View Poll Results: What do you believe the future will bring in the long run? A world...

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  • where truth and justice prevail.

    4 14.29%
  • that is better, but still no permanent world peace.

    6 21.43%
  • that is essentially the same.

    6 21.43%
  • that is worse than ever.

    12 42.86%
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Thread: World Peace--Is It Possible?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadroch View Post
    See, this is where you are mistaken. There are plenty of ways to keep a dog from eating your meat. The simplist is to make sure he's not hungry.
    Beating a dog does nothing but teach it hatred.
    All right. Good idea, don't let your dog get too hungry.

    Let's say Hamas and al-Qaeda are the dog. They're hungry. What are they hungry for? Well, Hamas is looking for death-to-the-Jews and the destruction of Israel. They said this and I believe them. Al-Qaeda is just hungry for world domination under an Islamic caliphate.

    There's a name for feeding dogs such as these-appeasement. You can give them your food if you want but I'd rather kick the hell out of them because I'm not prepared to give them what they are really hungry for and neither are the Israelis. If they hate me for it, so what? They hate me already, they hate anyone who denies them what they demand. I'd like to send one to his grave hating me- how do you like the sound of that?

    (Disclaimer: dogs are just a coarse analogy, I do not believe in kicking or beating animals.)


    Quote Originally Posted by shadroch View Post
    The US/China relationship is a perfect example. Two nations, two dogmas. We should be mortal enemys. We should be spiraling in a death dance where no one could win. Instead, we've embraced them as our largest trading partner. Now they couldn't attack us without destroying their entire economy.
    No, the Chinese can't attack us because they have no way of getting here. Not much of a navy. If they defeat us in a war their economy will be just fine- they can just take all our stuff and enslave our people like they do their own. Our standard of living and freedom will be reduced to that of a Red Chinaman and the Chinese oligarchy will be richer and happier than ever.

    Also, what's this "trading partner?" Large corporations do their manufacturing over there to avoid our labor and environmental laws, we send them our money and wonder where our jobs went. How is that a trading partner? It's more like a partner in crime. Once we run out of money to pay for the crap they make they're going to want to know what we're good for now. Then they start making demands. What are we going to do, "feed" them too?

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAZ View Post
    Yo moo, you're going to be waiting a long time. As a matter of fact you and generations to come will die waiting.

    Monkey, you are a typical case of a moderate believer in religion not being able to relate to the radical fundamentalist. Killing a radical muslim is a treat for them, so by all means kill them. Problem is, the line is long for the next wacko of Islam to take his place. In the meantime many of the innocents and so called infidels get slaughtered in the process. The fact of the matter is as long as there are different religions of the world there will be no peace. Wars over borders and freedom can be fought and won. But mix in religion and deep set theology on each others gods and there is no clear cut winner as long as there is 1 person left with a different religious view. I mean Israel thinks God promised them their land, who the hell can top that as far as reasoning? I think its a travesty to kill each other over imaginary friends, but it is the number one cause of war. You can act like an ignorant redneck and spew the old "kill em all and let god sort em out" line but who the hell knows which god is the right one. Is it just dumbluck that you being born here affirms the majority U.S. belief that the christian god is the right one. Seems a little too luck dependent for an almighty being to operate in such away. The way I see it, eliminate all religion and you eliminate unwinnable wars. World peace, maybe not, but at least there will be actual finish lines and acheivable objectives of war that can actually bring wars to an end.
    Now you're talking like an atheist who doesn't recognize his comrades. Do you believe that the Hamas leadership really believes in a god other than themselves? Sure, they sing the praises of martyrdom... from their safe houses. They don't believe in Allah any more than you do. And if they desired martyrdom, why do they go crying to the UN when the Israelis target them personally instead of their flunkies? Money power and pussy, in this life not the next, is all they are interested in.

    Blaming the different religions of the world is ridiculous. There is only one organized religion in the world that propagates violence, and organized atheism is almost as bad. Israel isn't killing anyone over religion. They just want the attacks to stop.

  3. #33
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    Default Religion at the core of it all

    Quote Originally Posted by Automatic Monkey View Post
    Now you're talking like an atheist who doesn't recognize his comrades. Do you believe that the Hamas leadership really believes in a god other than themselves? Sure, they sing the praises of martyrdom... from their safe houses. They don't believe in Allah any more than you do. And if they desired martyrdom, why do they go crying to the UN when the Israelis target them personally instead of their flunkies? Money power and pussy, in this life not the next, is all they are interested in.

    Blaming the different religions of the world is ridiculous. There is only one organized religion in the world that propagates violence, and organized atheism is almost as bad. Israel isn't killing anyone over religion. They just want the attacks to stop.
    As soon as you deal with one enemy Athiest, another one pops up right away; (same thing when you kill a Jihadist.) Now I do recognize you as a comrade, Monkey, it's just that guns make me nervous. How many people have been killed by accidental gunshot?

    So Israel isn't killing anyone over religion huh? Correct me if I'm wrong but it was somebody called god who led his Chosen People into the Chosen Land in the first place, wasn't it? Now if you believe that fairy tale, then you believe god has favourite people and favourite places, right? Which is just as nonsensical as people pretending that they know "god's will." Which also means, by implication, god did not like anyone else much, nor anyplace else much; which is pretty odd don't you think, when the sheer magnifence and beauty of Hawaii - for example - is enjoyed.

    The Israelis are condemned forever to more of the same that we see in Gaza at the moment, by a seriously-flawed decision by ... god. It's god's fault, this whole unholy mess. The Israelis are forced to defend god's land forever, and god's ONLY true religion - judaism - by staying the hell where they are and fighting forever to the last gasp of the heroic defender's breath.

    The Arab tribes who want to get rid of their hated enemies have long memories. They remember Sulieman's heroic deeds and the past glory of the Ottoman Empire, when Jews were slaves. They particularly remember the Crusades, when the christians and catholics came raping, stealing and plundering what they could take; all in the name of religion.

    They also have a strong memory of one particular incident during those Crusades. Crusaders decided to have a barbecue one day and set fire to a mosque full of men, women and children. This one particular incident the modern-day Jihadists recall with passion enough to make them want to ...
    Dogma schmogma

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Automatic Monkey View Post
    Those people are a detriment to peace. Accommodationists, Marxists and cowards. The way to peace is rendering your enemy unable to make war, and thousands of years of human history support that position.

    What pacifism too often ends up as is what was demonstrated by the ANC in South Africa. When the cameras are there, hold hands and sing "Kumbaya." When the cameras leave, set your political opponents on fire. The left-wing "peace" outfits are only peaceful when soliciting donations. You should see some of the extremists they support.
    God save us all!!! zg
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  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katweezel View Post
    They remember Sulieman's heroic deeds and the past glory of the Ottoman Empire, when Jews were slaves.
    When exactly were Jews real down low slaves? zg
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
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    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagefr0g View Post
    lmao, we must be kindered souls. when i was in elementary school, running across some ones yard under a tree, mouth open, sort of panting while running, a robin flew over my head and pooped, the poop landed in my mouth.
    i'll never forget it. not sure of the significance.
    Confucius say, two times keep mouth shut--1. brain not engaged; 2. running under tree. Number two less well known.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
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  7. #37
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    Default Slave Labor

    Quote Originally Posted by zengrifter View Post
    When exactly were Jews real down low slaves? zg
    ... Ottoman Empire, when Jews were slaves. Oops, not much real historical accuracy there or evidence... Apology offered. Although Muhammad had slaves and the Qur'an takes the existence of slaves for granted. Slaves were considered a 'booty' of Islamic wars and any Jews or christians swept up with others were offered conversion, or...

    OK, I'm sure the Arabs remember when the Babylonians took the Jews as slaves back to Babylonia.
    And when their Egyptian brothers enslaved the Jews. They also probably recall Amr conquering Tripoli in 643 and taking many Jews and christians as slaves.
    Dogma schmogma

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katweezel View Post
    ... Ottoman Empire, when Jews were slaves. Oops, not much real historical accuracy there or evidence... Apology offered. Although Muhammad had slaves and the Qur'an takes the existence of slaves for granted. Slaves were considered a 'booty' of Islamic wars and any Jews or christians swept up with others were offered conversion, or...

    OK, I'm sure the Arabs remember when the Babylonians took the Jews as slaves back to Babylonia.
    And when their Egyptian brothers enslaved the Jews. They also probably recall Amr conquering Tripoli in 643 and taking many Jews and christians as slaves.
    How about when the Egyptians used them as slave labor to build the pyramids. It must be true; I saw it in the movies.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by aslan
    You said that religion is the philosophy of the weak-minded. Prior to that you described weak-minded people who "contorted" the meaning of the Bible to fit what they wanted, I agree that people who do that are weak-minded, but to say that religion is the philosophy of the weak-minded lumps everyone together, even those who are strong-minded in their religious beliefs.
    Yes perhaps my description was broader than I intended it to be. It’s just that I have never met a single person who believes in the bible as a whole. Every religious person I know has certain parts that they exclude so technically none of them are true believers. I agree with them that there are many parts of the bible that are either not applicable or insignificant to modern life but that doesn’t change the fact that they are cherry-picking their beliefs and morals. It’s a slippery slope. It’s like a football player who doesn’t play by all the rules – he might be a great athlete but he’s a bad football player because the game he is playing is not football.

    My main criticism of religion is not that people abuse it but that people rely on it too heavily. Religion should never be the reason someone makes a decision. It might be something they consider but it should not be the final answer. Too often I have had discussions with religious friends who end every discussion with “Because the bible says so” or “Because that’s how God wants it to be.” Those are just opinions without any factual basis. Maybe God exists, maybe he spoke to some people a few thousand years ago and nobody since, maybe those people understood him, maybe the bible is an accurate representation of his doctrine, maybe our translation is correct, maybe your interpretation is correct, maybe you are blindly making the correct decision. Maybe not. The thought process should not end there. People need to go beyond the parables and consider the effects that a decision will have on the real-world situation. Religion might lead you to the answer but it is never the answer itself.

    People should not base their moral standards on their interpretation of one book. It should come from a deeper understanding of the situation and an intelligent appraisal of the facts involved. When people have properly researched their decisions they have valid reasons and supporting facts for their beliefs. They never need to resort to religious validation. When people don’t they are left with nothing but empty opinions that fall back on the typical arguments I mentioned above. Religion gives some people a way to support their personal beliefs without the need for reason, logic, knowledge, facts or evidence. It’s the exact opposite of philosophy. It can be a copout for people who want to believe they are correct but can’t give any reason why they think so. I’ll admit that many of the correct conclusions can be found in religious texts but to make your decision based on them is a bad way to live and a dangerous way to mandate the laws and behaviors of a nation. That is the fundamental flaw behind the concept of a religious nation. It’s like God’s little Martingale system – no matter how you tweak it it will never work.

    Quote Originally Posted by aslan
    If there were no religion, there would still be moral values, and there would still be those who pick and choose moral values that are self-serving.
    You are absolutely correct. The difference is that without religion people would need to justify their values using reason instead of myths. If one person says “I believe my way will benefit the most people because…” and another person says “I believe my way is what God wants” the God guy would lose. People would be forced to think and to explain why one choice is better than another and substantiate their case. That would help eliminate any self-serving intentions. Currently things are not like that in many places. People often start with a religious belief and try to substantiate it with whatever they can find while ignoring anything that contradicts it. This is just another form of cherry-picking and it always ends up with people piling one opinion on top of another and treating them like facts. Many people don’t seem to know the difference these days. To make matters worse, because of religious disagreements there are often arguments that end in both sides saying “God agrees with me, not you.” That is the pinnacle of bad decision making skills. Although religion tries to offer us guidance in our lives we cannot rely on it otherwise we will become squabbling children who arrogantly believe that things should only be their way. Religion should be thought of as a parent or guardian - the more a person matures the less they should rely on religion to show them the answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by aslan
    I am a Catholic. It is not easy being a Catholic. It is not a religion for the weak-minded. It requires more discipline than anything else I can imagine.
    Discipline does not necessarily mean strong-minded in my opinion. I can name plenty of people who rose to great power because of their discipline yet had very questionable moral values and terrible decision making skills. I’m not implying that this applies to you but I’m sure you know of people like that. Some of them were not acting on religious beliefs but it is that same mindset that causes people to make weak-minded decisions. I call them weak-minded not because they lack discipline or a strong belief that they are morally right but because they are so passionately acting on a decision that is not properly justified or thought out. They are acting on opinions instead of facts. Those kinds of people are detrimental to all humankind.

    Quote Originally Posted by aslan
    I derive my moral standard from what I believe is the correct interpretation of the Bible. By this standard, many modern day wars are nothing less than mass murder. It would be difficult to use my religious beliefs as a pretext for war.
    That is true but it is very easy to use similar religious beliefs as a pretext for hate crimes, discrimination and other immoral behavior if followed blindly. That is what some people do and I know you agree with me that it is not acceptable. That is why I say that religion cannot be the main justification for any action. If God wanted us to just follow the bible he wouldn’t have given us such big brains. He wants us to use our brains in order to find Him, not the other way around. If you make intelligent decisions God will be happy. I believe it is much more likely that people will make intelligent decisions if they do not rely on religion or use it as a crutch.
    Last edited by Nazgul; January 6th, 2009 at 03:39 PM.
    Truth demands knowledge. Deceit demands faith.

  10. #40
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    An excerpt from A Letter To A Christian Nation by Sam Harris;

    One of the greatest challenges facing human civilization in the 21st century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns-about ethics, spiritual experience, and the inevitability of human suffering-in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. we desperately need a public discourse that encourages critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord to religious faith.

    I would be the first to admit that the prospects for eradicating religion in our time do not seem good. Still, the same could have been said about efforts to abolish slavery at the end of the 18th century. Anyone who spoke with confidence about eradicating slavery in the U.S. in the year 1775 surely appeared to be wasting time, and wasting it dangerously. The analogy is not perfect, but it is suggestive. If we ever transcend our religious bewilderment, we will look back upon this period in human history with horror and amazement. How could it have been possible for people to believe such things in the 21st century? How could it be they allowed their societies to become so dangerously fragmented by empty notions about God and Paradise? The truth is, some of your most cherished beliefs are as embarrassing as those that sent the last slave ship sailing to America as late as 1859 (the same year Darwin published The Origin Of Species).

    I have no doubt that your acceptance of Jesus Christ coincided with some very positive changes in your life. Perhaps you now love people in a way you never imagined possible. Youmay even experience feelings of bliss while praying. I do not wish to denigrate any of those experiences. I would point out however, that billions of other human beings, in every time and place, have had similar experiences-but they had them while thinking about Krishna, or Allah, or Buddha, while making art, or music, or while contemplating the beauty of nature. There is no question that it is possible for people to have profoundly transformative experiences. And there is no question that it is possible for them to misinterpret these experiences, and to further delude themselves about the nature of reality. You are of course right to believe that there is more to life than simply understanding the structure and contents of the universe. But this does not make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about its contents and structure any more respectable.

    It is important to realize the distinction between science and religion is not a matter of excluding our ethical institutions and spiritual experiences from our conversation about the world: it is a matter of being honest about what we can reasonably conclude on their basis. There are good reasons to believe that people like Jesus and the Buddha weren't talking nonsense when they spoke about our capacity as human beings to transform our lives in rare and beautiful ways. But any genuine exploration of ethics or the contemplative life demands the same standards of reasonableness and selfcriticism that animate all inellectual discourse.

    As a biological phenomenom, religion is the product of cognitive process that have deep roots in our evolutionary past. Some researchers have speculated that religion itself may have played an important role in getting large groups of prehistoric humans to socially cohere. If this is true, we can say that religion has served a purpose. This does not suggest, however, that it serves an important purpose now. There is after all, nothing more natural than rape. But no one would argue that rape is good, or compatible with a civil society, because it may have had evolutionary advantages for our ancestors. That religion may have served some necessary function for us in the past does not preclude the possibility that it is now the greatest impediment to our building a global civilization.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katweezel View Post
    As soon as you deal with one enemy Athiest, another one pops up right away; (same thing when you kill a Jihadist.) Now I do recognize you as a comrade, Monkey, it's just that guns make me nervous. How many people have been killed by accidental gunshot?
    I don't know, but I'll take my chances with my firearms and accidental gunshots rather than being unarmed and at the mercy of others. Others are not always merciful. And I'm into safe handling and good marksmanship, don't be nervous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katweezel View Post
    So Israel isn't killing anyone over religion huh? Correct me if I'm wrong but it was somebody called god who led his Chosen People into the Chosen Land in the first place, wasn't it? Now if you believe that fairy tale, then you believe god has favourite people and favourite places, right? Which is just as nonsensical as people pretending that they know "god's will." Which also means, by implication, god did not like anyone else much, nor anyplace else much; which is pretty odd don't you think, when the sheer magnifence and beauty of Hawaii - for example - is enjoyed.
    God didn't lead them there in this millenium. The recent history of Israel has something in common with your country and mine- the British. The right of the Israelis to live in Israel is equivalent of yours to live in your fine country.

    King David fought for Jerusalem (a Babylonian city when he found it) and I think we can all agree that in the Bronze Age that was a perfectly legitimate way of acquiring territory. Jews feel that God delivered victory to them in that battle (and many other battles) just like many combat veterans of all eras have reported the feeling of God protecting them at the most dangerous moments of their life. "No atheists in foxholes" as they say. I'm not qualified to comment on those feelings and I hope I never am.

    That's all (literally) ancient history though. Israel has complete religious tolerance and religious freedom on the level that you or I would be accustomed to in our countries. Not even one Israeli is fighting to promote his religion. Do you believe that any of this fighting in Gaza would be happening today if there were no missiles flying out of that territory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katweezel View Post
    The Israelis are condemned forever to more of the same that we see in Gaza at the moment, by a seriously-flawed decision by ... god. It's god's fault, this whole unholy mess. The Israelis are forced to defend god's land forever, and god's ONLY true religion - judaism - by staying the hell where they are and fighting forever to the last gasp of the heroic defender's breath.
    See above. Israelis aren't particularly religious. Plenty of them are atheist. In fact the ultra-religious over there don't serve in the military being so much of their time is dedicated to religious observances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katweezel View Post
    The Arab tribes who want to get rid of their hated enemies have long memories. They remember Sulieman's heroic deeds and the past glory of the Ottoman Empire, when Jews were slaves. They particularly remember the Crusades, when the christians and catholics came raping, stealing and plundering what they could take; all in the name of religion.
    Partially right. The Arabs came out of nowhere to attack Jerusalem without provocation. The Mohammadan conquests were strictly a war for empire. The Crusades were no more an act of aggression than the invasion at Normandy. Aggressive, yes, but for the purpose of eliminating a worse aggressor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katweezel View Post
    They also have a strong memory of one particular incident during those Crusades. Crusaders decided to have a barbecue one day and set fire to a mosque full of men, women and children. This one particular incident the modern-day Jihadists recall with passion enough to make them want to ...
    All you have to do is read a historical map of the area to understand who doesn't belong there. Look at where Arabia is. That's where Arabs and the Arabic language come from, and also Islam. Now look at the area where Islam is practiced and Arabic is spoken. Don't you think someone might have been doing a little bit of aggression? Now look at the ruins and graves in the area of Jerusalem with Hebrew inscriptions. They predate Islam and Christianity, they predate the English language and even the Roman Empire. Wouldn't that indicate to you that Jews have a rationale for being there, with or without the will of God?

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    Yes perhaps my description was broader than I intended it to be. It’s just that I have never met a single person who believes in the bible as a whole.
    That could be because YOU don't understand "the Bible as a whole." Some people think the Bible as a whole means that you accept THEIR interpretation of certain parts on which they cast their own personal interpretation or meaning. Some people believe that "the bible as a whole" means a literal interpretation as if each word was "dictated" by God. I contend that I believe the Bible as a whole, but only in the sense that the Bible was written by many different writers and is only true in the sense that God INSPIRED ordinary men to convey SPIRITUAL TRUTH, nothing more. I could care less whether Methuselah lived 969 years, or Adam really ate an apple, or even existed, for that matter. All that matters to me is truth as revealed by God, and which transcends man's ability to come to by reason alone. Reason can only take a man so far--then a leap of faith is required to go the distance. Your entire argument is that reason alone is all that is needed and I answer that reason alone is not enough. It is not possible to comprehend the Infinite with a finite mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    Every religious person I know has certain parts that they exclude so technically none of them are true believers. I agree with them that there are many parts of the bible that are either not applicable or insignificant to modern life but that doesn’t change the fact that they are cherry-picking their beliefs and morals. It’s a slippery slope. It’s like a football player who doesn’t play by all the rules – he might be a great athlete but he’s a bad football player because the game he is playing is not football.
    Your lack of understanding about the meaning of the Bible does not qualify you to make such judgments as to what should or should not be excluded, or who is cherry picking their morals and beliefs. As I explained above, a true understanding of hte nature of the Bible would exclude ALL that does not speak to SPIRITUAL and MORAL truth. It's inspired, not dictated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    My main criticism of religion is not that people abuse it but that people rely on it too heavily. Religion should never be the reason someone makes a decision. It might be something they consider but it should not be the final answer. Too often I have had discussions with religious friends who end every discussion with “Because the bible says so” or “Because that’s how God wants it to be.” Those are just opinions without any factual basis. Maybe God exists, maybe he spoke to some people a few thousand years ago and nobody since, maybe those people understood him, maybe the bible is an accurate representation of his doctrine, maybe our translation is correct, maybe your interpretation is correct, maybe you are blindly making the correct decision. Maybe not. The thought process should not end there. People need to go beyond the parables and consider the effects that a decision will have on the real-world situation. Religion might lead you to the answer but it is never the answer itself.
    If one's reason takes him to the point that he makes the leap of faith to believe in God and His inspired word, then it is not just opinions. Faith is based on following reason as far as it can take you. But while it does go beyond reason, it is never at odds with reason. Reason leads to faith. If it is faith without reason, we call it "blind" faith. My religious faith is not blind, and I trust it more than man's reliance on reason alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    People should not base their moral standards on their interpretation of one book. It should come from a deeper understanding of the situation and an intelligent appraisal of the facts involved. When people have properly researched their decisions they have valid reasons and supporting facts for their beliefs. They never need to resort to religious validation.
    In fact, the Bible is a conglomeration of many books, all of which agree on basic spiritual and moral truths. You may not think they all agree, but then you are a casual observer, not a Bible scholar. This Book has been studied by more great minds than any other book on earth. I believe it was inspired by God, and was given to us for the simple reason that man can not attain to ultimate truth through his reason alone. Revelation is required over and above reason.

    If what you say were true, one would expect all non-religious men to come to the same conclusions about everything, but we know that is not true. There are as many opinions among non-religious men as there are non-religious men.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    When people don’t they are left with nothing but empty opinions that fall back on the typical arguments I mentioned above. Religion gives some people a way to support their personal beliefs without the need for reason, logic, knowledge, facts or evidence. It’s the exact opposite of philosophy. It can be a copout for people who want to believe they are correct but can’t give any reason why they think so. I’ll admit that many of the correct conclusions can be found in religious texts but to make your decision based on them is a bad way to live and a dangerous way to mandate the laws and behaviors of a nation. That is the fundamental flaw behind the concept of a religious nation. It’s like God’s little Martingale system – no matter how you tweak it it will never work.
    Biblical beliefs are not personal beliefs, they are revealed truths. All true faith begins as reason, but at the limit of human reasoning a decision is made to believe. It is not a baseless belief, but a belief based on reason and transcending above reason. Our two famous non-religious leaders of the 20th century, Hitler and Stalin, based their decisions on human reasoning. Man's reason alone is, in your words, "a dangerous way to mandate the laws and behaviors of a nation." It's like a man-made "Martingale system, no matter how you tweak it it will never work."

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    You are absolutely correct. The difference is that without religion people would need to justify their values using reason instead of myths. If one person says “I believe my way will benefit the most people because…” and another person says “I believe my way is what God wants” the God guy would lose. People would be forced to think and to explain why one choice is better than another and substantiate their case. That would help eliminate any self-serving intentions. Currently things are not like that in many places. People often start with a religious belief and try to substantiate it with whatever they can find while ignoring anything that contradicts it. This is just another form of cherry-picking and it always ends up with people piling one opinion on top of another and treating them like facts. Many people don’t seem to know the difference these days. To make matters worse, because of religious disagreements there are often arguments that end in both sides saying “God agrees with me, not you.” That is the pinnacle of bad decision making skills. Although religion tries to offer us guidance in our lives we cannot rely on it otherwise we will become squabbling children who arrogantly believe that things should only be their way. Religion should be thought of as a parent or guardian - the more a person matures the less they should rely on religion to show them the answers.
    Actually, the more people mature, the more they should realize their need for God and His guidance in their lives.

    It's just as easy to "reason" to fallacious, self-serving values as it is to distort Biblical truth. Non-religious people are just as given to arguing among themselves as religious people. I doubt you could name many Biblical based truths that do not have a strong and well developed underpinning of reason that has been developed for centuries by religious doctors and scholars. This idea that religion is blindly accepting what one thinks is God's truth is just not supported by the facts. True religious people are not intimidated by reason, because it supports their beliefs, and because valid reason can never disprove revealed truth. Truth is truth, and valid reason can only lead to the truth, revealed or otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    Discipline does not necessarily mean strong-minded in my opinion. I can name plenty of people who rose to great power because of their discipline yet had very questionable moral values and terrible decision making skills. I’m not implying that this applies to you but I’m sure you know of people like that. Some of them were not acting on religious beliefs but it is that same mindset that causes people to make weak-minded decisions. I call them weak-minded not because they lack discipline or a strong belief that they are morally right but because they are so passionately acting on a decision that is not properly justified or thought out. They are acting on opinions instead of facts. Those kinds of people are detrimental to all humankind.
    Sorry, but I disagree. Weak-minded people lack discipline. Strong-minded people are disciplined. Yes, you can have weak morals and still be disciplined in other areas. But I don't think you can have strong morals and be undisciplined in matters of morals. Strong decision-making skills is a different area altogether. You can have strong decision-making skills and weak morals, or vice versa. I would feel most comfortable with someone who had both strong morals and strong decision-making skills. That person could be either religious or non-religious. I would feel more comfortable with the religious person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nazgul View Post
    That is true but it is very easy to use similar religious beliefs as a pretext for hate crimes, discrimination and other immoral behavior if followed blindly. That is what some people do and I know you agree with me that it is not acceptable. That is why I say that religion cannot be the main justification for any action. If God wanted us to just follow the bible he wouldn’t have given us such big brains. He wants us to use our brains in order to find Him, not the other way around. If you make intelligent decisions God will be happy. I believe it is much more likely that people will make intelligent decisions if they do not rely on religion or use it as a crutch.
    A belief in the Catholic faith can never be a pretext for hate crimes. A DISTORTION of ANY belief, religious or OTHERWISE, can and usually IS a pretext for hate crimes. I don't know where this line of reason gets us.

    He didn't give us very big brains. That's the whole point. Anything finite is by definition limited. The finite (our minds) cannot comprehend the infinite (God's mind). We need the help. If He made us unneedful of help, I guess then we would be God. I don't know about you, but I think I would know if I were God, and I'm here to tell you I am not. I recognize my limitations.

    Generally, the troubles in the world are caused by people who do not think they need any help. True, they often use religion to stir up the masses to suit their designs, but these non-religious tyrants rely on their reasoning abilities, which they think far too highly of, to plot the most diabolical deeds against humankind. Persons with authenic and true religious beliefs do not follow these madmen.
    Last edited by aslan; January 6th, 2009 at 08:30 PM.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAZ View Post
    An excerpt from A Letter To A Christian Nation by Sam Harris;

    One of the greatest challenges facing human civilization in the 21st century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns-about ethics, spiritual experience, and the inevitability of human suffering-in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. we desperately need a public discourse that encourages critical thinking and intellectual honesty. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord to religious faith.

    I would be the first to admit that the prospects for eradicating religion in our time do not seem good. Still, the same could have been said about efforts to abolish slavery at the end of the 18th century. Anyone who spoke with confidence about eradicating slavery in the U.S. in the year 1775 surely appeared to be wasting time, and wasting it dangerously. The analogy is not perfect, but it is suggestive. If we ever transcend our religious bewilderment, we will look back upon this period in human history with horror and amazement. How could it have been possible for people to believe such things in the 21st century? How could it be they allowed their societies to become so dangerously fragmented by empty notions about God and Paradise? The truth is, some of your most cherished beliefs are as embarrassing as those that sent the last slave ship sailing to America as late as 1859 (the same year Darwin published The Origin Of Species).

    I have no doubt that your acceptance of Jesus Christ coincided with some very positive changes in your life. Perhaps you now love people in a way you never imagined possible. Youmay even experience feelings of bliss while praying. I do not wish to denigrate any of those experiences. I would point out however, that billions of other human beings, in every time and place, have had similar experiences-but they had them while thinking about Krishna, or Allah, or Buddha, while making art, or music, or while contemplating the beauty of nature. There is no question that it is possible for people to have profoundly transformative experiences. And there is no question that it is possible for them to misinterpret these experiences, and to further delude themselves about the nature of reality. You are of course right to believe that there is more to life than simply understanding the structure and contents of the universe. But this does not make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about its contents and structure any more respectable.

    It is important to realize the distinction between science and religion is not a matter of excluding our ethical institutions and spiritual experiences from our conversation about the world: it is a matter of being honest about what we can reasonably conclude on their basis. There are good reasons to believe that people like Jesus and the Buddha weren't talking nonsense when they spoke about our capacity as human beings to transform our lives in rare and beautiful ways. But any genuine exploration of ethics or the contemplative life demands the same standards of reasonableness and selfcriticism that animate all inellectual discourse.

    As a biological phenomenom, religion is the product of cognitive process that have deep roots in our evolutionary past. Some researchers have speculated that religion itself may have played an important role in getting large groups of prehistoric humans to socially cohere. If this is true, we can say that religion has served a purpose. This does not suggest, however, that it serves an important purpose now. There is after all, nothing more natural than rape. But no one would argue that rape is good, or compatible with a civil society, because it may have had evolutionary advantages for our ancestors. That religion may have served some necessary function for us in the past does not preclude the possibility that it is now the greatest impediment to our building a global civilization.
    The same case could just as easily be made about atheism.

    The existence of God is self-evident. Once you get past that, you can build rational constructs that either prove or disprove His existence. But...what's the point? lol
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

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    I am blown away by how widely distributed the votes are. The two more positive options (1 and 2) have gotten 7 votes and the two more negative options (2 and 3) have gotten 7 votes. What does it mean?
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

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    Quote Originally Posted by aslan View Post
    I am blown away by how widely distributed the votes are. The two more positive options (1 and 2) have gotten 7 votes and the two more negative options (2 and 3) have gotten 7 votes. What does it mean?
    What it means is that god is undecided, at this moment, but he will make a ... decision, as soon as the deadlock breaks.
    Dogma schmogma

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