Something other than religious scripture for rebuttal?

Like self thought, theories beyond what has been imprinted? Actual personal understandings and not what you have read. Sure you can use what you have read to try and explain, but at least explain in some way, dont just recite the words and say this is true, then when asked why, say “because the book says so” “Because it is” …at least give conceivable reasons. Something i can think about and actually tie to observation and thought rather than what someone else has told you to think.

I think what I say out a lot, sometimes stating pure theories and highly probable possibilities. But I acknowledge them as theories just like religion is a theory. There is extremely high utility in the way I believe religion as we know it has been used. And there are some extremly peculiar trends and observations that support my claim. But the only concret claim that i make is that we have no way of knowing either way. So how can we have an answer without evidence? You would carry on to defend what you believe as evidence, but have you REALLY thought about it? How is it evidence? This is a productive claim example, i make claims and you either think im full of it , agree, or feel some other varation of reaction. But I lay out my claim with questions to ponder and answer for me. Tests. I guarantee that no one can pass this test. And even if you did, you would have no way of knowing, Not without the answers. Even if you thought up the correct answer to all of these questions, how would you know that you are correct? There are correct answers out there, answers to questions, possibilities that could happen now, but we havent followed the path of time yet in creating them We could have the car of the future now, but we cant create it because we havent advanced to that stage. We havent created it yet, but it will be created. And its existence is possible. We cant know. All we can “Know” or understand is what we create or come up with, and what a majority agrees with. But how is this truth? Because it works? Any human obeservation or creation cant be known to be completely true because nothing is perfect, anomolies happen. The supposed creation is unstable, how do you explain that? It changes itself, change happens. Isnt change not supposed to happen? Isnt their a divine path we are following? Isnt this the most perfect creation created by the most perfect being? How could we even “mess” with this path in the first place? We as humans are not divine according to you(we are almost there I guess haha oook if this is divine, i would hate to see what a god is like), we do not have access to anything but our environment and our minds. So how are we so sure about divinity? I sure wouldnt worship a company that made a perfect program this sloppy.

Im basically saying, that religion cannot be true as we know it. It is possible that one could be correct, but highly improbable. And we cant know anyway. So what do we do then? I say we do what is right, what is good(I would assume that you acknowledge good and evil and the possible variations) thus good being defined as non-destructive or positive. What benefits us, what produces advancement and positive results, without questioning. Conquer the natural curse of eat and be eaten. Follow the only path that has the potential to actually provide evidence and answers. Science. The only establishment that has ever proven itself with
rational and logical evidence, science. The only thing that has gotten us out of the completly crude and painful life we have been forced to live under the complete control of religion and the tyranny of the ignorant in the past. It is the only thing that has the possibility for concret answers and you pick and choose what you want to believe in it s long as it suits your fairy tale. “Sure all this is great, but that discovery isnt because it doesnt suit my fairy tail”. Come on, trust some of it but not all of it? Science follows a code of conduct, a general understanding which is designed to require evidence and positive results before claims of truth made. I for one would choose something that had evidence to support it, rather than something that did not. Real observable evidence.

BLAH BLAH I cant stop sorry If you dont like it comment with substance at least or dont say anything at all. I think this is relevant to this forum.

Hi, Dread. I saw your post up here all alone and thought i’d be nice and respond. Hope you are nice too. :slight_smile:

First, how do you see religion? You say, “…religion cannot be true as we know it.” How do you know it. Do you know it?

Later you counterpose religion with science: – “rational and logical evidence.” there must be a misunderstanding. Religion is not science (except to those in heaven, as Aquinas would say) – religion is about man’s relationship with God throughout salvation history. It is not meant to be a science textbook. (I say this guardedly.)

Earlier you ask about science – how do you know if you’re correct? Descartes said if you find an answer that is clear and distinct, it is knowledge. (I say this with some “caveat”.)

Just under that passage, i was set to wondering how you create by artifice without knowing something greater than what is created. Also “what a majority agrees with” is not knowledge either.

Personally, these boards have set me lately on thinking on what is the problem (if any) of modern religion. I think with the dearth of metaphysics, not only religion has become irrational, but all perspective in philosophy! We must return to man as spirit, or we will never proceed as a civilized (moral) society.

un chevalier mal fet

The-o-ry: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another

What do facts and religion have in common? I still try and envision this old dude on a boat full of animal pairs.

I’m with my real name in asserting that we have lost our spirituality. We should all subscribe to animism and each worship our own set of gods and grow herbs in our garden patches. Let’s not disconnect so much that we cease.


Yes we need to come to respect the human spirit as one. We need to respect eachother as intelligent beings, not like manipulated children with nukes. We need to embrace truth rather than arrogance. I hope that this somehow comes to pass. As it seems now, everyone is pointing the finger at each other. My god calls a Jihad on you. Your god calls a Jihad on me. Doesnt sound very religious to me. Sounds insane, religion backfiring. The funny thing is that it has happened like this our entire civilized lifespan. Regigion has been the bane of society for too long, we need to evolve our faith in the unknown. We need to respect logic and reason when making statements of supposed truth.

Religion can be broken down too easily. Beliefs built around empty solutions. Empty epic generalizations.

I think you may have messid my point. Whatever religion, philosophy, and empirical science has or hasn’t tried to do (or whatever people have tried to do with them), each of them has their own purview. “Why, we are here, how things work, why they work,” are not all scientific questions. Some are philosophic questions. I think “Why we are here” escapes philosophy and is religious. The point is, if you want to answer everything with empirical science, you are making the same mistake you accuse of religion – using one kind of learning to supplant the knowlegde proper to another kind of learning. It’s not a good idea.

my real name

my real name, how do you define the usefulness of a thing? is it ok to not see any usefullness whatsoever? you will continue to use something when you dont see what it accomplishes?

what good has religion done, this century, the 2000s, that we can see? cause i can show you very quickly and easily and without any doubt the bad things that i can see.

you are saying that we should overlook the bad things that we see in order to hopefully accomplish something that we can never see.

there actually is one good thing i see from religion. its not good for everybody, only the people who get the cash. i can see that plenty of people are taking advantage of religion when they should be utilizing its positive effects much more than they are.

you really think the negative effects are worth the positive ones that dont make empirical sense? why would god expect you to do that? how could he possibly require it?

Future Man, I don’t see anything you’ve said to be true. But at least you’ve stopped insulting Christ and his people directly. You’re improving! Someday you might even follow your own golden ideals.

un pauvre chevalier mal fet

How is religion learning? It is considered answers, not learning. It doesnt try to understand with proof, observable positive feedback. It already has the answers so why question it? You are learning what the religion teachs, but how is this in anyway educating you with truth? How is it even providing “possible” truth? Which one is the truth? Is learning religion valuable? Will you gain valuable knowledge about your surroundings through religion? I dont think so, but I at least ask for it to be questioned. I am not trying to “preach” as they do, but how else does one express their ideas? They essentially have to “preach” or tell other people in some way. I am asking for an open mind basically, while religion asks for a closed one. To sum it up. Wouldnt you rather have an open minded society willing to accept positive possibilities and reach these through understanding and research, or a society built around faith in something that they do not know to be truth(aside from faith), with a close mind not accepting anything outside their faith? I am speaking of religion as a majority overall, not attacking general beliefs. I respect the need for people to believe what they want, but what they believe should not in anyway affect what others choose to believe. Religion as a majority has consistantly violated this. They dont keep there life choices to them selves, and live life they way they choose allowing others there own beliefs. They desire to control others in the same way that they are controled. Not accepting variation, or directly conflicting with it. As a response I am going to violate them back by disagreeing openly with their beliefs. If it wasnt so “life controlling” I wouldnt have a problem with it would I? It seems that the religous are unwilling to accept change, wanting to halt it, detere any contradiction to their belief. Because this belief is built on faith, there is no way to break it. No proof to disprove, only faith. A completely fabricated understanding. A form of hope. A expression of human emotion and desire. When a person believes without seeing, how are you going to lead the to believe something otherwise? You have to believe something quite strongly to support it with faith. You have to think it is right. How do you know it is right? How do you explain the thousands of religous variations, that believe completely different things? How do any of them “know” they are right outside of faith? This type of “truth” is questionable to me. I want to know why their faith is so supported. How it is. You can tell me im sure.


I am not sure where you are coming from. If you want to “learn” about religion, then it is just like any other academic discipline and I am not sure whatever you learn will be applicable or valuable for life, like everything else academic.

But if you are seeking God, then, like I have alluded to earlier, forget about religion. Dont inherit any baggages that you dont want to, and start with a clean untainted perspective. Religions have muddied the knowledge of God.

So just come clean and ask yourself the basic fundamental questions: Is there God? Is God possible? How can I know? What are legitimate and what are not legimate ways of knowing? How do I know what I know is true?

You are under no compulsion to suspend reason and take any blind faith. Reject and immediately discard anyone and anything who tells you to do so. Apply the same standards of knowledge, understanding and test for truth as you would in everything that you need to make such judgements everyday, eg learning mathematical theorems, discerning the news, and knowing another person. There is only one thing that you accept, namely truth, and nothing else.

But of course you must ask yourself why you seeking God or religion as the case may be.

Hi Dread. Thanks for posting. Your posts are so dense I have to print them out and look at them offline – which i have to do sometimes. I will try to hit your main points.

First, some religion can be achieved through natural philosophy. Whether there is a God, is a question that philosophers ask and try to answer through the world. Belief in the Creator this way undergirds other philosophical ideas like “natural law”. I don’t know if you believe in natural law theory, but it helps to explain it if you believe in “nature’s God”. I think we have such thought in common between philosophy and religion at least in American classical liberal theory, and it is not particularly supported by any select religion.

As for religion on faith, there is an art for explaining that called “apologetics”, by which art religious people try to show the reasonability of accepting their religion rather than another. In this sense, we can say (revealed) religion is rational – that we do not expect it to be contrary to reason. (But these things are particular truths, so they can not be argued for as universals as in metaphysics.)

So, how is religion learning? It is either universal learning (natural religion), or particular learning (revealed religion) which we must accept on faith. You ask a very good question at the end of your post, how we know which of the many variations of religion is true? Through nature, and apologetics, and finally through faith, hope, and desire.

But again, religion is not about material causes, for the most part, but what we need to live a good life – which i don’t think empirical science can ever answer.

you asked for what basis other than the dogmatic answers usually spewed out we (whoever) might believe in a god of some kind (i’m paraphrasing; let me know if i’m off).

i won’t go into too much detail (time issues), but i had an experience a little less than a year ago where a close friend and his girlfriend used (get ready to roll your eyes) a ouija board and insisted that it was “real.”

of course, i was full-out agnostic but hoping for god in general (i’d “pray” from time-to-time, but always starting with “if you’re real, then . . .”), and i was inclined to think “i know he wouldn’t lie to me, and i know he’s pretty damned intelligent, so he must have just been tricked in some way.” for his woman, i basically dismissed her belief as the ignorance of an “average person.”

ultimately, we used the thing together, and i was full of bravado, totally taking it all to be an exercise in why people shouldn’t buy into crap like ouija boards. i got a little thrown off when it provided clear answers in response to requests for “things about each of us that no one else knows,” and the answers were right. the killer was that they were personally embarrassing things for each of us, and we each denied them but got clearly uncomfortable at the same time. still, i just wrote it off as bizarre coincidence.

his girlfriend started having dreams of getting her head cut off and of very detailed scenes, and she truly believed that the “spirit” was the soul of a murder victim trying to get us to solve her death or some such thing. her boyfriend, my best friend, the penultimate atheist/skeptic/cynical philospher, started believing it was real because she’d wake him up in the middle of the night shaking and breathing raggedly and covered in sweat. the animals (dog and cat) would act as if there was an intruder in the room, and she’d bawl like a baby when he woke her up, and relate another horrific story to him.

during this phase, i believed that she was fabricating all of it for attention, but as time went on and the stories of her dreams began to be of rapes (and her behavior afterwards was wholly consistent with that of a rape victim, and she is not very sophisticated, so the odds of her knowing how she “should” act to perpetuate a fraud are slim to none), i began to believe that one of two things were true: (1) she was truly insane, meaning that she had some psychological defect that went so deep that she truly needed to be committed; or (2) what she was going through was real.

still, i couldn’t shed my innate resistance to believing in “spiritual” stuff. finally, i took the board to my house, to use it totally alone, so that i would not have any doubts that someone influenced the planchette (the moving pointer thingee) in any way. i approached it pseudoscientifically, writing down my questions and the responses, even the total gibberish that i got when i tried it. i did it for about 40 minutes the first night, and all i got was crap.

i assumed i’d go through the motions for five or so nights and then conclude that either i was a psychic wasteland or that the “spirit” was horsepoop.

the next night i did it for about ten minutes, and then i started getting intelligible responses. when they were ambiguous, i asked for clarification and usually got it. all of it was written down dutifully. at one particular point in the experience, i passed the hill of resistance that i had constructed and realized that further disbelief was entirely less sensible, rational, and logical than accepting what i was experiencing as being supernatural in some way.

the three of us ultimately had enough one-on-one conversations with each other that we came to the understanding that this was not fake, and that it was a problem. we finally found a person through a friend of mine at law school who was born jewish but converted to islam and spent a decade in indonesia studying this stuff (the spiritual world, i guess), and met with him. he was not what i would envision or expect in a spiritually-aware person, but he…for lack of a better word…examined her and diagnosed the situation.

he said a powerful evil spirit had attached itself to her, and that using the board was like opening the front door of your house–anyone can walk in, and in our case we got a bad anyone. he told them he had to consult with some people who knew more than him, and then a week later drove out to their apartment with two of his students (he teaches this stuff here, apparently), performed what can only be termed an exorcism, and gave them some explicit instructions when he left.

the issues have never recurred. i understand 100% the skeptical response that will invariably be created in the minds of so many who read this, but i don’t tell it to persuade, i just tell it to relate my personal experience as a “take it as you wish” kind of thing. most stories of this nature are told by people who generally don’t recognize that most folks who hear this stuff patronize and smile and say “really?” but don’t believe it for a second. that’s cool; like i said, i don’t tell it to persuade.

since then, i’ve begun to believe in god. i don’t think that the existence of spirits implies the existence of god–it certainly does not. however, what is, for ME, irrefutable evidence of the existence of the spiritual realm, in whatever manner it may exist, means that the “possibility cap” that i had placed on reality in my mind was removed and replaced with one of limitation only applied to “that which is logically impossible” (an omnipotent being making a rock to heavy to lift, a square circle in euclidian geometry, etc.). i no longer see the nonexistence of god as the “most likely” default state of affairs.

my girlfriend, a very honest and practical person, and a duke-educated surgeon, has said (when i asked) that she believes that a few times she has felt the presence of god. she explained that it happened without any correlation to what she was doing–a couple times during prayer and a couple times when she was not praying or even close–and that it just felt “good,” bringing a deep but subtle feeling of reassurance that things are okay, and a positive feeling inside that generally made her feel better. again, she’s a very practical person–not into crystal power or alternative medicine or psychic stuff, etc., very much into biology, biochem, and her surgical specialty.

aside from these things, i have not had any contact with reliable people or personal experiences that give rise to the belief that god exists. for a while i worked on constructing a model for reality (sounds so grand, but nothing more than formulae on paper and loads of definitions for things like ‘good’ ‘evil’ ‘subjective reality’ ‘objective reality’ ‘omnipotent’ etc.) that would be consistent with observable reality, physics (and possibly string theory), and the primary “core” religious texts/teachings in the world (koran, bible, buddhist writings, the kabalah, native american beliefs…whatever i could get my hands on), and got pretty far in that. typical anti-existence-of-god arguments, like “if god is good evil wouldn’t exist,” were addressed and neutered effectively (i think), and ultimately i concluded that one cannot prove the existence of god, nor can one prove the nonexistence of god, and thus concluding anything other than “god’s existence is unknowable” was deemed by me to be intellectually dishonest and irrational.

then the whole spirit/ouija board thing happened and i kind of decided that i don’t care if it turns out that i was wrong. the person i wish to become (the ideal form of me that i aspire to be) is consistent with the kind of person a buddhist should be, a christian should be, a jew, a muslim…each religion has “trappings” (the term i use to refer to the human-added stuff where you dress a certain way or eat certain things on certain days) that vary, but the core behaviors espoused as “good” are the same, as are the core behaviors said to be “evil.” and since that matches with who i want to be anyway, the only way i’m screwed in any given afterlife scenario is if punishment is doled out for those who dont’ believe in the specific god or gods that is/are actual, or if you get punished for trying to be good and failing. and if that’s the case, i’ll take the punishment rather than be untrue to who i am.

Well what is a good life is the question of what is happiness. It ties to our humanity. What we desire as coherent beings. This is what religion serves. A basic explaination on how and what it is to be human. We desire more however, this desire has taken the form of what is known as science. How do we know what science cannot provide?

Again it would be putting faith in something. I am suggesting that we should put our faith in science, for it is the only thing that has provided us answers. Information about the true nature of our environment, and how to manipulate it. I am not supporting scientology, or any 1981 style religion, I am saying that we need to be a little more accepting of the wonders we uncover. Respect them and utilize them for peace. You could counter and say that humanity is not for peace, so how can uncovering such powerful technology be helpful yet alone safe. Well, either we are stuck in hell, slaughtering ourselves brutally for eternity, until nature decides we have leeched off of it too much, chance happens, something. Or we can advance to answers, taking the chance to disprove our worth. If humanity fails and we destroy ourselves, we disproved our ability to survive. We have failed our intelligent minds. We should utilize and attempt to understand any possibility. We have gotten this far, why get freaked out and halt it? We already have the capacity to destroy ourselves, it hasnt happened so keep going. If it happens, we failed, if we halt scientific advancement we still fail, we lose possible answers. Sooo stuck with swords stabbing eachother continuing support for ignorance Or accept what science is brilliantly able to provide for us and take the chance, test our ability to live up to our potential. Take the red pill or the blue pill. Truth or conflict? Sure truth has conflict built up to it, but at least its conflict for truth, not conflict for power. I dont know if this is making sense, kinda rambling, pretty late here.

 Who's 'us'? Religion has provided me with answers just fine- just not answers to the same questions as science.  Also, the rest of your post [i]assumes[/i] that religions are inherently false illusions we use to make ourselves feel better, and foster ignorance. That's fine for you to believe so- but clearly the majority of religious believers don't feel that way, so what reason have you given anybody who disagrees with you to see things your way?

Dread, we seem to disagree on what is a reasonable way to proceed with the humanities and sciences. Let me at least ask you this: Given there are four kinds of causes – agent, formal, material, final – how do you intend to explain our final cause in terms of material causes?

By the way, happy birthday today of both Voltaire (1694) and Schliermacher (1768). (source: The latter of whom said that the sentiment of the Divine in ourselves is religion. (

un chevalier mal fet

my real name, what do you consider to be “true”?

religion causes bad things to happen. true?

religion causes empirically good things to happen such as unifying a people under a ruler and keeping them from being too afraid of their unknown surroundings. that was back in the day, today religion does not have these societal effects, especially where our constitution prevents it, right?

so what are the good effects of religion that remain in place in the year 2004? are they the kind that ‘we will never see in this universe’? are they the kind of good effects that only exist if you believe that they do?

measure the good reasons against the bad, is the good that religion accomplishes worth the bad, human-separating influence that it causes? why do you believe it should still be practised then? what specific good does this practice bring to you, specifically? do you think you would have those effects if for some reason you didnt believe that you would? doesnt that matter to you?

i didnt make any statements there that arent true did i? its all questions, you tell me the truth.

Future Man, what a joy to be able to answer you! I was just reading about what is true. Truth, “which refers to three states in the process of knowledge”, can be seen in three ways:

First, “The true is that which is.” – Augustine

Second, “Truth is the conformity of thing and intellect.”

Third, truth is “that which manifests and proclaims existence” – Hilary
or, “Truth is that by which that which is, is shown.” – Augustine (again)

So the true is what is, what is known, and what is communicated.

Intuition tells me the answer is “no”. Religion never causes bad things to happen “per se” but only “per accidens”. If it causes evil, the cause is not, per se, religion. Religion is the highest good of man in this world and other things are ordered toward it.

This would answer your later questions too, i think.

Thank you, Future Man, for asking such interesting questions!

un chevalier mal fet

if religion did not allow men to appeal to a higher and potentially irrational set of evidence, or if it did not allow them to alienate foreigners as easily, do you think the world would be better?

do you think there is a secular version of religion that has the same negative potential power? would a communist kind of secular state ever be able to incite its ‘worshippers’ to kill themselves based on what you tell them about their soon-to-come afterlife? would a secular authority ever be able to say ‘blow yourself up near those enemies and seconds later virgins will be groping you’?

i would say a leader without a god on his side will wield his followers like a torch that is not on fire. indifferent soviet draftees vs osama’s afghanistan-napalm-torch illustrates that religious fervor can be used for good, if the secular warrior happens to working towards the worlds detriment. if the evil side, or both sides employ religious fire, then the outcome wont be as lucky.

you can say religion is the highest good since thats what it tells you and you have little reason to believe that its not mysteriously good in a way we cant see, but does the fact that religion is widely used as a manipulator have any bearing on your view of it? any bearing on your blind belief in the fact that blindly believing is what you have to do?

if i could identify exactly how islam is used to manipulate, would that make you think less of religion as a whole, or merely think less of muslims? do you not think i could say the same about christianity?

what is the good brought by the ‘organization’ that offsets the many bads i can name.

keep in mind, believing in god is great, atheism is pointless. believing in god certainly does not require membership in a human-designed club that pays for its multimillion dollar clubhouse with money that could have fed the poor.

Hi again, Future Man. I thought I was going to address Dread’s points in this topic, but as long as you’re here…

Whether a religion is irrational is a matter for apologetics. (Which is not for this topic – no Scriptural quotes permitted.)

Where does religion alienate foreigners? Are you speaking of regional religions? I would not call bigotry a “per se” part of religion. (Although the relations between Jews and Ishmaelites can make them uncomfortable cousins.)

The only reason the communists didn’t try this with the afterlife, is they didn’t believe in one, IMO. As for Moslems doing this, it must be a misunderstanding of the Koran. I’ve read Muhommed to say that he who does not agree with the sufis does not know what Islam is about; – and sufis don’t kill anybody. (Of course, that was a sufi quote…)

Actually, i think Aristotle would agree with me on natural arguments. Is he secular enough for you?

Yes, i think Moslems are being manipulated. But not for money or personal power, i think, but for political reasons. Are Christians being manipulated by authority for political reasons, do you think?

Have you mentioned any evils native to religion? On the other hand, Aristotle and Aquinas would say that we have happiness and joy to gain, and our “telos”, or final end.

Do you acknowledge a purpose in life?

I have addressed this point in another topic already. But finally, religion is not for God, but for people to reach God. And a house for the Lord (like Solomon made) can be fitting to religion’s dignity.

Best wishes,
un chevalier mal fet

bah! my real name, BAH!!

you are caught up in your anti-atheist crusade.

uh yes, the ability to manipulate and cause a passion that is dangerous to those who dont share it. a more fierce war is not something anybody should want unless its against a real evil, and not human neighbors.

guess what! i do! im just the hell like you. the only difference: i do not read a book and base my ideas on it and its blatantly obvious fallability.

do you know why the commies didnt believe in an afterlife? they didnt trust an ambiguous book. it would have helped them to acknowledge its possibility, but without proof the idea couldnt be official. they didnt want ANYBODY to manipulate a blatantly fallible book, by accident or not.

john kerry wants each state to decide for themselves if gay marriage is legal. george bush used to say he wanted a const amendment. if he wasnt just blowing smoke up your ass, he would actually be taking away the rights of those states who voted to keep gay marriage. he would be decreasing democracy. do you think thats the way he described it? what counts as ‘manipulation’?

you have addressed the specific practice of church splurging? fine whatever i dont know why the dignity of the rich god-power-men needs to be protected and i imagine itll take you quite a long time to dodge out of it without refering to a book.

what i want to know is, besides the psychological effects that sheeple crave, the belongingness, the feeling of power, subjugation to superiors and guilty self sacrifice they naturally crave to make, besides the psychological effect for individuals, what are the societal effects that can only be gained by religions that i would describe as schism-creating and violence-inducing, in this year 2004. is there nothing that accomplishes the same thing?

If you are acquainted with Gulliver’s Travels you know that it is conceivable to start a war over, say, what end of a soft-boiled egg to crack before eating it. But that does not mean that eggs are an evil, or that we must do away with the eating of all eggs, as the athiest often wants us to do away with all religions. (Yes, i’m misappropriating this somewhat from Swift, but i think he would probably agree.)

A fallible and interpretable book like Das Capital, perhaps?

(“sheeple” – hey that’s pretty good)

to answer your question: Communism? Pop music? Gangs?

my real name,
“the pope’s be-yatch”