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View Poll Results: Why do you accept the proposition that a deity exists?
I know God through reason, science, etc. 3 8.11%
I accept God through belief or personal revelation 11 29.73%
Other 12 32.43%
I am an atheist but want to vote in this poll because polls are dope 11 29.73%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61  
Old May 22nd, 2018, 01:54 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

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Old May 22nd, 2018, 02:13 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

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Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
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Ergo, we must choose what we believe about those beginnings.
No, no we don't.
Here is one place that I think JS and I line up very closely on. In fact, I would say that we can't, not just that we don't. To assume things about the inner-workings of JS's mind, he cannot choose to believe in anything. Because of the way his rationale works, he cannot believe in a God because his brain doesn't let him. Additionally, Aldin cannot not believe, since that is what his rationale sees as the most likely case.

I'm not saying that "soul searching" and attempts at belief are impossible, but at a certain point whatever our individual, logical brains think is right is what we end up believing. I do like to sit in the boat of, "we don't know, and we can't know (yet)" and I fully recognize that that is a belief that I didn't choose, but one that the machinery of my brain has made for me.

Quote:
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So, even though there is definitely an intelligent designer to No Man's Sky, there are still some great design flaws in it, so one could argue that an intelligent creator of our universe could have used a similar method of design where not every single detail was ironed out, allowing for some the flaws JS mentioned even if there is a creator.
But not an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevelonet designer. And if he lacks one of these attributes, then, in the words of Epicurus, "Why call him God?"
I'm pretty sure if we informed one of the Gek (a prominent species in No Man's Sky) about Sean Murray and the team at Hello Games they would consider him "God". If I was presented with proof of a creator, whether or not they consisted of the "3-omnis" I would still give them quite a lot of recognition (and admittedly use the word "creator" before "god" but that's kinda irrelevant).

In the case of No Man's Sky, let's define what kind of "God" Sean Murray is (I'm sure I'm delving into slight blasphemy, but I assure you that I'm not worshiping Sean before you, Yahweh ).

Is Sean Murray omnipotent to No Man's Sky? Hmm... Kind of? His code determines everything that happens, but he isn't a constant guiding hand. If he wants to edit a single animal, I don't think he can; but at the same time his decisions do make up 100% of the No Man's Sky universe, except for the players (which is kind of like putting free will into a universe, right?

Is Sean omniscient? Definitely not. He often doesn't know what the repercussions of his changes will be, fully. He has talked about that in some interview, but I don't think it matters too much to link that. He also has no idea what the vast majority of the 18 quintillion planets look like, and never will, just like all of us.

Is Sean omnibenevolent? There're way to many pirates and predators and fire storms for him to love everything in his creation, right? Actually, I think you could argue that Sean is omnibenevolent when it comes to No Man's Sky. He loves it. Does he want it to be perfect? That depends on your definition of perfect. That kind of love without a need for everything to be perfectly utopian always makes sense, and sounds like the way a creator of our universe could think and still be classifiable as omnibenevolent.

I guess all of my argument is implying that accepting the creator, or not, is irrelevant for the denizens of the the universe. Sean isn't asking the Gek to worship him, and if there is a God in this universe it seems people are the ones asking me to worship Him (and He designed my brain in such a way that it is, so far, impossible for me to worship him).


Also, howdy @Owlman ! I've been enjoying this vacation that you helped get me on. I figured you deserved a warmer welcome back, no matter how much I'm sure I'll disagree with you, and even if I find your beliefs offensive, since my beliefs won't stop me from being a nice person (to everyone pretty much of the time).

Finally, I liked @Dad_Scaper 's long post. I don't think you need to be sorry for that at all. You're Texas Sharpshooter argument seems like a more elegant version of an argument I have made (I'm not sure if I've made it on this thread yet) that basically just says, "of course, as intelligent life-forms, we find ourselves in a universe, on a planet that is ideal for intelligent life to develop. If there are universes out there that don't allow for that to happen, of course we're not there" That isn't to say that those universes are "misses" by the "creative force".

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  #63  
Old May 22nd, 2018, 02:29 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

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Finally, I liked Dad_Scaper's long post. I don't think you need to be sorry for that at all. You're Texas Sharpshooter argument seems like a more elegant version of an argument I have made (I'm not sure if I've made it on this thread yet) that basically just says, "of course, as intelligent life-forms, we find ourselves in a universe, on a planet that is ideal for intelligent life to develop. If there are universes out there that don't allow for that to happen, of course we're not there" That isn't to say that those universes are "misses" by the "creative force".
Thank you, doctor. I wasn't quite "sorry" for anything, but I understand that there is natural tension between (1) rejecting religious (or anti-religious) browbeating, (2) then myself arguing against the notion that there is a scientific/natural reason for believing in a divine power, and (3) having the FSM in my signature block, which I've heard some people take as some kind of a confrontation though I don't precisely intend it that way.

I wasn't really sorry for anything, but I wanted to address that tension, at least a little bit, and acknowledge its presence. As with anything else in such a conversation, we could write a book on each paragraph, and part of my reluctance to engage in this conversation at all was that these posts are all too short to flesh things out to our own satisfaction. I think I can say that safely for Aldin and Ollie as well, from their perspectives. It's a challenge to squeeze so much into a space so small.

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  #64  
Old May 22nd, 2018, 02:59 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Goomonkey View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
Quote:
Ergo, we must choose what we believe about those beginnings.
No, no we don't.
Here is one place that I think JS and I line up very closely on. In fact, I would say that we can't, not just that we don't. To assume things about the inner-workings of JS's mind, he cannot choose to believe in anything. Because of the way his rationale works, he cannot believe in a God because his brain doesn't let him. Additionally, Aldin cannot not believe, since that is what his rationale sees as the most likely case.

I'm not saying that "soul searching" and attempts at belief are impossible, but at a certain point whatever our individual, logical brains think is right is what we end up believing. I do like to sit in the boat of, "we don't know, and we can't know (yet)" and I fully recognize that that is a belief that I didn't choose, but one that the machinery of my brain has made for me.
This has elements of that unreadable first attempt I made at replying earlier, and gets to the heart of why I asked if JS believed that it was possible for a rational person not to believe evidence which JS found compelling. Mind you, I do think we choose what to believe (as a general principle), but I wonder if slightly different terms are more useful.

I can choose to "put my faith" in someone or something. By way of example, I have put my faith in my car. I believe that it will provide transportation every day, and I don't really make any allowances for it failing to do so. I spend pretty much zero time worrying about whether or not the car will work on a given day, what I will do if it doesn't, or whether or not I should have put my faith in it to begin with. I had a car once that ate its own engine (it had been in a flood and I wasn't aware of that when I bought it). I had also put my faith in that car, and I was wrong to do so - but nonetheless, at the time, I made the decision to place my faith in it.

And I could have chosen not to. I looked at a lot of cars, each of which had their carfaxes, price points, and paint schemes. I got to choose, based on the information available to me, which of those cars would be worthy of my faith in it. Were I wiser, I might have taken the engine eater to my mechanic before making my decision. I placed my faith with less information than the total amount of available information. People do that sometimes. Sometimes it's no big deal. Sometimes it bites 'em in the bum.

When it gets to the "decisions are made by the machinery of our brain" thing, that's where I find nihilism creeping in. If we are nothing but observers with all events preordained by physics, chemistry and quantum mechanics simply interacting and all choice and action merely byproducts of those interactions with a seeming veneer of belonging to us whilst we are truly, again, only observers, then none of this has any value. Answering a thread on Scapers and watching paint dry are equally valuable and equally deterministic in their occasion of time marching forward.

In any case, I appreciate the post, Doc.

~Aldin, still very interested in JS answer to the question

ps @Dad_Scaper It will never cease to amaze me how something that seems so simple in my head turns into six paragraphs when I try to write it out and those six paragraphs still don't do it justice.

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  #65  
Old May 22nd, 2018, 05:47 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

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You do you, gentle reader, but keep your judgment and your sales pitch to yourself. We are all friends here, but we are not such good friends that we want - with threads like this excepted - to wave politics and religion in each other's faces.
Speaking as someone who falls under this category, I shall attempt to relay why I disagree with you on this.

I understand that you were specifically rebuking what I'll refer to as 'signature proselytizers', for lack of a better term. Nonetheless, I shall start by giving an argument for proselytizing in general, as that in itself can sometimes be seen as offensive, and then build up to your point.

When one believes wholeheartedly in an afterlife where one either suffers eternally or experiences eternal joy, as I do, how much must I hate someone who I believe may be going to hell to not try and tell them what I believe to be the way out of this suffering? To use an example, how much do I have to hate someone to not tell them they are running towards a cliff and are going to fall, regardless of whether they believe me or are even offended by my attempt to tell them.

A well known atheist, Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller, says essentially the same thing in this video.


Now that I've made my case for proselytizing in general, I'll get to why I disagree on your point specifically.

I agree with you that, when you look at the black and white of 'signature proselytizing', it can look like I'm slapping you upside the head with the bible. 'Signature proselytizing' can seem like the online equivalent of you asking me how I'm doing and me responding with "the Bible is true and you should be following it", but that's not why I do it. I 'signature proselytize' because it allows me to proselytize, in some form or another, even when I'm not active on the site. For instance, this is my first post on the site in months, but because of my signature I was never, in all that time, not trying to reach people. I admit there are much better ways to proselytize, as most active means would be more potent than any passive means, but I do it not to be rude, but because I love you too much to stop.

I don't want you, or anyone else, to go to hell, and I wish you could understand how much it breaks my heart to think that there are people out there who are going to suffer for eternity. I would love to be able to force people to be saved for the sake of their eternity, but that's not how I believe salvation works.

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  #66  
Old May 22nd, 2018, 06:23 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Thank you for sharing that video, Marrowick, and thank you for responding so thoughtfully to my post.

My thoughts about the video:

I don't disagree with Penn's assessment of the encounter. He described a person who approached him privately and engaged him courteously, both extending the bible and acknowledging that he was being forward while doing so. And, remember, Penn is an outspoken atheist, which means he has indicated an openness to a certain level of discussion of theological matters.

It would be comparable to you seeing me write something in one of these threads and then writing me a PM asking me to discuss your religious views privately, and trying to sell them to me. Politely, and not publicly.

What Penn is not defending is what I called the sale of religion to strangers in a public coffee shop. You do not go into Starbucks and pitch your religion to the person in front of you in line, and to the person in the back of you in line, or to both at once. Because we all understand, intuitively, that that's rude. Penn is describing a scene in which he has opened himself up to some social interaction - signing autographs after a show - and has also made himself open to discussions of religious matters. That is not the same as the context of the Heroscape Book of Anubian Wolves thread, where the universe at large has not come for a discussion of the virtues of your faith.

You'll note, for instance, that Penn refers several times to how the man looked at him in the eyes. He took it as an honest and respectful approach. Conversely, selling your faith to all on the internet who visit a hobby site for something unrelated have not made themselves available for a dialogue like that.

I understand the "how could I not proselytize" argument. I've heard it before. You articulate it very well; Aldin has made it also on these pages in the past.

Understand what I see, when I read these arguments: I am (assuming I reject your faith, and continue with whatever sinful path I am hypothetically on) going to hell. My children are going to hell. Others who I care about are going to hell. Why? Because we are not like you. I understand that the proselytizing comes from a place of love, as you see it, but understand that to me it is coming from a place of judgment. And you are nobody to judge me, no matter what your motivation. It is deeply disrespectful; it is a rejection of my own experience of myself.

I think you would like to say that you are not judging me, and you would offer some fine distinction between "judging" and whatever it is that causes you to feel like it's up to you to share with me how you feel about whether I deserve to burn in fire for all eternity. But to me, it looks and feels like judging. And, in this relationship, I am a member of the general public who chooses to come to this site to look at stuff about Heroscape, so it is not really up to me to participate in the conversation, as it was up to Penn to participate in the private conversation with a respectful fan. I come here, minding my own business, I get a sales pitch which comes packaged with an assessment of my unworthiness.

Also, turning back to Penn's video, he talks a bit about how dangerous proselytizing can be. A group of people sure of its worthiness to judge the relative worthiness of another group is capable of doing terrible, terrible harm. It might be out of love that you would use political muscle, for instance, to bend people to the will of your vision of God's design, but you don't know these people you would bend, and some of those who are bent will break. You can cause a lot of suffering, in the name of your god, if you are willing to judge others in His name.

Thank you again for your discussion and sharing the interesting video. I have lots more to say on this subject, but for now I will leave it at this.

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  #67  
Old May 22nd, 2018, 07:09 PM
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The Jesus Pitch

My biggest complaint with a lot of current proselytizing in modern America is it comes across to me like this.

"Order Jesus now! Limited Time Offer! Will Make Your Life Better and Save You From the Eternal Fire of Hell. Get Jesus. Get Saved."

Won't really require any major sacrifices from you in your life. Just say and do all the things we've considered acceptable and don't wrestle too hard with the tough questions and that's all you'll really need to do to be saved.

Now this is clearly not all Christianity or all Christians, but it's pervasive enough that I see it fairly often with Jesus the product. I admittedly have a number of complaints with how Christianity in America has been presenting itself at large and through many of its most vocal people. This one bugs me a lot because it feels like it's distinctly absorbed American consumerism and also sets up a situation where a lot of people can do something to make themselves feel good without actually doing the hard work and building a relationship with people which I see as far more relevant (go and make disciples) than just making sure someone has said the right words with the right beliefs before they die (which I'm skeptical as to that being the only determinant for any kind of salvation)

~Dysole, who means no offense to her fellow Christians; it's just become a very interesting world as an LGBT Christian and she's observed much that makes her uncomfortable
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Old May 22nd, 2018, 07:25 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

You're totally right, Dysole.

Christians don't like it when people don't like their message, so many have turned it into Christianity-lite. All of the Jesus, and none of the personal commitment and holiness that's supposed to go along with it. And sadly, that makes a bunch of people who think they're Christians but really aren't.

And even more sadly, it makes things like crappy Christian music and God's Not Dead 3: A Trinity of Not-Deadness.

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Old May 22nd, 2018, 09:25 PM
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You Gotta Have Faith

I never really stopped being a Christian, but what being a Christian means to me has changed in many ways. My faith story is a fascinating one and the journey I've been on has caused me to examine much and I've found much from current American Christianity in a place I really don't like and I could probably talk for hours as to why it's that way by examining the person I used to be. (CCM and Pureflix are kind of their own thing and I have different opinions on them) "Progressive Christian" is arguably the best label for me but I don't think it's 100% accurate.

All that said, I am a regular church attendee at a local DoC congregation that is open and affirming and filled with wonderful people and is the first church I've ever felt at home in. I'm no stranger to people telling me I can't be Christian because of my sexuality or gender identity but I've also encountered some wonderful Christians who were the opposite.

I actually find myself being an interesting bridge between the LGBT and Christian communities since I often find myself explaining one group to the other in ways previously not considered.

~Dysole, taking us on her own rabbit trail. She finds the design argument okay but not as convincing as she'd like for a God proof
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Old May 22nd, 2018, 10:31 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

@Aldin
On the note of my name -- I wish I could change it to JS, as I have become universally known as that anyway and is significantly shorter.

...

I believe it is possible for a rational person to not believe compelling evidence, yes. But I expect them to have some sort of reasonable response, or else have been mislead.

A rational person, I do not think, can reject a claim outright if it is rational. It at least gives them pause.

But I'll wait for the follow up point or question to say more, as that seems sufficient for now.

To your note about belief -- I believe you are equivocating two different definitions of the word "belief" when you speak of your car, and then of God.

To believe in you car is to believe that something you know exists with objective certainty (barring any of Descartes' Dream crap) will perform in its function the way you have observed it to perform on previous occasions. You believe, or put faith in this car that it will perform it's job, but not that it exists. The belief pertains to the notion that it will function as it is meant to in ideal circumstances, but you never doubt for a second -- or choose to believe -- that the vehicle exists. Hence, the definition you use here is: "trust or confidence in someone or something."

On the subject of God, however, the question is not whether he will perform his ordained duties, but rather if he exists. And hence, the definition for belief used here is: "an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; a religious conviction."

The distinction is subtle, but renders the example a false analogy. So when you say we choose to place our faith in things, I agree, but only based on the former definition of belief; not when it comes to the existence of things.

@Dr.Goomonkey

I take God with capital G to imply a desire for worship. And I wouldn't worship a being that lacks one of the three omnes. So when I said "why call him God," and I believe Epicurus meant it similarly in his proof, I meant "why worship him?"

I am not going to delve into your assessment of Sean Murray, because since he lacks most of the omnes, he is out as candidate for God in my mind. I also disagree that he is omnipotent. Even in terms of game play.

I do like how you broke it down, though. And wouldn't it be fascinating if man developed a universe (it is theorized we could do so in a lab) and created sentient life within that universe? Could we call ourselves gods and it not be blasphemy? After all, haven't we just mimicked what God has done? Could he blame us for taking up the mantle? Interesting hypothetical I think.

@superfrog

Can we take a moment to do an indepth, critical analyses of the worst set of movies in history: God's Not Dead?

And while we're at it, the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Ben Stein?

~JS, who, on the note of determinism, can't wait for the Gene Illusion by Jay Joseph to come in
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Old May 22nd, 2018, 10:57 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

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Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
I take God with capital G to imply a desire for worship. And I wouldn't worship a being that lacks one of the three omnes. So when I said "why call him God," and I believe Epicurus meant it similarly in his proof, I meant "why worship him?"
Broadly speaking, I agree with you what with me not being a theist myself and all that, but I find this an interesting point to push on. I might not be quite the right person to propose this topic, but in arguments where Godís all powerful, all knowing, and all good natures seem to contradict each other, I have very rarely seen people deny omniscience or omnipotence. Yet eliminating either or both of them solves many of the problems in which they come up.

That being the case, I wonder if a God who may not be all knowing or all powerful but who is truly all good and wants the best for us might really be worth worshipping. I donít personally believe such a being exists regardless, but it seems like a much easier sell that doesnít have to jump through quite so many logical hoops.

I bring this up because of Dysoleís post very early in this thread where she mentioned that she wasnít quite convinced of the omniscience or omnipotence of God. That idea struck me as interesting, and so Iím curious: if such a being existed, would you woship them? Assuming that their limited power and knowledge still allowed them to affect a positive influence on yourself and the world. To be honest, Iím not sure how I would answer myself.

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Old May 22nd, 2018, 11:13 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by All Your Pie View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
I take God with capital G to imply a desire for worship. And I wouldn't worship a being that lacks one of the three omnes. So when I said "why call him God," and I believe Epicurus meant it similarly in his proof, I meant "why worship him?"
Broadly speaking, I agree with you what with me not being a theist myself and all that, but I find this an interesting point to push on. I might not be quite the right person to propose this topic, but in arguments where God’s all powerful, all knowing, and all good natures seem to contradict each other, I have very rarely seen people deny omniscience or omnipotence. Yet eliminating either or both of them solves many of the problems in which they come up.

That being the case, I wonder if a God who may not be all knowing or all powerful but who is truly all good and wants the best for us might really be worth worshipping. I don’t personally believe such a being exists regardless, but it seems like a much easier sell that doesn’t have to jump through quite so many logical hoops.

I bring this up because of Dysole’s post very early in this thread where she mentioned that she wasn’t quite convinced of the omniscience or omnipotence of God. That idea struck me as interesting, and so I’m curious: if such a being existed, would you woship them? Assuming that their limited power and knowledge still allowed them to affect a positive influence on yourself and the world. To be honest, I’m not sure how I would answer myself.
I'm confused as to why I would worship it. It's more or less a Barney the Dinosaur, in a sense. With its lack of omniscience it would be prone to mistakes and error, and thus rebuke, and with its lack of power could not fix these things in which it erred, regardless of inent. In all things save love, it would effectively be human.

So why worship it? That said, why worship at all, I suppose?

~JS, falling hook-line and sinker down the rabbit trail

Last edited by Joseph Sweeney; May 23rd, 2018 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Dad_Scaper threatened to steal my keyboard... needed editing :rofl:
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