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How to stop Jehova's Witnesses?
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Toffeejim


Posts: 84
Joined: Nov 2004
Post: #61
27-11-2007 10:59 PM

roz Wrote:
The more churches converted to housing the better for us all.......

Alternatively you could leave churchgoers to follow their beliefs in peace, as the overwhelming majority of them will leave you to follow yours.

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #62
28-11-2007 12:05 AM

RussB Wrote:
It seems you're working off the beta version of the ten commandments there, from Exodus 20, which Moses smashed in pieces.


There are three versions of the ten commandments in Exodus 20, Exodus 34, and Deuteronomy 5.

Take a look at Wikipedia for the differences:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Command...mmandments
(I did have to edit them as somebody had changed one of them!)

The phrase "Ten Commandments" generally refers to the very similar passages in Exodus 20:2?17 and Deuteronomy 5:6?21. Some distinguish between this "Ethical Decalogue" and a series of ten commandments in Exodus 34 that are labelled the "Ritual Decalogue."

The phrase 'aseret had'varim' is only used in reference to the 10 commandments in the first tablets, not in the second set, not that they were/are not followed, but they in no way override the previous commandments. For a proper translation of the ten commandments and the rest of the Torah I recommend using http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp which I helped put online.

We could go into a full scale debate about the authorship of the five books of Moses, but I shall refrain from that given the hour.

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #63
28-11-2007 07:41 AM

Sorry...I should have said "if the Old Testament/Torah had never existed...". Of course it was around for a good few years before that upstart Jesus came along.

By the way, on a bus the other day I spotted a church in Campberwell that does a monthly "miracle evening".

Why only monthly?

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Baboonery


Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #64
28-11-2007 09:48 AM

Toffeejim Wrote:

roz Wrote:
The more churches converted to housing the better for us all.......

Alternatively you could leave churchgoers to follow their beliefs in peace, as the overwhelming majority of them will leave you to follow yours.


Nobody said that these churches should be forcibly changed into housing. It's just something an awful lot of people would like to see happen. I smile every time I see a church converted into housing. There's one in my home town which has been converted into a library: a temple to stupidity converted to a temple to learning.

I believe religion is a malign influence on society, and the sooner its adherents realise they're being idiots the better. I'm not about to stab anyone for it, but there you go.

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Toffeejim


Posts: 84
Joined: Nov 2004
Post: #65
28-11-2007 02:59 PM

Baboonery Wrote:
Nobody said that these churches should be forcibly changed into housing. It's just something an awful lot of people would like to see happen. I smile every time I see a church converted into housing. There's one in my home town which has been converted into a library: a temple to stupidity converted to a temple to learning.

I believe religion is a malign influence on society, and the sooner its adherents realise they're being idiots the better. I'm not about to stab anyone for it, but there you go.


And nor did I claim that forcible eviction was being suggested. It is quite possible that a great many people would like to see an end to churches. But I would suggest that would not include the large numbers of people who go about their peaceful business within them. Temples to stupidity? Why do you suggest churchgoers are stupid? I've met very few I'd categorise as such. Many are - shock! horror! - highly intelligent, judged by the usual ways we measure such things. Malign? Most people would recognise that churches and churchgoers make many positive contributions to society. Sure, some teachings of some churches are significantly less beneficial. But 'malign'? Too much by half.

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #66
28-11-2007 10:44 PM

What have I started, an innocent thread and I have stirred up all this passion? Makes me think of the Dead Kennedy's famous punk anthem, ' A Holiday in Albania'. I think someone actually agreed with me at one point, are you all going soft?

Anyway lets digress a little. What happened to all the Plymouth Brethren that used to frequent SE23 and SE26. Now there did seem to be a fun religion. Large families, with the men traditionally dressed and the women in potato sacks and absolutely no makeup or anything else to make them pretty. And cleverly they had no churches to close down. They used to preach outside Safeways in Sydenham when I lived there.

Life seems so much duller without them

Any other fascinating religions in SE23?

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #67
28-11-2007 11:21 PM

Toffeejim Wrote:
Temples to stupidity? Why do you suggest churchgoers are stupid? I've met very few I'd categorise as such. Many are - shock! horror! - highly intelligent, judged by the usual ways we measure such things.


Clearly many churchgoers are intelligent, but many intelligent people do or believe in stupid things. So let's label the belief, not the believer Wink

If someone believes something without evidence, I'd say that's pretty stupid. It might give him great comfort, or cause him to do good things, or even great things that require great intelligence, but that doesn't stop belief without evidence being a stupid act.

It gets even worse when the thing believed in doesn't make sense to the point of paradox. What sort of double-think does a Christian engage in when he believes in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god that allows tens of thousands of innocent people to die in natural disasters?

Are churches temples of stupidity? I'd have to say they are. These are places people to go pray to to change the behaviour of the universe to suit their own individual needs. Catholics go to their church to worship their one god who is three separate entities but still only one single entity, one of which they think they eat the human flesh of. Evangelical Christians go to church to hear how their god created the earth 6000 years ago, and deliberately placed pretend dinosaur fossils in the ground to trick the people he loves. Muslims go to Mosque and hear how their peaceful god wants anyone who stops being a Muslim to be murdered by his followers. Church of England believers go to church and are taught about the bible by women, when the bible says not only that women aren't allowed to teach men, but that they shouldn't even speak in church.

I'll leave 'malign' for another day when teddy bears aren't being named by children...

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #68
28-11-2007 11:29 PM

baggydave Wrote:
Makes me think of the Dead Kennedy's famous punk anthem, ' A Holiday in Albania'.


BLASPHEMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How dare you misquote the worshipful Dead Kennedys! I am personally offended by this and don't know why it was allowed to be posted on the forum Smile

Aside: when is someone going to cover California ?ber Alles, updated for the The Governator?

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #69
28-11-2007 11:33 PM

RussB, the wondrous Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy covered it Smile

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #70
28-11-2007 11:48 PM

nevermodern Wrote:
RussB, the wondrous Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy covered it Smile


OK I stand corrected, although not by you :P. While searching for which governor the wondrous Disposables were talking about, I found this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXZ9gGy3MnY

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #71
28-11-2007 11:53 PM

I think it's interesting how much time we spend pondering whether or not there is a god, and if so, which religion is 'right'.

For me, there's a much more interesting question: Why do we believe in and follow religions?

I once knew a bloke who seemed very normal. I was a bit surprised when he told me that alien scientists had, in the '70s, visited a French singer-songwriter (of such classics as 'Madam Pipi' or 'Mrs Toilet Cleaner') and motor racing journalist by the name of Claude Vorilhon (before the self-dubbed Rael moniker) and explained that humans had been created by these alien scientists just a few tens of thousands of years ago, and that he must raise millions of dollars in order to buy and island on which to build a giant spaceship port where the aliens will then land, in a few decades' time, and reveal themselves to us all (visit http://rael.org/ to learn how to become one of the thousands of Raelians donating to this ever so worthy cause).

The funny thing was that he said all this with the same glee that Christians who've just 'found god' talk about their religion.

So what I'm seeing here is that submitting to a religion seems to make people happy.

(...bear with me a minute, there is more.)

Isn't it also interesting that, throughout history, the vast majority of people (I think I can safely say probably at least 99.5%) have elected to follow the same religion as the people around them in their local society.

To put these points another way, it seems clear that the overwhealming majority of people don't appear to care what their religion is about; it makes them happy as long as they believe in something and they are part of a group who also believe in it.

Why?

Well (perhaps somewhat ironically) the theory of natural selection seems to offer a pretty good explanation.

It's not hard to imagine how people whose genes have predisposed them to believe the same as their peers and to follow the same religion as their peers, have, throughout history, been more likely to survive and to produce offspring than people whose genes have inclined them to think differently and become a social outcast.

In other words, believing in a religion (particularly one that everyone else around us also believes in) makes us feel good and helps us be part of a social group within which we can have a successful and safe life for ourselves and our kids.

It's because our ancestors were hardwired to get pleasure from living this way that they tended to survive and pass their genes on...to us, their progeny.

So if belonging to a group of fellow believers makes us happy, no matter what the religion, then religion is a good thing, right?

Is it?

Or maybe that's only part of the story.

Just because it makes us happy, that doesn't make it right (in the sense of 'correct' or 'true'.

Surely there comes a point at which the happiness caused by a religion is countered by the discomfort of knowing full well that it's complete claptrap.

For instance, in today's world, most of us have the knowledge that there are many other religions out there all claiming to be right.

Assuming that one of them is indeed 'right', and they can't all be right, then with some pretty basic maths you can work out that whichever you pick, you're far more likely to have picked a loser than a winner.

Your religion is almost certainly wrong.

You can't escape this knowledge, and it has to play on your mind, surely?

We also know that, time after time, there has been a steady stream of 'word of god' beliefs to have been overturned.

For example, most religions feature a story of creation.

But these days, have a mountain of utterly incontovertible evidence proving all of them wrong

We know, though evidence, how the world was created in the Big Bang and how life started as a few amino acids that eventually formed a self-replicating molecule or two and after a few millions of years of evolution here we are.

(The possible exception is Raelism, which exploits the 'missing link' era in the fossil record to suggest that we didn't in face evolve from monkey-men, we were created by aliens.)

Surely there's a point at which the happiness to be gained through understanding of the real world overpowers the happiness gained from religion, and it's time to abandon religion forever.

I think we're at that point today.

I know I am, anyway.

Do other people feel otherwise?

I am interested to know.

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michael


Posts: 3,223
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #72
28-11-2007 11:57 PM

There is still no evidence for the Higgs Boson, other than a mathematical convenience/proof, but that does not stop me believing that the Higgs Boson will one day be proved to exist. However, I am less certain about the wave/particle duality business ("It gets even worse when the thing believed in doesn't make sense to the point of paradox"), and as for quarks I have never been able to accept the existence of these. (btw, I do have a degree in Physics).

Just because I choose to believe in one aspect of science, something with limited evidence at best, and possible not to believe in other areas of physics, this does not make it a stupid act, it is part of scientific questioning.

So why is religion so different from the teachings of Professor Higgs, Albert Einstein, or Isaac Newton. Some people actually believed that Newton was right until a genius (and a theist) came along to correct them on certain matters regarding quantum physics and relativity. So who is stupid; the atheist who blindly follows science, or the questioning theist?

My view is that belief in God[/i] is entirely irrelevant to the bigger questions in the world. What is far more important is how individuals use their religion or lack of it; for the good of those around them, or to hurt others. Only in this way can one person judge another. But now I am straying dangerously close to quoting religious texts, and we can do without that!

Has anybody noticed how busy this thread is this evening? Clearly there is nothing on television - the drug of the nation...

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #73
29-11-2007 12:05 AM

Not sure about quarks, but I do believe in dark matter.

(I find clumps of it mysteriously appearing in my navel every day.)

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #74
29-11-2007 12:09 AM

Oh, and it's by no means established that Albert Einstein was a theist - see Richard Dawkins' God Delusion for a long and rather tedious discussion of the subject, replete with numerous quotes in which he (Einstein) clearly seems to be an atheist.

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bigjulie


Posts: 68
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #75
29-11-2007 12:26 AM

Ooperlooper Wrote:
Do other people feel otherwise?

I am interested to know.

I'm with you on this one Ooper

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #76
29-11-2007 12:28 AM

Ooperlooper Wrote:
Well (perhaps somewhat ironically) the theory of natural selection seems to offer a pretty good explanation.


I agree it does, but for different reasons. Or maybe for that reason and others.

I don't think it's necessarily about feeling good. I think it's more about the fact that while religions might not be offering truth, some of them might have accidentally, or even through reason, come up with things that help people survive (as in survival of the fittest).

For example, the golden rule that all surviving religions have (treat other people as you'd like to be treated) is clearly going to produce a more viable society than one in which people are constantly trying to do each other over.

Or maybe a religion that bans foods that can be dangerous, like Jews and the ban on shellfish, may allow followers of that religion to survive better. Or maybe in a hot desert country a religion that specifies the cleaning of oneself in various places on a regular bases, as with Muslims, would help the population survive better.

So... it's not surprising that one of the most successful religions of all times, Catholicism, supports being nice to each other, eating fish once a week, shagging like rabbits once you're married (even providing Sunday school so there's a time when you can shag when the kids aren't about) but staying married no matter what to bring up the kids. These things are all things that help the religion survive, outperforming other religions and forms of society. However it doesn't mean that everything the Catholic church says is truth.

Oh and Michael, internet is the new TV Smile

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #77
29-11-2007 07:38 AM

Quote:
So who is stupid; the atheist who blindly follows science, or the questioning theist?


Indeed, it is the act of following anything blindly that is stupid, and the act of questioning that is less so, and both theists and atheists can do either.

I think it's notable, however, that most religions actively encourage you not to question them, while it is fundamentally integral to science that you to do.

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Baboonery


Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #78
29-11-2007 10:02 AM

The killing or ostracization of non-believers is a pretty strong argument for 'natural' selection, religion-wise.

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #79
29-11-2007 10:17 AM

Michael Wrote:
So who is stupid; the atheist who blindly follows science, or the questioning theist?


Just to be clear, an atheist is not someone who believes in science. An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in a god or gods. When Catholics have a baby, that baby is an atheist when born because he or she does not believe in a god or gods (because he or she is not capable of doing so). As the baby grows up and learns from his or her parents, he or she will be indoctrinated into the Catholic belief and become a Catholic theist.

Let's also make the difference between believing in science, and believing in what a scientist says. It seems rather silly to say someone "blindly believes that things aren't true unless there is evidence for them, and if evidence contradicts something then it can't be true".

However "blindly believing something just because a scientist proclaims it to be true" is, indeed, pretty stupid. Of course with science there is a way from going from a scientist proclaiming something to be true, and determining if it is or not (to the best of our current understanding). That's the whole point of science.

Religions on the other hand say: believe this religion, and this religion only, without any evidence, and if you don't you're going to be punished. There is no way here to question if these beliefs are true or not. You either believe it (and are presumably punished by every other god out there) or you don't (and get punished by all the other gods out there plus this one).

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #80
29-11-2007 10:24 AM

succinctly put, Russ B.

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