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Old 01-04-2013, 09:19 PM   #3941
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Whether the request is for something deemed as noble or as shallow by current human value systems, Carlin's/dabear's point remains. An all-powerful deity having a master plan seems incompatible with granting the daily requests of a few hundred million mere mortal worshipers.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:33 PM   #3942
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I think most intelligent Christians dispute the idea of a "master plan" to the point where it negates any variation (which I suppose includes free-will).

you guys are grasping at straws.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:32 PM   #3943
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Whether the request is for something deemed as noble or as shallow by current human value systems, Carlin's/dabear's point remains. An all-powerful deity having a master plan seems incompatible with granting the daily requests of a few hundred million mere mortal worshipers.
How does this make any sense? Asking for strength to get through something, or the ability to move forward in a situation is vastly different than asking for a car.

Further to the point, if you look at it from a different perspective, who is to say the strength was not already there, and their beliefs in asking were what gave them the ability to get through something?

Arguing that a belief that pushes you to request strength at tough times is hardly grasping at straws.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:28 AM   #3944
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How does this make any sense? Asking for strength to get through something, or the ability to move forward in a situation is vastly different than asking for a car.
#1 You're applying your human, mortal value system to an omnipotent being. You consider asking for strength to be noble and asking for a car to be shallow. But this unknowable, all powerful, eternal being that created the universe and time may have a slightly different perspective and therefore have a different value system.

#2 Going back to the point made earlier, if an omnipotent creator deity has a master plan for how the universe will unfold in all it's minutiae, certainly the amount of strength someone has is already written into that plan. So asking for strength STILL requires the deity to change his/her/it's master plan. The nobility of the request doesn't matter. The point is that if prayers can cause him/her/it to change the master plan, it's not much of a master plan.


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Further to the point, if you look at it from a different perspective, who is to say the strength was not already there, and their beliefs in asking were what gave them the ability to get through something?
Actually if you find the strength to get through a tough situation, as a pretty devout atheist I FIRMLY believe that it WAS already there, YOU accessed it, YOU got through it. So you're preaching to the choir about that. :seewhatIdidthere:

If the strength was already there, you could have accessed it without asking a deity to intervene on your behalf, and then believing that he did, even if he didn't.

Look, if you want to pray, pray. If you want to meditate, meditate. If you want to burn incense, burn to your little heart's content. If you want to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton, then knock yourself out. I've got no problem with any of that.

I only ask 3 things of you. #1: if you act like it affects reality, don't get your feelings hurt when others act like it doesn't. #2: don't substitute prayer/meditation/etc for actions that WILL make a difference. #3: don't try to use public resources to advance/facilitate/promote your prayer/meditation/etc.




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Arguing that a belief that pushes you to request strength at tough times is hardly grasping at straws.
I think the "grasping at straws" comment was directed at those of us that see conflicting beliefs among Christians regarding "the power of prayer" vs "God has a plan for everyone".
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:59 AM   #3945
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#1 You're applying your human, mortal value system to an omnipotent being. You consider asking for strength to be noble and asking for a car to be shallow. But this unknowable, all powerful, eternal being that created the universe and time may have a slightly different perspective and therefore have a different value system.
He might, but you are missing the point again. A person with faith believes that asking for the strength, that it is granted. If the belief of the person enables the strength, then one must conclude that they must ask for it, to get it. It does not sound logical to someone who has no belief what so ever, but to a person with faith, it does.

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#2 Going back to the point made earlier, if an omnipotent creator deity has a master plan for how the universe will unfold in all it's minutiae, certainly the amount of strength someone has is already written into that plan. So asking for strength STILL requires the deity to change his/her/it's master plan. The nobility of the request doesn't matter. The point is that if prayers can cause him/her/it to change the master plan, it's not much of a master plan.
Not if the plan was to believe, and ask for strength in times of need. Just saying.


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Actually if you find the strength to get through a tough situation, as a pretty devout atheist I FIRMLY believe that it WAS already there, YOU accessed it, YOU got through it. So you're preaching to the choir about that. :seewhatIdidthere:

If the strength was already there, you could have accessed it without asking a deity to intervene on your behalf, and then believing that he did, even if he didn't.
Agreed, but see above.

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Look, if you want to pray, pray. If you want to meditate, meditate. If you want to burn incense, burn to your little heart's content. If you want to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton, then knock yourself out. I've got no problem with any of that.

I only ask 3 things of you. #1: if you act like it affects reality, don't get your feelings hurt when others act like it doesn't. #2: don't substitute prayer/meditation/etc for actions that WILL make a difference. #3: don't try to use public resources to advance/facilitate/promote your prayer/meditation/etc.

I agree on all those points.


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I think the "grasping at straws" comment was directed at those of us that see conflicting beliefs among Christians regarding "the power of prayer" vs "God has a plan for everyone".
Again, I can see that. If there is a master plan, and the plan calls for a person to believe, and call out to God every now and again, then who can say it is not the plan?

I really am just playing devil's advocate here. I am not offended at all by what is written, just throwing a different perspective on things.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:05 AM   #3946
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And like I said earlier, I'm fine with whatever believe you may take so long as you're not insulting or rude towards those who do believe.. and that's how it should be.
This is just how fundametalism starts. An unwillingness to accept that you may be wrong, based on other people's rational exploration of your beliefs and how they impact society as a whole. You don't like what people say and so get butt hurt and retreat into an ever shrinking mass of dogma.

If the religious were honest about their faith, they would see that faith is by it's very definition unquantifiable. If you can't see why other folks don't want unquantifiable beliefs to permeate society then that's your choice - most I know prefer rationality.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:48 AM   #3947
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Not if the plan was to believe, and ask for strength in times of need. Just saying.

...

Again, I can see that. If there is a master plan, and the plan calls for a person to believe, and call out to God every now and again, then who can say it is not the plan?
The question remains: is the plan set, or can people's choices change the plan?

Thanks for considering my posts and responding well.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:28 PM   #3948
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The question remains: is the plan set, or can people's choices change the plan?

Thanks for considering my posts and responding well.
I think it has a deeper philosophical meaning. We as humans believe we are in control, we believe we have free will. Those that believe in a supreme being believe they have to pray to have strength and guidance, and those that don't think they control themselves.

What if your free choices were planned, and everything you do is the plan? What if a religious person is supposed to see atheists in their lives to strengthen the bond between them and god? What if the prayers are not really a way for people to gain things, but they are just prayers?

If a person prays for his family and friends well being, and a horrible accident happens, you rarely see a person of faith question god. You rarely see them get angry. They get sad, the grieve, they pray.

My argument for the plan is what if the prayer and the asking, grieving and what not is the plan? No one really knows, and science will never disprove that. To say we are ultimately in control is pretty naive, but to say god is totally in control is also naive.

No one will know for sure, but to completely call bs on a being because of a shooting, or death or disaster because you think god would protect them is hilarious. Maybe they were meant to suffer and die? Maybe their death is a test for the family? Who knows, but using it as a catalyst to become atheist, or fuel to spur on an atheist belief is truly one sided.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:52 PM   #3949
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Holy crap, a logical flame-less discussion in this thread. Bravo guys, seriously. Never thought that would ever happen here.
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:17 PM   #3950
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This is just how fundametalism starts. An unwillingness to accept that you may be wrong, based on other people's rational exploration of your beliefs and how they impact society as a whole. You don't like what people say and so get butt hurt and retreat into an ever shrinking mass of dogma.

If the religious were honest about their faith, they would see that faith is by it's very definition unquantifiable. If you can't see why other folks don't want unquantifiable beliefs to permeate society then that's your choice - most I know prefer rationality.
Interesting post.

How is religion perceived in the UK? Do you have megachurch campuses that cost $50 million, with ten thousand members? Is religion as pervasive as it is here in the States?

I get the feeling that most civilized, modern 1st world countries look at our religious lunacy in the same light that they see Middle Eastern religious lunacy.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:48 PM   #3951
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Interesting post.

How is religion perceived in the UK? Do you have megachurch campuses that cost $50 million, with ten thousand members? Is religion as pervasive as it is here in the States?

I get the feeling that most civilized, modern 1st world countries look at our religious lunacy in the same light that they see Middle Eastern religious lunacy.
Let's put it this way - you can't become the Prime Minister in the UK if you profess to have faith - at least not publically. Imagine a POTUS saying he doesn't believe in God (as our Deputy PM has publically stated).

Religion (Christianity at least) is a dying breed in the UK. I would suggest that the UK populace doesn't understand just how different the US are to us in this respect. We mostly marvel in uninformed wonder at the place of religion in politics in the US (and not in a positive way).

Those of us who chose to be informed on these things see US Christian fundamentalism and worry that it's really no different in it's slavish interpretation of dogma to that of the (mainly Muslim) fundamentalists.

That it's mainly countries which have their own strong religious beliefs who see the US fundamentalism just about sums it up.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:58 PM   #3952
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Let's put it this way - you can't become the Prime Minister in the UK if you profess to have faith - at least not publically. Imagine a POTUS saying he doesn't believe in God (as our Deputy PM has publically stated).

Religion (Christianity at least) is a dying breed in the UK. I would suggest that the UK populace doesn't understand just how different the US are to us in this respect. We mostly marvel in uninformed wonder at the place of religion in politics in the US (and not in a positive way).

Those of us who chose to be informed on these things see US Christian fundamentalism and worry that it's really no different in it's slavish interpretation of dogma to that of the (mainly Muslim) fundamentalists.

That it's mainly countries which have their own strong religious beliefs who see the US fundamentalism just about sums it up.
When I was a kid, I was certain that religion would die before I reached adulthood, and we would become an advanced, sophisticated society.

Now I'm an old man, and it's staggering to realize that we have actually gone backwards. We were on the right track back in the late 70's, but now we've been dragged back to the stone ages.

I'm truly disappointed. I thought we would continue to evolve.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:48 PM   #3953
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:41 PM   #3954
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This cracked me up

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Old 01-23-2013, 10:29 AM   #3955
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:40 AM   #3956
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I don't think most religious people think that.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:45 AM   #3957
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I don't think most religious people think that.
Certainly not most. But I've been asked the question Penn is referring to more than once.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:49 AM   #3958
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Certainly not most. But I've been asked the question Penn is referring to more than once.
Me too. Another version of it is where do you get your ethics from if not from god.

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Old 01-23-2013, 10:56 AM   #3959
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:58 AM   #3960
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I don't think most religious people think that.
No, but a lot seem to generally believe that they are weak, immoral, and intrinsically flawed... and rely on religion to keep them straight. Penn's case is just a somewhat exaggerated form of this.
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