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Thread: Psalm 14: Who was Jesus' grandpa?

  1. #591
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia
    And Fenn, it's because Christians are not evil (gasp). The religion may sow some bad seeds but most of them know right from wrong just as well as the rest of us. The only thing we can really peg 'em on is being really homophobic, but that's common even among non-Christians (esp. last-generation Asians, who hold fast to extremely outdated values), so it's not even a "Christian" thing. If you're waiting for another Crusade, it's not gonna happen. Society has evolved way too much.
    Precisely. Which is why I can't comprehend some of the sentiments shown in this thread which are quickly becoming something like "In 2010 someone died every 2 minutes at the hands of an evil Christian."

  2. #592
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn View Post
    Precisely. Which is why I can't comprehend some of the sentiments shown in this thread which are quickly becoming something like "In 2010 someone died every 2 minutes at the hands of an evil Christian."
    It's kind of like if I had a copy of Mein Kampf and started preaching it as the one truth. Some people picked and chose parts they thought were nice, and adopted the dress and mannerisms of the Nazi regime. Most people didn't ever hurt another person, let alone commit genocide, but they were still in favour of a pure-bred Aryan race, although they were 'tolerant' of non-Aryans. However, some read the whole of Mein Kampf, studied it hard, and tried to apply it to real life by rebuilding the Third Reich. Most neo-Nazis thought these fundamentalists were crazy.

    That would still be pretty bad. The reasons people give for Christianity being good aren't unique to Christianity or even to religion. Everything religion provides can be provided by secular communities, and there are secular communities without the hateful and superstitious material that comprise the majority of most religious texts. Religion's main use in the modern day is to fulfill deep psychological needs, such as the need for the sublime, ritual and ecstasy, but that those needs are not being met outside of religion tells us something about the problems with modern society, not about the need for religion.

    Hyperreality, simulacra, nihilism, over-the-top rationalism, depreciation of art, mass culture, conformity, collectivism, and materialism are far more to blame for the death of hope and happiness than atheism.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  3. #593
    One Thousand Member Regantor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    Whoa whoa whoa. I have a personal issue with this. Though I don't doubt these things can influence a person, I wouldn't place blame entirely on them.
    You have me all wrong, dude! Sorry if I wasn't very clear on that point, but I've at least had my own share of childhood homelessness and gang-heavy schooling to know vaguely where you are coming from. I totally agree that living an arduous life frequently makes for a better person, aswell.

    The real point that I was trying to put across is that society can decide what is and what isn't socially acceptable. It's a cornerstone of my beliefs is that a person can't be bad just because of their personal genetic makeup. It's this idea of being 'special' that society breeds, a certain brand of self superiority that frequently finds an excuse to become socially acceptable and thus rampant; Even if it's not technically acceptable by law.

    Presidents, popes and gang bosses, they are all just fancy words for the 'chosen' guy with a big stick, at least in my experience. I don't at all think that all Christians are intrinsically evil, on a similar page. Just that everything they are taught is skewed and filtered by the aforementioned self-declared Übermensch.

    Would a crack dealer or serial killer ever have become that way without the (sometimes indirect) promise of money, power, or some forbidden pleasure? Social acceptance into some obscure echelon, even? I'm not so sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    Technically, no. Like I said, I'd argue "God" is no different from a scientist watching over a culture. He just puts things into the mix and watches them play out. In this case, he threw some microorganisms into the mix and disease was the result.
    What's wrong with being pro-human? I agree that it's childish to say that humans should just wipe everything else out, and that none of the rest of the world matters. I won't even dispute the idea behind worshiping a god that is not human centric. It's not like everything in the universe has to line up with our expectations, in fact, that's precisely why I'm not religious in the first place.

    But if we are ever going to become more than the semi-animals that we still are, and thus become something that actually makes a difference to this hostile universe we are stuck in, preserving our own interests first does sort of make itself a priority. We are the only species with an active effort in saving other, less sentient, species, after all.

    I know, I know, it all sounds arrogant. Pompous, probably. But it's not like i'm saying we will definitely succeed. I'm just saying there are greater glories to be had, and it would be nice if we tired to reach out for them, rather than waiting on some titanic social collapse to cull our population.

    Thinking of what we could really do in the future, given enough time... That's what makes me loose interest in the concept of an overbearing god entirely.

    If somebody could logically prove to me a reason what use a god would serve, knowing all this, I'd take religion arguments more seriously. Convenience is not a use.
    Last edited by Regantor; 10-17-2011 at 11:47 AM.

  4. #594
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    It's kind of like if I had a copy of Mein Kampf and started preaching it as the one truth. Some people picked and chose parts they thought were nice, and adopted the dress and mannerisms of the Nazi regime. Most people didn't ever hurt another person, let alone commit genocide, but they were still in favour of a pure-bred Aryan race, although they were 'tolerant' of non-Aryans. However, some read the whole of Mein Kampf, studied it hard, and tried to apply it to real life by rebuilding the Third Reich. Most neo-Nazis thought these fundamentalists were crazy.

    That would still be pretty bad. The reasons people give for Christianity being good aren't unique to Christianity or even to religion. Everything religion provides can be provided by secular communities, and there are secular communities without the hateful and superstitious material that comprise the majority of most religious texts. Religion's main use in the modern day is to fulfill deep psychological needs, such as the need for the sublime, ritual and ecstasy, but that those needs are not being met outside of religion tells us something about the problems with modern society, not about the need for religion.
    Well okay, I can see the comparison. And the nazi mentality has died (with a few modern exceptions). Christianity, for whatever reason, has stayed for far longer, and I see little chance of ending it within my lifetime. So I find demonizing it as if the Crusades were still going on wasteful.

    Many of our children's stories and fairytales were really horrific originally. Cinderella's evil step sisters cut off their toes to fit their feet in the slipper, and had their eyes gouged out in the end. When we decided these were not appropriate for our children, did we stop telling them? No, we pacified and corrected them until they were harmless. This seems like a more realistic solution to religion then trying to grind it to a halt. If they aren't hurting anyone else, who cares?

    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    Hyperreality, simulacra, nihilism, over-the-top rationalism, depreciation of art, mass culture, conformity, collectivism, and materialism are far more to blame for the death of hope and happiness than atheism.
    Yes. Not to be rude but what was the point of that exactly? I wasn't making even the slightest attack on atheism.

  5. #595
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regantor View Post
    But if we are ever going to become more than the semi-animals that we still are, and thus become something that actually makes a difference to this hostile universe we are stuck in, preserving our own interests first does sort of make itself a priority. We are the only species with an active effort in saving other, less sentient, species, after all.
    Why become 'more' than semi-animals? I agree that humans are governed both by their passions and by rationality (which is the implicit meaning of calling us 'semi-animals', no?), but acceptance of both passion and logic makes more sense than denying passion and becoming nihilistic drones or denying logic and becoming schizophrenic Jesus freaks. Romanticism and modernism are dead; post-modernism lives.

    But yeah, the human shall inherit the earth. Denying the (subjective, emotional) importance of humanity is one of the most inhuman, terrifying things that anybody can do.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    Christianity, for whatever reason, has stayed for far longer, and I see little chance of ending it within my lifetime. So I find demonizing it as if the Crusades were still going on wasteful.
    It's destructive, conformist, encourages an uncritical acceptance of facts, pacifies, destroys original thought, and programs people with predetermined emotional 'buttons' that can be pushed with the use of certain tropes. Most people uncritically accept murder as evil, for example, which comes from Christianity. While Christianity isn't as violent as it once was, it still has a malign influence on culture and is the antithesis of originality, cultural innovation, and emotion. Not that I don't think most religions are equally bad.

    You can't just pacify religion: in fact, I think that's the worst thing you could do to it. Religion has cultural merits that should be kept alive. Turning it into some sort of taboo will only make it stronger, and discourage people from investigating the power and the influence that's characterised religion since the beginning. Keep the stories alive, just make sure nobody's enough of an idiot to start believing in them. Only children believe in fairies, but we can still study their origins in myth and folklore.

    EDIT 2: hyperreality etc. really piss me off, sorry for bringing that into the debate
    Last edited by Delphinus; 10-17-2011 at 12:31 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  6. #596
    One Thousand Member Regantor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    Why become 'more' than semi-animals?
    Just a quicky- I meant becoming more than semi-animal in terms of ability, intelligence and influence, not becoming a cultureless hivemind. I'm not advocating mind control. But, as you later suggested, there is a difference between fantasizing about something and actually believing it.

  7. #597
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Ah, okay, I see Reg. Yeah, I can agree with you on the first point.

    Though there is nothing wrong with being pro-human, the point I was making is that it skews our concept of "cruelty". The idea of "God" seems villainous to us //because// we are pro-human and it seems like he does so much to detriment us. It's because we're taking sides, and when one takes sides one becomes sympathetic. Imagine taking a child who knows nothing about baseball to a baseball game. He does not favor either team and acknowledges that they are competing toward the same end, therefore he is neither upset or elated when one side wins and the other side loses. Whereas, if we like one team, we're either happy or upset by the outcome. In the case of disease, those damn viruses are beating the CRAP out of us and we're upset because we're rooting for Team Human. But if we zoom out for a second, and consider that the world is an ecosystem where things constantly prey on one another, then we can understand that viruses are not cruel--they are simply "winning". That's what I meant.

    I would like to address "making a difference", though. When and if we do make a difference, who is it for? Furthermore, we often do make efforts to save other species, but it's mostly from ourselves. We're pretty much responsible for every recent extinction. This relates back to the forest fire thing: we are the biggest disaster to happen to this planet. Whatever we do to "help" this planet is basically just an effort to hurt it a little less than we normally do. If God is a villain, then we are his ultimate tools of destruction.

  8. #598
    One Thousand Member Regantor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    Though there is nothing wrong with being pro-human, the point I was making is that it skews our concept of "cruelty". The idea of "God" seems villainous to us //because// we are pro-human and it seems like he does so much to detriment us. It's because we're taking sides, and when one takes sides one becomes sympathetic.
    I can see you're logic, and I do pretty much agree. I'm just saying that being sympathetic to humans over other species is not exactly a bad thing, mostly because nobody else is going to take our side by the same logic. Call it a biological cold war.

    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    I would like to address "making a difference", though. When and if we do make a difference, who is it for? Furthermore, we often do make efforts to save other species, but it's mostly from ourselves. We're pretty much responsible for every recent extinction. This relates back to the forest fire thing: we are the biggest disaster to happen to this planet. Whatever we do to "help" this planet is basically just an effort to hurt it a little less than we normally do. If God is a villain, then we are his ultimate tools of destruction.
    Since we can't exactly live without it right now, I'd say preserving the environment is definitely important. Understatement of the year. Killing off a major portion, even if we didn't need it, would be a pretty childish, animalistic thing to do regardless, but it wouldn't be the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to the planet.

    The meteor impact which killed off the dinosaurs, the multiple ice ages, even going right back to the dissipation of the bacterial mat caused by the very first of earth's carnivores... Mass extinction is waiting around every corner, which is why I think it is important that humanity finds a way to dodge the bullet before it inevitably occurs.

    I don't really see what you think the alternative for our future is, if not nihilistic from a human perspective. I don't want to jump to conclusions. Care to share it with us?
    Last edited by Regantor; 10-17-2011 at 01:16 PM.

  9. #599
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    It's destructive, conformist, encourages an uncritical acceptance of facts, pacifies, destroys original thought, and programs people with predetermined emotional 'buttons' that can be pushed with the use of certain tropes. Most people uncritically accept murder as evil, for example, which comes from Christianity. While Christianity isn't as violent as it once was, it still has a malign influence on culture and is the antithesis of originality, cultural innovation, and emotion. Not that I don't think most religions are equally bad.

    You can't just pacify religion: in fact, I think that's the worst thing you could do to it. Religion has cultural merits that should be kept alive. Turning it into some sort of taboo will only make it stronger, and discourage people from investigating the power and the influence that's characterised religion since the beginning. Keep the stories alive, just make sure nobody's enough of an idiot to start believing in them. Only children believe in fairies, but we can still study their origins in myth and folklore.

    EDIT 2: hyperreality etc. really piss me off, sorry for bringing that into the debate
    Hey I've had similar thoughts. It's similar to the idea Santa Claus: just because you find out he's not real doesn't mean it's not good to understand the value of giving. The stories as fiction can still be powerful.

    The idea that Christianity breeds ignorance of logic and promotes acceptance of facts is true of children, but might it be the opposite for adults? I'd argue the design of Christianity targets and fits perfectly into the ideas and rationale of people who already practice irreverence of reason and convenient defiance of logic.

  10. #600
    Father Christmas is all about receiving.

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