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Is your religion mythology?

 
EN
 
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EN
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10 July 2019 15:25
 
Garret - 10 July 2019 03:13 PM
EN - 10 July 2019 09:35 AM
Garret - 10 July 2019 06:51 AM

I have a myriad of questions though:
How do you know that it was God?
How did you rule out that it was Satan?
How did you rule out that it was the God of Islam?
How did you rule out that it was Lord Brahma?
How did you rule out that it was an hallucination?
How did you rule out that the experience was real, but the information wasn’t a product of your own mind?
How did you verify that the information is true?
If revelation is not something we can test or verify, what about it supports the idea that it came from God at all?

It could have been any of those things. But my senses at the time told me that it was God in the person of Jesus.  I trust my senses, inner and outer, for things every day.  My senses could be deceiving me that the traffic light is green instead of red.  But I trust them and cross the intersection.  My senses could deceive me that I was experiencing Jesus when in fact I was experiencing Shiva. But most of the time I find that they don’t deceive me in daily life, so I trust them. The thing about it that supports the idea that it came from God is the same thing that supports the validity of my senses every day - my every day experience.  I don’t expect anyone else to trust my experience, but it is sufficient for me.

Garret - 10 July 2019 06:51 AM

To equate the mountain lion example with revelation, we would need to change it to an invisible pink unicorn that you saw.  Invisible pink unicorns have never been documented.  We have no evidence that an invisible pink unicorn exists.  Claims about invisible pink unicorns suggest that we cannot investigate them through science and reason.  If I claimed that I saw an invisible pink unicorn, would your first assumption be that I actually saw it?  Would you think it even likely that I saw it?  What if I said that you had to believe it was real first, but even then, the invisible pink unicorn might never reveal itself to you?  What if you spent years praying and hoping that the invisible pink unicorn would reveal itself to you, but it never did?  Would it be reasonable and rational to believe that invisible pink unicorns exist, just because I said one revealed itself to me?

If people worldwide were getting revelations of pink unicorns, I might agree with you. To my knowledge, they don’t.  (Maybe you have a data bank of pink unicorn sightings).  People worldwide and for all human history have been getting revelations of the existence of God. Sure, they are culturally divided, but they have the common thread of being about God.  It’s part of the human experience.  And again, I’m relying on my own experience, not those of anyone else. I’ve never experienced a pink unicorn, so I have no reason to think they exist.

Do you agree that we can go to a zoo and see mountain lions?  Or I could go hiking in (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado… etc) and if I went enough times and was quiet enough, I would probably see one eventually?  (I’ve actually gone hiking and tracked one before, didn’t catch sight, but I was probably a day or two behind him/her)  I’ve also seen them at various zoos.  Seen them in various nature documentaries and lots of photographs.

If you want to equate God/Jesus to a mountain lion, I’ll agree to the comparison as long as you can provide a single shred of evidence, like we can with mountain lions.

I used the invisible pink unicorn as a proxy for a claim that is made without any substantiated evidence.  The fact that you immediately made an appeal to popularity is also telling.

It’s not an appeal to popularity. It’s an appeal to common human experience.

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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10 July 2019 15:32
 

That is literally an appeal to popularity.

If you want, I can even show you how using an appeal to popularity would show that Christianity is false if you rely on it as a basis for evidence.

 
EN
 
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EN
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10 July 2019 18:20
 

An appeal to popularity is “many people believe it, so it must be true.”

My argument is “many people experience it, which is why they believe”. It points out the common human experience of the presence of God.

It’s not an appeal to popularity.  It’s an explanation.  It is one of the reasons I believe in God.  I do not claim it is an absolute proof of God.  But your dismissal of it by analogizing it to pink unicorns is ludicrous.

Many people experience love, which is why they get married.

Many people experience pain, which is why they go to the doctor. 

The things we experience are real.  You don’t compare love and pain to pink unicorns. We learn to trust our senses and experiences.  It’s how we live.

You are attempting to test the realm of experience with the rules of logic and science, but you will not allow your materialistic position to be tested with the tools of experience. That reveals your unjustified bias.

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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10 July 2019 20:41
 

Except all of your examples (other than God) are things we can examine and evaluate.  You’re right in that I can’t document your literal experience with it, but all of the events that cause that experience can be understood and documented.

For example, if you say you love someone, I can ask you their name.  In this day and age, you can pull out your phone and show me a picture.  You can describe your first date.  You can describe your anniversary.  You can describe your wedding (if you’re married).  You can tell me the things about them that remind you how much you love them, and those things will be real things.  You might not have those exact details, but you will have a myriad of other details with which to substantiate your relationship.

If someone says they are in love, but cannot provide any details.  And I mean none, that would even suggest they’ve ever met the person that they say they are in love with, we actually understand enough about human interaction to make probable conclusion that what they are saying isn’t true.  For example, we know enough to say that John Hinckley Jr and Jodie Foster weren’t in love with each other, and his emotions would best be described as delusional.

So far, you keep appealing to things that we can observe and discuss in terms of the real world in order to explain your claim to the supernatural.  You keep reaching for things that can be observed, and we can make rational and reasonable observations about them.  We can understand them, if not fully, at least to some degree.

My bias is not unjustified.  I want evidence.

Let me give you an analogy. When you buy a house, you don’t buy the house on faith.  First, you look at the listing.  You see if the price is within your budget.  You check the listing to see if it is a size appropriate for you and your family.  You see if it is located in the city/neighborhood you want to live in.  Then, you go and look at the house.  You get a tour.  You have someone show you through it.  You look at as much of the house as you can to see if you like it.  Then, if it meets all those criteria, you put in an offer.  But you still don’t buy the house.  There’s more to do.  You hire an inspector.  You check out the schools if you have kids.  You hear back from the inspector and find out what problems the house is going to need.  You sit down with your budget and make sure you can still afford the house + the repairs.  Then closing day starts to come.  Once it does, a whole bunch of paper work needs to be signed to ensure that the person selling the house is 1) authorized to do so and 2) has informed you of everything necessary.  Those documents have to be made official.  In some places, that means a notary public as a witness.

I take this subject more seriously than I would buying a house.  Don’t you?  To me it feels like the existence of a creator of the universe and understanding them would be more important than buying a house.

[ Edited: 10 July 2019 20:43 by Garret]
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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10 July 2019 21:58
 
Jan_CAN - 10 July 2019 10:15 AM
GAD - 09 July 2019 11:05 PM

Is doing good for the sake of reward and the fear of punishment anything more then how dogs are trained? Dogs aren’t trained with reward and punishment so that they can learn to someday become independent and make their own judgements of right and wrong, they are trained to be subservient and do what they are told is right and wrong. That is what religion is, dog training.

There is something to this; re Christianity, I particularly see an element of brainwashing with Catholics, where the lessons are more doctrinal, by rote and questioning not encouraged.  However, in more liberal churches, the focus is often on kindness and good works rather than fear of punishment (I don’t remember hell or damnation being mentioned in the church I was raised in), which can serve to bring out the ‘better angels’ in some people.  It can’t be ignored that there are many fine charities run by Christian organizations.

But this creates a dilemma because it is contradictory and self-negating. First it accepts a belief in make-believe gods and magic books, then it says don’t worry about what that god or their magic books say to do and only do the parts you believe are good. This makes believing and doing what gods and their magic books say an interpretation, and if what gods and their magic books say is an interpretation then any interpretation is as valid as any other including doing the bad stuff which can now be deemed as doing “good works”.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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11 July 2019 00:10
 
EN - 10 July 2019 06:20 PM

An appeal to popularity is “many people believe it, so it must be true.”

My argument is “many people experience it, which is why they believe”. It points out the common human experience of the presence of God.

It’s not an appeal to popularity.  It’s an explanation.  It is one of the reasons I believe in God.  I do not claim it is an absolute proof of God.  But your dismissal of it by analogizing it to pink unicorns is ludicrous.

Many people experience love, which is why they get married.

Many people experience pain, which is why they go to the doctor. 

The things we experience are real.  You don’t compare love and pain to pink unicorns. We learn to trust our senses and experiences.  It’s how we live.

You are attempting to test the realm of experience with the rules of logic and science, but you will not allow your materialistic position to be tested with the tools of experience. That reveals your unjustified bias.

This is really important and merits an underline. The scientific and historical claims of religion are, from my perspective extremely unimpressive. They strike me as, at best sincere mistakes and often outright fabrications.

However, the claim to experience god is a different species. I don’t think it counts as evidence for anything except itself but I also cannot wave it away. The concept of empirical evidence is necessary to pursue science along with most any organized human endeavor. Along with logic and intuition it is one of our most fundamental tools. I report experiences of heat, cold, pressure, balance, color and noise among other things and thus I make sense of the world and am able to communicate my experience to others.

I am skeptical about claims to experience god. I have suspicion that these claims are hallucinations or expressions of childhood trauma or group indoctrination. But, I cannot live in another persons mind. I cannot experience what they experience. I can only infer from certain contradictions that their explanation is unlikely. The experience remains as it was. If I take the leap to deny the primacy of experience I think I need to follow that to its repugnant conclusion. If one experience is suspect or contrived or imagined or in some other way invalid why not all experience?

Even Christopher Hitchens admitted this. Religious experience is ontologically real to its subject. However we are to move forward with the project of human collaboration we are stuck with that fact.

 
MrRon
 
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11 July 2019 06:01
 
EN - 10 July 2019 06:20 PM

The things we experience are real.

Magicians can make us experience things which our senses tell us are real, yet defies the laws of physics and logic. So although the experience was genuine, the “thing” (i.e., the magic) was not real. The woman really wasn’t sawed in half. Or the rabbit in the cage really didn’t just disappear into thin air, etc.

You are attempting to test the realm of experience with the rules of logic and science, but you will not allow your materialistic position to be tested with the tools of experience. That reveals your unjustified bias.

The more we can use the tools of logic and science, the better. One thing we DO know a great deal about is just how flawed the human brain is, and how easily it can be deceived and manipulated. Much research has been done in this arena, and it’s truly humbling (and a bit scary) to realize that our brains are not the rational and reliable data recorders we think they are. Daniel Kahneman’s Nobel Prize winning work on the subject comes to mind.

Again, many seemingly credible people will swear by their alien abduction experiences. In some sense, they have more in their favor than those who claim to have communicated with God. Because, 1) it’s not unreasonable to assume that there is other life in the universe - after all, tens of millions of species have evolved on this planet alone, 2) space travel became a real thing when we went to the Moon, 3) examining other species in the interest of gaining knowledge is a real thing and is something that humans do to animals, and 4) there is no objective and credible evidence for any Gods. So how much credence do you give to the ostensibly more plausible claims of alien abduction?

Ron

[ Edited: 11 July 2019 06:04 by MrRon]
 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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11 July 2019 06:58
 

Atheists are so frequently marginalized for their views it takes on a sort of numbing effect.  Anaesthetized by tolerance while none is afforded in return.  Steeped in religious tradition and inundated with archaic folklore in a world without gods.  Demonized for asking questions like why we should buy into disorganized religion in the first place and given zero credit for thinking the universe is fascinating enough without imagining ourselves at the centre of it.  While the clergy hides in their costumes selling the myths that squander the mirth.  Frozen in time and awaiting the Sway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ8Bc6jz-W8

 
 
Jefe
 
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11 July 2019 08:46
 
Brick Bungalow - 11 July 2019 12:10 AM
EN - 10 July 2019 06:20 PM

An appeal to popularity is “many people believe it, so it must be true.”

My argument is “many people experience it, which is why they believe”. It points out the common human experience of the presence of God.

It’s not an appeal to popularity.  It’s an explanation.  It is one of the reasons I believe in God.  I do not claim it is an absolute proof of God.  But your dismissal of it by analogizing it to pink unicorns is ludicrous.

Many people experience love, which is why they get married.

Many people experience pain, which is why they go to the doctor. 

The things we experience are real.  You don’t compare love and pain to pink unicorns. We learn to trust our senses and experiences.  It’s how we live.

You are attempting to test the realm of experience with the rules of logic and science, but you will not allow your materialistic position to be tested with the tools of experience. That reveals your unjustified bias.

This is really important and merits an underline. The scientific and historical claims of religion are, from my perspective extremely unimpressive. They strike me as, at best sincere mistakes and often outright fabrications.

However, the claim to experience god is a different species. I don’t think it counts as evidence for anything except itself but I also cannot wave it away. The concept of empirical evidence is necessary to pursue science along with most any organized human endeavor. Along with logic and intuition it is one of our most fundamental tools. I report experiences of heat, cold, pressure, balance, color and noise among other things and thus I make sense of the world and am able to communicate my experience to others.

I am skeptical about claims to experience god. I have suspicion that these claims are hallucinations or expressions of childhood trauma or group indoctrination. But, I cannot live in another persons mind. I cannot experience what they experience. I can only infer from certain contradictions that their explanation is unlikely. The experience remains as it was. If I take the leap to deny the primacy of experience I think I need to follow that to its repugnant conclusion. If one experience is suspect or contrived or imagined or in some other way invalid why not all experience?

Even Christopher Hitchens admitted this. Religious experience is ontologically real to its subject. However we are to move forward with the project of human collaboration we are stuck with that fact.

Time to break out this oldie-goldie.  Worth the time, IMHO.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg

Why we believe in gods - Andy Thompson

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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11 July 2019 09:55
 
GAD - 10 July 2019 09:58 PM
Jan_CAN - 10 July 2019 10:15 AM
GAD - 09 July 2019 11:05 PM

Is doing good for the sake of reward and the fear of punishment anything more then how dogs are trained? Dogs aren’t trained with reward and punishment so that they can learn to someday become independent and make their own judgements of right and wrong, they are trained to be subservient and do what they are told is right and wrong. That is what religion is, dog training.

There is something to this; re Christianity, I particularly see an element of brainwashing with Catholics, where the lessons are more doctrinal, by rote and questioning not encouraged.  However, in more liberal churches, the focus is often on kindness and good works rather than fear of punishment (I don’t remember hell or damnation being mentioned in the church I was raised in), which can serve to bring out the ‘better angels’ in some people.  It can’t be ignored that there are many fine charities run by Christian organizations.

But this creates a dilemma because it is contradictory and self-negating. First it accepts a belief in make-believe gods and magic books, then it says don’t worry about what that god or their magic books say to do and only do the parts you believe are good. This makes believing and doing what gods and their magic books say an interpretation, and if what gods and their magic books say is an interpretation then any interpretation is as valid as any other including doing the bad stuff which can now be deemed as doing “good works”.

Yes, it does create a dilemma, which is why many of us could no longer play along – that everything made more sense, was less contradictory without it.  But we each have our own way at arriving at what we believe to be true and at a personal moral code.  I think it’s the end result – a person’s character – that is most important if we must stand in judgement.  But I do agree that it would be better and much easier if we all based our morality/ethics on reason and compassion without the hindrance of belief in the supernatural and out-of-date doctrines.

 
 
GAD
 
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11 July 2019 09:58
 
Jan_CAN - 11 July 2019 09:55 AM
GAD - 10 July 2019 09:58 PM
Jan_CAN - 10 July 2019 10:15 AM
GAD - 09 July 2019 11:05 PM

Is doing good for the sake of reward and the fear of punishment anything more then how dogs are trained? Dogs aren’t trained with reward and punishment so that they can learn to someday become independent and make their own judgements of right and wrong, they are trained to be subservient and do what they are told is right and wrong. That is what religion is, dog training.

There is something to this; re Christianity, I particularly see an element of brainwashing with Catholics, where the lessons are more doctrinal, by rote and questioning not encouraged.  However, in more liberal churches, the focus is often on kindness and good works rather than fear of punishment (I don’t remember hell or damnation being mentioned in the church I was raised in), which can serve to bring out the ‘better angels’ in some people.  It can’t be ignored that there are many fine charities run by Christian organizations.

But this creates a dilemma because it is contradictory and self-negating. First it accepts a belief in make-believe gods and magic books, then it says don’t worry about what that god or their magic books say to do and only do the parts you believe are good. This makes believing and doing what gods and their magic books say an interpretation, and if what gods and their magic books say is an interpretation then any interpretation is as valid as any other including doing the bad stuff which can now be deemed as doing “good works”.

Yes, it does create a dilemma, which is why many of us could no longer play along – that everything made more sense, was less contradictory without it.  But we each have our own way at arriving at what we believe to be true and at a personal moral code.  I think it’s the end result – a person’s character – that is most important if we must stand in judgement.  But I do agree that it would be better and much easier if we all based our morality/ethics on reason and compassion without the hindrance of belief in the supernatural and out-of-date doctrines.

We agree on something!

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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11 July 2019 10:02
 
GAD - 11 July 2019 09:58 AM
Jan_CAN - 11 July 2019 09:55 AM
GAD - 10 July 2019 09:58 PM
Jan_CAN - 10 July 2019 10:15 AM
GAD - 09 July 2019 11:05 PM

Is doing good for the sake of reward and the fear of punishment anything more then how dogs are trained? Dogs aren’t trained with reward and punishment so that they can learn to someday become independent and make their own judgements of right and wrong, they are trained to be subservient and do what they are told is right and wrong. That is what religion is, dog training.

There is something to this; re Christianity, I particularly see an element of brainwashing with Catholics, where the lessons are more doctrinal, by rote and questioning not encouraged.  However, in more liberal churches, the focus is often on kindness and good works rather than fear of punishment (I don’t remember hell or damnation being mentioned in the church I was raised in), which can serve to bring out the ‘better angels’ in some people.  It can’t be ignored that there are many fine charities run by Christian organizations.

But this creates a dilemma because it is contradictory and self-negating. First it accepts a belief in make-believe gods and magic books, then it says don’t worry about what that god or their magic books say to do and only do the parts you believe are good. This makes believing and doing what gods and their magic books say an interpretation, and if what gods and their magic books say is an interpretation then any interpretation is as valid as any other including doing the bad stuff which can now be deemed as doing “good works”.

Yes, it does create a dilemma, which is why many of us could no longer play along – that everything made more sense, was less contradictory without it.  But we each have our own way at arriving at what we believe to be true and at a personal moral code.  I think it’s the end result – a person’s character – that is most important if we must stand in judgement.  But I do agree that it would be better and much easier if we all based our morality/ethics on reason and compassion without the hindrance of belief in the supernatural and out-of-date doctrines.

We agree on something!

Hurray!  I’m marking this date on my calendar.  grin

 
 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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11 July 2019 10:05
 

Get a room, you two. Just kidding. It’s nice to see some harmony around here.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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11 July 2019 14:45
 
Jefe - 11 July 2019 08:46 AM

Even Christopher Hitchens admitted this. Religious experience is ontologically real to its subject. However we are to move forward with the project of human collaboration we are stuck with that fact.

Time to break out this oldie-goldie.  Worth the time, IMHO.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg

Why we believe in gods - Andy Thompson

 

At the risk of laboring a point:

I don’t dispute any of that but I don’t think it intersects with my concern because I’m not addressing belief. Belief is a considered orientation. A imaginative representation of the world. A personal narrative.

Right now I’m only concerned with experience. I think two people can have the same or at least a very similar experience and draw different conclusions. Forming different beliefs.

Religions looks, to me like a wide swathe of people having a similar experience and interpreting it different ways. Or rather, placing the same experience into an existing cultural narrative in such a way that it feeds back. I think its quite reasonable to observe the myriad of conflicting religious claims and conclude that most or all of them are false. Religious people and secular people alike generally to hold to some principle of non contradiction.

What I’m explicitly asking is not whether people accept a mistaken explanation. I think they do. I’m asking whether the experience itself can be disregarded as a source of information. If hot can correspond to heat and noise can correspond to sound… at least some of the time… can god experience correspond to god… at least some of the time?

I’m probably not forming the question well…

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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11 July 2019 15:13
 

I’m not disregarding experience at all.  I acknowledge and value experience.  I cook food for friends and family because I want them to experience pleasure when we sit down at the dinner table.  It is impossible for me to know with absolute certainty how the food tastes to them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t collect and evaluate evidence about their experience eating food, and use that information to hone my cooking skills.  I make different dishes depending on my audiences.  Several people love barbecue, and so for them I will make smoked ribs.  Another friend is vegan, so if I’m visiting them I make meat-less chili.

The problem with religious claims of experience is they contain nothing that is falsifiable.  If we can’t determine if a message “written on someone’s heart” is false or not, then how can we be sure that it is from God?  The answer is of course that we can’t.  If we accept unfalsifiable claims as true, then we have to accept all of them, which leads us to believing that the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu gods are all true, despite being contradictory.

 
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