Tuesday, August 05, 2008

This was a post by Loren on the comment section, in response to the post on religious experience studies:


Loren:That is an exceptionally careless approach to research. You don't do science by cherry-picking the literature.



Meta: I'm not "cheery picking." If you knew more about social sciences you would understand that. I was a sociolo9gy major, I have a BA degree in sociology. I studies social research methods. It is you who does not understand good social science research. The studies I use are done by real sociologists, and psychologists in secular programs in major universities. They are not pastors emailing their flock and asking how happy they are. Nor have I merely presented a patch work of what is out there. There really is a huge body of work, very diverse, scientific, demon rating the validity of religion. what I gave in this post is a good (although not complete) summary of the entire body of research. What I left out is a whole of bunch of studies in the 90s that say the same things. I just haven't had time to add them yet.

The main thing is there are no counter studies. None! the one's you offer do not apply at all. They are on totally different subjects. I also notice a couple of things about your attacks:

(1) you have no data of your own

(2) you don't make any proper methodological arguments. Just saying "there's some book where some says some study is bad" wont cut it.

(3) You don't name any specific study even when you try to document problems (just referring to a book with no specifics is not documentation).




Loren:In the Beyond Belief 2006 conference, someone toward the end of it reviewed a lot of therapeutic-religiosity studies and found their methodology to be rather defective, like counting meditation as religious practice.



Meta: wrong! you have to be careful here. There are three different things that go under this ruebrick. Often atheists think they are answering my point but they are actaully are talkinga bout a totally different kind of study:

(1) RE studies like Nobel, Wuthnow and Hood are fine studies. Their methodology is as good as any in the field (which psychology of religion). They are done my major peopel (Maslow is one fo the true greats, as is Hood). They have cross cultural validation and logitudenal, controls ect ect. These are kind I mean. They stud mystical experince, "peak experience" religious consciousness.

What you call "Therapeutic religiosity studies" is totally different, and it can be a couple of different things:

(2) prayer studies.(I said there were three different things, my studies, and these these other two are the kind you are talking about).

(3) correlations between religion and health. All three of these things are different. In addition to these there are others such as Larsen's lit search of social science journals that correlated religious demographics with social pathology.

There are good studies among all three kinds. 2-3 are not the kind to which my post refurred, but of them, many of the kind in 2 are bad, but not in no.3.

In addition to this are some very bogus studies on psychic powers and prayer which measure growth of plants prayed for and things. But I'm not even considering these worth talking about.

Of the kind I speak of, in no 1, there are some negative findings, but they are discussed in the good studies such as Noble's study. The negative findings relate to short term. My argument is that the long term effects are good. Some short term effects are negative but the long term effects are not.

Loren:There are studies that suggest a negative correlation between religiosity and social health, comparing several nations. The more affluent and peaceful ones tend to be less religious.



Meta:You mean the Zuckerman "study" and the Paul "study." They should be called the "Zuckerman propaganda. That "research" is total bull shit. This is part of a trend toward atheists on the net trying to produce their own bogus social science. They are always done by people who have no training in social sciences, and consequently they always make elementary mistakes of the kind one learns to avoid a sociology sophomore. I have a page on Doxa showing why these kinds of studies are invalid. Such is the the case with both Zuckerman and Paul.

Loren:And even within the US itself, the richer areas tend to be less religious than the poorer areas, and the higher the income, the less the religiosity. Low-income people tend to believe in an Authoritarian God, active and judgmental, while high-income people tend to believe in a Distant God who is neither -- when they believe in one at all.
Meta: That is totally ridiculous. Atheists need to stop trying to use social sciences in such a blatantly distorted and ignorant way. Talk about "cherry picking!"

I live in Dallas. Do you understand that Dallas is the buckle of the Bible belt? Well it's also rich guy territory. Before Bill Gates the richest man in the world was H.L. Hunt, he not only lived here, and his sons (who go to First Baptist downtown) but his world wide head quarters was here. He was the first billionaire int he world. Thacher's grandchildren live here, they go to Highland park high school. Dallas has one of the highest concentrations of wealth of any area in the world, and it's internationally known for that. It also has three of the major seminaries in the world, including the largest in the world (Southewestern, Baptist run, fort worth). The flagship of the methodist fleet and one of the top liberal seminaries (Perkins at SMU, where I got my Masters degree) and Dallas Theological Seminary (major fundamentalist evangelical).

Your steriotypes of what people believe are laughable. There is no real data to support hat clap trap. those are theories that are not backed by data. They also don't translate into any sort of cogent response to my argument becasue they have nothing to do with disproving the validity of religious experince.

Loren:As to "mystical" and "spiritual" experiences, they are an issue separate from most forms of formal religion, and I agree with Sam Harris that such experiences can be a useful form of psychological technology. And my favorite part of Richard Carrier's "From Taoist to Infidel" is where he described a great mystical experience that he had once had.



Harris is basically a mystic. I've heard him describe his own views on mystical consciousness in terms that are almost exactly like Schleiermacher's feeling of utter dependence. What you are missing is the fact that this sort of consciousness forms the basis for all religious belief. In the ninetieth century outmoded structural functionalism was used to expalin how religion came about. That is no longer done because it's just out of date and didn't take into account the rich data on religious experince. Social science now views the origin of religion the formation of a the sense of the numinous which is the basis of mystical experince. So this mystical consciousness lies at the heart of all basic religious beliefs.

Core of Organized Religion

The Mystical Core of Organized Religion

David Steindl-Rast

http://www.csp.org/experience/docs/steindl-mystical.html

Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B., is a monk of Mount Savior Monastery in the Finger Lake Region of New York State and a member of the board of the Council on Spiritual Practices. He holds a Ph.D. from the Psychological Institute at the University of Vienna and has practiced Zen with Buddhist masters. His most recent book is Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer (Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1984).


"If the religious pursuit is essentially the human quest for meaning, then these most meaningful moments of human existence must certainly be called "religious." They are, in fact, quickly recognized as the very heart of religion, especially by people who have the good fortune of feeling at home in a religious tradition."


b)What all Religions hold in Common.

Cross currents

Thomas A Indianopolus
prof of Religion at of Miami U. of Ohio

http://www.crosscurrents.org/whatisreligion.htm

Quote:

"It is the experience of the transcendent, including the human response to that experience, that creates faith, or more precisely the life of faith. [Huston] Smith seems to regard human beings as having a propensity for faith, so that one speaks of their faith as "innate." In his analysis, faith and transcendence are more accurate descriptions of the lives of religious human beings than conventional uses of the word, religion. The reason for this has to do with the distinction between participant and observer. This is a fundamental distinction for Smith, separating religious people (the participants) from the detached, so-called objective students of religious people (the observers). Smith's argument is that religious persons do not ordinarily have "a religion." The word, religion, comes into usage not as the participant's word but as the observer's word, one that focuses on observable doctrines, institutions, ceremonies, and other practices. By contrast, faith is about the nonobservable, life-shaping vision of transcendence held by a participant..."

Smith considers transcendence to be the one dimension common to all peoples of religious faith: "what they have in common lies not in the tradition that introduces them to transcendence, [not in their faith by which they personally respond, but] in that to which they respond, the transcendent itself..."(11)

17 comments:

Loren said...

First, defining "religion" very broadly is a losing proposition -- non-Christian mystics don't experience Jesus Christ or the Trinity, which suggests that if it's the Christian God that they are experiencing, then that entity is remarkably negligent for an entity that supposedly demands correct belief.

And as to inverse correlations between religiosity and education, I've crunched the numbers in UC Berkeley's General Social Survey and found that for myself, notably in this IIDB thread and this one. That inverse correlation is also evident in Baylor U Study: What Kind of God? (Merged).

J.L. Hinman said...

First, defining "religion" very broadly is a losing proposition -- non-Christian mystics don't experience Jesus Christ or the Trinity, which suggests that if it's the Christian God that they are experiencing, then that entity is remarkably negligent for an entity that supposedly demands correct belief.

Your atheist straw man is showing. Atheists can't combat real Christianity so they make their own. It's based upon the worst examples of ignorance and avoids like the pelguage any real thinkers in Christian theological circles.

You assume God demands "correct belief." you can't understand that God never said that. The chruch demands correct belief. The reason they do is because in the early days the question of Christian identity was very important. The Gnostics infected the chruch with a lot of lies and base accusations and crap taht theratened to destroy the truth of the Gospel. so it became important to understand who was a Christian and what Christians believed, what was against Christian beilef.

But neither God nor Jesus said that correct doctrine is the hallmark of salvation.

It's a relationship its not words on paper.


And as to inverse correlations between religiosity and education, I've crunched the numbers in UC Berkeley's General Social Survey and found that for myself, notably in this IIDB thread and this one. That inverse correlation is also evident in Baylor U Study: What Kind of God? (Merged).

9:32 PM

your research is wrong. just totally wrong. Gallop organization found that religiosity among professors represents the general population for all fields across the board.

you can narrow it to freshmen or frat rats, get kids own their own for the first time, they are out from under the strictures of Daddy so they re belle. That is not a fair test of intelligence. Not too any degree.

You don't have the data for the IQ studies. I do. 16 to 6. !6 studies all done post 1970 say no correlation or smarter people are religious. Six studies that say otherwise are done before 1970.

J.L. Hinman said...

It's also extreneious to the issue. this has nothing to do with the reigious experince argument. I find this going on all the time. atheists have these little standard things they they think are so damaging, they always revolve around straw man arguments. but they just whip them out at any time and that's supposed to make the Christian go away even though it has nothing to do with the argument at all.

I will tell you now bluntly, about 80% of th atheists I find on the net just do not know how to argue. they have no concept of logic and their arguments are silly most of them time. this is one of them.

typical of atheist bogus social science. whoever did that doesn't know how to conduct a study. Dont' know how chose t a sample. they don't understand beans about research design.

they didn't do any research upon previous data.

It purports measure the correlation between religiosity and intelligence by correllating what smart people think about the bible.

so every single smart person in the study could be a liberal theological person and believe in God and hate atheism and yet the findings show that atheists are smarter because you presume that anyone who would say the bible isn't inspired must be an atheist.

stupid!

Of course the study doesn't have a measuregment for itnelligence.

why do you idiots think you can do social science research with no training? it's not easy., it's not some little silly thing you can dash off. it's hard stuff. you need grant, you need a statistician you need to have some understanding of research design.

12:49 PM
Delete

J.L. Hinman said...

The alleged "studies" equate sicenitific knowledge with intelligence. So I could be the greatest Goethe scholar on earth and be an idiot by your standard because I don't know much about science.

that tells me you don't know much about science, nothing about art, literature, philosophy, real thought.

clearly bogus buss shit.

Loren said...

I find it hard to have any respect for some alleged god who demands absolute obedience and lots and lots of flattery yet never bothers to correct the numerous misconceptions spread about It by Its self-proclaimed lieutenants. Metacrock, wouldn't you feel annoyed at someone who claims to be your faithful lackey and who says how smart and insightful you are but who nevertheless claims things about you and your teachings that are just plain wrong?

As to Gnosticism being especially wicked, that's propaganda put out by the church that won official favor. Foaming at the mouth at rival sects of Christianity is a tradition about as old as Christianity itself -- pagan observers noted that, and found it extremely odd.

J.L. Hinman said...

I find it hard to have any respect for some alleged god who demands absolute obedience and lots and lots of flattery

Of course those are human constructs about how to approach the divine based upon the way people approached the king or he suzerain in ancient world.

they become confiding into standard devotional practice because they work. They work because they release emotions that trigger god consciousness, or mystical experience.

I'm sure it seems very humiliating to you to "worship" and your ego wont let you worship anything but it. I thnk this is true of all people. But once we experience the presence of God and feel overwheamled by the grandure of the divien worship is just a natural reaction; one does not have to be required to do so once one has experinced God.

To you God is this big Meany enemy once you know God's love it's totally different. God is the most beautiful and wonderful and neto thing ever in the world.

one of the most wonderful surprises about coming to believe, having been an atheist, was the discovery of how amazingly great it is to praise God. it' can be better than sex, certainly better than pot or acid. I promise. it's great. the best thing in the world.




yet never bothers to correct the numerous misconceptions spread about It by Its self-proclaimed lieutenants.

that's what theologians are for.


Metacrock, wouldn't you feel annoyed at someone who claims to be your faithful lackey and who says how smart and insightful you are but who nevertheless claims things about you and your teachings that are just plain wrong?


so you want God to wreck vengeance upon all those who annoy you, on the premise that they should annoy him?

would you rather have a father who frys your sibs to death everytime they reveal any sort of weakness or inadequacy? Or would you want a father who would forgive your sibs even if you were angry at them?

say your sibs offended you and you were angry at them. Would you want your father to kill them, or to understand them?


As to Gnosticism being especially wicked, that's propaganda put out by the church that won official favor.

"gnostiicsm" is a catch all term that was used of many groups. They range from other Chrsitians who just saw some things differently, to canibalistic sects who ate fetuses from prgeganant women.

(There is former member of the sect that produced the Gospel of Philip who told of that sort of practice. His name was Epiphanias his wittings survive.

You have go case by case with the "gnostics" becasue it is not the term they used of themselves. It's a catch all term used by the Church hierarchy. But it was necessary and important to crystallize Christian belief.




Foaming at the mouth at rival sects of Christianity is a tradition about as old as Christianity itself -- pagan observers noted that, and found it extremely odd.

that tells me you have not read much.

Loren said...

You say:
so you want God to wreck vengeance upon all those who annoy you, on the premise that they should annoy him?

would you rather have a father who frys your sibs to death everytime they reveal any sort of weakness or inadequacy?


No, one who does what I do to misbehaving programs -- rewrite them.

Also, as Richard Carrier notes in From Taoist to Infidel, "though called a wise father, there is not a single example in the Old Testament of God sitting down and kindly teaching anyone" and about the Bible that "it does no good to try in desperation to make excuses for it. A good and wise man's message would not need excuses." And in this discussion of his testimony, he noted "Quite simply, if we are allowed to interpret the bible as saying something exactly the opposite of what it plainly says, then we can pretend the bible says anything and everything, whatever we want. Using the same method I can say, with equal merit, that the Bible predicts Einstein's Theory of Relativity, advocates pedophilia, demands the regular consumption of Orange Crush, commands that little girls be crushed to death who play with dolls, and provides the world's greatest recipe for pepperoni pizza."

J.L. Hinman said...

You say:
so you want God to wreck vengeance upon all those who annoy you, on the premise that they should annoy him?


would you rather have a father who frys your sibs to death everytime they reveal any sort of weakness or inadequacy?

since God doesn't do that, it's not really analogous. do you think if you focus real hard and eat some blue berries you could use your head and understand something?

see you are doing what we in the thinking biz call "arguing in a circle." you take your straw man argument which is nothing more than your fear, your horrible putrid understanding of Christianity, you make a straw man argument out of it, then some one disproves you you go on acting like its' been proven. Then all premises are based upon your conclusions, which are based upon your straw man. only in this case it's a straw God.

why do you bother to talk about things you don't know about, but you wont bother to learn about them?


No, one who does what I do to misbehaving programs -- rewrite them.


O that's not arrogant at all is it? so your little 3% of misfits are going to "re-write" the 90% who believe in God right? Ok and we are going to do that with what? book burnings? Or camps?

I guess the New atheists are working their final solution?


Also, as Richard Carrier notes in From Taoist to Infidel, "though called a wise father, there is not a single example in the Old Testament of God sitting down and kindly teaching anyone"

Waht you want, Andy talking to Opie? Why isn't giving the 10 commandments teaching? why are they cruel? All the prophets who told Israel God loved them whys is that cruel?

why would you think you beat up Christianity over the old testament and not Judaism. Do you have the guts to stick Jews with evils you seen in the OT?




and about the Bible that "it does no good to try in desperation to make excuses for it. A good and wise man's message would not need excuses."


Not even if very ignorant people who can't read conspire to lie and slander? If people make up bull shit about it and try very hard to twist it and show it in a distorted light it doesn't' need explaining?

not even if it was written 4000 years ago in another language and in a another world.



it's a pack of bullies who don't know anything who gather to slander the good because they have no other place to hang their identities on.


And in this discussion of his testimony, he noted "Quite simply, if we are allowed to interpret the bible as saying something exactly the opposite of what it plainly says, then we can pretend the bible says anything and everything,


that's what people say when they are are too lazy to learn the language and do the exegesis. That is another more than anti-intellectual anti-thought hgo wash. the next step is burning books.

they are all saying "it plainly says this so you are making excuses." But the truth of it is it doesn't' plainly say it princess. It says the opposite in the language in which written, chicken pie. you can't read that languages and you are too lazy to study scholarship.

Hey I know, how about a big bible burning? why don't you organize that? it sounds fun and it's something atheists could enjoy you pack a pick nick, and burn a bunch of theology books too.

how about outlawing seminaries. that's the step after book burning. I bet you can't wait for that one. it beats having to think about it.




whatever we want. Using the same method I can say, with equal merit, that the Bible predicts Einstein's Theory of Relativity, advocates pedophilia, demands the regular consumption of Orange Crush, commands that little girls be crushed to death who play with dolls, and provides the world's greatest recipe for pepperoni pizza."

Using what method? you don't know jack fucking shit about exegesis or any sort of historical critical method. I'm quite sure you don't even know that it exists. Do you? Every heard of the historical critical method? Can you tell me one principle of it? (here's a hint, don't' say "cherry picking").



historical critical method is a SCIENCE. atheist's don't know that because they too fucking lazy to learn about it.

I bet you have never read a single page of liberal theology you have no idea what it's like or what liberal theologians do. I bet you anything you are imagining it to be jsut like Falwell right?



I spend three years an paid thousands of dollars to learn the historical critical method. can't you spend one evening reading about ignorant one?

the things you are saying are nothing but ignornat slander.

Loren said...

Me earlier:
No, one who does what I do to misbehaving programs -- rewrite them.

You wrote:
O that's not arrogant at all is it? so your little 3% of misfits are going to "re-write" the 90% who believe in God right? Ok and we are going to do that with what? book burnings? Or camps?

I guess the New atheists are working their final solution?


Me:
That's NOT what I was talking about. I was talking about how some allegedly omnimax god could reprogram people to be 100% virtuous. I do that with my software all the time, or at least try to, since I'm far from being either omnipotent or omniscient. If I can do that, surely some omnimax entity could also do that?

BTW, if one was to go with majority vote about beliefs, the one would end up believing in a God that is an anthropomorphic superbeing, not "the ground of being" or "being itself".

Me earlier:
Also, as Richard Carrier notes in From Taoist to Infidel, "though called a wise father, there is not a single example in the Old Testament of God sitting down and kindly teaching anyone"

You wrote:
Waht you want, Andy talking to Opie? Why isn't giving the 10 commandments teaching? why are they cruel? All the prophets who told Israel God loved them whys is that cruel?

Me:
Yes, Andy talking to Opie.

You wrote:
(about the Bible)
not even if it was written 4000 years ago in another language and in a another world.

So why continue to worship that book as Absolute, Final Truth?

(making the Bible mean anything that one wants it to...)
You wrote:
that's what people say when they are are too lazy to learn the language and do the exegesis. That is another more than anti-intellectual anti-thought hgo wash.

Me:
Why should it be necessary to learn the language? Why can't it be transparently translatable? It's supposed to be the greatest instruction book ever written, right?

You wrote:
the next step is burning books.

Hey I know, how about a big bible burning? ...

how about outlawing seminaries. ...


Me:
That's absurd.

You wrote:
I spend three years an paid thousands of dollars to learn the historical critical method. can't you spend one evening reading about ignorant one?

Me:
I understand what it's about. And it does not involve making excuse after excuse after excuse for whatever book that one might want to worship.

Kristen said...

I can think of all kinds of places where God "kindly taught" and gently interacted with people. The first example that comes to mind is when God said Sarah was going to have a child, though she was barren, and she laughed. Instead of rebuking her, God simply told her to name the son "Laughter"! There are lots of other places, if you care to look.

But why do Bible critics always seem to expect it to read like it was written in the 21st century? God's relationship to people has always taken their culture into account. A primitive, savage culture is going to see God through its own cultural glasses, and interact with God according to its own perspective. This isn't "making a desperate excuse," it's just applying the facts to the case. But read the Psalms of David sometimes, and you'll see the joy and love that relationship with God entails. Joe is absolutely right in this:

one of the most wonderful surprises about coming to believe, having been an atheist, was the discovery of how amazingly great it is to praise God. it' can be better than sex, certainly better than pot or acid. I promise. it's great. the best thing in the world.

I've never done drugs, but I can say experience the presence of God in prayer and praise is beyond sex, rock-n-roll or roller coaster rides.

J.L. Hinman said...

Me earlier:
No, one who does what I do to misbehaving programs -- rewrite them.

You wrote:
O that's not arrogant at all is it? so your little 3% of misfits are going to "re-write" the 90% who believe in God right? Ok and we are going to do that with what? book burnings? Or camps?

I guess the New atheists are working their final solution?

Me:
That's NOT what I was talking about. I was talking about how some allegedly omnimax god could reprogram people to be 100% virtuous.


who says that? I am guess that you only read atheist sources. Because you know nothing about Christianity. You are just getting a bunch of crap from atheist who get their crap from atheists and who get their crap.. on back who knows how many places.

no one anywheres said God makes people 100% virtuous.



I do that with my software all the time, or at least try to, since I'm far from being either omnipotent or omniscient. If I can do that, surely some omnimax entity could also do that?

why don't you try actually reading some theology so you can learn something about it?


BTW, if one was to go with majority vote about beliefs, the one would end up believing in a God that is an anthropomorphic superbeing, not "the ground of being" or "being itself".


so what? you confusing my argument about your right to push people around who don't see things the way you do, with some sort of epistemic judgment. I was saying believer are the majority to say you don't have the right to set up the unbeliever as the epistemic standard.

It's far more likely that 90% are closer to the truth than 3% but it's certainly far from a guarantee. But in terms of rights. it makes much more sense that the culture would reflect the interest of the 90% rather than the 3%.


Me earlier:
Also, as Richard Carrier notes in From Taoist to Infidel, "though called a wise father, there is not a single example in the Old Testament of God sitting down and kindly teaching anyone"

You wrote:
Waht you want, Andy talking to Opie? Why isn't giving the 10 commandments teaching? why are they cruel? All the prophets who told Israel God loved them whys is that cruel?

Me:
Yes, Andy talking to Opie.


I thought you didn't like anthropomorphic? and why would you want God to be patterned after a small town sheriff in North Carolina?

You wrote:
(about the Bible)
not even if it was written 4000 years ago in another language and in a another world.

So why continue to worship that book as Absolute, Final Truth?


I don't worship a book.

why don't you try to learn something?

why would being 4000 years old prevent it from having truth? Isn't truth timeless?


(making the Bible mean anything that one wants it to...)
You wrote:
that's what people say when they are are too lazy to learn the language and do the exegesis. That is another more than anti-intellectual anti-thought hgo wash.

Me:
Why should it be necessary to learn the language?

so you can understand what it says. duh!


Why can't it be transparently translatable?

cause lanague doesn't work that way. let's think like adults now. this is what comes from constant mocking. you can't understand the serious ideas because you just rian yousrelf to get one thing, something you can mock and you just steadfastly ignore any serious scholarhisp or thinking because you wont let youself believe it's there.

your hatred of God is the result of fearing hell.



It's supposed to be the greatest instruction book ever written, right?

No. where do you get that idea? see you so ignorant of anything concerning Christianity. the only version you know about is the straw man set up by atheist websites.

You wrote:
the next step is burning books.

Hey I know, how about a big bible burning? ...

how about outlawing seminaries. ...

Me:
That's absurd.


that is your exact attitude. Your statements are hateful and mocking, you refuse to learn one fucking thing about the faith, you want to do nothing but mock, and you can't listen to a serious argument.

and when one puts up an intellectual defense you accuse them of making excuses and cherry picking all sorts of other clownish bull shit that designed to ridicule rather than promote discussion.


You wrote:
I spend three years an paid thousands of dollars to learn the historical critical method. can't you spend one evening reading about ignorant one?

Me:
I understand what it's about. And it does not involve making excuse after excuse after excuse for whatever book that one might want to worship.

Obiviously you don't know anything it's about. everything you have said about it is a fallacy!

(1) God makes you 100%^ vitruous.

(2) worship the bible

(4) greatest instruction book ever.

these are not valid summations of Christian positions, they are lampoons. You don't understand the basics.

To equate the scientific historical critical method with "making excuses is just down right idiotic. Totaly anti-intellectual.

I am going to make a serious, non insulting big big post and try to put toether a big picture to clue you in on what your views are lacking. So plese be looking for it.

I'm taking off writing time that I need to do my first chapter of my book so that I can explain some of of this to you.

Kristen said...

Loren wrote:

No, one who does what I do to misbehaving programs -- rewrite them.

I was talking about how some allegedly omnimax god could reprogram people to be 100% virtuous. I do that with my software all the time, or at least try to, since I'm far from being either omnipotent or omniscient. If I can do that, surely some omnimax entity could also do that?


Well, I think God does rewrite the software-- but since the "software" in this case is conscious and self-aware, God does not re-write without the software's permission. But I equate what you are saying with what Jesus meant when he said, "You must be born again."

But I must make the point that the completion of the re-writing is a gradual process, only to be completed fully in the next life. Otherwise it would cause the software (which has feelings and sentience) too much pain.

BTW, if one was to go with majority vote about beliefs, the one would end up believing in a God that is an anthropomorphic superbeing, not "the ground of being" or "being itself".

Most Christians believe both, actually. God does relate to us as a Father. But if you pressed most Christians on this, they would tell you that working from how we, as limited beings, can best relate to God does not mean that what we best understand about God is all that God is.

Yes, Andy talking to Opie.

God: "When Ephraim was young how I loved him. . . for it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, and I who picked him up in My arms."

So why continue to worship that book as Absolute, Final Truth?

Only certain fundamentalist sects worship the Bible-- and if you pressed them on the point, even they would say they don't. They worship God.

Why should it be necessary to learn the language? Why can't it be transparently translatable? It's supposed to be the greatest instruction book ever written, right?

I have heard some fundamentalists say that, but that's not the way the Bible has been understood by Christians throughout history. The Bible is a record of the interactions of humanity with God, a record of God's revelations of Himself (using "Him" in the generic sense, here).

In fact, God specifically did not give us just a simple book of instructions, but a collection of history, poetry, prophecy, etc. Why? Because we are humans, with complex natures and needs. We aren't software. We don't need a programming manual-- we need to be able to seek truth for ourselves, in all its beauty, complexity and nuance.

I understand what it's about. And it does not involve making excuse after excuse after excuse for whatever book that one might want to worship.

It's not about worshiping a book. You argue against Christianity as if all the Christians are fundamentalists, rather than fundamentalism being one extremist, vocal sect. Christianity is bigger and more complex than you are giving it credit for.

A Hermit said...

"O that's not arrogant at all is it? so your little 3% of misfits are going to "re-write" the 90% who believe in God right? Ok and we are going to do that with what? book burnings? Or camps?

I guess the New atheists are working their final solution?"


I know the ludicrous Nazi baiting would come back sooner or later...

I was beginning to think we were starting to make a connection here, and when I come back to hopefully continue that process here you are you're comparing people Nazis for disagreeing with you again.

You're just incapable of having a civilized conversation, aren't you?

Thanks for once again demonstrating the awesome transformative power of faith for me; your contemptible behavior does more to convince me of the absence of God than any argument ever could...

J.L. Hinman said...

We all have our frustrations. Some of the statements she made were extremely anti-intellectual. She as much as said he wants to program people like she does soft ware. That strikes me as very fascist.

No way you can stick me with labeling all atheists. I was speaking of her comments and her view point.

J.L. Hinman said...

you know I am probably being unfair to you Loren. I guess I should assume you didn't mean things the way I took them. I've been known to be a bit paranoid at times.

I apologize to you if I was mean. And to Hermit.

Loren said...

Metacrock, are you saying that the Bible is NOT the greatest instruction book ever? How does it fall short of being that? What deficiencies does it have?

And insisting on the absolute perfection of the Bible seems a lot like Bible worship, at least to me.

And which version of it? The usual Protestant version? The Catholic version? The Codex Sinaiticus? Etc.

J.L. Hinman said...

Metacrock, are you saying that the Bible is NOT the greatest instruction book ever? How does it fall short of being that? What deficiencies does it have?

Becasue it is not an insturction book. It's a collection of literature. It was not writen by one person for one reason.It was wirtten over a long period by many people for many reaosns.

Not being an instruction book doesn't mean it is not instructive. it's many thinks. you should try reading some theology books about it, stop always just trying find fault with it and try learning what people get out of it.


And insisting on the absolute perfection of the Bible seems a lot like Bible worship, at least to me.


good GOD! there you go again. STop trying to impose your pre concieved notions on me! I anot a fuckign fudnie don't you get it?

learn the difference!

WHEN DID i EVER SAY THE BIBLE IS PERFECT? THAT IS A PRIMARY DISTINCTION BETWEEN LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE. THAT'S WHAT MAKES ME LIBERAL THAT i DON'T BELIEVE THAT.


And which version of it? The usual Protestant version? The Catholic version? The Codex Sinaiticus? Etc.

your question is not applicable. but those are different translations. so presumably the original could be perfect and the translations have flaws. But the fact of it is I do not think in those terms.