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CD Richards

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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 25, 2017 10:14 PM << Modifed September 25 at 10:17PM >>
Michael,

I accept your point. It makes a good deal of sense. Why should anything matter if there is no grand purpose? I'm not sure that I have a definitive answer for you - but to my mind, that's ok. I accept that I will never have an answer for everything. And making up answers doesn't seem to me to be the way to go.

In short, I find myself here, having had no say in the matter. Barring some sort of misadventure, I might have three score and ten years or so to fill in. The question is, how do I want to do that? Do I want to be selfish, and take everything I possibly can, giving nothing in return? Should I destroy everyone and everything along the way to advance my own cause? Well, that's simply not something that appeals to me. We can argue until the cows come home about why I should feel that way. Truth is, I don't know, but an explanation along Darwinian lines makes more sense to me than one along biblical lines.

I'm interested in your idea of how it all works. Why, according to you is something "good"? Is it because that's what God wants? And something is "bad" because God doesn't want it? If so, then I guess we have the answer to why all the atrocities of which the OT speaks can be considered "good". I suppose it boils down to whether one accepts this definition.

I'm interested in how you consider doing "good" or "bad" moral, when it is simply following the commands of a supreme authority figure. As I stated before, to me, that's just subservience. Obey or die.

Atheism may not have adequate answers to these questions. In my view, the answers offered by religion are no better, from a theoretical point of view. From a practical point of view, well - history speaks for itself.


CD Richards

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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 25, 2017 10:21 PM
Emma has addressed your "finely tuned" argument, Recon. I see you've just chosen to ignore it. I fail to see how theists regard this as so impressive. The universe is as it is because if it wasn't, it would be some other way. The dice had to land some way (there's an opening for you ;-) ).


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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 25, 2017 10:34 PM
-headtilt-.....ah....yea


michaelcahill
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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 25, 2017 10:57 PM << Modifed September 25 at 11:03PM >>
I'll give it more thought before I give a complete answer.

But, recognizing a sense of good and evil was innate in my case and I believe that is the norm. No, I didn't need an edict to direct me. It was already within me to have the ability to discern that punching someone in the nose would hurt them and that I would feel bad for doing so. In my case, I still felt bad even if they deserved it. Why did they deserve it? In my judgment, they did me wrong and that was justice. But if my reaction to serving justice was guilt, then perhaps I was wrong to be serving it.

I'm just rambling out the thoughts in my head as I contemplate the idea.

In any case, I believe I was born this way. (Hit the Lady Gaga track!)

I do not believe God condones or calls upon anyone to do ill. I believe it is our weakness solely and has NOTHING to do with God. So, I say there is no Christian Crusades, no Muslim Jiad, NO Islamic State, No HOLY WAR of any description. It is ALL completely HUMAN and evil and has no connection to God in any way except ... as an excuse.

I have to offer up my little Church as a factor in my beliefs. It is true that often the Churches themselves seem to abrogate the veracity of any spiritual aspects. Yes, there are some God for profit endeavors that give non-believers EVERY reason to run and cast aspersion on religion in no uncertain terms. Honestly, I join them. But a congregation that is truly following the spirit of Jesus and his teachings is a wonderful thing. I've never been so accepted in my life. No group of folks have ever come to my aid without hesitation or question the way they have. AND the focus of our services is how to help and how to find good. Yes, we collect money, whatever we can scrape up to keep our modest little Chapel going. But the pastor drives a Toyota and lives in an ordinary house.

Well, more to come.

In essence, I'm sure we have similar views except mine include a supreme force at play and yours don't. :))

edit to add: I think the Big Bang is how God created all of this. Can I prove it? Nope, but it seems like a reasonable explanation to me and no one can disprove it. :))

I wanted to add ... I get some BIG eye rolls when I throw some of my off the wall theories into Bible study. HA! "Maybe we are individual cells in one large organism called humanity and it is growing. Our essence is replaced with a knowledge of the cell we were and thus we live on in a sense ... HEY, where's everyone going?" LOL


Sarkems
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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 26, 2017 03:04 AM << Modifed September 26 at 3:11AM >>
I think the whole moral question comes back to my basic point of 'survival of the species'. This might sound a bit cold, but if we were all sociopaths with no feeling or consideration for one another, we'd have wiped ourselves out years ago. In order to survive as pack animals, we have to be able to work together in groups, yes? You'd get a bad feeling if you hit your neighbour because of your empathy/goodness, but that stems from an instinctive self-preservation. If you'd hit your neighbours in tribal days (or more likely killed them), you'd have been isolated from your group, with little chance of survival.

If you look at those who do evil things on a grand scale (Hitler, and so on), you can still see this self-preservation evident, it's just differently formed. Warped, you might say. He believed he was protecting himself and progressing his country. The fact that he was a)wrong and b) totally insane doesn't alter the fact that he thought he was getting rid of not just his enemies but enemies to his country, but he couldn't have done any of it if he hadn't been able to make the people around him do his bidding, and in order to do THAT, he couldn't just be an indiscriminate bastard. He had to appear to be socking it to 'the bad guys', for the benefit of 'the good guys', i.e himself, and those that thought like him. Does any of this sound a bit familiar. It should. Leaving aside Hitler's deranged mass genocide, most wars have been fought based on the 'good guy/bad guy' principle, but what determines which guy is good or bad depends which side of the fence you are on. It's basic pack survival.

Science and the flat earth ... well, yes and no. Again, I point to early tools and rudimentary understanding. The difference with science is that each answer is not definitive, it will be overturned when new evidence arrives. And since most men of science were, at one point, men of god (or claimed to be), in fact, most observational science which led away from biblical understanding was generally sat on. Galileo being a good example.

I appreciate that you 'bend your knee' to Jesus. His depiction in the bible is of a pretty sound guy, I wouldn't knock anyone for wanting to live like him. It's just that I think he's a composite character. As I've said before, I think he's based on Siddharta Gautama Buddha (c. 563 BCE/480 BCE ? c. 483 BCE/400 BCE), who also preached some pretty decent stuff about selflessly helping others, etc, but without the bells and whistles of miracles and being the son of god (or claiming to be).

But nether Buddha nor Jesus make the claim that one should do these good things merely for the sake of others. There's always a personal reward; in Buddhism it's enlightenment, and an end to the eternal revolving door of reincarnation (which is where Buddhism and I part company), and Jesus' offering his father's love and protection. Because both figures recognise, though they've put fancy spirituality around it, that life is just easier if everyone helps everybody else out, and as individuals, your life will be better with more friends than enemies.

I'm afraid I don't believe anyone works tirelessly for others with no thought for themselves. That sounds nasty, but it isn't really. I don't mean people do it for material gain, or to make themselves look good, or even just to get to heaven, or reach enlightenment. People who devote their lives to others get a personal kick out of it, even a simple as that warm, glowing feeling. If you felt awful when you did something good, would you do it? If you felt an awful sense of guilt when you helped a neighbour, but a positive sense of wellbeing when you punched him, which would you do? (Some people, of course, do have that problem. Something's not quite right with the wiring, there).

Some people have a stronger instinct to do 'good' in that way than others. Those people are rare, and to be treasured. But it's like every primeval instinct, some of us have more of some things than others, which is why we were never meant to live as solitary species. We aren't cats. We don't survive well on our own, so we have to get on better with each other than cats do. It's all about optimal survival.





Sarkems
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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 26, 2017 03:24 AM
Craig, I gave Recon's video points for at least attempting to address scientific discoveries, which is more than I've seen anyone else do. I've yet to see an answer to my question of what is all the rest of the stuff in the sky for. There isn't one in the bible.

Most of the science stuff, which I admit is rather dull, isn't really addressed when I bring it up in this forum. Mikey, any and all scientific theories are available for discussion in their entirety, and anyone is 'allowed' to pick them apart, and people do. Evolution being a good example of this. 'The origin of species' is as freely available as the bible. People on this very forum have scoffed at that (many, I'll warrant, without ever actually reading it), in exactly the same way others do with the bible, so not really sure what your point is there.





michaelcahill
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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 26, 2017 04:11 AM
Briefly ... it's 1AM here and I'm an insomniac. A good excuse for some of my ramblings.

It doesn't occur to me when I'm doing something "good" that there is some kind of a reward involved. In fact, I find that motive to be bordering on evil really. There is no doubt though that I have received satisfaction as a result of a kind act. It may not have been my motive, but, yes, I've been rewarded. In fact, I've been richly rewarded. Most would call me poor by most societal standards. But truly, by any other standard, I am blessed. I'm absurdly lucky and there has to be a host of Angels protecting me. But, no, I don't expect tenfold return when I drop a buck in the offering plate or give someone panhandling a five dollar bill to get a bottle.
Do I get that return? I don't know. I don't have much. But I do have peace. So, maybe.

I do know that there are some true low lifes who use the concept of giving for reward to get filthy rich and call themselves Christians. I shouldn't judge, but I don't appreciate them setting themselves up as spokespeople for my chosen faith. It ain't my view.

As far as evolution. Count me in. A great theory that I would call a science really. Yep, the evidence supports evolution as the likely progression and advancement of life here on Earth including us. There is plenty of evidence that we are continuing to evolve. Take a look at your little toe. It's disappearing. No need for it. There are other examples. Our evolution is part of the reason I don't think we've advanced to where our capacity has reached a point where we have the understanding of creation that we may a thousand years from now.

We claim five senses when it is becoming clear there are MORE. In any case, I believe in facts arrived at empirically. Why wouldn't I? AND, how does that abrogate the existence of a higher power and negate the fact or possibility that this power is the force behind creation?

There's no question that mankind is one messed up species. Perhaps it is because it's a primitive species not yet fully evolved or finished. I do see wonderful aspects of our kind as well. Look at what we create. Look at the incredible kindness and sacrifice we are capable of. We aren't all greedy killing machines. I don't steal. I'm a pretty nice guy really.

Anyway, this is a short response. HAAAAAHAHAHA!!


Sarkems
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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 27, 2017 03:08 AM
Yes, there's something nasty about doing good for financial gain or notoriety, but that isn't what I mean (though there are people who do that). What I am attempting to do here is explain how moral values come about without a supreme being.

When decent folk like yourself do something negative, something which hurts another, even if justified, you wouldn't feel great about it. Perhaps it my wake you up at night, or gnaw away at you. It's not necessarily a conscious thing, but most folk are aware of this consequence of our actions. The consequence of doing positive things in relation to the people about us is different. I'm not saying we all go about thinking, 'yes, I will help that little old lady across the road because I'll feel good about it afterwards', it's more instinctive than that. But, if helping an old lady across the road had the same effect on our brains as say, tripping her up (which, as I've said, for some it does, sadly), would we do it? If you, instead of feeling a vague satisfaction, felt self-loathing and disgust when you helped someone in need, would you really do it?

There's a reason why we get those feelings appropriate to what actions we've taken, and it's related to species survival, that's all I'm saying.

This is really related to your question about what the 'purpose' of an inbuilt moral code is. And the fundamental answer is optimal chances of survival.

As to whether or not all the science negates a god, well, you've got to admit, it pushes him a lot further back than true creationism. If I was to believe, I'd have to believe in the whole shebang for it to make any kind of sense. I mean, if all your god did was set up the whole thing to just happen on its own, with evolution and all, why be so bothered about the behaviour of one species to send his son down here to straighten us all out. If he was that bothered about how we behaved, and what happens here, he'd have made us to specification, rather than leaving us to chance. And why make us all die, just to get resurrected later on, if we behave ourselves. Why not just say, 'okay, you will die if you're bad, live forever if you are good'. A belief in the existence of Jesus, and the purpose to which he was apparently sent, points much more towards an 'intelligent design' view of humanity than the possibility that this world was, indeed created by a god, but only in the sense that he orchestrated the big bang, etc. To me, anyway.

Seems to me that, far from being too well ordered, the processes of survival, life and death, birth, etc, are just too inefficient to be made. It makes no sense to me whatsoever that I should have to bleed every damn month just to be able to reproduce, and certainly that I should have do the equivalent of shoving a marrow down a one inch diameter tube to give birth. I mean, he can create whole planets but he couldn't give women a little zip somewhere? (If there was a creator, trust me, he wasn't a woman).







Sarkems
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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 27, 2017 05:01 AM
Since it's been mentioned, I'd also like to take a brief look at prayer. Prayer doesn't make much sense to me. Oh, it's a harmless enough activity, but ... well ...

I look at this way. Mikey, you say you aren't saying you could pray for a new car, and get one, but that's not to say you couldn't. Well, OK, since millions of people across the world pray, and surely some of those do pray for things like new cars, or even to find their lost car keys, at some point the law of averages suggests that some people get those things. Then they say to their neighbour, 'oh, wow, by the grace of god I've got this new car/found my car keys/got my lost dog back'. Meanwhile, their neighbour, who is just as good a Christian as his neighbour, does all the things he's supposed to, lives his life as close to that of Jesus as he can, etc, has been praying to god to cure his wife of her terminal disease. But she dies. What is he to make of the god who drops a Maserati into his neighbour's lap, but doesn't spare his wife? Being a good Christian, he'll probably think the stock thoughts - 'he's taken her to a better place, I was selfish to ask, god gives us what we need, not what we want, etc.' But, really?

An old friend of mine who was from a devout family once came into college one day full of the news that, after much prayer, god had seen fit to provide her family with a new washing machine. I can't remember how this miracle came about, I thinking it had something to do with someone having a spare one they gave to the family. Now, at this time I was still doing the whole belief bit, but even then I could see this seemed a bit frivolous when there were decent people dying of poverty and disease in the world.

When there's a big disaster, like the recent hurricanes, or that boxing day tsunami, there'll be stories everywhere of survivors talking about miracles and how their prayers were answered, or someone was looking after them that day. So what does that say about all the people who lost their lives, their loved ones, etc. Why was nobody looking after them? The rather fundamentalist answer to that is, 'they obviously lived in sin/without god/weren't good people'. Really? Only the godless died?

Or, are there thousands of people whose prayers weren't answered, simply because god decided for some reason that they didn't need their families to survive that day, but Joe Bloggs on the other side of town did? Or maybe he was too busy finding Aunty Martha's lost wedding ring?

Believers have their answers for this, some of which I've given here, but for me, prayer is the ultimate in human self-deception. The belief that there is something we can do to save ourselves and loved ones beyond the necessary precautions of shoring up our homes as best we can/fleeing to safety. We like to feel in control of our own destiny, and major disasters beyond our control take that away from us. Our last hope of retaining any control is to believe that an act of prayer to a deity will spare us. Understandable, really, and understandable that we should, when our prayers aren't answered, seek positive reasons for not getting what we asked for.

Sometimes, people think there might be negative reasons - 'god took my family because I didn't go to church' - again we are seeing that desire for control, that desire to believe there is something we could have done, therefore there's something we can do in the future. again, understandable, but potentially harmful. After that boxing day tsunami, there were people tearing themselves to shreds over how their sinful ways might have caused the deaths of thousands. Which does what good, exactly? I doubt most of these people had been very bad, and the really bad people in this world seldom think like this, so it's unlikely that suddenly everyone 'saved' will go on to lead changed lives, though it does happen sometimes.

If your dog gets lost, and you put posters up all around the neighbourhood, is it really a remarkable miracle that he is found and returned to you? Is it because you prayed, or because you did something pro-active about finding your dog.

If you are sick, and do everything in your power to get well again, is it really your prayers that save your life? When you look across to the next bed in the ward and see that the godless heathen atheist from down the road with the same illness, who received the same treatment, also survived, wouldn't you wonder how much difference the prayers made?

If it's of comfort, pray away, this is merely an explanation of why I, personally, don't think it affects people's survival, or what they have in life in any way whatsoever.

But if someone says, 'I'll pray for you' to me, I wouldn't get angry about it, like some atheists do. I'd be flattered they cared enough to do something they think works. But I'm not going to rely on it.








CD Richards

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RE: Yes or No
Reply on September 27, 2017 05:46 AM
Spot on, Emma. This goes back to the point I am constantly making about unfalsifiability. Pray for something, and if it happens, "praise be to God". If it doesn't happen. "it's not His will". At no point could the answer be "nobody is listening".

   
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