Sunday School

Sunday School September 27th 2020

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 3 weeks, 6 days ago.

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  • #33341

    “In defending the freedom to blaspheme, it is not blasphemy that we are defending, but freedom”.

    These words were spoken shortly before another member of the religion of peace tried to murder innocent people as his imaginary god had commanded him to.

    The accommodation of religious practices within the U.S. military is improving .

    Trump administration pushes anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” at the UN.

    Former Irish President warns that people are leaving the Catholic Church in “droves”, which is music to my ears! In Germany, the largest and richest archdiocese is to close 90% of its churches.

    Are Iraqi youths losing their religion? Yes, keep playing that music!

    Some former QAnon followers share their experiences. These conspiracy theories do not flourish because of misinformation or distrust. It is only vulgar hatred that sustains them.

    Now that Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been nominated to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, it is clear that the Illuminati has failed to stop America becoming a Theocracy.  It is possible she still will not take her seat because the “dogma lives loudly within her” still. Hmmm, I wonder what Mike Pompeo makes of her?? I could be wrong. Maybe the SCOTUS seat belongs to the God of the Christians and that William Barr does not abuse the office of the Attorney General. But what does Barr really believe?

    Is Biden so weak that he can’t get anything done, or is Biden so powerful that he can DESTROY GOD?! Greg Gainforte will not allow that to happen! What about Marsha Blackburn then?

    Having fought to have Bibles removed from polling booths in Ireland I am glad to see others concerned about voting in Churches.

    This weeks’ Woo: Supplements do not boost your brain power but does brain training help?

    Climate Crisis: Leaders to UN: If virus doesn’t kill us, climate change will.

    It is good to know you don’t need an imaginary god to save you.

    The dangers of the Russian vaccine stunt.

    Can you spot the fallacies in this article?

    The value of uncertainty and the bias that divides us.

    How Neanderthals lost their Y chromosome. Were humans active in North America 130,000 years ago?

    Long Reads:  The dangers posed by space junk. The End of the University. Life on Earth may have begun in hostile hot springs.

    This week I am reading this book: The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape invented a new Moral Code.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Coffee Break Video:  What magic tricks reveal about free will. The psychology of inequality and political division.

    #33343

    Have a great week everyone!

    #33344

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape invented a new Moral Code.

    I really need to buy this book, if only to check out the competition.  I should think he is all over Michael Tomasello’s work.

    #33345

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    does brain training help?

    I absolutely know that brain training helps.  Once I was paid to go through a foreign university student’s essays, and correct the English.  Because bad English lacks clarity, I had to suggest a number of possible meanings for almost every sentence.  In the next few weeks, my command of English was about 100% better than normal.

    #33355

    Strega
    Moderator

    Thanks, Reg!

    #33376

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Can you spot the fallacies in this article?

    The same atheists who decry the irrationality of believing in God still insist on shoehorning theistic ideas into their ontology. Most of them continue to defend the meaning and purpose of life, the validity of objective morality and the assurance that humanity is marching on towards progress and would move thus faster were it not for the shackles of religion.

    I’ll be honest, I think it’s quite a good article.  I do think it’s somewhat disingenuous for many atheists to make the claim that atheism equals a lack of belief in God, when it’s clear that they actually deny the existence of God.

    We defend the meaning and purpose of life: true.

    We defend the validity of objective morality: probably not true in the sense the author means.

    We defend the assurance that humanity is marching on towards progress and would move thus faster were it not for the shackles of religion. : this is Steven Pinker’s convincingly argued thesis, and the influence of religion has been both positive and negative.

    I also agree somewhat with the author, J.M. Njoroge, that religion fulfils an important spiritual function, that is not to be given up lightly and probably needs to be replaced with something else equivalent, to avoid anomie and ennui.

    #33380

    I do think it’s somewhat disingenuous for many atheists to make the claim that atheism equals a lack of belief in God, when it’s clear that they actually deny the existence of God.

    No, it is only theists who do not understand the meaning of the word “Atheism” that say this is what atheism means. This is because they have assumed their gods are real.

    I do not deny the existence of Shiva, Poseidon, Apollo, Hermes, Allah, Zeus, Tohil, Yahweh, Arawn or even Liban or any other god or goddess anyone might care to suggest. I just do not believe that any of these gods exist.

    By your statement your are also claiming that Christians are denying the existence of all other gods. Would it not be better to claim that people of faith just do not believe other gods exist? They don’t go around denying the existence of the other 30.000 (approx) gods other humans hold, or held, a belief in. “it’s clear that they actually deny the existence of God”…

    To paraphrase Dawkins – atheists just  believe in one less god than Christians or Muslims believe in.

    Again, it is only religious apologists that think that atheism is a denial of their particular god whose existence they have presupposed. You won’t hear them say that atheists deny the existence of Odin.

    I cannot deny the existence of something I do not consider to exist in the first place. I would need to have some understanding or concept of a particular gods’ existence in other to be in a state of denial. I do not.

    Existence is not a predicate, Dr. Bob……

    When I am told of the existence of any of these gods. I just do not believe what I am hearing (and often do not believe what I am actually hearing!!). I consider that person to be suffering from a delusion.

    Note: As I write this it has occurred to me that maybe Christian theism is the denial of the existence of other gods. Even their God understood other gods existed. Why else does the Bible say “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”.

    I do think it’s somewhat disingenuous for many theists to make the claim that theism equals a belief in God, when it’s clear that they actually deny the existence of all other gods.

    #33397

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I cannot deny the existence of something I do not consider to exist in the first place.

    If you don’t consider something to exist, you’re denying its existence, right?

    #33398

    I’m on a quick coffee break at work but here goes…..

    No. Atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of gods. Technically I can still deny that a particular god exists but that is not Atheism.

    When I say that I do not consider a god to exist, my consideration is built, over time, on the complete lack of evidence for a particular god. People make arguments for what they believe about their god but I do not believe them. I do not believe what they claim to believe. My Hindu friend tells Christians about Shiva but these Christians do not believe any of his gods are real. Not even one of them! But I don’t either. If they do not consider his gods to be real, they are not denying their existence. They are just atheists about it. They do not share his belief that Shiva is real.

    I am the same with all the gods I have been told about. I have no belief in any version of the Christian god that the various sects of Christians tell me about. This includes the ones who say they are religious and the ones who think they are not religious because they have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

    My “consideration” is based upon intellectual and reasoned critical thinking. I have extrapolated that to include all the god’s humans have at some point in history, believed to exist.

    As I have argued before, people need to supply me with some evidence. They never do. They argue about what I mean by “evidence” as if I was asking an unreasonable question. They have never been able to offer any. They tell me what they think they believe. I ask for evidence. They start arguing and then it always turns out that the god that they are arguing for is not the god they say they believe in.

    It is my considered opinion, based on the lack of evidence presented for any particular god and my educated understanding of the psychological, anthropological and historical reasons for religious belief that “I do not consider” any god to exist.

    If I deny the existence of Bellidoco then I have to prove a negative. Millions of people might believe Bellidoco to be real but to me I consider them all to be delusional. When Christians seize upon the fact that I cannot prove their god does not exist, as evidence for their god, I end the debate because this is the most pathetic “evidence” for belief in anything. It is a terrible argument to make unless you are under seven years old. But the number of apologists that use this argument is not a trivial number.

    If you or any one of the billions of believers in gods around the world can show me evidence for their god(s) existence then please feel free to do so. I will consider the evidence. If it seems reasonable, I will consider it to possibly exist and do further research into it. I will not be in a position to deny it if it has some credibility.

    I see nothing to deny because there is nothing there to consider. I cannot deny that people hold such beliefs, only the validity they give them. I do not deny it is your opinion that a god exists. It is not my opinion. That is all they have to offer me. Opinions but no evidence for me to consider them reasonable. I do not believe a word of what they claim to be true because they offer me nothing reasonable to consider.

    Phew, strong coffee that!

    #33401

    Davis
    Participant

    If you don’t consider something to exist, you’re denying its existence, right?

    No Simon, there is an extremely important place in between where you don’t accept an argument but you don’t outright deny it. It is a position that religious people seem to be completely incapable of understanding when it comes to their particular God. Here are all sorts of examples of things people don’t buy but don’t completely discount:

    Global warming: Some people who are uneducated on the topic are highly skeptical of it (especially people who live in resource rich countries or regions like America, Australia and Alberta). However some are wise enough to not completely discount the possibility (there is a lot they don’t know or at least they think that its a question that time will answer).

    The statement: “You have an identical twin your parents never told you about walking around right now”. No while I don’t believe it, it is simply too outlandish to be true and I have no reason to take this seriously (especially with no evidence given) I am not going to completely deny the possibility. Why would I say with absolute certainty this isn’t the case? I certainly would’t bet my life savings on it. (by the way this is a zillion times more likely than God existing).

    A person who can run a one minute kilometre exists. This is extremely outlandish and I don’t believe it but again, I’m not going to just outright dismiss it. Who knows if such a freak of nature is out there?

    ________

     

    I don’t buy the God argument, that Santa actually delivers presents at Christmas or that there are invisible Giraffes dancing on the dark side of the moon right now. I won’t however deny any of this with absolute certainty. We simply don’t have access to pure absolute knowledge of everything nor can we be sure we perceive the world we live in properly (vat in a brain, we live in a simulation, we are given a partial view of the universe etc). No one on Earth is able to say anything with pure certainly about any negative claim.

    One of the reasons religious people fight with this and misunderstand what many atheists claim is because they assert absolute certainty over something they cannot be absolutely certain of: “That their bearded man in the sky exists and does lots of outlandish crazy shit”. They cannot comprehend how one can deny their claim but not at the same time back that denial up with absolute certainty. It’s okay with things like climate change or an identical twin or a 1 minute kilometer person…but not with their God. God for them is in a zone of absolute certainty or nothing. That’s ridiculous. It’s a broken circuit in our brain religious people are highly susceptible to.

     

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #33414

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I won’t however deny any of this with absolute certainty. We simply don’t have access to pure absolute knowledge of everything nor can we be sure we perceive the world we live in properly

    Sounds like a reasonable claim.

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