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T.o.b.y

Discussions, thoughts and ramblings on religion

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I don't know whether there's a divinity or not.  Guess I'll find out eventually.  But I do know from personal experience that death is not the end.

As for my "life is a school" analogy, it makes sense to me, but I could be wrong.  The way I see it, if life really does make some sort of sense, it behooves me to figure it out as best I can; whereas if the universe is ruled by a divine being who tests us by imposing arbitrary rules, then I'll never know what rules to follow -- so I might as well believe that life makes some sort of sense.

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6 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

But when I asked you if you'd automatically discount any church teachings that conflicted with what science has taught you to believe, my point was that you're doing basically the same thing as the fundamentalists that you accuse of being narrow-minded deniers.  It's just that you put your trust in a different place.

I understood that's what you were saying. I'm just not convinced it's correct. I think there's a difference between belief based on evidence, and belief based on faith, and that they operate in different spheres. But I also think the line between them isn't always absolute, so I hesitate to categorically, in all instances, confirm or deny the conclusions of one over the other. (Also known as hedging my bets. 😛  ) And I think that's different than, for example, categorically insisting that climate change is  NOT the result of human activity, as some fundamentalists (and others) do. (I don't know how many of them believe that; I can only go by what I'm told by the ones I know.)

5 hours ago, besleybean said:

But you see that's the thing...holding onto that 'belief'...which you don't know is true.

Whereas we know the suffering is real.

But anyway, you think that is acceptable?

For a divinity to inflict(or at the very least not prevent) that suffering on an innocent?

I cannot accept that..it is totally immoral to me.

I think I would question whether the fact that suffering exists means God, or anyone else, finds it "acceptable". Somehow those kinds of terms don't seem terribly applicable to the divine. But perhaps that's only because I don't fully understand what the divine is … or believe anyone else does, either.

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17 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

I think there's a difference between belief based on evidence, and belief based on faith....

Well of course there is.  However you seem to be assuming that an individual's belief in science is necessarily based on evidence, while another individual's belief in religion is necessarily based on faith.  While the latter may often be true (though I could offer some counter-examples), I doubt that the former is true nearly as often as you might think.  I base that on the people I've met who seem to believe that everything that comes out of a computer is ipso facto correct, plus the even larger number who seem quite willing to accept at face value any statement made by a scientist -- either of which behaviors borders on faith in my opinion.

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Well you are right, though I contest that happens less often with scientific people.

But the point is, science looks at the evidence, postulates and tests the theories...when new eveidence occurs, they adapt.

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8 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

Well of course there is.  However you seem to be assuming that an individual's belief in science is necessarily based on evidence, while another individual's belief in religion is necessarily based on faith.  While the latter may often be true (though I could offer some counter-examples), I doubt that the former is true nearly as often as you might think.  I base that on the people I've met who seem to believe that everything that comes out of a computer is ipso facto correct, plus the even larger number who seem quite willing to accept at face value any statement made by a scientist -- either of which behaviors borders on faith in my opinion.

Well, that's why I said I was hedging my bet, because I don't think either of these things is ever pure. But does a person's misunderstanding of science (e.g., computer output is always correct) change the actual science? I think not. Water doesn't start boiling at 92 F just because someone believes it does. But it does boil, eventually, at the right temperature, because … well, science. You can deny it or misinterpret it all you want, but it's still real. It still happens.

But I seem to recall sermons that state the very opposite about religion … belief is what makes it real. You can display all the evidence you want about miracles and the saving power of grace, but if you don't believe in them … if you don't accept they are of the will of God … then faith doesn't exist. For you. And that's what I find attractive about religion … the sacrifice of the self to something unknown, the celebration of the human imagination, the humility of accepting that some things are larger than us. That it's a result of faith, not proof. I find that rather beautiful.

But I don't think that's a very safe, intelligent or effective way to determine climate change policy. Any more than I think scientific investigation leads to spiritual understanding. As I said before, they operate in different, if overlapping, spheres of "reality". But of course that's a belief of mine, and whether that belief is a result of evidence or faith (or both, or neither) I can't be sure. So I continue to hedge my bets. :smile: 

 

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belief in religion is necessarily based on faith.  While the latter may often be true (though I could offer some counter-examples)

Please do. I'm curious what you mean by that, because that doesn't fit with what I remember being taught about belief. But I'm aware there are different teachings on the subject of religion, and mine are more scholarly than experiential.

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4 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

But I seem to recall sermons that state the very opposite about religion … belief is what makes it real. You can display all the evidence you want about miracles and the saving power of grace, but if you don't believe in them … if you don't accept they are of the will of God … then faith doesn't exist. For you. And that's what I find attractive about religion … the sacrifice of the self to something unknown, the celebration of the human imagination, the humility of accepting that some things are larger than us. That it's a result of faith, not proof. I find that rather beautiful.

I think it can be both beautiful and a little terrifying. It can make people very strong but also very vulnerable.

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True, but I don't think vulnerability is always a bad thing. (As I've argued about Sherlock at least once. :smile: ) But there's no denying (imo :smile: ) that religion has been used to goad people into doing some pretty horrific things, and that kind of vulnerability is indeed very scary. Which makes me sad; there's enough misfortune in the world already without religion adding to the mix. You'd think there'd be a solution by now, but … nah. We're too human. Anything we invent will always be imperfect.

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2 hours ago, Arcadia said:

... religion has been used to goad people into doing some pretty horrific things....

Quite true, but science has been used similarly.  One minor example off the top of my head, getting an entire generation to eat trans fatty acids in the belief that margarine is more healthful than natural butter.  And didn't it use to be "scientific fact" that women don't have the intellectual capacity to do "men's work" in science and technology?

I don't suppose we'll ever know for sure whether human activity has any appreciable effect on climate -- one side will say see, we're still here, and the other side will say yeah, but only because we cut back on carbon emissions just barely enough.

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14 hours ago, Arcadia said:

But there's no denying (imo :smile: ) that religion has been used to goad people into doing some pretty horrific things, and that kind of vulnerability is indeed very scary.

Not just religion, though.  Phrenology and the Eugenics movement, for example, were heavily backed by “scientific fact” in their day, and pushed by scientists (among others, but scientists most of all) as progressive, forward-thinking, and moral.  No rational thinker could deny that eugenics was the best course for humanity, the data was all there, it was plain as day.  It made so much sense then... until it didn’t.  (I just watched a documentary about this on American Experience, by the way; sad but fascinating, I’d recommend it for a lesson in history.)

I agree that some elemental science is knowledge (e.g. boiling temperature), but in my opinion, the vast majority is theory.  Scientific truth is constantly in flux based on new information, so there really isn’t one in most respects (a known one, anyway; truth exists, we just don’t always know what it is).  Therefore, I don’t think it’s out of bounds to use “believe” in reference to science, regardless of what popular data suggests about an issue.  As someone familiar with scientific methodology, it is something I always view with great skepticism, as I know how flawed, unreliable, and easily skewed it can be.

When I was in college I was assigned several papers where I had to research and represent both sides of a scientific issue.  I pored over data and methodology, and this was one of my most eye-opening lessons: For every study conducted, no matter how convincing, there is nearly always an equally convincing study to refute it.  That is, if you’re looking with an objective eye.  Some data is less popular, and therefore less publicized, which can render the illusion that one side has more evidence, and therefore more truth.  But illusion is all it is, in most cases.

In sum: Religious doctrine can be manipulated and used to manipulate; scientific data can be manipulated and used to manipulate.  I distrust both equally.

 

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But why would you mistrust an experiment that can be repeated time and again and produce the same results?

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Aha. The dreaded thread but without a Khan. 

What are we doing guys? Anyway, I don't agree with some of the things you all said, but I can see where you are coming from. You don't have to agree with me too, it'd be nuts.
 
My dad is an atheist, that is the closest thing to define him I suppose, but he is kind-hearted in some way. Way too kind sometimes, me, the only daughter, have to continuously remind him to be meaner, meaner! Because people take him for granted sometimes and I can't stand it.
My mom is a Buddist. My two brothers used to be Catholic and one Christian. Well, they are all agnostic now, except mom.
I studied Catholic, and on it for sometimes but baptized as Christian when I got married, just for the sake of it tbh. But I have been agnostic for a long time and he is too, it's just a law to have a religion processing.
 
I have never believed in human representation for religion. Never again. And I have never believed in something without pondering and think it through. I think the first time I had my doubt was in primary school, there was a verse (sorry if I got it wrong) that says something along this line 'if someone slaps you on the right cheek, give them your left cheek'. Oh hell no, there I was, a kid, contemplated how it againsts everything in me. Yah, it could be interpreted this and that, but I assure you, if someone slap me, they'd get more than slap back from me. XD
 
Disclaimer, I think most religions are good and teach kindness, but something fundamental is mostly missing from the interpreter and the people and that is the problem with me. So I stop going church, I don't judge people by religions by by their actions. But usually, the loudest and the self-righteous are the most problematic.
 
I saw people being committed, devoted to religions that they claim, but when they walk out from (insert church, mosque, temple etc) they are being mean and treat others badly and unfairly. What is the point? What is the point if it's for show, if you don't understand all those? And there are more than enough of that kind in my life. I'm dealing with one or few on regular basis, a**holes who go to church every Sunday and read bible daily. It takes everything I have to avoid doing something bad in retaliation. 
I walked out the church in 2004 when they preached about how we must donate what we make  to the church again and again, when devastation of tsunami hit all over the world and killed hundred of thousand of people, when everyone and everywhere else scrambled to help in any way they can. There was no mentions of it being made, until the end of the mass, when they asked us to donate again for that. I meant, eat your money for beautifying the church or other whatever things you do. To add the it, one of the priest pleaded to borrow money personally from us for his personal issue, we were struggling trying to meet ends in foreign country but we helped, and he acted as if nothing happened and we never saw the money again. So where are these money go? And why would you misuse your position to cheat others? Don't get me started with those.
 
Bottom line, anyone who claims that people who have different faith are going to bad place, that would be the place I want to go just to avoid them.
But there are kind-hearted people who do kindness in the name of religion, that is the only way I see the good in it. Otherwise, I'd just believe in characters and actions.

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1 hour ago, Van Buren Supernova said:

Aha. The dreaded thread but without a Khan.

986c84b95b91a90c4675fb7d1a40c809.gif

RareUnequaledBirdofparadise-size_restric


Is that better?  :P

 

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11 hours ago, Artemis said:

As someone familiar with scientific methodology, it is something I always view with great skepticism, as I know how flawed, unreliable, and easily skewed it can be.

I worked in a research lab for a number of years -- not as a researcher, but I programmed some of the computers that controlled the experiments, and also operated those computers if the regular operator wasn't there, so I got to see how things were handled.

The experiments were pretty ticklish, so they often failed to work, and the data from the failed runs would be discarded.  I believe that in general this was perfectly logical and reasonable.  But scientists being only human, I cannot believe that discarding the data from "failed" experiments isn't sometimes used a bit more creatively, in order to tweak the data to yield the desired result.

11 hours ago, besleybean said:

But why would you mistrust an experiment that can be repeated time and again and produce the same results?

I doubt that Artemis is saying she doesn't trust reliably repeatable experiments.  But an awful lot of science consists of interpreting real-world data, and those experiments can't be precisely repeated.

I think the biggest problem (again because scientists are only human) is that many scientific studies are performed not to find out *what* will happen, but rather to prove that a certain pre-specified conclusion will occur.  This may be because the researchers are hired by vested interests or because the researchers themselves are convinced that a certain outcome *should* occur.

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I am sorry, but I feel that is a misunderstanding of the scientific process.

Scientists develop a theory, then they experiment to see if they are correct.

Sometimes they don't get the results they expect, but if repeating the experiment gives the same results then they have to accept the evidence there.

This is science.

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Yes, that is science.  But it may be that not all researchers follow that procedure or have that attitude.

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That appears a rather bold claim to make, any evidence to back that up?

Plus, any instances why this particulatly matters?

I mean have you heard of a resercher producing evidence, that you have reason to believe may be utrue?

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Well, scientists are only humans and so of course science suffers from human nature just like everything else we touch. 

What I was trying to argue for earlier was that I think the word "believe" is misapplied when talking about scientific findings. Of course we can't go and reproduce every study on earth to see for ourselves. But trusting in the reliability of sources is not the same as faith. 

I read an opinion piece in a German news magazine the other day where the author said that the biggest threat to the environment was the politization of environmental concerns. Somehow, taking climate change, pollution and waste seriously has become a "left" issue which makes conservative people more likely to be skeptical and fosters resistance to perhaps necessary action from roughly half of the population. I guess that's why none of these things are a big hit with many fundamentalists, they tend to lean to the right politically, don't they? 

I doubt it has much to do with religion per se. I mean, nowhere does the Bible say "though shalt pollute the air."

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5 hours ago, besleybean said:

That appears a rather bold claim to make, any evidence to back that up?

Plus, any instances why this particulatly matters?

I mean have you heard of a resercher producing evidence, that you have reason to believe may be utrue?

I have heard of such things, yes.  Of course I have no way of knowing for certain whether those reports are true.  But considering that many researchers are either employees or paid consultants of an entity with a vested interest in the outcome, I find it quite believable.

I'm not necessarily saying that I suspect anybody is lying for money (or to support their own reputation, etc.), but real life results are rarely black and white, so it'd be very easy to interpret things a bit one way or the other.

Just call me skeptical.

2 hours ago, T.o.b.y said:

... trusting in the reliability of sources is not the same as faith.

What if that source is the Bible?

 

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2 hours ago, T.o.b.y said:

I doubt it has much to do with religion per se.

^ I agree.

 

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4 hours ago, T.o.b.y said:

Well, scientists are only humans and so of course science suffers from human nature just like everything else we touch. 

What I was trying to argue for earlier was that I think the word "believe" is misapplied when talking about scientific findings. Of course we can't go and reproduce every study on earth to see for ourselves. But trusting in the reliability of sources is not the same as faith. 

I think that's what I was trying to say as well; words have various shades of meaning and I think saying "I believe this Bible passage" and "I believe this scientific finding" are two different kinds of belief, even though we use the same word to describe them, because they are two different kinds of things. Alas, I'm too tired and addled to express my point any more clearly; my brain hurts! :( 

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Okay, this is the kind of thing that makes me nutz…..

Megachurch pastor tells church to stop going to yoga, because of its 'demonic roots'

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The pastor/principal of the church/school I attended as a kid used to preach on the “evils” of everything, one of those things being video games.  Then one night my mom and I were at a movie rental place, and we saw the pastor there with his son, playing a video game, aggressively trying to defeat something-or-other.  When he finally saw us watching him, all the color drained from his face, and he quickly pretended to be showing his son why video games were “wrong”.  Lol.

Practically everything was forbidden at that place.  All movies except a small selection, singing anything not a traditional hymn or folk song, dancing of any kind, women in pants (or skirts above the knee), etc.  I was sent to the principal’s office once over a finger dance, and again for singing a Mariah Carey song that my mom listened to at home.

 

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On 11/12/2018 at 11:54 AM, Artemis said:

Is that better?  :P

YEAH!!!

And my work here is done.

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