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Johnny Look

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6th February, 2011 at 18:49:38 -

At least in theory, it was a religious war. Of course I believe very well that some people involved had their own agendas, the popes themselves being a good example of crooked old men sending the young to war under the false promises of heaven and dieing for a greater good for their own personal gain (very much like the modern "crusades" some islamic fundamentalists such as bin laden organize and support).

As for who won and lost, since ultimately the crusaders didn't reach their objective I'd say they lost and therefore the muslims won. After all who started the crusades were the crusaders not the muslims.

 
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6th February, 2011 at 20:31:55 -

Johnny Look- "If god tells you "you either honor me or I'll send you to hell" is he giving you a free choice?"

God doesn't send people to Hell, so your entire argument is based upon a misconception that completely ignores the entire concept of what it means to have free will. So all that logic really means is that you don't have to face responsibility for your own actions as long as you believe that God isn't giving you a choice. Even though your entire belief system points to you being a living contradiction to that type of thinking.


I think the point UrbanMonk is trying to make is a very simple one. Christians are people who "try" to be like Christ. So if you're going to question Christianity it doesn't make sense to attack Christians, because in truth they can never be just like Christ. There are plenty of people who have become atheist simply because of the actions of a Christian than something that had to do with Jesus. So the issue then becomes being able to make a clear distinction that Jesus is the one who represents Christianity, not Christians.

 
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Matt Boothman

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6th February, 2011 at 20:51:09 -

Moot point there. The Turks moved into the Byzantine Empire and they appealed to the Holy Roman Empire to intervene. So it was a bit of both. It wasn't simply "They have our land, and we want it back", it was more of a natural war due to empire expansion.

I say the Muslims didn't win because - like I said - the Crusades weren't a single contiguous war, it was a series of conflicts between various different groups, fighting for different aims and fighting over an extremely long period. Some Muslims won, some lost - Jerusalem was conquered, and won again, but Iberia was lost forever. Even the Mongols fought in the Crusades, and at some points competing Muslim states allied themselves with the Crusaders to conquer neighbours - which I think refutes the idea that they were a religious war between Christianity and Islam; they were a lot more complicated than that.

 
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Johnny Look

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7th February, 2011 at 01:27:42 -


Originally Posted by Yami
Johnny Look- "If god tells you "you either honor me or I'll send you to hell" is he giving you a free choice?"

God doesn't send people to Hell, so your entire argument is based upon a misconception that completely ignores the entire concept of what it means to have free will. So all that logic really means is that you don't have to face responsibility for your own actions as long as you believe that God isn't giving you a choice. Even though your entire belief system points to you being a living contradiction to that type of thinking.



Who does then ? St. Peter ? If god supposedly created everything, that includes hell, the purgatory etc... and it does say in the bible that the unworthy will pay for his sins in hell after death. When you sum up the parts you reach the conclusion that it's not so much of a "misconception".
If free will for you is living believing in god and knowing he will punish you if you stay away from the path he wants you to walk on then great for you. I wouldn't call that free will or free choice but that's just me perhaps.
"Free" for me means just that, being free to choose whether to believe or not. Christians/muslims/jews/whatever know that if they stop believing they will go to hell/be punished/whatever when they die.
Bible: You either believe and venerate god or you go to hell.
Me: I either believe or I don't. I can choose freely=free choice.

If you believe in god you have the choice to believe or not, but that's not a free choice, you're told that you can't go that way or else you face severe punishment. Notice the difference between "choice" and "free choice". What I find a rather astounding is that people feel grateful that god doesn't obliterate someone instantly for not believing in god but that's an entirely different discussion.

Anyway I don't even know why I'm still discussing this I thought this was pretty obvious, sometimes I wonder if people are in denial or if they simply don't understand.

"I think the point UrbanMonk is trying to make is a very simple one. Christians are people who "try" to be like Christ. So if you're going to question Christianity it doesn't make sense to attack Christians, because in truth they can never be just like Christ. There are plenty of people who have become atheist simply because of the actions of a Christian than something that had to do with Jesus. So the issue then becomes being able to make a clear distinction that Jesus is the one who represents Christianity, not Christians. "

The only thing we know about the crusaders is that they went to war in the name of god/christ, everything we might claim to know about them (way of life etc...) is only speculation.
Christ was supposed to be god-like. God destroyed entire cities because the people there chose not to follow him. The crusaders did the same, so I could even say he was christ-like AND god-like.

Also I don't know where you got that idea that people become atheists because they met a christian who acts like a moron. You don't just throw all your beliefs and faith behind your back because of one or two morons who happen to be christians, that's just ridiculous.




 
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7th February, 2011 at 05:39:11 -


Originally Posted by Johnny Look
Also I don't know where you got that idea that people become atheists because they met a christian who acts like a moron. You don't just throw all your beliefs and faith behind your back because of one or two morons who happen to be christians, that's just ridiculous.



He did say many, not all. That clear distinction is unfortunately quite true. However most atheists came to the conclusion entirely on their own. He left that part out, probably because it didn't make sense to mention it. Regardless, this point specific of his has no real argument against. He's correct. Many Christians do act in a way that can sway some people into a very weak atheistic point of view.

 
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Johnny Look

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7th February, 2011 at 08:55:42 -

That might happen some times, but that's definitely not common. I never met an atheist who said he started doubting god/christianity/etc because of what one christian did or said. On what do you base your affirmation that he is correct and can't be argued against ? If you were atheist you'd realize how ridiculous what he said was let alone state it's a fact.
I'm pretty sure that's his way of saying that atheists stop believing in god is because they are wrongly lead to, and not because they started asking themselves genuine questions.

 
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7th February, 2011 at 11:48:52 -


Originally Posted by Muz
I do believe in a higher power.


I believe that one of the religions out there must be true, because people have spent centuries thinking about this kind of thing, and I'm sure someone got it close to the truth before it was stolen by politics. Religion's always been sort of the highest morality, and anything which gives you the moral high ground gives you a strong political advantage.




I think there is some severe lapse in logic here. Consider the things that we are currently trying to discover. For example, we are still looking for the higgs boson to complete the standard model of particle physics. The proposition of such an idea is fairly recent, yet particle physics dates back to 6th century BC. Does the higgs boson exist? The answer at the moment is we don't know. You couldn't argue that we are close to the answer because we have spent centuries studying it. Indeed our search for the higgs boson might suggest that there is a fundamental and serious flaw in our understanding of matter, which would put to question the model we currently have.

Religion is a hypothesis without foundation. There is a lot of evidence against religion and well founded theories in psychology that suggest how and why humanity acquired this. Those with religious interest don't study the religion. For those of you who think "well I guess there could be a god", could also be thinking "well I guess the psychology of the human brain favours this". Study requires objective criticism. There are people who study religious texts but that is a literary matter, and a book on its own can't act as the foundation of any significant theory that can be taken seriously. I am intrigued as to why you think there might be a "before it was stolen by politics". Perhaps it was invented by politics?

Edited by ~Matt Esch~

 
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Yami



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7th February, 2011 at 13:03:45 -

Johnny Look - "When you sum up the parts you reach the conclusion that it's not so much of a 'misconception'."

Johnny Look - "If you believe in god you have the choice to believe or not, but that's not a free choice, you're told that you can't go that way or else you face severe punishment."

Yeah, because one choice is good and the other is bad. haha Look you can either believe or not. God isn't some "robber" that's holding people at gun point telling them to believe. Now if everyone believed in fear of going to Hell you would have a better argument of not having a choice. However, you're a perfect example of that not being the case and whether you believe in God or not does not matter. You do have free will and people should be held accountable for their own actions. Without the concept of judgment, there's the idea of "well I can get away with it".

Johnny Look - "Christ was supposed to be god-like. God destroyed entire cities because the people there chose not to follow him. The crusaders did the same, so I could even say he was christ-like AND god-like."

Christianity is based on the life of Jesus and is presented in the writings of the New Testament. Judaism is based on the Old Testament and is the God you just described. Jesus addresses a lot of issues with the Old Testament.

Johnny Look - "Also I don't know where you got that idea that people become atheists because they met a christian who acts like a moron. You don't just throw all your beliefs and faith behind your back because of one or two morons who happen to be christians, that's just ridiculous."

Whether it's the reason they stop believing or not, there are plenty of people who use Christians as a means to argue against Christianity. Talking about the Crusades is a perfect example. Even though common sense tells us anything can be used for evil through deception.

Johnny Look - "That might happen some times, but that's definitely not common. I never met an atheist who said he started doubting god/christianity/etc because of what one christian did or said. On what do you base your affirmation that he is correct and can't be argued against ? If you were atheist you'd realize how ridiculous what he said was let alone state it's a fact."

All I can do is speak for myself, and through my personal experience. Most Atheists that I talk to were originally Catholic or had some religious background and I find it hard to believe that it's just a coincidence. Especially when I talk to them and see that their reasons have nothing to do with Jesus. During this entire debate no one has really talked about Jesus.

"I'm pretty sure that's his way of saying that atheists stop believing in god is because they are wrongly lead to, and not because they started asking themselves genuine questions."

The funny thing is an Atheist would try to say the same thing to me for believing. That I didn't ask myself genuine questions; however, I don't believe either side should be seen in that light.

Edited by Yami

 
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Johnny Look

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7th February, 2011 at 13:37:35 -

"Yeah, because one choice is good and the other is bad. haha Look you can either believe or not. God isn't some "robber" that's holding people at gun point telling them to believe. Now if everyone believed in fear of going to Hell you would have a better argument of not having a choice. However, you're a perfect example of that not being the case and whether you believe in God or not does not matter. You do have free will and people should be held accountable for their own actions. Without the concept of judgment, there's the idea of "well I can get away with it". "

I was specifically talking about christians, people who, I assume, believe in what's in the bible. Therefore they are aware that not believing or not honoring god will send them to hell. I thought this was obvious.

There's no need to hell or final judgment to be punished for your wrong doings. There is law, and there is people. Killing or robbing someone will put you in bad situation if you're not caught. You'll disappoint who cares for you and who you are for and you might be sent to jail. If you're not caught and you don't regret what you did, there's a chance you'll keep doing the same thing which sooner or later will have repercussions. No need to wait until you die to be punishment. Once you're done for there's no need for further punishment, I think being dead is just enough.

Even if you don't look at it that way, the robber example isn't that far off. If you don't do god says, you'll get punishment. If you try ignoring what the robber says there's a pretty high chance of you getting a bullet in your head.

"Christianity is based on the life of Jesus and is presented in the writings of the New Testament. Judaism is based on the Old Testament and is the God you just described. Jesus addresses a lot of issues with the Old Testament. "
So what's in the old testament is meant to be ignored ?

"Whether it's the reason they stop believing or not, there are plenty of people who use Christians as a means to argue against Christianity. Talking about the Crusades is a perfect example. Even though common sense tells us anything can be used for evil through deception. "
That's completely different things, and personally I don't think that talking about christians as a means to bash or elevate christianity is a good argument at all. My point about the crusaders was that they were no less christ-like than the isreali soldiers urbanmonk believed were graced by a miracle.

"All I can do is speak for myself, and through my personal experience. Most Atheists that I talk to were originally Catholic or had some religious background and I find it hard to believe that it's just a coincidence. Especially when I talk to them and see that their reasons have nothing to do with Jesus. During this entire debate no one has really talked about Jesus. "

I was catholic too but that as nothing to do with me losing about my faith because of what one or more christians did or said. If a christian stop believing in god, there could be a hundred reasons, the one you mentioned is probably one of the less likely of them. When you stop believing in god, you stop believing in jesus, mohamed, moses etc... An atheist has nothing against christianity itself, they simply don't believe in religion of any kind. Not mentioning jesus or mohamed is completely irrelevant.

"The funny thing is an Atheist would try to say the same thing to me for believing. That I didn't ask myself genuine questions; however, I don't believe either side should be seen in that light."

My point being, religious people always find all sorts of explanations to explain why so many people stop believing. Not that they are trying to mislead other people by implying atheists stopped believing because they are ignorant, but simply because they can't understand how that process is made without going through it themselves.



 
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Yami



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7th February, 2011 at 16:57:07 -

"If you're not caught and you don't regret what you did, there's a chance you'll keep doing the same thing which sooner or later will have repercussions. No need to wait until you die to be punishment."

That's a big assumption to make. Point is, it opens the door for that type of thinking. Which to me is a scary thought.

"Even if you don't look at it that way, the robber example isn't that far off. If you don't do god says, you'll get punishment. If you try ignoring what the robber says there's a pretty high chance of you getting a bullet in your head."

This is also under the assumption that God, like the robber is a bad person. The problem with your analogy is that it completely ignores all the good things that God asks of us.

"So what's in the old testament is meant to be ignored ?"

It shouldn't be ignored, but here's a good example of what I'm talking about. In the Old Testament they did animal sacrifices. If you read the New Testament you would know that there's no need to keep doing that, because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice. Like I said, the Old Testament has issues and Jesus answers them. As far as why do people read the Old Testament and not just the New Testament, well Jesus quotes the Old Testament a lot and it helps to know what he's referencing. Plus I believe the Old Testament has a lot of Jewish history within it that is good to know.

"Not that they are trying to mislead other people by implying atheists stopped believing because they are ignorant, but simply because they can't understand how that process is made without going through it themselves."

I don't necessarily agree with that. Other than it just depends on the person. I know some people who believe blindly and others that don't. I will say that I believe that everybody has or is filled with doubt. To me doubt is good, it means your questioning those ideas and searching for the answers which in turn will make your belief stronger.

 
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7th February, 2011 at 18:15:20 -


Originally Posted by Yami

The funny thing is an Atheist would try to say the same thing to me for believing. That I didn't ask myself genuine questions; however, I don't believe either side should be seen in that light.



Most people who believe, generally never do ask themselves genuine questions. Just because you do, doesn't mean that the point isn't valid. You can be educated and still believe in something. I just have a difficult time viewing any HIGHLY educated person, as still maintaining a strong interwoven faith with something like Christianity, unless they purposely ignored some very key questions in lieu of not wanting to consider the possible answer.

I was once an atheist, and I know a lot of that viewpoint, because not much has chanced since I became wiccan. I just discovered that even as an atheist, many of the answers to questions I asked, were based upon the biasness of people above me. Scientists are not always right, but their track record is significantly better. There are still many questions however that they're asking and cannot answer, but still continue to build philosophies off of the 'highly assumed' answers of their unanswerable questions. Which leads me to believe that for as logical and rational minded as science is and for as trust worthy and reliable as it has defiantly proven itself, many of us still find ourselves hung in a position of shear trust, not in the science, but in the scientists ability to interpret the science correctly. And I've seen enough scientist misinterpretation to believe that it's more common then people think.

So while I use science as a tool to help explain the world around me, it is not my bible. The universe is my bible and science is only a tool to understand and interpret it. And just like a hammer head falling off, it's not always right, and can sometimes do significant damage if handled incorrectly.

 
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7th February, 2011 at 21:08:20 -

So many walls of text. I'll just respond to the one addressing mine


Originally Posted by s-m-r
Muz: I'd respond and say that religion is not necessary for moral behaviour.



I'm not saying that it's necessary for ethics. There's always a black and white area in ethics exactly like what you wrote - make things better, respect, love, etc.

Religion addresses the grey area of morality. Does alcohol cause more harm than help? Abortions? Is theft justifiable? Capital punishment? Some religions prioritize forgiveness as a virtue, others may believe in "an eye for an eye". Religions often split into different sects just because they choose different positions on these things.

Similar to labels like "conservative" and "socialist", religion's also good for identifying what kind of philosophy you follow. A Buddhist will not be too attached to worldly possessions, preferring spiritual attainment. A Christian views the sacrifice of others highly. A Muslim believes in devotion and submission. An atheist shuns those who belief in things without solid facts and force their beliefs on others.

It's in no way a solid representation of anyone's behavior, especially for the non-religious. I mean, you could have a Christian who's completely selfish or an atheist who is superstitious, but it goes against the religious beliefs they claim to follow. But it shows why Christians are likely to crusade, why Muslims are more trusting of authoritative figures, while Confucians believe that the authoritative figure should be loyal to their subjects, or why atheists are more likely to follow a scientific path.



Originally Posted by ~Matt Esch~

Originally Posted by Muz
I do believe in a higher power.

I believe that one of the religions out there must be true, because people have spent centuries thinking about this kind of thing, and I'm sure someone got it close to the truth before it was stolen by politics. Religion's always been sort of the highest morality, and anything which gives you the moral high ground gives you a strong political advantage.




I think there is some severe lapse in logic here. Consider the things that we are currently trying to discover. For example, we are still looking for the higgs boson to complete the standard model of particle physics. The proposition of such an idea is fairly recent, yet particle physics dates back to 6th century BC. Does the higgs boson exist? The answer at the moment is we don't know. You couldn't argue that we are close to the answer because we have spent centuries studying it. Indeed our search for the higgs boson might suggest that there is a fundamental and serious flaw in our understanding of matter, which would put to question the model we currently have.

Religion is a hypothesis without foundation. There is a lot of evidence against religion and well founded theories in psychology that suggest how and why humanity acquired this. Those with religious interest don't study the religion. For those of you who think "well I guess there could be a god", could also be thinking "well I guess the psychology of the human brain favours this". Study requires objective criticism. There are people who study religious texts but that is a literary matter, and a book on its own can't act as the foundation of any significant theory that can be taken seriously. I am intrigued as to why you think there might be a "before it was stolen by politics". Perhaps it was invented by politics?



First, I'd assume that the higher power cares about us knowing of its existence, not too much, not too little. If it didn't care, then there's no evidence at all to prove a higher power exists and no point in finding out. If this higher power really cared (e.g. everyone who disbeliefs would be thrown in hell), this higher power would send down angels and other messengers to lead us as despots and law enforcement.

So, I'd assume it's somewhere in between - someone or a group of people being told the truth. It'd have to happen early on in humanity, like the first man or the first communities and would have to be developed in that time. While you can learn science from experiments, the only way to figure out this higher power would be from history.

I'd believe that if the history was told wrong, there'd be some other truth sent down to correct the previous falsehood. So either the truth should be contained in some scripture out there or it'd lie in a new religion linked to the old. Maybe it would be passed down by word of mouth, but I'd think that any divine being would be intelligent enough to at least teach its messiahs to write, but it's not guaranteed.

Religion can't be invented by politics - it's as unlikely to work as if I suddenly said that the President had an affair with his secretary. There has to be some very strong basis to believe in before it can be politicized. It'd have to catch on long before it becomes a part of the state.

Of course, it could be entirely possible that there's no higher power, but then it ruins the fun of the search. There's no harm in searching for something that isn't there, aside from wasted time, but hey, I learn some things along the way.

 
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Johnny Look

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7th February, 2011 at 23:30:33 -

"That's a big assumption to make. Point is, it opens the door for that type of thinking. Which to me is a scary thought. "

"This is also under the assumption that God, like the robber is a bad person. The problem with your analogy is that it completely ignores all the good things that God asks of us."

Just because someone robs and threatens people doesn't mean they don't do good things themselves. According to the bible god even committed mass murder just because people wouldn't listen to him, that's nothing compared to a few petty thefts.

"It shouldn't be ignored, but here's a good example of what I'm talking about. In the Old Testament they did animal sacrifices. If you read the New Testament you would know that there's no need to keep doing that, because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice. Like I said, the Old Testament has issues and Jesus answers them. As far as why do people read the Old Testament and not just the New Testament, well Jesus quotes the Old Testament a lot and it helps to know what he's referencing. Plus I believe the Old Testament has a lot of Jewish history within it that is good to know. "

I know that, but still I always saw the old testament as an integral part of christianity, laying it's early foundations among other things. It's much more than just being a book of references, at least that's what one of the pastors of the church I used to go used to say.

"I don't necessarily agree with that. Other than it just depends on the person. I know some people who believe blindly and others that don't. I will say that I believe that everybody has or is filled with doubt. To me doubt is good, it means your questioning those ideas and searching for the answers which in turn will make your belief stronger."

When I said genuine questions that's what I meant. I'm sure that even the most devout priest out there has doubts, but I highly doubt he would dare to questions his entire faith because of them. The exact reason why there are so many atheists out there is because those doubts became actual questions, and a lot of those questions never got an answer or the answer wasn't satisfactory. When the unanswered questions start to pile on top of each other, more and more questions appear because you start to realize certain things you wouldn't realize otherwise. That's when the "what if" questions start to pop up, culminating in the ultimate question: "what if everything I believed in was a lie ?" That's not an easy question to ask yourself believe me. I was even afraid to ask that myself to be honest because it felt like a huge life change and it's always hard to leave your comfort zone.

Searching for questions with easy answers will always make your belief stronger, and when you strongly believe in something even the most ridiculous answer makes perfect sense.

Not that I want to insult anyone with this, most of you proved to be very mature while in other places everyone would go apeshit because of what I just said. Feels great to be able to express myself freely, I hope it keeps up this way.

 
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14th February, 2011 at 12:25:16 -

Not to reopen a done-and-dusted "discussion," but here's an editorial authored by a rabbi, entitled "An Open Letter to Atheists."

More support for the faithful, I reckon.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-adam-jacobs/an-open-letter-to-the-ath_b_818489.html

 
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UrbanMonk

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14th February, 2011 at 16:20:27 -

It seems to me that the people who hate religion the most are the ones that are the most immoral.

Nice editorial btw.

 
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