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deathbat96777

Religious Study Group

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As i'm sure a lot of you are well aware, I'm a Christian and I like to read the Bible and discuss theology and religion in general. Would you guys be interested in making this thread into an open discussion about spirituality, religion, etc? I feel like it would lead to some really good, healthy discussion and I think it would be a lot of fun to see where you guys are at with it and what you believe. 

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2 minutes ago, deathbat96777 said:

Would you guys be interested in making this thread into an open discussion about spirituality, religion, etc?

You have my support, but I doubt I'll check it frequently. I have learned that most faith-based threads in forums like these quickly become areas for ridicule and trolls. I can handle trolling in a video game, but when it comes to others trolling one's faith -- that's hard for me to take.

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I'll kind of play moderator and try to make sure people keep it civil. After all, it is my thread. I'm not the leader, I'm just the captain 

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As long as things remain civil and people are respectful to each other, this thread can stay :) We generally don't allow threads centered on politics and religion is a similar subject, so I will be watching this thread. 

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@Kodiak, as an agnostic, what is your view on Pascal's wager, and do you think it is a good logical argument or do you see holes in it?

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30 minutes ago, deathbat96777 said:

@Kodiak, as an agnostic, what is your view on Pascal's wager, and do you think it is a good logical argument or do you see holes in it?

As a mathematical model, it seems sound, but in the end it's a false analogy (in that it cannot be compared to such a simplistic mathematical model). One only has to imagine the thought experiment of a Muslim and a Christian in a room together, each trying to convince the other to convert faiths by using the same identical argument, and you quickly realize the nuances.

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This will be interesting to follow. I'm actually a die hard atheist, so I find it fascinating to read about people of all beliefs.

I always say I'm not an atheist by choice; I simply do not believe in any higher power. I can't force myself to believe in something I don't feel in my heart is true, so I don't.

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I like the concept behind it and I can find clout with it as a Christian, but I can also see the flaws in it. It assumes the odds are 50/50 on God existing or not existing, but that's the same as saying there's a 50/50 chance you'll go home and find a million dollars. Think about how big of a concept an all powerful deity is, and how many endless possibilities there are of how that would work and how it/he/she would structure things. Is it  a 50/50 chance there's a deist god, a Christian god, the flying spaghetti monster, etc? Is it meant to be theoretical and just applied to God in general, or was the argument designed for a specific God?

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14 minutes ago, deathbat96777 said:

I like the concept behind it and I can find clout with it as a Christian, but I can also see the flaws in it. It assumes the odds are 50/50 on God existing or not existing, but that's the same as saying there's a 50/50 chance you'll go home and find a million dollars. Think about how big of a concept an all powerful deity is, and how many endless possibilities there are of how that would work and how it/he/she would structure things. Is it  a 50/50 chance there's a deist god, a Christian god, the flying spaghetti monster, etc? Is it meant to be theoretical and just applied to God in general, or was the argument designed for a specific God?

Exactly. It's too reductive to be an actual pragmatic model for a major life decision, simply because life is not a binary probability chart. It dismisses the idea that either choice hosts a wide variety of potential consequences, not merely the ones stated in the original argument. (As you pointed out, it's a bifurcation fallacy.)

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Huh....well, as long as the thread doesn't turn into a flamewar, I'll throw my two cents in here.

I'm Christian, and a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (in other words, Protestant). One thing I'll say is that I'm really frank when discussing religion, so while I don't want to offend people I also won't lie about what I believe.

Also, @deathbat96777, if you're interested in the subject of Christianity, there are two websites I use frequently for answers to questions:

GotQuestions - It's technically Calvinist, but most of what it teaches is really indepth when it comes to Christianity in general.

Cold Case Christianity - Hosted by a former atheist, it uses hard evidence/fact checking to discuss Christianity. The author also happened to be a homicide detective in the past, so his analytical views are professional.

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If we burn every book of every religion, in five hundred years none will have survived. If we burn every science text, in five hundred years they will all be rewritten.

Pascal was a fool.

(I do not support the destruction of any books, not even religious ones. I shouldn't have to say it but here it is anyway, this is a hypothetical statement not something I support.)

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I'm a Christian (Baptist) and I have gone to a Catholic institution of faith for now 14 years (my university is Catholic). As a result, I hold a mixture of both Protestant and Catholic beliefs although I'm not Catholic. I just adopted some of the things I was taught in grade school such as believing in saints, dogmas, Lent, and praying to the rosary.

Sometimes I use to struggle with how my political opinions didn't align with majority of either faith (I'm a bi woman, very pro LGBT, and very Pro-Choice), but now I show more pride and I'm a strong believer of separation of Church and State in regards to the US.  

Over the years, I have become rather jaded with Christian churches due to seeing many hypocrises, snobbish, and asshole members who are no better than people out in the streets. So while I'm not on the path to atheism and agnosticism, for now I'm more of a Spiritual Christian than a religious one.

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4 hours ago, Slasher_Clone said:

If we burn every book of every religion, in five hundred years none will have survived. If we burn every science text, in five hundred years they will all be rewritten.

Pascal was a fool.

(I do not support the destruction of any books, not even religious ones. I shouldn't have to say it but here it is anyway, this is a hypothetical statement not something I support.)

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23 hours ago, deathbat96777 said:

@Kodiak, as an agnostic, what is your view on Pascal's wager, and do you think it is a good logical argument or do you see holes in it?

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't understand any of this until I googled both agnostic and Pascal's wager.

Firstly I am protestant Christian but not a practising Christian. For example I'd love to never work on a Sunday, but at very busy times I have too. I own a bible, but have never thoroughly read it.

I see Pascals point but am a little sceptical over his assumption that you will receive eternal damnation if you are wrong in your beliefs. I think that what you deeply believe in defines what happens next as God should be forgiving and understanding of his creations. Maybe there is one set path after death and you fall into different categories or perhaps your differing beliefs give us each a slightly different outcome. I personally like to think all our deeds good and bad are tallied up at death and our passage to heaven, hell or anywhere else is then sentenced to us. I believe that my hard work and good deeds to others and the world I live in are as beneficial to God as any other form of worship.

I see Pascal as a clever man, he knows there is a 50/50 chance that God exists or does not. He comes from a time when people were very God fearing, there was no sitting on the fence option and he sums it up as better to be safe than sorry. I.e best believe in God than anger him with your rejection. I can see his point, but realistically God and his subordinates shouldn't judge an atheist with the same scrutiny as a very evil person e.g. a mass murdering warlord. I know life was very different in Pascal's time and you could argue the choice is the same as it has always been, but surely God's response to our actions must reflect the change in humanity at its present?

I'll end by saying that I do believe in a God and an afterlife, but I don't believe in Pascal's assumption that you must do so to be rewarded. You could be a devout Christian and still be a very bad person and then be judged on your sins and punished in death. I think it is morally wrong for an atheist to be judged in death as a similar sinner to said bad people in life, particularly if they have lived a good life in helping others and the world. They might not believe in God but they are following his message and maintaining his creations. We will never comprehend our creation or the purpose of reality, existence, time: beginning to end, but that doesn't mean God should punish us for still following the path of life even if we don't understand it or have a different view of it.

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Another problem as I see it, from my atheist point of view, is he's stating that you should believe because, well, if you don't and you're wrong, the cost is greater than if you do. But the problem I have with that philosophy is that it acts as if belief is a choice. But I don't think that it is. If I decided to act as if I believed in God to hedge my bets in case He was real when I died, I would be lying to myself and others about what I believe. In my heart, I simply do not believe in a higher power.

To me, Pascal is saying, if you don't believe in God, pretend you do anyway just in case He is up there. But surely IF there is an all powerful God, He will know that I was pretending to believe in him when I didn't. Which means the philosophy doesn't work.

And that's ignoring the already very good point that others have made that it's acting as if the only options in the world are Christianity and Atheism. Obviously there are hundreds of religions. For every one you pick, you are denying hundreds of others. Which actually makes the odds much greater than 50/50.

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society needs rules to exist. if there werent stop signs or god then everybody would run each other over.

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5 minutes ago, jistsomeguy said:

society needs rules to exist. if there werent stop signs or god then everybody would run each other over.

I'm not sure that's true. Well, about God anyway. Stop signs are always a good idea. That's saying that people only do good things because they believe they will be rewarded for it by God. Now I don't believe in God, but I like to think I'm a good person. I do good things, not for some eternal reward when I die, but because it's the right thing to do.

And that's without pointing out all the harm that's been done in the name of religion over the years. That's not to say religion is over-all a bad thing at all, most people who follow a religion use it to enrich their daily lives and be better people, but I don't think it's needed. As I said before, I'm an atheist, but I'd never knowingly hurt somebody.

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Just now, jistsomeguy said:

awe.... how quaint.... look me in the screen and tell me the worlds NOT full of dipshits.

Hey, there's a fair amount of jerks in the world. But a lot of those jerks are religious. I don't think religion has anything to do with it. Do you think every person who, as you put it, is a dipshit, is also an atheist?

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Just now, jistsomeguy said:

i think that 90% of any given time everyone is. XD

I'm not sure I understand your point then? Are you saying if you took religion away from the world, these people would just start killing each other? I don't think that's true. Like I said, a lot of atheists are really good people, and they don't believe. It's not religion that stops (or makes) people act in a bad way. It's just how those people are. I don't think people avoid doing bad things because they think God will punish them if they do. I like to think, at least, it's down to a stronger moral code than that.

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yea i actually do kinda think that, matter o fact i dont think that any civilization was formed until those religions had been established.

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5 minutes ago, jistsomeguy said:

yea i actually do kinda think that, matter o fact i dont think that any civilization was formed until those religions had been established.

Then how do you explain atheists like myself who don't believe in any religion but also do good things?

I'm honestly just curious because I don't believe doing good needs to be tied to any offered reward.

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