There must have been a reason this thread was removed from the Facebook group, “Debunking Theists”. What could it have been but fear? I guess someone feared the thread made the group or someone in the group look bad.)
[Most of the initial conversation, except this fragment was deleted by the original poster and lost.]
RYAN S.: Yes, but it’s your responsibility to give us evidence that your claims are correct, Robert.
JANI: And im interested because im living “next door” to sweden, and have not read anything about what you are saying, Robert.
SPIKE: Robert, are you unaware that claims without any backing are completely useless? I’m 10 feet tall and can shoot lightning bolts out of my ass. Wait, even better. I spotted a 7 million ton meteor headed towards your house. It will hit sometime really soon. If that was true, you’d want to know more details. I’d be an asshole if I didn’t share them with you. See where I’m going with this?
CATHERINE: As poverty increases so does religiosity. The countries that provide a safety net eliminate the need for religion.
HUGH: has this list changed with the influx of refugees ?
SPIKE: Not in any measurable way we could find statistics for last time this came up.
STEVE BAKER: I think the first meme means “citizens” not “countries”. And the key reason they are happy might be, not that they are atheists, but that they have done the best jobs of implementing Christian socialism as a form of government.
SPIKE: Lolwut? What makes it Christian socialism?
STEVE BAKER: Taking care of the poor, sharing the wealth, making the rich pay higher taxes, making society more fair and just…things somebody rather famous advocated or would advocate. Socialism is actually a very Christian concept, whether it knows it or not, whether you like it or not. Don’t be afraid of the idea, it won’t bite you. It’s an important part of our culture. Nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with moving beyond it.
SPIKE: You can’t claim those as Christian. You think none of those values existed before Christianity?
RYAN S.: Buddha did it first, Steve. He beat Jesus there by some five hundred years or so.
STEVE BAKER: I know how those values mainly got into our culture, and they didn’t come from either Buddha or cavemen. You folks are so afraid to grant Christianity the tiniest little thing, aren’t you? It didn’t invent the cross either, but I know how we all learned about them. It’s really as simple as that. I, for one, will not ignore such an important (if misguided) pert of our culture.
SPIKE: What makes you think I’m scared of anything? I appreciate the patronizing behavior though. I wouldn’t call a cross a Christian thing except in context. I believe in giving credit where it’s due. That Christianity claimed those virtues as it’s own more recently, locally, and forcefully than others does not lend it any credit.
STEVE BAKER: Spike, I hear ya, but I disagree completely. To claim Christianity is false is one thing, to deny that it is a powerful, pervasive part of our culture (even if, hopefully, dimming) is another. It seems to me that only fear could provoke such an unrealistic reaction. No offence intended.
RYAN S.: Feeding the poor? Buddha did it first. Sharing wealth? Buddha did it first. Loving your enemies? Buddha did it first. Jesus did not come up with any of these ideas, they were ripped off. There is only one thing, among all of the teachings of Jesus, which originates in the bible. Eternal damnation. Infinite punishment for finite crimes, the quintessence of injustice, is the legacy your Jesus created, the rest was simply stolen from previous cultures. We’re not arguing that christianity hasn’t been impactful, Steve. We’re arguing that the principles you’re extolling here are not, in actuallity, christian principles.
STEVE BAKER: Ryan, the argument is certainly that Christianity hasn’t been impactful. And, unfortunately, word of the Buddha didn’t reach the West in time to do diddly squat.
RYAN: It reached Jesus, so it sort of did, Steve. It may have been indirect, but Jesus demonstrably did not come up with these ideas. And point to where we said that christianity hasn’t influenced the world. Oh, that’s right, you can’t point to that because we never fucking argued it. If building straw-men is your thing then more power to you, but that bovine fecal matter will fail to achieve lift velocity.
SPIKE: Steve Baker, let’s be clear. Neither of us is making the argument you accuse us of. That’s called a straw man. Cut that out.
STEVE BAKER: Ryan, we certainly don’t know that it reached Jesus. According to most things on this page, Jesus never even existed. We certainly “know” no such things. There is no reason for us to be loose with the facts.
Here is one of the things that was said: Spike: “You can’t claim those as Christian. You think none of those values existed before Christianity?”
There is no “straw dog” here!
“From what is dear, grief is born,
from what is dear, fear is born.
For someone freed from what is dear
there is no grief
— so why fear?
From what is loved, grief is born,
from what is loved, fear is born.
For someone freed from what is loved,
there is no grief
— so why fear?
From delight, grief is born,
from delight, fear is born.
For someone freed from delight
there is no grief
— so why fear?
From sensuality, grief is born,
from sensuality, fear is born.
For someone freed from sensuality
there is no grief
— so why fear?
From craving, grief is born,
from craving, fear is born.
For someone freed from craving
there is no grief
— so why fear?”
SPIKE: If I run into a room where people are working and take their work from them, killing most and torturing the rest till they submit, and bring this work to others who haven’t seen it yet, it would be the height of dishonestly for me to take credit for any of it.
Regardless of any of this, people had been nice to one another LONG before any religion wrote about it.
STEVE BAKER: Spike, that is completely beside the point. You act like a Christ-o-phobe! Why?
SPIKE: That’s not beside the point, that IS the point. Christianity didn’t invent those concepts. Who popularized them is unimportant to whether they are Christian concepts. Religion can’t claim “be nice” as it’s own any more than that Bikram guy can claim those Yoga poses as his own. Moral outrage rightfully ensues.
RYAN S.: You know what isn’t beside the point? The fact that the principles you extol are not christian principles. They did not originate with christians, nor with Jesus, and christians throughout history have put lie to any claim of ownership of those ideas.
STEVE BAKER: I would say that culturally, that is where the ideas come from, however hypocritically they were stated or implemented. I’d say they have influenced every one of our great thinkers, like Nietzsche, and many of the not so great, like Karl Marx. A little study will show that this is undeniable. In my life, I have never before run into anyone who would deny this.
And, Ryan, you miss my point completely. I don’t necessarily “extol” these values, only mention where they came from. My use of the word “Christian” was questioned as if I had said a bad, bad word. It is not. Why all the fear?
RYAN S.: But they didn’t come from the bible, Steve. Your claim is demonstrably false, at best.
STEVE BAKER: The fear is so deep that you have had to stoop to fantasy to try to “prove” that Buddha taught Jesus everything he knew, when no such “facts” exist. I don’t even grant the existence of Jesus as a fact. We have no evidence at all that knowledge of Buddha entered our culture until much, much later. You guys are not even sticking to facts, like I thought we atheists were supposed to do. Yet if I say that the ideas of Christianity have been extremely influential, which to me is undeniable, I am called, essentially, a liar and a misguided I-don’t-know-what. To me, such an unreasonable reaction can only be based on some kind of fear. Your last statement, Ryan, is as conjectural and as false as they come.
SPIKE: Whether people were influenced by them is not the issue and is irrelevant. Where the concepts came from is what we are taking point with. It wasn’t Christianity.
STEVE BAKER: What an incredible reaction to someone simply calling the values extolled by Jesus, whoever he was or was not, CHRISTIAN
SPIKE: That’s not what happened here.
STEVE BAKER: LMAO! Re-read the thread!
SPIKE: You called a system Christian Socialism. It may as well just be socialism, endorsed by Christians. That’s all you meant.
STEVE BAKER: You read minds very poorly, Spike. In fact, you read very poorly.
RYAN S.: I never said that Buddha taught Jesus, Steve, only that his teachings apparently reached him, which isn’t an unreasonable assumption to make given that many of the teachings of Jesus are, in essence, identical to the teachings of Buddha. It is a fact that these concepts are older than the person you give credit for creating them, Jesus did not invent these principles. They are not principles which are christian in origin as they are older than christianity and it’s founder. Quode erat demonstrandum. There is only one biblical concept for which Jesus can be given full creative credit, Steve, and that is the idea that god will torture us for all eternity.
STEVE BAKER: Ryan, it is not impossible, but it is a MUCH less reasonable assumption than that Christian values have influenced almost everything in our culture, including socialist governments. To claim otherwise is, frankly, ridiculous. Ryan, have you actually READ the Bible? The concept of which you speak is very much Old testament! “Jesus” certainly didn’t originate it. He (fictional or not) originated other things you should perhaps read about.
SPIKE: We keep agreeing with you that Christianity has been influential. But we disagree on whether we should call a system run by a largely secular group something like Christian socialism just because Christianity claimed some values that you ascribe to that system. They would have had to originate with Christianity for it to be fair to call their system Christian socialism. Otherwise, as stated, it’s socialism, as endorsed by Christians.
RYAN S.: It is a FACT that those principles, those values, DID NOT ORIGINATE WITH ANY CHRISTIAN FIGURE. Jesus did not invent caring for the poor or loving your enemies. They are values and principles which are older than christianity and, therefore, cannot be christian principles. They are principles, yes. They can be valued by christians, yes. They are not christian principles.
STEVE BAKER: No one claimed what you claim, Ryan. I only said that these values largely entered our culture via the Church/ Please re-read the thread for more info. I was hoping that a discussion with fellow atheists would be more enlightened than this, frankly. Are you dudes Republicans or something? That would explain a lot to me!
And, Ryan, excuse me, but no such FACT exists and you must know it! Wow! An atheist who can’t differentiate fact from conjecture! You guys had better go change your shirts after all that sweating because someone used the word “Christian”!
SPIKE: Would you please stop being so smarmy? We’re all really being quite civil, relatively speaking.
JANI: :-) You steve should speak about the things you are arguing, not ponderwonder what these two fine gentlemen are doing or why they are etc ;-) Argue the matter in hand dont ponderwonder other people arguing against.
STEVE BAKER: Jani, I will use my own thoughts and words, like you, and I don’t take orders well.
SPIKE: Lol. That almost sounds like a threat. And Jani has a good point. It’s a basket full of red herrings to start arguing our motives.
STEVE BAKER: Scaredy cats! LOL!
RYAN S.: So the fact that we have documents which predate the time of Jesus extolling those values isn’t proof that those values did not originate with christian figures? Really, Steve? Please explain how those principles predating Jesus and christianity doesn’t prove that they don’t originate with christianity.
KENT: Seeing that your entire tribal belief system is conjecture and mythology , don’t you find that ironic Steve ? You have to accept the bible as a whole , not just cherry pick out some decent verses and ignore the violence , misogyny , and discrimination.
STEVE BAKER: Kent, I have no “tribal belief system”. Your second statement makes no sense. Please read my last comment above. It has been a long time since I have run into such fear or a mere word. This is like speaking to a bunch of babies. Ciou ciou!
STEVE BAKER: Ryan, read my lips, no one has ever been talking about originate. We’re talking about influence. That’s why they are commonly called Christian values and why we use the word Christian Socialist. This is very common usage outside of atheist groups. Such fear!
RYAN S.: Read my motherfucking lips, people who call them christian values are wrong. [The first point it starts getting nasty.]
SPIKE: You don’t get to put your name on a concept because of influence. That’s stealing, like plagiarism. Where is this fear you speak of? Why must you continue to be such an ass to us? Can you be honest for a moment and describe what you mean by fear other than purposely trying to ruffle feathers, you dick? [The second point it starts getting nasty.]
STEVE BAKER: OK, dick-face. This whole blatantly prejudiced discussion has been because I used the word Christian and used it conservatively and appropriately. You tell me why that would provoke such an unreasonable reaction other than fear.
KENT: We don’t accept your supernatural claims , therefore we are babies ?
STEVE BAKER: Please, Kent, learn to read. I made no supernatural claims. What? You assume that because someone uses the word “Christian” that they are one? LMAO!
KENT: Oh my , a christian calling names and using profanity ! Gee , way to show others how real christians act
STEVE BAKER: Kent, you must be a complete idiot!
KENT: Anyone that has read the bible and a few history books knows what christian values really are. Your condescension is laughable. A weak ad hom. Usually happens when you have no realistic empirical evidence to bring up.
STEVE BAKER: You will notice the FACT, Kent, that I didn’t start the ad hominem attacks!
RYAN S.: What you mistake for fear is actually extreme annoyance, Steve. It stems from the constant, daily attempts by christians to label all positive virtues as “christian principles” and use that to imply that non-christians, specifically atheists, can’t hold those values and that we should be christians. You stumbled into a minefield when you applied that label to those values, a minefield that you should have known was there if you really are an atheist.
When you’re talking about these things calling them “christian principles” add literally nothing to the conversation and carries quite a weighty implication in common parlance. It can only detract from a conversation to use labels to brand behavior as one religion or another. This raises the question of why you called them christian principles in the first place when doing so can add nothing to this conversation.
STEVE BAKER: You all went off the deep end for no reason. I will repeat perhaps my most pertinent comment.
“No one has ever been talking about originate. We’re talking about influence. That’s why they are commonly called Christian values and why we use the word Christian Socialist. This is very common usage outside of atheist groups.”
You don’t have to convince me of anything. That’s like preaching to the choir. However, that doesn’t make the word Christian a meaningless or inaccurate word, no matter how much you fear it. Simply stating it has even caused the false assumption that I’m some kind of Christian, when nothing could be further from the truth. However, the truth is very important to me. And facts. Not so much to people in this group, I guess?
RYAN S.:Again, not fear, Steve. Annoyance, and justified annoyance based on a genuine grievance at that. And, in this context, adding the word christian IS meaningless. It add literally nothing to the conversation and is a loaded term, that is the very definition of a meaningless term. Save it for when you’re talking to a bunch of christians and need a shorthand term for various values. It’s not useful here.
KENT: If you are murdering witches and torturing heretics , and persecuting gays , then maybe you could claim christian values.
But to take the positive values that have developed in societies to make them viable and claim they are christian influence is factually incorrect.
STEVE BAKER: “No one has ever been talking about originate. We’re talking about influence. That’s why they are commonly called Christian values and why we use the word Christian Socialist. This is very common usage outside of atheist groups.” FACT! Ciou, ciou! I hope you folks have a nice life.
KENT: See Ya
SPIKE: You switched the goalposts to influence after we said that those ideas did not come from Christianity. You called it Christian socialism. I asked what makes it Christian. You listed values that many groups of people could claim as part of their philosophies. Why don’t we call it Jewish socialism? My point was that without those virtues actually originating from Christianity, calling it Christian is just an attempt to steal those virtues and claim them as their own. Those values are no more Christian than human.
We, the entire time, have been talking about originate. If I was to call something Mexican food, the idea is that the recipe, at least, is somewhat reminiscent of one from Mexico. Like, one that came from Mexico. Tacos can be Mexican. Rice, not so much. It’s food that Mexicans eat, but it’s not exclusively Mexican food.
RYAN S.: So, in China, should they be called Buddhist values?
ROBERT: Steve’s made legitimate points. I fail to see why they are so hard to acknowledge.
RYAN S.: What legitimate point? That a lot of people call those values christian values so we should just let it go? I fail to see how that’s a legitimate point, Robert.
ROBERT: That’s just the problem you fail to see because you don’t want to acknowledge it…simple.
RYAN S.: How is it a valid point, Robert? Explain it to me, I’m more than willing to listen when the point is supported by logic and evidence, so far I’ve been given exactly zero of those.
ROBERT: It’s very clear and doesn’t need to be muddled up because you won’t acknowledge it…any other way…Steve for instance kept repeating and reiterating his points and still you guys deflected …his points were valid…I’ve no idea why none of you dont get it??? Mind boggles.
RYAN S.: His points are both meaningless and fallacious. It is pointless to label these behaviors and principles as “christian”, it adds literally nothing to the conversation and carries immense baggage, and to justify doing so by saying that loads of people do it is an argumentum ad populum fallacy. So meaningless and fallacious arguments are now valid points now? I understand that he wasn’t referring to the origin of said values with his label(which is actually what most people are referring to when labeling things), hence why I dropped that line. So, how exactly, and do be specific now, is his point valid, Robert?
ROBERT: He didn’t. He SAID CLEARLY “Christian influence”.
RYAN S.: Again, that doesn’t justify a pointless label which has such unavoidable baggage and adds nothing to the conversation.
ROBERT: Reread ALL his statements properly in context. He clarified them all. Calling it baggage clearly seems to indicate you didn’t really read what was said but read into his statements what you wanted to hear..he was pretty clear…
RYAN S.: I’ve read all of his statements, multiple times, and nothing he said justifies the use of that label. I would have responded the exact same way if he had called them muslim values, or buddhist values. Labeling those values as christian has historically ALWAYS been used to imply that non-christians don’t and can’t have those values, or that they are inherent in christian theology, neither of which are true. Rather than calling them “christian”, implying an exclusivity of those values to christian culture, he could have gotten his point across without any label at all. Therefore the label was meaningless and his justification, that many people do it, is fallacious. Quod erat demonstrandum.
ROBERT: European cultures had a christian background that influenced their societies. Fact! Far from fallacious.
RYAN S.: So let me ask this then: Are the principles of feeding the poor and loving your enemies buddhist principles in China or Japan? Would that label be fair because buddhism is what spread the values there? And an argument from popularity is ALWAYS fallacious, Robert. Always and without exception.
ROBERT: That wasn’t Steve’s point at all… You reading into his comments.
RYAN S.: Buddhism was infinitely more influential in China and Japan than christianity was, and for a longer period too. Therefore loving your neighbor and caring for the poor are buddhist values there instead of christian values. That was exactly the point he made. So how is it invalid when I do it and yet valid when he does it?
ROBERT: Buddhism started in India. Whether it made all the changes you claim is debatable,…it certainly didn’t bring in the sciences as well as European Christian cultures.
SPIKE: I only called you a dick after repeated appeals to you to stop being condescending. So I think you really started the inciteful rudeness. I just followed suit, and maybe raised you a little. Calling us all fearful when we are not presenting any fear could be construed as an attack, and you certainly used it to attempt to discredit our arguments.
RYAN S.: You need to study Chinese and Japanese history, buddhism was monumentally influential in those areas for a huge chunk of time. As for it not bringing the sciences, neither did christianity. Science flourished despite religious influence for the most part, only very rarely did religion profit science. The only two instances that I can think of where religion promoted and spread science. The first was the preservation and dissemination of the knowledge of the Greeks by ancience muslims and the founding of the first universities by the RCC. Other than that you’d be very hard pressed to find specific examples of religion bringing science to the forefront, usually it was persecuting and killing people for practicing science because they had the gall to question the “revealed truths” of religion.
ROBERT: You assume I haven’t…in fact, I have.
KENT: Ryan 1, Robert 0. He owned you Robert , lol
ROBERT: Of interest to me was Japanese Wabi Sabi….tea ceremony…more so than all the rest..not the food lol! Again, Buddhism started in India. Sid Harta Guthamma and I studied Buddhism for 3 decades.
KENT: I think Ryan went to seminary , he’s tough to beat in his area.
RYAN S.: So how can you argue that buddhism didn’t spread those values to those cultures, Robert? Buddhism clearly spread those values to those areas, so what is wrong with labeling them as buddhist values?
ROBERT: Christianity brought in a lot of the sciences. Many Christians were scientists. You need to reread you history.
SPIKE: Most humans in that time and area were Christians. That they were Christian says more about the time and place than them as persons.
ROBERT: Christianity evolved…whereas other religions, however sophisticated, remained stagnant.
RYAN S.: They were christians, yes. Many of them pursued the sciences in order to explain “god’s creation”, however their theological beliefs did not trump their scientific zeal. Their theology was checked at the door when they entered the lab and their theology never once aided their science. Oh, and as far as christianity evolving, it changed because society forced it to, not because the theology is benevolent.
ROBERT: That was never my argument or contention. The sciences are very convincing of a higher power that will, ahem, likely take an eternity to understand….lol! Sciences convince me more so, others less so, that there is a God…behind it all….we will never comprehend.
RYAN S.: That wasn’t my point. My point is that you can’t use the fact that science doesn’t have an answer as justification for saying that you do have an answer.
ROBERT: I never proposed that did I? So neh neh!
RYAN: Not here, not now. I seem to remember you making just such a “god of the gaps” argument in the past though. I could be wrong but I don’t think I am.
ROBERT: Wrong…again… [I’d have to say that Robert is eating Ryan S’s lunch up to this point!]
RYAN S.: So you’ve never engaged in an argument from ignorance? That’s awesome! You’re a true rarity among theists. [Why would anyone do such a thing, Ryan, though clearly YOU do.]
ROBERT: Why, thank you very much. I will take that as a compliment…lol!
RYAN S.: It was meant as one.
ROBERT: And I accepted it as such…lol! Starting to like you…moreso now lol.. Now back to Steve…hee…heee… He was pretty good…pretty clear, just saying…lol!
STEVE BAKER: (From a comment in another thread on this page.)
I agree that Christianity has perpetrated much evil, but they have also fed a lot of people and saved a lot of people’s lives. Whether it was all worth it, I don’t believe that either you nor I are truly in a position to judge. It would take a computer so huge that it doesn’t yet exist and maybe never will. Again, don’t be afraid to honestly evaluate religion just because you don’t believe in it. I don’t believe in it either, but rewriting history is one of the things atheists are supposed to loathe. Do you make an exception in the case of the history of religion? I’ve seen so much fearful fabrication on this page that it freaks me out, frankly!
It’s so funny to me that all I had to do to provoke such a rabidly fearful reaction was to mention the words “Christian socialism”.and then argue that, in our Western culture, that is a commonly accepted term and way of thinking. As proof, here is an interesting page on Christian Democratic political parties. If at least some Christian values are not a big part of our culture, why do so many parties use the name? How many use the word Buddhist in their names? Or, LOL, atheist?
In sword fighting, we call that touché. But, for some reason, I doubt anyone here will be big enough to admit it. LMAO again!
And YES, it has been my intent to get under your skins, once you attacked an innocuous remark. That is my purpose in life! And I say that as one of you! I would think that, as atheists, like me, you’d be used to it by now. The most hilarious part to me was being called a Christian! LMAO yet again!
KENT: It’s very sad you have such a dismal purpose in life, even sadder that you think you succeeded. I’m surprised that you didn’t also claim god created science. That’s equally laughable.
STEVE BAKER: Kent, you’re about as far off base as it is possible to be! Does that mean you think that I think that God thinks He created something? That would truly be sad, if you do.
KENT: If you are discriminating against gays , burning witches , and challenging anything that disputes biblical ” facts ” that would be considered to be christian values. Normal behavior , kindness , positive social interactions are just human actions not christian behavior. Just FYI , I’m not overly concerned with what you think , you can think and say whatever you want to. Doesn’t matter to me.
This actually is very representative of christian ideology. After all , these are the words and thoughts of jesus himself.
STEVE BAKER: Unfortunately, not in the context of political thought or political parties in the countries in question. (see reference above).
“As long as the people don’t fear the truth, there is hope. For once they fear it, the one who tells it doesn’t stand a chance. And today, truth is still beautiful… but so frightening.” Alice Walker
KENT: [unrecoverable, irrelevant meme]
JANI: [unrecoverable, irrelevant meme]
KENT: You certainly realize that theists will do anything possible to make their religion seem plausible and believable. Taking credit for humanitarian values , taking credit for scientific discoveries ( even though the church often harmed and excommunicated the scientists ) are among their common tactics. This isn’t just christians , but all religions , especially the muslims with their miracles of the koran.
ROBERT: No, Kent, not ALL Theists will do everything possible to make themselves seem right
STEVEN BAKER: [unrecoverable memes relevant to the two above memes] Well, sure, Kent, but that has nothing to do with what I’m talking about here. We’re not talking about credit, we’re talking about history. It’s really as simple as that. To support superstitions, like Jesus being a Buddhist, as some have done here to keep from admitting facts, seems to me like the antithesis of what atheism proclaims it’s all about.
SPIKE: What fact is anyone here denying?
STEVE BAKER: I tire of having to explain what has already been written above in this thread. I’m tired of having to do all the reading and thinking. I speak in very plain, clear English. Try to obfuscate all you want. That changes nothing. Read for yourself. It’s all as plain as the nose on your face.
SPIKE: I read it all. I also saw all of us agreeing with you that Christianity has been influential. But where we disagree is with calling those values Christian outside the context of Christian things. Those values are as Buddhist as they are Christian. So to be most accurate, we should leave out the monikers that don’t clarify things. They instead add obfuscation and preference.
STEVE BAKER: To me, this is like some kind of fantasy version of the conversation.
SPIKE: Haha. So none of us here agreed that Christianity had a big influence?
STEVE BAKER: None except Robert! Everyone else was too afraid to admit any such thing! Quote me some evidence of your position. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I missed something. [No evidence of any such thing was ever presented.]
I read Buddhism getting all the credit via some fantastical conjecturing. I read this:
“Well, these have always been human values, so don’t use the word Christian for them.”
No one even seemed to realize that I was speaking of modern political parties, mainly in Europe, the core subject of the original post. They mostly call themselves Christian, so I just followed their lead. Why that would be such a grand error and no-no, I can’t fathom. Fear, I guess. Afraid of the boogie-man Christianity and that someone might say some little thing good about it (which I didn’t even intend to do, but see nothing wrong in doing).
ROBERT: Ya, agree, good quote! Again, Steve Baker has made perfect sense seems to me…what’s the problem? And I’ve no problem stating Christianity has been influential, it has. The sciences and NOT so much Buddhism at all have come out of Christian countries, not Buddhist ones… Ya, I agree, Steve Baker, you’re points where clear…and through much repetition it seems they didn’t want to acknowledge them.
STEVE BAKER: Yes, Robert, they were more ready to suppose that Jesus went back in time 500 years to be a student of the Buddha. I can only attribute such a reaction to some kind of fear. Maybe I’m wrong…
SPIKE: Science is irrelevant to the conversation. Red herring. He is making sense. Straw man. I, and other atheists here, agreed that Christianity has had an enormous impact. You both keep dancing around the issue. My example of nationality is a perfect one. Influence doesn’t change your nationality. Neither should it change the description of these values. Yes, Christianity advocated for some of them. That does not make them Christian any more than it makes them Buddhist.
STEVE BAKER: Spike, where did you go to school? Excuse me, but you seem to me to be rather uneducated. You sound like a parrot. After posting a crucial link, above, I issued this challenge, “In sword fighting, we call that touché. But, for some reason, I doubt anyone here will be big enough to admit it. LMAO again!” No one took it up. I gave you an assignment to come up with some evidence for your position above. I take it you didn’t find any?
ROBERT: I agree, Spike, you keep deflecting…and don’t want to acknowledge any valid points.
STEVE BAKER: Spike, do you really think you can parrot “straw man” and “red herring” to us without having a clue as to what you are talking about? Robert, can you believe the waste of time that could have been spent on something more valuable? I didn’t really come in here to give people a basic education they should have gotten in high school. Is this the way atheists think and conduct their business? I’m amazed! No wonder they don’t believe in anything! They’re afraid to!
ROBERT: No you would be correct if they said that…but if they said that, that’s ridiculous.
STEVEN BAKER: Unfortunately, someone did and was backed-up by others, but i have to admit that i made-up the going back in time 500 years part. I’m sure they meant he was indirectly influenced. On second thought, who knows for sure what they were fantasizing? History makes a shambles of such a conjecture, Spike! Is Spike your real name? “Spike ______”? Is that Antarctic?
ROBERT: Yes, but not all atheists are the same. Some think. Lol!
STEVE BAKER: I agree. I guess I just haven’t run into any in this group yet. You don’t strike me as an atheist… If you are, please excuse…
ROBERT: No, I’m not an atheist. I would call myself a panentheist.
“Spike ______”, where are you?
Perhaps you are off
Searching for a clue?
In this thread or in another on here, I talked about the beginning of the universe and how it could have either come from nothing or have been made by “god”. Not an old man with a white beard, but something spiritual. I talked about how both are equally probable (as far as we know), both seemingly impossible, and that science, theists, and atheists have no idea and zero evidence which might be true. I said both positions were a matter of faith. To me, that’s just logic. I got nowhere with that. They were afraid of that one too.
I kept expecting the ‘big guns” to investigate and come into such a long involved thread, like in my philosophy group, but only someone silly came, issuing orders about this and that. I said I didn’t take orders very well and someone who can’t read called that a threat. LMAO! Then a fresh breeze of sensibility came when you arrived! Strange group!
ROBERT: LoL ya but Facebook has a lot of different groups …lol
SPIKE: It’s a nickname I’ve had since before birth. My mother gave it to me. And ______ is my real name. That’s me in the photo.
Where was I making conjecture? And what examples from history can you give that bring my conjecture I hope for you to identify to shambles?
Can you please address the nationality example I made? I can’t become Mexican by influence. I’d have to have been born there. Why do we call these ideas Christian if they didn’t originate there?
SPIKE: I’m at work. At this particular job I have a lot of responsibility. Can’t always be posting on Facebook.
That’s a false dichotomy, unless your “god” includes any possible way things could have gotten started other than spontaneously. What if it’s all a simulation? Does that fit the spiritual thing you’re talking about? What if we’re all in a dream that someone is having? Is that spiritual?
I think you keep trying to argue a point that we aren’t making. Yes, Christianity has been hugely influential. I grew up in Florida. Does that make me Latin American by influence and proxy? That’s not typically the way we label things.
You really are caustic. Why can’t we disagree civilly? Why do we need to get jabs in at each other?
Also, as far as philosophical “big guns” go, I thing philosophers are very self aggrandizing. Like we couldn’t figure out how to tie our shoes without their insight. More often then not their pontification is somewhat removed from reality, as philosophers largely share this elitist viewpoint that they are needed for us to make sense of reality. I do just fine with psychology and technology. I need no more philosophy in my life.
I like how the first person to agree with you was the only person here with any sensibility.
STEVE BAKER: Yes, that scenario would include simulations. I even stated that. In the rough view, there’s no need to go into details. They all shake out the same. There is no false dichotomy at all. As for your last question, of course it would be spiritual.
SPIKE: Simulations aren’t spiritual, and including in that dichotomy seems to serve only to justify your overly simplistic explanation of this. You didn’t mention simulations, not here anyway. Why call it “god” if you don’t mean it? That just validates religious beliefs.
Why would being in a dream be spiritual? I dream. There’s no reason to believe that any spirits are involved with my dreams. There are other people in my dreams, and as far as I can tell, they think they are real people.
ROBERT: What a coincidence, I do too! lol… Philosophical thought isn’t just about tying ones shoes, Spike. Lol!
SPIKE: Philosophical thought is mostly not about tying one’s shoes. It looks like maybe you missed my point. Philosophers, especially people who identify themselves as philosophers, often see their input to society as overly valuable. The thing about tying shoes was a sarcastic joke, implying that philosophers think that without their contribution to understanding things, we would all be so helpless as to be unable to do simple things like tying our own shoes. I don’t know why I bother to spell things out for you when you often refuse to do the same for me.
ROBERT: Not really, I just thought how you think about philosophy in general comical. Philosophy helped bring in the sciences.
SPIKE: You don’t know much about what I think of philosophy in general. I told you what I think about philosophers.
Sure they did. But science is here now, and does not need philosophy to proceed.
ROBERT: Wrong! Philosophy is still a part of it all, Spike. [Completely true! Philosophy is an important part of science! Perhaps the most important part!]
SPIKE: That’s not what I said. We do not need philosophy to do science.
ROBERT: And you still didnt really see Steve’s points. We need philosophy….with the sciences.
SPIKE: I know exactly what Steve’s point was. I said it. I agreed to it explicitly. Christianity has had a huge impact on us. That much is true. I never even hinted it wasnt’.
ROBERT: I’m not sure everyone understood Steve Baker, and, if so, why didn’t they acknowledge it sooner instead of misconstruing so much of what he said in simplicity?
SPIKE: But I wouldn’t call a value Christian unless it originated with Christianity, in the EXACT SAME WAY that you wouldn’t call an American who really likes tacos a Mexican because of who influenced him. Can you understand that? I get your points, I understand them. They even make sense to me. Can I get a little acknowledgement from you? More than just me agreed to this. Both you and Steve just glossed over that.
ROBERT: Christianity is and still has an impact on us for good if people don’t misconstrue the simplicity of it…
SPIKE: No one tried to say that Christianity is unimportant, or had no impact on us. That wasn’t anyone’s point here.
Impact or not, those ideas did not originate with Christianity. You both admitted that. But you refuse to understand why we wouldn’t call those ideas Christian. That seems weird to me. Where does that break down for you?
ROBERT: What I said was simple and clear.
SPIKE: Is Christianity’s impact good when Republicans use their religious beliefs to deny global warming and make legislation that destroys the ecology? Is Christianity’s impact good when people use their beliefs to deny rights to others, like marriage? How about when states enact laws forbidding atheists from taking office?
What you said was simple and clear. But it was incomplete. Do you genuinely not understand why we don’t think those concepts should be referred to as Christian? Let’s be polite and honest here. I’ve listed to, entertained, and understood, even accepted your viewpoint. You SHIT all over mine as if I’m stupid.
ROBERT: Depends on what some people call Christianity, Spike.
SPIKE: You agreed those ideas were not invented by Christianity. I know you understand why I don’t get to be a Mexican. Why is it impossible to draw that inference with the ideals in question? We give them a label for their origin, if necessary. Lots and lots of people fit shoe size 10. But size 10 is not Barry’s size, it’s the size Barry wears. Does that part make sense?
ROBERT: I haven’t called you stupid, Spike. I made no personal remarks, but why imply it? If what you say is true, I’ve no problem acknowledging it …or enlarging perspective…or, if untrue, saying so…that’s called debating. Sure, some of what you say makes sense, Spike.
SPIKE: I didn’t say you called me stupid. Maybe you have trouble with hypotheticals and metaphor. I said your behavior towards me and my sensible argument here is condescending and disrespectful, as if I’m stupid. You not as bad as Steve, but your attitude indicates that I’m denying obvious facts and sense making. I agreed with the facts, and I think what was said makes sense. I really don’t appreciate being accused of nasty behavior I’m not engaging in. If you’re gonna hate on me, find a good reason for it. There are some.
STEVE BAKER: Come off of it, Spike. If someone is dreaming this reality (your last question), of course it would be spiritual. And if God is an alien from a UFO, he really isn’t God at all, is he, and then we have to wonder where the alien came from. All irrelevant. I think you just want to argue, not discuss and learn or share knowledge. You are always contentious. And by simulation, I have something much more possible in mind, which would be pantheism or panenthesm. Something like Hinduism or Buddhism, where this “reality” is all an illusion and is actually just the mind of god, or a dream of god, or something god permeates but is not part of. Without a god or aliens, no simulation idea makes much sense, does it?
Why would a dream not be spiritual? You aren’t thinking. I exist. I am here in it in some form. If it is a dream and not real, that seems to fit the definition of spiritual to me. Believe me, the people in your dreams do NOT think they are real people. If you think they do, well, that might be crazy, no?
But it is obvious that you are not after truth. You are only after argument for the sake of argument. I will no longer feed that puppy.
Spike, I will repeat this one time, since you brought up the Mexican again:
I thought it was actually a pretty good try, but it’s a non sequitur, like comparing apples to oranges. I’m not sure I can explain it briefly, but I’ll try.
Nationality, race, or something of a nation is pretty fixed. What comes into or influences a culture is much more complicated and diverse. Black musicians invented rock ‘n roll, but it has largely become a white form. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have black roots. And if it was invented 1000 years ago in Africa or Japan, which i guess is possible, it didn’t enter our culture from those sources, so they are irrelevant. I’d say it’s black American music, even though it isn’t anymore. In our culture, I believe we all acknowledge that.
The specific values in question as far as Christian socialism are concerned might well have been invented or recognized outside of Christianity, but that’s not how they entered our culture. In fact, they had no name until Christianity came along and “Jesus” (real or not) espoused them. Then, as far as politics is concerned, Marx (who hated Christianity) was vastly influenced by it and socialism arguably influenced by Marx ever since.
You keep arguing this point, even though you say you have agreed with it. That’s strange. I challenged you to find one place in the thread from yesterday (above) where any of you agreed that Christianity has had an important part in shaping the values of socialism and that the many political parties named Christian socialists have legitimate names. You have so far failed to find any evidence (from above) for your contention.
The reason is obvious, all you seek is pointless argument! Your points about Republican hypocrisy, which is rampant, are completely irrelevant to my arguments. As we used to say in Indian, “Buy your books and buy your books, but all you ever do is eat the pages.”
SPIKE: You’re a lot nicer in the messages you send me. Got a reputation to uphold on here? [LMAO!]
“Come off of it, Spike. If someone is dreaming this reality (your last question), of course it would be spiritual.”
I see you get into this a little bit more below, but “of course it would be” and “seems to fit the definition of spiritual to me” are not the same. If I was actually a part of someone else’s dream, my consciousness would be an illusion. No spirituality needed, just a sleeping brain.
“And if God is an alien from a UFO, he really isn’t God at all, is he, and then we have to wonder where the alien came from. All irrelevant.”
Aliens? What? That isn’t god. And why would we expect the aliens origins to be so much different from our own? Abiogenesis seems to be possible, we just don’t know all the details yet. No need, yet, to invoke God. [Nor did I!]
“I think you just want to argue, not discuss and learn or share knowledge.”
Funny, I accuse people of that from time to time. I have strong opinions, that’s for sure. But I am quite open to new knowledge. Not much was really presented here. I know Christianity was influential. I don’t disagree. I still can’t find any facts you presented that I either ignored or denied.
“You are always contentious.”
You were telling us over and over how fearful we were being. If you don’t think you were egging us on and inviting escalation with that, you ought to take a closer look and try to imagine how you’d react to that. Even if you’d react differently, the fact remains that people don’t like to be called cowards and you ought to know that.
“And by simulation, I have something much more possible in kind, which would be pantheism or panentheism in mind.”
What makes you think that’s more possible than a simulation? Simulations exist, we know about them, we can make them. We don’t yet know if any Gods exist. Seems the likelihood rests with the things we can verify rather than with conjecture.
“Something like Hinduism or Buddhism where this is all an illusion and is actually just the mind of god, or a dream of god, or something god permeates but is not part of. Without a god or aliens, no simulation idea makes much sense, does it?”
Maybe it was humans who made the simulation. Maybe it’s just like the Matrix and it was robots that humans made. Lack of other conceivable options does not mean the ones we thought of are the only possibilities. [I’ll grant this tiny point.]
“Why would a dream not be spiritual? You aren’t thinking. I exist. I am here in it in some form. If it is a dream and not real, that seems to fit the definition of spiritual to me. Believe me, the people in your dreams do NOT think they are real people. If you think they do, well, that might be crazy, no?”
I said that as far as I can tell, they all think they are individual people. That’s about as much corroboration as I can get from reality too. It doesn’t honestly go much further than cogito ergo sum.
“But it is obvious that you are not after truth. You are only after argument for the same of argument. I will no longer feed that puppy.”
We are in a debate group. I did come here for debate, that was the point, yes. I came here to discuss matters about which I care deeply. That we disagree could be a misfortune, or annoyance to you, or whatever you want. But the entire pretense of this group is disagreement. If you don’t want to be disagreed with, especially with supporting arguments, maybe you’re in the wrong spot. :)
Where did I argue that Christianity wasn’t influential? I can’t find that. I said it was. I also said it didn’t create these ideas.
What if I was born in the USA, but spent the next 12 years in Mexico, raised by Mexican parents. There would be so much influence that behaviorally I might as well be Mexican. But that wouldn’t change my lineage. I’m not Mexican no matter how hard I try. I do not think my example was apples and oranges. How they entered our culture is also unimportant. We call burritos Mexican, but that’s incorrect. They were invented in the USA, San Francisco I believe. Using Mexican ingredients and selling it in Mexican restaurants does not make it Mexican. The same goes for ideals. It lends unfair validation to Christianity to call those values Christian, and here’s the important part, OUTSIDE THE CONTEXT OF CHRISTIAN THINGS. Yes, those are Christian values. They are not exclusively Christian. I understand perfectly well why you call them Christian, I just take point with giving Christianity the credit for an idea that existed before it did. Why don’t we call misogyny Christian? Slavery? Xenophobia?
I don’t know why those were in messages and not this thread to begin with.
STEVE BAKER: My work here is done. The argument has become completely ridiculous! I will have no part of it.
SPIKE: Yep. Declare victory. That’s how debates are won.
Can we call slavery as outlined in the Bible Christian slavery? If I follow the rules on how to beat my slave properly, those are Christian values, right?
But I’m being silly.
STEVE BAKER: You go ahead and take the last word. Declare yourself the victor. I could care less. This has all become stupid and small-minded. I will have no more part in it!
SPIKE: Ooh, the last word thing. Now I can’t say anything else without validating your insult. That’s clever. The small mindedness started with you essentially calling us all a bunch of cowards. Please be aware that was the beginning of the antagonism here.
ROBERT: Spike, no one’s hating on you. You’re being ridiculous.
SPIKE: Good grief Robert. I said he was calling us cowards. He repeatedly told us all we were afraid of Christianity, or just some particular ideas. Over and over he called us afraid. This is how you get people to do things they know are a bad idea, by calling them a chicken over their trepidation.
ROBERT: It’s because Steve Baker is repeating himself and explaining himself over and over, Spike. It’s tiresome.
SPIKE: Then go away. For fuck’s sake, no one is twisting your arm. I owe you no entertainment.
STEVE BAKER: And delivered none either! Hey, thanks for the discussion everybody, it was most…ummmm…educational!
RYAN S.: Does that mean that it’s buddhist socialism in China?
SPIKE: Wait, I thought you wanted the sense of superiority that comes with giving me the last word? Really, why come back to be rude again? Why did you call us scared over and over? Don’t you realize that’s a great way to escalate? Can we acknowledge that? I’d really rather be civil honestly.
STEVE BAKER: Spike, you are such a flaming ass-hole! I can’t believe they let you in here! That is the unadulterated truth!
SPIKE: Can you really not see that you calling us fearful over something that is really just annoying is instigating? And I’ve been called far worse than that before.
STEVE BAKER: LMAO! Ya, I guess the truth hurts, huh?
SPIKE: I really hope you’ve seen this show. That’s what you’re doing when you call us fearful over this bullshit.
STEVE BAKER: Boy, Spike, I really and truly got to you didn’t I? LMAO! Gee, so sorry I hit so close to home! NOT!
SPIKE: I can see that was your intent, but no not really. I’m just keenly aware that calling people fearful (chicken, coward, you won’t do it, you’re afraid) is one of the most effective ways to invoke overly emotional and impulsive behavior from them. But u can tell from the change in your demeanor that you are pretty irritated here.
I really find it amusing you think I’m such an asshole. I mean, I am. But you are too buddy. If you’re not aware, I don’t know how. If this is how you treat strangers in public, I’m quite sure you’ve been called an asshole before.
STEVE BAKER: LMAO!
SPIKE: Look. I’ve been a dick. Honestly. But so have you. You wanna know how it got started? Scroll up and find you calling us afraid. Look closely below for me asking why and someone else examining it was merely annoying. Keep moving downward and you’ll see yourself continuing to call us afraid, so afraid. Everything short of actually calling us cowards. You’ll see me asking you to stop and soon after you’ll see me getting a bit rude reciprocally, with you. I well and truly would have preferred we both keep it civil. I have no desire to declare victory. Can we call a truce?
STEVE BAKER: Sure. Let me merely propose a modest piece of advice to you and your “friends”. Try, as card-carrying atheists, to get beyond calling fantasy facts, and, most of all, move beyond your apparently extreme fear of the words Christian, belief, and god. Believe me, you will make much better atheists without all that excess baggage.
SPIKE: Dude. That kind of response is not a truce. There was no place where I called fantasy factual. And I’m not afraid of Christina or Christianity. I tried over and over to get you to stop instigating that way. I practically pleaded with you. Now you’re trying to tell me how to be a better atheist? Go fuck yourself.
And of course I’M the asshole here. *rolls eyes*
ROBERT: That’s unkind of you, Spike, talking like that when you proposed a truce. I respected that but that was uncalled for.
SPIKE: Robert, you must have more trouble with nuance than I thought. Steve Baker’s response was not polite and indicates he did not accept the truce despite his claim that he would. Telling me how to be a better atheist, coming from an atheist, implies he thinks he’s better than me. I don’t know what the fuck he means by “better atheist” but I certainly need no instruction on how to think critically. Judging by the color of Steve’s response, MY response to him was quite called for. I’ve been asking him over and over to stop calling us afraid. I explained, reasonably and in a way almost any English speaker could understand, that calling people fearful is a great way to instigate. He never acknowledged this, but we all know that calling someone a chicken will get him to do what he was apprehensive over a moment ago, like being rude to Steve in response to him calling us fearful after repeated polite requests for him to stop and questions as to why he thought we were fearful. After all of that, after I asked for a truce, he called me fearful again, and also accused me of being delusional by saying I claim fantasy as fact. That’s troll tactics, like purposely trying to get under someone’s skin. It’s disrespectful and that’s why I disrespect him. Respect must be mutual, and I will not respect someone with none for me. You, Robert, despite how it may seem, I still have respect for. Steve can go fuck himself.
Oh, right. He also, after I asked for a truce, referred to my “friends” as if to imply they aren’t real friends. I really don’t know who the fuck you think you are Steve, but you don’t get to treat people like this and expect us to still be polite. [Gee! I didn’t know Facebook “friends” were real, actual “friends”.]
Robert, to be absolutely clear, this douchebag has made it obvious he thinks he’s superior to me and the other atheists in here. He thinks he knows better and more than us. I really don’t know what fantasy he thinks I stated as fact. But after I ask for a truce, and after you accept, that’s when the attacks and insults are supposed to stop. Since he took not a moment’s pause getting back to the personal attacks and his condescending air of superiority, I took the opportunity to tell him to go fuck himself.
STEVE BAKER: NOTE TO SELF: Try to never discuss anything with people with chips on their shoulders or inferiority complexes. It will never end well. Communication with such people is impossible, even if you fundamentally agree.
ROBERT: It’s nice to know you fundamentally agree with Spike. Steve Baker…that’s generous. Personally, Spike, I feel you over-reacted to Steve’s comments, but I understand some of your points… However I still feel it got far too nasty…
On Spike’s behalf, Steve, he did attempt to reconcile his views with yours. He’s not an entirely unreasonable dude…I’ve found…but likes to challenge in his own way folks.?….it’s unfortunate this ended ugly.
STEVE BAKER: Thanks, Robert. I know Spike thinks it was all about him, but, for me, except for a little fun at the end, it was all about the arguments expressed mainly by others.
Yes, this was the most contentious introduction to a group I think I’ve ever had. Nice welcoming party! I thought it interesting to think about what the reasons for that might be, since nothing I said was controversial in any way. Definitely not as controversial as Jesus having converted to Buddhism or Christianity having essentially no influence upon Western culture.
All I could come up with was fear. What other reason could there be? I discounted “hate” right away. Hope you have a good one. I’ll be seeing you, I hope.
ROBERT: Sure, I got your points. They were clear in my opinion…sadly, it got out of hand….oh well…ce lavie as the French say …lol!
SPIKE: What other reason could there be? Why not ask man? It was irritation. We said so. :)
Please understand that calling people chicken is instigating. Please. I honestly, sincerely, would rather us be civil. Hatred helps nothing.
On the effects of Jesus on people’s sociability.
ROBERT: Interesting, somewhat.
SPIKE: Also somewhat relevant, I thought.
RYAN S.: Daw, thee ickle Steve still thinks he managed to scare us. That’s just precious.
STEVE BAKER: Still LMAO! I never saw such a frightened reaction in my life! “Help! Christian zombies are on the prowl in the form of socialists! Eeeek!”
RYAN S.: You’ve lead a very sheltered life indeed if you can confuse annoyance with fear, Steve.
STEVE BAKER: If you only knew, dear Ryan S.! :-) You folks sure get awfully “irritated” awfully easily! At the mere mention of the Boogie-Man! 246 comments (including at least one “fuck you”) and counting. Probably a record for this page. Quite a reaction for mere irritation. I thought denial of the “truth” was something only “theists” do? LMAO!
RYAN S.: If, as you claim, you are an atheist and travel in those circles then you know that the term “christian principles” is a loaded phrase which has virtually always been used to insult and belittle atheists and other nonbelievers. So, if, as you claim, you’re just here for discussion, then why would you knowingly use a term so loaded with negative implications when using the term adds literally nothing to the discussion?
STEVE BAKER: Ryan S., why would you or anyone else make so many unwarranted assumptions? You have no idea what “circles” I might travel in. I never heard of any circles you’re talking about. What? You think I merely claim to be an atheist? Why would anyone do any such thing? Are those the kind of dishonest circles you travel in? I don’t consider the phrase to be any such thing and was talking about socialist parties in Europe. The term Christian Socialist political parties has a lot of meaning, whether you like it or not, and a lot to do with the original post. Your unfriendly tone here is exactly what I found from almost all of you the entire thread. What I found were a lot of babies afraid of common courtesy or the truth or the word Christian. If, as you claim, you’re an atheist, why all the unwarranted assumptions when you don’t know me from Adam? Too bad you didn’t read the Horus poem I wrote and put up here before running into such a discourteous, babyish reception. If you can’t stand the truth, what can you stand? That’s a serious question. You people have to start attacking someone en masse and start acting like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off because some term is used a little differently than you’re used to? Ridiculous!
RYAN S.: Way to not answer my questions, Steve. Go waste someone else’s time with your insipid trolling.
STEVE BAKER: [The first part of my reply has been lost because of the thread being censored/deleted. It concerned the fact that I spent an entire paragraph (above) answering Ryan S.’s one question.]
STEVE BAKER: And, while my wife and I pack to take the train to Paris tomorrow morning, I’ll tell you one more thing, Ryan. Perhaps it can be summed up with this poem I wrote years ago:
Conviction’s Lies (written in Chicago, IL)
To enter the realm of truth
Certainty must be left behind
With all the other forgotten
And lost things of this world
Neither hope nor love among them
Though bright beyond the first fire
Remember conviction’s lies.
©1997,2015 Steven W. Baker
It seems to me that so much of the tedious arguments in this thread stem from people wanting to impose their world view, their “beliefs” upon others. I guess I’d fit into the latter category of “others”, sorry..
All these conclusions you all have determined are the absolute truth — that Christianity has not been influential in the West, that we shouldn’t use the word Christian in any positive sense because of all the negatives, that we shouldn’t use the word because Republicans use it in a positive sense, that Jesus was a Buddhist, that I’m some kind of spy or troll and not a “true atheist” as defined by this group or some people in it.
Frankly, and to be blunt and to speak in language I know the least educated of you will understand, I piss on your absolutes! Because I can use the words Christian, Jesus, and belief without shaking in my boots or puking does not mean I am not an atheist. Earlier in this thread, I believe, I told my version of the beginning of this universe.
“Let’s base a theory on what science thinks it knows right now. It could be wrong, but it’s the best we can do. This universe of probably 11-dimensions is probably one of many, very possibly an infinity of universes. No one knows for sure. The math doesn’t answer that question. This universe has a beginning we call the “Big Bang” and has been expanding in every direction ever since. The theological question science can’t yet answer is this: What caused the Big Bang. In other words, what created the universe approx. 13.8 billion years ago. There would seem to be two answers, both equally illogical it would seem to me. 1) something known as “god” did it. We have no reliable information on this “god” other than that. 2} There is some unknown scientific principle that allows an entire universe to be “created” out of nothing. The multverse theory tends to make either theory more possible. I would tend to go with the latter, but “belief” in either alternative seems equally “logical” to me. Both seem impossible, really, to known science. Neither can be proven to be true or false at this time. Take your pick and be happy with it.”
I’m sorry so few of you could be bothered to read the whole thread. I expressed what I believe at that time.
I don’t understand your flippant judgments and I don’t understand your ready acceptance of things without proof. There are simply things no one knows. If you think you know them, or you can’t live your life with the ambivalence of accepting not knowing, then you commit the same “sins” as those religious people who think they “know”, the people whom you seem to hate so much.
You ask, in so many words, if I am a true atheist, whatever that means. If it means I “believe” there is no god in any sense of the word, I guess I am not an atheist. To me, that is being a fool. At this time, science doesn’t know. No one knows. The universe either started by itself because of science we don’t yet understand and maybe never will understand; or, it was started by a god (not an alien, which would make these questions meaningless) who somehow always existed or came into being via science we don’t know and maybe never will. This god would not be an old man with a white beard who is your buddy. He would be something so alien that the very thought of him/her/it should make you truly afraid. No one “knows” if that god exists or does not. He/She?It would not be good, would not be evil, would instead be all things. That’s why evil exists. No one gives a fuck.
All of my life I have wondered. From the time I was a child looking up at the sky until now. Sometimes, when I think about the vastness of the universe, or my own mind, or the perfection of a cat, or about mathematics, or a beautiful sunset, I think, “Maybe there is that god.” Other times, like when I think about the primitive religions of mankind or I think about death, I think, “No, it is just a wishful fantasy, part of your dream to live forever, to be part of the infinite.” And i include my own death in that. I will be 70 this month, so I have to admit death is something I think about sometimes. I have pain, as many older people do, always — every day and every night. My time will come, my time will end. But that doesn’t make me think about going to heaven, or begging some god for forgiveness, or worrying about some afterlife. It just tends to make me think there is no god, because those desires seem like a trick of the mind to me
But I don’t “know” and I don’t pretend to “know”. Above, when I talked about the religions of mankind, I really wasn’t talking about Buddhism or some of the Native American religions. They seem to me to be much more in line with the kind of “mind of god” I mean when I talk about whatever “Great Spirit” could have been the Creator, if such a thing exists. But I don’t know. I have studied Buddhism all my adult life. I know a brujo in Bolivia very well. I know that neither my Japanese Zen Master from when I was young and studied in Kyoto, or my Bolivian brujo from when I was older knows. I know my cousin, who is a very wise and good Quaker minister, doesn’t know. No one “knows” there is only “belief”.
For some reason, I seem to lack that belief. I cannot say for sure that one is true and one is false. If you think you can, I say that you lie to yourself, just as devout Christians or Muslims do. Agnosticism seems to me like a cop-out. I can simply see it both ways and can go back and forth.
All this is why I find the firestorm over using the word Christian to describe political parties that call themselves by that name completely ludicrous. One would think that means I am dealing with people who think they “know” it all, when I “know” they cannot. At best, they are true believers. I am not.
If you think I am a troll, if you think you know me, if you think you “know” anything, my dear, you are sadly mistaken. Sorry.
STEVE BAKER: I know I’m a little slow, but I just read the group description. Reading it made me wonder if anyone else in here has read it.
I have always heard, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” This thread and others are full of presuppositional arguments. I guess the same principles that apply to theists don’t applied to atheists? Most strange to confuse spiritualism, belief, knowing and not knowing with religion and call yourselves “morons”.
“This group has been created, not with the purpose of debunking theists, but proclaiming truth. [And you KNOW the truth? How, pray tell?” Theists have already debunked themselves the very moment they declare their theistic worldview. [Really? And atheists haven’t?]
“We are people who think that using presuppositional arguments to defend one’s flawed worldview are morons. You should agree that YECs are the worst people in the world…” [The “worst people in the world”. My! That’s pretty darned uncharitable of you.]
I don’t even know what “YECs” are — Young Evangelical Christians?
ROBERT: Young earth creationists, Steve Baker…
STEVE BAKER: Ah, thank you, Robert! I have to get this jargon down! And somebody thinks those nuts are a big problem? “Morons”? “The worst people in the world”? Someone to be hated? Someone worth arguing with? Jeez! Amazing! It seems to me that someone would have to be pretty unsure of their atheism to waste much time with such pursuits. I think I dismissed such thinking when I was about eight-years-old.
ROBERT: Nah, they aren’t a problem. Most generally, they believe the earth 6000 years old, which is nonsense. We have trees older then that…they are misled, but not all YEC believe earth 6000 years old I’ve talked with…they are nice enough folks I’m sure, but some atheists have targeted them rather than debated them because their ideas are so ridiculous….perhaps…there are some militant atheists and their methodology just scares them away rather than educates others…i’m friends with all camps…and not so with militant mindsets which I oppose strongly…
Its unfortunate however that SOME NOT ALL creationists ignore the sciences….and that some who know the sciences ..mainly some atheists are so nasty to them rather than educate ..its not about ego its about learning….and being open to do so.
SPIKE: I said to go fuck yourself, but fuck you is good too. :)
A man named Steve Tillman has his story quite publicly available. The man claimed to be an atheist for years because, as he says, he was mad at God. In my experience, that’s not entirely uncommon, and it leads to a lot of theists thinking all atheists are just mad at God.
You don’t know what a troll actually cares about. The deal is that they misrepresent themselves on purpose. I’d be willing to bet a lot of them care deeply about the truth.
That description, and this whole group, are a reaction to and ripoff of another group. That description is a purposefully blatant plagiarism of the description in that group.
BRENDAN: Sweden is becoming a third world nation. This meme doesn’t mention the fact Scandinavian countries also have the highest number of people per capita on anti-depressants. I guess that JANTELOVEN (look it up) isn’t all its cracked up to be.
I wonder how many leftists here would support Switzerland voting in a right wing, anti immigrant party recently (SVP) or the fact Norways right wing, anti immigrant part (the Progress Party) now has a coalition government and Sweden’s anti immigrant, Democrat party is now second in power…
SPIKE: I agree with that. Mocking creationists serves only to make atheists look like jerks. It gets hard sometimes when I try to be polite but get threats of hell and get told I’m just too stupid to understand and that they’ll pray for me and that they hope I one day find [insert deity here], but that they know I’m not really interested in truth, rather that I just want to oppose [re-insert aforementioned deity here] because I hate him/her/it/them.
As far as I can tell, if you’re going to accept any part of the Christian story that includes any reason to worship God and treat Jesus as his son, there must be some science ignored. People don’t come back from the dead. Adam and Eve didn’t happen, so where did original sin come from? And why is Christianity the only one on the chopping block? Have we assumed, by this point in any such conversation, that all other religions are untrue? Because the same criteria religious people use to dismiss other religions can almost always be applied to their own religion if they so desired. I have a lot of respect when religious people describe their situation as belief rather than fact. I’ve got a few highly religious friends who know very well that their belief is not based in empiricism, but in faith. And there isn’t really anything wrong with that, but it’s dishonest, especially to oneself, not to recognize this.