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Belief in god(s) is superstition based 
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Stephen, I'll add your book to our http://www.booktalk.org/book-suggestions.php page soon.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:12 pm
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Post Belief in God is superstititon
Thanks, Chris. I think others will appreciate the addition of the book also.

Enjoy,

Steve



Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:19 pm
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Chris said:-

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You cannot help a delusional person if you don't understand the nature and cause of their delusions.


The cause of my 'delusions' ?

I have emotions....which are not rational.

Why do you want to help me? Because of your emotions....which are not rational......

Steve just admitted.....that his caring about other people was spiritual....but not religious.......spiritual is religious....without the dogma.

Because we cannot sum up our emotional/spiritual life in algebraic equations....doesn't mean it isn't real. But I agree it isn't rational.


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I think we often try to argue about something using criteria or sets of values that do not apply.
If a scientist makes a new discovery we can ask him to demonstrate and give rational proof.

This should not be done with religious belief IMO. If somebody says "I believe in such and such god" I have no business to ask him for rational proof of the existence of the god or of whatever is written in a religious book (naturally, if they don't take it upon themselves to offer said proof to me by the hour I'll be greatly relieved.)
Likewise I have no interest or need to prove that none of the many gods worshipped by humans exist, I will only say that (so far!) I do not believe in any of them.

Similarly, if you think a painting is beautiful, you may talk about it in terms of feelings, or in terms of art, but nobody should say:"So, you can't apply rational thought to show that this is beautiful? You are being irrrational about this? I declare your appreciation worthless".

I'll give one more example of this confusion of genres: homeopathy. The majority of physicians (those who don't practise homeopathy) declare that homeopathy is no better than placebo and nothing can be proved because homeopaths do not want to have their medicine and treatment compared "scientifically". What they mean by that is clinical trials which have in the history of science and medicine, proved successful (to some extent) only for one thing: comparing whether one allopathy type of treatment is more efficient than another allopathy treatment (when you read about those clinical trials, it's not even that concinving). Medicine is not an exact science, yet traditional western medicine insists it knows best. Instead of trying to look for a different, creative way of evaluating homeopathy, they cling to the parameters that work for them.

(In case I sound like one of the deluded, I know a lot of people who have been treated successfully with homeopathy, but it has never worked for me. I am only using this as an example of wanted to apply criteria which don't fit).


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Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:45 pm
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One man's beliefs is another man's superstitions.

"superstition: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation".
M-W

Whenever a new religion wanted to replace an older one, the previous beliefs were called superstitions.

Some rituals, taught by intelligent priests to intelligent believers, may have a spiritual meaning to the group. The same gestures, copied and transmitted without understanding, may be intruments of enslavement and obscurantism.

For an unbeliever, it's difficult to make a diiference between the belief and superstition. I'd say "belief" has a neutral or positive meaning, whereas "superstition" is a derogatory term believers may use about each other's practises.


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Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:09 pm
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John

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How can you honestly say that philosophy is irrelevant? You're stuck on one, single-minded conception of a Big Man In The Sky, Chris. He's not a little elf that drops clues so we can go on an Easter Egg hunt for them.


Then what is he? What PRECISELY is your God? Define, describe, locate, and explain your God. Philosophy is often used as a smoke screen to confuse issues, detract attention, draw false analogies and otherwise make simple matters appear complicated.

Quote:
You're never going to get evidence for him.

Then why in the hell would you believe in something that there is no evidence for? This literally blows my mind. If I didn't know you were serious I'd probably find this amusing.

Quote:
As I've said repeatedly in my posts, you're not going to get NATURAL evidence of the SUPERNATURAL.


How the heck do you know the supernatural exists if there is no evidence for it? If you cannot show me events, situations or elements of the natural objective universe that could absolutely not have arisen naturally then you're not going to convince me or any rational person that they arose supernaturally. And nothing in the known universe appears to only be possible through magic or supernatural means. So why on earth would I believe the supernatural even exists if there is no evidence for it and absolutely no need for it to exist?

Quote:
You're not going to get PHYSICAL evidence of the METAPHYSICAL.


Completely and utterly irrational. Just the fact that you are arguing that the metaphysical exists shows me that the metaphysical MUST interact with the physical. How else would you know or detect or sense the existence of the metaphysical? Aren't you an element of the physical world? The metaphysical must somehow cause effects on the physical world or you wouldn't be so sure it exists.

Just to keep this ball rolling lets talk about something that a lot of mystics like to discuss. Let's discuss the concept of energy. Energy is physical. It exists as part of the physical universe. It is real. Energy is not some sort of magical mystical vapor floating around affecting this or that, yet never being detectible, measurable or definable. If a mystic talks about spiritual energy then that energy MUST be detectable, measurable or definable. Or else how does the mystic know it exists?

Of course it is possible that the metaphysical realm or universe exists completely independent of the physical realm or universe, but if this is the case then how in the hell do physical beings (humans) detect and know of its existence? They absolutely couldn't.

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But some people have moved on to more interesting, sophisticated interpretations of what divinity might be, and how to incorporate it into our lives.


There is nothing interesting or sophisticated about the claim that a supernatural being created this or that. This is the negation of reason or a step back into the past. When you can't understand a mystery why not attribute the origin of the mystery to an even greater mystery? If you don't know how the universe came to be why not say, "God did it," and when asked what created God quickly cover your ears and repeat over and over again, "I can't hear you." Or even worse, "God is the first cause."

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What, precisely, makes you think that there would be evidence of god's existance if there was a god?


Common sense, education, deductive and inductive reasoning, experience and intelligence. Name 3 things that exist without leaving behind some sort of evidence for their existence. Please, this should be a simple task. Heck, name just one.

Ok, stop trying. I can see you there scratching your head not knowing what to say. You can't answer this question with anything other than "God," as if this form of circular reasoning is somehow valid.

Quote:
What makes you 100% sure that science would leave something behind to tell us?


I'm not 100% sure. I'm not 100% sure that there isn't a planet dominated by giant purple starfish. Since when is science about absolute certainty?

A lot was said in this post of mine so I'll reiterate a few points. I'd really like to hear your definition of the god that you believe exists. If you avoid this challenge it will speak volumes. Nobody could ever scare me into avoiding defining things I believe in. And if you answer with, "I'm not sure about how to define God," then tell me what you DO know about God and how you know it.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:17 pm
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Ophelia, this is a false analogy. Art is something subjectively interpreted. What one person finds beautiful the next may find hideous.

Whether or not a deity exists is NOT subjective. Either a deity does indeed exist or does not exist. These are mutually exclusive events. Both cannot be true at the same time. God cannot exist and not exist at the same time.

A painting can be thought of as beautiful by one person but disgusting by the person standing right next to them at that very moment. They both are seeing the same painting, which is an element of the physical world, but interpreting the painting differently. The painting is the objective element while the emotions, thoughts and interpretations the subjective element.

God does not exist just because people believe he or she exists. This would make no sense at all. A rational person does have business questioning any and all claims about the objective universe.

If God exists he exists as part of the physical universe. If God exists as part of the physical universe then there will be evidence for his or her existence.

If God exists as part of the metaphysical universe it is senseless to discuss because there would be no evidence to support believing in this god's existence. The moment a believer argues that there is evidence for a god he or she is agreeing that this god is a part of the physical universe.



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Quote:
Whether or not a deity exists is NOT subjective. Either a deity does indeed exist or does not exist. These are mutually exclusive events. Both cannot be true at the same time. God cannot exist and not exist at the same time.


This is where we disagree. To me the existence of deities is subjective, they exist in the minds, souls, etc... of the believers.

"If God exists as part of the metaphysical universe it is senseless to discuss because there would be no evidence to support believing in this god's existence."
Here we agree. I see God/ the gods as part of the metaphysical universe.

[/quote]The moment a believer argues that there is evidence for a god he or she is agreeing that this god is a part of the physical universe.[/quote]

But this doesn't sound like good manners or good neighbourhood policies if you live in a mixed area.
Isn't it because people refrain from making such claims outside their mosques and churches taht people can go on living together and practise tolerance?[quote]


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Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:18 pm
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Quote:
To me the existence of deities is subjective, they exist in the minds, souls, etc... of the believers.


So God only exists in our minds? I agree.



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I agree, too, that God just exists in our minds. Love just exists in my mind, too. But when in the presence of a lover or a friend or a family member, I can feel it encompass and embrace me.

Reminding myself that it's only a result of neural impulses should make me think less of it. But it ... doesn't, I guess.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:39 pm
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And Ophelia! What happened to being a non-militant atheist that was uninterested in conversations like these?

Caught in flagrante delicto!



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:52 pm
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John

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I agree, too, that God just exists in our minds.


Then you're an atheist.



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No, I believe in god. I'm not an atheist.

It's your conception that God's presence has to be objective. It's obviously not the conclusion of everyone.

Can you give me an example of an objectified emotion? Where can I see love, anger, admiration? I think they just exist subjectively. But that doesn't mean that I experience them any less.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:12 pm
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Love is a word we use to describe a range of emotions we experience at various times. Love doesn't exist as a tangible object, but more as a concept created to describe an experience.

The experience of love is an element of objective reality, but each person experiences this cluster of emotions and physiological reactions subjectively. Are you saying your God is merely a concept?

Do you pray or attempt to communicate with your god?



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I tried to say it earlier, but perhaps a bit too heavy-handedly. I think God is a concept. Particularly, a concept I try to associate and "fit" ideas into and around. In fact, love is one of the major "nets" of which my version of god is made.

No, I don't pray.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:26 pm
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