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Which Religion Are You?
Christianity 23%  23%  [ 25 ]
Judaism 5%  5%  [ 5 ]
Islam 2%  2%  [ 2 ]
Buddhism 6%  6%  [ 7 ]
Hinduism 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Agnostic/Atheist 47%  47%  [ 51 ]
Other 17%  17%  [ 18 ]
Total votes : 109

MrLoony
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06 Jul 2009, 6:30 pm

MattShizzle wrote:
Pascal's wager is garbage. First of all it's a false dichotomy - picking the "wrong" religion is normally seen by a religion as just as bad - if not worse - than atheism. It also forgets an all knowing god would know whether you really believed or were just "hedging your bets." It's also false that you lose nothing by believing if there is no god - restrictions on behavior, time wasted praying/in church, stress worrying about going to hell, etc.


I think you're assuming "religious" means "Catholic."

1. First, who says that God or the gods are all-knowing? Here's the other thing - Who says that He/they care if you believe or not? Who says that living your life as if you are of that religion is not enough?
2. Many restrictions on behavior are moral ones, which is why you'd find a religion whose moral arguments you believe anyway. It just means that you would not bend your morals (which is done much more often than people should, athiest or not). Yes, there are other restrictions that some religions place. If you're unwilling to live by those, find another one. There are literally thousands of religions. Finding one that fits what you believe is right shouldn't be too hard. And, if you can't find one, make your own (a la Alan Moore).
3. You're assuming that all religions require you to spend time praying or in church. Even if you look at the Bible/Torah, you'll find that Judeo-Christian belief (pre-Catholicism) rejects the idea of ritual, and instead tells its readers to live the religion, not practice it.
4. So, you're worried about going to Hell? I take it you're a Zoroastrian, then? Even without going into that theological argument, what do you have to worry about if you live a moral life according to the beliefs set forth by the religion you chose?

Going back to Occam's Razor: The idea of Occam's Razor being applied to religion has many flaws. There really is no simple explanation of how the universe came to create life (including how it was capable of supporting life), or how so many religions that are so similar managed to appear at roughly the same time (Axial Period) in parts of the world that really were not connected at all. The best that the absolute best scientists in the world have managed to come up with is coincidence. The circumstances of the world do not lend itself to Occam's Razor in religious thinking. It requires logical thought, one's own experience (outside of religious institutions! Just because you had bad experiences with Catholics doesn't mean that all of religion, or even just Christianity, is foolishness), and a lot of time and research. My sister is one of the few athiests I have met that actually spent time in long contemplation and study of the various religions. I'm still not sure she ever managed to touch on Shintoism, Deism, and a number of others.


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twoshots
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06 Jul 2009, 10:47 pm

MrLoony wrote:
MattShizzle wrote:
Pascal's wager is garbage. First of all it's a false dichotomy - picking the "wrong" religion is normally seen by a religion as just as bad - if not worse - than atheism. It also forgets an all knowing god would know whether you really believed or were just "hedging your bets." It's also false that you lose nothing by believing if there is no god - restrictions on behavior, time wasted praying/in church, stress worrying about going to hell, etc.


I think you're assuming "religious" means "Catholic."

1. First, who says that God or the gods are all-knowing? Here's the other thing - Who says that He/they care if you believe or not? Who says that living your life as if you are of that religion is not enough?

That's really the problem with Pascal's Wager right there. Unless you can reduce the choices, it is logically possible to suppose that God doesn't care, that he punished blind faith, or really, quite frankly, anything you like as long as it is logically coherent. Pascal's Wager cannot be a good ground for belief in any religion.


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MrLoony
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06 Jul 2009, 11:08 pm

twoshots wrote:
MrLoony wrote:
MattShizzle wrote:
Pascal's wager is garbage. First of all it's a false dichotomy - picking the "wrong" religion is normally seen by a religion as just as bad - if not worse - than atheism. It also forgets an all knowing god would know whether you really believed or were just "hedging your bets." It's also false that you lose nothing by believing if there is no god - restrictions on behavior, time wasted praying/in church, stress worrying about going to hell, etc.


I think you're assuming "religious" means "Catholic."

1. First, who says that God or the gods are all-knowing? Here's the other thing - Who says that He/they care if you believe or not? Who says that living your life as if you are of that religion is not enough?

That's really the problem with Pascal's Wager right there. Unless you can reduce the choices, it is logically possible to suppose that God doesn't care, that he punished blind faith, or really, quite frankly, anything you like as long as it is logically coherent. Pascal's Wager cannot be a good ground for belief in any religion.


So you use logic to determine what religion is right for you. Whatever God rewards, it cannot be a complete dismissal of all religion based on assumptions about religion in general and coincidence. That is blind faith working against him.


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Meta
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07 Jul 2009, 12:41 am

Occam's razor does not apply unless we talk about two or more theories which both have similar powers of explanation.

If we assume consistency and one shared reality then some religions can explain some aspects of reality, some fail when tested against reality. We can use the scientific method and observable facts to separate the fantasy and myths from the facts. The point is that not every religion is equal in this regard: Some are more scientifically sound then others.

Atheism does not explain anything. At best their explanation of a billion things is "it just happened". Monotheist only assume that one singular thing has always been there outside of time and space, outside this universe. By our current (scientific) definition of the word this one thing (God) is the only thing that is natural, all other things (including us) where created and therefor artificial.

Even the theory of evolution fails in this regard: It assumes, against evidence to the contrary, that the right kind of variation will be realized to be preserved by natural selection. This just does not happen! Yes there is variation but this is very limited. For example: On the galapagos islands observable evolution is strictly periodical not progressive.

An even bigger problem is that no known evolutionary (computer) algorithm has ever produced modular designs, the structures that evolve by these methods are always completely alien to us and don't look at all like something we -- or any intelligence -- would have designed. (Show me any zero-knowledge, informationally closed, evolutionary algorithm that does generate modular designs which look like intelligently designed and I would be convinced.)

We don't have equal but different theories, so occams razor does not apply.



monty
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07 Jul 2009, 1:32 pm

Meta wrote:
Atheism does not explain anything.


True, and not having a favorite team does not explain who should win the Superbowl or World Series. Or five pounds of flax.

Is it the job of religion to explain the origins of the universe, or how we should be good to others? Many people think so, but I am not so sure. We can use astrophysics, logic, psychology, game theory, or other modes of inquiry to address these questions. The ancients may have come to some good conclusions about conduct, but in many ways, they were cracked.

Quote:
Even the theory of evolution fails in this regard: It assumes, against evidence to the contrary, that the right kind of variation will be realized to be preserved by natural selection. This just does not happen! Yes there is variation but this is very limited. For example: On the galapagos islands observable evolution is strictly periodical not progressive.


Sure it happens - lots of different variation occurs, and some survives, either through better adaptation, or through randomness (drift). The fact that long-term change is not linear is irrelevant. In fact, the rarer, more substantial changes would be expected to cause a pulse of subsequent change.

And genetic algorithms can lead to modular components - consider :
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_o ... 6dad534d11



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07 Jul 2009, 1:55 pm

What if there's a god that doesn't care if you're an atheist but will damn you if you believe in any other god - and he hasn't revealed himself? What if there's one who will only save those who don't believe? What if it's based on something you wouldn't think like hair color or it's totally random?



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07 Jul 2009, 3:20 pm

Michjo wrote:
phil777 wrote:
Isn't it more like the lack thereof?

No, the way most gods and deities are described it would be 100% impossible to disprove them. So claiming they do not exist requires faith.


faith in what?
that the lack of anything will keep lacking?

im an atheist. i have faith in nothing.
i have knowledge in the subjects i care about, such as animals and history.
there is NOTHING in my reality, that i "believe" in, or have "faith" in. religious people will never ever understand this way of thinking, since to them, everything requires faith.

im not gonna debate this tho, cus it would be my 190th time on this forum, and im sick of it.


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Awesomelyglorious
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07 Jul 2009, 3:26 pm

All of the above AND MORE!

:P



Henriksson
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07 Jul 2009, 3:29 pm

ZEGH8578 wrote:
Michjo wrote:
phil777 wrote:
Isn't it more like the lack thereof?

No, the way most gods and deities are described it would be 100% impossible to disprove them. So claiming they do not exist requires faith.


faith in what?
that the lack of anything will keep lacking?

im an atheist. i have faith in nothing.
i have knowledge in the subjects i care about, such as animals and history.
there is NOTHING in my reality, that i "believe" in, or have "faith" in. religious people will never ever understand this way of thinking, since to them, everything requires faith.

im not gonna debate this tho, cus it would be my 190th time on this forum, and im sick of it.

I only have belief in three things:

There is an external world that exists independently of our minds.
There are quantifiable natural laws that describe how things happen in this world, and we can attempt to understand them.
These natural laws won’t change when we’re not looking; the universe isn’t totally chaotic.


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07 Jul 2009, 3:38 pm

I'm agnostic.


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exhausted
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07 Jul 2009, 3:46 pm

sigh... i'm not sure i even make sense of the categories anymore. if i check other, can i just say: i understand it even less than i understand the whole notion of "gender?"


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Meta
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07 Jul 2009, 4:05 pm

I have mostly trouble with the "are" in the topic question.

People should not belong to categories?

People have convictions, convictions don't have people.

(Think: tags vs. categories)

Better questions would have been:

Which religion do you associate with? (disregarding convictions)

and

Which convictions do you have? (disregarding association)



alba
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07 Jul 2009, 5:13 pm

Advaita Vedanta is the spiritual philosophy to which I subscribe. Also a bit of Buddhism and Christianity. I do not believe in a personal god or creator god.



Meta
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07 Jul 2009, 6:28 pm

Henriksson wrote:
I only have belief in three things:
There is an external world that exists independently of our minds.
No, I think that our minds are part of this observable reality and very much inter-dependent upon this observable reality.
Henriksson wrote:
There are quantifiable natural laws that describe how things happen in this world, and we can attempt to understand them.
I have serious doubts that there is such a thing as a Theory of Everything. Mathematics doesn't have a ToE?
Henriksson wrote:
These natural laws won’t change when we’re not looking; the universe isn’t totally chaotic.
But maybe it's implemented using lazy evaluation? This would explain a lot of observable quantum weirdness.



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07 Jul 2009, 6:57 pm

monty wrote:
Meta wrote:
Atheism does not explain anything.


True, and not having a favorite team does not explain who should win the Superbowl or World Series. Or five pounds of flax.

Is it the job of religion to explain the origins of the universe, or how we should be good to others? Many people think so, but I am not so sure.


Actually, it's the job of philosophy. The thing about religion is that it always has philosophy as an integral part of its nature.

MattShizzle wrote:
What if there's a god that doesn't care if you're an atheist but will damn you if you believe in any other god - and he hasn't revealed himself? What if there's one who will only save those who don't believe? What if it's based on something you wouldn't think like hair color or it's totally random?


Considering what little sense that makes, I'm not worried. What if there's a god that would damn you if you're an athiest and has revealed himself, as is more likely?

Or what if you could gain benefits in this life by following a religion that you believe in, as is actual fact in the case of some religions?

Or, instead of just discarding religion offhand, why not study it and take what wisdom that you can from each of the separate religions?


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07 Jul 2009, 7:06 pm

Well, a god that had revealed himself through an idiotic book and would damn people for non-belief or believing in another idiotic book would be evil. Belief isn't a choice. Any god deserving the title would make obvious to anyone and everyone he was real and make his rules clear to all too. Since what religion a person is depends almost completely on where he or she is born that isn't the case. I can't say for sure there is no god at all, but I am actually more sure that the Judeo-Christian-Islamic god does not exist than I am sure that I do exist. Even the Flying Spaghetti Monster makes more logical sense than that monster.