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Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by rajatworld, Jan 8, 2012.

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  1. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    That sounds a lot like what my Mormon friend thinks. Yeah he's cute but hasn't managed to convince me yet.

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  2. The Grey Sage

    The Grey Sage Troubadour

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    I understand where you are coming from, but I would have to disagree. Thousands of people world wide are becoming Christians and mostly because a trusted friend or loved one told them the truth. Word of mouth isn't the only way either. The bestselling book of all time is... THE BIBLE. And through its truth, many come to believe.
     
  3. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

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    The point still remains that many, many, many people will have no opportunity to practice the Christian faith, and are essentially condemned to hell for because of it. Would a benevolent God really condemn even one soul to hell?

    Also, I've heard that the claim that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time includes Bibles that are given away (which is clearly not the same thing, because I imagine a hell of a lot of Bibles are given away). I'm not sure though, and I can't find a decent answer online at the moment - does anybody know more about that?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  4. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Just because a book sells well dies not give it legitimacy. I have one on my bookshelf and I don't think there is much of value in it beyond it being a classic work of fiction.

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  5. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    There are a lot of versions of the Bible, and many religions claim only one as the 'correct' version, so I think for the purposes of 'best-selling' I would only consider it true if a single version was, itself, the best selling book. Which I doubt. More likely every version is counted. I also have no hard data to support this, though.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    A benevolent God might simply appear, so humans would know he exists. Seems a bit odd to play the game of cat and mouse, with ancients texts, and maybe a bona fide religious experience for a few, while condemning to hell others who couldn't or didn't play the game, didn't have the information, or didn't see the proof.

    And the "problem of evil" is a huge one for any god perceived as omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent. Free will doesn't solve the problem (though that is what is thrown out as an answer often). To paraphrase Ivan, if that's the price of the ticket, I'll return it because the price is too high.
     
  7. The Grey Sage

    The Grey Sage Troubadour

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    First of all, the Bible is the most historically reliable ancient text of all time. There over 5,000 copies of the Bible within 25 years after Jesus' death. If that's not reliable, I don't know what is.
     
  8. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    The history in the Bible is laughably bad. I don't feel like debating the legitimacy of it right now. It is a sacred text like the Koran or Bhagvad Gita. It doesn't need historical accuracy, nor can it be given it.

    I won't try to counter any of your points, I just don't accept that the Bible holds any legitimacy or authority.

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  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    It is unfortunate, in my view, that there are those who attempt to turn the Bible into a science text or a history text. It is not particularly good at being either one, which should't be surprising because it was never meant to be either one.
     
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Here is something I wrote on the first page of this thread.

    Italics = what I hoped to see.
    Bold = what I feared I would see.


    "On religion, I believe a discussion of religion is actually "safer" than one on politics--under one condition: nothing is up for debate.

    My experience in Hong Kong was that most people can discuss religion respectfully. I've been to Taoist funerals. My wife was worried about what I would think, but I found it fascinating! (A lot of drumming, kung fu-like poses, and breaking stuff!) My experience discussing religion in the US is much different. Everyone from atheists to unitarians states his belief as fact and any contradiction is evidence of the other guy's ignorance.

    If this thread can be more like my Hong Kong experience, we will learn much about each other, and what a vast place this world truly is.

    If this is going to be a my-belief-is-better-than-yours discussion, we may as well all leave this forum and run for congress. Then we can get paid for having arguments that never end and solve nothing. (Okay, I made a political joke, but I didn't take sides so I think that was safe.)"


    I'm not telling anyone how to respond. I don't have the right to do that.

    What I will say is that I'm seeing what I had predicted as a "worst-case-scenario" for this thread. It could be a lot worse. I don't feel this discussion is "heated." However, I would like to point out that debating about one's personal beliefs in this forum will not change any hearts and minds, as I believe everyone knows. What it does is discourage others from sharing about their beliefs, and I'm not sure how many people consider this when responding. I know this to be the case because people have PM'd me with messages like, "I wanted to share my experience, but..."

    (Please note the bold-underlined portion of my quote so there is no misunderstanding: I'm trying to be objective, and not target one particular group or "side.")
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I find the academic or philosophical discussion of the issue to be interesting. The only productive discussion of the issue comes about as a result of people sharing their views, others questioning or raising objections, the first person answering, and so forth. I don't see anything disrespectful about pointing out areas of a belief system one does not find convincing, or about the person adhering to the belief system coming back with counter arguments. That's the nature of such a discussion, and in my mind that exchange is valuable in and of itself. Minds won't be changed, but the discussion can still be interesting and even illuminating. People take argument as a personal offense, whether believers or non-believers, regardless of which religion is under discussion, should probably stay out of the discussion because that mentality isn't productive for anyone. But the back and forth questioning and even challenging is what makes the discussion worth it.
     
  12. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

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    If it could be worse, then this isn't the worst-case-scenario.

    Everyone from atheists to unitarians believes their belief is fact, so it doesn't really matter whether they state it or not. However, I am inclined to agree after looking back at posts from believers and non-believers alike.

    I'd find it easier to cut the questions if these were just comments on a blog post or responses to a survey, but they're not. They're messages in a discussion and I think that if people aren't comfortable posting or backing-up their points then they should simply not post; it's all up to the individual. If they'd sooner tell me that I don't have the right to deny their participation, then they should post; again, it's all up to the individual. I mean... did anybody really want this thread to be a series of yeses and noes?

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but your post seems to shout "I'm being fair". I think your previous participation in the discussion invalidates your claim to objectivity and your consistent and almost apologetic explanations show insecurity rooted in the fact that you know you're already on a 'side' and that you know that your post targets certain users. Again, I'm not completely certain, but I'm guessing that you think a certain 'side' is being more aggressive than the other. If so, I'd like to argue that it seems like that 'side' is just more willing to question and present only logic (I don't mean logic in a way that is at odds with religion here, but that when someone claims that the Bible being the best selling [or distributed] book of all time equates to historical accuracy, they are not really making a point because sales/distribution doesn't correlate with historical accuracy).*

    As has already been discussed (and as you touched on), I don't think we should be scared to discuss our beliefs, but that doesn't mean that we have a right to immunity from further discussion, question, criticism, et cetera. From a young age we're taught that it's fine to debate constructively; politics, music, film, sports, ideas, changes - but never religion. Well I don't think religion is sacred, I think it's another opinion. It's an opinion as old in individuals as the opinion of who the best Star Wars character is, so it shouldn't be unfair to discuss it.

    In light of the recent discussion on not being afraid of conflict, I think the users that have opposed this debate are overreacting. As has been pointed out repeatedly, no one is going to change their minds, and so I doubt they'll consider it worth worrying about it either. That said, I've said all I really wanted to, so I'm happy to retire from this discussion unless something else interests me. Whilst I don't agree that it should be, religion is obviously a sensitive topic.

    *Sorry to use your post as an example Grey Sage. It's not that I don't value the contribution, rather that I do value it as spark for further discussion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
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  13. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    CLARIFICATION: By "worst-case-scenario" I was referring to the worst thing that I expected to happen, not the worst thing that I could possibly think of, which is that our discussion offends a jihadist so much that he blows up the Sun, killing us all, and it turns out his belief was the correct one, so now he's in paradise deflowering 72 virgins while we're being tortured in Hell and eternally debating about which of us had the second-most correct belief.


    My worst-case-scenario was THIS:
    My best-case-scenario was THIS:
    I'll be the first to admit that my use of "best" and "worst" is a reflection of my opinion, and another valid way to look at the above is that my scenarios are two extremes.


    People who want to debate and challenge ideas will likely prefer the scenario in bold, and may see the underlined scenario as a form of censorship because you're "not supposed to" debate or challenge ideas.

    People who want to share unique ideas and learn about how others think will likely prefer the underlined scenario, and may see the scenario in bold as a form of censorship because any idea that is unique will contradict somebody else's idea; therefore, the idea will be challenged by somebody; therefore, those who don't want to be challenged will not participate in the discussion; therefore, you won't learn how those people think.


    Personally, I have no problem with a healthy, logical debate. I just think debate here is pointless and illogical because there is no chance of persuasion. The arguments either preach to the choir or preach to those not in the choir.



    You're forgiven.
     
  14. I have to disagree; you're basically saying that religious debate is always pointless because no one can ever convince anyone else. It should be pretty self-evident why that's not the case.
     
  15. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    I rarely discuss these occurrences, as few people are likely to believe them... unless they are inclined to do so already.

    But I have directly witnessed supernatural phenomena that cannot be explained by the laws of science. They would, in fact, appear "magical" or "spiritual."

    For that I reason I am convinced that more exists than the material world that we can see, feel and touch. And yes, I believe that there is a God (who far exceeds human understanding) who is actively intervening in this world. I know this to be true.

    But no, I don't wish to be drawn into a debate on religion. It would be pointless.
     
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  16. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    If you guys really want a debate, invite someone to a friendly debate. That's a lot different than challenging every modest and often personal opinion that comes your direction. You're driving people off, instead of creating a welcoming atmosphere.

    If you really want to get into it, I could recommend a number of online places where people who are pretty proficient in these subjects like to discuss them. CARM.org has the most knowledgeable and active discussions of the places I've seen. Debate.org is diverse and impartial, with rules and a round of voting. There are others.

    I've known a lot of people on all sides of the discussion who are fully capable of responding to just about every post made in this thread, and I could probably do a pretty good job myself. But in this atmosphere, I don't believe they'd take the time to do so.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
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  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I don't discount the idea of an interventionist god out of hand, but I'm not certain whether the idea is comforting or troubling given the state of the world. People who advocate the idea of an interactive, intervening god always point the many good things that occur, whether to be considered miraculous or otherwise, and either rationalize or outright ignore the ills. The problem of evil, broadly speaking, becomes an insurmountable hurdle.

    As a microcosm of this, think of sports events. There are some players who, upon winning, give thanks to god, saying that god is the reason they won the game. But upon losing, those same played never say god let them down. There is something in the human psyche that lets us partition good and bad, mentally, so that we can ascribe good to the interaction of a divine being we revere while at the same time absolving the divine (either actively or passively) from the bad.

    I'm more apt to believe in such a thing as an interventionist deity from someone who recognizes a consistent amount of divine control over both the good and the bad.
     
  18. The Grey Sage

    The Grey Sage Troubadour

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    Obviously you haven't actually studied this topic but considering ten years ago I was of the same thought process and had no respect for any Biblical evidence I'll let it go with this one last statement: there is no Archaeological evidence to prove the Bible wrong, and the text itself has been found without any contradictions. Most people would say things like, "Oh, well in Genesis there are two different accounts of the flood's length." at first this is a glaring issue, but one time is for the rain, one is for the actual flood- in short one of the most popular pieces of supposed contradiction is just people reading in their view. That's all.
    I do think I will back off from this thread for a while, I understand the importance of not preaching on a forum. I hope my contributions have sparks some minds but I am rather of the same mind as Dragon and think that perhaps I will discontinue my contributions, seeing as you all know my beliefs, and that was the original intent of the thread.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    To me, the historical accuracy is a separate issue from the spiritual accuracy of the book. People on both sides of the issue seem to be hung up on that topic at times, but it really doesn't advance any of the spiritual arguments.

    As for flood stories, those appear all over the world, and the Biblical flood story was almost certainly taken from religious that predate the Bible and predate the oral tradition of the Hebrew peoples. You can find common threads going back to the Sumerians, and to the polytheistic Caananite religions (which took from Egypt as well as what came before in Mesopotamia). If the old Testament is correct, then one has to admit that people's going back to ancient Sumeria had at least hit on part of the correct picture.
     
  20. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    My question is, If christans were so concerned about their religion why on earth would they change dates of celibrations at will.


    By that I mean the date we celibrate the birth of Jesus, amungst other things. These were changed "to make the transition easier for people who were of other faiths."

    It seems to me if these things are so trivial that they would allow the dates to be changed then the whole thing is in its self trival.

    The vatican holds thousands od documents that they would rather kill over than let people see. Why is that? Would these documents bring religion as we know it to its knees as some tend to think?
     
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