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God, Religion and the Bible.

DavidCharleston

The abstract and summary of this are that this is the first of my 10 threads planned for December as part of my SEO project to measure and determine the value of these forums at generating traffic to my Blog. Few people have also expressed the desire to engage me on the contents of the Bible and we can do that here as well as discuss the thread's topic or the good or bad of religion in general. The link to my Blog is in my profile, I hope people visit it by clicking the link and opening my Blog in a window you help me out by getting me "a hit", the views and stats help with ranking on Wordpress from what I gather.

 

Check the following posts for the opening statement against the existence of Gods.

 

David Charleston's Opening affirmative statement on the motion that this House does not believe in the Existence of Gods or god(s). Here's a preliminary explanation before I offer arguments against the existence of God. At first, this thread and posts contained therein, now appropriately edited in context, were meant to be either a one on one or, one takes all comers finite type of a debate with a strict format and a specified list of voluntary participants. Let's just say that I didn't get any takers or serious contenders, there was one, I did not find his effort reassuring. There were also other real-life considerations I had to deal with not to mention the fact that no admin in OD or MWTOD group wanted to set up a thread with a debate like that according to my rules and I don't expect that or other matters to change. I also spent some time writing and explaining why that person's effort and approach were faulty and deficient just to realize that whoever bothers reading this neither will know the guy or the exchange or won't care for it. It occurs to me, however, perhaps I should share what I've written anyway just in case people don't make the same mistakes forcing me to explain them which I'm sure I will anyway so at least I will have this ready. It seems there's no way to have a conversation or an exchange without people making mistakes, prompting the need to point them out, even if it seems like ad hominem when it's not. Pointing out mistakes in the spirit of accountability is more about commenting on a case for or against something since people make them, however, let me say then it's more about a person's case rather than the person. More on that in the last paragraph lol I first have to teach people how to argue properly to receive an argument worth having.

 


Why was the persons' effort I mention not reassuring well because instead of providing an opening statement of his own affirming the existence of God he quoted verbatim (word for word) a leading Christian philosopher and apologist for the cause of faith and opted out to provide that philosopher's opening statement rather than his own. By sweet contrast, my opening statement of 3.000+ words was written solely and fully by myself in 6 hours of interrupted sitting, a lot of the arguments were not new let alone my own given the saturation of the subject matter so I had quotations (with quotation marks) but it was still my wording that included my arguments and I compiled it all from scratch and did all the editing.

 


Dismayed with the prospect of arguing against the body of work of a leading authority with lifetime of experience in the subject matter, but also the experience of debating on the said subject matter, while I was new to the experience at a tender age where I was in a bad environment and cognizant and aware of the effort this all would require I still decided and proceeded to deliver a preamble and a throat-clearing of sorts by a way of 3,000+ words doing the following: 1.) Sharing my opinions of the source and holding the philosopher accountable for his dishonesty with 15 examples just from my memory I gathered watching his many debates. 2.) Sharing and outlining, with evidence, though how I understand employment and work schedule and deadlines etc, nonetheless I held my would-be opponent accountable how he was still stalling in providing an opening statement, yet he had time to engage others elsewhere in the forums he was by no means new to engaging and yet when he did deliver his belated opening statement it was that of the philosopher rather than his own (when he did speak in his own words it was merely ad hominem he could muster with puny might). Am I guilty of hypocrisy by complaining either about ad hominem or stalling/belated responses while doing it myself? I apprehend the charges and reply to them in my last paragraph.

 


3.) I made a point by proving a counter-argument to some of my opponents' points he made elsewhere but there was either no opportunity to get back to him in places he made them or he ignored my responses when I did furnish them there. He sill failed to engage the points. In short, he could not reason by himself and had nothing to say to advance his case when forced to rely on his own words and thinking, he delayed and delayed while engaging others yet claiming he had no time when he demonstrated he had just not for me. He wasted enough time making up excuses and refusing to congregate and converse (puns not intended always are intended I fear) that by the point he bothered to take part in my thread I was tired and done with the forums and lack of thought contained therein. When he made an opening statement it wasn't his own but that of his favourite philosopher. His first rebuttal statement was delivered to say a) that I didn't submit my first rebuttal when I did b) he complained I didn't challenge his opening statement in my first rebuttal, neither did he challenge my opening statement in his though which was lost on him and the gods of irony, I explained to him what I'm explaining now to you and that I would still challenge the opening statement of his favourite philosopher in my second rebuttal as my first rebuttal was merely a preamble of things I wanted to say first that I wanted to say for some time and that was pertinent to the subject matter. He was quite enthusiastic quoting what I myself told him. I assume that was his way of portraying the matter I was dodging the arguments of his opening statement (the arguments of the opening statement of his favourite philosopher rather) a curious strategy to prove you're winning like a Sheen with tiger blood when he dodged me and delayed debating while assuring me he could and making lies he had no time only to throw at me the case of someone else than his own when he found the time to waste my time.

 


I was so disappointed with his effort and that of others, or rather lack thereof, that I put off some of my response(s) out of the consideration that I wasn't sure it was worth taking the effort to write anything given how it wasn't certain any reply would be forthcoming due to how inactive he was. He has since closed down his account a few days after I left the forums due to real-life events and the rampant presence of trolls and just lack of good conversation. Since that, I saw his replies only today and must have missed them because I was no longer in the club. It's stunning to me how we talked past and across each other, unsure how to proceed with the "debate", perhaps we found it daunting to respond immediately to the arguments given the quantity and quality. Stunning not in terms of the unexpected but of the degree to which a debate didn't transpire due to his scheduling, yet having time to argue with others, then me procrastinating for the reasons stated and leaving the forums after making a rebuttal without a reply for about a week before I was done with the forums and him replying when I left and he closing down his account the same month.

 

 

I always discuss the issues and ideas on their own merits or demerits before taking literary license to raise awareness of the nature of "other matters", let's put it that way, I think accountability is legitimate. But honestly I don't think that's a noble preoccupation on the part of trolls that get themselves off with amusing deceptions in our dystopian agora precincts and elsewhere, nor do they deserve to partake in a benefit of doubt anymore as they abrogated and forfeit that privilege, so it's not comparing like with like. Let us not have calls to arms à la false equivalence about your humble servant the OP of this modest proposal. That really would be personal and unfair ad hominem, telling in the attempt to shut down this discussion. Let's have fun.

DavidCharleston

Greetings all ladies and gentlemen, brothers, sisters, comrades, friends and my fellow primate mammal species. I'm sure reciprocal mingling, rubbing of shoulders, and occasional mutual growth will inform this entire soirée. I also lack my books and the notes of study contained therein. I will be short in supply of material in general and not in a tip-top form. I only promise to be brief and not boring. Christopher Hitchens said - “My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.” One also wishes to 'share' on behalf of myself, as I'd dare to be so bold and you'll indulge me, Hitch's mission statement at discussions, "I will begin with a brief mission statement, I know that people like you come to meetings like this not just to listen and absorb, but to engage, feedback and contribute. So with your permission, I will yield some of my given time, so we can have question period and be subject to your questions. And dare I say I don't want anyone to say that I left without answering some question sufficiently or that I dodged and deflected anything."

 

(The unaltered version of this and none of the text of arguments or their narrative has been changed in any way) Ergo alas without further ado, all ye of excessive faith, whom I hereby find disturbing (here's the original debate version): I woke up in a fighting mood today to Bach's Cello Suite played by Pablo Casals (ah the sound... and woe the fury), which William F. Buckley Jr. also appreciated to whom I may return. As Gore Vidal once exclaimed, 'I am going to make a few proposals, and I expect praise, applause or standing ovation on each.' Dr Sheldon Cooper's version of this would be 'I expected applause, but I suppose stunned silence is equally as appropriate.' To quote a phrase, I'd like to pre-empty in advance any prejudice, starting from the past of upon 19th February 2018, in assuring you all believers that my purpose here today is not to offend you, but I will, of course, repay your hospitality by questioning the cherished assumptions that constitute the first principles fundamental to your life. "As someone who has spent the last few years criticising religion, I've become quite familiar with how people of faith rise to the defence of God. As it turns out there are not a 100 ways of doing this, there appear to be just 3: 1.) Either you argue that a specific religion is true, 2.) Or you argue that a religion is useful, 3.) Or you attack atheism as intolerant, elitist or otherwise corrosive of human values. The only line of argument that is relevant to this debate, or indeed any debate about the validity of religion, is an argument whether religion is true." In other words as well (I will relate why it's necessary to argue for the first point in that trilogy above if pressed), "I suppose apologists for religion would be likely to advance forward 4 reasons for belief in religion: I will call it explanation (where it all comes from, including us), exhortation (what is good or bad), inspiration & consolation."

 

(The First Part).

DavidCharleston

As Sam Harris quoted Bertrand Russell in that one debate I, unfortunately, can't recall at this current moment, "Can you prove that there is not a china teapot circling the Sun between Mars and Earth? No, you can't prove that (I'd jump in to add regardless of the superfluous caveat that it may be too small to observe). But is it rational to think such a teapot exists? No, end of argument right?" What's separate but related here is that the onus of the burden of proof is upon the one that asserts this claim. As such Russell predicted the phenomena of the flying spaghetti monster by decades. It's not so much that there are no Gods and I can prove it empirically but, the original atheist position going back to the classical antiquity of ancient Athens (where they knew of Atoms), is not so much that there are no deities but rather that there is no convincing evidence nor reason to think that there is or are. While there's a nuanced distinction with a difference in proving that X is, and in proving merely that X could be, it's the latter with which I'm concerned with. Having been involved in solid commitment and allegiance throughout life, the only thing one is sure of is uncertainty, doubt and the Socratic principle, that you're only educated when you understand how ignorant you are, actually, that's quite a strong commitment to make. It’s not always a question of changing your mind but your mind changing you. Scientists are the first to readily admit that, "we hardly know what we yet don't know, and the more we know the more we know about what we don't know." Truth is stranger than fiction though cliche is entirely sovereign. Hitchens quoting Orwell, "The hardest things to talk about are the most obvious nonsense." I keep my files on various subjects, and then I read the files again, in other words—read two texts of against one another, or alongside each other, you will learn a lot. When the facts change my attitude and my opinions change, or if you prefer, when my information changes I alter my conclusions. A passage from 'The Dream of John Ball' by William Morris, "Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of defeat, and when it comes it turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name." Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz the German philosopher, asked how come there's something rather than nothing, that's why now one may ask how does something come from nothing? The how over the why is an improvement, as Auguste Comte the atheist that was the Father of Sociology or Kepler the astronomer would concur in relation to the laws of observation, discarding the primitive, limited, and parochial cause and effect mentality. This ought not to distract from the fact that Newton was a crackpot, that convinced himself that the Pope (Bishop of Rome as the 39 articles of the Anglican church describe him, by the way, there are many pope types) is the Anti-Christ, may have been on to something. The question of how something can come from nothing... I ask what did God make the Universe from? The question of why there's something rather than nothing, just wait soon there will be nothing and it's heading our way as manifested in the form of the Andromeda Galaxy, due for a collision with our Milky Way Galaxy as revealed through the red light shift by the Space Hubble Telescope, who designed that? Fine tuning please... we live on a tiny speck of a planet within a naked suburb of the solar system where all planets are either too hot or too cold to support life, Earth itself can support some life on some of its surface some of the time, that didn't stop 99% of all species that ever existed from going extinct and that continues. Why would someone create the universe not in 7 days, as apparently being all powerful (If God is so powerful can he/she/it make a rock so heavy that even he/she/it could not lift it?), but in billions then wait another billions for our galaxy to form, then wait another billions for our solar system and planet to form in absolute natural chaos, then wait billions of years for life, then millions before most of it dies out of natural causes so humanity may evolve? It took over a millennium for Christianity to reach the civilization of China, and upon arrival, the Emperor asked the Christian missionaries that if what they say is true, regarding the revelation, then why did it take so long for the news to reach the people of China?

 

 

I disprove God by pointing out it's made up in a ubiquitous manner among the crawling phase in the period that belongs to the infancy of our species. Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent, and if you give a man a reputation for being an early riser he may sleep till noon, hence if you could reason with religious people then there wouldn't be religious people. We are a mammal species, which is proved and now accepted by the Roman Catholic Church (provided that one still believes in the notion of 'anima', or a soul which is imaginated out of thin air that goes all the way back to pagans, even the honorific noble ones from which Christianity derives as it hijacked almost for tablecloth the plagiarisms inherent to it), that and that the Earth isn't at the centre of anything in particular, with the exception of our conceit, as Giacomo Leopardi the Father of Pessimism mocked the hell out of in his playful satirical fictional solar dialogue within his 'Le Operette Morali'. Christians believe in prophets, peace be upon them. The church believes in profit, and how to get a piece of it. It might yet also be claimed that just as the institution of the Catholic church imposed on humanity a half-baked apology for series of expeditions and military campaigns of holy wars, known as Crusades, that that after all wasn't anything to do with religion, yes just as the Chesterbelloc faction argued to the contrary, and just as Herr Ratzinger (whom will always be Ratzinger to me) divulged crass references to an interfaith dialogue of the middle ages (rightly known as Dark Ages) only to have nuns killed. Indeed Hitchens has had reviewed G.K. Chesterton, "Chesterton’s overbuilt reputation for paradox was founded on his Paradox of Conservatism, which was to the effect that if you want to be a conservative, you had better not be too much of one. He gave us this, which he deemed to be a distillation of Cardinal John Henry Newman’s “theory of development”: All conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change. If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must be always painting it again; that is, you must be always having a revolution. Briefly, if you want the old white post you must have a new white post." By the way, liberals are dangerous compromisers. What would change my mind? I'm not certain about what would, or even could, change my mind. It is extremely arrogant for anyone to presume that I would have the capability to distinguish God from amazingly advanced trickery, or high technology. But if there is a God then he would know exactly what would change my mind, and the fact that this God has not done this means either that this God doesn't exist, or does not want me to know that he exists, either way, not my problem. God is blackmailer. He created all of us in his image, probably a mistake. He allows us to run free and either punishes us, or rewards us with the beaming vision of himself. This is frankly no God with whom I want any traffic at all. The fact that I'm glad that most likely there isn't a God, is not my reasoning why I don't believe in God. But it is a reason why I'm glad of my reasoning.

 

Steven Pinker said, "I agree that religion can't tell us right from wrong, if we come to religious knowledge (knowledge itself meaning to know) that through faith, and faith meaning without reason, I don't think people should believe things without a good reason. I think there's an even more principled argument going back 2000 years to Plato, which I think is still a knock-down argument today, which runs as follows imagine, if the source of right and wrong is divine order of the boss (according to Divine Command Theory, to which WLC subscribes to), X is wrong because God says it's wrong then you'd have to ask why did God say it's wrong. Did she have a good reason? Was it just a whim? Could she just as easily said that it's right to go out and kill, rape, pillage, torture and commit genocide because it's alright because she says it's right. But if you recoil and whince at that suggestion and say, that no it would still be wrong even if God had said it's right (I refer everyone to the exchange where Moses argues with God for precedent, unless that's misunderstanding the context, as I would presume that the Bible isn't the word of any deity after all), or if you say that God wouldn't command us to do that because she had a reason not to give us that command—then we can appeal directly to the reason and skip the middle man." Aristotle in his Organon, complete works on logic which I studied thoroughly with notes, advised not only to, "Don't waste time reasoning with a stranger on the street" but also to "Follow through the golden middle", as that's how he defined the idea of human wit, "The act of hitting instantaneously upon the middle". Ideas are never so much in and of themselves as X and or as many pretend, their raison d'être is to drive against other ideas, and their intent is half their meaning. "Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions" - Blaise Pascal. Therefore never buy a cracklin from a moil. Pourquoi (Why?). Because! You buy in at your own expense. "Le religioni sono come le lucciole: per brillare hanno bisogno del buio - Religions are like fireflies: they need to shine in the darkness.", ala Arthur Schopenhauer. Laplace when approached by Napoleon regarding his model of the solar system, being told that there doesn't seem to be any God there, remarked: "Well your Majesty, it works without that assumption." By the way, you should see the pinched faces of those who think they are the result of an intelligent design. What kind of designer or creator only chooses to 'reveal' himself to semi-stupefied peasants in desert regions. So what's conducive to the enterprise of the human species? Solidarity I think, and conscience is the inner daemon, the eternal witness. Name me a moral action or statement made or uttered by a believer that I as an unbeliever couldn't perform. There's a corollary, can anyone name me an evil action made or statement uttered by a person of faith because of their faith? Nobody has to think twice, 9/11 was a faith-based initiative. I for one will take it as extremely insulting if any person of faith makes the assumption that their faith gives them a moral edge on me. I want to hear a lot more apologizing from the religious community for the evil that they've done before they start clearing their throat telling me that I wouldn't know right from wrong without their permission. I'm sorry, I can't be, I won't be, spoken to in that tone of voice and neither should any of you. I very much resent the smug religious assumption that anyone who can mention 'God' has a moral edge on me. Not so. Go back, and try again.

 

 

Religion = sheep herder's guide to the universe. Don't look for shepherds because if anyone can lead you to the promised land, they can well lead you out of it, please do be put on your guard by the cult that refers to itself as a flock. Though granted, they look quite sheep-like, in my experience the shepherds keep sheep not to protect them, but to fleece them so they can eat them, now that's much more like the clergy that I know. Do your own thinking and represent yourself. "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep." Saul Bellow & as Marx pointed out, "the religious have found their salvation in the belief in miracles" which, as suspensions of the natural order do not occur in our favour as modestly pointed out by Hume, "What is more likely that the laws of nature have been suspended, and in your favour, or that a Jewish minx caught in the act of adultery should tell a glib fib". Immaculate conception? HA! Sounds more like spontaneous combustion. The hope and wish is not part of the analysis as Marx pointed out, that and the opium quote which has been distorted by propagandists of religion, which goes as "critics should pluck the flowers from the chain, not so that men may wear the chain without consolation, but so that they may break the chain and call the living flower." For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing. Great Cicero himself, who formulated the concept of culture (who's work 'Tusculan Disputations' I proudly possess), explained in his 'De Ofifciis' quote, "Is anyone unaware that Fortune plays a major role in both success and failure? (Latin: Magnam vim esse in fortuna in utramque partem, vel secundas ad res vel adversas, quis ignorat?) (II, 19)". H.L. Mencken was right here, "A priest is half a man just like a nun is half a woman." Benjamin Franklin (who was an atheist that actually formulated the addendum of a phrase of "holding these truths as self-evident", Thomas Jefferson took a Bible in one hand and scissors in another and cut right through the bullshit excluding mentions to the divinity of Jesus leaving him a slender edition, George Washington wouldn't even take communion, it's all true, America is secular so indeed, by all means, render unto Caesar) remarked, "Lighthouses are more useful than churches." thus I second that motion exclaiming boldly, "A Republic if you can keep it!". One wishes if only the clergy would squeeze together, so one could get them all in one grenade, and then spread their ashes over the fields and that would be the only hard day's work they would have done in their life. Most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil. The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow. Hannah Arendt pointed out accurately that evil, or immense immorality, sits at our tables and I'd add perhaps slightly gratuitously, that it's potential, likewise, within us. Prometheus of the Renaissance or rebirth of the Age of Enlightenment is what's needed here, ladies and gentlemen. The animals come up to Adam and Eve and are named, the end crowns the work? I'm a paid-up member of the "look here, just hold on a second party", which was founded quite a long time ago, therefore I say that in every Eden there's a serpent, but you know, kill it.

 

(The Final Part).

 

P.S. I think that's more than enough for Genesis...