Why would I want to convince someone that there is no god? Being an atheist or believer is not a value in itself. I know that particularly for religious people believing in the divine is crucial part of their identity & why on Earth would I want to attack someones identity? Besides all I can do anyhow is to help people build an enlightened belief system of some sort where they know which things are fact and which are matter of faith. But I am not here to persuade anyone. I'm here to so that all of us can learn how our innerworld is build & if there is something to fix. If someone convince me that there is a god, then I am ready to believe that or at least I wish to see myself as one that is ready to believe that. Conversation in itself has a value to me. Particularly when we're talking about people I know. I want to know who I know. What makes them who they are. And in the process I wish to be there to provide tools how people can fix their worldview if they see it needs such. And I know that you, WinterTwilight, are not listened that easily from the "other" camp as your conversation style is more aggressive & less ready to hear what the others have to say. If I wasn't ready to respond to a religious argument with a religious argument then I would be stuck to have a conversation about existance of god. But as I see such a thing as secondary goal, I prefer to talk more widely about subjects. For instance I would be delighted to know what sort of belief system fishfleas has & then I could argue wether or not he believes in a god he claims he believes.
In a way I see that people's (including me) world view is a colourful circle. Now I want to know what sort of colours are there in the circle and if there are holes as there always is, then help fill those holes. What I don't find interesting is the debate wether a square worldview is better than circle one. But in the process when we fill those holes, I would love to create an athmosphere where - by filling those holes, cicle could turn out to be a square. And I know enough psychology that if I say that "Invading Iraq was a idiotic thing and all Americans are gay" then all I manage to do is get all the Americans upset and on their backfeet where they most definitely are not ready to listen to me.
WintersTwilight wrote:You have argued against religion, but you have not put forth an arguement against God or against the moral law. I doubt that you will convince many of your point of view by simply reciting a few pieces of history. If there is no numinous then there is no religion. But if all you can do is talk about a couple of historical points, you have said nothing about the numinous. As long as a God exists, you will not be able to disprove religion in general.
Which is not my intention either. And although I know it is your intention I know that you're not going to succeed either. If your goal is to destroy people's belief system, they will only hold on to it more firmly. But if your goal is to help people see what are facts and what are not, then there is a ground that even the zealots can be brought more to this world. As I said, God is imporant part of people's identity and if you're going to take that away then you need to put something to replace it. And most often science is not the issue. The issue is that people need to have a meaning for their lives, people need to have a purpose & they need there to be something that will make the good things in life to beat all the shitty things that happen in the world. And science rarely can do that.
It also seems that you insist that Christian history is flawed or wrong. Yet you also insist that your history is correct.
What my history? I've been only talking about history as a science (which it indeed is). And there are certain ways how science is done.
It seems that we believe in history either by experiance or by authority. Since this goes back long before any of our experiances, we must base our beliefs on authority. You have eliminated all possiblity that Christian history could be true. At least in my opinion, if you go into a debate with a closed mind, you will not learn much and probably will not teach much. Humanity is not perfect, and we must be open the to possibility that any of us could be wrong.
No, I haven't eliminated that Christian history could be true. I said it quite clearly that on most things concerning the event in Bible, we cannot know for sure. Probably never will. For instance when I earlier wrote about the Period of War Chariots in Middle East, the fact that we don't know what happened back then doesn't mean that nothing happened. Most definitely there was a lot of things going on, but we just don't know it. And the word know
is the issue here. We may freely believe that Jesus did all that the Bible said he did, but at the moment we cannot know
that he did them. That still doesn't mean that we would know
that he didn't do them. I haven't got a Bible at reach right now, but sure there are events that can be dismissed as probably untrue (big events leave "footprints" elsewhere and if there are no other sources other than Bible, then such a thing is probably not true). And this should be beared in mind.
Still, if you can not convince someone that there is no God, then it is unlikely that you will be able to convince them that their religion is false. Especially if you are not trying to convince them that a different religion is true.
As I said, my intention wasn't to have a boring debate where there is only two key aspects - A) God exist and B) God doesn't exist. I on the other hand believe that if you do such a division then you're more likely to divide the people in groups as well, which indeed is my primary goal. Religion is bad when it is seen as dividing aspect. Religion is good when it is seen as uniting aspect. Sure often there is in religion the good aspect, but in global world the bad aspects win. So naturally I don't wish to power up the division, but minimise the dividing aspect. If we see the world where there are muslims, christians, atheists, buddhists etc. etc. etc. then we are, once again in a world that is divided in rivalling camps. But if muslims are let to be muslims, christians christians and so forth & still feel like we're one big happy family then we may have a peaceful world. So I don't want to claim anyone that I'm somehow superior or that muslims are stupid to believe in Allah or anything like that. I want to know how people think, what their identities are build on, and help fill up any holes that come up. In the process I know I can fill up holes in my own thinking as well.
So to explain my writing instead of explaining my motives - There are things that can be proved even in history. There are things that are likely in history and so forth. What I as a history student wanted to point out is that religious people often neglect history and believe something as historical fact just because it says so in the Bible. Which is not the way history is done in any book, event, people or whatever. There are pretty good methods to research things & most importantly there is the world wide scientific debate that can shoot down any claims that are not true.