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Rev



Joined: 06 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: 03/09/10, 05:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawking's universe may not require a God, but what Hawking is really saying is that he and humanity have no requirement for God. I wonder if that is part of the human condition, that somehow we need to put ourselves first, and be validated, important. Certainly, the evidence would suggest that that is our nature...
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Peter.Single



Joined: 17 Aug 2010

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PostPosted: 03/09/10, 09:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Perhaps you could find an article from Dawkins that expounds all the good that people with faith do in the world?

I don't think he ever says that people with faith don't do good. Of course they do; as do people without faith. Just because people do good, just because religion provides comfort and solace, just because people want it to be true; these things have no bearing whatsoever on whether it is, actually, in fact, true.


Quote:
Sadly, Dawkins, through the very words he writes, sets himself up as being on 'the winning' or 'intellectually and morally superior' side. Therefore the views he expresses, ..... are a contradiction.

He puts his belief in evidence based science robustly; but I don't see why that makes you think they are a contradiction. What do they contradict?
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Rhodie



Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: 03/09/10, 09:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Rev said, "I wonder if that is part of the human condition, that somehow we need to put ourselves first, and be validated, important".

No doubt it is a spin off from our evolution. An essential to survival during the hundreds of millions of years of our development. The after you Claude attitude wouldn’t have had quite the same result. Unfortunately it is in our nature to put ourselves first and we must live with it as best we can. But to say that there is a requirement for a god is simply another part of the same homo-centric attitude.

This homo-centricity was nicely illustrated on last night’s Newsnight. Being discussed, of course, was Hawking’s latest pronouncement that the universe didn’t need a kick-start from God. One of the guests was the Rt. Rev. Dr. Lee Rayfield, the Bishop of Swindon, himself a scientist. He said,

“One of the amazing things about the way our universe is and which led Hawking in his earlier book to say maybe this is something that leads us to believe there’s a God as an origin of all this was because of the way the universe is so wonderfully balanced and perfect for the evolution of life like ours, intelligent spiritual beings.”

Perfect for the evolution of life like ours! As if all those billions of years ago the universe and particularly this planet was nicely managed as the eventual playground of Homo sapiens. I can imagine a three-headed five-legged monster with as little intelligence as us on a planet in another of Hawking's universes where conditions are completely different saying exactly the same thing.

Perhaps Hawkins should also be reminded that atheism didn’t need a kick start from him. All the same welcome to the fold.
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Rev



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PostPosted: 03/09/10, 16:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, if you cannot see the irony in Dawkins' arguments then there is little I can add. Dawkins expresses some truth in his books - of course, using religion to justify prejudice is awful, but then, so is using science...

Well, certainly not everyone is that impressed with Hawking, clever though he is (did any of us really understand the whole of 'A brief history of time'...?)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/seealso/2010/09/daily_view_stephen_hawkings_un.html

Rhodie, you assert that jealousy, pride, lust, selfishness and so on, are evolutionary traits that are 'essential' to our survival. Humanism asserts that we humans should be subject to logic and reason. For the most part I do not think such human traits (jealousy and so on) are beneficial or even essential, yet not you or I seem able to subject them to our common sense. An aspect of our human personality is that we are so insecure in ourselves that we seek the affirmation of our identity in other things and people. This is neither logical or reasonable. I do not suggest that these things are a requirement for God, but the result of being separated from a God in whom we find our identity.
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Rhodie



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PostPosted: 04/09/10, 11:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Rev said, "Rhodie, you assert that jealousy, pride, lust, selfishness and so on, are evolutionary traits that are 'essential' to our survival".

Thanks for putting those exact words in my mouth, words entirely of your own choosing.

The inferred tense was “were essential” not “are”. They are no longer so, as long as civilisation continues, but they can no more be ignored and hoped to go away than can compassion and love. If these things could be turned off as if by a switch then psychiatrists would be joining the dole queues in their hoards and be joined to a lesser extent by the clergy!

May I also remind you that acting for mankind’s benefit in the face of these prehistoric blemishes on our characters is not the prerogative of the devout. You haven’t got a monopoly.
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Rev



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PostPosted: 04/09/10, 11:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Rhodie, I had no intention of misquoting you - read, 'were' essential. Many argue that they are still essential. However, the point is that they are still with us - these prehistoric blemishes are very real and present.

I agree that they cannot be ignored, but unlike you, I hope they can go away and I don't think we have to live with it 'as best we can'. In fact, I have discovered that they can go away - that we can be brought to wholeness and life in all it's fullness - through finding identity in Christ. This is the hope that I have and the message of Jesus. This is great news! Smile
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Peter.Single



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PostPosted: 06/09/10, 11:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really want to divert the discussion too much; but why 'Jesus'?
Why not Thor, or Odin, or Mithra?
Thor was the god of thunder and lightning; at least I've seen thunder and lightning;-so there's some evidence there for him actually existing Very Happy And of course, many people dedicated, or even lost, their lives in support of him.
Mithra was, as I'm sure you know, known as the 'shepherd', or the 'son of god', born of a virgin, born on Christmas day, had desciples, had a last-supper before ascending to heaven. (centuries before Jesus was born and they ascribed these stories to him).
So why 'Jesus'? and not one of the several thousand other gods/deities etc? Surely not just because of the chance fact that your parents told you so. Surely there must have been something that made you think 'this one' rather than 'that one'.
Always been curious how religious people pick which one to go for.
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Peter.Single



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PostPosted: 06/09/10, 12:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
if you cannot see the irony in Dawkins' arguments then there is little I can add.
I think you could add a little, - to explain what you mean. If you disagree with what he says, why? Don't just dismiss it and give up.

Quote:
Therefore the views he expresses, ..... are a contradiction.
A contradiction to/of what.

Can you point me to the quote where he 'uses science to justify prejudice'... don't remember that bit.
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Rhodie



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PostPosted: 06/09/10, 14:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter.Single wrote:

Always been curious how religious people pick which one to go for.

That is exactly it. They don’t choose they simply follow their parents blindly and theirs before them. You can go back generation after generation without anyone making a conscious decision as to which god or religion to follow. If it’s logic you are looking for then you won’t find it in religion.
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geoff



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PostPosted: 09/09/10, 16:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always been the same whenever I have tried to actually debate religeon with religeous people. They can't support their assertions and beliefs with verifyable proof so in the end it comes down to 'faith' and the discussion grinds to an unsatisfactory halt. I know many christians who are lovely people and a few who are not, but I don't know a single one who can sustain a debate about it.

Frankly, quite a lot of Christian doctrine seems pretty reasonable to me, being along the lines of 'lets try to get along with each other and not nick other peoples stuff etc' and at the end of the day it doesn't really matter what people believe if it brings them some sort of comfort. However, it is when they feel they have a right (or even a duty) to try to indoctrinate others - especially vunerable groups of people such as children - that I take exception.

Like Dawkins I believe that young minds should be encouraged to challenge things that they do not understand and try to discover the truth for themselves, not to believe some religeous hokus pokus just because someone says so, or because of someone's interpretation of a 2000 year old middle eastern history book.

Geoff.
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Rev



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PostPosted: 10/09/10, 15:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhodie, if your somewhat sweeping statement was true then there would be no atheists would there? (I'll forgive you that one lapse in logic). However, you will be glad to know that it was as an adult that I chose to follow Jesus. I made a conscious (at least I think I was conscious) choice to make him Lord over my life. I told him (rather cheekily considering who I am and who he is) that he had two weeks or the whole Christianity thing probably wouldn't work out... Had I known that I was going to become a vicar, I might have had second thoughts... Wink

Peter - the irony in Dawkin's argument is that he is religiously intolerant of the religious. I might remind you that as the starter of this thread, it is not I that has a problem with expressing religion publicly, or is showing intolerance. Wink

Geoff, you talk of proof. Okay, aside from wanting to point out that if an omnipotent God existed, using a subset of that which he created to define God would be impossible and illogical, let us lower the bar somewhat. I would like you to prove to me that love exists - and the rule is that I will use the evidence (as used by atheists to disprove God) to prove that love does not exist. (Of course, I am being facetious so please forgive me. I don't really expect you to prove that love exists but it might be fun to try).

Oh, and Peter - on the whole Mithraism thing - that has pretty much been discredited by scholars (both secular and Christian) - although I'd like to see the reputable sources of your information on this. On the topic of 'Why Jesus?'. For me, it is the only story in which the other stories make sense or in which the other stories are contained. Certainly, I am not so arrogant as to think I have a monopoly on God or altruism. Smile

Phew... I need a pint...
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geoff



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PostPosted: 11/09/10, 11:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rev wrote:
...I would like you to prove to me that love exists - and the rule is that I will use the evidence (as used by atheists to disprove God) to prove that love does not exist...


But Rev, since love is an emotion it exists only inside the mind of the lover. Such a feeling is impossible to prove or disprove surely ?

G.
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Rev



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PostPosted: 11/09/10, 12:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right. It is impossible to prove or disprove love.
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Rhodie



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PostPosted: 13/09/10, 07:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rev wrote:
Rhodie, if your somewhat sweeping statement was true then there would be no atheists would there?

There are always a few exceptions to rules, I being one. But Rev I don’t think you are one unless you were brought up with a Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, Buddist or whatever background. By ‘choosing’ Jesus you went for the religion in which you had been immersed from birth.
As Geoff wrote:
It's always been the same whenever I have tried to actually debate religeon with religeous people. They can't support their assertions and beliefs with verifyable proof so in the end it comes down to 'faith' and the discussion grinds to an unsatisfactory halt.

This discussion was bound to go nowhere and perhaps should now be allowed to gind to a halt bedsides here comes the Pope!
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Rev



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PostPosted: 13/09/10, 07:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhodie, you are right, no doubt if I was born in Afghanistan I might well be a Muslim, it being a predominantly Muslim culture. However, there are many Christians in Muslim cultures too. Despite us thinking of Christianity being a 'western' religion, it originated in the middle-east. Those images of a blond, blue-eyed Jesus a pretty far of the mark. I always get a few shocked people in church when I point out that Jesus wasn't a Christian (and there's always the odd few who are shocked that Jesus wasn't an Anglican) - lol.

I was thinking about the whole 'proof' and science thing. My first degree was in Computer Engineering, not pure science, but certainly enough maths and physics to keep the brain ticking. I've often struggled to understand this conflict between science and religion (being a bit of a fan of both). (Note: This is perhaps why I'm a bit anti Dawkins claiming hat religion is 'evil'. To my mind that's about as daft as claiming that science is 'evil' because of Hiroshima.) One of the basic premises of science (or rather, modernity) is that if you break things down into constituent parts then you can understand the whole. And this is true. However, trying to apply this to God seems somewhat illogical.

I was thinking about me. If I was transported to an alien culture that knew nothing about me or humankind, and they analysed me, they would be able to make a whole heap of correct scientific deductions. They would be able to ascertain that I had grown from a single cell or two, and they could deduce that there would have been certain conditions necessary for my early life to evolve. They would no doubt argue about how these cells initially came into being. They would probably be all sorts of things they wouldn't know about. What on earth is that belly button for? But the thing is, that there would be nothing about me that tells them directly what my parents are like - or even that I had parents - although there might be hints.

Well, I think it is a bit like that with God. I think we look a lot like our parent, God - we have his features, and so on. Also, there are a whole bunch of people who claim some kind of connection or relationship with this parent God. But to try and make scientific deductions about the existence or nature of God is like trying to paint a picture with biology. It's the wrong tool for the job.

Anyway, I ought to go and do something vicary... Perhaps I should put up some Pope bunting and dig out that old football rattle? (tee hee)
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