Agnostic - but willing to change my views - convince me!

#82
Biped said:
Indeedy do. We ascribe to this uncaused causer mental faculties and frailties of humanity. The angry god, the vengeful god, the almighty god who looks like a human and is bothered by matters human - indeed, an omnipotent, omniscient god who intercedes on behalf of humans that pray to it.

We make this god look like our grandfather's, or our elders, and we give them every human characteristic there is, but infinitely more powerful, despite being childish, vengeful, angry and listening to our individual prayers.

Everything we perceive or imagine is purely within human frames of reference and understanding. We could not describe the godliness of Quantum physics, because until recently, we didn't know it existed - and yet now, it's part of god's great miracle.

We were sent down from the Garden of Eden for eating from the tree of knowledge, and yet, the more we understand of the microsocopic and macroscopic universe, or multiples thereof, the closer to this so-called God we seem to be in the eyes of some, whilst for others, the more we understand, annd the further we can see, the further away God gets from our understanding and education of the reality that he was supposed to create in 6 days.

The very idea that we are an exceptionally lucky, but infinitely small and short-lived accident in the grand cosmos does not sit well with some - those who think we should have been the place that the sun and the rest of the universe revolved around. The centre of God's universe, at the centre of his godly scheming.
Biped, first I should probably state that I share your rejection of religion, but your argument (Dawkins' too) seems to grasp at the plain and simple aspects of Christianity in the main. There are plenty of other religions out there where the worship of a single or all powerful deity is an aside, where religion is a social or philosophical pursuit that requires (sometimes) the humanisation of unearthly beings. Christianity and most other Western religions transpired as a tool to control the masses but the more Earthly religions developed out of a need to be social and share common ground, they inspire rather than control, think Buddhism, Wicca and a handful of others where the goal is not to demean yourself in the face of power but to inspire good, encourage self development and foster a set of morals shared by a community.

Although I don't believe, I don't share Dawkins' dour and suspicious attitude to all religion, his purely scientific attitude is cold and lacks imagination (a human trait fundamental to the way we all think, scientist, Vicar, Pope or even soldier) our imagination is the limit to what we can theorise. Whilst he is happy to accept the latest mumbo jumbo or fudge factor that enables science to develop it's understanding of the quantum world, his absolute denial of anything otherwordly is hypocritical. There is so much in our Universe that science has yet to explain, there's so much that science has explained and simply got wrong and there is so much that science ignores purely because it is so hard to understand.

I know this as I used to teach Maths and Physics, questions like what happened before the big bang?- pat answer- nothing, before the big bang time didn't exist or; what is infinity? - infinity is merely a number made up by mathematicians so that they can do certain sums and get them to work when the numbers become so big (or small) that we can't comprehend them. The answers demonstrate just how little we actually understand of our own physical existance without even daring to think about what is beyond our eyes, ears and noses or indeed, our imagination.

Just as it is hard for Dawkins to understand why anyone should follow a faith blindly, it is difficult for others to understand how he can dismiss something so absolutely, neither side can ever win this debate it merely antagonises, it's pointless!

As a friend of mine once told me; I have no idea if it's true but he's a fairly clever man Professor Russ Stannard (used to be head of CERN some time ago) If carbon atoms vibrated at a frequency which is just 0.0002% different to what it is, then carbon couldn't form into long chains and life as we know it couldn't exist. Do we exist because of that piece of unbelievable luck or do they vibrate at that frequency so that we can exist: it's a chicken and egg problem (well trickier because everyone know the egg came first - genetics). No one knows the answer and nor will they, science takes one standpoint....... religion takes the other - stalemate.
 
#83
I am always surprised by the power that religion exerted over people's lives; they might have had a life expectancy of only 30-40 years and they were dirt poor, but they were capable of building places like Ely Cathedral, the cathedral in Koln and the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul.

They realised that they would never see the church finished but they got on with it. These day we don't start anything unless we can finish it next week!

So, my take on religion is that the various religions have built some fabulous buildings around the world! Wander down the road, visit some (the Hindu Temple in Neasden is unbelievable, reportedly!) and worship the skill and dedication that drives Man to create such wonders!

However, I think I really belong to the Dave Allen school of thought "May your God go with you"!

Litotes
 
#84
Ok, read all the stuff, some very clever and erudite,some plain NAAFI but if you are really interested try this:

have a look yourself!

Try some research, go and see then come back. It has helped a lot of people, its not about conversion but about answering questions.
It won't hurt to have a go!
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#85
chieftiff said:
Biped said:
Indeedy do. We ascribe to this uncaused causer mental faculties and frailties of humanity. The angry god, the vengeful god, the almighty god who looks like a human and is bothered by matters human - indeed, an omnipotent, omniscient god who intercedes on behalf of humans that pray to it.

We make this god look like our grandfather's, or our elders, and we give them every human characteristic there is, but infinitely more powerful, despite being childish, vengeful, angry and listening to our individual prayers.

Everything we perceive or imagine is purely within human frames of reference and understanding. We could not describe the godliness of Quantum physics, because until recently, we didn't know it existed - and yet now, it's part of god's great miracle.

We were sent down from the Garden of Eden for eating from the tree of knowledge, and yet, the more we understand of the microsocopic and macroscopic universe, or multiples thereof, the closer to this so-called God we seem to be in the eyes of some, whilst for others, the more we understand, annd the further we can see, the further away God gets from our understanding and education of the reality that he was supposed to create in 6 days.

The very idea that we are an exceptionally lucky, but infinitely small and short-lived accident in the grand cosmos does not sit well with some - those who think we should have been the place that the sun and the rest of the universe revolved around. The centre of God's universe, at the centre of his godly scheming.
Biped, first I should probably state that I share your rejection of religion, but your argument (Dawkins' too) seems to grasp at the plain and simple aspects of Christianity in the main. There are plenty of other religions out there where the worship of a single or all powerful deity is an aside, where religion is a social or philosophical pursuit that requires (sometimes) the humanisation of unearthly beings. Christianity and most other Western religions transpired as a tool to control the masses but the more Earthly religions developed out of a need to be social and share common ground, they inspire rather than control, think Buddhism, Wicca and a handful of others where the goal is not to demean yourself in the face of power but to inspire good, encourage self development and foster a set of morals shared by a community.

Although I don't believe, I don't share Dawkins' dour and suspicious attitude to all religion, his purely scientific attitude is cold and lacks imagination (a human trait fundamental to the way we all think, scientist, Vicar, Pope or even soldier) our imagination is the limit to what we can theorise. Whilst he is happy to accept the latest mumbo jumbo or fudge factor that enables science to develop it's understanding of the quantum world, his absolute denial of anything otherwordly is hypocritical. There is so much in our Universe that science has yet to explain, there's so much that science has explained and simply got wrong and there is so much that science ignores purely because it is so hard to understand.

I know this as I used to teach Maths and Physics, questions like what happened before the big bang?- pat answer- nothing, before the big bang time didn't exist or; what is infinity? - infinity is merely a number made up by mathematicians so that they can do certain sums and get them to work when the numbers become so big (or small) that we can't comprehend them. The answers demonstrate just how little we actually understand of our own physical existance without even daring to think about what is beyond our eyes, ears and noses or indeed, our imagination.

Just as it is hard for Dawkins to understand why anyone should follow a faith blindly, it is difficult for others to understand how he can dismiss something so absolutely, neither side can ever win this debate it merely antagonises, it's pointless!

As a friend of mine once told me; I have no idea if it's true but he's a fairly clever man Professor Russ Stannard (used to be head of CERN some time ago) If carbon atoms vibrated at a frequency which is just 0.0002% different to what it is, then carbon couldn't form into long chains and life as we know it couldn't exist. Do we exist because of that piece of unbelievable luck or do they vibrate at that frequency so that we can exist: it's a chicken and egg problem (well trickier because everyone know the egg came first - genetics). No one knows the answer and nor will they, science takes one standpoint....... religion takes the other - stalemate.
You make very good points. I'm not an avid, unquestioning Dawkins fan, I have to say, but he put words to many of the things that made me distinctly uncomfortable for many years, and he's a great starting point if you want to get into a heated debate, hence the avatar and quote. He also brings into sharp relief and ridicule some of the most preposterous goings on in the major belief systems; exactly where they should be.

I suppose I'm having a dig at the main religions because it is they that come up with the most pompous cr@p, and it is they that have been the cause of the most death and destruction in human history.

You are right on the button when it comes to some of the older religions of course. When you look at religion as merely a tool to harmonise communities, or focus the mind and energy, it can be a great tool - things like the use of mantras can be very helpful indeed. What I find absurd is this whole 'god' thing, or sky faeries interceding in human matters after being telephoned in prayer, or by priests, high priests, mullahs and vicars - it simply shows a: how gullible the masses are, and b: how much what an ostensibly noble cause can be subverted by accolytes in frocks living in grand houses that point at the sky - one of the last great mysterious places . . . . . . until we went into space and saw it for ourselves and realised just how insiginifcant we actually are.

If I was to subscribe to any particular belief system, it would be something along the Gaian theory, for its purpose is to venerate and focus the mind on nature, cherishing nature, and treating this planet and all life on it with the greatest respect, for without it, our survival as a species is very much in question. Any belief system that aids in progressing the human race, or stopping excess or destruction of that which nurtures and feeds us, whilst 'keeping it real' can only be applauded.

Belief, as a tool for survival and achieving goals is great, but the goals have to be realistic, and you don't need to create mumbo-jumbo to get the hook into people. If one has to kill to get a religion or belief system established, it's a cr@p belief system.

What has science got that religion hasn't? Where it cannot provide the answer, it provides the impetous to search for it, to go to greater lengths to discover it. Had the matter been left in the control of Christianity, we would not be talking on a forum right now. Science is happy to say 'I don't know this, let's look harder, let's posit theories and test them'. Religion for centuries said 'Believe this sh!t without question or we'll kill you'.

We are free to discuss and question scientific or mathematical theory, such as 'What did happen before the big bang, if this theory is correct? Show me, prove it to me, where's the evidence for the theory?'.

The human mind, in its ever increasing knowledge, understanding and power still needs mental hooks and tools to aid thought and to focus on a given subject. If that is through mantras, if that is through the 'belief' that there is more, or even blind faith that 'it will all work out in the end', so that one can carry on regardless of the risks or pitfalls, then that is what one has to do. BUT, let's call a spade a spade.
 
#87
I'm afraid I can't help you,

I'm a Frisbeetarian. I believe that when you die your soul flies up to the roof and stays there; until a strong wind blows it down and a dog fetches it back.
 
#88
mwl946 said:
I heard about a dyslexic agnostic................................

............he didnt believe there was a dog :!:

ok, I ll just get my coat
In my version there was a dyslexic agnostic insomniac - he used to lie awake all night agonising over whether there really was a dog.

Coat for PD too please. :D
 
#89
Biped said:
If I was to subscribe to any particular belief system, it would be something along the Gaian theory, for its purpose is to venerate and focus the mind on nature, cherishing nature, and treating this planet and all life on it with the greatest respect, for without it, our survival as a species is very much in question. Any belief system that aids in progressing the human race, or stopping excess or destruction of that which nurtures and feeds us, whilst 'keeping it real' can only be applauded.
We share a belief, does that make it a religion :p

I subscribe to a live and let live philosophy, a bit hippy with some Wicca thrown in I suppose. Look after the earth, use it and restore it - not an environmentalist by any stretch because I'm a little suspicious of people declaring themselves as "environmetal scientists" the new "religion" and latest attempt to control the masses in my opinion. A religion where we are asked to believe the preachings of many who are unable to carry out a simple independent statistical analysis and think chaos (non-linear dynamics) is still a theory, incapable of understanding the intricacy and nuance of cause and effect.

Dawkins books are good and I respect the man, his absolute confidence in science is the only part I worry about though. Science requires a hypothesis - derived from an idea inspired by human imagination, the hypothesis is tested and evidence to support or reject it is gathered, often we then extrapolate from this new "fact". The weak link is the people, unavoidable but influential, people interpret the evidence and as independent as they try to be their minds are limited by knowledge, imagination, experience and emotion; science is not absolute merely a best guess given the best available information.

Over 8000 official experiments have been carried out in an attempt to disprove Einstein's General Theory, nobody has yet proved him wrong; in fact they have all backed it up. Just one experiment could disprove something that we all accept as being obviously and undoubtedly true (even those who don't understand the theory accept it by their everyday use of things like GPS) The science would be in turmoil, effectively disproved (although science is built on failure, it's one of the reasons it is so reliable, it's organic and builds on success and failure). Think what credibility the environmentalists will have if the Earth decides to cool continuously for the next 20 years. How do you disprove God?

Science constantly walks on the edge of an abyss, it eats on it's credibility, God shares no such risk which is why in a thousand years religion will still be with us no matter where the science is.
 
#90
I intend to be killed quickly and horrificly long before I have to start worrying about an after life. I used to be religious until I met so many evil cnuts throughout my days!

Now I am stood by and ready to admit I believe in fook all and will probably make good worm food!

P.S - If you want me to bump you off in a freak underwater drive by shooting accident PM me.
 
#91
five-minute-fagbreak said:
I have always been on the fence as far as religion goes(just in case) and am amazed by the faith people have in a better place after we pop our clogs.
Last night after a day of merryment and lager, I had the normal wierd thoughts.
I thought to myself it was only 20 years ago that Ileft the army, but seemed like only yesterday, so, 20 years from now is not far away and I will be feckin 70!
So I need some help in thinking that when It's time to go, and presuming I am still a good lad, there will be shed loads of virgins or other nice things to look forward to, personaly I think religion is the cause of enough shite in this world, but it would be nice to believe there was something to look forward to when we peg it!
I'm not about to top meself, and this is the naafi so all incoming is expected, but anyone out there thinking the same? or can anyone talk me into going to church later instead of the pub :wink:
Fuck religion. There may or may not be a God. Damned if I know. What I think I know though is that we know F. all about God through religion. Religion is just silly.

Science is the only way to knowledge about the universe we live in. It may or may not give us a clue about God.

I am now agnostic.

BTW: I am not an atheist. I am agnostic. We do not (right now) know.
 
#92
I was raised in a family of strong Church of Scotland (grandad was an Elder), but despite that I've never twigged to the whole idea of God. I've also tended to observe that religious people tend not to have twigged too much to the idea of God, either. They're too busy ignoring his voice and listening to the ones inside their own heads.

I've tended, as a result, to believe more in people than in god. Whatever else they might be, they're dependable - you can always rely on them to be right knobs given half a chance. That makes as good a bedrock for faith as anything an invisible entity can give you.
 
#93
PoisonDwarf said:
mwl946 said:
I heard about a dyslexic agnostic................................

............he didnt believe there was a dog :!:

ok, I ll just get my coat
In my version there was a dyslexic agnostic insomniac - he used to lie awake all night agonising over whether there really was a dog.

Coat for PD too please. :D
:D :D :D

Litotes
 
#94
PoisonDwarf said:
mwl946 said:
I heard about a dyslexic agnostic................................

............he didnt believe there was a dog :!:

ok, I ll just get my coat
In my version there was a dyslexic agnostic insomniac - he used to lie awake all night agonising over whether there really was a dog.

Coat for PD too please. :D
I heard about a dyslexic satanist, he sold his soul to santa.

ahh my coat, thanks.
 
#95
chieftiff said:
Over 8000 official experiments have been carried out in an attempt to disprove Einstein's General Theory, nobody has yet proved him wrong; in fact they have all backed it up. Just one experiment could disprove something that we all accept as being obviously and undoubtedly true(even those who don't understand the theory accept it by their everyday use of things like GPS) The science would be in turmoil, effectively disproved (although science is built on failure, it's one of the reasons it is so reliable, it's organic and builds on success and failure). Think what credibility the environmentalists will have if the Earth decides to cool continuously for the next 20 years. How do you disprove God?
One experiment could disprove a particular scientific theory, but it wouldn't disprove science or the plausibility of taking a scientific approach. If you think about it, you've just tacitly endorsed that approach: you've said, "if theory x is wrong, that can be demonstrated by the scientific method". So science provides both plausible answers and a way of checking those answers: religion arguably doesn't provide the former but certainly doesn't provide the latter.

You can't disprove god: but as Biped is so beloved of saying, you also can't disprove a flying spaghetti monster or the tooth fairy. I'll probably be hoofed out of the Naafi for saying this, but "¬¬P = P" is a false equation: i.e., not being able to prove that someting does not exist, is not equivalent to demonstrating that it does exist.

chieftiff said:
Science constantly walks on the edge of an abyss, it eats on it's credibility, God shares no such risk which is why in a thousand years religion will still be with us no matter where the science is.
Science's credibility rests in its capacity to check and keep checking its own results: it's a real example of the watchmen watching themselves. I was going to write that "while god doesn't share the risk of part of his teachings being proved wrong, he also can't have some of them proved right". I think the last bit of that's true, but the first bit isn't: part of god's teachings can be proved wrong (pick your favourite lunatic holy book teaching). But there's no way to prove god right.

If you're going to say "ah, the above just proves religion can be wrong: religion doesn't = god", fair enough, but you can't have your cake and eat it. Either god's linked to religion, in which case we can point to religious teachings as a way to demonstrate flaws with the idea of god. Or, god isn't linked to religion, and bang goes much of the stuff we think we know about god. Without religion, the idea of god becomes remarkably vague.

I'd like to think that in a thousand years, if the human race is still going, religion won't still be with us. As I've said before, I think the primary reason why humans are religious is because of a need to posit explanations for things we couldn't otherwise understand. I hope science will have pushed the "God of the gaps" a lot further away in the next millenium.

Edited a couple of times for speelink.
 
#96
You lot are fucking geeks who need to get out more.
 
#99
Many thanks to Artemis and Biped who, in my opinion, have summed up the separation between "science" and "the scientific method" very neatly.

There has been mention of Jimmy Goldsmiths "What odds on a bet!" and Pascal's wager (essentially you should believe because the amount you can lose is too vast to contemplate.) This belief based on odds is morally cowardly. If you are agnostic because you can't make your mind up - all well and good. If you believe, but accept others views and realise that your belief is a matter of faith - I am very happy for you.

If you cannot find the faith to simply believe, then you don't believe. Have the courage of your convictions that Voltaire had. After a lifetime of atheism, if somebody calls the priest to grant Extreme Unction - when asked "Do you reject Satan and all his works?" answer, "It is too late to be making new enemies."

Faith in a deity or deities is just that - faith. If it gives you comfort, if it gives you peace, I am very happy for you, and will happily do everything I can to allow you to have your belief. Accept however that the chances of Allah, Jehovah, God whatever you want to call it actually existing are no greater than the possibility of Odysseus being imprisoned by Circe, or an Dreamtime before the Earth was given to Man. Try to convert me by all means, I was raised in a very religious household and sometimes I miss the comfort of it. Do not however, try to suggest that your faith has the same intellectual standing as "Principia Mathematica" or "On the Origin of Species." It does not. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Scientology - all paternalistic faiths are as likely as any other.
 
Enlightenment said:
Try to convert me by all means, I was raised in a very religious household and sometimes I miss the comfort of it.
Try my previous post then (one page back), not trying to convert but hopefully to give answers, and restore some comfort.
 

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