Author Topic: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.  (Read 89300 times)

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #100 on: May 25, 2017, 08:59:22 AM »
You are missing the entire point of my response.  It was simply to point out and understand what I see as the limitations of a physics based reasoning.  The first piece is if you are one physics based then how do you rationalize things that are not explainable using physics.  Do they not exist in your  worldview, or are they there?  That's the only question.  On the second, I apologize if I was questiong as if the two are one.  I did a poor job then.  Certainly your last paragraph is something I do not take issue with.  Not saying that emotions may not be discovered to be controlled through physical processes, but the poster pointed out that they prefer a physics based model, so it reverts to my original question.  Until that proof is discovered, do emotions not exist in that worldview?

Fair enough and apologies if I misunderstood your intent.

Though I'm not sure why you would say something like "Until that proof is discovered, do emotions not exist in that worldview?".
Since when does something not exist merely because we do not understand its origin or process?

Rewind your argument a couple of centuries and the same could have been said of illness, prior to the germ theory of disease.
But no one would have claimed illnesses didn't exist in their worldview because they didn't have proof of its origin.

We can obviously recognize that something exists without knowing everything about it (if I'm not mistaken that is exactly what you would claim about God).... why would emotions be any different?

Well noted.  I was just curious how deep this conviction to physics only went for the poster.  Not really that important, just my own fascination.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #101 on: May 25, 2017, 08:59:29 AM »
The development of a single cell from amino acids and proteins is so complex to me as to be an uncrossable chasm, so it leads me naturally to the only logical alternative, intelligent design.

The development of a single cell from amino acids and proteins is somehow more complex than an all powerful intelligence which somehow exists outside of space and time (something for which we have no example or frame of reference)?

I'm not at all claiming that you should believe in abiogenesis or that it is proven.
I am only pointing out that in order to avoid believing in something that you find too complex, you instead believe in something even more complex than the thing you rejected.

You are attempting to solve a mystery by appealing to a bigger mystery.

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #102 on: May 25, 2017, 09:00:25 AM »
For me, evolution AS THE START OF LIFE is a bridge too far.  Evolution as you describe as a process that occurs after life was created is easy. 

You are conflating evolution with abiogenesis, which is a common mistake among Creationists. Evolution is not a theory that even attempts to explain how life began from abiotic origins. Evolution only explains how life diversified and and became more complex over time.
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J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #103 on: May 25, 2017, 09:02:42 AM »

...the OP's broader question, though, which seems to have more to do with how much each individual needs to feel faith in (a) personal god(s), how literal and evidence-based they feel this faith must be for them to maintain it, and how much cultural conditioning and social ties influences each person's desire for such faith.

As a slightly tangential question, have I been incorrect in my understanding that Catholicism accepts the findings of modern biological and cosmological science as compatible with the faith?  I have long been under the impression that it did.

You have summed it up quite well!  I guess the reason this thread has taken a turn down the "God vs. No God" lane is because me and many others would answer "Very" to question I've bolded above.

Oh and to answer the tangential question, Yes, Catholicism does accept modern science as compatible.  The theory of evolution is compatible provided it does not of course rule out God as the creator. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 09:04:54 AM by J Boogie »

wenchsenior

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #104 on: May 25, 2017, 09:06:32 AM »
The quest to be able to explain everything is both understandable as we are a curious lot, but yet ultimately futile as any reasonable person understands there will just be things that are too complex to ever understand with our limited minds.  A good example is the human brain.  Jeff Lichtman, a Harvard neurosicentist  has said is "If everything you need to know about the brain is a mile, how far have we walked in this mile?"  His answer?  3 inches.  Limiting oneself to physics based reasoning is extremely constraining, but I get the difficultly of getting comfortable beyond what we can see and touch.

So... because we cannot understand everything with our 'limited minds,' we should not pursue knowledge and instead assume answers to our questions?

Once again, "I don't know" is the only justifiable position when faced with a gap in our knowledge and an unproven claim.

Quote
This leads me to an interesting line of questioning for you.    If everything is physics based, then how do you come to grips with something like human emotions?  I assume you do not deny that they exist, that people feel the same stimuli differently based on their emotional state.  I assume that you love someone in your life and that someone loves you back, but you could not explain "love" with anything physics based, so how does that work in that worldview?  Or are those the assumptions in your worldview?  An going back to the brain, what physics based evolutionary processes can begin to explain how the 3 inches we do understand was built?  We have about 40,000 neurons in a cubic millimeter of brain.  Each neuron connects to 1,000, sometimes as many as 10,000 other neurons and those dendrites all go through that same cubic millimeter leading to about 20 million synapses in that cubic millimeter of brain meter.  Don't forget there are dendrites from other areas of the brain also passing through our area.  Now with neuroplasticity these linkages change, create and vanish on the fly all the time.  There would be about 40,000 glial cells in this space as well, of and in the cubic millimeter there is a meter of blood vessels.  How can a purely physics based line of reasoning postulate any reasonable explanation about his this complexity just evolved?  It's like saying if I tossed 100,000 parts on a table that when I came back later they would have formed themselves into a working car.  As a physics based reasoning person you would say that would be absurd to assume that could ever happen, but you are OK with claiming that something like the brain basically did the same thing?

Incredulity is not an argument.
And you are once again arguing as if these two claims are one.

An 'all powerful' God could still exist in a universe where brains evolve and emotion is controlled through physical properties, and it would still need to be proven or disproven on it's own.

You are missing the entire point of my response.  It was simply to point out and understand what I see as the limitations of a physics based reasoning.  The first piece is if you are one physics based then how do you rationalize things that are not explainable using physics.  Do they not exist in your  worldview, or are they there?  That's the only question.  On the second, I apologize if I was questiong as if the two are one.  I did a poor job then.  Certainly your last paragraph is something I do not take issue with.  Not saying that emotions may not be discovered to be controlled through physical processes, but the poster pointed out that they prefer a physics based model, so it reverts to my original question.  Until that proof is discovered, do emotions not exist in that worldview?

:head:desk:

I can hardly believe you are serious here.  There is no need to 'rationalize' things for which we have no explanation.  Things exist in objective reality whether we have explanations for them or not and no matter what muddy and imperfect terminology we use to describe them.  The rational approach is to assume that there is a physics-based explanation for things, and then work toward finding it.  We might never find the explanation, of course.  So what?
 
Do you seriously think that if physics has not (yet, or possibly ever) shown how something could exist or how something could function, the only other options are for 'god to have done it' or for it to not actually exist at all?

If so, that is a staggeringly weird approach. No wonder you keep deliberately misinterpreting the scientific method and arguing against straw men.  Such god-of-the-gaps silliness is not disprovable, so I  won't press my point further.  Ok, carry on.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #105 on: May 25, 2017, 09:07:28 AM »
you have to say "we don;t know that yet" a lot more with a non-god view then you need to with a god view.

So what?  I don't quite understand why 'we don't know yet' is seen as a problem.
Essentially what you're saying is that if we assume we know something (i.e. God) then we have to say 'we don't know yet' less often than if we do not assume we know that thing.  Imagine that.

The time to accept a belief is when the evidence warrants it.
Until that point, 'we don't know yet' is not only a perfectly valid position - it is the only justified one.

Exactly.

That is what science and reason are all about.

Better to say "I don't know yet" and work on finding the truth, than make up a fairy tale to explain the unknown.

We know so much more now than we did 2,000 years ago.  We can now rationally explain many of the mysteries of life that stymied folks back then.  Things that were once considered miraculous or signs of the power of God are now easily explained by science as natural phenomena. 

The fact that science does not yet have all the answers today is not a good reason to support a belief in fairy tales created hundreds or thousands of years ago by primitive men.

I "lost my religion" long ago at a young age.  Luckily for me, most of my family were RINOs- Religious in Name Only- meaning they played at being religious only because that is what society expected of them- but few of them were true believers.  I did not have to face the kind of resistance and pressure to conform that someone from a heavily religious family will likely have to face.

My only comment that may have relevance here is to separate what "religion" created and science later explained, and if there is anything Biblical that was considered a sign of God IN THE BIBLE and was now explained has not debunked anything.  Welcome to hear how you feel otherwise.  Ultimately it is for each one to make up their mind and it is between you and God, so delve into it or do not, but the two sources I mentioned get into a bit of this (especially the Quereshi book) and how the Bible just continues to show and align with science, which just adds to its authenticity as compared to the Qu'ran which lists several things as you mentioned as God explaining to Mohamed what how the world works and then being then proven false by science.  I do not have a copy of the book handy to reference so I do not want to cite something incorrectly, but for example there are things about sequence of embryonic development that have since been shown to be totally backwards.  The Bible does not suffer from these inconsistencies.

So I would urge any skeptic to investigate and find any Biblical fallacies because none have been discovered yet.

That is quite a stretch, isn't it? I mean, the Bible actually says that there are literally unicorns and dragons. Maybe that's not "inconsistent" in that the Bible doesn't in a later book say that unicorns and dragons don't exist, but... do we really want to take that as proof of its infallibility or consistency?

Still kind of wondering about this...

Really??!!  The dragon I believe you are referring to is in Revelation where Satan is described as a dragon.  And Revelation is a prophetic book not a historic book.  The entire book is a vision God gave to John and told him to write about.  It is not saying he walks the earth as a dragon or anything like that.  The only other is in Isiah where  it is used to refer to a sea monster or serpent in basically a poetic context, so once again not indicating that Noah had a pet dragon.  Not aware of any other reference to dragons.  Also in my search there are 0 references to unicorns.

This inconsistency test is relevant to historical books.  Names used and people mentioned correlate to what occurred and people that lived where connections have been made.  Certainly there are people named for which we have no historical record.  There are also millions of people that lived prior to the time of records of advanced civilizations who lived and we have no record for but that does not mean they did not exist, but it does mean we cannot prove they existed in a different time and that the written record has errors in it.  The major kings and civilizations were there etc. 

I mean those who want to just jump in on the surface and wave it off as lunacy or a fable do this all the time.  They search for a word like "dragon" see that it is there and say, "see it is BS.  Dragons aren't real" without spending any amount of effort to postulate a real analysis and argument.  The Bible no more claims dragons walk on earth than I do sitting here now.  It uses them as descriptive language to illustrate to a human mind a concept.

Which version of the Bible are you referring to?

Ah, I get it.   You are referring to KJV translation.  This was a translation error.  You can go back to some of my earlier posts explaining the fact that errors in translation should not be misunderstood as errors in the Bible, i.e. the original text.  The Encylopedia Britannica circa 1997 explained this "unicorn" problem - "This word was translated “unicorn” or “rhinoceros” in many versions of the Bible, but many modern translations prefer “wild ox” (aurochs), which is the correct meaning of the Hebrew re’em".  This was an error in the KJV translation and a few others.  Certain well avowed atheists like Issac Asimov agree "The Hebrew word represented in the King James Version by “unicorn” is re’em, which undoubtedly refers to the wild ox (urus or aurochs) ancestral to the domesticated cattle of today. The re’em still flourished in early historical times and a few existed into modern times, although it is now extinct. It was a dangerous creature of great strength and was similar in form and temperament to the Asian buffaloes.  The Revised Standard Version translates re’em as “wild ox.” The verse in Numbers is translated as “they have as it were the horns of the wild ox,” while the one in Job is translated “Is the wild ox willing to serve you?” The Anchor Bible translates the verse in Job as “Will the buffalo deign to serve you?”  The wild ox was a favorite prey of the hunt-loving Assyrian monarchs (the animal was called rumu in Assyrian, essentially the same word as re’em) and was displayed in their large bas-reliefs. Here the wild ox was invariably shown in profile and only one horn was visible. One can well imagine that the animal represented in this fashion would come to be called “one-horn” as a familiar nickname, much as we might refer to “longhorns” in speaking of a certain breed of cattle.  As the animal itself grew less common under the pressure of increasing human population and the depredations of the hunt, it might come to be forgotten that there was a second horn hidden behind the first in the sculptures and “one-horn” might come to be considered a literal description of the animal.  When the first Greek translation of the Bible was prepared about 250 B.C., the animal was already rare in the long-settled areas of the Near East and the Greeks, who had no direct experience with it, had no word for it. They used a translation of “one-horn” instead and it became monokeros. In Latin and in English it became the Latin word for “one-horn”; that is, “unicorn."  The Biblical writers could scarcely have had the intention of implying that the wild ox literally had one horn. There is one Biblical quotation, in fact, that clearly contradicts that notion. In the Book of Deuteronomy [33:17—BT], when Moses is giving his final blessing to each tribe, he speaks of the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) as follows: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns....”   Here the word is placed in the plural since the thought of a “one-horn’s” single horn seems to make the phrase “horns of a unicorn” self-contradictory. Still, the original Hebrew has the word in the singular so that we must speak of the “horns of a unicorn,” which makes it clear that a unicorn has more than one horn Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: Volume One—The Old Testament  (1968, pp. 186-187)."

Similarly satyr was mistranslated in that same version in Isiah.  Again, this error was corrected in modern translations using context appropriately so translate it to wild goat.

These are translation errors made by humans centuries later, not Bible problems.

Well, given that approximately 100% of humans who are currently consultling the bible, are reading modern translations, then aren't we talking about a huge number of people who are likely to be reading other mistranslations and things that don't apply? Which Bible are you referring to when you say there are no "inconsistencies"? I mean, I'm guessing you haven't read the "original" Bible (which is kind of a misnomer in itself, of course, because different religions have picked and chosen which books to include and not to include based on their own interpretations, right?).
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Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #106 on: May 25, 2017, 09:07:57 AM »
Ah, I get it.   You are referring to KJV translation.  This was a translation error.  You can go back to some of my earlier posts explaining the fact that errors in translation should not be misunderstood as errors in the Bible, i.e. the original text.  The Encylopedia Britannica circa 1997 explained this "unicorn" problem - "This word was translated “unicorn” or “rhinoceros” in many versions of the Bible, but many modern translations prefer “wild ox” (aurochs), which is the correct meaning of the Hebrew re’em".  This was an error in the KJV translation and a few others. 

It would be a disservice not to point out that my childhood church would view you as an apostate for believing than the KJV is anything other than the inerrant Word of God. You'll have to forgive me for concluding that your preferred holy texts are as arbitrary and fallible every other.
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Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #107 on: May 25, 2017, 09:09:16 AM »

...the OP's broader question, though, which seems to have more to do with how much each individual needs to feel faith in (a) personal god(s), how literal and evidence-based they feel this faith must be for them to maintain it, and how much cultural conditioning and social ties influences each person's desire for such faith.

As a slightly tangential question, have I been incorrect in my understanding that Catholicism accepts the findings of modern biological and cosmological science as compatible with the faith?  I have long been under the impression that it did.

You have summed it up quite well!  I guess the reason this thread has taken a turn down the "God vs. No God" lane is because me and many others would answer "Very" to question I've bolded above.

Oh and to answer the tangential question, Yes, Catholicism does accept modern science as compatible.  The theory of evolution is compatible provided it does not of course rule out God as the creator.

Indeed. Which is why I quoted Mark Twain above. I read the entire Bible cover to cover in my late teens and early twenties. It was... not reassuring.
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tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #108 on: May 25, 2017, 09:15:22 AM »
Now I remember why I don't engage in these discussions.  They are examples of motivated reasoning at its finest. 
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #109 on: May 25, 2017, 09:26:37 AM »
Now I remember why I don't engage in these discussions.  They are examples of motivated reasoning at its finest.

Indeed. I joined because I hoped to offer the OP a pat on the shoulder and a show of support from one who is going through a similar experience. I regret that the thread has taken a turn towards theists vs. atheist/agnostics, because I don't believe that was the OPs intent.

Tyort, I hope to share a beer with you in your heaven one day, but if I simply cease be at the end of my mortal life, I don't suppose it'll make a bit of difference, given that I'll no longer exist. Cheers!
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caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #110 on: May 25, 2017, 09:27:37 AM »
Ah, I get it.   You are referring to KJV translation.  This was a translation error.  You can go back to some of my earlier posts explaining the fact that errors in translation should not be misunderstood as errors in the Bible, i.e. the original text.  The Encylopedia Britannica circa 1997 explained this "unicorn" problem - "This word was translated “unicorn” or “rhinoceros” in many versions of the Bible, but many modern translations prefer “wild ox” (aurochs), which is the correct meaning of the Hebrew re’em".  This was an error in the KJV translation and a few others. 

It would be a disservice not to point out that my childhood church would view you as an apostate for believing than the KJV is anything other than the inerrant Word of God. You'll have to forgive me for concluding that your preferred holy texts are as arbitrary and fallible every other.

You are correct, that because they were taught incorrect theology they would feel that way.  The inerrant Word of God are the original Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek texts.  The KJV translation is not inspired by God and this has been readily debated in theological high places and resolved to be accurate.  You of course a welcome to conclude what you wish.  I have done enough research over years to understand the chain of custody from the original texts to what I use today to find them very valid.

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #111 on: May 25, 2017, 09:36:34 AM »
Now I remember why I don't engage in these discussions.  They are examples of motivated reasoning at its finest.

Indeed. I joined because I hoped to offer the OP a pat on the shoulder and a show of support from one who is going through a similar experience. I regret that the thread has taken a turn towards theists vs. atheist/agnostics, because I don't believe that was the OPs intent.

Tyort, I hope to share a beer with you in your heaven one day, but if I simply cease be at the end of my mortal life, I don't suppose it'll make a bit of difference, given that I'll no longer exist. Cheers!

We will definitely have that beer together, as I am the founder of my own religion that posits we all get into heaven.  And we don't even have to learn greek or aramaic because the bible (and every other religious text) simply don't matter.  As I said on the other page, tyortism is now accepting new members!
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #112 on: May 25, 2017, 10:07:22 AM »
Now I remember why I don't engage in these discussions.  They are examples of motivated reasoning at its finest.

Indeed. I joined because I hoped to offer the OP a pat on the shoulder and a show of support from one who is going through a similar experience. I regret that the thread has taken a turn towards theists vs. atheist/agnostics, because I don't believe that was the OPs intent.

Tyort, I hope to share a beer with you in your heaven one day, but if I simply cease be at the end of my mortal life, I don't suppose it'll make a bit of difference, given that I'll no longer exist. Cheers!

We will definitely have that beer together, as I am the founder of my own religion that posits we all get into heaven.  And we don't even have to learn greek or aramaic because the bible (and every other religious text) simply don't matter.  As I said on the other page, tyortism is now accepting new members!

My goofy half-serious belief has always been that heaven is basically just a giant cocktail party, and the celebrities there are the ones who died in unique and cool ways.  Died at 83 of cancer?  You're one of the great unwashed.  Finished off in a shark attack or a space rocket explosion or trying to climb Everest?  You're the one everyone wants to buy a drink for.
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J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #113 on: May 25, 2017, 10:08:03 AM »
Now I remember why I don't engage in these discussions.  They are examples of motivated reasoning at its finest.

Indeed. I joined because I hoped to offer the OP a pat on the shoulder and a show of support from one who is going through a similar experience. I regret that the thread has taken a turn towards theists vs. atheist/agnostics, because I don't believe that was the OPs intent.

Tyort, I hope to share a beer with you in your heaven one day, but if I simply cease be at the end of my mortal life, I don't suppose it'll make a bit of difference, given that I'll no longer exist. Cheers!

I appreciate your participation in this thread - I don't mind a whole lot that we're getting in the weeds a little.  For the record, I would consider myself a deist, though I don't rule out the fascinating possibility of a big bang type event.  I just prefer to direct my gratitude (for the wonders of the natural world) towards a conscious being (God) rather than non-feeling, non-thinking physical matter.  And, as a deist, I don't want to believe things about this conscious being (God) that might not be true.  I found Thomas Paine's take on this interesting - he says the Old Testament is blasphemous, because God is good - not vengeful, brutal, merciless, and racist.  I'm paraphrasing of course.  I don't think he said racist.  But the idea of God preferring a "chosen people" while hardening the hearts of the Egyptians seems quite racist to me.


caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #114 on: May 25, 2017, 10:09:30 AM »
The quest to be able to explain everything is both understandable as we are a curious lot, but yet ultimately futile as any reasonable person understands there will just be things that are too complex to ever understand with our limited minds.  A good example is the human brain.  Jeff Lichtman, a Harvard neurosicentist  has said is "If everything you need to know about the brain is a mile, how far have we walked in this mile?"  His answer?  3 inches.  Limiting oneself to physics based reasoning is extremely constraining, but I get the difficultly of getting comfortable beyond what we can see and touch.

So... because we cannot understand everything with our 'limited minds,' we should not pursue knowledge and instead assume answers to our questions?

Once again, "I don't know" is the only justifiable position when faced with a gap in our knowledge and an unproven claim.

Quote
This leads me to an interesting line of questioning for you.    If everything is physics based, then how do you come to grips with something like human emotions?  I assume you do not deny that they exist, that people feel the same stimuli differently based on their emotional state.  I assume that you love someone in your life and that someone loves you back, but you could not explain "love" with anything physics based, so how does that work in that worldview?  Or are those the assumptions in your worldview?  An going back to the brain, what physics based evolutionary processes can begin to explain how the 3 inches we do understand was built?  We have about 40,000 neurons in a cubic millimeter of brain.  Each neuron connects to 1,000, sometimes as many as 10,000 other neurons and those dendrites all go through that same cubic millimeter leading to about 20 million synapses in that cubic millimeter of brain meter.  Don't forget there are dendrites from other areas of the brain also passing through our area.  Now with neuroplasticity these linkages change, create and vanish on the fly all the time.  There would be about 40,000 glial cells in this space as well, of and in the cubic millimeter there is a meter of blood vessels.  How can a purely physics based line of reasoning postulate any reasonable explanation about his this complexity just evolved?  It's like saying if I tossed 100,000 parts on a table that when I came back later they would have formed themselves into a working car.  As a physics based reasoning person you would say that would be absurd to assume that could ever happen, but you are OK with claiming that something like the brain basically did the same thing?

Incredulity is not an argument.
And you are once again arguing as if these two claims are one.

An 'all powerful' God could still exist in a universe where brains evolve and emotion is controlled through physical properties, and it would still need to be proven or disproven on it's own.

You are missing the entire point of my response.  It was simply to point out and understand what I see as the limitations of a physics based reasoning.  The first piece is if you are one physics based then how do you rationalize things that are not explainable using physics.  Do they not exist in your  worldview, or are they there?  That's the only question.  On the second, I apologize if I was questiong as if the two are one.  I did a poor job then.  Certainly your last paragraph is something I do not take issue with.  Not saying that emotions may not be discovered to be controlled through physical processes, but the poster pointed out that they prefer a physics based model, so it reverts to my original question.  Until that proof is discovered, do emotions not exist in that worldview?

:head:desk:

I can hardly believe you are serious here.  There is no need to 'rationalize' things for which we have no explanation.  Things exist in objective reality whether we have explanations for them or not and no matter what muddy and imperfect terminology we use to describe them.  The rational approach is to assume that there is a physics-based explanation for things, and then work toward finding it.  We might never find the explanation, of course.  So what?
 
Do you seriously think that if physics has not (yet, or possibly ever) shown how something could exist or how something could function, the only other options are for 'god to have done it' or for it to not actually exist at all?

If so, that is a staggeringly weird approach. No wonder you keep deliberately misinterpreting the scientific method and arguing against straw men.  Such god-of-the-gaps silliness is not disprovable, so I  won't press my point further.  Ok, carry on.

I was not  arguing anything.  I was simply trying to understand the other viewpoint and what they thought was OK.  You answered.  It exists. 

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #115 on: May 25, 2017, 10:45:19 AM »
I don't even know where to start.

Quote
I have yet to have an atheist explain to me how life began.  Like truly walk me through exactly how it happened.  I also have not had anyone explain how to explain gaps in the fossil record other than the "we just have not found it yet" that show we descended from apes.  All of those beliefs are allowing overlooking no less gaping unknowns than an atheist claims you have with God.  So you can head to Occam's Razor, the fact that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, and with careful research you end to find that the gaps are much smaller and you make far less assumptions when challenging the Bible than you do with the theory of evolution for example. 

Respectfully,  this is a complete misunderstanding of atheism, evolution and the scientific method on levels that I have rarely seen.  What I gather from this is that you personally require certainty and absolutism in your thinking. 

Science is a PROCESS.  Science will never give absolute truth, it just leads you closer to it.  It will never know all the answers and I am okay with that.  If you need myths to grant you sense of control and certainty in your world, thats cool, but please stop trying to compare science and religion in that context because it just shows your lack of understanding. 

To the OP, I wish you luck on your journey.  I have no understanding of the desire to maintain religious faith since I lost it in 5th grade when I started studying Greek mythology and could see no reason why the Bible wasn't just the modern version.  I asked, and got no satisfactory answer that would make me think otherwise.  I am fascinated by religion, mostly as a natural phenomenon, but to me debating why aspects of scripture are contradictory is like asking whether Zeus really did turn into animals and have sex with mortals. 

I think people either "feel" religion or they don't and they use whatever rationalization they need to to justify that decision.  In many communities, losing your religion is akin to social death.  It is not a little thing to risk giving up your friends and loved ones.  Just know that if you desire it, there are other communities of people just like you who have given up their faith.  The price might more than you can accept however.

MasterStache

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #116 on: May 25, 2017, 11:03:24 AM »
A good example is the human brain.  Jeff Lichtman, a Harvard neurosicentist  has said is "If everything you need to know about the brain is a mile, how far have we walked in this mile?"  His answer?  3 inches.  Limiting oneself to physics based reasoning is extremely constraining, but I get the difficultly of getting comfortable beyond what we can see and touch.

Another good example is time itself. Humans have trouble grasping time. If you stretched the existence of Earth out over a 24 hour period, modern humans have only been around for 1 second. Hard to fathom. But what amazes me is the sheer volume of information, specifically science related, we have been able to grasp in such a minute amount of time. I mean it's mind boggling. Not long ago, we though lightning and thunder was the result of Gods. We though the Earth was flat and the center of the universe. It's nuts!!! I am excited to see what new discoveries, theories are postulated in my lifetime and wish I could be around to see what my kids generation discovers.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 12:21:30 PM by BeginnerStache »
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wenchsenior

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #117 on: May 25, 2017, 11:14:47 AM »

...the OP's broader question, though, which seems to have more to do with how much each individual needs to feel faith in (a) personal god(s), how literal and evidence-based they feel this faith must be for them to maintain it, and how much cultural conditioning and social ties influences each person's desire for such faith.

As a slightly tangential question, have I been incorrect in my understanding that Catholicism accepts the findings of modern biological and cosmological science as compatible with the faith?  I have long been under the impression that it did.

You have summed it up quite well!  I guess the reason this thread has taken a turn down the "God vs. No God" lane is because me and many others would answer "Very" to question I've bolded above.

Oh and to answer the tangential question, Yes, Catholicism does accept modern science as compatible.  The theory of evolution is compatible provided it does not of course rule out God as the creator.

I might have missed this in one of your posts, but one thing that might help is first trying to separate your own feelings about your faith vs your feelings about how other people will react to them.

You've stated that you want more evidence to keep your faith flourishing.  Leaving others out of it, do YOU have a strong desire to have faith/believe in a personal god/have a relationship with such a god? Those seem the first questions to answer for sure.

Second, if you hypothetically had no strong PERSONAL feelings of loss at the idea that your faith might not be literally supportable, and that there might be no personal god, would you then still feel loss and grief at feeling alienated from your comfort zone and long-standing community?  If so, what parts would you miss especially?  The ritual? The socializing? The reminders and opportunities to engage in charitable work? The support network you can call on for help? Etc.

The second point is important because if your loss is primarily a social/cultural one, it might be possible to create that with a new community. Or maybe you could continue to participate in many elements of the faith community without literal belief. You might not take communion, for example, but you could still attend services, participate in charitable events, etc. 

I bring up the second point because, although I personally find literal religious belief untenable and find many elements of organized religion actively distasteful, I really appreciate its ability to bond and activate social groups within a community.  This is something the secular populace isn't always quite as good at. So on occasions that I attend any kind of religious services, I  enjoy the opportunity to reflect on service, community, thankfulness, humility, etc...many of which are topics that I struggle to 'make time' for in my normal life.  I am quite introverted, so the social element of religion is not in itself attractive, but that would also be pleasant if I were more extroverted and the majority of people in the faith community were people that I generally got along with.   

If it were me, I'd try first to sort out what my feelings of loss are about.  That might help you address what I think should be further down your line of attention: how will my family and friends relate to me if I make this change?  If you find you are still able to participate in many elements of your faith community even without active belief, that might mitigate some of the social loss.

Once you know how you feel, you could then examine questions about how others might react. For example, does your wife most fear you literally rejecting god? Or is she more upset by the possibility of you trying to pull completely away from a social context into which you are embedded, and thereby disrupt HER social context?

These things are hard to tease apart, but I'd try to get clarity on what you are thinking and feeling first, then focus on potential ripple effects and ramifications from that.

Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #118 on: May 25, 2017, 11:23:13 AM »
I only read the Original Post, not all the replies, so sorry if I'm covering old ground here.

But I'm in a bit of a similar boat, and I say "just go with it, man." It seems you don't have any objection with the way the faith is lived day to day, so what would your new found lack of belief really change?

I'll be honest, I never really believed, even though I really tried. It's like faith in God is a muscle some people have that I don't. I don't think it makes me better or worse than anyone else, it is just the way it is.

PS I love traditional Latin mass, even though I don't "believe" it.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 11:25:20 AM by thesvenster »

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #119 on: May 25, 2017, 12:03:01 PM »

...the OP's broader question, though, which seems to have more to do with how much each individual needs to feel faith in (a) personal god(s), how literal and evidence-based they feel this faith must be for them to maintain it, and how much cultural conditioning and social ties influences each person's desire for such faith.

As a slightly tangential question, have I been incorrect in my understanding that Catholicism accepts the findings of modern biological and cosmological science as compatible with the faith?  I have long been under the impression that it did.

You have summed it up quite well!  I guess the reason this thread has taken a turn down the "God vs. No God" lane is because me and many others would answer "Very" to question I've bolded above.

Oh and to answer the tangential question, Yes, Catholicism does accept modern science as compatible.  The theory of evolution is compatible provided it does not of course rule out God as the creator.

I might have missed this in one of your posts, but one thing that might help is first trying to separate your own feelings about your faith vs your feelings about how other people will react to them.

You've stated that you want more evidence to keep your faith flourishing.  Leaving others out of it, do YOU have a strong desire to have faith/believe in a personal god/have a relationship with such a god? Those seem the first questions to answer for sure.

Second, if you hypothetically had no strong PERSONAL feelings of loss at the idea that your faith might not be literally supportable, and that there might be no personal god, would you then still feel loss and grief at feeling alienated from your comfort zone and long-standing community?  If so, what parts would you miss especially?  The ritual? The socializing? The reminders and opportunities to engage in charitable work? The support network you can call on for help? Etc.

The second point is important because if your loss is primarily a social/cultural one, it might be possible to create that with a new community. Or maybe you could continue to participate in many elements of the faith community without literal belief. You might not take communion, for example, but you could still attend services, participate in charitable events, etc. 

I bring up the second point because, although I personally find literal religious belief untenable and find many elements of organized religion actively distasteful, I really appreciate its ability to bond and activate social groups within a community.  This is something the secular populace isn't always quite as good at. So on occasions that I attend any kind of religious services, I  enjoy the opportunity to reflect on service, community, thankfulness, humility, etc...many of which are topics that I struggle to 'make time' for in my normal life.  I am quite introverted, so the social element of religion is not in itself attractive, but that would also be pleasant if I were more extroverted and the majority of people in the faith community were people that I generally got along with.   

If it were me, I'd try first to sort out what my feelings of loss are about.  That might help you address what I think should be further down your line of attention: how will my family and friends relate to me if I make this change?  If you find you are still able to participate in many elements of your faith community even without active belief, that might mitigate some of the social loss.

Once you know how you feel, you could then examine questions about how others might react. For example, does your wife most fear you literally rejecting god? Or is she more upset by the possibility of you trying to pull completely away from a social context into which you are embedded, and thereby disrupt HER social context?

These things are hard to tease apart, but I'd try to get clarity on what you are thinking and feeling first, then focus on potential ripple effects and ramifications from that.

Great questions for me to ponder.  I will probably remain a lifelong churchgoer so the loss I feel is the loss of the authentic connection to many Catholic friends & family who are true believers.  There is quite a sense of camaraderie among true believers.  I agree, the secular world does not quite have the same advantage of a well-defined common organizing principle to rally around.

I think my wife is mostly concerned with my salvation and the effect my lack of belief will have on our son and future children.  I don't think she suspects I will try to steer our family away from the church. 

I do have a desire to believe and belong in the Church, but not to the point where I would fool myself or accept arguments that I would otherwise reject. 

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #120 on: May 25, 2017, 12:16:42 PM »
I only read the Original Post, not all the replies, so sorry if I'm covering old ground here.

But I'm in a bit of a similar boat, and I say "just go with it, man." It seems you don't have any objection with the way the faith is lived day to day, so what would your new found lack of belief really change?

I'll be honest, I never really believed, even though I really tried. It's like faith in God is a muscle some people have that I don't. I don't think it makes me better or worse than anyone else, it is just the way it is.

PS I love traditional Latin mass, even though I don't "believe" it.

Thanks Svenster. 

I think the difference is that I always believed wholeheartedly up until a few years ago.  The only thing that really changes is the worship, which is the "source and summit" of the Catholic faith.  I'm not OK with going through motions and saying things that I believe are false. 

Maybe the TLM is easier for fake Catholics like us because you don't have to say Amen when the priest says "Corpus Christi" ;)

But in all seriousness, how can you possibly *love* the mass if you don't think Jesus is the son of God???

The mass celebrates Christ's perfect sacrifice on Calvary where he dies for our sins to save us from eternal suffering.  No amount of incense, patens, surplices, barely audibly whispered latin prayers, or veils can change the fact that this whole re-enactment is meaningless and bizarre to a non-believer.  It would be fascinating maybe once or twice if you were studying the ancient Catholic people in their place of worship like an anthropologist.  But week in, week out - observing the same ritual alongside other people who regard (or strive to regard) this re-enactment as the absolute pinnacle of their existence - you love it?



Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #121 on: May 25, 2017, 12:36:56 PM »
There are people who love ritual for some reason.  They just do.  I don't understand how doing something like Catholic mass over and over again could  possibly be enjoyable in any way.  I resent the hours of my life I will never get back from being made to attend for many years of my life, but yet I know people who aren't Christian in any way who will occasionally attend for the ritual.

I will admit as to liking buildings with arches and stained glass, but not enough to want to sit through rituals.

Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #122 on: May 25, 2017, 12:51:13 PM »
I only read the Original Post, not all the replies, so sorry if I'm covering old ground here.

But I'm in a bit of a similar boat, and I say "just go with it, man." It seems you don't have any objection with the way the faith is lived day to day, so what would your new found lack of belief really change?

I'll be honest, I never really believed, even though I really tried. It's like faith in God is a muscle some people have that I don't. I don't think it makes me better or worse than anyone else, it is just the way it is.

PS I love traditional Latin mass, even though I don't "believe" it.

Thanks Svenster. 

I think the difference is that I always believed wholeheartedly up until a few years ago.  The only thing that really changes is the worship, which is the "source and summit" of the Catholic faith.  I'm not OK with going through motions and saying things that I believe are false. 

Maybe the TLM is easier for fake Catholics like us because you don't have to say Amen when the priest says "Corpus Christi" ;)

But in all seriousness, how can you possibly *love* the mass if you don't think Jesus is the son of God???

The mass celebrates Christ's perfect sacrifice on Calvary where he dies for our sins to save us from eternal suffering.  No amount of incense, patens, surplices, barely audibly whispered latin prayers, or veils can change the fact that this whole re-enactment is meaningless and bizarre to a non-believer.  It would be fascinating maybe once or twice if you were studying the ancient Catholic people in their place of worship like an anthropologist.  But week in, week out - observing the same ritual alongside other people who regard (or strive to regard) this re-enactment as the absolute pinnacle of their existence - you love it?

Haha well we're going in deep here but isn't an awful lot of life "lying" to some extent to keep other people happy?

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #123 on: May 25, 2017, 12:53:13 PM »

I do have a desire to believe and belong in the Church, but not to the point where I would fool myself or accept arguments that I would otherwise reject.

J, this is very similar to my aspect of what started my searching.  I was so sick of not getting answers that I left the Catholic faith.

My parents are convinced I am going to hell.  They believe that the Catholic religion is the only thing tied back to God and therefore walking away from it costs my salvation in their eyes, so they pray for me regularly to "see the light" and I'd say at least every three months they probe and ask me when I will come back to church, even though I attend services every Sunday.  I would expect you should be prepared for something like this as well if you make your feelings known to your parents.  If you are attending, and do not share your doubts you may avoid all of this, but I'm not sure if you wanted to approach it that way.

Also, your Catholic church experience was different from the one I attended in my early years.  The social aspect really did not revolve around the belief etc.  It was very much like a social club, having potlucks, barbecues at people's homes and just providing connections to go bowling or to the football game if that's what you wanted.  I never recall any conversation about religion at any gathering we attended and in most cases people just became friends there but then coordinated their own activities.  I recall you stated you were worried about losing the social connections, so maybe your  church community has some deeper spiritual aspect to the outside service gatherings than what I had experienced.

I would think your biggest focus should be on making sure your understand your wife's concerns and address them as best you can.  Obviously if she wants you to wholeheartedly believe everything and you can't then that will be a challenge to reconcile and hopefully it does not come to that, but you may find her concerns are more about modeling behavior for your kids or just keeping quiet about your doubts and letting them make up their own mind.  At this point none of our kids believe, and that's OK.  Am I disappointed for them based on my belief?  Of course, but I can't make anyone believe.  You may find your wife would have a similar reaction and as long as you are not the cause of their unbelief she may by OK with your position.  You did mention in a response just above that you "think" you wife is worried about your salvation, so that's where I'm coming from with this paragraph is that is sounds like you've not sat down, just the two of you and had a deep conversation about this.  I encourage you to do that.  She is your partner, and squaring this between you and her will go a long way to your peace of mind.

Beyond that relationship the others are less crucial.  Do you want your parents to disown you, as some parents do when they find their children do not have faith?  Of course not, but it may not some to that, and in most cases you have less frequent interactions with others in your family and therefore their disapproval of your position matters less.  As in my case, I know my parents are totally against my position and have been for the last 25 years since I left the Catholic church, but it does not enter my thinking most days, only when they choose to engage in the tug of war to save me again.  I am the only non-Catholic in my extended family.  They all view me as the alien social experiment, so I think I can relate a lot to what you are concerned about.  From that perspective is is a lonely place at family gatherings at times because there is awkwardness (I am talking about religious gatherings like weddings, funerals, etc. not birthday parties or July 4th barbecues) but I've made my peace with it.  Some here have said, "just go with it" and I'd echo that.  I think the sooner you get the relationships set in your new reality the sooner you can get to your new normal.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #124 on: May 25, 2017, 12:57:56 PM »
There are people who love ritual for some reason.  They just do.  I don't understand how doing something like Catholic mass over and over again could  possibly be enjoyable in any way.  I resent the hours of my life I will never get back from being made to attend for many years of my life, but yet I know people who aren't Christian in any way who will occasionally attend for the ritual.

I will admit as to liking buildings with arches and stained glass, but not enough to want to sit through rituals.

+1

I dragged myself through Catholic services for many years as my parents made me go.  I would agree it is hard to "love" or even like it if you do not believe why you are there.  I learned to focus at a very young age about how long this was going to keep me there.  I figure out very quickly if the priest picked option 3 for the 4 prayers leading up to the Eucharist that we just added 10 minutes to my torture.  Most of my thanking of God in those years was when he picked any of the other 3.  If we got the priest that did not do the chant and long that was another "Thank you God!" 

libertarian4321

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #125 on: May 25, 2017, 01:09:15 PM »

So I would urge any skeptic to investigate and find any Biblical fallacies because none have been discovered yet.

If you want to believe in something strongly enough, and refuse to even consider the possibility that your favorite God myth is anything but "the truth," there is nothing anyone can do to make you see otherwise. 

For some people, faith and dogma will always win out over logic and reason.

I can only go forth and try to help people use logic and reason, rather than "faith" as the guiding principle in their lives. 

In time, "religions" (all of them) will fade into irrelevance, but it's not going to happen in the short term. 

In the mean time, humanity is doomed to suffer from the violence and destruction so often perpetrated in the name of some God/religion or other.  Senseless tragedy.


MasterStache

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #126 on: May 25, 2017, 01:14:03 PM »
If it's any consolation my 97 year old grandma has been a devout Christian her entire life. She has never driven a car or operated a computer, but she has rarely if ever missed church on Sunday. She was married almost 50 years to my grandfather who never attended church and held no religious beliefs (that I am aware of). Perhaps a bit of bias in this but honestly, in my entire life I've never met or more kind, loving, non-judgmental person. She has never expressed or forced her religious views on anyone. And respects everyone despite their beliefs, or lack thereof. There aren't many folks in this world like her, sadly.

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caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #127 on: May 25, 2017, 01:23:16 PM »

So I would urge any skeptic to investigate and find any Biblical fallacies because none have been discovered yet.

If you want to believe in something strongly enough, and refuse to even consider the possibility that your favorite God myth is anything but "the truth," there is nothing anyone can do to make you see otherwise. 

For some people, faith and dogma will always win out over logic and reason.

I can only go forth and try to help people use logic and reason, rather than "faith" as the guiding principle in their lives. 

In time, "religions" (all of them) will fade into irrelevance, but it's not going to happen in the short term. 

In the mean time, humanity is doomed to suffer from the violence and destruction so often perpetrated in the name of some God/religion or other.  Senseless tragedy.

I am always open to someone showing me something that proves.  Not at all refusing to see the possibility that it is a myth.  That comment of mine was a whole hearted offer, not a challenge saying it was not possible.  Myths are usually very easily shown to be equivocally false, but yet someone this one persists.  I am very similar to many of the authors I recommend people read.  I was so fed up with what I viewed as the lies of the Catholic faith that I got out as soon as I could and began an exploration to find out if God was true, and my research that I wholeheartedly started down the path on to show was a myth, led me very strongly in the other direction.  I just did not have the foresight to put all my work into a book and make money off it.

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #128 on: May 25, 2017, 01:39:01 PM »

So I would urge any skeptic to investigate and find any Biblical fallacies because none have been discovered yet.

For some people, faith and dogma will always win out over logic and reason.

I can only go forth and try to help people use logic and reason, rather than "faith" as the guiding principle in their lives.   

In the mean time, humanity is doomed to suffer from the violence and destruction so often perpetrated in the name of some God/religion or other.  Senseless tragedy.

In the interest of fairness, I'd like to point out that religion is not the only thing people use to perpetrate violence.  Sometimes logic and reason can be used to promote violence.  For example, consider eugenics.  It is very logical and reasonable to agree that people with good genetics will produce more healthy offspring then people with bad genetics.  However, that was once taken to its logical extreme with very violent results.  Senseless tragedy?

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #129 on: May 25, 2017, 02:04:05 PM »
I am always open to someone showing me something that proves.  Not at all refusing to see the possibility that it is a myth.  That comment of mine was a whole hearted offer, not a challenge saying it was not possible.  Myths are usually very easily shown to be equivocally false, but yet someone this one persists.  I am very similar to many of the authors I recommend people read.  I was so fed up with what I viewed as the lies of the Catholic faith that I got out as soon as I could and began an exploration to find out if God was true, and my research that I wholeheartedly started down the path on to show was a myth, led me very strongly in the other direction.  I just did not have the foresight to put all my work into a book and make money off it.

So until such time that someone is able to conclusively prove that a God does not exist you will believe that one does?

Do you take the same approach with all other things in this world that are inconclusive?

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #130 on: May 25, 2017, 02:13:52 PM »
you have to say "we don;t know that yet" a lot more with a non-god view then you need to with a god view.

So what?  I don't quite understand why 'we don't know yet' is seen as a problem.
Essentially what you're saying is that if we assume we know something (i.e. God) then we have to say 'we don't know yet' less often than if we do not assume we know that thing.  Imagine that.

The time to accept a belief is when the evidence warrants it.
Until that point, 'we don't know yet' is not only a perfectly valid position - it is the only justified one.

Exactly.

That is what science and reason are all about.

Better to say "I don't know yet" and work on finding the truth, than make up a fairy tale to explain the unknown.

We know so much more now than we did 2,000 years ago.  We can now rationally explain many of the mysteries of life that stymied folks back then.  Things that were once considered miraculous or signs of the power of God are now easily explained by science as natural phenomena. 

The fact that science does not yet have all the answers today is not a good reason to support a belief in fairy tales created hundreds or thousands of years ago by primitive men.

I "lost my religion" long ago at a young age.  Luckily for me, most of my family were RINOs- Religious in Name Only- meaning they played at being religious only because that is what society expected of them- but few of them were true believers.  I did not have to face the kind of resistance and pressure to conform that someone from a heavily religious family will likely have to face.

My only comment that may have relevance here is to separate what "religion" created and science later explained, and if there is anything Biblical that was considered a sign of God IN THE BIBLE and was now explained has not debunked anything.  Welcome to hear how you feel otherwise.  Ultimately it is for each one to make up their mind and it is between you and God, so delve into it or do not, but the two sources I mentioned get into a bit of this (especially the Quereshi book) and how the Bible just continues to show and align with science, which just adds to its authenticity as compared to the Qu'ran which lists several things as you mentioned as God explaining to Mohamed what how the world works and then being then proven false by science.  I do not have a copy of the book handy to reference so I do not want to cite something incorrectly, but for example there are things about sequence of embryonic development that have since been shown to be totally backwards.  The Bible does not suffer from these inconsistencies.

So I would urge any skeptic to investigate and find any Biblical fallacies because none have been discovered yet.

That is quite a stretch, isn't it? I mean, the Bible actually says that there are literally unicorns and dragons. Maybe that's not "inconsistent" in that the Bible doesn't in a later book say that unicorns and dragons don't exist, but... do we really want to take that as proof of its infallibility or consistency?

Still kind of wondering about this...

Really??!!  The dragon I believe you are referring to is in Revelation where Satan is described as a dragon.  And Revelation is a prophetic book not a historic book.  The entire book is a vision God gave to John and told him to write about.  It is not saying he walks the earth as a dragon or anything like that.  The only other is in Isiah where  it is used to refer to a sea monster or serpent in basically a poetic context, so once again not indicating that Noah had a pet dragon.  Not aware of any other reference to dragons.  Also in my search there are 0 references to unicorns.

This inconsistency test is relevant to historical books.  Names used and people mentioned correlate to what occurred and people that lived where connections have been made.  Certainly there are people named for which we have no historical record.  There are also millions of people that lived prior to the time of records of advanced civilizations who lived and we have no record for but that does not mean they did not exist, but it does mean we cannot prove they existed in a different time and that the written record has errors in it.  The major kings and civilizations were there etc. 

I mean those who want to just jump in on the surface and wave it off as lunacy or a fable do this all the time.  They search for a word like "dragon" see that it is there and say, "see it is BS.  Dragons aren't real" without spending any amount of effort to postulate a real analysis and argument.  The Bible no more claims dragons walk on earth than I do sitting here now.  It uses them as descriptive language to illustrate to a human mind a concept.

Which version of the Bible are you referring to?

Ah, I get it.   You are referring to KJV translation.  This was a translation error.  You can go back to some of my earlier posts explaining the fact that errors in translation should not be misunderstood as errors in the Bible, i.e. the original text.  The Encylopedia Britannica circa 1997 explained this "unicorn" problem - "This word was translated “unicorn” or “rhinoceros” in many versions of the Bible, but many modern translations prefer “wild ox” (aurochs), which is the correct meaning of the Hebrew re’em".  This was an error in the KJV translation and a few others.  Certain well avowed atheists like Issac Asimov agree "The Hebrew word represented in the King James Version by “unicorn” is re’em, which undoubtedly refers to the wild ox (urus or aurochs) ancestral to the domesticated cattle of today. The re’em still flourished in early historical times and a few existed into modern times, although it is now extinct. It was a dangerous creature of great strength and was similar in form and temperament to the Asian buffaloes.  The Revised Standard Version translates re’em as “wild ox.” The verse in Numbers is translated as “they have as it were the horns of the wild ox,” while the one in Job is translated “Is the wild ox willing to serve you?” The Anchor Bible translates the verse in Job as “Will the buffalo deign to serve you?”  The wild ox was a favorite prey of the hunt-loving Assyrian monarchs (the animal was called rumu in Assyrian, essentially the same word as re’em) and was displayed in their large bas-reliefs. Here the wild ox was invariably shown in profile and only one horn was visible. One can well imagine that the animal represented in this fashion would come to be called “one-horn” as a familiar nickname, much as we might refer to “longhorns” in speaking of a certain breed of cattle.  As the animal itself grew less common under the pressure of increasing human population and the depredations of the hunt, it might come to be forgotten that there was a second horn hidden behind the first in the sculptures and “one-horn” might come to be considered a literal description of the animal.  When the first Greek translation of the Bible was prepared about 250 B.C., the animal was already rare in the long-settled areas of the Near East and the Greeks, who had no direct experience with it, had no word for it. They used a translation of “one-horn” instead and it became monokeros. In Latin and in English it became the Latin word for “one-horn”; that is, “unicorn."  The Biblical writers could scarcely have had the intention of implying that the wild ox literally had one horn. There is one Biblical quotation, in fact, that clearly contradicts that notion. In the Book of Deuteronomy [33:17—BT], when Moses is giving his final blessing to each tribe, he speaks of the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) as follows: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns....”   Here the word is placed in the plural since the thought of a “one-horn’s” single horn seems to make the phrase “horns of a unicorn” self-contradictory. Still, the original Hebrew has the word in the singular so that we must speak of the “horns of a unicorn,” which makes it clear that a unicorn has more than one horn Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: Volume One—The Old Testament  (1968, pp. 186-187)."

Similarly satyr was mistranslated in that same version in Isiah.  Again, this error was corrected in modern translations using context appropriately so translate it to wild goat.

These are translation errors made by humans centuries later, not Bible problems.

Well, given that approximately 100% of humans who are currently consultling the bible, are reading modern translations, then aren't we talking about a huge number of people who are likely to be reading other mistranslations and things that don't apply? Which Bible are you referring to when you say there are no "inconsistencies"? I mean, I'm guessing you haven't read the "original" Bible (which is kind of a misnomer in itself, of course, because different religions have picked and chosen which books to include and not to include based on their own interpretations, right?).

Still kinda wondering about this.
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Vindicated

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #131 on: May 25, 2017, 02:16:28 PM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).
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caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #132 on: May 25, 2017, 02:21:26 PM »
I am always open to someone showing me something that proves.  Not at all refusing to see the possibility that it is a myth.  That comment of mine was a whole hearted offer, not a challenge saying it was not possible.  Myths are usually very easily shown to be equivocally false, but yet someone this one persists.  I am very similar to many of the authors I recommend people read.  I was so fed up with what I viewed as the lies of the Catholic faith that I got out as soon as I could and began an exploration to find out if God was true, and my research that I wholeheartedly started down the path on to show was a myth, led me very strongly in the other direction.  I just did not have the foresight to put all my work into a book and make money off it.

So until such time that someone is able to conclusively prove that a God does not exist you will believe that one does?

Do you take the same approach with all other things in this world that are inconclusive?
I am happy to discuss this if you want.

I am not believing in God based on simple faith.  Dozens of sources and hundreds of hours of study and research investigating the claims of the gospels over my lifetime have led me to believe that the explanation that God exists is the only one a rational person can arrive at given the evidence.  To your earlier point, there is no way I can convince you if you are not even given the possibility that God is real in your thought process.  When I did my initial searching, I was totally open to walking away from belief in God entirely because of the damage by church's pastor had done to what little faith I had as a child when he gave me zero answers that were credible to all my questions starting as early as 10-12.  I could not stop attending church because my parents controlled my life.  When I moved out of the house I then spent five years not attending church and researching with no preconceived expectation of how I "wanted" it to end.  I just wanted to find the truth, as best I could.  Part of that process was examining all the evidence the God does not exist that I could find, and looking at all other belief systems including Christianity.  I feel I'm as far from the blind indoctrinated follower than one can be.  Even now I continue to read any credible research from atheists/agnostics/folks out to debunk religion I come across.  No I do not waste my time on drivel that is posted on various sites on the internet that can very quickly be shown to have as much actual scholarly research behind it as a third grade paper about your summer vacation.  I've watched things like Bill Nye's debate versus Ken Ham that was all the rage several year's ago.  My approach to things that are inclusive is the same.  I may not do as much research as I did on this, and honestly I have done more simply because what I keep finding is more and more fascinating as I go in this area, but I am by nature a skeptic and I read all the apologetics text, including the two I recommended earlier in this  thread with an eye to credibility.  Some things are really not good.  You could drive trucks through the holes in some things and are written.  If something is inconclusive I research what I can and then arrive at what I feel is the best conclusion given the evidence available. 

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #133 on: May 25, 2017, 02:34:14 PM »
I am happy to discuss this if you want.

I am not believing in God based on simple faith.  Dozens of sources and hundreds of hours of study and research investigating the claims of the gospels over my lifetime have led me to believe that the explanation that God exists is the only one a rational person can arrive at given the evidence.  To your earlier point, there is no way I can convince you if you are not even given the possibility that God is real in your thought process.  When I did my initial searching, I was totally open to walking away from belief in God entirely because of the damage by church's pastor had done to what little faith I had as a child when he gave me zero answers that were credible to all my questions starting as early as 10-12.  I could not stop attending church because my parents controlled my life.  When I moved out of the house I then spent five years not attending church and researching with no preconceived expectation of how I "wanted" it to end.  I just wanted to find the truth, as best I could.  Part of that process was examining all the evidence the God does not exist that I could find, and looking at all other belief systems including Christianity.  I feel I'm as far from the blind indoctrinated follower than one can be.  Even now I continue to read any credible research from atheists/agnostics/folks out to debunk religion I come across.  No I do not waste my time on drivel that is posted on various sites on the internet that can very quickly be shown to have as much actual scholarly research behind it as a third grade paper about your summer vacation.  I've watched things like Bill Nye's debate versus Ken Ham that was all the rage several year's ago.  My approach to things that are inclusive is the same.  I may not do as much research as I did on this, and honestly I have done more simply because what I keep finding is more and more fascinating as I go in this area, but I am by nature a skeptic and I read all the apologetics text, including the two I recommended earlier in this  thread with an eye to credibility.  Some things are really not good.  You could drive trucks through the holes in some things and are written.  If something is inconclusive I research what I can and then arrive at what I feel is the best conclusion given the evidence available.

Sounds good, I was just curious where you were coming from - for a moment it sounded as if your position was one of "no one has proven it ISN'T true, so I'm going to believe it" (which would sound like an attempt to shift the burden of proof).
Obviously that doesn't sound like what you're doing.

I'm sincerely curious - and I realize this is a ridiculous question given the constraints of a message board - but was there a tipping point for you in belief?
Meaning, what is the strongest argument/evidence to you for the existence of God?

I do realize that it is probably a combination of many things, but since it is equally unrealistic to ask you to enumerate them all I figured I would ask for what had the biggest influence on you.
What would you say are the most important pieces of evidence and/or argument that convinced you personally?

(if you can't answer that I completely understand - and I don't mean that in some backhanded way, it's a tough question to answer in a short paragraph)

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #134 on: May 25, 2017, 02:40:42 PM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.   I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option. 

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #135 on: May 25, 2017, 02:54:07 PM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."
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caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #136 on: May 25, 2017, 03:15:54 PM »
I am happy to discuss this if you want.

I am not believing in God based on simple faith.  Dozens of sources and hundreds of hours of study and research investigating the claims of the gospels over my lifetime have led me to believe that the explanation that God exists is the only one a rational person can arrive at given the evidence.  To your earlier point, there is no way I can convince you if you are not even given the possibility that God is real in your thought process.  When I did my initial searching, I was totally open to walking away from belief in God entirely because of the damage by church's pastor had done to what little faith I had as a child when he gave me zero answers that were credible to all my questions starting as early as 10-12.  I could not stop attending church because my parents controlled my life.  When I moved out of the house I then spent five years not attending church and researching with no preconceived expectation of how I "wanted" it to end.  I just wanted to find the truth, as best I could.  Part of that process was examining all the evidence the God does not exist that I could find, and looking at all other belief systems including Christianity.  I feel I'm as far from the blind indoctrinated follower than one can be.  Even now I continue to read any credible research from atheists/agnostics/folks out to debunk religion I come across.  No I do not waste my time on drivel that is posted on various sites on the internet that can very quickly be shown to have as much actual scholarly research behind it as a third grade paper about your summer vacation.  I've watched things like Bill Nye's debate versus Ken Ham that was all the rage several year's ago.  My approach to things that are inclusive is the same.  I may not do as much research as I did on this, and honestly I have done more simply because what I keep finding is more and more fascinating as I go in this area, but I am by nature a skeptic and I read all the apologetics text, including the two I recommended earlier in this  thread with an eye to credibility.  Some things are really not good.  You could drive trucks through the holes in some things and are written.  If something is inconclusive I research what I can and then arrive at what I feel is the best conclusion given the evidence available.

Sounds good, I was just curious where you were coming from - for a moment it sounded as if your position was one of "no one has proven it ISN'T true, so I'm going to believe it" (which would sound like an attempt to shift the burden of proof).
Obviously that doesn't sound like what you're doing.

I'm sincerely curious - and I realize this is a ridiculous question given the constraints of a message board - but was there a tipping point for you in belief?
Meaning, what is the strongest argument/evidence to you for the existence of God?

I do realize that it is probably a combination of many things, but since it is equally unrealistic to ask you to enumerate them all I figured I would ask for what had the biggest influence on you.
What would you say are the most important pieces of evidence and/or argument that convinced you personally?

(if you can't answer that I completely understand - and I don't mean that in some backhanded way, it's a tough question to answer in a short paragraph)
As I basically alluded to, there really was no "one" thing.  It was the combination and lack of contradiction.  Someone asked in a reply if Catholicism felt science was real or something.  This was one of the types of things that caused my searching because I think that's what felt a little off for me.  I have never been a part of a church that required members to hold doctrines of that sort in my adult life.  I honestly would not have been able to answer that question for  the poster because I have no idea if the modern Catholic church (post Vatican II in the 60s) has ever been anti-science because it did not matter to me.  The gaps in Catholicism that were not Scriptural based were so immense that I could care less if they jumped the shark even further by saying science is wrong because it contradicts the Bible.  Because that was one of the strongest chains that has led me and while not THE tipping point, was certainly a very important tipping point is the fact that there are not scientific contradictions.  It was also the fact that much of the evidence that points to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God and that actual historical evidence for the resurrection keeps being found is what did and continues to tip me that way.  I am not far gone from logic and proof.  If some evidence did surface that when I researched it showed no possible other interpretation than to prove God does not exist I would follow my conscience and say I had been wrong in my understanding, but now given this new evidence, I change my stance. 

The fascinating thing to me is that with all the new discoveries in the Middle East and other areas where Jesus and the disciples operated we keep finding things that do nothing to refute the claims and at times just provide a new fact that strongly proves it.  Another thing for me is the fact that a significant number of hostile witnesses who are not believers give in to core tenets of the faith like the chain of custody of the Bible.  They not only have given up trying to disprove it, they have actually published and said that the evidence is so strong that this is true that it is pointless for anyone to argue the contrary.  It is as close to an irrefutable fact as you can get.  I am a scientific mind, and those are the things that drive me to be amazed and how it all fits.  I have not found that fact with any other religious construct where you have so much effort placed into disproving it but that in that process while it is still not enough to cause them to believe they admit when defeated and say this is certainly true and I can't convince you otherwise nor do I believe anyone else ever will.  That's a bitter pill to swallow for anyone, and to then publish that fact for scholarly integrity is understandable, but it only helps my belief. 

Just as in any other human endeavor of knowledge, once gets to build on the work of others who came before.  I've heard it said that no inventor actually invented what they invented, they just invented the last 5%.  The Wright Brothers did not create every single concept of a plane.  They took all the relevant discoveries before them and added a bit to it and flew a heavier than air machine for the first time.  The same process is available to proving there is no God and I would guess millions of people have tried and keep trying, yet here we are today without that last 5%.  And as I said, periodically that 5% works in the direction I believe and moves the bar further to the "this is the only explanation a rational person can come to".  Now we will never get there either.  The Bible itself says in Revelation that an angel will actually be heard across all the earth proclaiming Jesus as Lord and still people born then will not believe and will deny God and this continues right until the very last moment.  That is why millions or billions of people not believing is not going to sway those who do, and on the flip side millions or billions believing will not sway those who do not.  Jesus himself returning will not do it, so how could I or anyone else? 

The newest thing I have read that is closest to my method is Cold Case Christianity by J Warner Wallace and that's why I recommend it so highly.  The guy was so set on showing what a load of crap God was.  The process he describes in the book was so very close to my discoveries and how I felt; that no rational person could come to any other conclusion based on the evidence.  The Allah or Jesus book is a close second, but I certainly did not have the understanding to dig in what he did on Islam, but I learned new things about the proofs for Christianity in that book.  And that's why I continue to believe and will continue until a preponderance of the evidence shows otherwise.  I'm not foolish and thinking it has to be complete and total disproof, because that is impossible.  What would need to happen is all the physical evidence that has confirmed the veracity of the claims would need to be convincingly debunked, not just because they want to be skeptical or sarcastic about it, and then more physical evidence showing fallacy would need to be uncovered and that would convince me. 

Hope that helps. 

patchyfacialhair

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #137 on: May 25, 2017, 03:24:00 PM »
I'm posting to add my experiences with religion and where I'm going from here.

I grew up in a catholic household. Both my parents taught catechism classes, and my father spent many years teaching the high school kids going through confirmation. We never missed church on Sunday and I was always active in church service.

Call it what you will, but around sophomore year of high school, I dropped Catholicism from my life. I still went on occasional Sundays, but a combination of me questioning things along with sports getting in the way (I really ramped up the athletics sophomore year) allowed religion to really fall out of my life. I always questioned why it seemed that we read the same stories every year in mass. I hated that the priest at a prior church we used to attend was part of the whole child molestation scandal. The whole religion thing just seemed "off" to me. Luckily, my parents understood. They would nudge me to keep at it, but eventually they lost plenty of interest as well. For a while, they stopped going to mass. They're back to going every Sunday, but I think it's more for the community, rather than adhering to Roman Catholic doctrine.

Now, I semi-regularly attend a non-denominational church and I have to admit that I feel more "spiritual." I don't think science is the end-all-be-all for our world, and I have faith that there's a higher power. I also enjoy how lax they are about plenty of topics.

From this point forward, one of my goals (which I've stuck on the back burner) is to really study more about the bible. Who knows where it will lead me. But for now, I enjoy the community and positive interactions I have with many of the folks at this church.

Lepetitange3

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #138 on: May 25, 2017, 03:29:26 PM »
So historian checking in here...I actually specialized in some of this way back in graduate school, although I've branched out into other things.

If you're hinging your entire faith on the way a sentence reads and you are not conversant enough in historical Greek or Aramaic to read then fluently without the aid of translation, AND you're not even interested in including the apocryphal or "lost" books of the Bible AND you're not using the latest version historians have access to that's the oldest, than I respectfully suggest that either 1) your problem with your faith originates somewhere deeper or 2) you're kind of doing it wrong.

To be clear, biblical translation for scholars who can vaguely converse with one another in Aramaic is incredibly tricky at best.  You're not just talking about whipping out the even geekier version of google translate here and working line by line.  Languages change incredibly over the amounts of time we are talking about (like think about how easy it is to read Shakespeare, that's English,  my friends and English that's not all that old).  So words and the way they are placed change meanings too.

And then we have to add textual problems to this discussion, what text are you taking the gospels your translating from, the Dead Sea scroll version, the official version Catholics consider the oldest valid text?  And then, at least from your account, you're not including contemporary sources or additional gospels that aren't canonical.

And I'm glossing over oh about another lifetimes worth of research and learning that applies to even beginning to work on all the aspects of such a thorny problem.  If this truly is the only thing causing you to question your whole faith framework, then unless you're a historian or scholar in this field (if you are, please PM me, we've probably met one another at conferences lol) I just want to suggest that all might not be lost here.

Either way, it's difficult and painful to question deeply held faith.  And it's clear a lot of posters have wrestled with this angel.  Bestvwishes for whatever resolution brings you the most peace.


MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #139 on: May 25, 2017, 03:34:01 PM »
Hope that helps.

No offense intended, but not really.  You essentially said 'all the evidence and history,' and I guess what I was looking for (if I wasn't being clear) was some specificity.
I probably could have asked my original question better.

It was also the fact that much of the evidence that points to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God and that actual historical evidence for the resurrection keeps being found is what did and continues to tip me that way.

Could you list just a couple of pieces of that evidence?
No need to defend them all, I'm more than willing to do my own research.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #140 on: May 25, 2017, 03:45:50 PM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."

There are but just do you not know what a dragon as a mythological creature is and would you not recognize a drawing of it?  I think you would and if not you can go to Amazon and look up Dungeons and Dragons and you can see one.  Just because it is "recognizable" is not saying it is an actual thing on the earth.  Is this dragon going to be real at the time?  I guess we'll find out but Revelation is about things to come not what has happened in regards to the dragon, which is Satan.  The reference in Isaiah and Nehemiah as also covered.  They are poems and the word dragon is used to refer to a sea monster and again neither of those books are historical books like Exodus or Judges.  Therefore making the leap that this means the Bible means that dragons existed is not accurate. 

The Catholics did create their own Bible.  They needed to adhere to what they came up with.  They deviated from the original accepted manuscripts so my stance is that is not a Bible.  I get that Catholics will say it is.  I'd also challenge you to find a Catholic who owns or has even read their bible.  It will take you a long time.  I never had access to a Bible until a got one from a Protestant friend, and guess what my priest said when confronted with my questions to show me why what he told me was true was.  "You can't use that Bible, you have to use ours."  So you are right there, they do have a different book.  The Catholic Bible's added books are not able to have a proven chain of custody, were not written in Hebrew and did not appear anywhere in Christian cannon for centuries.  It is the opposite of the War and Peace example I gave.  It took War and Peace, and added seven chapters and said, "Now this is War and Peace (because I needed to add this for purgatory and to make people do things for my benefit)"

On the translations part, I want to be sure you understand how the translation process works.  It is not five people sitting down and each doing pieces of it.  There are hundreds of people involved and at least 10-20 people are involved in each book to remove the "human interpretation".  They are not inventing words.  Think of it like taking Beowulf from the Orignal Olde English which would be unreadable and not understandable to someone today other than a scholar of Olde English, and then translating it to something understandable.  Or like taking Valley Girl speak from the 80s or texting abbreviations from today and writing them in a way my 90 year old grandmother could understand.  This is a group of people that studied for years how to read dead languages like Aramaic, or "old" versions of Hebrew and Greek and follow agreed upon principles of what re'em or si'ir or logos for example means.  Now if you want to suggest that the agreed upon meaning of those has somehow been changed over time and no one knows it and that has crept in to all translations, I can't prove that is impossible, but it would be highly unlikely.  And is it relevant.  If "pizza" is not actually a round piece of dough with tomato sauce and stuff on it when I translate it from the Italian word or words that had the meaning of "round piece of dough with tomato cause and stuff on it" and those Italian words "really" meant "loaf of bread dropped in a mud puddle" no one would know and the commonly accepted understanding would be round piece of dough with stuff on it.  Not sure if that is what you are getting at here.  In any event I believe the translation process is rigorous enough in the translation commonly agreed upon to be most direct to avoid the changes you believe might be there.

ETA:  I see Lepitange3 above added something on the translation process above, which I think, explains better than I the rigor involved in Bible translation.  Though to be honest it was such a complex post it was unclear to me whether it was meant to help show the accuracy of translations or to prove your point.  I guess they'll have to re comment to clarify.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 03:53:44 PM by caracarn »

Lepetitange3

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #141 on: May 25, 2017, 04:12:48 PM »
Sorry for lack of clarity re: the vigorous debate going on.

I was mostly replying the OP's original question ;) and not the rest.

I'd have to more thoroughly re-read the debate raging here, but to say biblical translation and interpretation in the sense of how it is done by scholars, is a mammoth undertaking is an understatement. 

I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence, lay readers are certainly entitled to read the Bible et al how they like.  But when people go around hanging their hats on one turn of phrase or one word in a translated version because of how they best understand that word in their given language, realize that there are scholars who've agonized over exactly how to best phrase something and appropriately render it and results vary at best.  Sometimes we don't know the appropriate rendering of a word and the community settles on something based on context clues.  Sometimes an archaeologist digs up an even older copy of a document and some of the construction is different a debate rages for decades about which version reflects the original authors intents.  And a million other little facets that if anyone is desperately interested in how this all actually works, I'm happy to dig up some scholarly articles to start your own research.  Or at least I'm happy to when the newborn settles down a bit ;)


MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #142 on: May 25, 2017, 04:17:16 PM »
Or at least I'm happy to when the newborn settles down a bit ;)

Congrats!

Lepetitange3

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #143 on: May 25, 2017, 04:28:12 PM »
Thanks!  Fourth and last child !  A decidedly un-mustachian number of small people running around here ;)

Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #144 on: May 25, 2017, 04:43:24 PM »
There are people who love ritual for some reason.  They just do.  I don't understand how doing something like Catholic mass over and over again could  possibly be enjoyable in any way.  I resent the hours of my life I will never get back from being made to attend for many years of my life, but yet I know people who aren't Christian in any way who will occasionally attend for the ritual.

I will admit as to liking buildings with arches and stained glass, but not enough to want to sit through rituals.

+1

I dragged myself through Catholic services for many years as my parents made me go.  I would agree it is hard to "love" or even like it if you do not believe why you are there.  I learned to focus at a very young age about how long this was going to keep me there.  I figure out very quickly if the priest picked option 3 for the 4 prayers leading up to the Eucharist that we just added 10 minutes to my torture.  Most of my thanking of God in those years was when he picked any of the other 3.  If we got the priest that did not do the chant and long that was another "Thank you God!"

To be clear, I find non-denominational services, mainline Protestant services, graduation ceremonies and funerals every bit as tedious.  Catholicism has no monopoly on ritual.

libertarian4321

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #145 on: May 25, 2017, 05:52:25 PM »

So I would urge any skeptic to investigate and find any Biblical fallacies because none have been discovered yet.

For some people, faith and dogma will always win out over logic and reason.

I can only go forth and try to help people use logic and reason, rather than "faith" as the guiding principle in their lives.   

In the mean time, humanity is doomed to suffer from the violence and destruction so often perpetrated in the name of some God/religion or other.  Senseless tragedy.

In the interest of fairness, I'd like to point out that religion is not the only thing people use to perpetrate violence.  Sometimes logic and reason can be used to promote violence.  For example, consider eugenics.  It is very logical and reasonable to agree that people with good genetics will produce more healthy offspring then people with bad genetics.  However, that was once taken to its logical extreme with very violent results.  Senseless tragedy?

I agree with the first part, that religion is not the ONLY cause of war and senseless violence.  Though it is far too often the prime reason that people commit acts of senseless savagery.

I'm not sure how many wars have been started in the name of "eugenics."  None?  Maybe one (in small part)?  But hundreds of wars, large and small, have been fought in the name of religion. 

Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, animists, and many others senselessly slaughtering each other in the name of their God/religion.  All utterly convinced that they were doing it "in God's name."  All utterly wrong.

Even more pathetic, religious people slaughter each other over minor differences in their beliefs (e.g. Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians slaughtering each other.  Sunni and Shia slaughtering each other all over ridiculous minor differences in their religious dogma.

Stupid, senseless savagery.  All in the name of, frankly, fairy tales.

And yeah, senseless tragedy.  I can't think of anything sadder and more pathetic than people slaughtering each other over varying versions of myth/God/fairy tale.

At least when they fight over land or food or treasure, they fight for something real...

libertarian4321

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #146 on: May 25, 2017, 05:58:29 PM »
I know I sound harsh toward religion.  That hasn't always been the case.  It's taken some time.

At one time, I thought religion (all of them) was nothing more than harmless delusion.

But as I read more and more history and the idiotic killing, torture, and violence, all in the name of religion, I've gotten to the point where I just wish humans would "grow up" and get past this nonsense, and start acting like rational beings.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #147 on: May 25, 2017, 06:31:05 PM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."

There are but just do you not know what a dragon as a mythological creature is and would you not recognize a drawing of it? I think you would and if not you can go to Amazon and look up Dungeons and Dragons and you can see one.  Just because it is "recognizable" is not saying it is an actual thing on the earth.  Is this dragon going to be real at the time?  I guess we'll find out but Revelation is about things to come not what has happened in regards to the dragon, which is Satan.  The reference in Isaiah and Nehemiah as also covered.  They are poems and the word dragon is used to refer to a sea monster and again neither of those books are historical books like Exodus or Judges.  Therefore making the leap that this means the Bible means that dragons existed is not accurate. 

The Catholics did create their own Bible.  They needed to adhere to what they came up with.  They deviated from the original accepted manuscripts so my stance is that is not a Bible.  I get that Catholics will say it is.  I'd also challenge you to find a Catholic who owns or has even read their bible.  It will take you a long time.  I never had access to a Bible until a got one from a Protestant friend, and guess what my priest said when confronted with my questions to show me why what he told me was true was.  "You can't use that Bible, you have to use ours."  So you are right there, they do have a different book.  The Catholic Bible's added books are not able to have a proven chain of custody, were not written in Hebrew and did not appear anywhere in Christian cannon for centuries.  It is the opposite of the War and Peace example I gave.  It took War and Peace, and added seven chapters and said, "Now this is War and Peace (because I needed to add this for purgatory and to make people do things for my benefit)"

On the translations part, I want to be sure you understand how the translation process works.  It is not five people sitting down and each doing pieces of it.  There are hundreds of people involved and at least 10-20 people are involved in each book to remove the "human interpretation".  They are not inventing words.  Think of it like taking Beowulf from the Orignal Olde English which would be unreadable and not understandable to someone today other than a scholar of Olde English, and then translating it to something understandable.  Or like taking Valley Girl speak from the 80s or texting abbreviations from today and writing them in a way my 90 year old grandmother could understand.  This is a group of people that studied for years how to read dead languages like Aramaic, or "old" versions of Hebrew and Greek and follow agreed upon principles of what re'em or si'ir or logos for example means.  Now if you want to suggest that the agreed upon meaning of those has somehow been changed over time and no one knows it and that has crept in to all translations, I can't prove that is impossible, but it would be highly unlikely.  And is it relevant.  If "pizza" is not actually a round piece of dough with tomato sauce and stuff on it when I translate it from the Italian word or words that had the meaning of "round piece of dough with tomato cause and stuff on it" and those Italian words "really" meant "loaf of bread dropped in a mud puddle" no one would know and the commonly accepted understanding would be round piece of dough with stuff on it.  Not sure if that is what you are getting at here.  In any event I believe the translation process is rigorous enough in the translation commonly agreed upon to be most direct to avoid the changes you believe might be there.

ETA:  I see Lepitange3 above added something on the translation process above, which I think, explains better than I the rigor involved in Bible translation.  Though to be honest it was such a complex post it was unclear to me whether it was meant to help show the accuracy of translations or to prove your point.  I guess they'll have to re comment to clarify.

Yes. I would. But I wouldn't say that it is an actual animal, as the Bible seems to. I see no parentheses after the references to this creature in that book that say, "By the way, dragons are a totally mythical creature made up by humans, and totally don't exist". Failing that, there's little reason to presume the passages are not referring to the animal as an actual thing.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 07:03:38 PM by Kris »
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #148 on: May 25, 2017, 06:48:07 PM »
I know I sound harsh toward religion.  That hasn't always been the case.  It's taken some time.

At one time, I thought religion (all of them) was nothing more than harmless delusion.

But as I read more and more history and the idiotic killing, torture, and violence, all in the name of religion, I've gotten to the point where I just wish humans would "grow up" and get past this nonsense, and start acting like rational beings.

To be fair, religion is essentially tribalism.  If we get past religion, we'll still do these things in the name of politics.  Or for glory and empire.  Or racial purity.  Its the 'us vs them' thinking that's inherent in tribalism that we really must overcome.
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Freedom2016

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #149 on: May 25, 2017, 08:37:29 PM »
This whole topic brings up so many reactions from me that I hardly know where to start. What follows is pretty jumbled, so I hope you can bear with me.

OP, I feel you. I wish you peace as you sort out all of these very tough questions and issues.

I was raised in a Bible-based, evangelical home. This meant literal interpretations of the Bible; the various posts by caracarn remind me very much of my former life. I was a wholehearted believer (accepted Christ as my savior, and did my best to 'walk the talk') for nearly 30 years. Was a Josh McDowell apologist with the best of them; evangelized during college outreach trips; spent a summer as an evangelist one year. Led Bible studies, was considered a leader in my church and in the faith groups I was part of.

In my early thirties a crisis of faith descended on me. I'm not going to re-litigate it all here, but suffice it to say that I spent 5-6 years in a "dark night of the soul" where questions I had glossed over for years took center stage, and I finally let myself ask the questions for real. When I did, I was horrified to discover that my faith did not stand up to close scrutiny at all. "Truth" as I knew it, didn't exist the way I had always understood it. I went to Calcutta, literally served the poorest and sickest people on earth, as I sought God's face. I consulted theologians; I read every apologetics book I could; I explored Catholicism; I prayed incessantly; I searched my soul for some unconfessed sin; I examined whether I was letting my emotions lead me or my intellect. I spent about six years in a particular hell of questioning my faith and finding no satisfactory answers. I started a blog to try to sort out my questions, and in the process connected with others who have de-converted. I begged God to clear out the cobwebs, to lead my path. I received silence.

In the end, I discovered that the gift of faith that had sustained me for decades had... evaporated. The faith didn't hold together for me anymore. Not from an intellectual perspective, not from an emotional perspective. The "presence" of God that I had felt repeatedly throughout my life was simply... gone.

At one level it was a sucker punch, but on another level the most freeing thing I have ever experienced. At still another level, a lonely journey. At yet another, a grief-filled process of losing the community and storyline that had sustained me most of my life. I have yet to recover from that last one.

It has been devastating to my devout mother to hear of my de-conversion. I have no doubt that she prays for me daily. I hate that she worries for my soul (though theologically she adheres to "once saved, always saved" so you'd think she could relax!). We had one conversation about it four years ago; we don't talk about it anymore. Though I notice all the holiday cards she sends me these days are religious, whereas they used to be irreverent jokey cards.

I found myself having reactions reading caracarn's posts. They're not directed toward me at all but I feel angry and insulted by what comes across as prostheletyzing. Which I used to do myself by the way. Having been on both sides of that kind of exchange, the arguments ring so hollow to me now whereas they used to feel so obviously true when I was a faithful adherent. For example: regarding the thing about the KJV translation of unicorns being wrong. Caracarn I think at one points says basically, "well the KJV people have been shown now to have been wrong in how they understood the original language." For this and other areas of scriptural interpretation that have shifted over the years (see, for example, slavery), I ask: if God is unchanging, yet people have gotten their "understanding" of God wrong at various points in history, what makes you think YOU are right? Why would God obscure his truth to millions of the faithful over thousands of years, but now he's revealed his full truth to your particular denomination, your version of the 'truth'? I stopped believing that my evangelical church had a lock on the truth when I reflected on the likelihood that God had hidden the fullness of his truth until a bunch of Nordic immigrants to Minnesota figured it out and founded the First Evangelical Free Church.

For awhile I considered joining the Catholic Church - by my research and study and reflection, their theology hangs together MUCH more consistently than the evangelical dogma (and make no mistake, "bible-based" faith communities have their share of extra-biblical 'rules' that you are expected to abide; saved by 'faith alone' is total bullshit lip service given the behavioral codes that can be in play in such communities). But I could not honestly pledge, as a convert, that I believed everything the Catholic Church taught in its dogma. So I hung back and didn't join. The ceremony and pageantry never quite sat well with me.  And eventually faith fell apart altogether.

So. At one level I am a much happier person; I had felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as an extremely faithful adherent who grappled with questions like - should I give everything up to serve the neediest and poorest in the world? What does God want of me? Why is God such a jealous, shallow fuck, to insist that we worship him? Is he a narcissist or what? Why is a transactional confession of belief the thing, the technicality, that will erase an otherwise shit life that hurt lots of other people? What justice is there in that? Why through an accident of birth do I have every possible fucking advantage over someone else who through accident of birth is starving in Somalia? The Christians I knew who praised Jesus for finding their keys or getting them that job when there is serious fucking human suffering that God seems to ignore elsewhere in the world started to drive me batty. That God is a petty-as-fuck god and patronizing explanations that God cares about the smallest things started to ring pretty damn hollow once I was working in the international humanitarian and conflict resolution fields. Etc. Etc.

On another level, I do feel like I have lost a handle on my core purpose in life. And I have lost community. Which I still mourn. I'm not sure I've figured out who I am absent "evangelical Christian." That said, I met my husband after my crisis of faith, which I am endlessly thankful for, because he's no evangelical himself and we are largely on the same page when it comes to the role of faith/community in our lives. We go to a Quaker meeting now and we really appreciate it. I can't imagine how hard it would be to be navigating these incredibly hard questions with a partner who still felt strongly that the truth resided in the faith of my upbringing.

I'm sorry for the word vomit here. Like I said, I kept a blog for several months where I grappled with various aspects of my faith questions. I'm not comfortable sharing the link here but if anybody is interested in reading it you can PM me. My only caveat here is that this is not an invitation to find places to evangelize me back into the faith. I have extremely bad reactions these days to any effort to 'educate' me on apologetic arguments I may not have considered in my de-conversion process. I desperately prayed not to lose my faith and I examined *everything*. Please don't assume you know more than me on these questions. Thanks. :)