Debate:Is religion morally wrong?

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anything that teaches young children to ignore natural curiousity and to blindly believe what someone older then them tells them without question, and then teaches them that anyone who does not believe what they do is wrong and needs to have their immortal soul 'saved' is morally wrong. as well as that, waging wars against "non-believers" or "infidels" and killing thousands of millions of people, puts religion in the morally wrong category. as in interesting aside, the link to this debate is actually titled "is athiesm morally wrong?" which may need to be fixed. --Bolly Ottihw 21:30 (EDT)

Done. Wikinterpretertalk?
Wha' ...? Anyone who thinks that religion teaches one "to ignore natural curiousity and to blindly believe what someone older then them tells them without question" just plain doesn't understand any religion to which I have ever been exposed. However, I'm pretty sure I can guess why your so confused.
There is a belief, which is generally held by most religions and most people over the age of 30, that human nature is constant. Moral codes, philosophy and religion are built upon assumptions about the constants of human nature. In this way, moral codes are similar to alegbra. Algebra is built upon a foundation of unchanging constants. Math is unchanging. Human nature is unchanging. Therefore, each generation doesn't need to reinvent algebra. Similarly, each generation needn't rediscover the reason that people devised certain moral codes which were based upon countless generations of knowledge about human nature and where then incorporated into religion and philosophy.
This does not mean that the field of mathemics should cease to expand. This does not mean that curiosity is bad. This means that we already know that 1+1=2. We already know what happens to civilizations and societies where wild sexual activities are encouraged. This does not mean that we stop digging up fossils. This does mean that we don't kill unborn children to expiriment on them. Everwill 12:00, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
(wow, first ever post on a debate page!) Everwill, I would argue that human nature is changing and most certainly can't be likened to algebra. Algebra is indeed definite. It always follows the same rules reagrdless of the complexity of the problem. Surely, you can't say that human nature is like that? The scale of variation is unimaginable!
Also, in many fundamentalist religious groups, children are brought up in ignorance of everything apart from what is taught to them by their parents, or teacher. Or, they are taught in a slanted view, which distorts the truth. All this because those parents or teachers seem afraid that their young charges may find something in another viewpoint they like more than what they are being taught! That is morally wrong. The choice should be the child's not the elders'. MatteeNeutra 12:16, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
How many fundamentalist religious groups do you know? I came to Jesus via a summercamp and went to a non-denomination fundamentalist Baptist Church for years. I've had a lot of experiences since then with megachurches and elsewhere, and it to me remains central to free thought. The pastor there actually allowed us to ask questions during the sermons and would teach different competing theories, challenging us to consider them for ourselves. He was confident in the Bible and believed it could stand up to scrutiny. While we didn't sing modern Christian music, he said this was a preference and that was up to other churches - he just wasn't into it. To this day it remains one of my fondest memories, and encouraged my thought process far more than any church or college I've been in (I have over 60 credit hours completed at an accredited college). --Jzyehoshua 18:56, 20 July 2012 (EDT)
There's a reason that William Shakespeare's dramas, King David's tribulations & and the Andy Griffith show (how's that for a unexpected twist?) are timeless stories that affect us in the same way as when they affected those to whom these stories were first told. They affect us all the same way because human nature does not change. The truth is we all love, hate, breath, live and die. The human condition is infinitely variable, but human nature is constant. Of course, there are countless examples of this simple and plainly evident truth. I'm quite sure I'm not the first one to tell you that human nature is the same. In fact, this truth is the foundation of our concepts of equality and our freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I don't want to spend a lot of time defending something that is an elemental and accepted truth spanning time, civilizations and belief systems. This is because I'm not sure whether you're denying the fact that human nature is universal because you are ignorant (unlikely) or because you are intellectually dishonesty (my guess). In either case, it would consume far too much time to explain to you the definition of human nature to your liking. But I what I can posit in reply is an answer to your simple question: there are absolutes in morality, just as there are absolutes in algebra. For example, murder is always wrong. There is no compromise in this principle.
As a quick aside I must note that I always find it humorous when people (usually liberals) stereotype the upbringing found in fundamentalist religious groups.
To your point, it is true that "in many fundamentalist religious groups, children are brought up in ignorance of everything apart from what is taught to them by their parents, or teacher." But guess what, you've just proven my point. This is because, EVERY SINGLE human that ever reached adulthood was "brought up in ignorance of everything apart from what is taught to them by their parents, or teacher." DUH!
It is possible that your theory is true. Perhaps, teachers and parents want to shield children from outside influences because "their young charges may find something in another viewpoint they like more than what they are being taught!" But who do you think is most likely to have the child's best interests at heart? I would presume that a child's parents and that child's teachers want what is best for the child. I think you are implying that the pornographers, salesmen, MTV, rappers, strangers and passerby's---all of whom the child might find more interesting (and more permissive) than the parents and teachers---are better for the child? You think it's better that the child find out (the hard way) the lessons which the parents and grandparents into the mists of history, have already found out? Preposterous. Everwill 13:58, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm not argueing that modern celebrities are the way forwards by any means. The messages put forward by that group does not teach very good lessons for kids (or adults!). I'm merely pointing out that the near brainwashing of the young by their parents and teachers with regards religious teaching is also wrong and can teach a child "bad" things. An example would be homosexuality. Kids in religious families who think they might be gay receive no support from parents who believe that homosexuality is bad, simply because it is the parents belief. Surely a parents love for their child should come before their religion?
I am not being intellectually dishonest, just ignorant (ha like thats any better!). What I thought you meant by human nature isn't what is used in the definitions I found on the internet. I took human nature to be the general world viewpoint held by each individual person; where there is substantial difference!
I think argueing that children should accept what their parents tell them because they have learnt it from their experience is flawed. Every person has a different PoV so will experience things differently. If a child recieves all their advice from a parent who sees the world entirely differently to them, what will that child think of themselves? Is that fair on the child? A parent should be there for guidance, yes, but not for absolute teaching. To relate this to religion: religion is a predetermined set of "rules" that followers must stick to. Choosing a religion (and its rules) is a personal choice. Parents will naturally try to enforce their beliefs and rules on their children, thereby removing their choice to religion and actions, which is removing their freedom to be themselves. Surely that is a terrible wrong to do to that child? I am not argueing that children should be given no rules, nothing of the sort. I am merely saying that the rules given to a child by their parents should not be based on the religion of the parent(s) as that is a moral wrong to that child. MatteeNeutra 16:34, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
I see. By your logic the child should have rules and the rules should come from the parent (sort of) but the parent shouldn't base the rule structure or belief set upon something found in religion. Instead, you believe that religion must be by a higher and more correct authority. And just who is that authority? Will & Grace? Madonna & Britney? Who is this higher and more perfect authority? Everwill 17:47, 17 April 2007 (EDT)
You seem to enjoy mentioning celebrities...perhaps they have affected you more than you think. Their ability to corrupt is unbounded! I don't know what you mean by "religion must be by a higher and more correct authority". I am merely argueing for separation of of religious doctrine from a child's upbringing. Yes, make a child aware of their parents belief, why they believe it, etc., but don't "force it down their necks" or make them feel bad for "not believing". That is what I find to be morally wrong about religion: the automatic assumption of parents that their children should follow in their beliefs. MatteeNeutra 14:47, 19 April 2007 (EDT)

a childs parents should bring up their children to be open to new ideas and to trust their senses and logic in ideological matters. religion of any kind does not allow this to be taught to children. as well as this, many parents have their childrens best interests in mind, they just do not know what their childrens best interests are. Bolly Ottihw 09:42, 18 April 2007 (EDT)

This is a false characterization of religion, perhaps based in ignorance. Every major religion teaches personal accountability and free will. Therefore, religion encourages children (and everyone else) to "trust their senses and logic in ideological matters." Religion is a framework to assist in decision making. Religion does not take personal responsiblity or logic from anyone. (Perhaps you should read a bit of C.S. Lewis or Thomas Aquinas to better acquaint yourself with the value of logic to the Christian mind.)
You state (no caps and no punctuation are all yours): "many parents have their childrens best interests in mind, they just do not know what their childrens best interests are." Who knows better what the child's best interests are? The media? The government? The child? Who?
I'm glad we're having this discussion, mostly because it's apparent that you are the victim of the propaganda of another religion. You're repeating the mantra of the liberal religion, which teaches that all religions are equal and there are no moral boundaries. Your religion might be the "one true" religion, but I doubt it.Everwill 09:17, 18 April 2007 (EDT)

The childs best interests are known only by the child itself. I do not mean to say that no parents ever get it right, or wrong, however what is in the childs best interests is not to foist a belief system on him/her without letting him/her have any choice or free will in the matter. The majority of religions (liberal or fundamentalist) do not encourage children to take advantage of their natural curiosity and explore all the possibilities of logic and science, as they see science as a threat to their belief system. Just as an example, the enactment of hell that occurs in an American state led by Pastor Ted Roberts which attempts to scare children into beliveing in God by scaring them with the sheer horror of the act. This would be dismissed as simply a fringe sect, however the supporters of this pastor, in his home state (i apologise for not knowing which state this is) number around 3 million. This is only one example of the methods used by religious leaders to force children into mindlessly believing what they are told. Another example is the muslim state of Saudi Arabia, where simply being of another faith or of no faith at all, is punishable by beheading. Note the similar use of fear tactics in both cases here. Bolly Ottihw 20:54, 19 April 2007

What you're trying to say makes sounds ridiculous to me, but perhaps this is because we have not agreed to what the meaning of the word "child" is. Please allow me to insert a few definitions so that I don't miss your point and vice-versa.
  • ward --- someone incapable of making personal decisions for some reason or another. There are several types of ward:
  • child --- This individual cannot make personal decisions because they have not reached maturity (generally 17 and under). Children might step into traffic. Children might drink poison. Children can be cultivated into giving sexual favors to pedofiles. For all these reasons and many more, "parents" (defined below) make decisions for parents.
    • mental defective --- This individual has poor reasoning skills or does not understand reality. For this reason "parents" or care-takers must make decisions for the mental defective
    • sick or enfermed --- This individual might be in a coma. This individual might be extremely sick or otherwise unable to communicate. Thus, caretakers or "parents" must make decisions for this individual.
  • parent --- one (ideally of two) individuals responsible for the care and nuturing of a ward or child
  • adult --- An individual who is mentally competant and mature and thus has the free will to make any decisions they want so long as they don't violate the laws of the community where they reside.

Children, and in fact, all other wards, need people to care for them and to make decisions for them. I'm quite sure there are a good many teenagers who would agree with your ridiculous notion that children make should make their own decisions, but most adults and most parents today (and throughout history) have come to agree that it is both unwise and unsafe to grant complete and total freewill to children (perhaps most especially teenagers). This is because children don't alwasy make good decisions. Children are easily swayed and they don't have the normal defenses of doubt and fear of strangers to protect them.
This is a plain, simple and accepted truth. I'm not sure what possible connection that has to anything Ted Roberts ever said or did. Whether Ted Roberts or Jeffrey Dahmer or Hitler is a bogeyman or not, that doesn't change the fact that children need parents. I guess what you'll have to accept is that some parents will raise children who don't agree with your beliefs. I'm quite comfortable with the fact that not all parents or people agree with me. I much too busy and quite frankly don't feel the need to tell other people how to raise their children. I doubt you have any idea what any of the parents in former Pastor Robert's church are teaching their children. I thought liberals believed in tolerance and diversity? Why can't you tolerate their differences and celebrate their Christian diversity?
What would you like to see in Saudi Arabia, a crackdown on parents? Do you want to take the children from their parents and raise them yourself? Have you ever considered the possiblity that the concept (called "fascism") of imposing your values upon others is wrong-heaed and evil? Don't you think Saudi Arabians should be allowed to live the way they want to live? Are you trying to suggest that the US should invade Saudi Arabia and replace the mullahs with ACLU? Everwill 09:37, 19 April 2007 (EDT)

No i am not attempting to say much of that, i think that you are right in that i have misunderstood the point that you were making. I do apologise for that. What i would like to say in regards to your previous point, is that while i agree that parents should have the role in making decisions for their children (with an increasing amount of input from the child as they grow older) at the same time, they should not force their beliefs onto their children and, where possible, educate them enough so that they have the intelligence and a high enough level or reasoning to be able to make their own decision in matters of faith and belief. While a lot of parents do this, i believe that the majority don't, although i am willing and hoping to be proven wrong. I do belive in tolerance and diversity, but that is what my main problem with religion is. Religion tends to preach the opposite of this, generally against other faiths but also against homosexuals and other groups that seem to break the rules of their faith. I do think that Saudi Arabians should be allowed to live the way they want to live, however i think that maybe a lot do not want to live the way they do, and that another large number would not want to live that way, if they were not devout muslims. I honestly think the US should keep out of the middle east in general, as the problems it has caused there seem to be greater then the amount solved, however that is not the topic on discussion here. Bolly Ottihw 17:56, 20 April 2007

This debate title seems to be relatively unfocussed, but the debate itself seems to have settled down into a focussed discussion of whether or not it is morally right for religions to pass on their codifications, conventions and beliefs to their children in a manner which could be construed as 'indoctrination'. Richard Dawkins makes the point that it would not be acceptable in today's society to label children as 'a Democrat Child' or 'a Republican child', nor to set up schools which say that we are going to only teach 'Democrat' values in this school, and to only honour Democrats. However, it does appear to be acceptable to have 'catholic' scools, catholic, muslim and hindu children. Why is this? Any Religion and or Political Stance, when it comes down to it are idealogies, and have many parallels in the way they are dogmatic about the way that adherents should behave. They both present strong arguments as to the way that you should treat knowledge, evidence, and all present a very biased world view. This is fine if you are an adult, and you understand the rules, and you know that this is the way the world works, and that you have a choice about whether to question or to belive at all; but if you are an uimpressionable youngester you could be scarred for life: 'Give me a child until he is seven...."

There is a very strong argument to say that we should NOT allow people to present contraversial points of view to children AS IF these were uncontestable facts. This, after all, is the arguments of the creationists against evolution. They maintain children should be exposed to both points of view. However, I cannot imagine that any catholic school would suggest teaching that God may or may not exist, and allowing children to experience both the sacrament and the indoctrination ceremony of freemasons, and asking them to compare & contrast!--Felix 04:18, 20 April 2007 (EDT)

Thankyou Felix for articulating what i was attempting to say, and i apologise again to Everwill for not wording my arguement very clearly. Having attended an anglican school till i was 13, i never was fully concious that they did not present their teachings as anything other then indisputable fact and that we were expected to believe that without question. The other thing that struck me was that i was never allowed to avoid communion on the basis that i was an atheist, while one of my friends who was jewish was excused. It was almost as if they rathered that we believed in a god, even if it is a slightly different set of beliefs that come attached, than that we had no beliefs at all. Bolly Ottihw 21:30, 20 April 2007

Bolly, it sounds like you're trying to impose your own parental issues on others. I understand that you thought you were an atheist and yoru parents wanted to impose their theistic beliefs on you. The fact is, they have every right to impose these theistic beliefs on you. After you come of age, you can think or do anything you like. It would appear that they weren't too oppressive and it would appear they were quite open-minded because they raised an atheist. It would appear that you are the one who is oppressive because you want to raise other children to think like you. Everwill 11:15, 20 April 2007 (EDT)

No, my parents are both atheists as well, the only reason i went to that school was because it was the best school in the area. However adults do not have the right to impose their theistic beliefs on their children, just as they have no right to impose their political ideologies on them. Children are trusting of their parents because in the majority of situations their parents are doing what is best for them. What i believe parents should do is to raise their children to be open minded about belief regardless of their own beliefs. Therefore any parents should educate their children about different faiths (including atheism although it is not really a faith) in a totally balanced and fair manner with no predjudice. This allows children to make up their own mind about their own personal beliefs. Bolly Ottihw 14:48, 21 April 2007

Ever wonder why the religious school was the best school in the area? Have you ever once considered the possibility that this school was better because the religious school wasn't attempting to relearn the lessons of the past? This school already had a functioning set of moral codes and they didn't need to wander through the maze of pitfalls in our new ACLU-friendly world of multi-culturalist moral equivelancy? Or perhaps you think the school was better because of dumb luck?
As defined above, adults do not have the right to impose their beliefs on children. However, parents have a right (and more importantly a duty) to impose their beliefs on children. Parents should educate their children in the way that feels best to them.
But what you fail to comprehend is that anything you teach children is a view point. You're just upset because you want everyone else to teach your view point. Your viewpoint embraces moral equivalism and the belief that all religions are equal. That is a viewpoint. It may or may not be valid, but the fact is, it is a viewpoint. It is just another value-set. It may or may not be more valid than the values of another parent. That's an argument that can be had, but it's not at issue here.
The issue is that you want other parents to teach their children what you believe. Furthermore, you think it's immoral that they won't teach their children your values. Don't you think that's a little silly? Do you think you're any different from the fundamentalist Christians who are upset because you're not teaching your child about Jesus? Everwill 05:54, 21 April 2007 (EDT)

Imposing values on other people's children

Yes i did think about why my school was the best school in the area. The reason was that it was the richest, as it was a private school and charged massive fees for attendance. And its moral codes are almost indistinguishable from the school i attended after, which was an international college and had no religious affiliation. No adults do not have a right to impose their beliefs on children. Parents also do not have this right. To impose a personal belief on a trusting child is not morally right. Yes they should educate them in the way they see fit however they should not impose upon them theistic beliefs, as these beliefs often stay with the child for life purely because they trusted their parents and not because they thought out exactly how the felt the world worked and how their beliefs fitted with that. No i do not want parents to teach their children what i believe. I believe that all parents should teach their children the logic and the mental reasoning that is needed for a child to make a choice about religion when the time comes for them to make that choice. Up until a certain age, say 13, children cannot believe in anything purely because it makes sense to them and, if allowed by their parents, many children do make up their own religion for a while or switch repeatedly between religions until they reach a point of maturity where they can make a choice based upon what they have learned. Exploiting childrens trust for theistic purposes is never morally right, whether the parent is teaching a religion or atheism. Bolly Ottihw 20:37, 21 April 2007

You absolutely don't make any sense. I always think ad hominem attacks are inappropriate, so I hope I don't sound like I'm attacking you, but based upon the evidence (spelling, grammatical & punctuation errors) I'm beginning to doubt your claim that your private school was the best in the area. Furthermore, I doubt that the religious indoctrination in your school was oppressive based upon the fact that you obviously attended the school, but don't share the school's values. I can't help but tell you that once again you have posted something which does not make logical sense.
You wrote:
"Exploiting childrens trust for theistic purposes is never morally right, whether the parent is teaching a religion or atheism."
Of course exploiting anyone (most especially children) is never morally right. This is because according to Merriam Webster Online "exploit" means "to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage <exploiting migrant farm workers>". But you haven't laid even a meager basis for this wild accusation. Who are you accusing of exploiting children and for what gain? Are you trying to say that parents are exploiting their own children? What do parents gain from that?
You write,
"Yes they should educate them in the way they see fit however they should not impose upon them theistic beliefs, as these beliefs often stay with the child for life purely because they trusted their parents and not because they thought out exactly how the felt the world worked and how their beliefs fitted with that. No i do not want parents to teach their children what i believe."
In the first sentence you describe your "beliefs" (which is just a different term for your "religion") and furthermore you demand that parents teach their children your values. In the second sentence you state the exact opposite. Perhaps the silliest thing you imply is that it is somehow dangerous or bad to trust your parents and teachers. If one can't trust ones parents or teachers, then who can one trust?
I very seriously doubt you have learned much if anything through this process you describe above. I doubt you have tested how the world works to verify the claims of teachers and parents. For example, I'm pretty sure you trusted your Driver's Education teacher when he told you that "green means go". You didn't feel the need to experiment with driving on red first. I doubt you ever verified any claims made in the DMV Manual by using the scientific method and a double-blind study. I'm pretty sure that you trust that when you flip a light switch and turn on the boob-tube that electrons will serve your will and pleasure. But, I doubt you have actually flown a kite in a thunderstorm to verify that electricity exists. By the same token, I doubt you need to violate any of the Ten Commandments to agree that these simple laws are for the benefit of all of humanity. I'm sure you agree that children don't need to experiment with adultery, murder or lying. They're better off just taking their parents' word that these are bad things.
The reason you agree is because it's just plain silly to waste time verifying every claim of trusted parents and teachers. Therefore, the issue for you is not that "children need to reason things on their own".
The real issue for you is that you are an atheistic evangelist and you are frustrated because some people aren't open to receiving your message. You are frustrated because some people trust their parents more than they trust you.
Buck up, trooper. You should satisfy yourself with the many victories of the secular progressive agenda. For example, traditional parents were forced to allow people like you to ban prayer and religious discussion from our schools. This should satisfy you. Now you can safely raise your children without fear that they will overhear a prayer and thus they might accidentally become infected with religion. You have successfully had the 10 Commandments removed from many courtrooms. Be happy because you've already won all you can logically win.
The only thing left for you is to take away more freedom from others to practice their religion and teach their religion to their children. You're not satisfied with leaving them to do what they want to do. Instead, you want to teach other people's children to force parents (and I quote) to "teach their children the logic and the mental reasoning that is needed for a child to make a choice about religion when the time comes for them to make that choice." Why do you feel the need to force other people not to talk about religion until the child is thirteen?
My guess is that you believe this because you can't seem to understand that your personal opinion about religion is just another religion. I'm quite sure that you are trying to be a good person. I'm quite sure that you want to teach other people your religion because you want what's best for the child. But in America we have a concept called "Freedom of Religion". Because of our Freedom of Religion, you are prohibited from ramming your value-set down the throats of other people's children.Everwill 08:06, 22 April 2007 (EDT)

I admit you have quite easily picked out some flaws in the way i have argued my point, and you are right in about that paragraph where i contradict myself. I shall attempt to explain myself more clearly. I do not think all children should be taught my beliefs. That is the most important part. My beliefs are of the atheistic kind, as you already know. What i think is that children should not be indoctrinated into any religion or set of beliefs. If the person chooses at a later date to be a christian or muslim or atheist, good on them. But, to come to your point on how we trust what certain people tell us about certain things, like the driving instructor when it comes to driving and so on, children trust their parents. That is because the vast majority of parents do have their childrens best interests in mind all the time. However some do use this trust, often without intending to, to teach their child to believe what they believe about God, or lack thereof (you are right about exploiting, it was the wrong word to use in that situation). My arguement in a nutshell: Children should have freedom of religion. What i mean by that is that they should not be influenced by their parents. Because many people do not have freedom of religion, in America or elsewhere (i should point out that freedom of religion is part of the Australian constitution as well) as they did not realise they had a choice. They have always been brought up to believe that Christianity was right, or that Islam was right, etc. and because it is from their parents whom they trust, they do not question this, and they are often denied the tools with which to apply logic to religious arguements.

Just as an aside to my main point, the ten commandments aren't actually such a great set of morals to live by. The very first commandment violates freedom of religion : thou shalt worship no other god but me. Also, according to the commandments, disrespecting your parents results in being stoned to death. And to compound it, thou shalt not kill, does not apply to people who are not the same religion as you. When taken the way they were intended, they aren't such a good set of morals to live by. User:Bolly Ottihw:Bolly Ottihw 14:57, 23 April 2007

I won't waste time defending the Ten Commandments, something I belive to be a foundation of everything good in Western Civilization. The courts have agreed to remove the Ten Commandments from public life and I am not in a position to change the law, so I obey the law.
But I will repeat the following in the hopes that you might understand this concept. Your opinion about religion, in other words "your personal definition of freedom of religion" is just another religion. It is clear that you want other parents to teach your definition of "freedom of religion" to other children.
It may offend your sensibilities, but some people don't agree with your opinions about religion. In American, they don't have to agree with you. They can believe whatever they want. Thus, most American parents teach their children that America is a free country, where people can believe whatever they want. Further, they teach their children their own family's values and religion. Some people are Baptists or Muslims or Hindus. Some people (like you) prefer like to teach their children to sample a hodgepodge of all religions so that they will better understand atheism. That is their right. Please don't take it away from them. Everwill 10:11, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

Age at which sex education should be taught

Regarding the interesting tangent: to what particularly are you referring? Are you trying to debate the age at which sex education should be imposed upon children?

This is a complicated issue because there are several related factors. Most churches teach that sex outside of marriage is adultery, a sin and a mistake. But it is my personal opinion, that church and religion is a guideline and the morals espoused therein are ideals. Ideally one never lies. Ideally one never commits adultery. But here in the real world, there are a good many liars and adulterers (myself included in both counts). Additionally, most parents think that sex under the age of 18 is a mistake. Most everyone agrees that sex under the age of 16 is a mistake. Does it happen in the real world? Yes it happens. Beyond the basic biological functions of sex, sexuality is about morality. Certainly every child over the age of 13 should be taught something about the biology of sex. But what of the morality of the sex, the politics of sex and the religious or spiritual aspects of sex? These are much more complicated and personal issues and these issues should be handled within the family.

I think it's important to teach young teens "where babies come from." I think it's important to leave discussions about homosexuality, adultery and abortion to the family and church. But my original point is not that I presume to know how or when to push sex education. Everwill 13:30, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

What i find interesting is that you assume that the church knows more about homosexuality than homosexuals. And regarding this, the church brings 2000 year old arguements to this subject without considering how it applies in todays society. In the past homosexuality would not have been profitable as it would not have benifited the tribe in anyway compared to heterosexual sex. In this age, there is no lack of benefit from not having children and so there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. The other thing i disagree with is that here is a religious aspect to sex. Sex should be a coupling between two people who share a great love between each other. Again, that doesnt always happen, however it is essential that children learn this at the same time they learn about the biological side of sex. Bolly Ottihw 11:47, 24 April 2007
Of course, that's your opinion and your entitled to it. You've got a right to live your life however you want. For me the choice is obvious. On one hand I have 2000 to 10000 years of wisdom. On the other hand, there's some dude on the Internet who doesn't know how to write proper English, but who claims to know more than the Church, and Thomas Aquinas. All I ask is that you let others live their lives the way they want. Is that too much to ask? Everwill 10:58, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
Did you just make a personal remark? (I should block your account for 1 second. ;-)

I apologize if I offended anyone. I don't believe in ad hominem attacks. I think they are rude and pointless. However, if someone admits that they don't write properly in a forum where writing is the only means of communication, then they have openned the door to commentary by others. I'm quite sure you're just kidding anyway, I hope this doesn't sound too stern. I'm just tired right now. I was up late, up early and I'm facing a long day. Everwill 11:22, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

Atheists have it all figured out ...

My point above in Selective application of logic is that it looks very hypocritical for liberals to want to teach children about sex as young as possible, but the same crowd doesn't want to teach children religion until after they are suspectible to corruption and experimentation.

What amateur philosophers like Bolly don't seem to understand is that theologians, philosophers and generations of people with more time on their hands than all of us have already put a great deal of effort and experimentation into evolving a set of moral codes and sound religious creeds. Bolly is naive enough to expect the unreasonable notion that any one man can compete with the thoughts and knowledge of countless generations who have gone before him. He honestly thinks he can invent a personal philosophy and religious-code based upon his individual experiences. He believes that his own personal philosophy can rival the combined thoughts of generations of philosophers and theologians.

/begin rant: We as modern humans don't have to invent medicine, or geology, or build a TV set and write computer code. That's already been done by others! We can stand on their shoulders. Can you imagine how silly and presumptive it sounds to those former atheists like myself when they read that Bolly thinks he knows how the universe works and that he can definitively say that he understands the nature of God?

Bolly doesn't know the first thing about God or philosophy, but he wants to teach other people's children his credo of experiment with all religions and then become an atheist. I know why Thomas Aquinas and Socrates and even Aleister Crowley are famous (or infamous as the case may be), but I don't know why Bolly presumes to know what's best for other people's children. /end rant.

You don't have to invent moral codes or laws or waste time experimenting with life's dead-ends. You can look up the answer in the book of your choice and things will be so much easier for you.

Everwill 13:30, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

I have explained that it is not hypocritical, as i believe they should be taught at the same age, neither before the other.

I am not naive enough to think that i can rival any of the great philosophers in logic and philosophy, however i dont think i would have any trouble outthinking Thomas Aquinas, for example. The reason for this is that he (and others like him) used their religious credibility to establish themselves as philosophical geniuses when in fact, he was not much smarter then anyone of the time, and certainly not smarter then the average uni graduate today. This can be amply demonstrated by his '5 proofs' of gods existence which are more full of holes than a swiss cheese.

To compare moral codes to medicing or geology is not an adequate comparison. The basic ideas of medicine and geology are based on sound proof and will not change much within the next thousand years. On the other hand, moral codes are always changing depending on the society that they are employed by. Look at the change in opinion about non-caucasian people over the past 200 years! only 100 years ago it was considered the height of stupidity to consider an african american the equal of a white man, yet today, even though there is still far to much prejudice in the world, it is generally accepted that there is no difference between any of the races of humanity. The great thinkers of one age would be considered backwards and redundant if they were transported in time to today.

I do not presume to know the nature of god. I do know, within myself, that god does not exist and i am content with that knowledge. You say you were an atheist, i would like to know what converted you to christianity.

No you do not need to waste time experimenting with dead ends, however because i believe in freedom of religion, i think it would only be fair that children are shown all the alternative modes of beliefs.

Bolly Ottihw 12:00, 24 April 2007

Fine. Show your children and leave others alone.Everwill 10:46, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

This is an invalid question

I've stayed away from the debates on Conservapedia, and this one is an example of why. I'm only here now because I was asked for my input.

The problem with the question is that "religion" is not defined. On my Wikipedia user page I've listed some of the main ways that the word "religion" is used:

  1. A set of beliefs on which one bases one's life
  2. Belief in a deity or deities (e.g. Christianity is a religion)
  3. A particular set of rituals (e.g. He is practising his religion)
  4. A particular broad set of beliefs (e.g. Which religion are you? Christian, Muslim, or Hindu?)
  5. A particular narrower set of beliefs (e.g. Which religion are you? Methodist, Baptist, or Catholic?)

I further say there:

No. 2 is, in my opinion, an arbitrary subset of No. 1. People believe in multiples gods (polytheism), everything-is-god (pantheism), one god (monotheism) or no god (atheism). Pantheism and atheism don't fit into definition No. 2, yet to consider them somehow "different" is arbitrary and self-serving ... . Thus I use definition No. 1 in preference to No. 2, and argue that atheism (and related views such as secular humanism) are religions, every bit as much as Christianity is. The difference is simply how many gods one believes in.

So if "religion" is a worldview (or ideology if you prefer), then it follows that everybody has one, by its very nature and definition. How can one then ask if it is morally wrong?

Of course the person who asked the question obviously didn't have that definition in mind. But which one did he have?

To a Christian, Christianity is No. 1: a core set of beliefs on which one bases one's life. I would hope that it is obvious even to atheists that one cannot help but base one's actions on one's beliefs. So in that sense, "religion" comes before children, because when dealing with children, one must deal with them according to one's beliefs. That is why everyone, even atheists, do so.

To an atheist (who conveniently would not describe atheism as a religion), "religion" is a "optional extra". And on that basis, clearly children's welfare should come before "optional extra" beliefs.

To recap, the problem here is that there is no definition of what is intended by "religion" in this question, let alone any actual agreement by opposing viewpoints.

Philip J. Rayment 09:01, 22 April 2007 (EDT)

This is dead-on correct. Everwill 12:24, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

We do not 'conveniently' choose not to describe atheism as a religion. Atheism is defined as : a lack of belief. Lack of belief is not a religion. Bolly Ottihw 12:02, 24 April 2007

Atheism is not a lack of belief. It is an ardent belief that there is no God. And even ignoring that point, you do have core beliefs, which can be considered your worldview/ideology/religion. Philip J. Rayment 23:23, 23 April 2007 (EDT)

Yes it is. When split up: A-Theism. no-belief. I do not ardently believe god does not exist. I dont think god exists. If evidence emerged that god was real and that it could be proved then i would acknowledge his existence. Until then i remain atheistic.

I do have core beliefs. That does not consitute religion except in your definition. And i would argue that that is not religion, that is simply morality dressed up. My worldview is not my ideology or religion, because it would be a really weird religion compared to the main ones around today.

Bolly Ottihw 20:57, 24 April 2007

According to the Oxford dictionary[1], the "atheism" means "the belief that God does not exist". The prefix "a-" can mean "without", but it can also mean "not", and "theism" is a reference to God, not just belief. Not all atheists hold their belief in no god as strongly, but for many atheists, it is a belief in no god.
It is not "my definition". It is one of several dictionary definitions. The rest of your last two sentences don't make sense. You have not explained how atheism is not a religion yet Christianity is. As I quoted myself above, any such distinction is arbitrary and self-serving.
Philip J. Rayment 11:39, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

Bolly says, If evidence emerged that god was real and that it could be proved then i would acknowledge his existence. Until then i remain atheistic. Evidence for God lies around us in all directions and in all things. (See other topics herein for a few examples.) The reason you don't see evidence of God is your picture of God has nothing to do with what God is about. God is not some magical being. God is not flying spaghetti. God does not defy logic. God is logic. In your mind the great machine of the univers happened out of sheer luck. What's the difference between sheer luck and God? Aren't they the same thing? Hopefully I can give you a clue where to find God by telling you where to look.

God is in the details. The electrons are busy doing their thing. The subatomic particles are inside the protons hard at work doing whatever they do to make matter do what it does. Complex chains of molecules describe how to build a human being more efficiently than any code written by any programmer.

God is in the everyday. God is in the mother who cares for her child. God is in the man who jumps into freezing water to save a stranger. God is in the reason you feel good when you do good things, even when they aren't fun.

God is in the grandeur. God is in the remotest galaxies filled with stars unknown and possibilities unconceived. God is in the bending of light and the relativity of time.

God is everywhere, everywhere but where you're looking. You're looking for god to do something other than what the universe already does. You're presumption is that the universe is fantastic, wonderfully complicated, a well-oiled machine, but you expect something over and above all of this. Yeah the universe is vastly complicate, but what have you done for me lately?

The naivety of the atheist lies in the belief that the universe itself is not evidence of God. By Bolly's definition, God is only evidenced by something beyond the atheist's explanation and comprehension. By this definition you'll never find God, because if you could comprehended the magical proof of God and God could be explained, then it would not longer be magical and no longer beyond comprehension! Everwill 10:01, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Surely it is enough to gaze upon the vastness and awe inspring vistas of the universe without having to attribute it to some other being. Your above definition of god: "God is in the remotest galaxies filled with stars unknown and possibilities unconceived. God is in the bending of light and the relativity of time." seems to me to be more naive then my atheism. You are simply defining the universe but replacing it with god.

I would like to see some of this 'proof' of gods existence for so far i have seen nothing that comes remotely close to convincing me that god exists. On the other hand, there is no need for god in this world. Science has come very close to completly shut out godly influence in the creation of life and the universe.

The universe has not come about out of sheer luck. The strong and weak nuclear force, gravity and quantum theory all allow us to model the creation of stars, planets and black holes in a purely logical manner. If you wish to call that logic and those laws 'God' then you are free to do so. But then god is not a being who can be worshipped or who answers prayers or makes miracles. Then God simply becomes another name for the universe with no added baggage of being the creator. I trust that this dismisses your last point about the magical proof of god. You are welcome to call the universe what you will, however don't expect many people to address prayers to the law of gravity.

Bolly Ottihw 20:50, 26 April 2007

I understand what you say, but I don't think that's what you mean. What you are actually saying is that you have defined your image of God and unless God conforms to your idea of what God means/is and then someone else proves to you that idea is true, then you will not believe in God. Have you considered the possibility that what you thought of as God is just a magical bogeyman? Have you considered the possibility that God is something else entirely than what you thought as a child and later realized was preposterous when you grew up? What we teach children about God is drastically simplified for their consumption. It up to you to purse the truth of God after you realize there is no magical bogeyman. Everwill 08:27, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Ok, well i was arguing under the assumption that you are a theist, when you are in fact a deist. I do not believe in either type of god, or any kind of god whatsoever, the magical bogeyman, the sentient universe or whatever others someone comes up with. When you say 'we' though i am a little confused, as the majority of religious people seem to be theists. Please correct me if this is a wrong impression however. Bolly Ottihw 20:54, 28 April 2007

Why Atheism is ridiculous

Stick with me, this can get confusing for those who aren't highly verbal and good with spatial concepts. "God" is another word for "everything." God equals everything. Everthing is God. To deny that "God" exists is silly because the universe and everything in it exists. Thus, atheism is prepostorous if God is everything.

The only question (and it is a valid question) is whether Everything when taken as a whole is sentient or not.

In other words, does God (or "everything" if you prefer) think? Does God have a plan? Or is Everything (i.e. God) just ... here?

Some people prefer to believe that Everything is just randomness with no plan. "Everything" is just does its thing with no guiding force, no rules, no anything. Everything, of course in an ever changing but non-planned form, has always been here. Everything will always been here. Everything is nicely organized into protons and electrons and stars and galaxies. Lives come and go with no meaning whatsoever. All of this and more is "Everything".

Some people have come to realize that Everything seems to have a design and a plan, and that the Grand Architect planned everything. Some people (Einstien included) believe that time is an illusion and that the infinitely complex organizational structure of Everything implies one undeniable conclusion: Everything (or God) is sentient. God has a plan. That plan is far more complicated than we can possibly imagine or understand. Everwill 11:19, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

That's not the God I know. Philip J. Rayment 11:43, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
As a godless, atheistic, morally-bankrupt existentialist, I have to say I disagree with this "assessment." If I am to take what you say at face value I come to the immediate conclusion that atheism is still correct. If "god" is a synonym for "everything" then I am moved to think of the everything as all the mass in the universe. I am typing on some god, sitting on some god and had a delicious bowl of god for breakfast this morning. But I don't think that's what you meant....
I think of the universe this way: I don't know how it came to be, but I assume it was a chemical and physical event, not supernatural. I know that this "stuff" doesn't have to have a plan in order to exist. There need not be a man in the sky to protect me from everything. I don't need to pray to something that I will succeed in life because there is no one listening. But, I'm not sad about this, I don't feel alone or unloved by the big ol' scary universe. Rather, I feel emboldened to take moral actions when I can.
Camus is my hero. His basic equation boils down to this: once a person realizes that there is no god they have two choices--suicide or a "faith flight." That is, if one accepts the religious view of things. If Camus is correct, and existence does indeed precede essence, then there is a third choice, the philosophy of moral action. Simply put, one must make meaning of their own life and not wait for a god, or religion to do it for them.
Now, since I don't believe everything has a plan, and that I have a moral obligation to help my fellow man (and woman), I have an obligation to come to sites like this and try to fix them. Not by including so-called "liberal bias." Rather, the point is to make sure truth trumps propaganda. Wether I like it or not, I have a duty to help fix this garbage. I liken it to watching a child roll their tricycle toward the street. You, the adult, are standing there and you can see a truck bearing down on the child. Do you try and help her, or do you pray? I must take action and this website affords me a chance to help everybody. Flippin 11:54, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

You have mistaken my meaning, despite repeating exactly what I said:

If "god" is a synonym for "everything" then I am moved to think of the everything as all the mass in the universe. I am typing on some god, sitting on some god and had a delicious bowl of god for breakfast this morning. But I don't think that's what you meant....

This is indeed exactly what I meant. So in fact, there is a god. The question is God sentient or not. Does God have thoughts, plans, etc. Or is the universe a jumble of meaningless matter that is and always was. A tangental thought to ponder: auantum mechancics seem to suggest that reality can change depending on the observer.

For those who say "this is not the God I know". Indeed it is the God you. Here's the line of logic:

1. God = Everything
2. Therefore God exists. (And the corrollary, atheism is ridiculous.)
3. Now there is a choice: one can choose to believe that God is sentient; or one can deny the sentience of God despite overwhelming of evidence to the contrary.
4. Then, if God is sentient then what can we mortals know of God? Where will we find His truths? We might find them in science. We find them in religion. We each find out own personal truth in different ways.

If you make it to step 4, the arguement becomes which religion is best. Which truth makes the most sense to you. Christians, Buddhists, Islamist, they all have their own personal arguments. I won't waste time debating religion when atheists are in the room. It's pointless, because they haven't made the logical step to 3.

If your mind doesn't make the leap to step 3, there is no point in discussing morals. In fact, it's ridiculous to postulate morals or philosophy because the universe is meaningless. For those who are at this point in personal growth: thine only commandment is do what thou wilt. It is pointless to do anything other than that which makes you happy if you get to step 2 but don't make the jump to step 3. However, if you can comprehend step two but don't believe in 3 then all this poppycock about morals and goodness is ridiculous. Furthermore, when an atheist discusses morals and philosophy it only only serves to prove there is a God. This is because the atheist's spirit (which he doesn't believe believe exists) nags and naws at him like the quite voices of angels.

If you make it to step one but can't make it to step 2, then you are a) either incapable of higher thought; or b) intellectually dishonest because you fear where this argument leads. Everwill 17:34, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

Okay, what you are trying to do, in logic, is referred to as an enthymeme. However, your argument does not work. First, you must show HOW god equals everything. Otherwise you can say anything. Thus:
  1. god = toast
  2. therefore toast exists
  3. a = b, thus b = c
But you tried to do something else. You tried to insert statements as if they are quantifiable terms. Sort of like saying, "E = mc2" Well what do those letters mean? "Elephants equal mustard and cows times themselves." You've defined nothing except a lack of basic logical principles.

Being intellectually dishonest would be if I said, well, "god likes strawberries more than cherries." When you ask why I'll say "because they taste better." Asserting your opinion as fact is what makes it less than true. Flippin 17:45, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

Flippin, why do you care if a child rides into traffic on a tricycle? What do you gain if she is saved? What do you lose if she dies? It sounds a lot like your a theist to me. You obviously think the universe has some meaning or some order. If the universe has order and meaning then it only follows that you believe the universe is God. The next step to make is to find out where God best reveals his truth. You think that his truth is best revealed in the philosophical musings of your hero Camus. Camus wrote your Bible. Everwill 17:34, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
It might be difficult to understand but I did not say that god=toast. I agree that God is not toast. Is "Everything" that is to say the universe as a whole sentient or not? Simple question. Everwill 17:50, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
Furthermore, by your example:
  1. god = toast
  2. therefore toast exists
  3. a = b, thus b = c

By your definition, then it would be possible to know the true nature of toast. We pretty well already know how to make toast. It's a silly diversion from the question you are afraid to ask yourself. Everwill 17:53, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

No it isn't. I have already asked myself--for years--if there is a god. I have come to the conclusion ther very likely isn't. I am not an atheist (they are 100% sure) but I sit at about 99.9% sure. I have diverted nothing--being intellectually honest with myself meant I had to realize there was no god. Flippin 17:58, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

As the one who said, "this is not the God I know", I reject the first point in the line of logic, that God equals everything. I am a monotheist, not a pantheist. God made the universe, He isn't the universe.
Flippin, your counter-logic is wrong. Everwill's logic skipped a step. His logic was:
1. God = Everything
1A. We know that everything exists.
2. Therefore God exists.
So in order to match Everwill's argument from logic, your counter logic should have been:
1. god = toast
1A. we know that toast exists
2. therefore god exists.
But you got point 2 back to front.
Philip J. Rayment 21:04, 24 April 2007 (EDT)


So as I understand it you think God is outside of the universe? God is apart from the universe. God is not everywhere at all times, rather he is somewhere else. Where is that somewhere else and what reason have you to believe (other than blind faith) that somewhere else exists? Everwill 08:53, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

God is a spiritual being. He is "outside" the universe—a physical place—in the sense that He is not part of it. But being an omnipresent spiritual being He is not confined to a physical place, so He is not outside in a geographical sense. He is everywhere at once, but not synonymous with the universe. Philip J. Rayment 09:39, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

I agree that God is not "confined" to anything. But I'm not sure there's any value to arguing the fine differences between "everything", the universe and God. We're not philosophers, and others have explored this better than we can. I think there is some value to helping atheists understand why the question is not whether God exist or not. The real question is whether God is an omnipresent sentience or not. Everwill 10:09, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Everwill, your argument that god = everything is preposterous. Firstly, i do not agree with the first statement you make, that god is everything. I would like some hard proof, or at least a convincing argument that god equals everything before the first premise of your argument.

If, for arguements sake, we assume that your first premise is correct, then the only question is, as you say, whether everything (or god) is sentient? Again, you can say so, however i want proof. I have yet to see a plan in the universe or everything. According to the current predictions by astronomers and physcists, the universe is set to expand for an idefinete period and that eventually all the stars will run out of hydrogen and go out, and that everything will spread further and further apart at faster and faster speeds until the universe tears itself apart. Can you explain the plan in this? It displays all the theories about gravity, dark matter, quantum theory and strong and weak nuclear forces. There is nothing to show an added level of intelligence in this everything.

Please do not assume that your first premise is correct until you show some evidence for this, otherwise your argument is entirely invalid.

Bolly Ottihw 21:06, 26 April 2007

You must have made things pretty difficult for your alegbra teacher. The teacher presents the following:
x + 1 = 2
X is unknown.
Solve for X.
To which you reply, "Prove that X is unknown and a mathematical value. X is a letter and has no value, thus algebra is entirely invalid."
Hopefully you see how silly your reply is, but I'll grant you that I may have given you too much credit above. Perhaps the concept is a little too complicated for you to understand as I presented above. I'll try harder.
If the word "God" is synomous with "everything" then I assume you believe God exists. If the word "God" means "magical bogeyman who meddles in the affairs of mankind" then I assume we agree that God does not exist. In the framework of the argument above, God means everything.
Now I'll put that aside and try to explain the concept without using words that offend your sensibilities. The universe shows organization and complexity beyond any single human's comprehension at every level. The components of a cell, atomic structures, galactic structures, geological structures, biologal structures. It's vastly intricate, interconnected and complicated. The universe functions like an immense machine and so far as we can tell, it will continue to function for quite some time and it functioned long ago.
With this knowledge one has to make a leap of faith, and science has taught us that the simple solution is usually the right solution. The simple solution is that the universe is organization implies design, design implies designer. The only other plausible choice is that the everything that every happens, happened or will happened is the result of something that makes a lottery ticket or a lightning strike look like a easy money and a daily occurence. Now, I respect your right to belive that, but I think it's sort of naive.
So you think the universe is randomness. I think the universe has order. Now to work back into the definitions presented above. I think God has order. You think God is randomness. Whether we call it God, the universe or everything, it makes no difference. I'm not trying to take away your right to believe what you want. I'm not trying to tell you to go to church. I'm just trying to find a common ground on which we can agree. Everwill 08:23, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Alright, now i understand the point you were making. I do not agree with it, however i see now where you are coming from.

The reason that the whole of the universe is so incomprehensible to us, is because we evolved on a scale where the only distances that mattered were a couple of hundred kilometres to about a centimetre. That was all that was needed to survive as homo erectus in a hostile world. It was not necessary for us to be able to understand a cell or an atom or a star. The complex machinery that is our brain is not built for such things as the universe or quantum theory. This is why it is so hard to comprehend.

The simple solution is the right solution in the majority of cases, however the simple solution in this case is not one of design. Darwin has already shown that while animals and plants may look designed they are in fact the end result of a massive series of gene mutations and adaptations. In this case, there is no designer and thus your point that organization implies design implies designer is proved wrong in the case of natural life. Simply because there is no such explanation for how the universe has come to be in such a way does not mean that there is no explanation that does not need to attribute it to a designer. Just think that 300 years ago, noone thought that something complex could come from something less complex as it balked common sense. However our common sense only applies to simple, mundane everyday things, not the huge distances and complexities of space or an atom.

Bolly Ottihw 16:56, 27 April 2007

Being an atheist who wasn't raised religiously, I have a counter point to any religious posters. And this has nothing to do with the existence of God or if the universe has purpose; this is simply my outlook as a 22 year old man who has little to no experience religiously and no....I am not college educated...yet. Imagine you are me. You were raised with no religion in your life, without any major religious influences from friends to bring you to their church, no real reason to pray your entire life. Now, you join the service and meet a VARIED amount of people (I can't stretch that enough), many of which are very religious. Suddenly, you are having conversations about an invisible, omnipotent being that knows and sees all and you stare at them like they are totally insane. Since to you, it is like they are talking about werewolves or manticores, but they believe in it so much that they base their entire life on it. Now, I'm sure that I must seem insane to them. I mean, they're shocked that I do not believe in God! It must blow their mind that I live my life without faith in a higher power and most likely think that I have no moral compass whatsoever. As insane as atheism seems to a religious individual, religion seems equally insane to those who are atheist. This makes this argument very difficult to have. But I have to say, I've enjoyed this article thoroughly. And being a WoW player, I simply have to say that I am posting in an epic thread. ITfreq51 19 April 2008

Is Atheism Ridiculous?

On what basis do can you decide that something is "moral"? If I saw a truck bearing down on a child, I would try and help her, because God loves her and He would want me to help, and I would be praying at the same time. But why would you help her? From an atheistic point of view, she is just an accidental combination of a bunch of chemicals facing a life of suffering, disease, and ultimate death. What's the point in helping? Why not just let chance shortcut the process and save her all those years of pain? Philip J. Rayment 12:24, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
Because I feel an obligation to help her, as I said. Saying it is moral means nothing. It is the action one takes. I believe that it is right to keep someone alive rather than kill them (what the above example allows for). If I let her die, she cannot make her own decisions--I am taking away her inalienable right to decide her own fate, if you will. I have no right to hurt someone else--that takes away from their right to choose how they will spend their existence.
Yes, she is accidental, as are you and me, but I have no right to infringe on the rights of a sentient human being by allowing them to die. Standing by and watching her die would make me just as guilty as putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger. Morality is based on this single point: existence precedes essence. We are all responsible for our own choices with regard to how they affect others.
I don't need a religion to tell me that. Flippin 12:36, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
Just another quick note--don't you think you have an obligation to do something outside of a god's wrath? When you say "because god loves her" you tacitly give up the responsibility for taking action. Flippin 12:38, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
Yes, you feel an obligation to help her. But why? I'd say that it's because you've been raised in a country with a Christian heritage and have absorbed some of its values. But I'm asking what basis atheism provides for that. Why do you feel that it is "right". What if I "feel" differently? Who is right and who is wrong? Where did her "inalienable right to decide her own fate" come from? Does she in fact have such a right? I assert that you do need a religion—or more specifically, God—to tell you that, because atheism can't.
I fail to see how I'm giving up responsibility for taking action. On the contrary, it's because God loves her that I have that responsibility.
Philip J. Rayment 12:55, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
You know, atheism has almost nothing to do with it. I don't think about, or believe in god the way you don't believe (I assume) in the flying spaghetti monster.
But saying that "because god loves her...I have a responsibility" is equivalent to saying, "I'll go to Grandma's because it makes Mom happy." It isn't you who has decided anything, rather your fear of god's wrath that's made the decision for you.
Finally, that "right to exist" could also be thought of as a prohibition against her death. That comes from the notion that even though our very existence is absurd, I don't have a right to decide how you will affect it. To throw my hands up and say "but who is right and who is wrong" is just reducing the argument to multiplicity, and thus relativism.
I guess what I'm saying is I don't have a right to decide for that child so I will save her and let her make her own choice. Flippin 13:04, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
"It isn't you who has decided anything, rather your fear of god's wrath that's made the decision for you". On the contrary, I have decided to do what God would like, rather than do something for a selfish reason of it being something that I would like.
You say that the "right to exist" comes from the notion that you don't have a right to decide how you will affect it, yet by saving the girl you have decided to affect things. Yes, throwing your hands up is relativism, but the opposite of relatives is absolutes, and absolutes only come from God. Philip J. Rayment 21:12, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

Yes exactly, you have decided what god would like. Other people can have a different understanding, people such as Adolf Hitler who decided that god thought it was right that he should kill all jews, as they were "christ killers". Or the young man who shot a doctor who practised abortions because "god would have wanted me to do it". The fact that you have to interpret a book to decide your morals means that several different people can gain different moral codes from the same book, while there are very few people who would disagree that wanton killings would lead to society fracturing. Bolly Ottihw 14:17, 26 April 2007

Adolf Hitler was an atheist. Beyond this factual error, I don't understand your point. We all decide what god would like. (It's call concept called free will.) The underlying philosophy and truths found in all major religions are the same. Is this an accident? I suppose you would answer yes. In fact, the entire universe and everything that led to this moment is one collossal accident that happened for your benefit. Children have no idea what their parents endure to provide for them. In the same way the atheist scoffs at the mysteries of the universe. Everwill 08:03, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Ottihw, no, I haven't decided what God would like. I have learnt what God would like be reading what He has told us. Everwill is correct that Hitler was an atheist, but I disagree that we can all gain different morals from the Bible. That is in effect saying that words have no meaning, so we can choose to understand them any way we want. Should I choose to understand your words any way I want, or should I presume that we are both using the same convention of English (in this case) language and that you mean what you've said? Besides, if you and I can both derive different morals from reading the Bible, how is it any better if we don't read the Bible? Surely that would mean even less restraint on what we choose our morals to be? Philip J. Rayment 10:36, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Which is another way of saying that Phil is a "strict constructionist" when it comes to the Bible. I think the mullahs in Iran (though they use a different book) agree with him in this way. I'm more of a deconstructionist and have more doubts about the Bible being the "Word of God". I think God's Words are way too complicated for one man or one book to describe. However, I would agree on 99% of the big picture with Phil and probably with the so-called atheists in here. That to me is evidence of God. Everwill 10:47, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Well, I happen to believe that God is clever enough to put things in words that we can understand. Philip J. Rayment 11:09, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

God is very clever indeed. Everwill 11:37, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

You havea copy of the Bible in God's handwriting? Or you beleive that every step from initial writing, through every translation throughout time has been divinely guided to lay out His message clearly? So, which translation is the divinely guided one? And if He were so inclined to so specifically direct the writing ans subsequent translation of a book, might he not have made it a bit clearer which translation is correct, and which parts of the Bible can be taken literally and which are metaphors? You claim to know the difference... I've never seen that footnote anywhere in the Bible. QNA 11:39, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
The copies and translations of the Bible are very accurate, and accurate enough to know what God was saying. And the phrase "every translation through time" is quite misleading, as mot current English Bibles have been translated directly from the original languages, i.e. a one-step translation. It couldn't get much better than that. Philip J. Rayment 11:56, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

(copied below).

Standard non-answer... How do you know they are accurate, which version? The differences are quite spectacular at times. Not to mention that even if one accepts your "one-step translation" proposition we are talking (in the case of Genesis) about an account put down long after the event itself (even by your time scale), and then translated from languages with enough nuances to allow for all these different translations that arise today... Not to mention that the "accurate enough to know what God was saying" ignores the reality that if people debate it to the degree we do today, it sure doesn't seem so crystal clear... I say the the story of Genesis clearly reads like a parable or metaphor... you believe it is clearly meant to be taken literally, though you allow that some portions of the Bible are not literal... I was asking for the magic footnote that tells us which is which? QNA 12:18, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
That was not a non-answer; it made valid points. The differences are not that spectacular. Why don't you accept the "one-step translation"? Look in almost any modern version and it will tell you that it was translated from the original languages. I tend to subscribe to the belief that Genesis was originally written in sections by the people that witnessed the events (e.g. Adam himself) and Moses compiled those handed-down written histories into the book of Genesis.
People debate the Bible to the degree that they do because some people will do anything to avoid the implications of what it is teaching, including calling black white (actually, calling six days billions of years). But that doesn't mean that the text is ambiguous, just that some people will not take it at face value.
Parable and metaphor have particular linguistic characteristics, and Genesis doesn't have those characteristics, so it is not parable nor metaphor (on the whole; some bits may be). You determine which is which by the language, just as you do in everyday life. If I said that "it's raining cats and dogs", would you wonder if I was being literal or not?
Philip J. Rayment 00:57, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

Please do not parade that old falsehood that Hitler was an atheist. He was brought up a roman catholic, he made several references to God in his speeches and almost everyone who was close to him described him as a 'good practising catholic'. To call him an atheist is in complete denial of all the facts that surround him.

The reason that people can draw different morals from the bible is simple. The bible has been written by hundreds of authors over 900 years, many of whom described the same story in different ways and the vast majority were not written down until many years after the even they were describing. And of course, in the way of any community effort, the book has been 'improved' by several authors down the years, in different languages and often by people who had no idea about the event they were writing about. To call this text "the word of god" and to attempt to draw a single conclusion from this is just plain ridiculous. Why not have a look yourself, and look for the amount of contradictions and just plain weirdness in there.

Bolly Ottihw 17:13, 27 April 2007

Please do not parade that old falsehood that Hitler was a Christian. Despite being raised as a Catholic and making out that he was invoking God in his speeches, he realised that the churches would never go along with his policies and planned on eliminating them[2].
I can understand your scepticism towards the Bible, given your view on how it was written. But I reject your views on how it was written. Sure, it was written by quite a few different authors (but not "hundreds"), but under the guidance of God, so it had a single ultimate author. The vast majority was written by eyewitnesses, and the vast majority of the rest by people who knew the eyewitnesses. The Jews respected the Scriptures as God's Word and would not dare alter it, so it was generally not "improved" by other authors (the exceptions being things like authors close to the original authors anyway, as in Joshua writing the final part of Moses' Deuteronomy). And there are no contradictions; at the very least none that can be conclusively shown to be contradictions. Any "weirdness" is likely to be from you not understanding the customs of the time, etc.
Now I'm sure you will reject most of what I've just said, but the point is that your conclusion about it's trustworthiness is based on your belief about how it came to be, yet you present that belief as though it was accepted or self-evident truth. It is neither self-evident nor is it accepted by a lot of people.
Philip J. Rayment 10:56, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

There is not hard evidence on whether Hitler was in fact religious. The Vatican was a great ally to him in many cases and Goebbals and Himmler both wrote that he was a practising catholic. He refered to himself as the hand of God in many speeches. On the other hand he said things such as "Christianity is the greatest evil the world has seen since the Black Plague". Historians think that he was a Christain until around 1940 where he converted to agnostiscism or atheism. The main point is that most of his plans and programs had begun well before this such as the holocaust and the complete indoctrination of German children with his propoganda (almost like churches today). As an aside he could still be christian while disliking the church.

There is a point on which we cannot be reconciled. You believe that god guided the writing of the bible, i don't believe he exists and therefore that the writers were often flying by the seat of their pants as they wrote. However to deny that there were 'improvements' is a little bit ignorant. As an example, the story of the ressurection was not written until over 200 years after Jesus's death.

There are many contradictions in the bible, not the least of which come in the story of the birth of Jesus. John writes in his gospel that several of his followers were surprised that Jesus was NOT born in Bethlehem, while of course, Mark and Luke write that he was born there. However while Mark has Mary and Joseph always having lived there, Luke gets them there by refering to a census of Israel by the Romans that results in Joseph having to return to his home town. Unfortunately for Luke, the records show that the census occured in 6 AD, after King Herod's death. As well as this, there are gospels that the church decided to leave out of the final version of the bible, including the gospels of Judas, Bartholomew, Nicodemus and Mary Magdalen. What was wrong with these gospels that was right with the four that were chosen? May it have been to the fact that some of them do not portray such a saintly image of Jesus as the others? The gospel of Thomas has stories of a young Jesus abusing his powers by turning his friends into goats or mud into sparrows.

My conclusion about its trustworthiness is based upon the facts that i have read that show that the bible is not such an accurate account after all. And if the writers were guided by god, then how could they have gotten some historical facts so wrong? The creation of the world, Noahs arc, the birth of Jesus, the ressurection and so on. This I think exposes exactly how innacurate the bible is as any sort of record or source of morals.

Bolly Ottihw 16:35, 28 April 2007

You say that the main point is that many of Hitler's program were started before he stopped being a Christian around 1940, but I'm not sure of the relevance of that as a "main point" when "around 1940" is not known for certain anyway. Secondly, the main point is not whether or not he was or thought himself a Christian, but whether or not he was acting according to Christian principles. He clearly was not.
It's rubbish to claim that the record of the resurrection was not written until over 200 years after his death.
Most bibliosceptic claims of contradictions in the Bible are nothing of the sort, and the one about Jesus' birthplace is a good example. John does not say that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. What he says is that some people (note: not necessarily "followers") were puzzled by the fact that the Messiah was supposed to come from Bethlehem, whereas Jesus came from the area of Galilee. Both are correct. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but grew up in Galilee. No contradiction; your accusation was not supported by the evidence you provided.
The issue of the census is not a contradiction, even if Luke got is wrong. But there being a census in 6 AD doesn't preclude there being another census earlier, and in any case, Luke is recognised as being a very accurate historian.
The "gospels" that you claim that the church "left out" were never "in" to begin with. They were never considered to be part of the Scriptures by the early church.
Based on the above, your conclusions about the trustworthiness is based on "facts" that are not facts at all. I suggest that you question the trustworthiness of your sources that promulgate such nonsense as "contradictions" such as this.
The historical facts are not wrong. Some people have a view that things happened differently, but have no documented evidence to support it, and your argument amounts to saying, "my view is right, so your view is wrong". That's not an argument.
Philip J. Rayment 09:00, 28 April 2007 (EDT)

Questions and Answers

Plato showed how in a debate one asks questions so that the debaters can pursue the truth together rather than being adversaries. So what I can't understand is why would you do anything ever which does not serve your immediate self-interests? Would you feel guilty about murdering a child to get what you wanted, if no one would punish you? Is "good" just an animal instinct that we humans share? Or do you have a spirit which can discern right from wrong?

To be more specific you say Because I feel an obligation to help her. What obligates you? Do you have a contract of some kind? Will she pay you? What is the gain for you? What binds you to this vague notion of obligation? Why do you feel anything about her?Everwill 17:42, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

So here are my questions:

"Why would you do anything ever which does not serve your immediate self-interests?"
  • Atheist says: I might ask you the same thing. I have no short-term interest in this child's death. I have a long-term stake in her survival (she may grow up and cure cancer).
  • Theist replies, because there is something, perhaps a spirit or a god, that imparts to ever soul the knowledge of good from evil and right from wrong. Doing evil moves you further from god and thus it does not feel good to do evil (even when it feels good to do evil!) This is a shorthand way of saying that when you commit acts which are pleasurable but evil, you feel shallow and empty inside. On the other hand, when one commit acts of kindness without any payback of any kind, one feels good inside. This is something most humans learn as they progress into maturity. Everwill 09:05, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
"Would you feel guilty about murdering a child to get what you wanted, if no one would punish you?"
  • Atheist says: Two parts there: I wouldn't murder a child--as I said--so what is there to feel guilty about? If no one would punish me presupposes I have done this act, so the question is invalidated by the former.
  • Theist replies, I should hope you wouldn't murder a child, but your reply ducks the obvious answer. Of course I wouldn't murder a child to get what I wanted, but if I did murder a child to get what I wanted I would feel guilty. What causes that feeling of guilty? Is that not proof of a spiritual aspect of life?
"Is "good" just an animal instinct that we humans share?"
  • Atheist say: It certainly could be. "Or do you have a spirit which can discern right from wrong?" Reason allows me to discern right from wrong, as I said above. I am compelled to act according to this obligation to help others and not let them have their choice made by another.
  • Theist says, what is this "reason" you are talking about in an athistic universe. Without God or morality, what is the difference between good and evil or right and wrong? From an atheistic (i.e. Satanic) POV right and wrong are silly concepts. "Good" is just an excuse to chump the strong from their rightful place at the top of the food chain. Don't you agree?

"What obligates you? Do you have a contract of some kind? Will she pay you? What is the gain for you? What binds you to this vague notion of obligation? Why do you feel anything about her?"

  • Atheist says: Okay, now you're getting to the meat of the matter. I am obligated by this sense of everyone's right to exist. I have no more right to take you're life than I do to steal your bike. Not that those two are equal, but the line of demarcation is the same. It is only selfish in the sense that I gain when this child is allowed to grow up and make her own choices. If, in the process, I am killed, then I have served my principles. If she dies, then I took moral action and can feel good about my effort. However, if I let her die I am as guilty as any of those Nazi guards at Aushwitz who said "I was only following orders."
  • Theist replies: your answer implies the existence of God even if you can't see the forest for all the trees. Why does everyone have a right to exist? Because you said so? That makes no sense in your concept of reality. What if my country elects a leader, for the purposes of illustration let's call him Adolf Hitler. Our leader through legal government manuevers manages to establish a process to eliminate what he sees as a cancer on our nation. By your reasoning that leader has a moral imperative to kill Jews BECAUSE he thinks it's best for the nation. From the theist stand-point, we believe that all life is precious, most especially human life. Therefore it doesn't matter what logic, rationale or legal manuevers Hitler makes, killing is wrong.

Atheist summary: As long as you have a choice, to defer your morality to a god, or priest or whatever you ask for figiveness is to shirk your duty to society--that being to think for yourself. Flippin 17:56, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

Theist summary: No one ever defers any choices to anyone ever. Each individual is always responsible for his own actions and choices. To clear up your confusion: a theist defers his choices to a priest about as much as a judge in a court room defers his choices to his first year law professor. Religion is a tool to help us understand God. Religion and religious leaders do not speak for God. An "atheist" who follows a moral code is just a theist who doesn't know much about his God because he's too afraid to trust others. Everwill 09:16, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

In point of fact here, I have said I am not an atheist, I am more properly called an agnostic. An atheist, by definition, holds that they have the answer--that there is no god. As an agnostic I am open to the idea that a god exists, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Please don't refer to me as an atheist--it is a different thing altogether. Also, in addition to agnosticism, I am an existentialist--so you could also use that term if you like.
Finally, I don't have a god-belief so I don't do things because something tells me a god wants them done. I do things that I reason are beneficial to society, e.g. actions that foster growth, development and change. I abhor stifling debate and that seems to be the purpose of religion as it is used most of the time. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I'm comfortable with my approach to all questions. Flippin 09:53, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

You claim that "I don't do things because something tells me a god wants them done". You do things because a little voice inside your head tells you to do things? Who is that little voice?Everwill 10:05, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

I don't have a "little voice." That is superstition. I use reason. Flippin 10:54, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

It's easy to dodge the obvious with semantics. There is absolutely no question you (and all human beings) have a "little voice", that's not a superstition, that's a fact. The argument is about what is the driving force behind that little voice.

You claim that you simply rationalize everything out through the use of reason, and you are perhaps superior to moral codes found in religion. For example, you won't kill the little child because as you say you "have a long-term stake in her survival (she may grow up and cure cancer)." But if killing the little child would give you a billion dollars, you would kill the child because of the risk versus reward principle found in rationalization. The odds of that little girl inventing a cure for cancer are pretty remote. Furthermore, you might not ever contract cancer. But with a billion dollars you could finance a health care system that would further benefit you and those you deem worthy. That's "reason" at work and to you way of thinking that's much better than silly and archaic notions like "good" or "evil". Everwill 12:08, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

I think you have more of a stake in believing that a "non-believer" would like to kill a child for some kind of gain. I don't see it that way. I don't think there is anything that would make me kill a child. That's silly.
Also, I don't have a "little voice" in my head. People who do I deem to be psychotic or lying. Simple as that. Flippin 12:11, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

A hypothetical argument takes a certain statement as an assumption and attempts to analyze it. You seem to be (perhaps intentionally) misunderstanding the hypothetical in the form in which it is presented. But, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and pretend like you really don't understand because of inability to communicate.

Let's change the hypothetical slightly, you state there there is nothing that would make you kill a child. Why would you never kill a child? I understand that you base this decision on reason, but I don't understand the basis of your reason. Is your reason based upon moral codes? Aren't "moral codes" just superstition to help supress the will of the strong? Is your "reason" based upon what most helps society or is your reason based upon what most helps you? Why would you ever do anything to help society which ran counter to your own purposes?

As the wise philospher Camus/Flippin says, Simply put, one must make meaning of their own life and not wait for a god, or religion to do it for them. This is all well and good if one is perfect reasonable. But what about people who are unreasonable and who devise a meaning of life exemplified by people like Hitler, Jim Jones, Jeffery Dahmer, Stalin, and Charles Manson? By what right can we impose our value-system upon them?

By the same token, should each individual have the right, nay the duty, to devise his own code of laws and not wait for some legistlature or society to impose those laws upon them? Everwill 15:21, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Everwill 15:15, 25 April 2007 (EDT) .

Trying to parse some of this

Since I consider myself a good communicator I will try and communicate with you.
Okay, you said: "Why would you ever do anything to help society which ran counter to your own purposes?" How could one do anything that helped society that didn't help oneself? Maybe I should try and explain that by asking is there really anything that one can do that helps society, yet hurts the self? If one takes an action that helps society, like picking up garbage alongside the road, does not that act help society? And if we agree that it does, how is one harmed by it?
A reasonable person might say that the individual could get a sunburn. The individual could be hit by a truck. These are true statements, but the probability of these things happening is low (for the truck) and not that dangerous (for a sunburn). But what is the value of picking up debris left by less reasonable citizenry? Do we not gain as a society by having less trash by the roadside?
A reasonable person might also say, yes, but must I pick up all the debris along the roadside? My answer would be no. The responsibility for cleaning up roadsides is spread equally between us all. We have a shared responsibility to do this because it helps the individual and the society.
Now, you also mention examples like Hitler who reasoned that murdering Jews would benefit him. But is Hitler an example of a reasonable man? Honestly? Hitler was more likely sociopathic, which is a disorder that affects one's ability to reason. If we rely on reason to tell us that what is of the greatest benefit for society is of the greatest benefit for the individual, then opposing someone like Hitler, or another damaged person, is reasonable. Thus, we not only have a right to oppose them, we have an obligation to oppose them. Just as we have an obligation to oppose trash on the roadways.
I would not kill a child because doing so can only harm society. What in that describes to you a failure to communicate? Must one have a "god-figure" to stop them from killing children? If there were no god, would you kill children? Is a strong faith then a barrier to crime? And if so, why would a god allow that in a world/universe they control?
Finally, why do you feel the need to paint me as something less than moral? I have explained this repeatedly yet you do not understand. Is the failure to communicate really mine then? Flippin 16:13, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

I'm not trying to paint you as immoral. I've said repeatedly I think you are moral. But I'm trying to work withing your framework to understand the truth (according to you) and I'm trying to understand the source of your morality. Where (according to you) does moral authority flow from?

I thought you said that morals comes from "reason". But as you describe it it seems that morals don't come from "reason", but from your rationalizations. I don't understand why you think your rationlizations are any more valid than the rationalizations of any other person? Of course, millions of Germans agreed with Hitler's rationalization. They were not all sociopaths. I assume that we agree their rationalization was flawed, but why is it flawed? This seems to indicate that there is some higher moral authority than rationalization. Is there some absolute code of moral authority, or were the Germans simply wrong because they lost the war? What does it matter if they were morally wrong anyway? That was in the past. There is no spiritual world and there is no God. Today is a new day. This is a new minute.

I think you're trying to claim that certain rationalizations is more valid than other rationalizations. If some rationalization is more valid than others, then why don't we as humans attempt to find the true source of the best rationalization possible and then follow that reasoning? If that is not a religion, what is that?

Secondly, I suppose I find it difficult to believe that anyone does anything simply because of "reasoning" alone. In my experince people do good things because it makes them feel good, not because they rationalized and reasoned away the degree of goodness vs. the effort required. Like every other human being, you sometimes do some bad things. After the commission of these acts of badness, why do you feel guilty? If the ends justify the means there shoudl be no such thing as guilt.

Thirdly, what is the point of morality? Who cares? Why not take from the system whatever you can whenever you can. Your actions will not stop the world from spinning. You will not stop the stupid morons who worship the flying spaghetti monster, so why not exploit them? Then you can better use their resources, since you have a higher level of rationalization? Everwill 16:51, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

  1. Rationalization seems to make the unreasonable, reasonable. That is what religion is for.
  2. Reason, as I have stated serves as a guide. It then becomes automatic.
  3. What you describe are the acts of a person that is unreasonable. I have addressed that. Flippin 17:11, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

What you haven't address is this: who defines what is reasonable? The guy with the biggest gun? Everwill 17:16, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

The Theist answers

Here are my answers to your questions:

The theistic-denier states:

I would not kill a child because doing so can only harm society. What in that describes to you a failure to communicate? Must one have a "god-figure" to stop them from killing children? If there were no god, would you kill children?

I can think of many incidents of killing children which would benefit society. Our society could harvest children from poverty-stricken regions where resources are depleted and food-shortages are chronic. This is good for the environment and greatly reduces the chance that their children will suffer from famine. Then we could use those children to reseach cancer, AIDs and other diseases. Rather than working on cadavers, young doctors could practice their trade on these children. Then we could pulverize the remains and feed them to hogs. This would provide more food for other people. If you are opposed to killing (because of some fear of the mythic god) you could just enslave the children instead. We have plenty of jobs they can do which will help society more than some miserable existence in a barren wasteland.

Working strictly from a framework of reason and rationalization, why not kill children to better serve society? Furthermore, of course, this rational begs the question: why is the society of any importance at all? Why is "society" any bigger than the individual?

Please, as one human being to another, it is much easier if you call me an agnostic--which is what I am. I don't call you a gods-worshipper, or whatever. (Jesusfreak I know is a popular perjorative that I don't use either. I am trying to be respectful.) I don't fear god--that isn't the reason to do/not do anything. I don't want anyone to kill me, so I don't kill others. Religion gives those who don't know why they do things a reason to say why they did. Flippin 17:18, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Additionally, the "agnostic" asks:

Is a strong faith then a barrier to crime? And if so, why would a god allow that in a world/universe they control?

Please understand that at this point, I'm not trying to prove to you my point of view. I'm trying to understand your point of view. So, while I believe that faith is the strongest barrier to crime that I know of, I won't bother to explain why I think this to you because you are clearly more enlightened than I. You've advance beyond the need for some silly god-figure.

What I would like to know is; what is your barrier to crime in the atheistic framework? It appears (based on my example above) that it is something other than reasoning, because I've proven how killing children can be good for society.

I'd be more than happy to answer why God allows suffering in the universe, but the answer to that question is pointless if we don't agree that God exists. Let's not waste time. Hypothetically, I'm agreeing with your argument that the fact that there is suffering in the universe is evidence that there is no god. Let's proceed along your path and see where it leads. Everwill 17:14, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Religious faith is no more a barrier to crime than atheistic, or agnostic, moral reasoning. In Toronto sometime in the 70's the police went on strike. It took two hours for the first bank to be robbed, and at then end of the strike $3 million worth of damage had been done to shops and almost every bank in the city had been robbed. The vast majority of people who were arrested as a result of the crimes were religious. I'm not suggesting that therefore religion encourages crime, it just shows that it isn't such a barrier to crime as you would think. There is also anecdotal evidence that there are very few atheists and agnostics in prison compared to christians.
The agnostic and atheistic framework is different from what you seem to think. The value of life is the most important part of my beliefs. This is not because of god or the bible, this is simply because those were the morals that i was brought up with and because they make the most logical sense. If life was not valued, then mass murders would be common and unnoticed as greedy people killed and stole to take what they wanted. This would lead to the breakdown of society as a whole. That is why enslaving and killing third world children is wrong, as they have exactly the same right to life that i do.
This moral framework is far more effective as a crime barrier because people who use it have thought about why they think things are right and wrong from their own POV. Your framework comes from a book that was writtn 2000 years ago, and therefore not all its morals are up to date with the changing zeitgeist. Bolly Ottihw 14:13, 26 April 2007

You don't advance the argument by pointing to facts that don't answer my questions. This is what I call the magician's argument. The magician's argument goes as follows: there is nothing in the hat therefore the rabbit from the hat must be magic. I don't care about your claims about religion of criminals. I'd like to have answers to my questions. As best as I can see your answer to my hypotheical question is to deny the framework of my hypothetical question. I can only assume that you refuse to answer this line of question undermines your belief set and that's why you won't answer.
BTW, the reason I am pursuing this line of questions is not because I don't understand the atheistic point of view. I understand the false premises of atheism quite well. This is because for many years, I was an atheist. As I matured I came to realized just how much I didn't know. I still don't know what I don't know, but as the arrogance of youth recedes I begin to know how much I don't know. Thus, I realized atheism was naive and foolish, so I became an agnostic. Since that time, I learned more and came to believe that I am probably a deist but my search for truth continues. I may yet get more specific in my religious beliefs as I further mature. I will point out to you that it is a universal truth that as we get older we get wiser. It is not a coincidence that churches are full of old people. Everwill 07:52, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
I don't see what your point is here. Could you state, in just a sentence or two, what your hypothetical that we are ignoring is? Also, we may need to archive some of this (which I don't know how to do yet.) Flippin 10:08, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
The hypothetical (previously stated in a wildly exaggerated example) is: if in truth "reason" is your only guide and if in fact there is no soul, no spiritual world and no God, why do you do good things that don't follow reason? Why don't you do "bad" things that have perfectly good rationale? Your answer to the second question was: devise a better hypothetical because my reasoning is arbitrary and supports whatever rational I choose to follow. Everwill 10:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)


Do you believe that there is absolute moral truth? --CPAdmin1 17:57, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Please define an absolute moral truth? Bolly Ottihw 21:08, 26 April 2007

A place for a few more answers

From the Bible of the Good and Moral Atheist:

"We have evolved the ability to empathize, to share the motivations and feelings of those around us. From this, we have gained the ability to sympathize with the plight of others, to understand what may be causing them distress or pain, and to wish, for their sake, that their suffering would stop. Armed with this sympathy, we act in a moral way to prevent the distress and suffering of others. Our opinions on what constitutes a moral course of action may differ, but the underlying sympathy is the same."

"With sympathy for others and recognition of the similarities between people, we each build an internal code of the morality of our actions. We seek to protect innocent children, for we were once children ourselves and needed protection. We seek a society that does not foster immoral actions, in order to protect the members of society like ourselves. We feel and internalize various plights and pains of others in this process, and develop a true morality. American revolutionary and President Thomas Jefferson put it well when he wrote in an 1814 letter, “Nature [has] implanted in our breasts a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct, in short, which prompts us irresistibly to feel and to succor their distresses.”

Though I am sure this will mean little to a "deist" it is useful to those who at one time tried to find god but realized that the effort was too intellectually dishonest for them to ultimately accept. I think, Everwill, if you are really interested in learning about this and not just baiting the less conservative folk here, you might do well to read some of this material.

This is exactly my point, but I don't want to jam it down the throats of our resident atheists. Although they don't yet realize it, if you are a moral atheist, you are not an atheist at all, but rather you are a deist. The slippery slope is: once you realize you are a deist, you begin the search through religions to find a deeper meaning of life and learn more about the true nature of God. Everwill 10:53, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
But that's just it--I am not a deist because I do not accept there is a god that needs to exist. If that means you are going to call me an atheist, fine, whatever, but otherwise there is no reason to be condescending about "poor little atheists." It just isn't necessary. We feel, if I may be so bold, that you are the one who is lost. Flippin 11:14, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Flippin this statement so far as I can tell doesn't seem to based upon reason but rather upon faith. As Thomas Jefferson (a deist) said, “Nature [has] implanted in our breasts a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct, in short, which prompts us irresistibly to feel and to succor their distresses.” In your "Nature" means "good luck" or at the very difference "luck". I don't see any difference between "good luck" and God. You think these are unrelated concepts, but I'm not sure why. Everwill 11:36, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

If I sound condescending it is because you are no different from a fundamentalist muslim. That is you refuse to critically examine your belief set objectively. To answer hypothetical questions will lead you in a direction you refuse to go. You demand that others prove the unprovable as evidence that there is a God. Understand this: we agree that God is neither a flying spaghetti monster, nor a bearded old man laying on a cloud. Relax, I understand your position completely, because I've been where you are. It's okay. Each finds his own path in due time.Everwill 11:36, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Maybe there is a reason it is "unprovable." Truth be told, I think what passes for "good luck" is also random. Just as the rest of universe, this computer I'm typing on and the bowl of Cheerios I had for breakfast. It occurred through chance that this came about--not by a bearded man in the sky waving a wand. If you are looking for fantasy, watch Harry Potter or read the bible. I live in a world of facts and evidence and am content to do so until my lamp is extinguished. Flippin 11:45, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

I really have no idea what Harry Potter or the Bible has to do with the central question. After all this talking I have discerned (with much difficulty) that you attribute all that we see to "good luck". I call it "God" but I agree completely that whether it's just good luck or whether it is God this realization does not change reality. Other than that we are in complete agreement. Everwill 11:48, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Good, we agree that god is a delusion based on random chance and superstition in the ill-informed mind. Glad to hear that, too. Flippin 11:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

No. We agree that your misinformed characterization of the word "God" is the based on your perceptions about what you think God is. Since we agree that the universe is the product of luck, henceforth I will refer to the guiding force behind the universe as Luck so as to not offend your belief-set.Everwill 11:55, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Don't you love how the Truth flows like water? No matter where you damn it up, it will still find the way. This is the miracle of Luck to me. Everwill 12:05, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

good lord this is boring.... Flippin 12:11, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

How 'bout I say "you win" and you evangelize someone else? Flippin 12:12, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

That's "reasoning" for you ... heh ... Everwill 13:09, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Yes, you win by attrition. Congrats. Now, I'll go back to not going to churc and telling school children there is no god. Flippin 13:16, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
See below regarding your concept of "Luck" (master of all the universe) if you seek further truth. If you choose ignorance, remain blissful and enjoy your life. Everwill 13:39, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Funny, you took the words right out of my mouth. ;-) Flippin 13:40, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
So, in fact this is not attrition or victory (I was never trying to win). Rather the discussion is at an end because you have refused to expand the boundaries of your perceptions. You came here believing that god was a myth and you continue to believe that god is a myth. You refuse to examine the implications of this possibility: myths are myths, but God is something else entirely. The thing you call Luck, I call God. That's called finding common ground. Your current problem is your very fearful of where that common ground might take you. It might shatter your arrogantly held belief-set.
See below regarding your concept of "Luck" (master of all the universe) if you seek further truth. If you choose ignorance, remain blissful and enjoy your life. Everwill 13:39, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Which Religion is the true Religion?

You havea copy of the Bible in God's handwriting? Or you beleive that every step from initial writing, through every translation throughout time has been divinely guided to lay out His message clearly? So, which translation is the divinely guided one? And if He were so inclined to so specifically direct the writing ans subsequent translation of a book, might he not have made it a bit clearer which translation is correct, and which parts of the Bible can be taken literally and which are metaphors? You claim to know the difference... I've never seen that footnote anywhere in the Bible. QNA 11:39, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

This statement has nothing to do with this discussion. The arguments about "which translation" and "God's handwriting" are filed under "Which religion is the true religion?" and they have no bearing on whether atheism vs. deism. Everwill 11:48, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

The copies and translations of the Bible are very accurate, and accurate enough to know what God was saying. And the phrase "every translation through time" is quite misleading, as mot current English Bibles have been translated directly from the original languages, i.e. a one-step translation. It couldn't get much better than that. Philip J. Rayment 11:56, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm not prepared to defend the Bible as the "word of God", but I think it's an important question to examine, but I think it's a pointless discussion with those who haven't realized that there is a God. All your Bible proves to them is that someone wrote something a long time ago. Everwill 12:16, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Ah, but I am not someone who denies the existence of God, just one who does not accept that the Bible is literal truth. I personally beleive it to be mostly metaphorical, with some history thrown in, though I'd still never use it for a primary history source, even on mundane topics (i.e. who ruled where at what time... etc...) QNA 12:22, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
I am pretty much in agreement with you QNA. I'm willing to allow the possibility that Phil Rayment's opinions about the Bible is correct. At the same time, I doubt he's right about that. On the other hand, I think that denying the existance of God is silly. However, arguing the nature of God is a worthwhile endeavor. The Bible and other texts are useful in this exercise because we can learn a great deal from those who have gone before us and who have already had these same arguments.
I will say without equivocation that the "God doesn't exist because I don't believe in bearded guys in the clouds with a magic wand" is pretty much an argument made from a posiition of ignorance about what most knowledgeable people think about God and the universe. Everwill 13:15, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Good Luck

Since all of the universe occurred out of good luck (according to Flippin), can we humans influence Luck? Should we attempt to commune with Luck? Do you think that hundreds of thousands of years ago, men (equally smart) pondered these same questions (since they didn't have a TV to occupied their evenings). Do you think luck, or perhaps Luck, resulted in the strange coincidence that after many generations the consensus view in every culture and society has always been that we can affect our luck by a combination of worshipping Luck and doing good things? Everwill 11:55, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

No no no no no no no. The universe came to be the way it is due to the laws of physics etc, that so far have been proven to be as true as anything can be and apply to the universe exceedingly well. Add to this the theory of evolution, and yes there are one or two holes there, but soon we will have filled them all. The process of life is an attempt to discover things. You may say that we believe that we came here due to luck however i do not believe this to be true. We came here because of a reason that i do not know. However i have faith that i will not remain ignorant forever, and that soon we will know and we need not invoke luck or god to describe how we got here.
I sympathise with you because of your above description of how you came to be a deist, however there are a few things that you might need to consider again. Firstly that just because we dont know something does not mean that we will always not know it. Look at the progress science has made over the past 500 years. We have gone from believing that the earth is at the centre of the universe and that the world is only 6000 years old, to the earth being just one planet revolving around an unremarkable star and is over 4 billion years old. Consider what we may discover in the next 500 years as our technology continues to progress and we begin to explore space outside the playground of the solar system. I would not be surprised if within my lifetime, we have an explanation for how life started and a reason for the big bang that does not rely on some higher being.
As an aside i think that to say that as you grow older you grow wiser is slightly misguided. Yes a some people do because they have more experience and they have the foresight to use that to plan there future. However a large part of the human population does not use this experience at all, and simply assumes that they know best because they are older not because they are wiser. Bolly Ottihw 17:27, 27 April 2007

What's the difference between what you just said and what I just said? You wrote, "The universe came to be the way it is due to the laws of physics etc, that so far have been proven to be as true as anything can be and apply to the universe exceedingly well." Okay. we agree. So the universe is ordered. It has laws. How did the "laws" come about? Did the protons and electrons elect a neutron who decided what laws everyone should follow? I guess these laws are and always have been. I guess we were just lucky to have the Laws of Physics.

As an aside I find this assertion amusing, "As an aside i think that to say that as you grow older you grow wiser is slightly misguided." I'm not so much suprised that someone who believes there is more wisdom in youth than in age doubts the foundations of the philosophies that provided his every waking and sleeping daily need. I wish I were that naive again. Everwill 08:21, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

We, as in humanity, do not know why the laws of physics happen to be the way they are. Maybe there was no choice, and for the universe to have come into existence these laws must have been the way they are. Or maybe there are other explanations. We simply do not know, however again, this admission of lack of knowledge does not mean that I decide that therefore God must be the answer. I simply accept that I do not know everything and then I attempt to find out why such things are the way they are. I do not think that we were lucky to have the laws of physics, I am confident that there is a solid scientific reason that does not allow any greater sentience to have a hand in things and that this reason will become evident in the not to distant future.
I do not think there is more wisdom in youth than in age. That is the reason I said 'slightly misguided'. Not totally misguided and not completely idiotic. Just that there are old people who are not wise just as there are young people who are. I do not claim to be one of those young people, I am not wise in any sense, although I do hope to learn from my experiences and others and thus become wise. However many people do not use experience in this way and so do not become wise, just as some people pick up on things quickly and are. I do not doubt the foundations of the philosophies that provide me with such. I doubt the philsophies of Thomas Aquinas, St Anselm and any that have agreed with these two charlatans parading themselves as philosophers.Bolly Ottihw 16:52, 28 April 2007
Bolly, please learn the conventions of colons to seperate text. (I'm tired of adding your colons.) I put instructions on your discussion page some days ago.

The Imaginary Catalyst

There's a part of the concept you're having a very difficult time wrapping your head around. You wrote:

We simply do not know, however again, this admission of lack of knowledge does not mean that I decide that therefore God must be the answer.

You don't know it but your making an argument of semantics not a argument of logic. It doesn't matter whether you call it Luck, God, or some as yet uknown catalyst, in the end all rational humans agree that SOMETHING is the answer. Once we agree that there answer then we can begin to examine by deduction the properties of that something. People tend to get hung up on words because it connects them to some childhood they are rebelling against or a childhood that they are attempting to validate.

Whether we call it God, Luck, Fate, No-alternative, the concept descriptor doesn't change the concept. In other to explain to others, I prefer to find use words which make sense to them, rather than fighting them about things that don't matter. Here's another way to look at it:

Do you remember the concept of i, the imaginary number from mathematics? Conservapedia doesn't have an article about i yet, but you can read one from Wikipedia | here. The idea behind i is that some concepts are not fully understood but still can be examined in an objective manner. According to some Wikipedia editor,

"Many other mathematicians were slow to believe in imaginary numbers at first, including Descartes who wrote about them in his La Géométrie, where the term was meant to be derogatory."

Thus, I can understand why you are resistant to this concept. But if mathemeticians can do it, so can you.

Forget about "God", the word touches a fear deep in your psyche. The previous debater wanted to call it Luck. How about for your benefit we call it g, an as-yet unknown causation of the laws of physics and the origins of the universe as God. I agree we might one day learn all the properties of g but right now we don't know the properties of g.

The atheistic proposition is we haven't discovered the imaginary catalyst yet, and therefore g doesn't exist. The deistic proposition is that it's silly to think that g doesn't exist just because we can't understand or define g. Everwill 09:45, 28 April 2007 (EDT)

What the heck is the question? What started the universe? I'm sure that is a physics question. And I'm sure they are working on an answer. Just because you lack the words to describe it in terms less vague then "the force" doesn't mean there aren't people who will discovery a non-imaginary solution. Welcome to reality where there are no imaginary answers. -Sam

Thank you for your expression of faith that a naturalistic answer will be found. I'm sure that it's not a physics question, as cosmologists propose that the laws of physics didn't apply until after the Big Bang commenced. Secondly, it's a unique past event, so not directly observable, testable, nor repeatable; it's a question of history, not physics. My history book (written by the infallible God), says that the universe was started by Him, and it wasn't in the form of the Big Bang. Philip J. Rayment 20:42, 26 November 2007 (EST)

Atheism vs. Deism

This debate has wandered far from the invalid question. I have reposted key parts of this debate under Atheism_vs_Deism where I will continue discourse. Everwill 10:23, 28 April 2007 (EDT)

P.s. This is the most ridiculus concept of information ever. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Christianlove (talk)
Pardon? What are you referring to, and why should we take any notice when you don't provide any explanation nor justification? Philip J. Rayment 10:32, 12 July 2007 (EDT)

Atheist Wars

If religion were wrong, why have so many people been killed by atheistic governments? China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, etc. Hundreds of millions have died under atheistic governments even though they are much rarer than religious governments. Therefore, religion itself is not wrong, it is just one of many things that evil people use to harm others, like government, politics, science, public wikis, etc. The evil is in people regardless of whether they are religious or not, and they will harm others over any disagreement they feel strongly about. As Benjamin Franklin once put it, "If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?" One has only to look at China and other atheistic countries to see that some of the worst human rights abuses occur in the world's select few atheistic countries. --Joshua Zambrano 04:08, 2 September 2013 (EDT)