Author Topic: Talking To Flat Earth Friends  (Read 12725 times)

GuitarStv

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #150 on: April 30, 2018, 06:08:44 PM »
Do you have humility about knowing the age of the earth?  About whether animals can talk?  Turning water into wine?  About a man dead and buried in a cave suddenly coming back to life?

If these things seen plausibly realistic to you, then believing the earth is flat isn't much of a step.

I don't find it "unknowable" that an invisible man with a flowing white beard who lives in the sky sent his only son to the middle east to die a horrible death thousands of years ago so that dead babies wouldn't have to burn in hell.  That story, as ancient and beautiful and terrifying as it is, is not a literal record of historical facts.  Claims about the "unknowable" need to be disentangled from the fanciful storytelling we use to talk about the big existential questions.

There are many Christians (for example) who do see the bible as a product of it's time made up of stories that still hold value when read through the lens of 2000 years of history.  They do exactly what you said they should - disentangle the important bits of the bible (morality lessons) from the ancient history bits.  They don't literally believe that the entire Earth was covered with water for 40 days/nights, don't believe that the world was actually created in seven days, don't believe that a dick talking snake got us all kicked out of paradise, etc.  They may believe in the unknowable (Jesus was the son of God, God exists, etc.) but don't deny reality with their beliefs (yep, you can certainly argue that the resurrection was highly unlikely - but it's not like they're expecting dead people to jump up out of the grave on a regular basis).

To me, that's a reasonably compatible approach to religion with the modern world.  I'm sure that people with similar compatible beliefs exist in all religions.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #151 on: April 30, 2018, 06:47:57 PM »
Do you have humility about knowing the age of the earth?  About whether animals can talk?  Turning water into wine?  About a man dead and buried in a cave suddenly coming back to life?

If these things seen plausibly realistic to you, then believing the earth is flat isn't much of a step.

I don't find it "unknowable" that an invisible man with a flowing white beard who lives in the sky sent his only son to the middle east to die a horrible death thousands of years ago so that dead babies wouldn't have to burn in hell.  That story, as ancient and beautiful and terrifying as it is, is not a literal record of historical facts.  Claims about the "unknowable" need to be disentangled from the fanciful storytelling we use to talk about the big existential questions.

There are many Christians (for example) who do see the bible as a product of it's time made up of stories that still hold value when read through the lens of 2000 years of history.  They do exactly what you said they should - disentangle the important bits of the bible (morality lessons) from the ancient history bits.  They don't literally believe that the entire Earth was covered with water for 40 days/nights, don't believe that the world was actually created in seven days, don't believe that a dick talking snake got us all kicked out of paradise, etc.  They may believe in the unknowable (Jesus was the son of God, God exists, etc.) but don't deny reality with their beliefs (yep, you can certainly argue that the resurrection was highly unlikely - but it's not like they're expecting dead people to jump up out of the grave on a regular basis).

To me, that's a reasonably compatible approach to religion with the modern world.  I'm sure that people with similar compatible beliefs exist in all religions.

Interesting enough there is evidence of a great flood that happened in the distant past, possibly wiping out an advanced civilization. Christianity is not the only religion and tradition that has a great flood story.

"Descriptions of a killer global flood that inundated inhabited lands of the world turn up everywhere amongst myths of antiquity. In many cases these myths clearly hint that the deluge swept away an advanced civilization that had somehow angered the gods, sparing ‘none but the unlettered and the uncultured’ and obliging the survivors to ‘begin again like children in complete ignorance of what happened … in early times’. Such stories turn up in Vedic India, in the pre-Columbian Americas, in ancient Egypt. They were told by the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Arabs and the Jews. They were repeated in China and southeast Asia, in prehistoric northern Europe and across the Pacific. Almost universally, where truly ancient traditions have been preserved, even amongst mountain peoples and desert nomads, vivid descriptions have been passed down of global floods in which the majority of mankind perished.

To take these myths seriously, and especially to countenance the possibility that they might be telling the truth, would be a risky posture for any modern scholar to adopt, inviting ridicule and rebuke from colleagues. The academic consensus today, and for a century, has been that the myths are either pure fantasy or the fantastic elaboration of local and limited deluges – caused for example by rivers overflowing, or tidal waves. ‘It has long been known,’ commented the illustrious anthropologist Sir J. G. Frazer in 1923,

that legends of a great flood in which almost all men perished are widely diffused over the world…. Stories of such tremendous cataclysms are almost certainly fabulous; [but] it is possible and indeed probable that under a mythical husk many of them may hide a kernel of truth; that is, they may contain reminiscences of inundations which really overtook particular districts, but which in passing through the medium of popular tradition have been magnified into worldwide catastrophes.

Unquestioningly following Frazer’s lead, scholars to this day still persist in seeing flood stories as

recollections – vastly distorted and exaggerated … of real local disasters…. There is not one deluge legend but rather a collection of traditions which are so diverse that they can be explained neither by one general catastrophe alone, nor by the dissemination of one local tradition alone … Flood traditions are nearly universal… mainly because floods in the plural are the most nearly universal of all geologic catastrophes….

My guess is that such thinking will not much longer survive the steady accumulation of scientific evidence that suggests that a series of gigantic cataclysms, exactly like those described in the flood myths, changed the face of the earth completely…. (Hancock 2002)"

 

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #152 on: April 30, 2018, 07:20:36 PM »
Do you have humility about knowing the age of the earth?  About whether animals can talk?  Turning water into wine?  About a man dead and buried in a cave suddenly coming back to life?

If these things seen plausibly realistic to you, then believing the earth is flat isn't much of a step.

I don't find it "unknowable" that an invisible man with a flowing white beard who lives in the sky sent his only son to the middle east to die a horrible death thousands of years ago so that dead babies wouldn't have to burn in hell.  That story, as ancient and beautiful and terrifying as it is, is not a literal record of historical facts.  Claims about the "unknowable" need to be disentangled from the fanciful storytelling we use to talk about the big existential questions.

There are many Christians (for example) who do see the bible as a product of it's time made up of stories that still hold value when read through the lens of 2000 years of history.  They do exactly what you said they should - disentangle the important bits of the bible (morality lessons) from the ancient history bits.  They don't literally believe that the entire Earth was covered with water for 40 days/nights, don't believe that the world was actually created in seven days, don't believe that a dick talking snake got us all kicked out of paradise, etc.  They may believe in the unknowable (Jesus was the son of God, God exists, etc.) but don't deny reality with their beliefs (yep, you can certainly argue that the resurrection was highly unlikely - but it's not like they're expecting dead people to jump up out of the grave on a regular basis).

To me, that's a reasonably compatible approach to religion with the modern world.  I'm sure that people with similar compatible beliefs exist in all religions.

Interesting enough there is evidence of a great flood that happened in the distant past, possibly wiping out an advanced civilization. Christianity is not the only religion and tradition that has a great flood story.

"Descriptions of a killer global flood that inundated inhabited lands of the world turn up everywhere amongst myths of antiquity. In many cases these myths clearly hint that the deluge swept away an advanced civilization that had somehow angered the gods, sparing ‘none but the unlettered and the uncultured’ and obliging the survivors to ‘begin again like children in complete ignorance of what happened … in early times’. Such stories turn up in Vedic India, in the pre-Columbian Americas, in ancient Egypt. They were told by the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Arabs and the Jews. They were repeated in China and southeast Asia, in prehistoric northern Europe and across the Pacific. Almost universally, where truly ancient traditions have been preserved, even amongst mountain peoples and desert nomads, vivid descriptions have been passed down of global floods in which the majority of mankind perished.

To take these myths seriously, and especially to countenance the possibility that they might be telling the truth, would be a risky posture for any modern scholar to adopt, inviting ridicule and rebuke from colleagues. The academic consensus today, and for a century, has been that the myths are either pure fantasy or the fantastic elaboration of local and limited deluges – caused for example by rivers overflowing, or tidal waves. ‘It has long been known,’ commented the illustrious anthropologist Sir J. G. Frazer in 1923,

that legends of a great flood in which almost all men perished are widely diffused over the world…. Stories of such tremendous cataclysms are almost certainly fabulous; [but] it is possible and indeed probable that under a mythical husk many of them may hide a kernel of truth; that is, they may contain reminiscences of inundations which really overtook particular districts, but which in passing through the medium of popular tradition have been magnified into worldwide catastrophes.

Unquestioningly following Frazer’s lead, scholars to this day still persist in seeing flood stories as

recollections – vastly distorted and exaggerated … of real local disasters…. There is not one deluge legend but rather a collection of traditions which are so diverse that they can be explained neither by one general catastrophe alone, nor by the dissemination of one local tradition alone … Flood traditions are nearly universal… mainly because floods in the plural are the most nearly universal of all geologic catastrophes….

My guess is that such thinking will not much longer survive the steady accumulation of scientific evidence that suggests that a series of gigantic cataclysms, exactly like those described in the flood myths, changed the face of the earth completely…. (Hancock 2002)"

Yeah. Washington state certainly has a lot of good geological evidence of big flood events ranging from the truly massive Missoula  / Bretz floods to tsuanmis on the coast. All of these have compelling scientific explanation that does not require an iota of divine intervention/retribution. Similarly, sun myths are a global phenomena, but there are few these days that would say that the Sun is just Apollo riding his chariot through the sky. Indeed, many religious traditions have their roots in the human interface with nature. See the timing of major religious holidays at solstices and the arrival of spring.

So, in short, flat earthers remain regressive.

sol

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #153 on: April 30, 2018, 08:44:46 PM »
Interesting enough there is evidence of a great flood that happened in the distant past, possibly wiping out an advanced civilization. Christianity is not the only religion and tradition that has a great flood story.

Flood myths are common because floods are common.  Some of the very earliest recorded history we have, which predates the old testament by thousands of years, includes stories of cataclysmic floods wiping out wicked civilizations.  Perhaps because our earliest civilizations sprung up in fertile middle eastern river valleys prone to flooding?

But let's just take a momentary step back and consider the truly ridiculous notion of a "planetary" flood.  The whole idea seems to deliberately violate the very idea of the hydrologic cycle.  Where do you think water comes from?  Where could we get enough of it to cover up the continents?  There just isn't enough water on the entire planet, in any form, to come anywhere close to enough.  We would need something like 7 times as much water as the planet has, and if all that water was already here before the flood, where was it previously stored and then where did it go back to after the flood?

In fact it's one of the great mysteries of geology, often debated over numerous beers, to figure out WHY our planet has just exactly enough water to cover all the deep parts, but not enough to cover all the high parts.  I've heard many theories.

There are many Christians (for example) who do see the bible as a product of it's time made up of stories that still hold value when read through the lens of 2000 years of history.

Sure there are!  Like the ones who liked to quote this part: "Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior." 

Does that still hold value when read through the lens of 2000 years of history?  How about 1862 years of history? 

And if we're prepared to abandon the parts supporting slavery, why do we lend moral authority to any other part?

Quote
it's not like they're expecting dead people to jump up out of the grave on a regular basis).

I don't see the difference.  If you believe an impossible magical thing can happen once, why can't it happen again?  Did god lose his power?

GuitarStv

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #154 on: May 01, 2018, 08:59:50 AM »
Interesting enough there is evidence of a great flood that happened in the distant past, possibly wiping out an advanced civilization. Christianity is not the only religion and tradition that has a great flood story.

Flood myths are common because floods are common.  Some of the very earliest recorded history we have, which predates the old testament by thousands of years, includes stories of cataclysmic floods wiping out wicked civilizations.  Perhaps because our earliest civilizations sprung up in fertile middle eastern river valleys prone to flooding?

But let's just take a momentary step back and consider the truly ridiculous notion of a "planetary" flood.  The whole idea seems to deliberately violate the very idea of the hydrologic cycle.  Where do you think water comes from?  Where could we get enough of it to cover up the continents?  There just isn't enough water on the entire planet, in any form, to come anywhere close to enough.  We would need something like 7 times as much water as the planet has, and if all that water was already here before the flood, where was it previously stored and then where did it go back to after the flood?

In fact it's one of the great mysteries of geology, often debated over numerous beers, to figure out WHY our planet has just exactly enough water to cover all the deep parts, but not enough to cover all the high parts.  I've heard many theories.

There are many Christians (for example) who do see the bible as a product of it's time made up of stories that still hold value when read through the lens of 2000 years of history.

Sure there are!  Like the ones who liked to quote this part: "Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior." 

Does that still hold value when read through the lens of 2000 years of history?  How about 1862 years of history? 

And if we're prepared to abandon the parts supporting slavery, why do we lend moral authority to any other part?

Quote
it's not like they're expecting dead people to jump up out of the grave on a regular basis).

I don't see the difference.  If you believe an impossible magical thing can happen once, why can't it happen again?  Did god lose his power?

Sol, I like and respect you.  I enjoy reading your posts.  Your crusade against religion is sometimes a bit tiring though.

Yep.  There's crazy stuff you can point at in the bible.  Lots of it (especially the old testament . . . it's pretty brutal).  Many passages are difficult and require interpretation.  The passage about slaves that you quoted was one that I had a lot of difficulty understanding when I was attending church as a child, and I asked my minister about it.

His comment was that God doesn't condone slavery, and keeping slaves is evil (although commonly done at the time this was written).  The passage was probably written as a way of keeping Christian slaves in line.  The lesson for a good Christian from the passage is one of stoicism . . . That even under the worst possible conditions, you should try to be the best person you can be and make the best of a shitty situation.  Don't steal from your fellow slaves or even the person oppressing you, tell the truth to others, learn to be happy with your lot in life if it cannot be changed.  It doesn't mean that you should accept slavery, or condone it, or that as a slave it's bad to resist your oppressor.

It's possible to believe that the resurrection of Christ was a special miracle, but not believe that anything of the sort will ever happen again.  Heck, many of the people from my old church were kinda on the fence about the resurrection as a real thing anyway.  The important part is the story.  The story is really about love - God's love, his son's sacrifice, and the acceptance and forgiveness of flawed people.  The magical miracle of resurrection is just the yarn that gets the conversation on the topic going.

I'm not a church going person, or even a Christian any more.  I don't believe that Christ rose from the dead, or was the son of God, etc.  As such I probably can't give you the best defense of Christianity possible . . . but there do exist moderate believers who interpret things with an eye to history and religion doesn't have to be the direct path to unthinking idiocy, backwardness, and bigotry that you seem to commonly assume it is.  When you poop all over religion, you're pooping all over these moderate people - ostracizing decent folks who are usually on your side.

I'm also not excusing religious groups that do push their believers towards idiocy, backwardness, and bigotry.  They certainly exist (and are some of the most vocal religious groups so tend to get all the airtime), and should be pointed out and ridiculed when they come up.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #155 on: May 01, 2018, 09:24:47 AM »
Yep.  There's crazy stuff you can point at in the bible.  Lots of it (especially the old testament . . . it's pretty brutal).  Many passages are difficult and require interpretation.  The passage about slaves that you quoted was one that I had a lot of difficulty understanding when I was attending church as a child, and I asked my minister about it.

His comment was that God doesn't condone slavery, and keeping slaves is evil (although commonly done at the time this was written).  The passage was probably written as a way of keeping Christian slaves in line.  The lesson for a good Christian from the passage is one of stoicism . . . That even under the worst possible conditions, you should try to be the best person you can be and make the best of a shitty situation.  Don't steal from your fellow slaves or even the person oppressing you, tell the truth to others, learn to be happy with your lot in life if it cannot be changed.  It doesn't mean that you should accept slavery, or condone it, or that as a slave it's bad to resist your oppressor.

So we take something written a couple of thousand years ago and run it through every bit of progress mankind has made either in parallel (the ancient Greek stoics) or since in order to find an interpretation that suits?  Why not just ditch that bit altogether and say "that was then, this is now, edicts about slavery have nothing to teach us that we can't learn in more appropriate ways"?

GuitarStv

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #156 on: May 01, 2018, 09:37:17 AM »
Yep.  There's crazy stuff you can point at in the bible.  Lots of it (especially the old testament . . . it's pretty brutal).  Many passages are difficult and require interpretation.  The passage about slaves that you quoted was one that I had a lot of difficulty understanding when I was attending church as a child, and I asked my minister about it.

His comment was that God doesn't condone slavery, and keeping slaves is evil (although commonly done at the time this was written).  The passage was probably written as a way of keeping Christian slaves in line.  The lesson for a good Christian from the passage is one of stoicism . . . That even under the worst possible conditions, you should try to be the best person you can be and make the best of a shitty situation.  Don't steal from your fellow slaves or even the person oppressing you, tell the truth to others, learn to be happy with your lot in life if it cannot be changed.  It doesn't mean that you should accept slavery, or condone it, or that as a slave it's bad to resist your oppressor.

So we take something written a couple of thousand years ago and run it through every bit of progress mankind has made either in parallel (the ancient Greek stoics) or since in order to find an interpretation that suits?  Why not just ditch that bit altogether and say "that was then, this is now, edicts about slavery have nothing to teach us that we can't learn in more appropriate ways"?

It's an ancient document, written by people who understood the world in a very different way than we do now.  As with any ancient document the Bible cannot be read and understood without study/interpretation (this is why literal interpretation so often leads to wacky ideas).

Religion is appealing to many because it's a connection with the ancient past.  Throwing away the bible entirely is problematic as it's a common reference that has been studied and discussed for thousands of years, and there are common touchstones in many of the biblical stores (Noah's Ark, Adam and Eve, The Crucifixion/Resurrection, The Virgin Birth) that permeate through western culture.  Editing the bible to modernize it is also going to be problematic as there will be contention regarding the value of some passages over others - that's a messy can of worms to open.  Even performing a modern language translation can be quite contentious because word choice impacts the way that people will read and understand it.

In light of this, it is understandable why so many religions tend to go the path of interpretation.  Again though, I'm not the best person to be defending this.  The bible is just an old collection of stories to me.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #157 on: May 01, 2018, 10:07:03 AM »
Here's something to add about this debate on religion:
hypothetically - suppose one could definitively and convincingly prove that everything written in the bible were made up. Would religion still matter?

I would argue - strongly - that the answer is yes.  Most practicing Christians already accept the bible as allegory, and do not take a literal translation of everything it says. For those that view it this way it primarily serves as a morality code. While discussions about religion between the faithful and agnostics/athiests almost always get bogged down over whether there is or is not a God, the primary values are essentially this; work to become a better person, forgive others when they make amends and help those less fortunate than you. As near as I can tell these tenets hold across most western religions (I know far less about eastern ones to comment).

Some argue that those same virtues could be followed without the religious framework, and many do exactly this, including many casual/secular/cultural Christians. It's also true that many who claim to be devoutly religious don't do a very good job following these tenants. These people are self-righteous dicks, but that doesn't make the tenets bad. Some people game the system, regardless of whether the system is legal, moral or spiritual in nature.

Then of course there's the whole argument of "is the church good or bad." Personally I view it as I do any extremely large bureaucracy. At the top its filled with power-hungry men who are by their very station typically out of contact with the masses and these people frequently act in self-serving and sometimes evil ways. In that way its similar to most large governments or corporations. At the local level it can do an enormous amount of good. It gives people a sense of identity and community. In many places its the only effective entity offering support to those most in need (the truly impoverished) and the only one willing to work with convicted felons to make up for their crimes ("atonement for their sins"). And it gives comfort to people who are dying or have lost someone.  Its not for everyone, but its very important to many. In a very real sense the local church exists primarily to improve the lives of those in their community.

Certainly the church has been rocked by scandals and has even fought wars and done other horrible deeds. The same can be said about virtually all other governments.  That makes the institution fallible, but not unworthy of existing. One could look at the United States cynically and point out its horrific history of slavery, or dealing with native populations, or the number of innocents its military has killed in various conflicts.  Those are all serious topics that we as a society continue to grapple with. But at the same time we must acknowledge all of the good that it has done -- raising the standard of living of hundreds of milliions (perhaps billions); being one of the crucibles of advances in all intellectual fields; the spread and stability of communities throughout the world; etc. IMO one should view the church under the same terms.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #158 on: May 01, 2018, 11:16:34 AM »
Religious doctrine has use up through about the early Sunday school years IMO.  I'd say maybe until about age 8 or so.  Basically learn the Ten Commandments or whatever common sense bits of wisdom the religion offers while being socialized with other kids, respecting your teachers/elders, doing some terrible arts and crafts, and play a lot.  Note that this can be mostly replicated by going to the playground at the park and signing Junior up for some sports/library programs.

For developing teenage minds and young adults, I'd argue the fellowship utility is dwarfed by the potential brainwashing and is dangerous.  It's been said how pragmatic and non-literal modern Christians are but how many adults still believe in a form of creationism that posits humanity was directly created by a supernatural entity because the seed was planted at an age when concrete values were formed?  This is incredibly harmful to scientific and civilized progress.  Ages 9 to 12 (just spitballing, obviously) is the middle ground where organized religion could be a net positive or net negative for society, depends on too many factors.  That's painting a very broad stroke but I really think adults should be pretty grounded with their education before they try to accept all the facets of the religion they choose.

Sol's crusade definitely has more positives than negatives.  Religion is an area that deserves many facepunches.  A main point is, even if you don't take the Bible literally, how can you take only bits and pieces of it seriously as the cornerstone of religion for billions of people?  Although I am willing to learn more if there are Christian religions that do not use the Bible as its foundational script (if these exist, let me know).  It's a great collection of books with wisdom, parables, history, and myths.  It should be studied - as should many other historical and fantastic texts, the history of its assembly alone is fascinating (the languages used, St. Jerome's Vulgate vs. Septuagint, Pauline authorship, the Q source and Gospel of Mark, omission of parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Maccabees, & other deuterocanonical books, etc.).  But the history of it should also be a warning for how fickle its creation was/is and how it is no longer changing.  Are people no longer inspired by God to write more modern passages and if they were, who is to say they shouldn't be appended to the Bible?  Read about the early ecumenical councils that were still ironing out issues hundreds of years after the life of Christ such as whether Jesus' mom was a virgin (also interesting translation history on that one, I believe Dawkins expounded on this), various foods to eat, etc.  So much of it was arbitrary rather than "divine revelation about what to do".  They were literally meeting to try to organize and have a consistent basis so that their shit would be the most believable and accepted by the masses.  The clergy were a group of scholars and had self-serving interests to gain power over time - mission accomplished!  It was like the world's first unofficial marketing conferences.

If the Bible wasn't viewed as such an important piece and was instead just viewed as something like "one of the better ancient storybooks out there" in conjunction with many other modern and old scriptures, then we'd be somewhere.  But it remains at the forefront for many denominations.

The point is, when you study a religion and go beyond what certain denominations believe and which doctrines exist today and trace back the origins with a sociological and anthropological lens, you see the proverbial curtain being lifted and just see a bunch of humans pulling levers.  The enchantment usually goes away, especially when all the pagan origins and borrowing of stories from other religions and cultures become apparent.

Any religious leader can take an archaic passage and twist it around to put some silver linings on it.  That doesn't really validate much other than that wordsmiths can do a lot with subjectivity.  Abrahamic religions operate a lot on faith and traditionally it was heresy to question.  That's a pretty smart, albeit oppressive, policy to enforce once you've reached critical mass!  But anyway, if it's about the story then why does it have to be a specific religious one per se?  I think there are plenty of lessons to be learned from many different religions, philosophers, scientists, poets, artists, leaders, etc.  If the goal is just to be a good human or achieve some kind of inner balance or have fellowship with other good folks, we don't need religion for that but I don't begrudge those that seek it out that way (in fact, I encourage this if this is the true aim).  If the goal is to get to heaven or involve the supernatural or to convince others that your beliefs should be enforced in society and taught in schools (over 90% of private schools have a religious orientation), now there are some fundamental issues as the religious and secular worlds collide.

Side note: how old do flat earthers think the world is or how it was created?  Do they have consensus?

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #159 on: May 01, 2018, 11:40:45 AM »
Any religious leader can take an archaic passage and twist it around to put some silver linings on it.  That doesn't really validate much other than that wordsmiths can do a lot with subjectivity.

Here you're dismissing what I always saw as the real purpose of bible study.  The point is not to have a manual that simply tells you that A is right and B is wrong.  The point is that you spend regular time thinking about what is right, what right actually means, about how to be a better person, and how to live a proper life.  It's this mindfulness and process of thinking/interpreting that is important, not so much the content of the text.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #160 on: May 01, 2018, 12:17:35 PM »
@simonsez - your comments have me a little confused.  In reference to 'the Bible' I just want to clarify that these are a collection of writings, and what isconsider to be canonical depends on the religion being considered.  As to whether people are 'no longer inspired by God to write more modern passages [to the Bible]' ... it sounds like there's some massive confusion. You can't add to the bible any more than you could a new chapter to Homer's Odyssey.  However, that doesn't mean that people are no longer inspired or that no more is being written; that the religion is solely based on texts of dead men born millennia ago. In practice a core focus of every service is the week's homily, which deals with everyday, modern life. It also doesn't mean that the teachings are no longer changing, which is a really weird thing to say if you follow church teachings, where a constant source of contention is whether, how fast, and when should the teaching change. The role and teachings of the church are constantly being changed, updated and modified. Protestant sects do this very abruptly, often by forming new sects - over 200 have formed in the last ~500 years. THe catholic church also lumbers along with major changes to doctrine every generation or so through councils and edicts.

You also used the term 'seriously' - which is not the same as 'literally'. One can take something seriously but not literally. That's a crucial difference to understand because most Christians do not take the bible literally, while they do take it seriously. Those that have a strict literal interpretation are considered on the extreme end of the spectrum. I'll also note that many of these literal interpretations which are held up as examples aren't often poorly supported in the bible to begin with. For example, this creationist notion that the earth is only 6,000ish years old stems from an opportunistic interpretation (i.e. it isn't supported). Ditto with the world being flat.  It's understood that the writers themselves were often marginally educated laborers prone to superstition and writing with and a limited understanding of the world beyond their region of the middle east.  Only the fanatical point to passages about the 'four corners of the earth' and conclude that the Earth is flat (or that bible says it is). As a child I was taught about the planets and solar system and natural selection and everything else small children learn by a group of nuns. It's not even controversial until some d-wad decides to make it so.

 You've also characterized it as a 'book of stories'.  While there are lots of 'stories' in the bible (the telling of events from some person's point of view) - much of it is actually theological writings  - the best secular example I can come up is the Federalist papers. The 'what happened' (story) is actually secondary to the discussion of what is right and how we can lead a better life. Instead of it being "today we're going to hear the story about Peter and the time he didn't do what he promised he would," the focus is on when and how to forgive someone who has caused you harm. It's not 'wordsmithing' some 'archaic passage' because the underlying point is not about what may have happened 2,000 years ago, but on how you should live your life now.


simonsez

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #161 on: May 01, 2018, 02:00:29 PM »
@simonsez - your comments have me a little confused.  In reference to 'the Bible' I just want to clarify that these are a collection of writings, and what isconsider to be canonical depends on the religion being considered.  As to whether people are 'no longer inspired by God to write more modern passages [to the Bible]' ... it sounds like there's some massive confusion. You can't add to the bible any more than you could a new chapter to Homer's Odyssey.  However, that doesn't mean that people are no longer inspired or that no more is being written; that the religion is solely based on texts of dead men born millennia ago. In practice a core focus of every service is the week's homily, which deals with everyday, modern life. It also doesn't mean that the teachings are no longer changing, which is a really weird thing to say if you follow church teachings, where a constant source of contention is whether, how fast, and when should the teaching change. The role and teachings of the church are constantly being changed, updated and modified. Protestant sects do this very abruptly, often by forming new sects - over 200 have formed in the last ~500 years. THe catholic church also lumbers along with major changes to doctrine every generation or so through councils and edicts.

You also used the term 'seriously' - which is not the same as 'literally'. One can take something seriously but not literally. That's a crucial difference to understand because most Christians do not take the bible literally, while they do take it seriously. Those that have a strict literal interpretation are considered on the extreme end of the spectrum. I'll also note that many of these literal interpretations which are held up as examples aren't often poorly supported in the bible to begin with. For example, this creationist notion that the earth is only 6,000ish years old stems from an opportunistic interpretation (i.e. it isn't supported). Ditto with the world being flat.  It's understood that the writers themselves were often marginally educated laborers prone to superstition and writing with and a limited understanding of the world beyond their region of the middle east.  Only the fanatical point to passages about the 'four corners of the earth' and conclude that the Earth is flat (or that bible says it is). As a child I was taught about the planets and solar system and natural selection and everything else small children learn by a group of nuns. It's not even controversial until some d-wad decides to make it so.

 You've also characterized it as a 'book of stories'.  While there are lots of 'stories' in the bible (the telling of events from some person's point of view) - much of it is actually theological writings  - the best secular example I can come up is the Federalist papers. The 'what happened' (story) is actually secondary to the discussion of what is right and how we can lead a better life. Instead of it being "today we're going to hear the story about Peter and the time he didn't do what he promised he would," the focus is on when and how to forgive someone who has caused you harm. It's not 'wordsmithing' some 'archaic passage' because the underlying point is not about what may have happened 2,000 years ago, but on how you should live your life now.
Sorry to confuse.  I meant that due to the variants of Bibles being considered canon to suit the whims of a various sect or denomination that that notion itself is evidence of how arbitrary the foundations of religion are.  e.g. Someone or a group disagrees with inclusion or the omitting or interpretation of something so they form their own group.  It just strikes me as odd that something with a divine presence would be so evolving.  It's almost as if religion is really more about the people and not some power in the sky.  Weird.

I wasn't talking only about young earth creationists.  I was talking about anyone who thinks God made humans in "his image" regardless of the age of the Earth/solar system/universe.  That is a significantly larger group than those who think the Earth is 6000-10000 years old or flat.  In the U.S. this appears to be around 30-40% of all adults!  Serious may not be the same as literal but the distinction may not be important in every instance if such basic truths are ignored by hundreds of millions of literate adults all over the world. 

You could surely modify to the Bible if the clergy of a particular sect in charge decided to.  There is no rule against that.  There is no singular author.  Did Moses codify that the Pentateuch was to remain separate?  Irrelevant either way, people after him changed the rules and added what they wanted.  There is nothing stopping a group of leaders (other than $$ and eventual acceptance within their intended audience) from deciding that a certain collection of more recent books are worthy of binding together and be used as a blueprint for their particular religion or even adding to their version of the Bible.  The Bible is a collection of individual books written over many hundreds of years.  A group of people over the course of a few hundred years picked and chose which books (and even which chapters and verses they contain) to put together.  Sure, particular arrangements are fairly static now but I don't think Homer's Odyssey (one author, one very long story) is a good analogy.  Anyway, for the sake of argument let's say the Bible is not changing and will not change ever again.  If that's true and various church teachings will continue to evolve, doesn't that mean the Bible's relevance should diminish over time?  My point is that yes, the Bible is important, but how and why it continues to be treated as THE book while not changing much the past 1500 years is interesting.

Yes, the Bible is a book of stories.  I also characterized it as a very important historical account.  I think there is a ton to glean from it both in terms of teaching lessons/wisdom/theology as well as painting a picture of ancient history.  I don't think we're in disagreement about that but the 'what happened in history during the time it was written' is also important to me.  YMMV.

As far as wordsmithing, I meant to convey that similar to how former player approached antiquated topics in the Bible.  Don't twist the words around to suit your needs, just accept that Bible is old and reference other sources for guidance on certain topics.  The Bible is taught as the infallible word of God by many denominations (including ones where they know not to take it literally) yet the cherry-picking of passages and ignoring of others still happens.  If there are new modern approaches to this that teach the Bible is in fact very flawed and maybe not the intended word of God (perhaps a little game of Telephone occurred all those years with those men inspired by God to write), I laud that.  I admit I haven't been brushing up on my theology on Sunday mornings in quite awhile and my own experience is limited to only a few of the many denominations.

Another example that should just be ignored (in fact, let's create a new denomination with a new Bible that omits this ludicrous paragraph altogether) rather than wordsmithed - I Timothy Chapter 2, third paragraph is about as sexist as you can get.  I don't need a wise minister to tell me to overlook the sexism and focus on the positive messages contained.  I'm not saying you or anyone else is directly heeding these instructions but this just further proves the Bible is out of touch and its status should be somewhat relegated.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #162 on: May 01, 2018, 02:29:13 PM »
Sorry to confuse.  I meant that due to the variants of Bibles being considered canon to suit the whims of a various sect or denomination that that notion itself is evidence of how arbitrary the foundations of religion are.  e.g. Someone or a group disagrees with inclusion or the omitting or interpretation of something so they form their own group.  It just strikes me as odd that something with a divine presence would be so evolving.  It's almost as if religion is really more about the people and not some power in the sky.  Weird.

Why is this weird?  All the documents associated with any religion were created by people, all the customs were created by people, and all of the laws were created by people.  Religion is, was, and always has been the creation of people.  What of it?



I was talking about anyone who thinks God made humans in "his image" regardless of the age of the Earth/solar system/universe.  That is a significantly larger group than those who think the Earth is 6000-10000 years old or flat.  In the U.S. this appears to be around 30-40% of all adults!  Serious may not be the same as literal but the distinction may not be important in every instance if such basic truths are ignored by hundreds of millions of literate adults all over the world. 

I feel like you're indicating that this is a problem but am not sure exactly what the problem is.  If God is all-powerful and created people in his image, then why couldn't he have messed with evolution so that we evolved to look like him?  That doesn't conflict with any basic truth.  You can't prove that it's true or false.

What someone chooses to believe about the unknowable doesn't really effect me.  If it doesn't really effect me, then who am I to tell them they're wrong?  It's when they (or I) start denying reality and making illogical jumps that we have a problem.  If someone is saying that God made man in his image, and therefore evolution is false . . . well yeah, they're an idiot.  If I'm saying that evolution exists, and therefore there is no God  . . . then I'm as much of an idiot as the believer.  There's a lot of middle ground where we can just kinda live and let live though.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #163 on: May 01, 2018, 02:32:50 PM »
Any religious leader can take an archaic passage and twist it around to put some silver linings on it.  That doesn't really validate much other than that wordsmiths can do a lot with subjectivity.

Here you're dismissing what I always saw as the real purpose of bible study.  The point is not to have a manual that simply tells you that A is right and B is wrong.  The point is that you spend regular time thinking about what is right, what right actually means, about how to be a better person, and how to live a proper life.  It's this mindfulness and process of thinking/interpreting that is important, not so much the content of the text.
True, I am being a bit dismissive but only because the content does matter to me a bit.  That's not to say I can't glean value out of a passage, however modern, ancient, absurd, whatever it is - I just don't need to treat that as the seminal writing on that subject.  You definitely aren't doing that, just a lot of people seem to have an overrated reverence for the Bible. 

I'm not articulating very well today.  What I mean is, let's say there is a Christian church - the assumption is that they're using the Bible as a guide or to study and find meaning.  That in itself is um, fine, to each their own - but I doubt many Christians would do the same with other Christian writings let alone the Torah or Quran or numerous other non-Christian texts especially including modern writings.  I'm sure there are that would but I doubt this would be the majority of Christians, let alone the majority of Christian theological study groups.  That to me is an issue.  It has a vibe of close-mindedness to it.  Maybe I'm wrong (hope so!), though and I am the one being close-minded about the academic prowess of Christians and their theological study of not just the Bible but many texts from many religions - just hasn't been my experience, I've heard a pastor/minister/priest quote a passage from something other than the Bible during a sermon maybe a handful of times out of 1000+.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #164 on: May 01, 2018, 02:52:21 PM »
Maybe I'm wrong (hope so!), though and I am the one being close-minded about the academic prowess of Christians and their theological study of not just the Bible but many texts from many religions - just hasn't been my experience, I've heard a pastor/minister/priest quote a passage from something other than the Bible during a sermon maybe a handful of times out of 1000+.

The minister of the church I went to as a kid once did a sermon discussing why Batman is a better superhero than Superman, and why Jesus is more like Batman than Superman.  It was pretty awesome.  We occasionally invited had ministers from other churches to come in and give sermons, and it wasn't unusual to discuss other religions.  Not all Christian churches fit into the close-minded group of ignoramuses who can't laugh at themselves and never look outside their cloistered halls.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #165 on: May 01, 2018, 03:17:30 PM »
Sorry to confuse.  I meant that due to the variants of Bibles being considered canon to suit the whims of a various sect or denomination that that notion itself is evidence of how arbitrary the foundations of religion are.  e.g. Someone or a group disagrees with inclusion or the omitting or interpretation of something so they form their own group.  It just strikes me as odd that something with a divine presence would be so evolving.  It's almost as if religion is really more about the people and not some power in the sky.  Weird.

Why is this weird?  All the documents associated with any religion were created by people, all the customs were created by people, and all of the laws were created by people.  Religion is, was, and always has been the creation of people.  What of it?
Because if it's just people making the rules, what's the point of having a deity involved?  How do people know the deity approves?  The book of Acts in the Bible deals with the founding of the early church, it was very simple and there were not many diverse doctrines.  Obviously everything that has come to pass the last 2000 or so years with regard to various churches has been a human creation yet God's name get attached to everything.

I was talking about anyone who thinks God made humans in "his image" regardless of the age of the Earth/solar system/universe.  That is a significantly larger group than those who think the Earth is 6000-10000 years old or flat.  In the U.S. this appears to be around 30-40% of all adults!  Serious may not be the same as literal but the distinction may not be important in every instance if such basic truths are ignored by hundreds of millions of literate adults all over the world. 

I feel like you're indicating that this is a problem but am not sure exactly what the problem is.  If God is all-powerful and created people in his image, then why couldn't he have messed with evolution so that we evolved to look like him?  That doesn't conflict with any basic truth.  You can't prove that it's true or false.

What someone chooses to believe about the unknowable doesn't really effect me.  If it doesn't really effect me, then who am I to tell them they're wrong?  It's when they (or I) start denying reality and making illogical jumps that we have a problem.  If someone is saying that God made man in his image, and therefore evolution is false . . . well yeah, they're an idiot.  If I'm saying that evolution exists, and therefore there is no God  . . . then I'm as much of an idiot as the believer.  There's a lot of middle ground where we can just kinda live and let live though.
I was one of the only people to give the OP advice that they should talk to their flat earth friends just like they would other people.  Most of the advice has been to ignore or to make some rather inventive jokes or to tell the flat earthers how they are wrong.  To each their own - as for treating someone who believes that God created humans directly without evolution - I'd treat them just like I would the flat earthers.  I wasn't trying to debate what God looks like, just that homo sapiens didn't suddenly exist into being (like so many adults believe) - there were prior forms, we are pretty certain on this.  This is knowable.  I'm saying this matters because evolution shouldn't really be a debatable topic as it pertains to education.  Yes, it appears we are both in agreement that pure theism or atheism is impossible to be certain about.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #166 on: May 01, 2018, 03:22:56 PM »
The minister of the church I went to as a kid once did a sermon discussing why Batman is a better superhero than Superman, and why Jesus is more like Batman than Superman.  It was pretty awesome.

Well, he won when they fought but how else is Jesus like Batman?

Superman has inherent powers like Jesus. Batman is all about the gadgets and cleverness. <-- Superman
Superman came from the sky (via a womb-like alien ship), sent by his father. Jesus came from the sky (via a womb), sent by his father. <-- Superman
Jesus is half human, while Superman is 100% alien and Batman is 100% human. <-- wash
Jesus lives like a human, as does Batman, while Superman has a super cave with alien tech. <-- Batman
Jesus can be killed (but has amazing recuperative powers like Wolverine). Batman can be killed. Superman is 99.9% invincible. <-- Batman


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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #167 on: May 01, 2018, 03:57:17 PM »
I feel like there are some financial parallels to flat-earthing. Like the belief in having gold in lieu of investments. Much like flat earth, it is something that "you can see with your own eyes", and sure enough gold is worth something, and the local area sure as hell does feel pretty flat.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #168 on: May 01, 2018, 04:11:14 PM »
Any religious leader can take an archaic passage and twist it around to put some silver linings on it.  That doesn't really validate much other than that wordsmiths can do a lot with subjectivity.

Here you're dismissing what I always saw as the real purpose of bible study.  The point is not to have a manual that simply tells you that A is right and B is wrong.  The point is that you spend regular time thinking about what is right, what right actually means, about how to be a better person, and how to live a proper life.  It's this mindfulness and process of thinking/interpreting that is important, not so much the content of the text.
True, I am being a bit dismissive but only because the content does matter to me a bit.  That's not to say I can't glean value out of a passage, however modern, ancient, absurd, whatever it is - I just don't need to treat that as the seminal writing on that subject.  You definitely aren't doing that, just a lot of people seem to have an overrated reverence for the Bible. 

I'm not articulating very well today.  What I mean is, let's say there is a Christian church - the assumption is that they're using the Bible as a guide or to study and find meaning.  That in itself is um, fine, to each their own - but I doubt many Christians would do the same with other Christian writings let alone the Torah or Quran or numerous other non-Christian texts especially including modern writings.  I'm sure there are that would but I doubt this would be the majority of Christians, let alone the majority of Christian theological study groups.  That to me is an issue.  It has a vibe of close-mindedness to it.  Maybe I'm wrong (hope so!), though and I am the one being close-minded about the academic prowess of Christians and their theological study of not just the Bible but many texts from many religions - just hasn't been my experience, I've heard a pastor/minister/priest quote a passage from something other than the Bible during a sermon maybe a handful of times out of 1000+.

I'm just not seeing the problem here.  Let's use governments and laws as a parallel - the laws in one township, state or country differ from other township, states or countries, yet we accept this.  Certainly there are places that are more strict than others, and like some sects there are some which are downright oppressive and should be mitigated. Should we say disown all governments because they don't match? After having lived in Canada for several years my take is that most Canadians would never accept living under the US governmental system, and vice-versa, yet both countries would consider themselves free and democratic.  So it is with religion; their similarities outweigh their differences a hundred fold, but only a relative few will move from one to the other.
Perhaps its just a difference in the churches you have attended, but every single service i've ever been to the priest brings up something much more current. Sometimes its a news report or an op-ed or something a parrishiner wrote. Others its what a theologian wrote placing some passage into context.  Once during the World Series he used an on-field event to highlight how you can get mad for someone else's mistake or you can help pick them up. Shrug.  Like I said, there's hundreds of different variants of Christianity alone, so there will be variation.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #169 on: May 01, 2018, 08:22:59 PM »
The minister of the church I went to as a kid once did a sermon discussing why Batman is a better superhero than Superman, and why Jesus is more like Batman than Superman.  It was pretty awesome.

Well, he won when they fought but how else is Jesus like Batman?

Superman has inherent powers like Jesus. Batman is all about the gadgets and cleverness. <-- Superman
Superman came from the sky (via a womb-like alien ship), sent by his father. Jesus came from the sky (via a womb), sent by his father. <-- Superman
Jesus is half human, while Superman is 100% alien and Batman is 100% human. <-- wash
Jesus lives like a human, as does Batman, while Superman has a super cave with alien tech. <-- Batman
Jesus can be killed (but has amazing recuperative powers like Wolverine). Batman can be killed. Superman is 99.9% invincible. <-- Batman

It has been quite a few years, but I remember that the sermon was built around the fact that Superman is inhuman, Batman is human.  Bullets bounce off Superman, but Batman bleeds.  Everything's easy for Superman, but Batman has to work for what he achieves.  God could have made Jesus an indestructible motherfucker with heat vision and powers of flight.  Instead he made Jesus a human being, who bled and died for people . . . and left a pious example that every person could aspire to.  The achievements of Batman and Jesus are both more impressive because they're human.  :P

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #170 on: May 02, 2018, 01:04:31 AM »

I'm just not seeing the problem here.  Let's use governments and laws as a parallel - the laws in one township, state or country differ from other township, states or countries, yet we accept this.  Certainly there are places that are more strict than others, and like some sects there are some which are downright oppressive and should be mitigated. Should we say disown all governments because they don't match? After having lived in Canada for several years my take is that most Canadians would never accept living under the US governmental system, and vice-versa, yet both countries would consider themselves free and democratic.  So it is with religion; their similarities outweigh their differences a hundred fold, but only a relative few will move from one to the other.
Perhaps its just a difference in the churches you have attended, but every single service i've ever been to the priest brings up something much more current. Sometimes its a news report or an op-ed or something a parrishiner wrote. Others its what a theologian wrote placing some passage into context.  Once during the World Series he used an on-field event to highlight how you can get mad for someone else's mistake or you can help pick them up. Shrug.  Like I said, there's hundreds of different variants of Christianity alone, so there will be variation.
Systems of laws and governments are local to a particular place, religions tend to be universal and all-encompassing: this is the way of truth and all other ways of the truth are lies.  The different religions can't all be right but still are claiming to be.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #171 on: May 02, 2018, 07:35:54 AM »
Systems of laws and governments are local to a particular place, religions tend to be universal and all-encompassing: this is the way of truth and all other ways of the truth are lies.

Again, these sweeping statements don't hold true for all religions.

When attending church, I was always taught that there are many ways to live a good life . . . and that doing good is ultimately what makes God happy.  If you're an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Pastafarian and live a good life then you're going to be treated by God the same way that a Christian who lives a good life would be.


The different religions can't all be right but still are claiming to be.

Sure.  Claiming to be right is a pretty common thing that we do as human beings when we feel strongly about something.  When we're talking about the unknowable though, nobody's right because we don't know.  Atheists who believe that there's obviously no God are no more correct than the most hardcore fundamentalist who believes that his God is the one true path to salvation.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #172 on: May 02, 2018, 08:09:28 AM »
When attending church, I was always taught that there are many ways to live a good life . . . and that doing good is ultimately what makes God happy.  If you're an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Pastafarian and live a good life then you're going to be treated by God the same way that a Christian who lives a good life would be.
There are a lot of potential tangents in there to chat about but I'll leave most of them.  That is very interesting, thanks for sharing.  That is the pretty much the opposite of what I was taught growing up - the key was that you had to accept God/Jesus regardless of how good of a person you were if you were to be included in the club for eternal reward.  Haha, anyway...

My question then is - since various people will have different definitions of what living a good life is, why would anyone pay money to attend church for advice when they could just source free advice from the Internet or friends or family for free on how to live a good life?  If this is a you-get-what-you-pay for in terms of advice, to each their own (I lean toward meeting up with people I like for free) or if you're going to tell me this church was also free to attend or did not expect tithes in the form of $ then I think you really found a unique place.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #173 on: May 02, 2018, 08:34:44 AM »
When attending church, I was always taught that there are many ways to live a good life . . . and that doing good is ultimately what makes God happy.  If you're an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Pastafarian and live a good life then you're going to be treated by God the same way that a Christian who lives a good life would be.
There are a lot of potential tangents in there to chat about but I'll leave most of them.  That is very interesting, thanks for sharing.  That is the pretty much the opposite of what I was taught growing up - the key was that you had to accept God/Jesus regardless of how good of a person you were if you were to be included in the club for eternal reward.  Haha, anyway...

My question then is - since various people will have different definitions of what living a good life is, why would anyone pay money to attend church for advice when they could just source free advice from the Internet or friends or family for free on how to live a good life?  If this is a you-get-what-you-pay for in terms of advice, to each their own (I lean toward meeting up with people I like for free) or if you're going to tell me this church was also free to attend or did not expect tithes in the form of $ then I think you really found a unique place.

Are Christian churches not typically free?  I mean, a donation plate is passed around at the end of services, but you aren't required to give anything you don't want to.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #174 on: May 02, 2018, 08:51:31 AM »

I'm just not seeing the problem here.  Let's use governments and laws as a parallel - the laws in one township, state or country differ from other township, states or countries, yet we accept this.  Certainly there are places that are more strict than others, and like some sects there are some which are downright oppressive and should be mitigated. Should we say disown all governments because they don't match? After having lived in Canada for several years my take is that most Canadians would never accept living under the US governmental system, and vice-versa, yet both countries would consider themselves free and democratic.  So it is with religion; their similarities outweigh their differences a hundred fold, but only a relative few will move from one to the other.
Perhaps its just a difference in the churches you have attended, but every single service i've ever been to the priest brings up something much more current. Sometimes its a news report or an op-ed or something a parrishiner wrote. Others its what a theologian wrote placing some passage into context.  Once during the World Series he used an on-field event to highlight how you can get mad for someone else's mistake or you can help pick them up. Shrug.  Like I said, there's hundreds of different variants of Christianity alone, so there will be variation.
Systems of laws and governments are local to a particular place, religions tend to be universal and all-encompassing: this is the way of truth and all other ways of the truth are lies.  The different religions can't all be right but still are claiming to be.
I'd disagree that religions are universal and all-encompassing while laws and governments are local and particular to a place. Religious practices vary from country to country, state to state, and parish to parish. It's precisely why, in much of the south, a common question you get when meeting someone new is 'what church do you go to'.   As for the 'different religions can't all be right' -  I see this a fundamental misunderstanding of religion furthered by the rhetoric of zealots and a few misunderstood lines in scriptures like the monotheistic policy.  For the most part different churches and religions live in harmony with each other. While the catholic church might encourage jews to convert to catholicsm, the priests aren't going around saying these people are wicked because they don't recognize Jesus as a profit.  Again, I think the parallel to governments is apt here - most people from the US aren't looking at Canadians and saying "your version of law is wrong, freedom and prosperity can exist only with a constitutional federal republic!'  A few zealots (many of the libertarians) may argue there's only one truly just form of government, but by-and-large one group is willing to let another group co-exist up until conquering and forced conversion rears its ugly head (again - zealots).

sol

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #175 on: May 02, 2018, 09:15:52 AM »
When attending church, I was always taught that there are many ways to live a good life . . . and that doing good is ultimately what makes God happy.  If you're an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Pastafarian and live a good life then you're going to be treated by God the same way that a Christian who lives a good life would be.

This is a fundamentally unChristian thing to say and I'm shocked that any self respecting church world promote such an idea.

The fundamental tenet of Christianity is that Jesus died for your sins and the only path to salvation is accepting him into your heart.  They absolutely require faith and belief, and "good works" have always been insufficient toll for admission to heaven.  Christianity teaches that it doesn't really matter what kind of life you lead, or how godly are your actions, because your sins will be forgiven of you accept Jesus.  Ghandi is in Hell, but truly repentant murderers are saved.

What GSV has been describing in this thread sounds like a very new-agey progressive sort of church with radical beliefs, the kind that other churches cluck at and then have sermons about false believers.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 09:57:26 AM by sol »

GuitarStv

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #176 on: May 02, 2018, 09:31:29 AM »
When attending church, I was always taught that there are many ways to live a good life . . . and that doing good is ultimately what makes God happy.  If you're an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Pastafarian and live a good life then you're going to be treated by God the same way that a Christian who lives a good life would be.

This is a fundamentally unChristian thing to say and I'm shocked that any self respecting church world promote such an idea.

The fundamental tenet of Christianity is that Jesus sites for your sins and the only path to salvation I'd accepting him into your heart.  They absolutely require faith and belief, and "good works" have always been insufficient toll for admission to heaven.  Christianity teaches that it doesn't really matter what kind of life you lead, or how godly are your actions, because your sins will be forgiven of you accept Jesus.  Ghandi is in Hell, but truly repentent murderers are saved.

What GSV has been describing in this thread sounds like a very new-agey progressive sort of church with radical beliefs, the kind that other churches cluck at and then have sermons about false believers.

The Catholic church is pretty mainstream Christianity, and they don't argue that people who don't believe in Christ go straight to hell.  They believe that Christ is the one true path to salvation, but that people who follow other religions may actually be following Christ without knowing it by living good lives.  My understanding is that this was part of the Vatican II modernization of the church that happened in the 60s.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #177 on: May 02, 2018, 09:36:17 AM »
When attending church, I was always taught that there are many ways to live a good life . . . and that doing good is ultimately what makes God happy.  If you're an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Pastafarian and live a good life then you're going to be treated by God the same way that a Christian who lives a good life would be.

This is a fundamentally unChristian thing to say and I'm shocked that any self respecting church world promote such an idea.

The fundamental tenet of Christianity is that Jesus sites for your sins and the only path to salvation I'd accepting him into your heart.  They absolutely require faith and belief, and "good works" have always been insufficient toll for admission to heaven.  Christianity teaches that it doesn't really matter what kind of life you lead, or how godly are your actions, because your sins will be forgiven of you accept Jesus.  Ghandi is in Hell, but truly repentent murderers are saved.

What GSV has been describing in this thread sounds like a very new-agey progressive sort of church with radical beliefs, the kind that other churches cluck at and then have sermons about false believers.

Sol, this article from last month may be of interest. The Pope seems to take a softer line than what you put above, even though within the evangelical wing in the US your point would be right at home.
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2018/04/16/is-my-dad-in-heaven-little-boy-asks-pope/

to be fair, it is worth noting that the Pope was careful with his language and did not answer the question as directly as he might have.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #178 on: May 02, 2018, 09:55:54 AM »
When attending church, I was always taught that there are many ways to live a good life . . . and that doing good is ultimately what makes God happy.  If you're an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Pastafarian and live a good life then you're going to be treated by God the same way that a Christian who lives a good life would be.

This is a fundamentally unChristian thing to say and I'm shocked that any self respecting church world promote such an idea.

The fundamental tenet of Christianity is that Jesus sites for your sins and the only path to salvation I'd accepting him into your heart.  They absolutely require faith and belief, and "good works" have always been insufficient toll for admission to heaven.  Christianity teaches that it doesn't really matter what kind of life you lead, or how godly are your actions, because your sins will be forgiven of you accept Jesus.  Ghandi is in Hell, but truly repentent murderers are saved.

What GSV has been describing in this thread sounds like a very new-agey progressive sort of church with radical beliefs, the kind that other churches cluck at and then have sermons about false believers.

The Catholic church is pretty mainstream Christianity, and they don't argue that people who don't believe in Christ go straight to hell.  They believe that Christ is the one true path to salvation, but that people who follow other religions may actually be following Christ without knowing it by living good lives.  My understanding is that this was part of the Vatican II modernization of the church that happened in the 60s.
Just to build on this - by the numbers the Catholic church is the largest of all Christian religions, and has roughly as many followers as all the other christian sects combined. Muslims outnumber Catholics, but not all christians combined. So it seems fair to consider Catholicism 'mainstream' - whether that's positive or negative depends on your viewpoint I gues.
FWIW Judaism, Christianity and Islam all incorporate the old testament, and Islam and Christianity recognize the new testament as part of their religion. All three recognize Jesus of Nazareth (which is distinct from Jesus, son of god). The catholic church welcomes jews and muslims (and anyone else, really) into their church and to celebrate mass with them and anyone can ask a priest for help.  About the only thing they can't do is take communion. The church in my area routinely provides meals and clothes to those in need even when they are agnostic or athiests.
Viewed objectively they are pretty damn similar and evolved from the same starting point.

sol

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #179 on: May 02, 2018, 10:06:53 AM »
The Catholic church is pretty mainstream Christianity, and they don't argue that people who don't believe in Christ go straight to hell.

The Catholics are weird.  I say that as someone who went to too many Catholic masses as a child, but was denied communion because I wasn't baptized and was thus condemned to an eternity of hellfire anyway.  What was that about not condemning people?

I have an uncle who's a Jesuit.  Another relative is a crusading feminist who has been attending women-led mass for decades as a form of protest.  I like the aspects of Catholicism that focus on social justice and forgiveness, but let's not pretend they aren't just as regressively barbaric as evangelicals.  The have a history of opposing gay rights, birth control, IVF, and abortion.  And let's not even broach the decades-long effort to expose as many innocent children as possible to known pedophiles, and their refusal to excommunicate, defrock, or even report pedophile rapists. 

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #180 on: May 02, 2018, 10:32:05 AM »
Sol, we are similar in age, and my experience in the Catholic church is similar to GuitarStv and Nereo.  I was never taught that because someone wasn't baptized that they were condemned to hell.  That is not mainstream Catholic teaching. 

As far as a history of opposing gay rights, abortion, etc, you are correct.  But civilization as a whole has this same history, and to pretend it falls on only Christians/religious is misleading.  Many people on both sides of politics and religion opposed gay rights just a couple decades ago.  Same with slavery, abortion, women's rights. It takes time to change societal beliefs, and unfortunately seems to take even longer when it comes to the church. 

But when it comes to the pedophiles, I've got nothing.  That shit should have been exposed and brought to the authorities decades ago.  There are criminals in all walks of life, no matter what religious label they slap on themselves.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #181 on: May 02, 2018, 10:38:46 AM »
The Catholic church is pretty mainstream Christianity, and they don't argue that people who don't believe in Christ go straight to hell.

The Catholics are weird.  I say that as someone who went to too many Catholic masses as a child, but was denied communion because I wasn't baptized and was thus condemned to an eternity of hellfire anyway.  What was that about not condemning people?

My mom was not a practicing Catholic who taught in a Catholic school in Northern Canada (it's hard to find qualified teachers up there) while I was a kid so I got to know Catholicism reasonably well as a kid.  I think that your assumption about unbaptized kids is incorrect.

The Catechism (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm) pretty clearly states the Catholic stance on the issue:

Quote
As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.



I like the aspects of Catholicism that focus on social justice and forgiveness, but let's not pretend they aren't just as regressively barbaric as evangelicals.  The have a history of opposing gay rights, birth control, IVF, and abortion.  And let's not even broach the decades-long effort to expose as many innocent children as possible to known pedophiles, and their refusal to excommunicate, defrock, or even report pedophile rapists.

I make no excuses for the Catholic church.  They've been directly responsible for terrible things.  If you want to rail against that, I've got your back.

sol

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #182 on: May 02, 2018, 11:01:18 AM »
allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.

"Allow us to hope" they have a path to salvation in CII is a long way from offering them the blood of Christ in a cup.

The core belief (among my family anyway) is that baptism washes away your original sin, with which all humans are born because Eve ate from the apple.  Then your earthly sins, committed after birth, are forgiven by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, the moment you accept his gift.  It is these two things in conjunction that allow the faithful to pass through the gates of heaven, free of sin and ready to bask in the Lord's presence.

If you can separate the mythology from the history of the early church, it makes more sense.  Religions have always thrived by sharply defining the outgroup as a way of fostering ingroup cohesion.  You are special and saved because you accept The Truth, and all of those lost sinners deserve your pity (or contempt or beheading or whatever) because they have not seen the light.  This is how you build a movement, how you make people feel special and privileged and fortunate to belong to your cult.

Modern churches are highly fractionated, of course, and some of them have twisted these core beliefs.  We've previously described the "easy grace" doctrine which teaches that Jesus died for your sins whether you like it or not, and you are thus destined for heaven if you're a Muslim or a Jew or a Voodoo Priestess or an Atheist or Hitler himself.  In an effort to overcome the obvious ridiculousness of adults seriously discussing miracles as if they literally happened in the factual historical record, some groups have loosened their strictures on doctrine.  Other groups in the same religion often mock them for being pretenders.  Since God has been silent on this issue for several thousand years, they all get to argue about who is a true Scotsman.

And just to bring this back on topic, the flat earth movement operates by the exact same rules.  They sharply define their core beliefs as a way of fostering that sense of belonging that lends people purpose and meaning.  The require strict adherence to patently false magical beliefs as the litmus test for determining who belongs and who doesn't, and they scorn the "nonbelievers" who actually believe in the truth instead of The Truth.  They celebrate their professed embrace of nonsense as if it were a badge of honor, just like the religious faithful do.  And just like the faithful, they then go about their lives enjoying the fruits of scientific progress while condemning the very things that have made their modern lives possible.  The hypocrisy of it revolts me, but I'm not the one who started this thread. 

msmargarita

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #183 on: May 02, 2018, 11:25:12 AM »


And just to bring this back on topic, the flat earth movement operates by the exact same rules.  They sharply define their core beliefs as a way of fostering that sense of belonging that lends people purpose and meaning.  The require strict adherence to patently false magical beliefs as the litmus test for determining who belongs and who doesn't, and they scorn the "nonbelievers" who actually believe in the truth instead of The Truth.  They celebrate their professed embrace of nonsense as if it were a badge of honor, just like the religious faithful do.  And just like the faithful, they then go about their lives enjoying the fruits of scientific progress while condemning the very things that have made their modern lives possible.  The hypocrisy of it revolts me, but I'm not the one who started this thread. 
[/quote]

I guess I'm not seeing where the faithful are condemning scientific progress?  If anything I would draw more comparisons to the faithful and science.  While the belief remains the same, the understanding changes when we as a society progress and learn more through science.  I don't see the majority of the faithful joining the flat earthers or anti-vax crowd, or condemning scientific progress at all.  These types of people are outliers in any group, and shouldn't be used to draw a comparison to an example of believer, non-believer or otherwise.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 11:27:24 AM by msmargarita »

sol

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #184 on: May 02, 2018, 11:43:14 AM »
I guess I'm not seeing where the faithful are condemning scientific progress? 

Anytime you embrace magical thinking, you are abandoning the scientific method.  The scientific method is the underpinning of scientific progress.  If you believe prayer works, if you believe a dead man rose from the grave, if you believe the sun stood still in the sky at Gibeon, if you believe the lamps burned for eight days to celebrate military victory over the Hellenists, if you believe Joseph Smith healed people from their deathbeds, if you believe that Mohammed split the moon.  I could give you a hundred more examples, but I think the point is clear.  Religions were built on supernatural beliefs which are factually incorrect.  They spit in the face of truth, and hold humanity back.

I have no problem with them as stories.  As allegory, as literary flourish, they seem to me no different than the big bad wolf blowing down a house of straw, or Zeus fornicating with a swan, and these stories are just fancifully entertaining.  The problem I have is that so many modern believers are taught to ignore real facts about the real world, as discovered by the scientific method, and to pride themselves on ignorant adherence to these ancient superstitions.  Religion is the original fake news.  It's no wonder the modern world is so susceptible to the lies of our political leaders, when we are trained from birth to accept obvious lies without question, when they come from figures of authority.

The flat earthers are grooving on the same vein as Donald Trump and the Evangelical right.  It's all about defining your ingroup, belonging to the "persecuted" minority of true loyalists, opposing the moral decay of the masses who only want to corrupt what is pure and right.  They like being different, they celebrate their opposition to the mainstream, and they congratulate each other on their shared delusions.

GuitarStv

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #185 on: May 02, 2018, 12:10:55 PM »
I guess I'm not seeing where the faithful are condemning scientific progress? 

Anytime you embrace magical thinking, you are abandoning the scientific method.  The scientific method is the underpinning of scientific progress.  If you believe prayer works, if you believe a dead man rose from the grave, if you believe the sun stood still in the sky at Gibeon, if you believe the lamps burned for eight days to celebrate military victory over the Hellenists, if you believe Joseph Smith healed people from their deathbeds, if you believe that Mohammed split the moon.  I could give you a hundred more examples, but I think the point is clear.  Religions were built on supernatural beliefs which are factually incorrect.

I think that most religions tend to be based upon the existence of God (or Gods).  Belief that is not factually incorrect.


They spit in the face of truth, and hold humanity back.

There are an awful lot of scientists who follow religion of some sort or other who probably disagree with you on this.


It's no wonder the modern world is so susceptible to the lies of our political leaders, when we are trained from birth to accept obvious lies without question, when they come from figures of authority.

I was never taught this in church.  Questions were encouraged, and I had many discussions with the ministers of the various churches I went to.  The answers I got didn't always satisfy me, but there was no attempt to prevent me from asking about things that didn't make sense.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #186 on: May 02, 2018, 02:07:22 PM »
Saying prayer doesn't work depends on your definition of work. If you pray for a million dollars it won't work. If prayer is anything like meditation, and I would argue it is, then I would say that it does work, just not in the way you define.

Religions were not built on supernatural beliefs, they were built on trying to explain the unexplained. For example Sol, how do you explain, scientifically, a mystical experience? How do you explain meditation increasing grey matter and shrinking the amygdala in the brain? The science can show that it happens but not explain the why.

Sol's attitude towards science while disregarding anything else reminds me a lot of Christians. In some ways we become what we despise though. Sol, are you a materialist?

Flat earth on the other hand was a fucking joke that people took seriously as far as I can tell. The flat earth society was satire, or so I thought. Funny to me that people believe this now, but i also think, like Sol, they may just be contrarians.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #187 on: May 02, 2018, 02:43:11 PM »
Religions were not built on supernatural beliefs, they were built on trying to explain the unexplained. For example Sol, how do you explain, scientifically, a mystical experience? How do you explain meditation increasing grey matter and shrinking the amygdala in the brain? The science can show that it happens but not explain the why.
Science doesn't have all the answers.  Science exists because it doesn't have all the answers: science is about trying to find the answers through the scientific method, producing answers that are logical and reproducible.  Anyone who says "we don't know this thing so science has failed" doesn't understand that a scientist will be the first person to say "we don't know/understand this thing" - because a scientist's life's work is devising ways to find out what we don't know and then find the answers.

As to the mystical, there is either an explanation or there is a need for scientific research in order to find the explanation.  "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke


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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #188 on: May 02, 2018, 02:56:37 PM »
Just because it's preposterous to believe in a flat earth in the face of the current evidence, and because some particular interpretations of particular religions fall into the same sort of thinking traps as the flat earth theory does, doesn't mean you can dismiss all spiritual and mystical experiences as unscientific. Believing that the scientific method is fundamentally sound, and even believing that most results currently presented by scientists are true, does not require accepting materialistic atheism as a fundamental truth about the universe. It seems to me that most materialistic atheists view the entire universe as dead. To them, rocks/stars/planets/etc. are definitely dead, and plants and animals are deemed to be purely running on instinct, without any true consciousness. Perhaps even humans also.

If somebody believes human beings do not possess consciousness and run entirely on instinct, then how do they think they managed to believe that in the first place? And do they truly feel they have no control at all over their thoughts or lives?

And if humans do have consciousness, well, you can't see it if you chop us up or detect it with any meter, and humans aren't made up of any special sort of atoms or anything. So what stops consciousness being extended to other complex systems such as plants, animals, ecosystems? A lot of them have brains of some sort, or systems within them that are as complex as brains.

And if an ecosystem was conscious, would an ancient polytheist society not perhaps label that consciousness a god?

Nothing I have said here is contradictory to the scientific method or the known body of science at all.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #189 on: May 02, 2018, 03:10:04 PM »
"How do you know that you are a higher order of being than a potato? What do you know about potatoes anyway? You never studied potatoes, not really. I mean you know how to seed them and cultivate them and dig them up, and cook them and eat them, and that's about it. But have you ever thought about how a potato feels? Well, you say, it doesn't feel it's only a potato, its got nothing to feel with...Wait a minute! When you put a electroencephalograph instrument on a potato, or a lie detector, it sure registers on it. And it will change when you do certain things, if you prick the potato the thing will go 'yonyonyon!' If you shout at it, it will do something! As a matter of fact, if you know how to turn on your alpha waves and you have a plant besides you which is linked up, it will pick your alpha waves up. Maybe this thing isn't so stupid.

'Well,' you say, 'how can it be? It has no civilization. It has no house. It has no automobiles. It has no pianos. No art galleries. No religion.' But the potato would say, 'I dont need them. It's you poor uncivilized human beings who have all this crap around you to tell you who you are and what it's all about. Your'e messy, your'e cluttering up the planet with all your culture. But I, the potato, have it all built into me.'

'Well,' they'll say, 'thats impossible, because you're stuck in one place all the time. Now how can you know anything about the world?'

'I don't need to go running around because my sensitivity extends all over the place. And I want to introduce you to a few things, here is my neighbor over here, who's a thistle. And have you ever seen how my thistle neighbor gets around? It has seeds, when the wind comes, these little, tiny seeds have down sticky out all around, and those seeds float up on the wind. And then my neighbor, the maple tree, has little helicopters it sends off, and they spin in the air, and they go up. And then I have a friend, the apple, and that has fruit that is so delicious that the birds like it. But this is only the beginning,' the potato would go on to explain, 'this is only the beginning of the extraordinary things they do. We have vibrations going on inside our fibers that are quite as good as anything invented by your Bach and Mozart. We dig this, and you may think we are not doing anything because we just sit here, but all the time we are vibrating, we are in ecstasy. We are humming to the great hum that is going on everywhere!'

So you see, they may be in such an advanced state of consciousness, that all unknown to you angels are growing in a flowerpot at your door. It may have a great deal to do with the way you think, all unbeknownst to you."

Alan Watts

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #190 on: May 03, 2018, 07:52:02 AM »
Quote
Saying prayer doesn't work depends on your definition of work. If you pray for a million dollars it won't work. If prayer is anything like meditation, and I would argue it is, then I would say that it does work, just not in the way you define.

C'mon, this is classic "I'll just redefine the terms until I'm right" tactics.

Quote
How do you know that you are a higher order of being than a potato?

Yes, we all took that same freshman philosophy seminar as well. We all learned about the potential cap on human knowledge about the physical world due to limitations on human perception. It was tautological naval gazing then and it still is now.

GuitarStv

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #191 on: May 03, 2018, 08:36:50 AM »
Yes, we all took that same freshman philosophy seminar as well. We all learned about the potential cap on human knowledge about the physical world due to limitations on human perception. It was tautological naval gazing then and it still is now.

Agreed.  We're starting to delve into irrelevancies here.

My argument continues to be that we should be able to come up with a way to live happily with people of faith who aren't an embodiment and caricature of reality denying ignorance.  Lumping everyone of faith into the same box is convenient, but erroneous.  You wouldn't lump all atheists together with extremists like Devin Kelly would you?

The argument that all faith leads to detrimental reality denying ignorance falls apart when one realizes that there are scientists who believe in God who are working hard to uncover the mysteries of the universe along with their Atheist and Agnostic brethren.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #192 on: May 03, 2018, 09:02:20 AM »
Yes, we all took that same freshman philosophy seminar as well. We all learned about the potential cap on human knowledge about the physical world due to limitations on human perception. It was tautological naval gazing then and it still is now.

Agreed.  We're starting to delve into irrelevancies here.

My argument continues to be that we should be able to come up with a way to live happily with people of faith who aren't an embodiment and caricature of reality denying ignorance.  Lumping everyone of faith into the same box is convenient, but erroneous.  You wouldn't lump all atheists together with extremists like Devin Kelly would you?

The argument that all faith leads to detrimental reality denying ignorance falls apart when one realizes that there are scientists who believe in God who are working hard to uncover the mysteries of the universe along with their Atheist and Agnostic brethren.

Indeed, this discussion has gone on a number of tangents from the original disagreement which I believe was "Is believing in flat earth theory comparable to believing in Christianity?"

My opinion hasn't changed in that I still have less respect for those who believe flat earth theory than those who believe in their religion. Perhaps the most extremely literal interpreters of religious stories are on par with flat earth theorists but even then I would argue that their beliefs are based on past events rather than a currently observable fact.


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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #193 on: May 03, 2018, 09:04:39 AM »
The question I'm most curious about (and which may be unanswerable) is, what portion of the online flat earth believers are just trolls? Is it possible that what we really have is thousands of people who think they're making fun of each other?

sol

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #194 on: May 03, 2018, 09:26:18 AM »
The argument that all faith leads to detrimental reality denying ignorance falls apart when one realizes that there are scientists who believe in God who are working hard to uncover the mysteries of the universe along with their Atheist and Agnostic brethren.

I am unconvinced by this argument.  If a Jewish person went to work for the Third Reich, are they still Jewish?  Are they anti-Jewish just because the Reich is?  Is it even possible to actively support the extermination of God's chosen people, if you believe they are God's chosen people?  This is how I feel about scientists who claim to be Christian.  If you still believe in magic, then you're either a really bad scientist are you're really good at compartmentalizing.

Some things exist, in the real world.  Other things that people have thought of do not exist in the real world, only in our minds.  Things like Religion and Patriotism and Jealousy are in this latter camp, ideas created by people that can dictate our actions but that don't have any physical reality.  The motivating principles behind them only exist, in a physical sense, in the arrangement of our neurons.  The Abrahamic God, like Patriotism, exists in our neurons and nowhere else.  There are no physical atoms or particles in the universe that are part of his body, and there are no electromagnetic waves that constitute his radiation.  He does not occupy a discrete location in space.  He doesn't literally exist outside of our minds, just like Patriotism doesn't literally exist.  That doesn't mean they aren't powerful ideas, but it's important to recognize that they are only ideas.

Flat earth is a stupidly bad idea, but good ideas deserve to be spread and there are good things about the bible.  And some bad things, but most of us have learned to overlook those parts because we are clearly able to separate what is moral and right from what is immoral and wrong, without relying on the bible as the source of all morality.  One of the most harmful aspects of the bible, and most other religions for that matter, is the use of irrational and impossible anti-scientific thinking to promulgate their narratives.  And even worse, the use of anti-scientific thinking as a litmus test to separate the deserving "true believers" from the rest of the damned.  If the whole point of the story is that you need to deny objective measurable reality and blindly proclaim your unshakable belief in lies, then I'm not interested in joining up and no other scientist should be, either.

GuitarStv

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #195 on: May 03, 2018, 10:18:17 AM »
The argument that all faith leads to detrimental reality denying ignorance falls apart when one realizes that there are scientists who believe in God who are working hard to uncover the mysteries of the universe along with their Atheist and Agnostic brethren.

I am unconvinced by this argument.  If a Jewish person went to work for the Third Reich, are they still Jewish?  Are they anti-Jewish just because the Reich is?  Is it even possible to actively support the extermination of God's chosen people, if you believe they are God's chosen people?  This is how I feel about scientists who claim to be Christian.  If you still believe in magic, then you're either a really bad scientist are you're really good at compartmentalizing.

This is fortunately a theory that we could test.  I would be interested to see if religious scientists are in fact worse at their jobs than irreligious ones.  (It would be particularly interested to see how agnostic scientists fare in the study in comparison to those who've chosen a side.)  I've been searching for a similar study since this thread started, but sadly can't find one.

(Interesting studies that I have found though:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886917303070
https://www.indy100.com/article/scientist-looked-through-63-studies-conclude-atheists-more-intelligent-religious-people-metanalysis-7733926)


Some things exist, in the real world.  Other things that people have thought of do not exist in the real world, only in our minds.  Things like Religion and Patriotism and Jealousy are in this latter camp, ideas created by people that can dictate our actions but that don't have any physical reality.  The motivating principles behind them only exist, in a physical sense, in the arrangement of our neurons.  The Abrahamic God, like Patriotism, exists in our neurons and nowhere else.  There are no physical atoms or particles in the universe that are part of his body, and there are no electromagnetic waves that constitute his radiation.  He does not occupy a discrete location in space.  He doesn't literally exist outside of our minds, just like Patriotism doesn't literally exist.  That doesn't mean they aren't powerful ideas, but it's important to recognize that they are only ideas.

You've said with certainty that the Abrahamic God doesn't exist anywhere in reality and is only an idea.  So prove it.  I'm not (just) being pedantic here.  You're claiming an absolute but don't have proof of it.  That's not very scientific man.  If you said that to date there's no evidence of an Abrahamic God existing, that's fine . . . but that's not how you're wording it.  If you're making the argument that the Abrahamic God is only an idea and doesn't exist, I want to see the hard evidence you're using to support your conclusion.

Now, before you start yelling about Russell's teapot at me - I'm not arguing that God does or doesn't exist.  I'm agnostic (frankly, don't think it's worth the effort arguing about the unknowable - very naval gazey.)  You're the one making the extraordinary claim here . . . that you have knowledge of the lack of existence of the Abrahamic God (except in people's minds).  The burden of proof lies with you when making that claim.


Flat earth is a stupidly bad idea, but good ideas deserve to be spread and there are good things about the bible.  And some bad things, but most of us have learned to overlook those parts because we are clearly able to separate what is moral and right from what is immoral and wrong, without relying on the bible as the source of all morality.  One of the most harmful aspects of the bible, and most other religions for that matter, is the use of irrational and impossible anti-scientific thinking to promulgate their narratives.  And even worse, the use of anti-scientific thinking as a litmus test to separate the deserving "true believers" from the rest of the damned.  If the whole point of the story is that you need to deny objective measurable reality and blindly proclaim your unshakable belief in lies, then I'm not interested in joining up and no other scientist should be, either.

I'm in an awful lot of agreement with you.  It's why I've moved away from Christianity.  There's not much there for me personally, just a whole lot of hoops, mumbo-jumbo, and ancient oddities.  However, I personally know smart and productive people who are involved with religion.  They draw some sort of comfort/peace from the rigmarole.  They ponder religious stories for moral guidance.

For a long time, this really bothered me.  Religion is clearly wrong, therefore they're wrong, therefore they must not be very smart - they must not get it.  The thing is, time and again I've discovered very intelligent religious people.  People who are against the same excesses related to extremism in their religion that you and I find so distasteful.  These people kept exposing that line of my reasoning as a lie.  When you come up with an idea that seems to fit the facts, you test it.  When you find evidence that your theory is wrong, or doesn't accurately describe all the data, you have to modify the theory.  Otherwise you're not any better than the flat-Earthers.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 10:21:20 AM by GuitarStv »

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #196 on: May 03, 2018, 10:52:57 AM »

Some things exist, in the real world.  Other things that people have thought of do not exist in the real world, only in our minds.  Things like Religion and Patriotism and Jealousy are in this latter camp, ideas created by people that can dictate our actions but that don't have any physical reality.  The motivating principles behind them only exist, in a physical sense, in the arrangement of our neurons.  The Abrahamic God, like Patriotism, exists in our neurons and nowhere else.  There are no physical atoms or particles in the universe that are part of his body, and there are no electromagnetic waves that constitute his radiation.  He does not occupy a discrete location in space.  He doesn't literally exist outside of our minds, just like Patriotism doesn't literally exist.  That doesn't mean they aren't powerful ideas, but it's important to recognize that they are only ideas.

You've said with certainty that the Abrahamic God doesn't exist anywhere in reality and is only an idea.  So prove it.  I'm not (just) being pedantic here.  You're claiming an absolute but don't have proof of it.  That's not very scientific man.  If you said that to date there's no evidence of an Abrahamic God existing, that's fine . . . but that's not how you're wording it.  If you're making the argument that the Abrahamic God is only an idea and doesn't exist, I want to see the hard evidence you're using to support your conclusion.

Now, before you start yelling about Russell's teapot at me - I'm not arguing that God does or doesn't exist.  I'm agnostic (frankly, don't think it's worth the effort arguing about the unknowable - very naval gazey.)  You're the one making the extraordinary claim here . . . that you have knowledge of the lack of existence of the Abrahamic God (except in people's minds).  The burden of proof lies with you when making that claim.
If there were an Abrahamic God it would be necessary for the humans mentioned in the Bible as having received messages from him to have 1) some means within themselves of receiving those messages and  2) being able to reliably distinguish those messages from self-generated ones.  As neither of these conditions prevails within the human condition, there is no Abrahamic God.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 01:34:58 PM by former player »

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #197 on: May 03, 2018, 11:18:38 AM »
I have met a Chemist who is not only religious, but Seventh Day Adventist.  I don't know how much deep time Chemistry gets into (not much in the Chemistry I took) but this man was certainly compartmentalized.

Re a comment way back when about our image of God as an old man with a flowing white beard - the Old Testament order to make no graven images sure has been broken here, and this is common imagery.  "Our father who art in Heaven" and all that - if we had no graven images, no visual images, would we have such paternal/patriarchal religions?  If God is seen as an old man who is the patriarch, where does that leave women and children?  Well, we know where they were/are, second class citizens, basically property of the patriarch.

Plus people cherry pick the bible all the time - in Genesis(?) one place says to have dominion over the earth, and another says to be a steward to the earth.  Two totally different ways of looking at our privileges and responsibilities re our environment.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #198 on: May 03, 2018, 11:24:43 AM »

Some things exist, in the real world.  Other things that people have thought of do not exist in the real world, only in our minds.  Things like Religion and Patriotism and Jealousy are in this latter camp, ideas created by people that can dictate our actions but that don't have any physical reality.  The motivating principles behind them only exist, in a physical sense, in the arrangement of our neurons.  The Abrahamic God, like Patriotism, exists in our neurons and nowhere else.  There are no physical atoms or particles in the universe that are part of his body, and there are no electromagnetic waves that constitute his radiation.  He does not occupy a discrete location in space.  He doesn't literally exist outside of our minds, just like Patriotism doesn't literally exist.  That doesn't mean they aren't powerful ideas, but it's important to recognize that they are only ideas.

You've said with certainty that the Abrahamic God doesn't exist anywhere in reality and is only an idea.  So prove it.  I'm not (just) being pedantic here.  You're claiming an absolute but don't have proof of it.  That's not very scientific man.  If you said that to date there's no evidence of an Abrahamic God existing, that's fine . . . but that's not how you're wording it.  If you're making the argument that the Abrahamic God is only an idea and doesn't exist, I want to see the hard evidence you're using to support your conclusion.

Now, before you start yelling about Russell's teapot at me - I'm not arguing that God does or doesn't exist.  I'm agnostic (frankly, don't think it's worth the effort arguing about the unknowable - very naval gazey.)  You're the one making the extraordinary claim here . . . that you have knowledge of the lack of existence of the Abrahamic God (except in people's minds).  The burden of proof lies with you when making that claim.
If there were an Abrahamic God it would be necessary for the humans mentioned in the Bible as having received messages from him to have 1) some means within themselves of receiving those messages and  2) being able to reliably distinguish those messages from self-generated ones.  As neither of these conditions prevails within the human condition, there is no Abrahamic God.

Prove your claim that humans have no means within themselves of receiving messages from an Abrahamic God.

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Re: Talking To Flat Earth Friends
« Reply #199 on: May 03, 2018, 01:40:01 PM »

Some things exist, in the real world.  Other things that people have thought of do not exist in the real world, only in our minds.  Things like Religion and Patriotism and Jealousy are in this latter camp, ideas created by people that can dictate our actions but that don't have any physical reality.  The motivating principles behind them only exist, in a physical sense, in the arrangement of our neurons.  The Abrahamic God, like Patriotism, exists in our neurons and nowhere else.  There are no physical atoms or particles in the universe that are part of his body, and there are no electromagnetic waves that constitute his radiation.  He does not occupy a discrete location in space.  He doesn't literally exist outside of our minds, just like Patriotism doesn't literally exist.  That doesn't mean they aren't powerful ideas, but it's important to recognize that they are only ideas.

You've said with certainty that the Abrahamic God doesn't exist anywhere in reality and is only an idea.  So prove it.  I'm not (just) being pedantic here.  You're claiming an absolute but don't have proof of it.  That's not very scientific man.  If you said that to date there's no evidence of an Abrahamic God existing, that's fine . . . but that's not how you're wording it.  If you're making the argument that the Abrahamic God is only an idea and doesn't exist, I want to see the hard evidence you're using to support your conclusion.

Now, before you start yelling about Russell's teapot at me - I'm not arguing that God does or doesn't exist.  I'm agnostic (frankly, don't think it's worth the effort arguing about the unknowable - very naval gazey.)  You're the one making the extraordinary claim here . . . that you have knowledge of the lack of existence of the Abrahamic God (except in people's minds).  The burden of proof lies with you when making that claim.
If there were an Abrahamic God it would be necessary for the humans mentioned in the Bible as having received messages from him to have 1) some means within themselves of receiving those messages and  2) being able to reliably distinguish those messages from self-generated ones.  As neither of these conditions prevails within the human condition, there is no Abrahamic God.

Prove your claim that humans have no means within themselves of receiving messages from an Abrahamic God.
Inputs to the brain are either external and physical through sight, hearing, taste, touch or smell, or internally generated.  If an external input is physical then it is scientifically provable and so not from an Abrahamic God.  If it is internally generated it is not from an external Abrahamic God.