial threads. They choose to stay in the threads about books, films, and food. (That's not to say that food isn't a matter of controversy, but people tend to be more civil in their arguments regarding which pastry is most delicious. [Smile] ) If you do choose to leave, I wish you well and hope your future ventures go better than your return to Hatrack.

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Annie
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I can read. What you write is not exactly worth reading, but I *can* read.

This is not a civil thing to say and is not helping the situation.

Please take some responsibility for the fact that attitudes like this make people feel bullied and unwelcome.

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Orincoro
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I think you could have said that 10 days ago. I also think your personal animosity towards me causes me to suspect your intentions at picking out a comment I made, in response to a very rude comment from someone else, and holding that up as an example of "why people feel unwelcome." I rather think people who could not possibly *be* welcomed, if only for the fact that it's clear being welcomed is not a part of their agenda, feel unwelcome. I'm not shy about this. I don't welcome people who are unable or unwilling to be intellectually honest.

Now, I dont want to be drawn into yet another debate on this. So you may say whatever you like about me, I don't intend to respond.

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TomDavidson
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For what it's worth, I have no personal animosity towards you and yet have become very irritated by your posting style of late. You've defaulted to arrogant, brittle hostility and generally choose to leaven it with sarcasm (and over-the-top self-aggrandizement, presumably on the assumption that the obvious exaggeration will be taken for modesty.) I'd prefer that you consider another approach, personally.
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Orincoro
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I appreciate your comments.
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Dobbie
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
...to leaven it with sarcasm (and over-the-top self-aggrandizement, presumably on the assumption that the obvious exaggeration will be taken for modesty.) I'd prefer that you consider another approach, personally.

At least until Pesach is over.
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Orincoro
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I only eat unleavened sarcasm.
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Dobbie
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I never knew. Was your name originally something like Orincoroberg?
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Orincoro
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We don't like to talk about it.
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Aros
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Ginette: Please know that Orincoro's abuse is not indicative of most of us here. Quite a few of us stay out of threads he's derailed. He is often a good contributor, but his behavior ebbs and flows -- often arguing semantics rather than the topic and degrading you unless you follow his rules. This isn't a college class, but he tends to be particularly critical, perhaps trying to make himself feel smart or important. Please don't take it personally. He once left for awhile (never to return) after a particular argument with me. Fortunately, he returned. He is intelligent, and he makes many good points, he'll keep you on your toes, but he is an internet archetype -- the loudmouth who'd probably get his teeth knocked in for behaving like that in the real world.

I think your perspective is valid. You're not really leveraging your main point, however. You feel that an objective understanding of God's existence is irrelevant because we don't live in an objective world -- we each have our own subjective umwelt. Anecdotally, it can be inferred that it is possible to have a profound, positive relationship with God. Yes, from an objective perspective this might be "in your head" or your subconscious or whatever, but that doesn't invalidate the subjective experience.

I often argue with atheists and agnostics the whole "what have you got to lose" philosophy. Belief doesn't cost anything (discounting tithes and the like). It's really a matter of glass half empty / half full. I find that most hard-core atheists were believers who lost faith. That's the real downside of your subjective argument -- that a believer-turned-disbeliever will not be able to find the value in the subjective proposition. They've already taken a hit to their ego and feel that they "wasted" time and energy on belief. Either that, or they're proud that they have came to their own conclusions and thrown of the yoke of human ignorance.

Religion is a touchy subject that a lot of people take personally. When people feel like they know the objective truth is dangerous. Keeping it subjective allows for the fact that you might not be right, that you don't have to convince others to your way of thinking.

On a side note, there are many believers who don't believe in having a personal relationship with a higher power. They believe in the values, the sacrifice, and redemption. I'm kind of on the fence about the whole matter.

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Orincoro
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He also enjoys people waxing long and condescendingly about him. And talking in the third person. And beginning sentences with a conjunction. And meta-humor. And lists.
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Aros
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And yet, he still elicits a laugh from me. But I guess that says something.
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Annie
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I think you could have said that 10 days ago. I also think your personal animosity towards me causes me to suspect your intentions at picking out a comment I made, in response to a very rude comment from someone else, and holding that up as an example of "why people feel unwelcome." I rather think people who could not possibly *be* welcomed, if only for the fact that it's clear being welcomed is not a part of their agenda, feel unwelcome. I'm not shy about this. I don't welcome people who are unable or unwilling to be intellectually honest.

Now, I dont want to be drawn into yet another debate on this. So you may say whatever you like about me, I don't intend to respond.

I don't read Hatrack every ten days. I'm lucky if I make it here every couple of weeks.

Also, none of that is my "personal animosity" because I don't particularly remember who you are though I know we've interacted often. I do know that when I meet up with people here who I feel are acting uncivilly I tend to call them out on it. I'm sure you and I have disagreed in the past. But I'm not familiar enough with the community these days to remember you specifically and none of this is a personal vendetta.

I do still think that the way you were treating another poster was totally uncalled for and I remain unapologetic for pointing it out.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
And yet, he still elicits a laugh from me. But I guess that says something.

That's nice of you. I had had several people suggest that I was not actually funny, and I was getting insecure, and considering becoming a serious, dapper character not unlike a pharmacist. But now; now that I know I can elicit a laugh from you, there is no stopping me. You are responsible for this. You have resurrected my confidence, and ensured thousands of future posts. You can be proud. I am proud of you.
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GinetteB
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I want to apologize to Orincoro for saying 'Orincoro can't read'. I never realized this could be felt as a 'very rude comment' until I saw your post about how you have trouble with your eyes. So now I can imagine this remark caused you to react with anxiousness, I am really very sorry about that.
For the rest, I did move on to other fora on the Internet exchanging ideas. There's one thing I kept in mind that comes from the thread here, and that is Orincoro's remark 'appeals to flattery'. True words, it's never a good idea to try to have people understand ideas by working on their emotions: emotions don't last, so the understanding won't last either. I only wished he would take his own advice:=)
It might also be so, that problems arise here as a result of a narrow definition of 'intellectual honesty'. Our common sense is not only reason, experience and knowledge, it is also compassion, imagination, inspiration and intuition. At least, that's my idea.

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Orincoro
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I think obviously, we run into problems when we *cLl* something an argument, when what it actually is, is an appeal. That's why "common sense" gets dismissed- because it is declarative, but does not engage on an argumentative level.

As for my eyes, thank you. Actually I have had visual processing issues for a long time, but am capable of reading, though I do so slowly. That, I don't think, made me sensitive- just the implication that my response was based on a lack of insight, rather than what I of course Thoth it was- an unwelcome insight.

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