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5/20/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Somebody please help me!

By Dano

I find myself with this compulsion to try to use logic and reason to try to convince people they are wrong about a certain thing, but what I am beginning to understand is that when it comes down to religious beliefs at least, rational, critical thought takes back a seat to emotion every time.

Now don't get the idea that I think I am the first one to have figured this out. On the contrary, I have read about "Cognitive dissonance" in all of the best selling books, written by the biggest names in Christian Apostasy.

One best selling female author and Psychologist who is also an ex Christian fundamentalist even explained it to me this way: Some time the smartest and most gifted are the very ones who can come up with the most complex and imaginative ways to hold on to their emotional beliefs in supernatural things.

You have seen them, those brilliant graduates of theology schools, who have gone on to become pastors, and teachers and spent their lives studying every Christian Apologetic book ever written, and come here to "Ex-Christian" to witness to us.

They usually start out by attempting to impress us with their piety but quickly digress to trying to impress us with their knowledge of how all of the various phrases, bits of ancient history, and passages from a myriad of texts, collected over a period of 5000 years, got to be canonized into the k J. V.

In other words they quickly dance away from answering our questions, about HOW THEY KNOW, all about what God wants, and what God says, and quickly divert our attention to endless debate, about which Bronze age contributor to the Bible, said what, and where and when, and in the end they usually start making up their versions as they go along.

Wouldn't it be nice if one of them would just say?

Yes, it appears that I'm trapped in a self replicating mind cult, and can't get out. Please help me get out and try to face life with courage and hope, and honesty.

After living for 71 years, most of which my analytical mind has rejected all things magical and supernatural, I don't know what answer I would give them other than ask:

Do you really want to help perpetuate a mythical belief that has been responsible for so much evil down through 2000 years of mans history? Do you really want to be associated with a belief that was forced upon so many men and women by the Pope and succeeding religious tyrants of other sects of Christianity? Think about those poor souls who were given the choice of professing a belief in it before they were strangled or dismembered on the rack, or boiled in oil.

I suggest we can find a nicer gentler philosophy for living. HELP ME THINK! I'm sure it can be proven that all of the good done in then name of Christianity can and would be done anyway if we gave up the idea that the only way we can be a good person is to have faith in an imaginary dead man.

Christianity and it's sister cult Islam have a history of inflicting such unspeakable suffering on so many of our brothers and sisters, that they don't deserve to be replicated any more, and passed to another generation. They need to go away just like all the Pagan blood sacrifice religions that spawned them. They are central in great bloodletting conflicts today that threaten to end life as we know it. The God of Abraham needs to be replaced by a more sensible God. One called common sense.

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83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Except we probably couldn't get people to agree on what common sense actually means.

Anonymous said...

Remember: "common sense" isn't that common.

Dylan said...

I agree with you, but I think we are a ways off from seeing the religions of Christianity and Islam disappearing.

Joe said...

And... what do you get for your trouble if at the very best you disprove a major doctrine? Xianity has demonstrated it's ability to say, "Yep, got us there. That heresy will be set aside. Now, let's go back to the basics and reform our faith to rectify the error so we can preach the true faith."

One can't help but get the feeling of marching in place.

Steven Bently said...

What separates a Christian from a Freethinker is; a Christian is issued and promised a free gift, a free gift, can you imagine getting a free gift just for the asking???

What a joy, what a gift, what a blessing, what a miracle, from the creator the one that wrote the Bible?? And it's totally FREE...!!!!

This makes a Christian think in his/her mind that they are now special, they have been specially chosen and hand picked to receive this free ticket into paradise, by whom, but the sole creator of the entire universe, which we all know now only consists of the flat Earth, Moon and it's orbiting Sun.

This promise (gift)is worth more than any amount of reasoning and common sense that an infidel sinner (non-believer),
could conger up in his attempt to dis-Throne God and his wonder boy son Jesus.

To the xtain, there can be nothing more valuable on this Earth than the word of God and it's contents and what it has to offer, it offers eternal life, with a promise stamped by God's precious word and his son Jesus' shed Holy blood.

What more could anyone have asked for? A God willing to sacrifice his very own sons life and blood in order to save people's filthy rotten souls?? What God do you know of whom would have done that for us, to see that we all have a chance to be saved from a burning hell???

Answer me that??? Anyone???

To the xtian, there is nothing on this earth worth living for, except to look forward to the day that they die so that they can meet and be with Jesus for all eternity, for which and for whom this Earth and universe was created by God only for the sole purpose to see just how many people would in the end, believe in his son Jesus.

To the xtian, there is no greater knowledge that can be obtained outside of the Bible. The Bible holds all truths and wisdom that have ever existed and will exist in the future, past and present.

To the xtain, the Bible is their brain food, their life, their purpose, their existance is based primaraly and solely of those words written down by imbeciles over 2000 years ago.

No one outside of the Bible, no non-christian, will ever have the ability to persuade an xtian that any part of the Bible is untrue, because they have not been granted Biblical authority, only an xtain or pastor has the authority to question the Bible, but only under much heavy conviction and consternation and diligent prayer.

Hope you're feeling better Dano..:-)

Joe said...

To the xtian, there is nothing on this earth worth living for, except to look forward to the day that they die so that they can meet and be with Jesus for all eternity, for which and for whom this Earth and universe was created by God only for the sole purpose to see just how many people would in the end, believe in his son Jesus.

But the funny thing is that xian prayer meetings and prayer chains tend to be full of people praying for health and long life, followed second by good jobs. So, I think your broad brush is broader than is justified. To the xian, if they believe what they say, the things of earth should be strangely dim, but alas. It's a load of hypocritical bullshit.

Rick said...

One question that seems to speak volumes to myself and that I do not think christians (or any other cult group) realize the seriousness of is the question :

"Is there anything that could be shown to you that would convince you that your religion/god is not real?"

In every situation that I've asked that question and have had it answered I have always gotten something like :

"No, there is nothing you or anyone can say or show me that will destroy my faith"

To me this is about as clean an answer you are going to get from believers about how their "faith" really revolves around stubbornness. They simply refuse to accept anything that anyone has to say about their belief system.

On the other shoe; Were I given that question :

"Is there anything that could be shown to you that would convince you that religion/god is real?"

I would answer with a resounding YES - just show me some proof!

I have finally come to the realization that you cannot convince believers that they believe in a delusion. Just like each of us, they have to simply come to that conclusion on their own. This is why I hardily believe that religion should be challenged at every single step. Perhaps you will never convince the people you argue with, but the bystanders, especially the younger generation, will begin see the truth before being completely enveloped in the dogma. The facts, logic, and evidence simply cannot be denied forever.

Joe : I couldn't agree more. The most violent people are christians who believe they have god at their back supporting them in what they do. An excellent example of this is Nicole's story in "The price of Atheism" found on this site. Christian hypocrisy abounds.

ComputerGuyCJ said...

But the funny thing is that xian prayer meetings and prayer chains tend to be full of people praying for health and long life, followed second by good jobs.

A lot of this has to do with the current culture and economics, at least in the US. Most citizens in the US have a realistic prospect of earning a lot of money and living a long, healthy life. Praying for a short life and working towards building up treasures in heaven doesn't make much sense to them, so Christianity is reinvented to suite their needs - hence the popularity of the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas and Joel Osteen Ministries.

Flashback a hundred years when the average US citizen wasn't doing so well, and you have a completely different story. Look at some of the old hymns written during those times and you see it's all about getting to heaven and how glorious heaven is.

Go forward a little bit, and you see a more militant God and Christianity, coincidentally around the same time as the world wars.

Give the world another catastrophe like the Great Depression, or another struggle like the world wars, and you'll see the message change from prosperity to something else again.

If Christianity didn't change with the times, it wouldn't survive. Funny, apparently God changes not, but his followers see that they have to change the way he looks to support their religion.

Frizz said...

Rick,

Like Dano, I am 71 years old (soon to be 72), but unlike him I'm like you and have given up on trying to argue with Xtians. I have a very good friend who is hung up on "faith." His argument is that no evidence at all is needed to have faith, and uses all kinds of convoluted arguments to prove his belief.

My position is that faith is possible if it is based on some rational or reasonable evidence (i.e., I have faith that you won't steal from me because you have proven to be an honest person in the past). But, faith based on no evidence at all is a surrender of one's mind and reason.

After showing him the many passages in the bible that show how god condones slavery, considers woman to be men's property, demands animal and human sacrifice, commands the slaughter of thousands of men, women and children, etc., etc., he still refuses to change his mind.

Because I have encountered this same type of resistance from so many others, I no longer try to convince anyone to believe the way I do. Now I have less frustration, something I don't need at my age, and that feels good. Just like it feels when you stop banging your head against a brick wall.

Joe said...

Frizz,

I'm still angry about the church does to people. It catches them hurt or ignorant and exploits that by substituting religious "education" for real education. That sets them up to believe lies, economical, theological and political. It sucks for them and for the rest of us.

So, while recognizing that it's pointless, I'm 30 years younger than you or Dano, and I'll still whack away at the malformed monolith for a while.

If nothing else it lets me vent my anger in the right direction. That way I can keep my love and creativity focused on the good stuff.

Anonymous said...

III. The Knowledge of God According to the Church

36 "Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason."11 Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God".12

37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:

Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. the human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.13

38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God's revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also "about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error"

Frizz said...

Joe,

If I were younger, I'd keep up the good fight just like you, and for the same reasons. Now it's time to turn over the heavy stuff to a younger generation.

If I'm asked what I think, I don't hesitate to voice my opinion. But I don't voluntarily jump into the fray.

Anonymous,

"III. The Knowledge of God According to the Church"

Your whole post is a bunch of hogwash, not based on any verifiable evidence. To me, it's just an attempt by the church to rationalize it's position. There's no logical argument put forth in any of it.

Remember, we've all read the bible and, based on its contents, rejected the existence of the "Bible God."

Nice Try!!!!

Rick said...

Frizz : For the most part the people of religion we talk to are stuck in their ways because they really are not trying to find any truth. The 'truth' that they have they are quite content with. It fits their own personal idea of how the cogs in the universe turn and, to put it simply, they like it that way.

But this doesn't mean that we should give up in trying to break through. Something you tell them today may become a critical part of thinking for them in the future. If other people are listening (or reading) then those are the people that I think are more receptive to a discussion. There are far more readers than talkers.

Lets face it, when you bring your beliefs and thoughts into the public spotlight you often get some hostile responses - from any side of a debate. A lot of people don't want to face that, but are still very interested in finding the truth. If we don't face down those that are outspoken then no counter knowledge is available to the unspoken masses.

I'm at the point now where I'm trying to decide how militant I want to be. Should I go after every religious comment uttered around me or simply respond only to those that directly engage me? Personally I'm not comfortable with being one of those people that jump on every uttered phrase and turn out to be boorish. However there are times when I feel I need to speak up, just to let people know that their way of thinking is NOT a default. It's a tricky balance that I still seek to find.

To the drive by preacher : That's kind of like telling a customer that your soup is the best in the world, but when they gag while trying it you inform them they need only train their mind and then it will be the best soup in the world!

The concept of your god would be amusing if it hadn't been left unchecked for so long and created so much damage in the world.

Anonymous said...

God is a cigar somoking fag is who is playin a joke on uis all.


freedy

dano said...

Thanks guys!
It isn't always easy for me to sort through the sort of gibberish like Anonymous wrote:
"III. The Knowledge of God According to the Church................." and make enough sense out of to know if it has any redeemable content.

Descriptions like Frizz's "hogwash" and Rick's "soup" analogy, are like music to my ears.
Dan

Steven Bently wrote:
"Hope you're feeling better Dano..:-)"

Thanks Steven! I had a little mini stroke and then the doctors tried to kill me but I think I got away from them in time.

I did say one little prayer. I said "You made me God or what ever you like to be called. I trust that you know what you are doing. Que sera, que sera! "

I'm back exercising every part of my body, and they are all coming back to life.
Dan again.

Lorena said...

Dano,

Great to hear you're feeling better. I guess you said yourself what I was going to write after reading the article. Heck I'll say it anyway.

In my opinion the point is to keep our sanity. If we are going crazy trying to change people's minds, we are obsessed, and that's insanity.

That's exactly why I abstain from "preaching" to Christians, because I don't feel strong enough yet to do it without losing my mind. If the day ever comes when I feel ready, I will battle them, within the limits of sanity.

Lance said...

Dano,
Great post. I'm going to try answering your question in a different way.

You said:
"I suggest we can find a nicer gentler philosophy for living. HELP ME THINK! I'm sure it can be proven that all of the good done in then name of Christianity can and would be done anyway if we gave up the idea that the only way we can be a good person is to have faith in an imaginary dead man."

I too have given up trying to preach to christians, since logic and reason are not part of their tool kit when it comes to faith. However, I do still find myself in discussions with them on a regular basis, and one of the big questions they ask is similar to what you are asking; namely, how can you still live a good life and have morals if you don't have god? They truly don't seem to see how this is possible.

I find with humans in general that you can't tell someone something if they are not asking for an answer. But since they are asking the question, then I find they are open to listening to me explain how I can love my wife and kids, neighbors, etc. without requiring the fear of hell to keep me in line.

The answer for me is self interest. Not selfishness, but self interest. I do what is in my long term best self interest. I don't cheat on my wife, not because some book tells me not to, but because I enjoy the relationship I have with my wife and know that cheating on her would totally screw that up. Intelligent self interest is how we forge a working society.

I try to explain to them that self interest and selfishness are not the same thing. That even the bible expects people to do things that are in their best self interest. And I agree with them that selfishness can get in the way of what is really good for ourselves.

Self interest for me means helping my neighbor when he needs it because he will then hopefully help me, and since I enjoy living in a society in which people help each other out. I don't mind paying taxes for public education since I think it is in my best self interest to live in an educated society. I don't steal, not just because it is in my best self interest to remain out of jail, but because I am not a thief and can sleep better at night if I am not hurting or oppressing others. I simply feel better about myself if I behave in a way that is mutually beneficial with my fellow humans.

This is all typical secular humanist stuff, but christians don't seem to get it.

Again, since I wait for them to ask, they are at least a little more willing to hear than normal. Shoving something down someone's throat seldom works.

I have never been able to convince a person that their faith is wrong, but I have had several people say something like, "OK, I get that." They don't agree with my non-religious stance, but I have had a few that admitted to being able to see how I could live a life of integrity without a fear of hell keeping me in line.

All they are left with is that this behavior won't get me into heaven, or keep me out of hell, but I'm OK with that.

Thanks again for the post.

Lance

truthseeker said...

The place where you all go wrong, both atheists and christians alike, is that you forget you are human.

You have evolved to be a spiritual creature. That is, you have the ability to derive strength from your imagination when hopelessness makes more sense.

When you apply evolutionary pressure, such as starvation, those who believe they can survive even when the situation is bleak would be more likely to do the things that would lead to survival. This is how we developed the ability to deceive ourselves and start talking to God.

The funny thing is that either we are really, really good at this self deception or God does actually exist. I say this because if you act like God exists for long enough, he starts to be pretty convincing.

But regardless of whether or not he exists, you are human. And you are spiritual, and you need spiritual fuel or you will live a more difficult life.

The feeling of hope of an afterlife is no different from the burst of ambition you might feel from hearing a poem, or listening to a song. It makes no sense for the song or the poem to change how you feel. If your life stinks and you feel you should kill yourself, then read a poem or hear a song and don't want to kill yourself, What has the song changed. Your life still stinks. Yet something was changed. Something unseen in you has been touched. And this is part of the human animal.

I once read a quote that said, "nothing is infinite except the human capacity for self deception." I used to beleive this was a human flaw. Now I realize this is our greatest asset.

This ability is taken for granted during times of prosperity because it becomes less necessary to survive. But if you live without acknowledging this need, you live a more difficult life.

Life is tough. If your stupid it's tougher. -John Wayne

The short is - you are right, anyone who claims to be able to prove God is full of it.

However, anyone who denies that human beings evolved to have spiritual needs is deceiving themself.

Anonymous said...

Every hear of Philip Yancy's book called ''Disappointment with God'? It seems to cover just about everything mentioned in this post, and website.

dano said...

truthseeker wrote:
"The place where you all go wrong, both atheists and Christians alike, is that you forget you are human...
You have evolved to be a spiritual creature. That is, you have the ability to derive strength from your imagination when hopelessness makes more sense...
However, anyone who denies that human beings evolved to have spiritual needs is deceiving themself."
posted: May 21, 2007 EST  

Truth!
I agree with you on almost everything you say except that most of us ex-Christian don't forget we are human, and I'm sure most of us don't deny that we have spiritual needs.

The only thing we refuse to believe is outdated religious mythology that has been proven to be wrong and goes against our proven modern teaching, which is backed upped by evidence.

I in fact, I "Glory" in the fact that I'm lucky enough to be sitting at the top of the food chain, with all the benefits that come with it, such as an ability for critical thought. I consider, my ability to separate the bullshit from what is real in my daily life, my greatest gift from the creator of all the universes.

That's all truth! We just don't want to have to believe obvious lies to be considered GOOD!
Dan

Sarabhi said...

Dano,

Nice post. I completely understand your frustration with this issue. I wanna respond to something you said. You said:

"In other words they quickly dance away from answering our questions, about HOW THEY KNOW, all about what God wants, and what God says, and quickly divert our attention to endless debate..."

My dad is one of the only Xians I know that doesn't try and pull that kind of crap with me. He has said numerous times, "I realize that the Christian religion really makes no sense at all."

The reason he believes is because he has had a "religious experience."

It's only when I try to bring up the fact that nearly EVERYBODY has had some sort of "spiritual" experience or, at least, thought they have, that my dad starts getting 'weird.' He'll say, "It's not my place to judge those people." *rolls eyes*

Anyway, just thought you might find his response interesting.

-Sarabhi

dano said...

Sarabhi wrote:
"Dano,.....
My dad is one of the only Xians I know that doesn't try and pull that kind of crap with me. He has said numerous times, "I realize that the Christian religion really makes no sense at all......"

Sarabhi,
Isn't the simple honesty of your Dad's opinion on the matter, beautiful. I quite often find that the simplest answer, is the most satisfying one.
Dan

mike brown said...

Truthseeker: I was very impressed with your discussion. Your insights are very powerful and yes I think you've nailed what it means to be a spiritual person. I'm very impressed. However, instead of understanding that as a TYPE of evidence you seem to have used it as a way of dismissing the christian position. Couldn't that very argument be pointing towards God instead of away from God?

dano:

You wrote:

"The only thing we refuse to believe is outdated religious mythology that has been proven to be wrong and goes against our proven modern teaching, which is backed upped by evidence."

I just had a very long and protracted discussion with boomslang in another post. The end of the discussion was this:

"I "just don't(f%cking) care"---final answer. And that is inclusive of the other two hypotheticals, BTW. If I wanted to talk philosophy about "epistemological solipsism"?... I'd JOIN such a thread, or start my own."

Are these the words of someone willing to examine "the TRUTH" I tried over several posts to simply point out that the very foundation of empiricism is comming under attack by philosphy today.

boomslang didn't even want to acknowledge that I was making any kind of point at all. Is that the sign of your openess to the "TRUTH"? My ultimate point is that people believe what they WANT to believe. The heart tells the mind what to believe. I'm sure you've expirenced this, you wanted to do something or not do something that you might have felt was wrong or questionable but somehow "talked yourself into it" or "out of it" depending on what it is.

Very few of us act upon the light of reason in all ways in every circumstance. The trick of life is knowing WHEN to use what method of knowledge. When do you listen primiarly to your head and when do you listen to your heart?

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown, ' you there? Listen up---please don't quote statements of mine(or anyone elses) out of context, m'kay pal? Thanks.

To clarify my position on this matter----firstly, you extracted said quote out of a thread titled "Does God exist?". And BTW, let the record show that your initial post in that particular thread was a steady stream of the standard apologetic jargon we're accustomed to seeing here daily. And all subtantiated with what?.....you guessed it, N-O-T-H-I-N-G. A big fat goose' egg.

Secondly, once again, you asked pointed questions, and I answered you with pointed honest answers, yet, in true apologetic form, you didn't quote said questions or anything leading up to it, did you?(rhetorical)

You see, Mike, I/we know exactly what you're doing, or attmpting to do---that is, since you have no evidence for your fantastic hypotheticals concerning the "supernatural", or "meta-physical..i.e..BEYOND physical, you are merely employing the strawman tactic of trying to make the "Truth" about naturalism/materialism seem equally "fantastic". That tactic won't work around here, Mike. Naturalism is the only "Truth" in a natural universe.

Notwithstanding, like I said, if you think that the "law of gravity", or the "theory of gravity", or "the science of gravity" or whatever-the-f%ck you'd like to call it, has no referent in "Truth"?...I re-invite you to try out the simple test that I provided, which would "falsify" gravity if it were not "Truth".

PS: If you should decide to try it out, please have a family member get it on video. Thanks.

Frizz said...

mike brown,

"My ultimate point is that people believe what they WANT to believe. The heart tells the mind what to believe. I'm sure you've expirenced this, you wanted to do something or not do something that you might have felt was wrong or questionable but somehow "talked yourself into it" or "out of it" depending on what it is."

Your heart doesn't do anything but pump blood. Before people knew anything about anatomy they considered the heart the center of consciousness. But we now know that any arguments you may have with yourself are conducted in your mind, which is a by-product of chemical reactions in your brain.

I guess you could equate talking to yourself with praying. Both produce the same results.

dano said...

Mike Brown!
I assure you that life over here in the natural world is ok. Most of us have tried to live in your word and found it confusing and unnecessarily fearful, not to mention dishonest, and a dead end, in this life, with nothing to look forward to except a promise of wonderfulness after death.

Well, most of us "Non believers in supernatural Mythology," are serene in the belief, that no matter what your hick preacher says, or the pope, or Billy Graham, or any one else who pretends to talk to God, says, our creator has the same plan for all of us. If he, she, it, didn't, we couldn't think that he, she, it was "good".

If we want to create a good God, then we have to design him, she, it in a way that he, she, it is good to all of us. It's only fair to babies, and the deformed, and the ragheads, and the Neanderthals, and the cows, and the chickens, and............

What I'm saying Mike is My God has to be big enough to have a plan for all of life, not just those who supernaturally credulous.

BIBLE GOD DOESN'T MEET THOSE SPECS, SO HE NEEDS TO BE THROWN IN THE SHIT CAN ALONG WITH HIS SON THAT HE CREATED AS A SACRIFICE TO HIMSELF, AND ALL THE OTHER PAGAN GODS.

MY GOD FINDS BIBLE GOD TO BE INADEQUATE!
DAN

Nvrgoingbkeither said...

mike brown'
Do me a favor since you believe in the "word of god" go pray in the name of jesus and heal amputees ok? and e-mail me back and let me know what happens

Ryan Scott said...

common sense requires common (in the sense of SHARED) knowledge. We aren't all sharing the same knowledge.

Why do you think so many xians homeschool? To control the knowledge.

Lorena said...

Anonymous:
Every hear of Philip Yancy's book called ''Disappointment with God'? It seems to cover just about everything mentioned in this post, and website.

Lorena:
Yeap! Read the book. I concluded that Yancey continues to be a Christian because his books sell well with that readership. Yancey has an atheist brother. I wouldn't be surprised if Yancey renounced his faith one of these days.

mike brown said...

These types of forums bother me because they are like firing squads. I line up infront of you- you all shoot at me, than you line up in front of us (christians) and we shoot at you. The problem with this is that it fosters an us vs them mentality which ultimatly boils down to a shouting match. This is not true communication, this is not honest dialogue. This is linguistic war. My side shoots you, you guys shoot back, it's not real communication-which is what I'm after.

The world is changing, Just look at a few posts:


anonymous : "we probably couldn't get people to agree on what common sense actually means." (seems to be open to truth= relative)

truthseeker: "anyone who denies that human beings evolved to have spiritual needs is deceiving themself." (I have real trouble figuring out where he's comming from but I like his views; maybe truth = limited materialism)

boomslang: "Naturalism is the only "Truth" in a natural universe." (ie materialism = truth)

Frizz: "Your heart doesn't do anything but pump blood." (materialism = truth)

Dano: "I assure you that life over here in the natural world is ok." (confuses me a little because he also said:) "and I'm sure most of us don't deny that we have spiritual needs." (I'm not going to assume he's saying somthing contradictory I just can't reconcile it in my own head)

ryan scott said: "common sense requires common (in the sense of SHARED) knowledge. We aren't all sharing the same knowledge." seems to imply truth = relative? I seem to agree with him)

You all talk about how smart you all are and how wonderfully intelligent you all are, but even here on this post there are pretty divergent views. Actually some fundamentally divergent views. One side is proposing what truth is =materialism, another side is proposing that it's relative. No one even challenges this. But what's really interesting is that if a Christian post's here things turn ugly. It doesn't even matter what is said. "go try out gravity", "go heal an amputee", "Life over here is fine" what's over here? to truthseeker you were open to spirituality as long as it wasn't a christian who was saying it (at least it didn't seem like it to me I could be wrong)
People who seek truth are "supposed" to be seeking it where ever it may be.

mike brown said...

Any of you: there are serious developments happening in philosophy that has direct implications for materialism, and esp empiricism. If you don't believe me ask any philosophy professor what Wittgenstein's work implies for empiricism as epistomology. Ask what Michael Foucault work does to science. Ask what Richard Rorty's work implies of empiricism. Now I don't agree necessarly with all of them but just because these argument are not "empirical" it does not follow that they are not worth examining.

My frustration here is not that you won't accept my position but that it's not even worthy for discussion because it was posited by a Christian.
I honestly want to discuss with you all, not berate not take pot shots at you but actually discuss, dialogue. All you have proven is that Athiests are as closed minded as christians.

Frizz said...

mike brown,

First let me apologize for my sharp retorts to your comments. My first reaction to most posts by Christians is to see the same old arguments that I've encountered time and time again. And that sets me off.

After rereading your comments, I do see some honest questions and discussion points interspersed with the standard Christian rhetoric.

Most of us non-theists or skeptics are dealing with or have dealt with some very painful spiritual and emotional traumas inflicted by the Christian religion. In some cases the wounds are still raw and our first instinct is to lash out at anyone who appears to be trying preach to us.

Most of us have not arrived at our disbelief easily. We have studied, reasoned, prayed, and agonized for a long time before deciding that we no longer believe the Bible concept of God.

So, if you want to have some honest discussions with people in this community and avoid getting our hackles up, please leave out the standard Christian Apologia. Just present your questions and discussion points clearly and without appearing to be preaching.

I have many Christian friends, acquaintances and relatives, and bear no malice toward any. We don't agree on a lot of things (politics, religion, sports, etc.), but we get along. It's only when someone, anyone, tries to force their opinions on me, especially with nonsensical reasoning, that I react harshly. And, I think you will find that most of the members of this community (not all) feel the same.

So, again, I apologize for being so harsh. Stick around, but tone down the rhetoric.

truthseeker said...

Mike Brown:

Through out my undergrad at UofArizona I encountered dozens of fundamentalist types. I let them have a go at me for a good two years. I opened myself to any idea they through at my. I went to their churches, I prayed their prayers. What I found was that they were missing something.

What they were missing was faith. They all wanted to prove they were right. They were determined to prove the existence of God. The more people agreed with them the closer they felt they were to being right.

The issue is if God can be proven, then everybody would choose God.

We have been given free will. Part of the game however is that you need to take a leap of faith.

That's really the whole game.

Many of these folks in this forum have faith. They have faith that there is something out their worth searching for.

If God is real, the faithful will find him.

But one thing I've learned is that no one human being, can show anyone else the face of God. Only God gets to do that.

Even Christ didn't convert everyone.

mike brown said...

Frizz:

"So, again, I apologize for being so harsh. Stick around, but tone down the rhetoric."

No problem. I've done some apologetics but it's been a couple of years. I've been studying, off to war, leaving the ministry, joining the church, it's been a long time since I actually tried talking with anyone on line so I tend to get a little excited myself. As to toning down the rhetoric I guess I'm not too sure what you mean by rhetoric...? can you help me figure that one out?

Truthseeker, your words are cyptic but they ring true. I'll be honest I'd love to see some come to christ. But I don't think strong arm tactics work are consistant with Christ. To be honest I'm just open for dialogue with people who are NOT like me. As to fundies... I'm not a fundy. My parents are, most of my family is. But as I sought my own way with Christ things began to open up. Your absolutely right about fundies being obsessed with the Truth. I understand it but I don't always agree with it.
I am very flexible when it comes to the scriptures and understanding christianity. My view however, is primairly historic. I love history, love it, and my love of it has not taken away from Christ it's only deepened it. That's not a sermon just telling you all where I'm at. Truthseeker you seem..... centered that interests me....

mike

.:webmaster:. said...

Mike: "All you have proven is that Athiests are as closed minded as christians."

Not all the posters on this site are atheists. Just because someone leaves Christianity, it doesn't necessarily mean the person is an atheist.

In fact, this website receives well over 2,000 visits every day. The ONLY implied agreement among all the regulars here is the Christianity is bullshit.

Now, if you want to discuss philosophy, well that's acceptable. If, however, you are only here to evangelize for your religion, you should expect some strong sounding rhetoric.

Peace.

mike brown said...

wm: "If, however, you are only here to evangelize for your religion, you should expect some strong sounding rhetoric."

I suppose that fair enough. But as stated before Im here for discussion.

I'm getting ready for bed and I was just in the showering, (You all should know the impact you're having upon me. {insert smile here}) and I was thinking about your posts. Many of you seemed somewhat dismayed that it appeared christianity was not going any where. I was confused by that because honestly I am afraid of the exact opposit. But then it hit me... why do I know about rorty, and Foucault, and Kant, and Kuhn? I'll tell you why because my MDiv program is discussing them, that's why. My undergradute school (a christian university) was talking about post modernism nearly fifteen years ago. That's why some of these arguments about "the truth is ..." or "naturalism that..." seem so strange to me. We live in a post modern world I took it for granted that modernism was on its way out.

Now not everyone fits this catagory i've seen some post modernist comments here and there but they've been much more shy than the obnixious moderns. I'll also say I've seen a lot of modernist Christians as well so don't think I bashing here.

But my point is this: In my christian school's and graduate education we are preparing for the post modern world, we're actaully about 25 years behind the times but we're gradually changing. Eventually, I feel we'll adjust to the post modern world and the christian message will morph once again. This will allow us to survive and continue on. Richard Dawkins book on the God delusion is a perfect example. He proposes to proove that God does not exist. What is his methodlogy? materialism. He's a pure hard core materialist. I didn't have a chance to read his work but I have read other stuff by him and he's pretty materialistic. Does any one know if he even touched upon philosophical developments concerning empiricism and science? I don't know but my guess it not. If that is the case I would propose to you that this is one reason why the church is poised to make the jump to the next millinium. We are learning, adjusting and morphing, the comments that i've seen here have not shown that development to me.
Caviat: I'm not making an absolute claim here only offering an observation please feel free to shoot me down.

mike

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: I honestly want to discuss with you all, not berate not take pot shots at you but actually discuss, dialogue.

Dialogue requires listening, too. And before you go there---I've tried to answer every question you've asked, Mike Brown---EVERY one of them.

To review---in another thread you asked me, specifically, what "empirical evidence" I would "accept" in order to reconsider my Atheism. So I provide 3 detailed examples, just like you asked. But then what happened?.....you started frothing at the mouth because my answers were "empirical".

Then to top it off, you quoted my answers to your last "batch" of questions from another thread in this thread(which, too, I answered honestly, BTW), but you didn't post the questions or what lead up to said questions in the first place..i.e.."out of context".

Straight up---since you are a Christian; since you know(hopefully) that you're on an EX-Christian website, and thus, hopefully read some of the anti-testimonies, then you should know that the common denominator between site members is that we think Christanity is false..e.g..BuNk. If you weren't aware???...well, that's what we think, Mike....it's bullshit.... yes, because at some point- somewhere along the line, it requires a "leap of faith" because of the cognative dissonance it creates when viewed with a rational mind.

Furthermore, I think you know, as well as the rest of us, that you lack the "empirical" evidence that it would require for anyone here to "reconvert", because if you didn't know that, you'd have provided us with said evidence waaaay before now. But to give benefit of the doubt?....one last chance---do you, Mike Brown, have evidence that is objective, testable, and falsifiable, that a super-natural "being" exists, biblegod, or otherwise?

That's what I thought---so then, from what I gather, you now want to attack "materialism/naturalism", as if it is somehow as equally "flawed" and "unreliable" as your "faith".

Okay, Mike Brown...attack away.

Rick said...

Mike Brown : "we're actaully about 25 years behind the times but we're gradually changing. Eventually, I feel we'll adjust to the post modern world and the christian message will morph once again."

Am I the only one that finds this ironic when taken into the context of "God's eternal word"?

dano said...

Mike Brown,
The longer you stay over here on a web site full of people, who think anyone like you, who is hopelessly trapped in "any" version of "any" religious cult is intellectually inadequate, and that you are not doing any favors for your cult.

You are only demonstrating the damage that they do, and how once they get control of your mind, the built in escape proof apparatus takes over, and another mind is lost.

Every time I read one of your posts I say "But for the grace of my creator there go I"
Dan

mike brown said...

boomslang:

"But to give benefit of the doubt?....one last chance---do you, Mike Brown, have evidence that is objective, testable, and falsifiable, that a super-natural "being" exists, biblegod, or otherwise? "

ok, I'll play your game and assume that the only way you can know thing is by empirical evidence. Pure empirical evidence. I find this distasteful but here's goes, Nope can't do it... As I was typing up responses I discovered that most of my arguments were logical inferences from data, they were interpretations of data and logic. Pure empiricism, nope can't do it. I would have to ask you... using pure empiricism prove that George Washington existed. Not using inferences or reason, but pure empiricism. According to my little dictionary: Empirical= "verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic"

Apparentely, my little post on taking pot shots at each other made no impact what so ever. Talk about closed minded, At least Frizz was willing to talk, you guys are amazing.

Rick:
"Am I the only one that finds this ironic when taken into the context of "God's eternal word"?"

How about instead of talking about me you ask "what do you mean?" Or "I'm confused mike, how is that possible with God's word being eternal"

I guess I shouldn't have written my last post... I thought I was getting somewhere.

mike

.:webmaster:. said...

Mike: "...potshots..."

Mike. This is a website which since 2002 has been inviting those who have left or are leaving Christianity to rant, rave, discuss, meet, etc., with other ex-Christians.

The Internet, being what it is, means there are always Christians who can't resist jumping in to evangelize.

There are many ex: -ministers, -divinity school graduates, -laymen, -missionaries, and -die-hard-fundamentalist-true-believers who comprise the regular participants on the site. In other words, we've heard all the evangelical rhetoric many times before, and many of us have even used much of that rhetoric in attempting to convert others during our years of religious delusion.

It is only natural that when someone new (like you) shows up on the site with some of the same tired old arguments, a "here we go again..." attitude rises quickly to the surface.

As the saying goes, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." -- Harry Truman.

You are fond of the term "close-minded." I wonder, Mike, what sort of evidence would you accept that would convince you that your religion is the fabrication of men, and that nothing supernatural exists? If you are thinking "none," then hopefully you understand the irony here.

Many of us have been longterm, devoted, and dedicated believers. After many years -- for some, decades -- we have left Christianity, understanding that it is just a man-made religion like any other. We challenged our beliefs and eventually changed our minds. It wasn't an easy process for most. It didn't come in a day, or a week, or a month. For me, it took six years to completely de-convert. It was no fun. When a Christian waltzes in and makes quick, ignorant judgments about EVERYONE who posts on this site, well, what do expect as a response? Kisses?

And, let me ask, why do you presuppose that we should not aggressively challenge your ideas? Surely if your ideas are grounded on reality, it will be fairly easy to defend them, regardless of the language and tone used to frame the challenges.


Mike, speaking for myself, a few years ago I finally honestly asked myself the hard questions (some of which you are being asked now on this site), and instead of just "believing no matter what anyone said," I scrutinized my religious beliefs the way I'd scrutinize any other part of my life. I allowed myself to think outside the Christian box, and dared to challenge my own dogmatic beliefs about reality.

When you are finally willing to challenge your magical mindset, you at least won't be so offended when someone else challenges you.

I am not the slightest bit offended or challenged by you or any other Christian evangelist that pokes their head in our door. I am frequently annoyed, I admit, because many like to say (as you have said) they are just here to learn, or discuss, or exchange ideas, or... But, I usually find that claim to be disingenuous. There are hundreds of testimonials on the site, hundreds of articles, some podcasts, ect., and they are all searchable using Google. But, typically, Christians who come here read one or two things, get their nickers in a twist, and start applying the latest witnessing technique they've picked up somewhere. Then they get mad when that technique doesn't work. A person sincerely interested in understanding the ex-Christian perspective would do a bit more reading before jumping in to argue and revealing annoyingly ignorant pre-suppositions.

Peace.

dano said...

Mike!
Most of the Jesus freaks who think they are so special, that they can come here and try and convince us that black is white, and day is night, go out in a tizzy fit, so you are just proving that there is nothing special about you!

Also most of you brilliant ones, react to my hard cold logic by ignoring me, so that makes you just average also!

Around here we call it "The fingers in the ears, screaming, I don't hear you syndrome"
Dan

Dano said...

Thanks Dave!
As always you said it a lot better than I.
Dan

.:webmaster:. said...

Dan,

Not better, just differently.

Rick said...

Mike Brown : "How about instead of talking about me you ask "what do you mean?" Or "I'm confused mike, how is that possible with God's word being eternal"

First, I didn't talk about you. I pointed out an obvious irony in your comments. I didn't require any explanation from you because what you said was already obvious to me. In this instance you do have the answer Mike, but you are so close minded that you won't even listen to yourself.

But if you want a question, then here is one for you. Why is it that god needs people like you to explain what or who he/she/it is? If god has a message/plan/path to find him/her/it then it seems to me that they would get that message across pretty clearly to a true seeker on their own without all the different interpretations presented by other people.

And please don't insult us with the "you didn't try hard enough" answer.

boomSLANG said...

First off, that was awesome, Web' Dave.....well said.

Here we go.....

Mike Brown: ok, I'll play your game and assume that the only way you can know (any-)thing is by empirical evidence. Pure empirical evidence. I find this distasteful but...

I find the propagation of base-less superstitious "beliefs" as universal "truth" equally "distasteful". Especially, the "conditions" set forth for NOT believing.....which, ironically, that seems more like a "game" to me. Nonetheless, I guess we're even as far as opinions go.

Speaking of---is the fact that you find "naturalism" less then "tasteful" a great and valid reason to disbelieve it's limitations?

Okay then, here ya go---I find the "idea" EXTREMELY "distasteful" that some of my family and friends will die in my lifetime. Yup, I find the "idea" that I'll never see them again very unsettling.

SO???? Then, what?....does that mean that just because those "ideas" don't "sit well" with me, that I should accept the revelation of 2000 yr-old Bronze-aged book that says(provided they "believed" a certain way) that upon physical death their respective "personalities" will magically float out of their bodies into the clouds somewhere?...and it's in this magical mystical "supernatural" abode in the sky that they'll be waiting for me when I die? Really?... I should believe such a thing?....even though it contradicts science; even though there's not one single shred of evidence that the physical body survives death? I should believe it, Mike Brown?.... because it's more "tasteful"? I should believe it because a book says, "you'd better believe it!...or ELSE!" ??? Please elaborate for my benefit.

Mike Brown continues: ...here's goes, Nope can't do it... As I was typing up responses I discovered that most of my arguments were logical inferences from data, they were interpretations of data and logic. Pure empiricism, nope can't do it.

Thanks, finally, for your honesty. At least now we can examine the alternatives you have, if any.

Mike Brown: I would have to ask you... using pure empiricism prove that George Washington existed. Not using inferences or reason, but pure empiricism. According to my little dictionary: Empirical= "verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic"

Nope, 'can't do it. But here are some interesting facts as to why I think your analogy---one that Christians have employed here a bazillion times, BTW---fails:

First, to the best of my knowledge, there are no websites that are currently disputing the existance of "George Washington". Why? Could it be because the evidence that we do have is convincing enough to be widely accepted as "fact"? I think so.

Secondly, the evidence that we do have for George Washinton's existance isn't being offered conditionally. You are free to dismiss it, with zero repercussions. Incidentally, Mike Brown---do you believe George Washington threw a silver dollar across the mile-wide Potomac river?....or do your think that that was an embellishment to exaggerate his physical strength? If you doubt that he did such a "nature-defying" thing, then on what grounds?(again, for my benefit)

Thirdly, you can go down to your local library and find a plethora of information on the life of George Washington(again, not offered conditionally), which, this is inclusive of biographical literature written by people IN HIS LIFE-TIME. There is even some auto-biographical literature available...i.e..written by the man, himself.

Web' Dave said: Surely if your ideas are grounded on reality, it will be fairly easy to defend them, regardless of the language and tone used to frame the challenges.

Straight up.

Frizz said...

mike brown,

In your comments you mention that you love history and philosophy. To be honest,I'm a no-frills, cut-to-the-chase type of person who isn't really interested in engaging in philosophical discussions, arguments over semantics (what do modernism, post-modernism, naturalism, materialism, etc. really mean), or arguments over what hidden meaning may be in a Bible verse. But, if that's your bag, go for it. It's not a problem to me.

Since Christians make the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, and base their "faith" on their interpretations of his Word, to me any faith on my part would have to hinge on my acceptance of this premise.

A thorough reading of the Bible by any objective, reasonable and rational person, in my opinion, has to lead to the conclusion that any intelligence capable of creating such a vast and complex universe as we live in could not possibly be the the barbaric, bloodthirsty, tyrannical "God" that the Bible portrays.

The fact that the God of the Bible condones slavery; views women as property and OKs their use as sex slaves; commands the slaughter of thousands of innocent men, women and children; and demands animal and human sacrifice to appease his anger (Yes, human sacrifice: wasn't Jesus thoroughly human?); to name just a few of the barbaric displays of inhumanity portrayed in the Bible, has led me to reject Christianity. And I won't even go into my experiences or the atrocities perpetrated by the Christian church down through the ages.

Since I am who I am, I have no interest in philosophical discussions about what, if any, god exists. To me, it's sufficient that I don't believe the Bible god exists, and I intend to live what's left of my life by using enlightened self-interest (not selfishness) as a guide to determining what is good and moral.

Of course I think you're wrong, but just as I have the right to think as I do, you also have the right to think as you do.

I know that when you're passionate about something it's hard to reign in your enthusiasm, and this can come across sometimes as being pushy. Just consider what the webmaster said in his previous comment. This may help you to understand how people in this community feel and make it easier for you to get people to engage you in discussion.

Peace.

mike brown said...

I suppose I need to clairify. I've never said anyone has to accept what I believe. You're free to believe what ever you wish.

I wrote this in a testimonial but I don't think I did it right so it didn't get published. I'm in seminary studying, ect. In school we are dealing with difficult things post modernism is one of those things. The church is going to have to figgure out how to address this new philosophy because the united states is becomming more and more post modern.

It's difficult to know as things change and shift what is true christianity and what is false christianity or not false but rather contextually dependent christianity. Much of the faith in america is really AMERICAN christianity rather than american CHRISTIANITY. If you know what I mean. Trying to figgure out what changes and what doesn't is difficult.

Well I was just curious how people other than people like me were handling this paradigm shift. I was curious: How are athiests handeling the idea that objective truth no long exists as a functional reality. (I know some here are not athiest some people just think christianity is bulls#$(t.) Well the overwhelming majority of people I've spoken with here are not just people who have rejected christianity but actaully proposing materialism as objectively true.

To be honest I wasn't prepared for this, when I began challengening the "objective reality" of materialism I expected SOME of you to jump in and at least defend that idea. To my complete and utter amazement I've discovered an overwhelming number of you actally are clinging to the notion that objective reality is not only knowable but that reason will acquire it for you.

What I've been trying to do... is allow the conversations to develop naturally, but instead of discussing these idea, which do not prove or disprove christianity, you have all demanded that I prove God exists in some kind of ultimate way. The complete inability of others to do this to your satisfaction shouldn't come as a surprise to you. This actually displays the point: truth isn't accessed with reason alone.

What is really interesting is that as "intelligent" and "reasonable" people not only havn't you accepted that I'm not defending or trying to prove God, you've, refused to even examine the evidence I have put forward or other who have come before me. Boomslang have you even googled Wittgenstein, or Foucault, Rorty, Kuhn, any of you? I'm tired of trying to "defend God" He doens't need my defense.

What I really wanted to do was see how your handling this paradigm shift. This you have shown me with glaring success. You're not handeling it at all. Now I'm sure there are those on this site who HAVE struggled with this new perspective (that is not a christian perspective by the way).

If any of you had really understood this new paradigm... you have have turned my own arguments against me... because they could be... and by "intelligent" people they ARE being used against us... and the church is struggling to find a way through it.

As I posted earlier, all of you are just burying your heads in the sand pretending that this shift is not happening. Well at the beginning of this post Dano complained that reason is taking a back seat... he's right because the shift is real. This is why christianity is going to live on, we are struggling with this shift in understanding and you all don't understanding that it's happening. Good luck living past 2020.

.:webmaster:. said...

Mike, your article was published yeterday in the "letters" section of the site.

There are plenty of comments there. You might want to shift to that thread.

CLICK HERE

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown, your words seems genuine, and perhaps I'm interpreting your words more cynically that should be, but from what you are describing, you are looking for a customer survey of Americans in general, in order to write a seminary paper on the topic, so to propose a way-ahead for the next generation Christian conglomerate.

If Christians can't find their way ahead, or the theologians in higher education, why should anyone care here? I mean, are we now considering the possibility of creating a custom built Christianity that caters to the whims of society by popular vote? If so, where does that line get drawn, obviously if the majority suggested that Jesus as a character should be voted out of the bible as a real divine being, then it would no longer be Christianity, per se.

As well, you appear to be searching to see what others have for belief systems that perhaps may offer what Christianity doesn't. The materialism argument and there being no objective truth, only challenges in order to see how a person comes to their belief.

All belief(s) are based on "knowledge", it's just a matter of "how" one uses or validates the knowledge they hold to make certain statements of belief.

You challenge that very foundation, and are trying to use objectivity as the standard to parse out differences. Since all beliefs are based on knowledge, its a matter of assigning that knowledge to its source, if held personally, it's a subjectively held belief/truth.

However, a more objective belief, would be one in which the mentally held belief, is validated with the external reality, or the materialistic reality in which we live. Now, if one wants to get involved in quantum mechanics, etc., in order to suggest that there are those things we can't know; then Wittgenstein has a great quote, "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent"

And, so, if a theist can not, or any other belief system in my "personal" opinion, can not speak intelligently about their beliefs, and at least how they arrived at the knowledge they hold in order to suggest a belief, they should just be humbly silent on the topic.

If you want to discuss post modernism, I want "you" to give a few thoughts on the topic, and specifically hone in on a part of the philosophy, it's major followers, and the areas you "find" to be more cogent than lets, say materialism. I for one, truly understand my position, based on knowledge acquisition, belief building, and the cognitive processes in between the stages of a persons' "normal" development.

If you don't want to do the homework and see what others have to say about your conclusions, then... I for one, refuse to do your homework for you. If you have done your homework, then, my apologies, ask direct and specific questions, that are in a context that can be understood without semantic fallacy.

Before going too far, do you believe there is "more" than one reality? Do you define objectivity to be the relation of one's mentally held knowledge and how that knowledge approaches the Truth of the external environment?

dano said...

Lets take a vote,
How many who have been reading "Mike Brown" believe that he reads very much of what anybody else says?

How many believe that he just totally ignores most of what anybody else says and then continues on with his totally irrelevant "Post modernism" crap, just to piss us off?

How many have seen this same behavior from every self styled Christian who ever hung around here for any length of time?
Dan

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown is still going, and said: I'm tired of trying to "defend God" He doens't need my defense.

Understandable. Presenting tired arguments can make one tired. On the second part, if you "know" what "God", or any other being, "needs", or does not "need", then by implication, you are claiming that you've somehow aquired "knowledge" about said "being" on a personal level...i.e..."materially". Yet, since your arrival here, you've been chompin' at the bit to throw materialism under the bus, suggesting that it is unreliable/unreasonable for obtaining "truth".

Here is just one such statement alluding to that:

Mike Brown: Well the overwhelming majority of people I've spoken with here are not just people who have rejected christianity but actaully proposing materialism as objectively true. [bold added]

Mike Brown continues on with the following statements:

truth isn't accessed with reason alone.

and...

all of you are just burying your heads in the sand pretending that this shift is not happening.

and...

This is why christianity is going to live on, we are struggling with this shift in understanding and you all don't understanding that it's happening

Dave 8 covered most everything in his post(great post, as always, BTW), yet, even so, I'll try to ask one more time.

Mike Brown, y'there?.... once and for all, please answer the following:

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth. If you answer "no", and you believe purely on "faith"?...have a nice day)

* Please notice that when I asked how you know that your specific methodology/philosophy is reliable, that I DID NOT ask how materialism/naturalism is "NOT reliable". Am I clear on this? In other words, please don't come back and bombard us with your "paradigm shifts"; your "postmodernism" speeches; your anti-materialism rants, or anything else that doesn't pertain to question "2". Thanks.

mike brown said...

"How many who have been reading "Mike Brown" believe that he reads very much of what anybody else says?"

I vote that he is reading a large majority of them...:)

"with his totally irrelevant "Post modernism" crap, just to piss us off?"

Ok dano let me try and make this as simple as you can get it... This "perspective" is being proposed by many people not just me. If you contend that materialism is true... than you should be dealing with ALL of reality not just the parts that your specific methodology allows you to deal with successfully. your rants and raves about church this, christ that, bible this, bible that are frustrating because you will only speak with those who agree with you, (in methodology) That's like saying I'll only play with you if you play the game I want to play, for an older guys isn't that a little child like?


Boomslang.....
"Yet, since your arrival here, you've been chompin' at the bit to throw materialism under the bus, suggesting that it is unreliable/unreasonable for obtaining "truth"."

and yet you have repeatedly failed to acknowledge that I'm even asking anything significant. How can you agree with Dave8 if what we are talking about isn't significant? If you want you could think of me as an opposite of you... You wont' acknowledge I'm even saying anything significant so why should I grace you with a response? As has been so often pointed out this isn't a site for materialist but for those who are fed up with christianity.

Dave8: Interesting post you obviously know what you talking about i'll dedicate a whole one to you.

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "How can you agree with Dave8 if what we are talking about isn't significant?"

Just to take the politics out of this, because two people agree on a topic doesn't need to make it "significant" to secondary, tertiary, etc., parties. BoomSLANG referred the comment towards me (thanks boomSLANG, and I enjoyed you post as well :-)

Now, can we get responses to our questions, and focus on the matters at hand, that seem to be where the significance resides.

mike brown said...

dave:

"If Christians can't find their way ahead, or the theologians in higher education, why should anyone care here?"

I dont' expect you to care this was an attempt to point out that this perspective is not christian nor friendly to christianity. Sorry I was unclear.

"As well, you appear to be searching to see what others have for belief systems that perhaps may offer what Christianity doesn't."

nope I'm not searching I am interested in your thoughts on these topics the implications and so on. I think you view of Christianity is a little skewed: Like Jim arvo said on another post about the truth "truth can only be approximated," christianity can only be aproximated getting at what it really IS is very difficult if not impossible. To illustrate my point Greek orthodox christianity is still very christian but also very, very different from the catholic version.

"Since all beliefs are based on knowledge, its a matter of assigning that knowledge to its source, if held personally, it's a subjectively held belief/truth."

I'm not sure I agree here... I mean about all beliefs being based upon knowledge. I'm toying with this so play with me... but what if instead of being based upon knowledge it's based upon a complex interaction of conflicting and corresponding influences? What if it is a web, so to speak, of things that interact. A web where knowledge and expirence, thought, and emotions (I'll leave out spiritual to avoid a conflict) all come together to creat a perspective?

"And, so, if a theist can not, or any other belief system in my "personal" opinion, can not speak intelligently about their beliefs...they should just be humbly silent on the topic."

Mmmm. this one got me thinking because I like Wittgenstein, however, if all language is really symbolic than all language about any topic isn't about corrisponding with external reality but about communicating what is unspeakable. Kierkegaard believed that direct comunication was impossible implying that all communication is indirect. ie symbolic

"If you don't want to do the homework and see what others have to say about your conclusions, then... I for one, refuse to do your homework for you." I found this a little insulting... I don't think you meant it that way though. I don't expect you to do my homework however, seeking knowledge comes in many different ways.


"do you believe there is "more" than one reality?"

I believe mathmatics is trying or "has" proven that multiple realities exist. Why one of these realities couldn't be the "spiritual" reality I guess I'm not too sure on... On your part I mean...

"Do you define objectivity to be the relation of one's mentally held knowledge and how that knowledge approaches the Truth of the external environment?"

I think this is you testing me? Are you trying to obfuscate on purpose? so I'm going to go with I believe that objective reality is there I just don't know how we can objectivly get a hold of it. I think empiricism helps but (as this site has shown) when married with a belief system it become dogmatic and berates people who don't believe it (just as the church is guilty of as well) I would tend to believe that language is primarly about relationships not correlation. If that is true than language is more about us rather than anyTHING outside.

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown's response to my direct and simple question(s):

Mike Brown: and yet you have repeatedly failed to acknowledge that I'm even asking anything significant.

Signifigant to your OVER-RIDING PREMISE that "Christianity is objective Truth"????? NO. "Signifigant" to a philosophy that one group of people adhere to? Maybe...but so whAT? That is my/OUR question....and you still fail to grasp it.

Mike Brown: How can you agree with Dave8 if what we are talking about isn't significant?

In case you have a reading comprehension problem, Dave 8 makes some of the same points I have been making all along. I can "agree" with him because he can concisely delineate his position, and back it up with reasonable evidence that coincides with what is "real", in a natural universe. On the other hand, you 've haven't scratched the surface.

Mike Brown: If you want you could think of me as an opposite of you...

I cAN?? Gee thanks, I never thought of that.

Mike Brown: You wont' acknowledge I'm even saying anything significant so why should I grace you with a response?

I don't know.....to make an actual case for your premise? Yes, for not only my benefit, but for everyone else who reads your posts.

Mike Brown: As has been so often pointed out this isn't a site for materialist but for those who are fed up with christianity

Yes, Christianity, and those Christians who loiter here, yet, can't seem to make a case for their "God".

In any event, here are the previous direct and simple questions once more:

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth. If you answer "no", and you believe purely on "faith"?...have a nice day)

mike brown said...

boomlsang:
"Dave 8 makes some of the same points I have been making all along."

I'm sorry I must have misunderstood you... can you remake those points of agreement so I can get what you're saying.

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: I'm sorry I must have misunderstood you... can you remake those points of agreement so I can get what you're saying.

Sure, I'd be happy to. How should I procede? Would you like me to extract a few of Dave 8's key points?...followed by the one's of mine that coincide, respectively? Or just elaborate on his?

But then again, I don't really see the point in doing that, since you've either disagreed with, or danced around, all of his points.

In the mean time, here are those questions, yet, one more time:

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth. If you answer "no", and you believe purely on "faith"?...have a nice day)

mike brown said...

boomslang... you're so funny... You act like this is some kind of war. I actually laughed...

This discussion with dave8 isn't like somekind of war where he answers and then I answer and then he answers. It's a discussion, you know I respond to something he said he responds to something I said. I'm not trying to make a point by point refutation.

How about you and I start with the points you and Dave are in agreement. I'd love to start there.

boomSLANG said...

Yeah, I have a pretty twisted sense of humor, some say. So therefore Jesus is Lord? Snakes talk? Can we stay on track, in other words?

Key point # 1, where to the best of my knowledge, Dave 8 and I are in complete agreement:

*If one is going to solicit, suggest, push, crusade, promote, etc., their personal belief as an objective universal "truth", then one should be able to substantiate that belief, including, delineate in concise language, how they arrive at the "knowledge" necessary to engage in any, or all, of the above mentioned actions.

If you agree with that, I'm still interested in knowing how/where you aquired the "knowledge" that Christianity is a universal "truth", and all other religions are false.

And yes, we've already established your utter disdain/distrust for "empirical evidence", so we know you don't have that type of evidence. But that's not the issue---the issue is what you DO have. So?

dano said...

Mike, It might help now that you have learned a little basic English to use it, to state plainly and simply what you believe, because I don't think anyone around here has a clue.

I think you like to use a lot of big words, thinking they make you sound intelligent. I also think you like to associate yourself with people like Dave8 who are capable of very complex thinking. You want to be seen as some kind of new age Christian

I have been trying to understand Dave's commentary here on ex Christian for several years now, and have seen him take apart quite a few hard core Christians like you, (or whatever it turn out you are) , Who seem to be more interested in dancing around what they believe, than coming out and stating simply in "Dano Language," what they are and what they believe.

You are new here I think, but then again you are so much like some of the ones in the past who have eventually exhausted every "tricky way" of saying they were Christians, that I suspect that you are just one of our old trolls who has come back with a new name

So now that you have humored me, and condescended to speak to me, on my own thread, I will ask you a couple of questions with the expectations that you will give me simple answers in simple English. The kind of English that Jesus spoke when he dictated the K.J.V.

Are you, a Christian?
How literal do you take the bible to be?
Do yo believe, that I have to believe everything about the "Jesus died for my sins" thing in order for me to get to heaven?
Do you believe in sin?
Do you believe in Natural selection? Do you have a good grasp or understanding of it?
Do yo believe that Bible God is a fairly accurate representation of what God is like?

If I call myself an agnostic, and state that I don't think it is possible to know anything about God, why do you insist on labeling me as a materialist? I am simply saying I DON'T KNOW ANY MORE OR ANY LESS ABOUT GOD THAN YOU, OR THE POPE, OR ANYONE ELSE.

Do you understand that I consider myself as being considerably more enlightened than you about all things that are really important in this life?

Simply by virtue of the fact that I've gotten past magical thinking, I have learned to live in the real world, and if I do pray to someone up in the sky, I pray to the creator and savior of everybody, not just a select few who happen to understand "Post Modernism," and how it applies to Christians in today's world.
Dan
.

mike brown said...

Dano wrote: "You want to be seen as some kind of new age Christian"

I'm not sure what you mean by this? How do you know what I want to be seen as? I mean honestly you're agnostic about God but you KNOW what my motives are? Personally find that interesting, about God you're questioning but about what's going on in my own head- you know? I find that odd. P.S. I'm not new age.

"and have seen him[DAVE] take apart quite a few hard core Christians like you, (or whatever it turn out you are)"

So not only do you know what my motive are you know that Dave is going to take me apart?

"Are you, a Christian?" I think I've said that I am I've not hidden it.

"How literal do you take the bible to be?
Do yo believe, that I have to believe everything about the "Jesus died for my sins" thing in order for me to get to heaven?
Do you believe in sin?"

I don't believe your really wanting to know what I believe. I think you're wanting me to commit on these issues so we can take whacks at each other. (If you've had too many conversations with Christians than I've had too many with athiest. It kinda works both ways...) Now I may be wrong If you really want to know what I believe than I'm willing to discuss it, but being agnostic and a former christian I doubt you need my input on what the church believes on this topic.

"Do you believe in Natural selection? Do you have a good grasp or understanding of it?"

That's actually a really good question... I'm not sure what you're looking fore here. Not because of God you see, but because I think Natural selection works pretty well with animals that change without genetics (like in a world of Charles Darwin.) but in a view where genetics plays a key roll in an organisms development I'm not so sure. I still have a few questions... How does Natural Selection work in a world with genes...One way I mean this: is how does NS actaully CREATEs genes I am open to seeing how it might have a roll to play in the evolution of animals (how they change). As to a proccess for the creation of the genetic code, that I'm not so sure about.


"Do yo believe that Bible God is a fairly accurate representation of what God is like?"

Is this where you drag up all the OT stories about blood and death and killing and stuff? I'm not saying you will... I'm just saying is that the point?

Cuz if it is... i've got no interest answering. But if you're interested in my honest opinion I would say yes. I would however place a caviat. If you take the scriptures to be text books I'd have to say doing that is like this:

My 6 year old daughter asks me how the car works, I'd say: Daddy puts gas into it and the car goes.

Is it true?- well, yea, kind of true. It is sufficient for what most people need to know, But don't tell that to a 16 year old he'll want to know more.

Yes most churches provide the 6 year old answer but there is a 16 year old answer as well.

"Do you understand that I consider myself as being considerably more enlightened than you about all things that are really important in this life?"

That's great! I'm glad you consider yourself enlightened.

Dano where do you fall in on the education question? What is the roll of the community (ie education) in the formation of "Knowledge"
In other words do you "know" because you were born in america and raised to think in certain ways?


boomslang:

"If one is going to solicit, suggest, push, crusade, promote, etc., their personal belief as an objective universal "truth","

If I was going to do that I could see how you would feel that way. But isn't soliciting suggesting, pushing, crusading, promoting ect what this whole site is all about? I mean you do ask for testimonials don't you? You do encourage christians who come here to leave their faith right? I mean you are all on a crusade to rid the world of the delusion of God right? So doesn't it apply to you as well? Shouldn't you have to defend what you believe? Or are christians the only one's who have to know what they believe and be able to defend it? (I'm guessing you're probably going to say I do know what I believe.) Ok, great! Than you're ahead of me on any questions I could ask right? There should be no question that makes you uncomfortable or frustrate you.

If you want to have christians answer your questions why don't you go to a christian site and pound them with your two logical questions.

But you see, I wanted to have athiests answer my questions, hence why I'm here. I wouldn't go to a christian site to ask athiest what they believe would I? I mean wouldn't it be logical to go to a christian to ask them what they believe and then go to an athiest / non christian to ask them what they believe right?

Bill said...

Hi Mike Brown,
I've been a very interested audience member spending most of my prework morning reading this entire thread. Until last year I have spent my life in sort of a "Religious Limbo." I am sort of a wishy washy ex kind of believer. As hard as I tried, I could never fully accecpt religion in any way shape or form, and God Damn I tried. I was a really awful feeling being caught between two words(belief and non belief).

I came to this site out of curiosity last March and through reading the many testimonials I was totally cleansed of God belief in what seemed like an instant. Where religion never made a bit of sense to me, seeing the world through science and not being afraid to say, "I don't know." really made perfect sense.

I can't hold a candle to some of the intellectual minds who have posted here. My two year degree in xray technology didn't prepare me I guess, but I will say thank you for sticking around and firing up the great Ex Christian minds. Without you and the other barn storming Christians this place would be very boring.



xrayman

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown is back....

Dano wrote: "You want to be seen as some kind of new age Christian"

Mike Brown answers(with a question, of course):

I'm not sure what you mean by this?


That's strange, if you're "not sure" what he meant by it, why at the end of your mini-psycho-analysis did you say, "P.S. I'm not new age."...?

How could you give a definitive answer, if you weren't even sure what Dano meant by the question? Proof, once again, that you seemingly take joy in equivocation.

Mike B: How do you know what I want to be seen as?

Um, he doesn't know. In fact, NONE OF US KNOW what you "want to be seen as". So perhaps Dano is using the process of elimination? Notwithstanding, instead of telling us what you are NOT, why don't you tell us what you are, to avoid having to play guessing games? 'Sound like a logical plan? You want to engage in discussion, but you want to do all the "asking", and us to do all the answering. I think.....scratch that, I know you are being disingenuous, Mike Brown.

Mike B: I mean honestly you're agnostic about God but you KNOW what my motives are?

Again, we can only guess what your motives are....because you openly refuse to STATE YOUR CASE for your worldview. 'Duh?

Mike B: ... about God you're questioning but about what's going on in my own head- you know? I find that odd.

You find it "odd", do ya? Again, if you'd tell us what's in your "own head", we'd know. If I sent you into Home Depot and asked you to buy me a "wha-cha-ma-jig", and you came back empty handed, or with the wrong "thing", should I find that "odd"? Should I be shocked? Use your brain, dude.

-----------------------------------------------------
boomslang:

"If one is going to solicit, suggest, push, crusade, promote, etc., their personal belief as an objective universal 'truth',"

Mike B: If I was going to do that I could see how you would feel that way. But isn't soliciting suggesting, pushing, crusading, promoting ect what this whole site is all about?

Let's back up. First off, you came here. This site didn't didn't magically "appear" on your PC monitor. 'Don't like it?.....you can always "click off". Second, there is a site purpose/disclaimer available. Third, if you take a cross-section of this site's members, you will see varying worldviews....anything from Pantheist to Atheist to Deist to Agnostic to Wicca. The only real common denominator---if the site's name hasn't smacked you up side the head yet---is that we are EX-christians. That's right, Mike Brown, we think Christianity is false..e.g..bullshit.

Notwithstanding, you, and anyone else who thinks otherwise, are welcome to challenge our non-belief. However--and in case you have a reading comprehension problem---we'll need some kind of evidence, if not empirical, some other kind. 'Got any?

Mike B: I mean you do ask for testimonials don't you? You do encourage christians who come here to leave their faith right? I mean you are all on a crusade to rid the world of the delusion of God right? So doesn't it apply to you as well?

If you want to see me as a "crusader", then so be it.

Here ya go--here's the crux of my crusade: Square circles do not/can not exist, not in concept, or otherwise. Likewise, I can say that an omnicient being that has "freewill", as described in the "Holy bible", cannot exist as personal being. Further, a being who only "loves" someone if that love is reciprocated, also as described in the Holy Bible, is clearly not an "ALL-loving" being. Further still, even IF such a being existed as descibed in the Old Testament; one who slaughters innocent children and animals; one who is jealous and who is ready to kill at the drop of a hat, then said "God" is not worthy of my worship. I don't give a sh*t if he "turned over a new leaf" in the "New Testament".

In case I've lost you, Mike Brown, what this means, is I, as well as most here, can back up the claim that Christianity is an abhorant, contradictory, conflicting, and silly religion, and it's Holy book is a disgrace to humankind.

Mike B: Shouldn't you have to defend what you believe?

I think I just did. Questions?

Mike B: Or are christians the only one's who have to know what they believe and be able to defend it?

Sadly, many Christians DON'T know what, OR why, they believe what they believe---and I think you are one of them, BTW.

Nonetheless, to ANSWER your question---if one promotes their religion as an objective "truth"? Yes, one should be able to defend it...::cough:: The non-belief if "God" is not a "religion", firstly.... nonetheless, the crux of the argument is lack of credible evidence FOR a "God". God is not disproven; God is UNproven. The burden of proof is in the lap of the one making the fantastic claim. That'd be you, pal.

Mike B: (I'm guessing you're probably going to say I do know what I believe.) Ok, great! Than you're ahead of me on any questions I could ask right? There should be no question that makes you uncomfortable or frustrate you.

More equivocation?

Mike Brown: If you want to have christians answer your questions why don't you go to a christian site and pound them with your two logical questions.

Translation: "I don't have answers to your questions, boomSLANG...so why don't you ask someone who can articulate themselves better than I?"

Mike Brown: But you see, I wanted to have athiests answer my questions, hence why I'm here.

Repeat: We're NOT all "Atheists". Stick it in your memory bank. And your initial post was dripping with Christian proselytizing. Simple--we expect you to back it up, which so far, if you want to walk the walk.....you haven't even taken baby steps yet.

Mike Brown: I wouldn't go to a christian site to ask athiest what they believe would I? I mean wouldn't it be logical to go to a christian to ask them what they believe and then go to an athiest / non christian to ask them what they believe right?

More irrelevant tangents. WWMBD...."what would Mike Brown do?" I don't know what the hell you'd do. But surely, I wouldn't rule out doing something that doesn't make sense, which is what you seem to be implying you wouldn't do, above.

(day 2)

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth.

dano said...

Mike,
I will agree with xrayman that you have moxie, but I wonder, if ultimately coming over here on ex-Chrristian and dukeing it out with us is going to make you a better Christian?

You yourself, admit that you are not likely to reconvert any of us, or like webmaster asks on your other thread "Whatever you are trying to do" with your questions.

I will concede that you are a tad more likable now that you are not just giving me a short cursory one liner, and then moving on quickly as if someone of your stature doesn't have time to waste with with little ole me.

Now:
"Dano where do you fall in on the education question? What is the roll of the community (ie education) in the formation of "Knowledge"
In other words do you "know" because you were born in America and raised to think in certain ways?

Dano asks: Do I know what, because I was born in America?

Since you found my question about evolution interesting, here's another. If through diligent study of what education has to offer today on how natural selection works, you came to understand how every aspect of how it works, including moral evolution, and genetic evolution, what bearing would that have on your Christianity?

In other words just for the sake of posing a hypothetical question If you became convinced that we evolved over a period of four billion years, would you still fill your six year old kids head full of "The Garden of Eden?"

Yes, I agree with xrayman that without you sorry ass Christians it would be pretty boring around here.
Dan

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "nope I'm not searching I am interested in your thoughts on these topics the implications and so on."

Thus, if you are not searching, you have all the answers, or is that presumptious, based on the semantic form you present?

Mike Brown: "I think you view of Christianity is a little skewed:"

Your "thoughts", of my "thoughts", are that my "thoughts" don't reflect "other peoples' thoughts" who are categorized by a string of nine letters. How is it that your "thoughts", of my "thoughts" are accurate, that would imply that you know not only "my thoughts" but also all of the "thoughts" of those people characterized by that nine-letter word. You'd have to know both variables in order to make a distinction, right?

So, which of the two do you want to discuss; your ability to "know" my "thoughts", or the "thoughts" of all people who are categorized by nine letters (Christian)?

It appears you are working from a position of pure "belief" based on "know(ledge)ing" something about me. Do you understand that your "belief" and the "know(ledge)ing" you hold about me, may not reflect the "truth" of the matter?

If you take your "thought" and suggest it is a "fact", without evidence of my "thoughts", then obviously your statements are illogical, and irrational. However, if you leave your "thoughts" about me, as purely an artistic reflection of how you want to paint me, or based on my responses on this site, then, okay, but that is your "belief", based on incomplete "knowledge", and to couch your statements in any other form would be untruthful/dishonest, or ignorant.

Mike Brown: "Like Jim arvo said on another post about the truth "truth can only be approximated,"

The word "truth" with a small "t", is individualistic, and in relation to Truth, with a capital "T", it may very well be in some form approximated. That is to say, "t"ruth of an individual may be an approximation in relation to the Universe, but is "not" an approximation to the individual, now is it.

We acknowledge approximation in the context of its relationship to the Universe, most times, because that is the nature of conversation with Christian tradition.

However, when you said you "think" my view of Christianity is skewed, did you actually think to yourself, "gee, I think I'm really just approximating, the veracity of my thoughts?" If so, and you can't find a point where you can speak without couching everything you say with "I approximately think...", then, perhaps you shouldn't make any declarations or statements.

Your analogy of the six year old; if you were to ask the six year old a question, they can not say they are approximating, they are telling you everything they know at their level of ability.

We start approximating, once we take the "facts" of our "experiences", and move outward. We attempt to infer using consistent processes, in an attempt to expand our understanding and individual sphere of reality, with a little "r".

All theism and Christian tradition, "I" have been exposed to, suggest there are multiple Realities/Universes. Science provides a framework by which inference can be made of a single Universe, theism in general suggests multiple Universes and reaches such a conclusion, not on Natural inference modeling, but on divination.

To "exist" and "experience" is to live in "one" reality. To suggest "more", moves towards a dualistic philosophy of reality. I see and experience a "single" reality that I consider and infer in "multiple" contexts, but "never" at the cost of removing myself from Nature as a construct.

To have multiple contexts of a single reality doesn't move me to accept the possibility of a "dual reality (duality)" in terms of Universe.

Now, I'm not approximating my "truth", because my "truth" is based on an "all encompassing" platform called "me/I".

As I live, I incorporate all experiences into my "truth", and my "truth" is still 100% part of me. The second I begin to infer outside of my immediate sphere of reality, I begin approximating the veracity of my truth to other areas.

i = "truth", if you care to eliminate my "i", in order to dissolve my "truth", then you do so using nihilism, and refute yourself in the process.

Let me add; "i" can speak for my "truth", but if "i" were to imply it as an absolute "Fact" universally, would be presumptuous, and absurd.

If "i" presented my "truth" to others, so that they may "test" the veracity of the statement in order to test the boundary in which the statement no longer holds "true", that's okay.

Shall I suggest, that "i" have done just that sort of testing, and found the Christian belief system to be internally inconsistent (doctrine), but externally inconsistent (scientific facts), but in relation to my non-approximated experience as well.

Can my physical experience be "wrong"? "No!". A persons' physical experience happens without conflict or contradiction.

Can I place my experience into an "incorrect" context for others, because of my ignorance? "Yes!"

It appears at this point, that ignorance isn't a "good thing" if a person wants to convey their experience to others. Now, is there something wrong with trying to rid the word of ignorance?

Perhaps, we are just trying to accelerate experience exchange in a context that isn't inconsistent... do you know of a framework that provides us such a method to present consistent information, and inherently removes ambiguity?

Perhaps, you would suggest that sharing experiences in the proper context (that is rigorously tested for internal consistency (mathematics, science) isn't necessary, nor required to live a meaningful life...

Okay, I'll buy that, but what do you do with those of willful ignorance; the same ignorance isn't limited to day-to-day communication, it expands into a person�s lifestyle and how they interact with society?

Is it "wrong" to point out that a persons' "i" truth, when applied universally as a fact, is ignorant?

Is it "wrong" to suggest that such erroneous thinking, may well lead a person to begin taking their chimerical ideas and start using them to justify personal actions in society?

Where does "ignorance" if "any", have a place in society?

Obviously, there must be interactive communication; but if a person can't accept that they are living in "One" reality, then, where do you go from there?

Mike Brown: "christianity can only be aproximated getting at what it really IS is very difficult if not impossible."

Here let me help... Christianity is a "word"? Words are composed of sounds/phonemes to which meaning is attached.

In a personal sense, that's true Mike, all kinds of meaning can be assigned, and in different context(s). However, the root word of Christianity is Christ, there are core elements of that belief system that prescribe it as a movement.

Again, if one wanted the meaning of Christian to describe their disgust for Christ, then okay, but does that make it wrong to the "i" truth? No. Does it mean the person holding the belief, is likely to be misunderstood and more likely to be considered; ignorant, blasphemous, etc., by the majority who claim themselves to be Christians? I infer, Yes, based on my "i" experience(s).

In order to find the true meaning, behind the meaning of a word (Foucault), more questions have to be asked, and that isn't possible if someone is defensive, ignorant, etc., right?

If you read a lot of posts on this site, that very method appears consistently... asking people to explain the very terms they use, like; "God", "transcendence" etc.

They use semantics to support the words they use, the true underlying meaning, is in the source of the very words they use.

Semantics are good for transporting ideas, but then, obviously there must be utility in the message, right? I mean, what is the purpose of the idea exchange, if no utility is to come of it. I infer many times, that the semantics used in theism/religion, are really suggesting, "follow me", that is the real message, behind the message.

If that isn't the case, then why even exchange the idea(s), now, most people want to "test drive" the semantics they are given, and to not just blindly "follow", is there anything "wrong" with that?

Mike Brown: "To illustrate my point Greek orthodox christianity is still very Christian but also very, very different from the catholic version."

Great point about characterization, when a person implies their beliefs, is it wrong to take them at their "word"?

I mean, would it also be wrong to infer, that if a Greek Orthodox Christian denies or rejects all other gods, that they have personally "implied" that they hold to atheism, to some degree?

While it may be rude to suggest that all Christians are atheistic, because it is implied in their very doctrine, it's only rude, because most Christians I know, don't believe in christianity in the context of doctrine along (only when it suits their needs), they are Christians based in the context of psychological, social, political, etc., contexts.

At some point, we all have to allow the other person the ability to implicate/imply themselves/belief. One may have to see past the words to see the truer meaning, but is it the responsibility for every person to become a psychiatrist in order to really understand the truer underlying meaning of a persons' communication, or... is it more likely the responsibility of the individual to be able to convey their thoughts in a context that others can understand.

As a last thought, why do you believe the word Christian has a capital �C� in front of it? I mean, if there are so many types of Christians out there? I'll take my time replying to the remainder of your post(s), when it's convenient to me.

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "I'm not sure I agree here... I mean about all beliefs being based upon knowledge. I'm toying with this so play with me... but what if instead of being based upon knowledge it's based upon a complex interaction of conflicting and corresponding influences? What if it is a web, so to speak, of things that interact. A web where knowledge and expirence, thought, and emotions (I'll leave out spiritual to avoid a conflict) all come together to creat a perspective?"

Experience conveyed (belief) in higher order cognitive function (language) = knowledge

Obviously, someone must "know" something, by having "knowledge" of something, in order to convey a neurally processed statement, called belief.

Now, how and what a person is basing their belief on, resides on the experience of the individual and their exposure to that "something".

The "belief statement" is evidence of knowing; language, structure, etc. Whether the belief is conveyed in a semantic form that holds internal consistency and is understood by others, is a matter of discerning the veracity of the "knowledge" they hold.

One may find that a person, who "believes" something, may not be processing the information into knowledge clusters that are internally consistent and logical. In short, some of the filtering rules a person holds may be missing, and thus, the screen by which they filter information may have a "hole" in it. Kind of like a software security "hole", that can be "exploited", by people dumping trash into the buffer overflow bin. When the buffer gets too full, well, fix action is to purge and fix the security hole.

Consider buffer overflow, and psychological cognitive dissonance to be commonly referred to as "mid-life" crisis. A person can de-conflict now, or... nature "will" attempt to re-calibrate a person towards a non-conflicted state of mind.

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "Mmmm. this one got me thinking because I like Wittgenstein, however, if all language is really symbolic than all language about any topic isn't about corrisponding with external reality but about communicating what is unspeakable. Kierkegaard believed that direct comunication was impossible implying that all communication is indirect. ie symbolic"

Language is the product of neural processing and operant conditioning... at the most fundamental roots of language, is sound production, and observation of the environmental effects that result. We are trained to correlate our biological impulses, into sound, and access higher order neural processors and "memory" (knowledge) to convey an "affect" we would like to "effect".

If you say Kierkegaard believed communication to be indirect, I would not agree. Obviously, or not so obvious, perhaps, we are not innately born with symbolic form, we are born perhaps, if one wanted to argue the point, with a "potential" to mentally form symbolic structures.

We pull symbolic form from the environment - directly. The meaning of such environmental symbolism; is found in the effect it brings us when we test it for utility.

When someone says "God", one need only look for the environmental source that provided a person with that string of symbols, and the true meaning of that very "word" is given by the individual and how they were able to use that string of characters, voiced in a particular manner, to elicit an "affect" or "effect".

Now, when someone "experiences" something that they can not possibly refer back towards linguistically, in other words, the "source" can't be "explained", then... one needs to keep the pie-hole closed.

For instance, a person declaring they received divine revelation and were given the word "adfsafdlhflaskf;alkdf", but that the source is "unknowable", well... leads one to understand the last link in the environmental chain, is in that person's head. And, because that person declares that the environmental source can't be validated, well... they need to keep silent.

However, I make the chain still... I make the observation that the individual who makes the proclamation, who cannot explain its source, is reflexively their "own" source, using information and knowledge derived through a "natural" process of mental trial and error techniques (consciously, unconsciously).

One need only seek what the individual is trying to elicit as a response. Like now, I'm typing you a response, the post really means nothing outside the fact that I gain some level of entertainment; I am eliciting an individual response/effect based on individual action(s). That is the "truest" meaning of my words, it's the underlying meaning, of the meaning of my words.

When I hear someone say "God", I am not seeing the word, I am looking for both their attempted affect, and the resulting effect, in order to understand their position.

Unfortunately, when I am approached by someone wielding the word, I don't have the time nor patience to sit down and figure out their mental state and what they are truly attempting to convey at the most basic level of being.

However, if I were able to emulate an effect getting them to use "other" words, then would that change their needs? No.

However, this is no longer an epistemological concern, we are now moving up the pyramid of philosophy into deontology, and what is the ethical or moral way to treat a person.

The word "God" renders many a personal effect; emotionally, psychologically, politically, economically, etc.

The word is no longer an epistemological concern, it's reference is to basic human needs, and how it benefits the individual.

Now, where does the word in that context bring one towards any epistemological concern? It doesn't, and that is why it doesn't belong in public education.

People who are in need and getting their needs met, really have no concern for understanding the most basic physiological and environmental impacts to their being, it's that simple. Most people live day-to-day on a cause-effect basis, within a pre-established society, which has rules and regulations for boundaries. God is a word that can be used in that framework to elicit benefit; tax shelters, etc.

Personal needs don't change, but why require a person to understand their reality, dysfunctionally, in order to receive that benefit?

Is it possible to teach people, the source of their development and how they cognitively function, and still care for them?

I think so, and I don't disrespect people who don't understand anything but cause-effect behaviors (including language) in order to get a need met.

Is it uncomfortable for a person to realize that they are using a word to get help from the community? That's sort of like telling someone they should be ashamed of themselves for asking for food, etc.

That shame shouldn't exist, asking for help shouldn't be a crime, feeling depressed and in complete "guilt" shouldn't be the result of realizing why a person has to use certain words in order to be helped.

But, people are made to feel guilt, shame, etc., for asking for help, if they evoked specific words to elicit help.

This false sense of guilt, is unnecessary when the truth of the matter is revealed, and the dualistic type thinking goes away once the person realizes they live in "One" unified reality... we are pretty much all in the same boat.

The context in the realm of effect is based on the contextual trigger "God", perhaps, one day, like effects will be available without the "God" word as the trigger.

Would that change anything on the planet? No, not in regard to needs still existing.

However, it may remove an ambiguous word that demands people to blindly support its wielder, without question. It's obvious that the inherent ignorance of those who use the word, are the very ones that would likely not be capable of questioning a cause - even if a national cause, by its leader(s).

I read a statement a long time ago, it said; "No Religion Higher Than Truth"

I think that sums it up for me.

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "I believe mathmatics is trying or "has" proven that multiple realities exist. Why one of these realities couldn't be the "spiritual" reality I guess I'm not too sure on... On your part I mean..."

Jim Arvo, made an excellent reply to your comment... and I agree with him, that I don't take a Platonic stance, and conceive of a window in the "One" Universe, that leads to "another" alternate universe, where perfect forms reside.

I'm not a mathematician; actually, I never made it past college algebra, but then... obviously was the lacking of being at a Christian University, where academics held a second stage to theology.

I learned from a friend a long time ago, that mathematics becomes pragmatic once it has the ability to be applied.

Now, do tell, where you believe you are going to apply any mathematical precept on a spiritual plane... even if you are a Platonist, you must at least suggest that an location by which to apply your knowledge.

Speaking of spirituality, most all of theism requires a person to sell out their spirituality in trade for some biological need, a trade-off between biological need, and psychological stability.

Oh, where was I.

Neural looping. We take information in, we process it, we project it, we ascertain the effect of our affect, and we log meaning.

Mathematician quote for the day:

Nicolai Lobachevsky: "There is no branch of mathematics, however abstract, which may not someday be applied to the phenomena of the real world"

We process "One" reality, why would anyone believe that what we "take" from our "One" reality, can not be applied "back" towards that very same "reality"...

While on the topic of Plato, just wanted to throw out Hypatia...

M. Deakin, American Mathematical Monthly 1994: "The mathematical world of today owes Hypatia a great debt... At the time of her death, she was the greatest mathematician then living in the Greco-Roman world, very likely the world as a whole"

Hypatia: "Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all"

Wonders of Numbers, Clifford A. Pickover: "The Pythagoreans and their offshoot Platonists were the only ancient philosophical schools to allow women to share in the teaching and the only sects that produced outstanding woman philosophers. Unfortunately, one of their best, Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415), was martyred by being torn into shreds by a Christian mob--partly because she did not adhere to strict Christian principles. She considered herself a neo-Platonist, a pagan, and a follower of Pythagorean ideas."

Should we ever wonder why humanity found its way into the dark ages...

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "I think this is you testing me? Are you trying to obfuscate on purpose?"

How does one obfuscate, when dealing with one who has an affinity to the humanities? All is open for artistic review, right.

Mike Brown: "so I'm going to go with I believe that objective reality is there I just don't know how we can objectivly get a hold of it."

And, of course, that means you are discounting science and even the mental tools used to create models, like mathematics, etc.

But, curiously what are you trying to do with Objective Reality, One Reality, Nature? I mean, we are living within it; we don't put our handles on it, it's already there in front of us.

What do you believe to be the best tools available thus far, for "understanding" the "Objectivity" of One reality?

Surely, not by aesthetic representation, a non-reproducible expression.

It appears the obfuscation is between the human impression and expression, but where does the human leave Objective Reality? Never.

Mike Brown: "I think empiricism helps but (as this site has shown) when married with a belief system it become dogmatic and berates people who don't believe it (just as the church is guilty of as well)"

Mike, but I'm my own atheist (implicit/implied), I answer to no one except me on my rejection and denial of a God I once held with irrational knowledge.

I left a state of mind where my impression of reality was conflicted, because I was reading it with cracked lenses given me by irrational people, it conflicted with my ability to express a view of the very reality in which I lived, with others.

To the equally dysfunctional, I was accepted, to the sane I was seen as something of a novelty. Able to figure out any problem thrown at me, but without having the time to "solve" me. Nature forced me to find time for me, and I did, and here I am.

I seek people who are frauds, who posit information that is "untrue", and benefit from others by doing so.

Do you consider keeping people honest, to be a "dogmatic" endeavor, or, something that should be held as a virtue, no matter where it leads?

Mike Brown: "I would tend to believe that language is primarly about relationships not correlation. If that is true than language is more about us rather than anyTHING outside."

Language is both relational and correlational, in an interdependent phenomenon known as Objective reality. Language isn't possible if everyyTHING outside didn't exist...

Well, it’s been fun, but I have to go… if you respond, rest assured, I will respond when I have the time.

mike brown said...

DAve8 Pretty impressive post I don't have time to hit the big one tonight but I will attempt the smaller one.

"Experience conveyed (belief) in higher order cognitive function (language) = knowledge"

In the order you have written them if you are equating experience with belief than the foundation of knowledge is linguistic and belief not the other way around.

I will not debate that language is involved in knowledge. ( I define knoweldge to be meaningful information communicated) However, the very fact that we use language in the communication of our expirences(I define expirence to mean that which happens external to us) displays a fundamental problem in the discussion of belief. .

As you pointed out communication or the ability to pass our experiences on to those who have come after us is critical in the formation of knowledge. But surely you know that language its self is a living reality it shifts and changes concerning the times and events that shape our expirences. In this way knowlege becomes a living reality shifting and changing with the tide of expirences. When one couples shifting language with changing experiences the problem of true direct communication becomes apparent.

In this way of shifting experiences and changing linguisic tides direct communication becomes indirect and nearly impossible. In this way language is both internal and external.
For I think I know what I mean by "I know." but do you truely know what "I" mean by I know; and do I? This goes back to your approximation argument. Moreover expirences are vaired; my expirence will not be your own expirence and by therefore you cannot possibly know my entire expirence.

When you couple these linguistic problems with inequal experiences the necessity of symbols becomes apparent. Now the employment of symbols functions perfectly as long as we are willing to talk about approximation but when we are demanding precision the symbols begin to break down. In other words the symbols are being "forced" to do what they cannot do... ie they cannot communicate perfectly. In this way it is possible to talk about expirence in an approximation format but when the format changes: from approximation to precision and the divergent expirences become exaggerated we must remain silent for the symbols are being misused.

Now as to "other" influences. Not all expirences are equal. They happen in a rapid succession of events that never ends maybe unto death but perhaps not. Not every expirence is worthy of linguistic expression. If I spoke and "passed" on all my expirence I would weaken your ears with information. As a result, I must be selective in what I put into linguistic expression. The process whereby I choose to express certain expirences as opposed to others involves among other things, values. How are values gained? Some are learned some are "caught". But the influence of these values cannot be over expressed. They provide a powerful tug upon the mind that can only be described as "peer pressure".

The mind itself plays a powerful roll in the creation of knowledge. It must walk a very tight rope indeed it must balance the pressure to conform with the physical demands of a body that it does not "understand" but expirences none the less.

now I'm sure your going to disagree with me but I would put emotions as another factor weighing upon a person. Fear, can be a powerful emotion. Fear is a primal and can push a person away or towards expressing or holding values.

I'm pretty sure your willing to place all these things into the realm of expirence and demonstrate that it's just all expirence not separate. I think that would be unwise. If expirence means something that happens inside, outside, in the mind, outside the mind, and all things physical than expirence begins to loose meaning, and your expression that expirence plus language makes little sense because language should be included in expirence. for it is both internal and external. Therefore knowledge= expirence and when you define expirence as everything that happens than knowledge = everything.


"Obviously, someone must "know" something, by having "knowledge" of something, in order to convey a neurally processed statement, called belief."

Not necessairly so. To convey belief does not ONLY mean that I know something, It means I am able to communicate what "I know" through language. But as I have said earlier perfect communication is not possible, we can only communicate with each other in indirect ways via symbols. So while I may have an expirence I many not fully understand what that the expirence means. Moreover, I may not be able to communicate that in exact enough format to satisfy your questions. So while I may be able to communicate in a certain context what I know. in another context the same question is impossible to answer.

"Whether the belief is conveyed in a semantic form that holds internal consistency and is understood by others, is a matter of discerning the veracity of the "knowledge" they hold."

That would be true if knowledge was objective and perfectly communicated. But the problem is that information is NOT objective. Somethings have been left unsaid or left undefined. What you call knowledge is a creation of a complex relationship of factors. Language being a primary factor.

So to "internal consistency" is not an objective "thing" that can be determined. What you may be willing to accept as reasonable I may not. With what does it have to be consistant? Does it have to be consistant with your expirence or mine? Moreover if millions of people held that it was consistant with their expirence but did not make it through some people's certification process for what is reasonable does it therefore become unreasonable by definition?


"In short, some of the filtering rules a person holds may be missing, and thus, the screen by which they filter information may have a "hole" in it."

It maybe possible to discuss the filtering holes but I would like to know HOW this process is determined. As I have mentioned earlier the process that one selects what is "knowledge" depends greatly upon many factors. Knowledge is not just "Everything that happens to you" It is a story that takes into account enough of the evidence to provide enough internal consistancy to satisfy the individual. It is not the story of "everything" In this way methodolgy is EVERYTHING.

Who determines who has the "holes"? More to the point how do we know that our own perspectives are not only tainting how we see other but how we see ourselves? You may once again return to approximation but then that just a fancy word for "I believe"

"Consider buffer overflow, and psychological cognitive dissonance to be commonly referred to as "mid-life" crisis."

this cognitive dissonance is the inability to release hold on a position based upon emotional attachment. This attachement provides a tension that nature will seek to restore.
I believe this is one way to view it. this would propose a winner take all mentality. In other words there are two worlds the world of faith and the world of reason and the two are held in conflict.

I would say that this position is promoting as dis-joining of the human person. Couldn't this competitive position be "creating" the dissonance just as much as anything else. In other words we are told over and over again that it is faith or reason it's one or the other. If we are told something over and over again such a position could create problems not because one is inherently in conflict with the other but because the conflict has been socially engineered.

This would make sense instead of proposing a victory of one side over the other. Why can it not be a harmony of faith and reason where the two work together instead of winner take all?

This works in most eastern countries where contemplation and expirence work hand in hand. Not in conflict but in harmony. In this way our obsessive compulsive disorder with proclaiming what is objectively TRUE about the universe could melt into a learning from other cultures and ways not as "less developed" but as different than our own.

Dave8 said...

Mike, I'm out for a day, but will return. Your response, has a few statements I see as vague, but I do agree with other parts.

When I write equations, they are in fact equations, not processes.

Experience precedes "all" knowledge, and knowledge precedes linguistic expression, as you said in another thread, when a person attempts to speak foreign languages, they have a slight delay in cognitive recall or response time, if they did not receive information early on in life.

So, holds true, in this case. Experience first, cognitive processing and then the delayed if ever so slight, in linguistic expression. Someone could surely get smacked by a shovel and yelp, but that is reflexive, yet, still the same process occurs, experience, then some response.

I'll cover it more when I return.

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "This would make sense instead of proposing a victory of one side over the other. Why can it not be a harmony of faith and reason where the two work together instead of winner take all?"

Mike, I'm not sure how you are perceiving what I write, but I take not one side over the other, in regards to knowledge acquisition and processing. I actually think we pull information from the same well.

It's the processing and expression that is obviously different, and it's not like I want to neurally take a humanities student, and force them to think in rigid frameworks, but even the artist must admit they are honestly taking information from "One" well, just as the scientist.

Why is that so hard... I know, it undoes the need for "faith", as if everything is in the same well, there is only "One" singularity of Truth, being absorbed, processed, and expressed in different contextual form (art & science). That would be an honest expression of the human condition in a vast Universe.

The truth of aesthetics, is that it too is founded in Nature, just as science. Again, will finish later.

mike brown said...

"Experience precedes "all" knowledge, and knowledge precedes linguistic expression,"

you need to define your terms. Since we are having "this kind" of discussion the definition of terms is very crucial. So how are you using expirence? What do you mean by knowledge? By expirence I mean what I wrote: That which happens to us. By knowledge I meant: meaningful information communicated.

How are you using those terms? You above all people should know that in a debate like "this" semantics plays a crucial roll.

"I actually think we pull information from the same well." Of course you would think that it allows you to use huge arguments like this to "prove" some kind of point. I'll go along with you for the sake of argument. Lets say we all DO pull from the same well. The problem is not that we are pulling from the same well, to keep the illustration alive, the containers we are using are varied. The manner in which we interpret the information is varied. By saying "we all pull from the same well" it implies that because we all do this the results of this "pulling" should be exactally the same: that our version of how we put the information together should look the same. This implies a type of superior position that has the ability to discern what is the "proper" way to pull water out of the well. THAT is what I am questioning.

Assuming we all pull from the same well are "aesthetic" expression inferior to your "rational" expressions or simply different? This is why people are questioning science, not because they have "holes" in their information processing, but rather because some are proposing that "science" should be able to broker how ALL other disciplines function.

Did you follow that boomslang? Water, well,... holes in the computer system? Can you tell me which part of Dave8's argument you agreed with?

dano said...

Mike!
When you say you are a Christian, do you mean a born again Christian, who has accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, and believe he died on the cross, so that you can have everlasting life, or is this just another question that you think is so far below your standards of viable communication that you refuse to answer.

I, and billions of other simple folk, need to know Mike. Do I need to be able to understand what you and Dave8 are talking about to get to heaven, or has getting to heaven become "passé" in our post modern world?
Dan

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "you need to define your terms. Since we are having "this kind" of discussion the definition of terms is very crucial. So how are you using expirence? What do you mean by knowledge? By expirence I mean what I wrote: That which happens to us. By knowledge I meant: meaningful information communicated."

Oh, dear Nature... Experience acquisition in my terms, is the "sensory" connectivity between the physical senses and external environment. Once one stubs their toe, they are immediately experiencing an episode, as a matter of fact, we are experiencing life pre-birth, prior to cognitive development.

Knowledge isn't just "any" meaningful information communicated, who defines what meaning is... I define knowledge as neurally processed information, how it comes out and what it means are totally subjective, which is why science is a good arbiter to ferret out what is "meaningful" and what isn't meaningful, in a specific context...

Now, is that context any better than any other context like aesthetics? Well, I'll respond when I get to my destination, hopefully the other great thinkers can take over for a few days while I fly the unfriendly skies.

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: Did you follow that boomslang? Water, well,... holes in the computer system?

...::yawn::

Yup.

Mike Brown: Can you tell me which part of Dave8's argument you agreed with?

Sure, Mike Brown, I "can"..... but I won't. Y'know why I won't, Mike Brown? Because you put in this very same request of me in another thread, which, BTW, I honered it by providing, and elaborating on, a central point of agreement on one of Dave 8's posts---yet, to the best of my knowledge, you completely ignored it. Yes, you ignored it....just like you ignore every other person here who poses questions that you can't answer with your "modern"/"post-modern" philosophical rhetoric.

Let's review, shall we?

Since your arrival here on EX-Christian.net, and with the exception of your initial proselytizing post, you have spent the balance of your time here, either, a) "thinking" that you are philosophizing with Dave 8, yet, in the end, doing everything in your power to circumvent having to face the fact that Dave 8's bottom line clashes with your bottom line....i.e.."naturalism" vs "super-naturalism." And yes, that IS the bottom line, here.

....or b) suggesting that we can't "know" what "Truth" really is, because the empirical/material methods for deducing what is objectively "true" are "unreliable".

Yet, and here's my point for the umpteenth time---what have you, Mike Brown, proffered in the stead of the empirical/material/scientific method for determining that your worldview..i.e.."Christianity", is an "objective Truth"?????????????????

Answer: NOTHING. ZERO; ZILCH; NADDA.....or in "modern" terms, "jack shit".

* my apologies to my fellow ex-ers for having to keep reading these questions. I think maybe Mike may be related to Sylvia Brown, no?

(day 3)

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth.

PS: Dano also asked direct questions. I/we await your answer(s), Mike Brown.

dano said...

Mike,
I just want to say that I don't have any animosity towards you at all. In fact I understand why you are here trying to debate ex-Christians.

You have all of these really good debating skills, and no one to talk to. Over here no one is afraid of the devil, and we have seen every kind of Christian revisionist out there. They all have come here for a breath of fresh air at one time or another.

I know that it would be impossible to find people in you immediate circle of friends who could reach down into the well of knowledge and pull up anything meaningful, because by the term "your circle of friends" (other Christians) their learned and acculturated methods of knowing, immediately come up against reality, testable, verifiable, correctable, tweakable, falseafiable, discardable, changeable, knowledge, of what we know is real and what is just imagined, and some six year old is always coming along and asking "How do you know that?"

So when you look around over there on "Christians Are Us," you see nothing but people with holes in their buckets.

And please Mike! What is this, "Always answering a question with a question?"

I seem to remember something like that from high school debating class. You've used it enough now and it's time to get down to what we can do to help you. You basically have a good mind and I would like to help.

Dan

Dave8 said...

Mike Brown: "By saying "we all pull from the same well" it implies that because we all do this the results of this "pulling" should be exactally the same: that our version of how we put the information together should look the same."

Nope, not at all. The Law of Identity suggests we all live in "One" universe, and everything "is", what it "is", and it exists without contradiction.

Now, you move from my point above, and then surmise that I am suggesting that humans cognitively should be processing all information equally, and mentally projecting the same intrinsic mental image...

I disagree with that assertion, there are biologically differences in our hard-wiring, memory storage, transmission paths, hormonal influences, etc., that prevent exact same information processing.

However, let's say you are color-blind, could you be taught what the color green meant, in analog frequency lingo? Sure. Could you "experience" seeing a "form"? Yes. Could you then imagine it being shrouded by the color "green"? Not if you never experienced seeing the color green before, it has to be absorbed through the senses and catalogued in memory as an attribute by which to mentally interpret objects as you experience them.

So, me and lets say you, may look at a form and get entirely different impressions of a form, because we are only able to assign attributes to the form according to our mental catalogue.

Should you believe me if I say that the form is "green"? That's your choice, however, you would not be able to disagree with me that the form in fact exists, if you were honest, you could use; sight & tough to test my claim. You could also test the object with a device after you inspected it.

So, you may not be able to build the same artistic impression, but you could logically understand that something is in fact there, that you are not able to perceive exactly as I do.

Therefore, our impressions may likely be much different than each other’s, in our mental model of our reality, but the ability to understand the relationship between it and the objects around it, in contrast is available to you.

Mike Brown: "This implies a type of superior position that has the ability to discern what is the "proper" way to pull water out of the well. THAT is what I am questioning."

Well, let me explicitly suggest that "all" people must "pull" using their sensory experience bucket(s). There is no difference in how that macro functions.

Mike Brown: "Assuming we all pull from the same well are "aesthetic" expression inferior to your "rational" expressions or simply different?"

Once information is absorbed via the sensory functions, and experiences catalogued, its a matter of mental processing of absorbed information, meaning assignment using previously held knowledge, and then new "knowledge".

Now, is aesthetic expression inferior to rational? No. I think I've answered this over and over, in different terms. However, let me state it again, they are just different approaches to expressing the same "One" Universe.

However, lets explore this notion. I believe people should live their lives free of mental conflict, just like it would be beneficial to live a life free of any conflict.

When we start talking about rational expression(s), we can easily zone in on anything that is an immediate contradiction to previously held knowledge, knowledge that is testable and knowable and non-conflicted, falsifiable, etc.

When someone suggests that the clouds they are looking at, "look" or "appear" like big cotton balls... that's totally rational, it's an analogy between two physical forms, and an assessment could be made by anyone who has seen a cotton ball, and a cloud(s).

However, when one suggests that the clouds taste like caramel smores... well, one would have to ask them... how did "you" taste the clouds? And, this is done in order to ferret out the likelihood that a person can even "taste" a cloud.

If one can not convey how they were able to experience the statement made; they should be silent on the matter.

Again, you posited Wittgenstein, and I made a statement, and somehow I am not sure it was interpreted correctly, so;

Wittgenstein [Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus]

6.521 The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem.
6.522 There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.
7 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

Now, that is how I perceive much of life as well. If a person can not symbolize, explain philosophically, or bring someone to understand a proposition under natural science, then... just be silent on the matter.

We can move people to understand metaphor, allegory, and every other literary device,... As... long as the information being portrayed is actually put into that context - it's rational...

When information/symbols are moved from the ontological context, straight into the epistemological context under experiential fact, well... there exists contradiction.

The idiot's adage, [it's better to remain silent, than to open one's mouth, and remove all doubt.] That's not directed towards you, it is in favor of the topic at hand, which is knowledge.

Wittgenstein didn't favor aesthetics over rational expression, he did however, suggest that symbolic communication was not truly possible for areas such as mystical experiences, etc. And, there are many people I know, that would have no problem allowing someone to keep their aesthetic experiences to themselves, or even, expressing their experiences in honest terms of natural art, etc., not as fact, especially not as a universal fact.

It's when aesthetic experiences and interpretive reading become accepted mentally as epistemological "fact", as opposed to ontological fact, that flags start flying everywhere.

To "know" something exists, even as an "idea", or "impressionistic experience", is "not" the same as, being able to convey such as an epistemological fact, per Wittgenstein, i.e., natural science...

Wittgenstein [Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus]:

4.003 Most of the propositions and questions to be found in philosophical works are not false but nonsensical. Consequently we cannot give any answer to questions of this kind, but can only point out that they are nonsensical. Most of the propositions and questions of philosophers arise from our failure to understand the logic of our language. And it is not surprising that the deepest problems are in fact not problems at all.

I have had my share of discussions, trying to logic out definitions and terms, in order to illustrate such nonsensical facets... and I would agree with Wittgenstein, much of our very language is nonsensical, and as much as I'd like to resolve to a logical language, I'd have to be playing on an equal field with others of like knowledge.

Now, this is the art and science of contradiction removal, but that goes against religion, theism in general, etc., as mystical impressions are taught as epistemological fact. The very suggestion of a movement of this sort, is to "challenge" religion, theology, etc., as it would force those wielding such terms as "god", etc., to couch their comment in terms of "literary being", as opposed to "physical being", so that proper communication occurs.

I find that just communicating with someone who can't place their words in the proper context, places me in the position, to either ignore them, or point it out, and then ignore them, etc. People use words all the time without understanding the contextual meaning, and even Wittgenstein suggests; Language disguises thought, the deeper underlying meaning of words.

4.022 Man possesses the ability to construct languages capable of expressing every sense, without having any idea how each word has meaning or what its meaning is - just as people speak without knowing how the individual sounds are produced. It is not humanly possible to gather immediately from it what the logic of language is. Language disguises thought.

And so, I am not against aesthetic expression, nor scientific expression, they both hold merit... as long as the person holding the information is "educated" enough to understand how to speak their language and how the context of their words have to be couched... science, with... no absolute universal fact, but still as a fact... aesthetics, as personal impression, individually held, and no where close to the realm of scientific "fact".

Yet, it's the aesthetic wielding religions, theistic groups, etc., that directly take mystical experience, personal metaphysical experience, etc., and "teach" them as scientific "fact" or even more ambiguous as general "facts".

Mike Brown: "This is why people are questioning science, not because they have "holes" in their information processing, but rather because some are proposing that "science" should be able to broker how ALL other disciplines function."

Mike... people aren't questioning science and its veracity to ascertain "facts", etc. From "my" experience, people are getting bent out of shape, because they are being slowly forced to accept that their entire rhetoric is aesthetic and holds "no" epistemological foundation.

The biblical words exist (ontologically), but when tested for epistemological value, there is so much contradiction that one must in all honesty remove premise statements and presuppositions before beginning to evaluate the books. Especially, the one that suggests a "perfect" invisible "being" (without ontological support), scripted a perfect collection of books that are "non-contradictory" when internally inspected and externally validated via alternative sources.

Now, logic and reason, are not "science"... the are methods of symbolic expression, and evaluation for testing cogency/harmony of statements made.

To attack science, doesn't remove "logic and reason". While science employs logic and reason, it is in a macro sense, described by its method for discovery and its goal of collecting facts about the natural universe.

And so, those "holes" I am suggesting, are in fact the missing lines of code, that suggest "logic and reason" should be filters used to ascertain what is aesthetic (mentally ontological) and what is a scientific fact (epistemological fact).

If one doesn't have the reason or logic capability to understand the difference(s), it's likely due in a large part, because of poor education and being "told" over, and over, and over, that one's mental image is a scientific fact, that can be falsified, tested, and simultaneously experienced by others.

So, in philosophical history, the age of reason was the ridding of the medieval approach, especially scholasticism, in favor of something more consistent, and stable.

Science is in the business of testing/de-conflicting any natural hypothesis presented.

Science isn't standing on an ivory tower, "reason" and "logic" are, and they are both involved with identification of conflict and contradiction.

To challenge reason, logic and even the methods employed to ascertain the veracity of natural claims as fact, is to question the need to keep things from being held in "conflict".

Cognitive conflict and dissonance are synonymous, in my book. Any dissonance is representative of deeper underlying issues, the suggestion that there is fear or other psychological pathology/problem that can't be immediately resolved, and so, a reprieve in a mentally deluded state is the natural defense mechanism.

I have been in that state myself, only to realize that I was in that state, because of "unfounded" and "unjustified", irrational, fear. Again, religion/theism that doesn't seek to converge on a knowledge base that is non-contradictory to me; is irrational, and the exhaustive energy spent to attempt to glue everything together is not only dishonest, I'd suggest it is a tragedy to human welfare.

It's apparent, that education is prime to this entire conversation, and in what context information should be passed.

dano said...

Dave8,
In my opinion Mike won't be back, because he ran up against too many people who at least consider themselves his intellectual equal, and in my opinion, I don't think he can be comfortable with that.

I have my doubts, that wherever he hangs out, very many people question his anti scientific epistemology, mainly because he doesn't seem to be willing to explain what it is, enough for anyone to get at it. He keeps it hidden just enough, that he can say "How do you know what I think?" , every time we asks him a difficult question.

Webmaster has asked him to be more transparent, to no avail.

Over here on good ole ex-Christian, our profundity of skeptics was just getting to him, (in my opinion.)

I agree with you in your post above. Religious people should qualify their beliefs or at least try to keep them to themselves like the founding fathers intended.

People like Billy Graham disgust me because, that ole man spent a life time stealing peoples money, by telling them what God says, and what God wants, as if it was written in stone by the big ole bearded guy up in the sky himself, and that ole SOB, televangelist doesn't know any more about what God says and what God wants than the pope or anyone else. Or for that matter, even what God is, if there is one.

He should have started every sermon with "In my opinion" and ended with "in my opinion"

But then I suppose I should be more understanding. He was just doing what he was brought up to do. He got a "Babe" of a wife at an early age by being the fine young Christian preacher man, and after that I guess there was no stopping him.

What do you think Dave? Will "Religious Man" evolve into "Non religious Man"?
Dan

.:webmaster:. said...

Dano,

Actually, Mike did finally condescend to satisfying my request.

When he arrived he said he was merely interested in asking a question or two. Here's what he finally admitted: "It isn't that you've rejected christianity... It's the arrogance... That's honestly what caught my attention. "

He also adequately revealed why he was ignoring me while engaging others: "ironlion, dave8 and jimarvo HAVE at least the mental capacity to think through their positions" .

People of less capacity, like me, who don't quite rise to the level of his witnessing model, aren't worth acknowledging, apparently. Mike is no doubt a paragon of compassion and humility. He'll no doubt be a superior-in-every-way leader in Christian community.

Here's a link to his entire "honest" rant: Click Here

Dave8 said...

Hey Dano & WM, I agree, Mike may not be back as you say. He apparently was interested in playing a few rounds of stump the chump, disguised as a challenge to provoke thought and question ones belief(s).

There is a presupposition from what I gathered, in that everybody should hold a philosophically sound belief system. To me, that sounds ridiculous, because it asserts that people need to go out and read a book, in order to ontologically say "I exist"... Life doesn't "have" to be put in the context of words, to be enjoyed without conflict, and no one is required to run around trying to preach their philosophy in order to live an honest and fulfilling life.

The regulars on this site, have the same focus on most all themes and testimonials provided... to ferret out conflict and contradiction, in order to understand the context of one's statements... in order to ascertain it as a personal opinion, or statement that is consistent with other known facts.

There may be a little turbulence once we break down the argument on how to put it back together, from a personal point of view... but the breaking it apart and acknowledgement of conflict/contradiction is a solid effort :-) That's why most here are ex-Christians, we've come to understand the conflict and contradiction, and how to point it.

Some people are looking for the pieces that fit, in order to keep their belief system alive, or they ignore the conflict, creating an intrinsic cognitive dissonance.

The day Christianity becomes un-conflicted, will be the day when the belief system becomes synonymous with naturalism. And, it’s not that science or I, or others suggest that naturalism is the "only" belief system, but naturalism does suggest we live in only "One" Universe, and that appears to be "more" than Christianity can handle.

Any theism that contends that there are multiple universes immediately creates a conflict in the initial premise of ontology. If there are multiple universes, one has to eventually create a personal "existence" premise, that is divided, conflicted, and contradictory to describe their "being" and how it's related or connected to "non-being".

The question of "God", or any god for me, doesn't exist, as Wittgenstein suggested, most philosophical problems are just nonsensical, and not really problems at all that can be answered. It's why I typically wait for the theist to attempt a stab at qualifying their deity term.

If that isn't possible, I move to the second test, which is the ontological harmony of their belief statements, if we can't get past contradiction, then... no point in going any further.

Ayn Rand: "...Don't give anyone the benefit of the doubt if your first impression is that he's irrational. Don't discard him on an impression; you may be wrong. Be patient enough to see the first admission of mysticism or the first non sequitur. When you get it in his own language (which is the fairest procedure) you can forget all about him. You need not study all of this evils. If you are a philosophy teacher, you might have to help your pupils untangle the particular evils; but for your own information--for the clarity of your own convictions--once you arrive at the conclusion that someone is a mystic (tat some part of his philosophy, by his own statement, is not subject to reason or is beyond reason), then he has saved you the trouble of considering anything else that he says".

Again, I think most people are willing to allow someone to open their arguments up, even as tired as they are... but once irrationalism is involved, there is no point, other than to understand it for what it is.

To promote ideas, without direction and to question earnestly, one has to be open minded... I'm not sure we got that from Mike, he appeared to have an agenda and unwilling to move in his philosophy or belief.

If his aim was to show that many people are dogmatic about their views, just as religion is... then, I'd suggest demanding reason, being rational, and seeking to live without contradiction is where I want to hang my hat, for all the mentally, socially, etc., reasons that one can illustrate in reality. And, it appears I am in good company here with other ex-tians :-) Take care.