Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Than He Can Chew

I think this guy bit off more than he can chew in this post.


Blogger warm fuzzy said...

It's pretty common for those who believe in God to just plum not understand how someone might not. Yes, this dude's post was somewhat superieor w/ all the "lost people" stuff, but it seemed to me he was trying to have an open discussion on the subject - a discussion not about if there is God or not, but about how one arrives at those beliefs.

Perhaps instead of calling this guy an extermist (which he obviously is not - he hasn't condemmed anyone to hell or said that any athiests were bad people) all those posters should have tried to tell him why they didn't believe in God. No doubt it's frustrating for Athiests, but cry me a river - it's frustrating for people who do know God to be told that they are fanciful or illogical - which we are told. A lot.

A great many people belive in God AND in science and reason and logic. For those who know Him, God is a great big part of their lives, so of course they are going to talk about it. It's like when you see a great movie - you want to tell everyone about it. That doesn't mean that you are going to force them to watch it.

When someone tries to tell me about their beliefs, I welcome that. I love hearing what people think of the world around them (and non-belief in God is a belief). What I don't like is if someone tells me what I should believe - and this guy was not doing that. If he was, I would say to him what I say to anyone who does that- "I am very happy in my beliefs, thankyou." If some of those posters thought he was trying to force his bliefs on them, then perhaps they could have used that same line. Or, just not read it.

Still, I think this guy was just asking Why. and instead of being given some explination, he was called names or treated like an idiot by many of the posters.

1:40 PM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

I apologize for the massive amounts of typos.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

Let me say, Fuzzy, that there are some things you said that I agree with. Some people like to talk about God, I'm ok with that. For my part, I love to talk about religion too. I consider myself a proselytizing atheist and so have no problem with proselytizing christians. I, like you, welcome people and encourage people to share their beliefs with me. And when people share their beliefs, I like to engage them in discussions about those beliefs.

You say that "non-belief is a belief." This is true and not true inasmuch as there are affirmative and passive atheism. I waiver between the two. Affirmative atheists believe there is no god; passive atheists do not believe there is a god.

Also, I disgree with your characterization of the posters on that blog. Most of the comments were simply posing questions to the blogger and responding to his statements. There were a minority of comments which attack him personally, and with those I'm not on board. Civil discourse is the only way to go, and it is what my blog strives for.

2:35 PM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

I am sorry for not being clear. I did not mean to say that all of the posters on his comments were out of line. On the contrary, many of the posters had great things to say. My beef was with those who called him names and typed what I felt were irrevelvent questions, or at the very least questions that tried to discredit his beliefs. I thought I got that across by saying "some of those posters," but obviously I was too vague. I'm sorry about that.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

I'm not sure how a question can discredit a belief.

3:56 PM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

good point. Questions can't discredit faith based beliefs.

Questions posed can only ask for answers. In something that can be proven, answers can be right or wrong, and thus can discredit beliefs, assumptions, thought, etc. This is a great tool for critical thinking and helping people shape better thoughts.

Faith based beliefs, however, are not meant to be proven. They are leaps of faith - the acknowlegement that there is more than we can explain. Questions posed that demand answers that cannot be given might be asked for the purpose of trying to discredit somoene's belief. It doesn't even really occur in said blog, so I mispoke.

On a somewhat related, but off-topic tanget... I also am sick of evolution being the atheist postition and clumping all Christians into this group that doesn't believe in evolution. I know plenty of people who believe in God and also see that evolution is real. I guess that's why I don't really get this ID Vs Evolution stuff. Don't the ID proponants think God knows enough to create something rational, logical, and explainable? He gave us a way to explain the world around us and to figure out really cool stuff - science! God does not contradict evolution!

Tirade over.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

Fuzzy, I think I get what you're saying. If I were to ask a Christian, "What proof do you have that God exists?" that would be a way of using a question to discredit a belief. And the only reason that the question can function to discredit the belief is because the question cannot and should not be answered. The response would be the "leap of faith," but because I asked the question, and questions need answers, and I knew full well that faithwas the answer, the question itself becomes kind of a facetious "up yours" that we self-important atheists love. I think your point is well made, and there are certain questions that faith does not purport to answer. If those questions are asked anyway, they tend to lead to irrelevancies.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Nell said...

One thing I noticed after reading a small portion of the comments is that both sides seem to assume that the other side just hasn't thought about it enough. They assume that if you consider the issue enough you will come to the same conclusion. Having been married to an atheist I know quite well that he has thought about it at least as much as I have if not more. We have simply come to separate conclusions. Different strokes for different folks, get used to it.

On fuzzies side point - the problem with ID is that it is not science. It belongs in philosophy class not science class. Its just off topic, not necessarily wrong.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous big brother said...

You all are thinking way too much abou this. Shouldn't you all be studying for finals.

6:17 PM  
Blogger John Bartlett said...

More than I can chew is an understatement! One thing is for sure... I'll never say anything about causing an accident with anyone ever again!

I think what's really coming out in the posting is that there is passion on both sides of the discussion.

Thanks for the comments.


6:24 PM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

I don't agree with John's fundamental beliefs, but I do admire the way he conducted himself amid the barrage of atheist posts. He remained civil throughout. My kind of guy.

6:53 PM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

I agree that JB did a great job of moderating the comments. Instead of deleting that dude's post w/ the profanitities all together, he just edited out the bad stuff. Not many would take the time to do that for the sake of open discussion.

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Leo said...

First off, I apologize in advance if I brush close to the edges of appropriate discussion here. I tried not to mention any philosophers, but at one point I do mention a philosophical tradition and I use the word "existential" a lot. So it seems pretty borderline.

The leap of faith position is a fine one so long as you understand its consequences. You have lept the existential void and embraced Christianity, but the void still exists. Others leap the void too, and they don't always land with Christian values. The premise of the leap of faith - a product of existentialism - is that there is no evidence, no reasoning, no rational process whatsoever that can fill or bridge the gap between essence and existence, is and ought, or (in the Christian existentialist tradition) God and man. So as a premise you have accepted that there is no reason, no rational argument at all, you can to offer people who have not made the leap or those who have lept to a different religious (or non-religious) worldviews. There is no reason we couldn't have an existentially authentic racist, an existentially authentic Nazi, or an existentially authentic suicide bomber. Existentialism, even Christian existentialism, is at its heart moral relativism.

Now you may argue that you have a set of moral values that judge each of those to be wrong, derived from the Christian framework you have embraced as an alternative to the void. That's fine, but don't expect anyone to be convinced by your argument, which boils down in its fundamentals to "I have arbitrarily accepted these values and can offer no reasom that you should do the same."

Myself I like to keep my leaps as only as large as is necessary to cross a certain gap (I think this is basically Occham's Razor restated). For example there is a persistent gap between the inductive and the deductive form of argument, but I am willing to overlook it when the gap is relitively small. Causation, for example, I accept on faith even though I have no reason to believe in it other than a 100% historic correlation between certain actions and certain effects.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Fishfrog said...

Well said Leo. You are hereby exempted from my prohibition on overly-philosophical talk.

8:17 AM  
Blogger warm fuzzy said...

I’m not sure I completely understand you post since I’ve taken a grand total of one philosophy course nearly 9 years ago & we never got into existentialism stuff, but I don’t think I disagree with it.

I don’t think anyone will be convinced by God arguments; I don’t think it’s up for argument precisely because it is not rational. I do not for one second think I can convince you that God exists just as you will never be able to convince me that my God does not. I know God exists – not only through my leap of faith, but through the power of God that I’ve personally experienced. Although I would disagree that my reasons are arbitrary, they are indeed arbitrary to anyone but me.

The one thing I do remember from my long ago philosophy class is the John Steward Mills’ Harm Principle that to my mind says everyone can do what they want as long as they don’t harm anyone else. So, while I tend to I agree that Nazism, racism, etc, are Worldviews just as any religion is, the difference is belief in a deity does not inherently cause anyone harm, while belief in Nazism probably does because their whole point is promote fear, violence, and hate.

ps- I want to make it clear w/ all my "you" and "me" stuff that I'm not speaking directly to anyone although I am replying to Leo's post & I also realize that his post was not directed at me, so insert appropriate feelings of generality where you feel they apply.

9:37 AM  

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