What Do People Know About What They Pretend to Discuss?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Tiassa, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It's understandable that it all gets boiled down to more basic issues on a forum of this sort. Many of the theists on here are rather extreme and there is no real "discussion" possible.

    Any that aren't extreme (either on here or in life in general) aren't necessarily causing the problems that vocal atheists are out to address. Therefore "debates" tend to be the basic one's that we see on here.

    I don't really see much need for a forum on Religion unless this site becomes more of a general discussion forum that attracts more moderate and thoughtful discussion. Even then I think most of the discussion in the Religion forum would then tend to just be among the "faithful".

    I'm not suggesting that the Religion forum not be here. I just don't see that it's ever accomplished much (probably largely due to Jan) but in general there just isn't much to talk about.

    That doesn't mean I won't post in any Religion threads. You take what you get here sometimes but in a more balanced forum I probably wouldn't be in that sub-forum very often.
     
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Ignore Kristeva: Click to headbang.

    So, hey, and just for instance: You think, maybe, if you had a better clue about religion, you might have something more useful to say about Roy Moore than two-bit politicking in a manner reinforcing rape culture?

    No, really, do you think maybe if you understood a little more of the literary and historical record describing the development of these beliefs and behaviors, you might be able to accomplish something more useful than reinforcing rape culture by subordinating women and their stories to your political need?

    No, really. You can't argue shit about what it actually is without having some clue of what it is supposed to be. If a murdering, raping high priest shouts, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!" are you going to accept his claim that this is Christianity?

    See, that's the thing about this desk-potato sloth:

    No. Really. Seriously. This is part of the reason why, when staring at the beating heart of American rape culture, the best you can come up with is complaining about Republicans↗, and a defense of the "grey area question" of "unintentional" sexual harassment↗, these territories requiring deliberately disrespectful presuppositions.

    If someone tells you asking about her panties is respectful, will you believe them like you do any half-wit pretending religion? (Is it, instead, "not disrespectful"? If so, what is difference?)

    Seriously. Really. I mean, fuck, dude, whatever. Despite your claim that "these shallow critics often know what they are talking about, and speak accurately of it", the audience has long stopped waiting for them to show it. Because compared to such claims, your inability to countenance rape culture, as such, only labors to advance it.

    You behave as if this is simply about pride, but what pride do you expect to have in skeezing your way through a two-bit hack job? You have a clue? Show it. You want people to believe this about anything but your own ignorant bigotry, show it. Same with any of "them".

    But compared to the literary and historical record, at some point the critique needs to attend Christianity more directly than, "Hey, they rape, they believe in God, there is no God, there you go."

    Hey, you know that weird dispute about Islamist terrorism and the question of virgins or raisins? Meanwhile, have you ever heard the story of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible? The overlap is that the bit about whether a virgin means a young woman or a woman without sexual experience is weirdly relevant because it was one of many disputes arising around the RSV. The fun part doesn't have to do with virgins, per se; the question had to do with the prevailing narrative, a notion you sometimes have trouble with. But sometimes the definitions tell us whether one is reading an "originalist" version according to the records available, or a "subject" version revised to suit secondary needs. And maybe terms like "Hebrew Scripture" and "Christian Scripture" seem like mere questions of respect in terms of pride, but therein lay the heart of the dispute; the RSV, in abiding Hebrew regard for words, broke the presupposition that these elements, including virgin birth, were not experiences unto themselves but, rather, precursors to the Christian experience. That is to say, if the Hebrew Scriptures are Hebrew, and not Christian, it fucks up the prophecies. It's kind of interesting, to the one, since what happened was they all went back to the planning table and tried again, but the New Revised Standard Version only exacerbated the complaints of Christian decontextualization; the more accurate the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures according to the Hebrew experience, the less stable the Christian foundation, or so the objectors seem to complain; these years later, if you know any KJV advocates, this is part of the reason why. Still, think about the difference 'twixt definitions of the word virgin, and then go ahead and wonder, cynically and superficially, at the idea that Christianity as we've known it in our lifetime can actually come apart over this.

    I know, I know, it seems obscure. And, yeah, it's a huge puzzle; no bit of trivia holds such answers.

    But it's been about women, or, at least, a woman, what, since the proverbial beginning. Woman is the stuff of legendary utility since the beginning of human storytelling. By the time we get to the tenth century of the common era recalling the eighth of the prior, it's an old story, but we can guess the tale of Misda seducing Qudar had been around long before Muhammad replaced Saleh in the Testimony. No, really, you'd think at some point they could come up with a better reason for destroying everything than an outsider having an affair with a wicked woman sent to compel him to do what the empowerment majority wanted but was afraid to do themselves. There are days when it doesn't matter whether we recall Troy or Eden or Hegra; it's always about a girl.

    The ridiculous tragedy that is the Roy Moore spectacle reminds that sometimes it is useful to have a clue. If we should intend to consider the tale in some context regarding history, i.e., how we found our way to this circumstance, which in turn is a fundamental question if we might be at all useful in comprehending what is happening and figuring out what to do about it, at some point we need to stop relying on what people we don't trust tell us and scrutinize what they tell us against what they claim it to be.

    Still, don't fret; there will, someday, be humor in it all. There will come an occasion, for instance, when we find ourselves faced with the prospect of explaining to a claimant why they cannot properly call themselves a theistic atheist, and what will be really fucking hilarious about it all is that atheists will lose the argument; not because they will be wrong, but, rather, for failing to actually make the proper argument. Well, you know, as long as they let the unreliable claimants define the terms.
     
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  5. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe the terms of the discussion are never established. Obviously when you have opposing views not much will be resolved. I personally have no problem with atheists expressing their opinions. Also, what's the issue with Jan?
     
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Christian authority absolutely forbids bearing false witness like that.
    So do I conclude you - and anyone else who deals in ignorantly foolish presumption at that level of juvenilia - cannot be Christian? Personally, I don't think that's valid reasoning - regardless of how Christianity is supposed to influence behavior, the manner in which it does influence behavior remains an important characteristic of that religion. You might very well be Christian, despite that post.
    Fortunately, I'm not in that position. But suppose I were:
    Supposed to be according to whom?
    Seriously: who determines what Christianity is supposed to be, with such authority that they can overrule observation and evidence of what the bulk of it is?
    Taking the word of an authority, against observation and evidence, would be your approach, not mine. I specifically and explicitly rejected that approach, which is what launched you on this ranting in the first place. You appear to be projecting.
    Here's the quote, from my post in that other, different, only tangentially relevant thread:
    "The grey area question would not be whether these actions are "unintentional", but what the intention is.
    If you pretend there are not very ugly intentions, much worse than others, you provide cover for the ugly - they hide in plain sight, under the cover you have thrown them."
    As you can see, what I actually posted is going to be almost the opposite of "defense of the "grey area question" of "unintentional" sexual harassment", regardless of whatever that turns out to mean (defending a grey area question is what, exactly?).
    Did you have trouble reading that with comprehension, or do you have overriding issues that justify this kind of fundamental dishonesty here?
    Things you apparently have no clue about:
    The relevance of the Roy Moore spectacle, and its dedicated (and quite sufficient) thread, to this thread.
    The content of my posting in that thread, and this one.
    My background and education in the Christian religion, its history and issues.

    But hey - the nature of your posting does indeed remind us, of not only that but when it is useful to have a clue. When assuming a moral high ground, would be one such time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Define "issue". Define "Jan". Define "talking to a brick".
     
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  9. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting to have sometimes, but not really necessary. Christianity codified the model of a patriarchal society started by the Jews, where woman were considered hardly more than property, but I don't need to know that to believe Roy Moore violated all kinds of modern laws. Unless you are talking about a scholarly approach to religion, which I totally respect, theological studies aren't a real subject. Theology is a fake degree, like being an expert in homeopathy.
     
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  10. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Define " Define"
    Alex
     
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Good point. If we don't get these issues pinned down, how can be even start to debate?
     
  12. Seaman Registered Member

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    I consider myself to be a liberal Christian.
    What do you want to discuss ?
     
  13. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

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    This sounds like an excuse for one's own behavior along the lines of, they are not rational (fill in some other positive adjective) so why should I be? Well, if you think of yourself as rational, might as well engage that way or ignore the issue. I cannot see any possible rational argument for behaving otherwise. The theists are not responsible for the behavior of atheists. IN any discussion both sides can be irrational, fill in your negative adjective of choice. And there is little excuse in blaimng the other for doing the very thing you think distinguishes your team
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Quite often on sciforums we find that the atheists are better informed about religion than the believers who come here to argue with them.

    For starters, we mostly attract American fundamentalist Christians to discuss the well-worn topics of "Is God real?" and "Is the bible literally true?" When it comes to biblical knowledge, for example, the atheists (some of us, anyway) often run rings around the self-proclaimed theists. There are many reasons why this might be expected, which we can discuss if you like.

    That sounds like a specific criticism of our membership. It would probably be best if you provide particular examples of the kind of thing you're referring to.

    This sounds like a plea for a better educated brand of theist to visit sciforums.

    People at sciforums traditionally believe themselves to be smarter than average, on average. The quality of religious debate we tend to get from occasional theistic visitors is often low. In part this is because, for some reason, we tend to attract American Christian fundamentalists who come here to pick a fight, or else merely to preach or proselytise.

    ----
    On the one hand, we have threads started by theists. The level and topic of debate is often set by those theists themselves. If they choose to debate the topic of Genesis as literal truth, for example, then a certain level of ridicule almost inevitably follows. Mind you, that usually comes with concrete reasons as to why the assertion of literal truth in Genesis is untenable.

    On the other hand, we do get some threads started by atheists which attack religion (typically fundamentalist Christianity) at a fairly puerile level.

    Point is: the level of any debate is determined largely by the participants themselves. More sophisticated conversations and debates do occur from time to time. It depends on the commitment and interest and intentions of the participants.

    -------
    It's worth bearing in mind that religion has been in the ascendency historically for a long time. Since about 2005, atheism has had a resurgence in popularity. There is, in part, a bandwagon effect at work, no doubt. Human beings are tribal beings, and atheism is now a point of identity in a way that it wasn't in the last century. The rise in the social power of atheists has also led to some backlash against religion and the kind of self-assertion you mention.

    It used to be the case that certain ideas could not be politely discussed. It was implicitly understood that religion is a matter of faith, and a personal matter, so it was thought impolite to question its fundamentals publically. That has changed (in the West). The result is that some religious people feel threatened because they now feel like they have to defend their ideas against various challenges that would have been less common in the past.

    sciforums has its own particular demographics which has led to the unusual situation here of atheists feeling very comfortable here with speaking out on religious matters.

    I agree with you that for some atheists, atheism is like another religious club they can join. By and large, however, it is not the atheists of this ilk that are making the most incisive arguments against religion.

    It is also true that atheism can be a reaction against a particular faith upbringing. Here, we inevitably find a lot of people who have grown up in the milieu of American Christianity, in all its denominations. So, inevitably, Christianity is the religion with which many of our atheist members are most familiar.
     
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Tiassa:

    Trying to get a straight answer from theists is similarly difficult, I find. You'd think that they would know what they believe in, but when push comes to shove they're often quite vague when it comes to the Big Man in the Sky. Worse than that, they often seem to want to reserve the right to change their definition to suit the argument at hand.

    For the atheist, the problem is that usually you're talking to a particular theist, and you get told constantly that, as an atheist, you're not working with the "correct" definition of the theist's personal idea of God. But when you ask the theist to describe their God it gets all vague and non-specific again. The theist reserves the right to tell the atheist that they don't know the "real" God and can't discuss him, but the theist also refuses to introduce the "real" God to the atheist. I think this is mostly a self-protection mechanism for the theist. I find that a lot of discussions with theists on sciforums involve their trying to present the smallest possible target for their beliefs, so that substantive criticisms of their articles of faith become more difficult to make.

    On the one hand, what you're told is correct. There is no "atheist morality". Atheism, per se, is not concerned with morality. On the other hand, atheists are not, on the whole, immoral people. On the contrary, there is some evidence to suggest that atheists are more moral than religious people, on average. So for the atheist there must be some moral framework that exists in place of the one supposed dictated by religion.

    The truth is that our ideas of morality do not come from religion, primarily. Partly, they are built in, evolutionary adaptations. Some of these ideas have been developed and codified in religion. Elsewhere, moral ideas have been developed and solidified in secular philosophy.

    Many atheists would point the deconverted towards secular ethical ideas, informed by moral philosophies. The most important thing is to reassure the new atheist that atheism does not mean a moral vacuum, as religious scaremongers with an agenda would have it.

    The central difference between atheistic and theistic morality is that theistic morality is based on ideas of authority, reward and punishment. In contrast, "atheist" moralities have many possible foundations. For example, the idea of the "greatest good for the greatest number" is an idea that makes intuitive sense up to a point, and is the foundation of utilitarianism.

    Secular humanism is an add-on to "bare" atheism. It attempts to provide a reasoned justifiable basis for morality, not based on the command of some designated authority figure (such as a deity). There are no secular "commandments", only suggestions about how to live a good life.

    Of course. Ideas interact and inform one another. Atheism does not exist in isolation from other ideas, any more than theism does.
     
  16. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Surely god IS covers ALL bases???

    Adopt that as a standard perhaps?

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  17. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Nothing.
     
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  18. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    I am impressed that you make such a confession on a public forum☺

    Alex
     
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  19. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    fake it till you make it
    classic American moral ideology and culture.
    multi cultural modern dating moral ideology
    fake it till you make with it
     
  20. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    When someone asks me if I believe in God, my first response is for them to define the word. The response I usually get is, "God... you know, like God, dude."

    Not much to work with there.
     
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    So, nothing, then?

    And if we skip, then, over the series of anti-identifications, we come to this in the second post:

    The thing that gets me about this is that it is such pabulum. Try it this way: After all these years, you go out of your way to craft that response that you would already know is insufficient? Or did you not know? James, we have seventeen years common experience here, 'twixt you and me. Why would you give me the introductory swindle brochure?

    I call: Is the reason we only get glossed talking points like that because you aren't capable of offering anything more substantial, or are you just playing to the gallery?

    No, really, it's almost like you don't actually know who and what you're responding to.

    Well, that only took ... well, right, never mind. You're over a year behind schedule; see #9↑ above, because our neighbor's answer makes the point that the demand for some manner of "rational" argument about God is arbitrary and aesthetic.

    †​

    Meanwhile, a functional problem: Atheism simply means without God; it is a statement or condition lacking belief in God, or explicitly refusing belief in God. And that's all it is. So the thing about reservation and interaction is that you're talking about atheism, and religion is a different subject.

    †​

    Out of curiosity, is that somehow news to you? The general tenor of atheistic representation at Sciforums verges into a Poe's Law consideration of stubborn but poorly executed provocateurism intended to discredit the idea that there is no such thing as God; it's been this way for years. It's not actually a discussion of "religion"; it's a political discussion about religion.

    Well, I suppose we can go back and gather the examples from the period. And there have been some interesting episodes since. But there are some examples to consider in this thread, too. For instance, I described↑ an episode in which the best argument one of our atheist neighbors could come up with is to screech about there being no "atheist movement", and, y'know, it was utterly a coincidence that we read news stories of Atheist congregational social gatherings, stylish logos, fundraising efforts, and a coalescing—their word—movement. That's also, I think, tied into the old story about redefining religion to make it easier for atheists to pretend they have a point.

    I happened to mention that one, recently, and it turns out that the idea of atheism empowered enough to actually foul discourse kind of confuses ssome people. More recently, I've tried reminding that the fact of another being wrong does not necessarily require that one is correct.

    It's not so much that religious people are wrong and these brave atheists want to make things right; it's more about covetousness.

    But I've been at this long enough people occasionally decide what my religion is for me. Once upon a time, that was Christians. More recently, it has been atheists. This is a further notch of doubt about the discourse I encounter; the zinger here is that the enlightened should occasionally act like it. But also, as I said, people are having a political discussion about religion, and in that aspect some of this behavior makes perfect sense: Anarchists, for instance, want to smash the state, and haven't much to offer for afterward beyond counterintuitive speculation about human behavior; revolutionaries, by contrast, generally prefer to usurp the power structure.

    In that aspect there are, compared to more traditional outlooks, responses and counterresponses that tend to reiterate the proverbial old way of doing thingts. Atheism, in the context of revolutionary usurpation, is its own question, situated as a response. When challenged, by either new response or ongoing counterresponse, this manner of atheistic argument generally utters counterresponses imitating what the underlying atheism would, by its interactions and information of other notions, spend more effort aping the faith-based behavior it would otherwise pretend to disdain. These seem more interested in usurpation than actually escaping the cycle; they would rather wield the judgment.

    So, let me be clear about something: "What about theists?" as the question recently went, isn't the all-purpose argument some would seem to think it is. Let us return to a string of anti-identifications:

    All these years later, and you still let "theists" lead you around by the nose. I don't know, James, is it easier than thinking for yourself?

    Two other points you noted in that post:

    "On the other hand, we do get some threads started by atheists which attack religion (typically fundamentalist Christianity) at a fairly puerile level."

    "Point is: the level of any debate is determined largely by the participants themselves"

    It's not that we get "some threads" from atheists that "attack religion … at a fairly puerile level"; rather, that's pretty much all we get from them.

    Better theistic discourse isn't coming to Sciforums anytime soon; those people wouldn't waste their time on this balbutive bacchanal.

    Word games and videos of political publicity stunts are political arguments. Toward that, perhaps we might consider the state of political discourse. History is easily a lie agreed upon, but every once in a while it is worth noting whose argument does what. To wit, we Americans still fight over Columbus Day, and the way the arguments work out, the pro-Columbus faction tends to juxtapose strangely with Holocaust revisionism. Where Europeans have experienced social convulsions that would downplay or deny the Holocaust by applying revisionist speculation and otherwise dysfunctional pretenses, our American dispute about Columbus denounces the revisionism of attending the primary source documents, i.e., handwritten logs and journals. We Americans, given what Columbus himself wrote, to the one, and heroic make-believe warranting a federal holiday, to the other, apparently have trouble figuring out which is real. We have achieved, in recent years, the spectacle of cities going out of their way to hold official commemorations of tribal history instead of observing Columbus Day. Sure, Columbus being the face of the worst mistake in American history is a political judgment to some degree, but it's also a value judgment based on something real, and not feelgood make-believe. It's also an example of why we still fight about certain behaviors in the way we do; Columbus was pretty awful, compared to my twenty-first century judgment, but Americans can't get to that part because Columbus as the luckiest dumbass in American history is just too much for our Euro-American heritage to bear; even acknowledging his time is a useless concession, in the end, because it still describes Columbus as problematic. He must, for these, be a hero, just as much as the Middle Eastern character named Jesus must be white, and the Turkish bishop known to history as St. Nicholas must be white.

    Theists are as theists will; what about anyone else?
     
  22. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

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    Tiassa:

    If you are interested in debating religion, give it a go with something you're interested in. We can debate properly by starting with one subject which will create ideas to entertain once we a agree or disagree with this hypothetical thread title, or question. We'll be fine if we keep science out of it and discuss in a philosophical manner as we may actually get somewhere.

    There are some decent threads already.
     
  23. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    adorable !
    Dave, Tiassa is probably well aware of them & far more likely asserting a time to content ratio to present his limited time to quality comment around a mix between personal interest, intellectual pursuit & site moderator responsibility(like other mods/staff).
    [dare i be perceived as offering an opinion to be ego-eccentrically or agnostically perceived as speaking for him]

    i am stuck on this.
    the difference between belief & the subjective act of proposing a sense of nothing or a negative application.
    like adding a negative mathematical value.

    from a sense of not knowing, to taking a position to state there is no ability for anything to be a result.

    i find the idea of how the word and sense of the meaning seems to be applied to be soo vast and broad it takes on many different in-congruent philosophical positions.

    maybe that is because i have had the luxury to chat with (some who are) very well read intellectuals from inside and outside the model of conventional theological intellectualism.
     

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