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Historical Jesus

Learner

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Evolution has been observed many times.

Not doubting the smaller 'evolution' which theists also acknowledge but noticeably too miniscule to really give final conclusions.
Abiogenesis must have occurred, because life now exists, but didn't always exist.
Not observed but granted it is an idea.

Your suppositions are unsupported and of no value. Evidence and reason are the path to knowledge. Supposition and belief are not, because they fail to eliminate any hypotheticals.

Literally ANYTHING can be equally well supported by supposition or faith; so these things tell us nothing of any value.

It doesn't matter what anyone believes. What matters is what they can demonstrate.

I agree belief by faith has for sometime been that way for theists hard to demonstrate , however we are all, generally speaking, learning more while updating knowledge and arguments are evolving maybe to the point that theists may use the very science to argue for God (catching up with the IDers).

The only way to find out, is for someone to point out the error, and demonstrate that it exists.
Perhaps the moon is made of Stilton. Perhaps unicorns shit rainbows. Perhaps you actually have something useful to say. But until you demonstrate any of these things, we are justified in rejecting them.

I go along with this but I am rejecting abiogenesis. :p
 

none

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Ok besides stellar nucleosynthesis and fossil record we have a record of abiogenesis, life
 

Jobar

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I just don't get it.

Why not simply say yes, OK. A historical person named Jesus was born in a manger and (religious) shepherds did believe they heard what they (mistakenly) thought were something called 'angels' and His family did flee to Egypt for fear of a Middle Eastern despot who may or may not have committed atrocities against his own citizens etc etc.
You're not compromising your atheism by accepting a secular history of Jesus.

No Christian apologist to my knowledge has ever claimed that Jesus' (secular) historicity necessarily compels belief in miracles as the only explanation for the events reported in that history.

I quite agree that we could easily theorize that there was an actual Jewish preacher/teacher in that ancient day, who was the bit of grit around whom all the miraculous myths and legends of the Christian faith grew, like a pearl in an oyster. Historicism is in no way the same thing as Christianity.

Thing is, that theory just doesn't seem to fit all the texts we have, and which we do not have, as well as the theory that Jesus Christ began as a dying-and-rising savior god springing from the interactions of Judaism and paganism, and from the terrible events of the Jewish Wars.

Sure, there could have been a man who inspired the myth. I think that Buddhism began that way. But in the case of Christianity, I think the myth created the man.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I just don't get it.

Why not simply say yes, OK. A historical person named Jesus was born in a manger and (religious) shepherds did believe they heard what they (mistakenly) thought were something called 'angels' and His family did flee to Egypt for fear of a Middle Eastern despot who may or may not have committed atrocities against his own citizens etc etc.
You're not compromising your atheism by accepting a secular history of Jesus.

No Christian apologist to my knowledge has ever claimed that Jesus' (secular) historicity necessarily compels belief in miracles as the only explanation for the events reported in that history.

I quite agree that we could easily theorize that there was an actual Jewish preacher/teacher in that ancient day, who was the bit of grit around whom all the miraculous myths and legends of the Christian faith grew, like a pearl in an oyster. Historicism is in no way the same thing as Christianity.

Thing is, that theory just doesn't seem to fit all the texts we have, and which we do not have, as well as the theory that Jesus Christ began as a dying-and-rising savior god springing from the interactions of Judaism and paganism, and from the terrible events of the Jewish Wars.

Sure, there could have been a man who inspired the myth. I think that Buddhism began that way. But in the case of Christianity, I think the myth created the man.
And you could make the same argument for any piece of literature. Who was Hercules? Who was Paul Bunyan? Christians just like special pleading.

Christians are amusing. Their magic spaceman has to be historical or they crap their pants. How can faith be so thin?
 

DrZoidberg

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Well, that's because being a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim doesn't stop you from being a scientist...

Absolutely.

But I would argue that it goes further than just a coincidental connection.

Surely there's something like a sort of numinous awe about the act of discovery which keeps us searching the 'horizon' of the unknown.

And when I listen to scientists like Carl Sagan, Brian Cox, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, etc. talking (existentially) about that horizon, I can't help but smile. Do they know how 'religious' they sound?

The religious don't have a monopoly on spirituality. Aesthetics, poetry and sense of wonder is universal in humans. I think the religious often have a tendency to put a lid on the wonder. Instead of embracing the mystery they slap a God label onto it. Just to kill off any further impulse to explore it. Just to shut off the brain and have faith, instead of being filled up by the awesomeness of the universe. The scientific world will always be more magical and spiritual than the religious world ever can be. The more you know about the natural world the richer your experience of it will be. Because you will know what to look for. The religious have decided in advance what they'll find. It's a filtered, boring and grey existence. Come join the colourful side. Catholics have dry biscuits. We have magic mushrooms.
 

DrZoidberg

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It's my understanding that the scholarly consensus is that there was an actual Jesus person who existed and was executed. While I do have concerns of bias due to the religious backgrounds of those scholars, that's enough for me to defer to them.

On the other hand, so what? It doesn't make any of the fantastical elements of the Christian mythos more believable, any more than finding out that King Arthur was based on a real person would make me believe in magic swords or wizards.

Isn't it more likely that he dodged out of view when he was wanted by the cops. They thought he was crucified, and then he returned they thought he had been resurrected. When the rumor started spreading he decided to become scarce again. There's just so many versions of the story that are a hell of a lot more likely than the Biblical narrative. Including everything about it is made up.
 

Lion IRC

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It's my understanding that the scholarly consensus is that there was an actual Jesus person who existed and was executed. While I do have concerns of bias due to the religious backgrounds of those scholars, that's enough for me to defer to them.

On the other hand, so what? It doesn't make any of the fantastical elements of the Christian mythos more believable, any more than finding out that King Arthur was based on a real person would make me believe in magic swords or wizards.

Isn't it more likely that he dodged out of view when he was wanted by the cops. They thought he was crucified...

The Romans mistakenly thought Jesus had been Crucified? Crucified by by who?
 

DrZoidberg

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Isn't it more likely that he dodged out of view when he was wanted by the cops. They thought he was crucified...

The Romans mistakenly thought Jesus had been Crucified? Crucified by by who?

It's the ancient world. Executing the wrong guy was common in the 19'th century. Guess how much more common it was in the ancient world? Also, people often changed names back then. They didn't have the strong attachment to a name back then as we have today. Which just adds another layer of uncertainty to it.

Everybody and anybody could have made a mistake or misunderstood any detail about the execution of Jesus. Or everything about it.
 

beero1000

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It's my understanding that the scholarly consensus is that there was an actual Jesus person who existed and was executed. While I do have concerns of bias due to the religious backgrounds of those scholars, that's enough for me to defer to them.

On the other hand, so what? It doesn't make any of the fantastical elements of the Christian mythos more believable, any more than finding out that King Arthur was based on a real person would make me believe in magic swords or wizards.

Isn't it more likely that he dodged out of view when he was wanted by the cops. They thought he was crucified, and then he returned they thought he had been resurrected. When the rumor started spreading he decided to become scarce again. There's just so many versions of the story that are a hell of a lot more likely than the Biblical narrative. Including everything about it is made up.

It's possible, maybe even likely. Like I said, my understanding is that the scholarly consensus is that he existed and was crucified (note that historical scholars don't, as a group, support as fact him performing any miracles/resurrection/whatever). It's entirely possible that people just thought he had been crucified - it's hard to tell stuff like that from the historical record.
 

C_Mucius_Scaevola

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Dawkins is gonna convert on his deathbed I suspect like Hitchens probably did.

And I bet you still wonder why nobody takes you seriously. I'm not even going to bother looking up and presenting to you the thread in which your attempts to twist a casual remark of Hitchens' into some sort of promise of a deathbed conversion were thoroughly debunked; I'm sure you remember it well enough without that. Back then, it might be excused as naïveté on your part; repeating it here and now comes across as simply dishonest.
 

DrZoidberg

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Dawkins is gonna convert on his deathbed I suspect like Hitchens probably did.

This is why everybody sensible can't stand Christians and Muslims. The complete and utter lack of any kind of humility. It even says in your sacred text to stay humble. Why do you care so little about the wishes of your God? Why this extreme level of arrogance on your part?
 

C_Mucius_Scaevola

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Dawkins is gonna convert on his deathbed I suspect like Hitchens probably did.

This is why everybody sensible can't stand Christians and Muslims. The complete and utter lack of any kind of humility. It even says in your sacred text to stay humble. Why do you care so little about the wishes of your God? Why this extreme level of arrogance on your part?

It's also, in its dishonesty, why non-believers don't take the claims of Xians and Muslims at face value. "Pious fraud", "all things to all men", "lying for Jesus" ... call it what you will, there's always been this streak of dishonesty running down the spine of theism that makes it always worth double-checking even the most trivial claims put forth by its proponents and apologists.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Dawkins is gonna convert on his deathbed I suspect like Hitchens probably did.

This is why everybody sensible can't stand Christians and Muslims. The complete and utter lack of any kind of humility. It even says in your sacred text to stay humble. Why do you care so little about the wishes of your God? Why this extreme level of arrogance on your part?
It's like talking to a person with a mental handicap who is unaware of their handicap. My pastor friend was explaining to me the other day how Paul is explicit about no women ministers and how his fav book is from an invisible spaceman. Seriously, this is unrecognized mental illness, simply extremely common and not always harmful.

I should probably bring this up directly in conversation but always wish to maintain relationships. Someone has to be the adult and it ends up being me. It's like listening to a five year old telling me about how much money they got from the Tooth Fairy. That's okay for a five year old. But when a fifty year old tells you about his invisible spaceman who talks to him and is interested in all our sexual habits and that persons with vaginas cannot be listened to and how an old man built a floating zoo, it does test adult patience.
 

Sarpedon

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Lion said:
Why not simply say yes, OK. A historical person named Jesus was born in a manger and (religious) shepherds did believe they heard what they (mistakenly) thought were something called 'angels' and His family did flee to Egypt for fear of a Middle Eastern despot who may or may not have committed atrocities against his own citizens etc etc.
You're not compromising your atheism by accepting a secular history of Jesus.

I would accept that this is a possible story. However, acknowledging that a particular story you made up could have happened is not the same as accepting a historical Jesus. The standard of evidence I would have to have would be lower for this story than for the water to wine story, but even that is absent.

We know that Egypt had a substantial Jewish population during this era. The idea of a jewish family going to Egypt to escape local trouble is certainly a plausible one. Likewise the belief in the Messiah is ancient in Jewish belief, and there's no problem believing that people might believe a non messiah is the messiah.

But again, you don't have any records to suggest this is true, and there are no confirming evidence of any of the larger events associated with the story: For example, there was no Empire wide census by Tiberius, People were not required to return to their forefather's hometown to be counted in a census, like ever, because that is stupid, there was no independent confirmation for the 'star' which would have been visible to lots of people. (China during the Han dynasty, for example, was very interested in astrology, so they would have noticed and recorded such a star, had it happened.) And there was no massacre of the innocents, as said in the bible. You try to wave this away by saying that Herod may or may not have done such a thing. But what you fail to understand that if a story invents such a massacre wholesale, what is preventing them from making up other things, like Jesus himself?

You expect us to accept a plausible, watered down version of the story, while ignoring things in the story that are blatantly false. Unreliable account is unreliable. And you don't have anything else.
 

funinspace

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It's my understanding that the scholarly consensus is that there was an actual Jesus person who existed and was executed. While I do have concerns of bias due to the religious backgrounds of those scholars, that's enough for me to defer to them.

On the other hand, so what? It doesn't make any of the fantastical elements of the Christian mythos more believable, any more than finding out that King Arthur was based on a real person would make me believe in magic swords or wizards.

Isn't it more likely that he dodged out of view when he was wanted by the cops. They thought he was crucified, and then he returned they thought he had been resurrected. When the rumor started spreading he decided to become scarce again. There's just so many versions of the story that are a hell of a lot more likely than the Biblical narrative. Including everything about it is made up.
I like my three amigos: Possible; Plausible; Probable.

I find it hard to fathom that this purported Jesus 'dodged out of view' being more probable than being killed by the Romans or the Sanhedrin. What information would suggest that this is more plausible or probable? It is possible that Jesus is pure fabrication, with no grain of sand for the pearl. I find the purely fictitious Jesus less plausible than a basic story of a Jewish heretic/preacher making too much noise and then getting snuffed out by some authorities. What I don't find possible is that this Bible is God-breathed, and the Truth from alpha to omega. I don't find the various liberal Christian vaguely defined theologies plausible either, but they are at least possible (its hard to demonstrate falseness of a slippery pig).
 

PyramidHead

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Something Lion (hi, Lion) said a few weeks ago-

Absolutely.

But I would argue that it goes further than just a coincidental connection.

Surely there's something like a sort of numinous awe about the act of discovery which keeps us searching the 'horizon' of the unknown.

And when I listen to scientists like Carl Sagan, Brian Cox, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, etc. talking (existentially) about that horizon, I can't help but smile. Do they know how 'religious' they sound?

Do you think this qualifies as religious, Lion? I certainly consider it awesome and uplifting- but is it religious?

[Dawkins quote]

I would consider it religious, in that it is a remnant of religious-inspired thought: that we living beings are the recipients of something like a gift. The notion that many secularists promote is that the "uplifting" function of religion can be preserved in the absence of belief in God. I suspect this is partly in response to those who cannot face a reality that is in no way uplifting. To cope with this problem, such people were assured that their urge to worship something could be sublimated by adopting a certain psychological attitude towards scientific knowledge. It's like worship, but without the overt sense of servitude. As with all religious ideas, the delusion that we should be thankful for our chance at existence rests on mostly unquestioned and entirely unjustified assumptions. The first of which, as Lion IRC indirectly pointed out, is the claim that in a counterfactual scenario in which we didn't exist, we would suffer a deprivation similar to being denied entry into a wonderful garden or an exclusive club. In fact, we wouldn't care in the slightest. I'm pretty sure Dawkins knows this and is just being poetic. The second unexamined premise is not mere poetry on his part. It is the fact that he uses poetic language to make his readers think of being admitted into a wonderful garden or an exclusive club, rather than a more honest analogy for what it means to exist, that betrays the religious origin of his thinking.

What he should have said is: "because your parents were looking for a reason to stay married, you, the self-aware consciousness that is reading this sentence, now exist and must contend with the inadequacy of reality to satisfy your deepest instinctual needs, while maintaining a constantly decaying body in the face of innumerable threats to its integrity, as you stave off boredom and frustration by pursuing projects that will inevitably harm others to some degree, all the while utterly powerless in the face of the one thing your genes have caused you to dread the most. If you want to feel better about your situation, try marveling in wide-eyed reverence at the cosmos (whose laws tug you inexorably back to the undifferentiated chaos that is the beginning and end of everything), or better yet become a Christian. Both are valid ways to ignore everything I just said. "
 

Treedbear

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...
What he should have said is: "... If you want to feel better about your situation, try marveling in wide-eyed reverence at the cosmos (whose laws tug you inexorably back to the undifferentiated chaos that is the beginning and end of everything), or better yet become a Christian. Both are valid ways to ignore everything I just said. "

People say they're going fishing when all they really want to do is stand in the river.
 

Lion IRC

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This is why everybody sensible can't stand Christians and Muslims. The complete and utter lack of any kind of humility. It even says in your sacred text to stay humble. Why do you care so little about the wishes of your God? Why this extreme level of arrogance on your part?

It's also, in its dishonesty, why non-believers don't take the claims of Xians and Muslims at face value. "Pious fraud", "all things to all men", "lying for Jesus" ... call it what you will, there's always been this streak of dishonesty running down the spine of theism that makes it always worth double-checking even the most trivial claims put forth by its proponents and apologists.

There's nothing dishonest about thinking Hitchens converted in his final days, weeks.
And it is my sincere belief that Dawkins will too.

I would provide my many reasons for thinking this but, given your obvious sensitivity to this topic you'll just think I'm trolling you.

Here. Have a bandaid. I wouldn't want that raw nerve to get infected.

band-aid.jpg
 

none

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People do all kinds of stupid shift under duress
Heck something might be out there out everywhere, who knows.. Christianity is faith and faith is unreliable
Evidence that's what is important to truth, I'd say, would you?
 

C_Mucius_Scaevola

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There's nothing dishonest about thinking Hitchens converted in his final days, weeks.
And it is my sincere belief that Dawkins will too.

I would provide my many reasons for thinking this but, given your obvious sensitivity to this topic you'll just think I'm trolling you.

Here. Have a bandaid. I wouldn't want that raw nerve to get infected.

View attachment 10718

Oh, don't worry about my nerves, they're all fine.

The dishonesty was in taking a flippant remark out of context and using it to support a ludicrous claim. But then again, if it's really your "sincere belief" that Hitchens gulped the kool-aid before popping his clogs, please accept my sincere apologies; it was not my intention to mock whatever condition it is you have that prevents you from understanding human beings.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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It's also, in its dishonesty, why non-believers don't take the claims of Xians and Muslims at face value. "Pious fraud", "all things to all men", "lying for Jesus" ... call it what you will, there's always been this streak of dishonesty running down the spine of theism that makes it always worth double-checking even the most trivial claims put forth by its proponents and apologists.

There's nothing dishonest about thinking Hitchens converted in his final days, weeks.
And it is my sincere belief that Dawkins will too.
What would that demonstrate wrt a religious spaceman that gave birth to a half human hybrid? Lots of kids die believing that Santa and the Tooth Fairy are real.
 

angelo

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It's also, in its dishonesty, why non-believers don't take the claims of Xians and Muslims at face value. "Pious fraud", "all things to all men", "lying for Jesus" ... call it what you will, there's always been this streak of dishonesty running down the spine of theism that makes it always worth double-checking even the most trivial claims put forth by its proponents and apologists.

There's nothing dishonest about thinking Hitchens converted in his final days, weeks.
And it is my sincere belief that Dawkins will too.

I would provide my many reasons for thinking this but, given your obvious sensitivity to this topic you'll just think I'm trolling you.

Here. Have a bandaid. I wouldn't want that raw nerve to get infected.

View attachment 10718
http://www.newstatesman.com/politic...ens-did-not-convert-christianity-his-deathbed

I do Hope this clears up the bullshit!
 

Tars Tarkus

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There's nothing dishonest about thinking Hitchens converted in his final days, weeks.
And it is my sincere belief that Dawkins will too.

I would provide my many reasons for thinking this but, given your obvious sensitivity to this topic you'll just think I'm trolling you.

Here. Have a bandaid. I wouldn't want that raw nerve to get infected.

View attachment 10718
http://www.newstatesman.com/politic...ens-did-not-convert-christianity-his-deathbed

I do Hope this clears up the bullshit!

A quote of Hitchens from the article:
“the mere fact that such deathbed ‘repentances’ were sought by the godly, let alone subsequently fabricated, speaks volumes of the bad faith of the faith-based.”
 

DrZoidberg

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There's nothing dishonest about thinking Hitchens converted in his final days, weeks.

And it is my sincere belief that Dawkins will too.

I would provide my many reasons for thinking this but, given your obvious sensitivity to this topic you'll just think I'm trolling you.

Here's in Hitchens' own words right before his death. When he's giving this talk he is actually dying:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4cPe_YS8i8

It's not a question of honesty. It's a question of stupidity. First off, the idea that there's a life after death is preposterous. I suspect that the only way anybody can find it remotely plausible is after a life of brainwashing. No, I don't have any evidence against it. I don't need any. If you don't understand why then you don't understand how to make a logically consistent argument.

Secondly, these are among the most intelligent people who have ever lived. Most smart people in Pascall's lifetime saw the hole in the logic of Pascall's wager. I'm pretty sure Hitchen and Dawkins does/did as well.

Deathbed conversions are dumb. When I'm dying I'll keep a gun near my death bed just so I can shoot whatever insensitive bastard thinks it's something I'd like to ponder on as I draw my final breath. What are they going to do about it? Arrest me? :)

I just had a lovely discussion over lunch with a colleague who has just recovered from cancer, and now is diagnosed with Parkinson. She's great. "I'm absolutely fine. It's my family who's completely lost it. You wouldn't believe how much I've had to console them."

This is Denmark. The topic of afterlife isn't likely to come up. Since almost nobody here believes in it. And even less seem worried about it.

I think the idea that we'll continue on after death will keep you from growing up. I think it's important to accept that shit happens and whatever is going to happen will happen. It doesn't matter what you believe about it. Reality doesn't care what you believe. It just is. The whole notion that the creator of the universe/super daddy, gives a rats ass about what you believe about anything is just narcissism. How about growing the fuck up?
 

Jobar

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Something Lion (hi, Lion) said a few weeks ago-



Do you think this qualifies as religious, Lion? I certainly consider it awesome and uplifting- but is it religious?

[Dawkins quote]

I would consider it religious, in that it is a remnant of religious-inspired thought: that we living beings are the recipients of something like a gift. The notion that many secularists promote is that the "uplifting" function of religion can be preserved in the absence of belief in God. I suspect this is partly in response to those who cannot face a reality that is in no way uplifting. To cope with this problem, such people were assured that their urge to worship something could be sublimated by adopting a certain psychological attitude towards scientific knowledge. It's like worship, but without the overt sense of servitude. As with all religious ideas, the delusion that we should be thankful for our chance at existence rests on mostly unquestioned and entirely unjustified assumptions. The first of which, as Lion IRC indirectly pointed out, is the claim that in a counterfactual scenario in which we didn't exist, we would suffer a deprivation similar to being denied entry into a wonderful garden or an exclusive club. In fact, we wouldn't care in the slightest. I'm pretty sure Dawkins knows this and is just being poetic. The second unexamined premise is not mere poetry on his part. It is the fact that he uses poetic language to make his readers think of being admitted into a wonderful garden or an exclusive club, rather than a more honest analogy for what it means to exist, that betrays the religious origin of his thinking.

What he should have said is: "because your parents were looking for a reason to stay married, you, the self-aware consciousness that is reading this sentence, now exist and must contend with the inadequacy of reality to satisfy your deepest instinctual needs, while maintaining a constantly decaying body in the face of innumerable threats to its integrity, as you stave off boredom and frustration by pursuing projects that will inevitably harm others to some degree, all the while utterly powerless in the face of the one thing your genes have caused you to dread the most. If you want to feel better about your situation, try marveling in wide-eyed reverence at the cosmos (whose laws tug you inexorably back to the undifferentiated chaos that is the beginning and end of everything), or better yet become a Christian. Both are valid ways to ignore everything I just said. "

But 'undifferentiated chaos' seems to always give rise to order, organization, pattern. Those opposites seem to arise mutually, and one is not more basic than the other. That is perhaps the most awesome thing about existence.

In Hinduism, there's a famous image of the god Shiva performing the dance of creation/destruction. His face is expressionless, without joy or pain; but still containing both.
 

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I would call it religious thinking to look at a world where 82% of the overall global population is religious, and 51% of all scientists are religious, and think there's a significant connection for researchers to be religious...
 

Tom Sawyer

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In Hinduism, there's a famous image of the god Shiva performing the dance of creation/destruction. His face is expressionless, without joy or pain; but still containing both.

Well, that's too bad. Creating and destroying universes sound like the kind of things which would take a lot of effort and it would be nice if he were able to enjoy his job more.
 

PyramidHead

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But 'undifferentiated chaos' seems to always give rise to order, organization, pattern. Those opposites seem to arise mutually, and one is not more basic than the other. That is perhaps the most awesome thing about existence.

I would quibble about one not being more basic than the other. Ask yourself this: what's more likely to happen by accident, a sandcastle being formed by a wave crashing into the shore, or one being destroyed by a wave? That's not to say order does not arise spontaneously, but some kind of mechanism is needed to preserve it from being immediately squashed. On our planet at least, natural selection fills that role. Energy is always needed to escape the pull towards decay. The default state, without any extra input, is slow but certain dissociation into one's component parts.

I like how Shiva personifies the process, and I think Dawkins would too. He always stresses that nature is totally indifferent--even hostile--to our needs, but never applies that datum to his religious optimism about existence.
 

bilby

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I would consider it religious, in that it is a remnant of religious-inspired thought: that we living beings are the recipients of something like a gift. The notion that many secularists promote is that the "uplifting" function of religion can be preserved in the absence of belief in God. I suspect this is partly in response to those who cannot face a reality that is in no way uplifting. To cope with this problem, such people were assured that their urge to worship something could be sublimated by adopting a certain psychological attitude towards scientific knowledge. It's like worship, but without the overt sense of servitude. As with all religious ideas, the delusion that we should be thankful for our chance at existence rests on mostly unquestioned and entirely unjustified assumptions. The first of which, as Lion IRC indirectly pointed out, is the claim that in a counterfactual scenario in which we didn't exist, we would suffer a deprivation similar to being denied entry into a wonderful garden or an exclusive club. In fact, we wouldn't care in the slightest. I'm pretty sure Dawkins knows this and is just being poetic. The second unexamined premise is not mere poetry on his part. It is the fact that he uses poetic language to make his readers think of being admitted into a wonderful garden or an exclusive club, rather than a more honest analogy for what it means to exist, that betrays the religious origin of his thinking.

What he should have said is: "because your parents were looking for a reason to stay married, you, the self-aware consciousness that is reading this sentence, now exist and must contend with the inadequacy of reality to satisfy your deepest instinctual needs, while maintaining a constantly decaying body in the face of innumerable threats to its integrity, as you stave off boredom and frustration by pursuing projects that will inevitably harm others to some degree, all the while utterly powerless in the face of the one thing your genes have caused you to dread the most. If you want to feel better about your situation, try marveling in wide-eyed reverence at the cosmos (whose laws tug you inexorably back to the undifferentiated chaos that is the beginning and end of everything), or better yet become a Christian. Both are valid ways to ignore everything I just said. "

But 'undifferentiated chaos' seems to always give rise to order, organization, pattern.
No, it doesn't.

It might seem that way if you take a very local and parochial point of view; But the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that order tends to become disorder in a closed system, and we have good reason to think that the universe is an adequately closed system for this Law to hold true.

It's also obvious that Nature Abhors a Vacuum - but again, that's only true if you take a local, planet-bound perspective. Most of nature IS a vacuum; and most of nature IS undifferentiated chaos. We just happen to live in a bit that is neither - and from what we know of how life works, we couldn't live anywhere else.

Once again, religion gives us fundamental rules about the universe that turn out to be exceptions that apply only in the very small experience of Bronze and Iron Age inhabitants of a small area of the world.

It's almost as though the whole thing was made up by people who assumed that their tiny patch of existence was representative of the entirety of the universe because they knew no better, and without any input from an all-knowing deity at all.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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But 'undifferentiated chaos' seems to always give rise to order, organization, pattern.
No, it doesn't.

It might seem that way if you take a very local and parochial point of view; But the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that order tends to become disorder in a closed system, and we have good reason to think that the universe is an adequately closed system for this Law to hold true.

It's also obvious that Nature Abhors a Vacuum - but again, that's only true if you take a local, planet-bound perspective. Most of nature IS a vacuum; and most of nature IS undifferentiated chaos. We just happen to live in a bit that is neither - and from what we know of how life works, we couldn't live anywhere else.

Once again, religion gives us fundamental rules about the universe that turn out to be exceptions that apply only in the very small experience of Bronze and Iron Age inhabitants of a small area of the world.

It's almost as though the whole thing was made up by people who assumed that their tiny patch of existence was representative of the entirety of the universe because they knew no better, and without any input from an all-knowing deity at all.
When does undifferentiated chaos become something differentiated and non-chaotic? It's all subjective and arbitrary. How does one recognize undifferentiated chaos?
 

bilby

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No, it doesn't.

It might seem that way if you take a very local and parochial point of view; But the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that order tends to become disorder in a closed system, and we have good reason to think that the universe is an adequately closed system for this Law to hold true.

It's also obvious that Nature Abhors a Vacuum - but again, that's only true if you take a local, planet-bound perspective. Most of nature IS a vacuum; and most of nature IS undifferentiated chaos. We just happen to live in a bit that is neither - and from what we know of how life works, we couldn't live anywhere else.

Once again, religion gives us fundamental rules about the universe that turn out to be exceptions that apply only in the very small experience of Bronze and Iron Age inhabitants of a small area of the world.

It's almost as though the whole thing was made up by people who assumed that their tiny patch of existence was representative of the entirety of the universe because they knew no better, and without any input from an all-knowing deity at all.
When does undifferentiated chaos become something differentiated and non-chaotic? It's all subjective and arbitrary. How does one recognize undifferentiated chaos?

By it's high entropy.

Sure, the exact place that you draw the line might be arbitrary and subjective; but that doesn't mean there's no way to recognize it, any more than the existence of a spectrum of visible light wavelengths prevents us from telling the difference between 'red' and 'blue'.
 

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The first time intelligence evolved on this or any other world, it would look around and come to the conclusion that all he sees around him was created by a deity just for him.

The amazing thing is that billions of people today who should know better, still believe it.
 

DrZoidberg

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The first time intelligence evolved on this or any other world, it would look around and come to the conclusion that all he sees around him was created by a deity just for him.

The amazing thing is that billions of people today who should know better, still believe it.

Wouldn't that make it not intelligent?
 

angelo

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The first time intelligence evolved on this or any other world, it would look around and come to the conclusion that all he sees around him was created by a deity just for him.

The amazing thing is that billions of people today who should know better, still believe it.

Wouldn't that make it not intelligent?

How would a five year old child react if left alone on a desert island? What would be his/hers thoughts?
 

Tom Sawyer

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Wouldn't that make it not intelligent?

How would a five year old child react if left alone on a desert island? What would be his/hers thoughts?

It would probably be along the lines of "I'm a five year old child and therefore I lack the tools to survive on my own in a hostile environment. I think I'll lie down and die now".
 

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Not really.
It's hearsay evidence reported by people with a religious bias - atheism.
And nothing in that article refutes Hitchens' interview with 60 Minutes in which he said he liked surprises - ie. The afterlife would be a pleasant surprise, not an unpleasant one.
Similarly, Newstatesman doesn't elucidate us re. Hitchens' last days/weeks spent reading about the life of GK Chesterton, a famous Christian apologist (and former atheist.)

Here's in Hitchens' own words right before his death. When he's giving this talk he is actually dying:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4cPe_YS8i8

He doesn't look like he's "actually dying" in that video.
And you aren't really adding anything new by posting (yet another) video of Hitchens repeating his preemptive self-prophesy about no deathbed conversion. We already know he was a defiant and proud man who proseltyzed atheism and would think it embarassing to publicly admit doubt in front of his fans.

Most smart people in Pascall's lifetime saw the hole in the logic of Pascall's wager. I'm pretty sure Hitchen and Dawkins does/did as well.

"Smart people" know it's not actually a wager.
It's just giving the benefit of the doubt IF you are a skeptic and you have nothing to lose.
Pascals so-called wager ISNT for people who think they know God isn't real.
 

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Not really.
It's hearsay evidence reported by people with a religious bias - atheism.

Uh, atheism isn't a religious bias. That's like saying creationism is a scientific bias.

And nothing in that article refutes Hitchens' interview with 60 Minutes in which he said he liked surprises - ie. The afterlife would be a pleasant surprise, not an unpleasant one.

What does THAT bear on? Are you saying that Hitchens believes he's going to heaven? Or he believes in your mythical heaven but not your mythical hell?

He doesn't look like he's "actually dying" in that video.

Everyone who is living is also dying. I don't think you can predict a time of demise for anyone just by looking at them. Of course I'm not blessed (read: cursed) with your divine (read: satanic) insight born of years of religious indoctrination (read: brainwashing).
 

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Not really.
It's hearsay evidence reported by people with a religious bias - atheism.
And nothing in that article refutes Hitchens' interview with 60 Minutes in which he said he liked surprises - ie. The afterlife would be a pleasant surprise, not an unpleasant one.
Similarly, Newstatesman doesn't elucidate us re. Hitchens' last days/weeks spent reading about the life of GK Chesterton, a famous Christian apologist (and former atheist.)

The definition of a surprise is something you're not expecting, ie don't believe will happen. Personally, if I'd find myself before Peter at the Pearly gates I'd request if I could go to hell. It's where all the fun people will hang out. Just imagine all the ghastly bores in Heaven. It's a place only consisting of all those people you tried your best to avoid at parties.

Here's in Hitchens' own words right before his death. When he's giving this talk he is actually dying:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4cPe_YS8i8

He doesn't look like he's "actually dying" in that video.

He died soon afterwards. He'd already been given a death sentence by doctors and was only kept upright by powerful painkillers. His dying wish was to have is body donated to science.

And you aren't really adding anything new by posting (yet another) video of Hitchens repeating his preemptive self-prophesy about no deathbed conversion. We already know he was a defiant and proud man who proseltyzed atheism and would think it embarassing to publicly admit doubt in front of his fans.

Why would somebody about to die be swayed by shame? They're about to die! That's the nice thing about dying people, they're the only people we can be sure are 100% honest.

Anyhoo... I think it's disgusting of you to try to smear his name by dragging it into the dirt of a death bed conversion. Apart from making no sense it's an insult to his family and memory.


Most smart people in Pascall's lifetime saw the hole in the logic of Pascall's wager. I'm pretty sure Hitchen and Dawkins does/did as well.

"Smart people" know it's not actually a wager.
It's just giving the benefit of the doubt IF you are a skeptic and you have nothing to lose.
Pascals so-called wager ISNT for people who think they know God isn't real.

So you planing on having a deathbed conversion to Hinduism when you die? If you don't believe when you die you risk being resurrected as a lower being. Or how about to Norse Paganism. You wouldn't want to risk not going to Valhalla would you? Or what about a new religion I just made up. Wouldn't want to not see the celestial stripper bar on Boobia, would you? See the problem yet? Why Pascall's wager is complete nonsense?

Even assuming there's a pay-off for picking the right religion at death, the possible number of religions is infinite. Any of them could the correct one, and all the rest could damn you to an eternity in Hades. The odds on this one is so low there's no point in playing. Why waste the last moments you have in this world on a meaningless activity? Wouldn't it be better to connect with your loved ones one last time?
 

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Perhaps Hitchens had heard of the Unicornian Heaven, and was hoping to be surprised by a hero's welcome at the Great Beach Bash in the Sky! :)
 

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... it's disgusting of you to try to smear his name by dragging it into the dirt of a death bed conversion. Apart from making no sense it's an insult to his family and memory.
Very disgusting.

Also a lot of stupid self-serving imagining goes into this sort of thing. Theists seem to not comprehend just how laughably idiotic the concept of God seems to many atheists. There's often no temptation to wish there were a god. Maybe wish for a nonChristian afterlife... But the Christian vision of things is truly horrific and morally depraved.

Another apparently common imagination is that any person who is about to die in a few hours knows it. I think people envision a person laying in bed saying his goodbyes and feeling terror at what is about to happen to him. Usually people don't know that their last day is their last day.

His wife said the topic of God didn't come up in his last convos before dying. And that he wasn't aware that his time had come either. She said he remained optimistic of possibly beating his disease to the end.

See the problem yet? Why Pascall's wager is complete nonsense?
He can't. Again the feeling of certainty, the will-to-believe will cripple his imagination. Brainwashed in Christianity makes it seem plausible at all, and like the one and only plausible religion.
 

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Indeed, Hitch was one of the only outspoken "anti-theists" of our generation. He described the afterlife as a sort of celestial North Korea from which there can be no escape. If he would have liked a pleasant surprise after death, the Christian version wasn't what he had in mind.
 

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Indeed, Hitch was one of the only outspoken "anti-theists" of our generation. He described the afterlife as a sort of celestial North Korea from which there can be no escape.

Sweet. I like the idea of making the lot of you stand around and put on mass choreographed dances for me for eternity while I starve your asses and yell at the guy next door to stay the hell off my lawn. Sounds like a fun afterlife. :p
 

PyramidHead

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Indeed, Hitch was one of the only outspoken "anti-theists" of our generation. He described the afterlife as a sort of celestial North Korea from which there can be no escape.

Sweet. I like the idea of making the lot of you stand around and put on mass choreographed dances for me for eternity while I starve your asses and yell at the guy next door to stay the hell off my lawn. Sounds like a fun afterlife. :p

I definitely get that vibe whenever I really stop and think about the word "Lord".
 

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In a couple of generations from now Christopher Hitchens might be more famous than he was when alive.
People will argue about which of his sayings were authentic and which were literal or figurative.
Did he convert (back) to Judaism on his deathbed?
Did he doubt his own atheism?
Was he pro-life?
How much did he really love the KJV bible.
Did he think women/wives ought to be homemakers and husbands the bread winners?

And as time passes it will gradually become easier and easier to transform him and his deeds into suprahistorical events.

FWIW - Christians don't think it is a 'slur' against Hitchens that he may have considered God and/or converted in his final weeks/days. To call that an attack on his integrity would be like saying every atheist (free thinker) who converts to religion ought to feel shame.
CS Lewis, Francis Collins, Alister McGrath, Antony Flew, Malcolm Muggeridge, Lee Strobel

...Paul Jones

manfredmannposter.jpg
 

bilby

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But it IS an attack on his integrity, nonetheless.

Your being too arrogant and self-absorbed to realise it, doesn't change that fact; nor does it make his family and friends feel any less awful about your ignorant and unwarranted intrusion on their grief.

A little humility would go a long way - but Christians seem to only talk about how incredibly humble they are, without ever actually demonstrating any humility in their actions or their words.

It doesn't matter whether Christians think it's a slur. Your opinions on that issue don't trump those of the deceased's family or friends. The opinions of Christians on this matter are of importance ONLY to those Christians; and if they had a shred of decency, they would keep them to themselves.
 

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Yes. Unborn ghosts. :)

And to his credit he doesn't attempt to completely disavow himself of what you might call the religious/spiritual psyche which persists to some degree even in strong atheists. I think he would chalk it up to cultural/anthropological vestiges. He isn't embarrassed to admit that he might be prone to some irrational superstitions - like fear of wearing the clothes of mass murderer after they were executed. (Would you avoid stepping on someone's grave?)

Dawkins is gonna convert on his deathbed I suspect like Hitchens probably did.

But by your standards for evidence, some first century guy is still alive somewhere waiting around for the signal to fly to earth on top of clouds.
 

Jobar

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Lion said:
In a couple of generations from now Christopher Hitchens might be more famous than he was when alive.
People will argue about which of his sayings were authentic and which were literal or figurative.
Did he convert (back) to Judaism on his deathbed?
Did he doubt his own atheism?
Was he pro-life?
How much did he really love the KJV bible.
Did he think women/wives ought to be homemakers and husbands the bread winners?

In case you didn't know, there are these things called 'books' and 'tapes' and 'DVDs'. Collectively they are called 'records'.

There exist quite a lot of records of all sorts, many directly authored by Hitchens, and many showing him discussing his beliefs, and lack thereof. Lots of commentary on what he said and wrote, by others. From these, future generations will be able to learn about Hitchens' life, opinions, and philosophies, in great detail.

Rather a pity the same cannot be said for Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ, isn't it?
 
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