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Everything posted by Wertbag

  1. I heard it mentioned that if you believe that salvation is purely by faith in Christ, and works don't matter, then someone like Hitler would be in heaven while the millions of Jews he had killed would be sent to hell. Or another example was Jeffery Dahmer, the serial killer who took gay men back to his apartment and butchered them. Jeff found Jesus while he was in prison, so by faith alone he would now be heaven bound, while the gay and mostly non-believing victims would be sent to hell. Even if a merciful god allows the victims into heaven, wouldn't spending eternity with the guy who murdered and ate you completely ruin the afterlife for you? Is there an apologetic answer to this issue? Or biblical reason to invoke works when those works are horrific? I can't see how justice can be given if works aren't taken into account?
  2. I think my concern with trying to remove the mental health label is that it can remove care and support from people who need it. If you say there is nothing mentally wrong, it is purely a biological issue, then all psychiatric facilities, psychitrists and support structures are removed, cos if it ain't broke don't fix it. I have a friend whose daughter was anorexic, they went through hell trying to get her support and it wasn't until she collasped that medically they were able to override her personal wishes and force help on her. After spending months in a facility she had her body dysmophia fixed, and now is a healthy weight and positive outlook on life. Without the mental health professionals helping her she would have slowly killed herself. It feels like gender dysmorpha is in the same boat. The people are physically fine, genetically fine, but mentally at odds with how they physically are. Could an intensive professional program work to help their mental state? I don't know, but we will never know if we refuse to allow mental health professionals to be part of the picture.
  3. But whether the dysphoria is related to weight, sex, race or culture, shouldn't it all fall within the same mental illness? We can't look for logic in mental illness, it is by definition when something is against reality. For example when I was young I had doggo-phobia. I would get an adrenaline burst just seeing a dog, my heart would start racing and I'd break out in a sweat. It made no difference what size dog, I got the same response from a chihuahua that posed no physical threat to me. I could consciously say to myself there is nothing to be afraid of and yet my auto-brain would always ignore me. Completely illogical and yet unavoidable. I would see believing yourself to be another race is similar in that it makes no sense but it doesn't have to in order to be something we should be providing mental health support for.
  4. I had thought the separation was made as to whether your mental image matches the real world. If you think you are Napoleon then clearly the delusion your mind is telling you does not match reality. By this definition eating disorders are a mental illness and trans-anything would be as well. Homosexuality wouldn't be, as there is no difference between your thoughts and reality, there is no mis-match there. However I have seen a lot of backlash about having that label applied to trans folk but I'm still not clear on why that is. Some say there is a stigma around the phrase, which is true, but sweeping it under the rug and hiding from it does nothing to reverse that stigma. Depression used to be badly stigmatized, and its only in more recent times that we've opened up about talking about it and got support lines and people to understand. More support is a good thing and rejecting that support due to fear of the label seems detrimental to those in need.
  5. I have been reading up on Rachel Dolezal and unfortunately she is an untrustworthy source. She wrote on official documents that she was of mixed ancestry and that she had a black father, both of which were lies and resulted in her being found guilty of perjury and getting community service. She also claimed to have received hate mail, but it turned out to have no postage marks on it, so it never went through the system and the investigation believed she probably put them there herself. To this day she admits she has white parents but still claims to identify as black. With her past history it's hard to know if it's attention seeking or real mental issues. But I guess whether she is lying or not doesn't change the fact she claims to identify as something, and that is enough in other cases, so shouldn't it be enough here too? We don't demand others justify their identity, so shouldn't the same rules apply? The other variation I've heard of are people who claim to be an animal spirit trapped in a human body. If they identify as a wolf is that acceptable to society? If not, how are we drawing that line? Can I ask if you see this as a mental illness? There seems to be this hatred of applying the term, but I don't understand why it would be so controversial?
  6. I can see the argument against the term choose, in that you can't choose your beliefs. Sure you have the choice on how you wish to present yourself and how you wish to talk about it but how you feel is outside of your control. You cannot chose the feeling of wrongness. Even if this was the argument that they wished to put forward, doing so by declaring the person a hateful bigot is not the right way to do so. And stripping awards is just ridiculous. He won the award fair and square for his many books, seminars and work with the foundation. A single tweet 30 years later doesn't invalidate any of that previous work.
  7. Not sure if you've seen this news, but Richard Dawkins sent out a Tweet about discussing transgender and was instantly set upon by the Twitter mob. This lead to the American Humanist Association saying they will retroactively strip the humanist of the year award from 1996. I saw this link via Rationality Rules, where Hemant Mehta expresses his dislike of the Tweet and posts the supporting posts from many of the most influential atheists: Here’s How Well-Known Atheists Are Defending Richard Dawkins’ Anti-Trans Tweet | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos If you don't want to bother following the link, the Tweet in question reads: So two days after his Tweet he posted a follow up clarification, but this was not considered acceptable by some groups. Personally I think his intent is perfectly clear, and more discussion on such subjects is a good thing. Complaints mainly seem to be around the use of the word "choose", but rather than engage and explain, they leap to the belief that it must be anti-trans and he is evil for saying it. While I agree "choose" is not the right word to use, I also understand what he means and take his clear intent in the good faith behind it. Thoughts?
  8. The majority of supernatural claims I can think of, are claimed to have real world interactions. Whether it be reading minds, moving objects with your mind, prayer changing things in a positive way, speaking to the dead or ghosts appearing and moving objects. As soon as a claim starts interacting then we can test the validity of the claim. If the claim is impossible to know, then from where did the knowledge of the claim come from?
  9. I would think it is more than that. "Supernatural" shouldn't include things which are plausible but as of yet unproven. Supernatural are ideas which break our current understanding of how the universe works. For example dark matter/energy is unproven but I doubt many would categorise it as supernatural. Or cryptozoology, which would not be supernatural, as unusual creatures existing wouldn't change any natural laws. New natural claims look to expand on our existing knowledge, while supernatural say our understanding of reality is wrong.
  10. I saw a video of good ol' Frank Turek talking about what happens to those people who are ignorant of god. His answer was "if god knew they could be saved, He would have made it happen. If it didn't, then they were probably never going to accept the word of god anyway". So he goes with people will be punished for rejecting something they never knew existed because in the future they would have rejected it anyway. Considering the success of missionaries worldwide, it is hard to imagine cultures who couldn't have any members swayed at all.
  11. Prior to Jesus's sacrifice the belief was that God was the final judge. You died and went before the big guy, who would look over your life and see if you were worthy of heaven. This was a great incentive for people to be good as you were to be judged for your character, so you'd better be good for goodness sake. Once the belief changed so that salvation becomes about belief in Jesus and nothing to do with your character or actions, then that incentive to live a good life is removed. God's power as the final judge is removed, and He becomes bound by a single rule instead. This leads to the famous line "God sacrificed himself to himself so that He wouldn't harshly judge the rules that He made". If God is truely all-powerful, then He has no need of a human body or a sacrifice. If He wishes to forgive sin, then He can. If you believe that faith in Jesus is the only requirement for entry to heaven, then you run into the problem that every serial killer would be allowed into heaven. Even Hitler would be allowed in, while the Jews that he murdered would not. Hows that justice for you? As soon as you take the judging away from God, then all justice is removed as well. It becomes a free pass for anyone with faith and works don't matter. There is also the question of what became of all of the prophets prior to the New Testament? Moses and Noah aren't burning in hell for failing to believe in Jesus, so were they judged on different criteria? If it was only a belief in God and not in Jesus, then didn't coming to earth just make it harder to be saved? If God and Jesus are one and the same, then wouldn't belief in God count? By that, wouldn't every Jew get into heaven without belief in Jesus because they believe in the right God? If not, why does belief in one aspect of the same being matter? What about people who never hear of Jesus? African tribesmen who have never seen a whiteman before. Do they die ignorant and go to hell? Surely that is unjust? But the only way around that is to allow them a different criteria, but then we are back to judging characters or works and not belief.
  12. I've never really dove deeply into Islam, from my western view it always felt like an even more ridiculous religion than the more common Christianity. While browsing videos today I came across this short one (5 min cut from a Frank Turek Q&A) Is Islam false? Watch this! - YouTube I don't think I've agreed with anything Frank has said ever, so finding a subject that is common ground (disbelief in Islam) was interesting. His response is done in very brief form, so there's probably a lot left out, but generally he says: Islam is newer (Mohammed 570AD to 640AD) but the stories of miracles were only added around 150 years later. So it didn't seem like such things were claimed about Mo until generations later when people grew those stories to make him supernatural. Including the bizarre story of splitting the moon. The Muslims posting in the comments do themselves no favours by saying everyone will burn in hell and failing to rebut any points raised against their religion. Has anyone done a deep dive on Islam? Is it just as ridiculous as it appears at a surface level?
  13. That only works if you accept the bible as a valid source of historical information. From what we know Paul didn't write most or possibly any of the works attributed to him (Romans 16:22 "I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter..."). The bible is untrustworthy in almost every way, so to find a section that openly admits to being at least second hand at the time of writing doesn't inspire great acceptance that the writings are believable. Looking at it from a historical, non-biblical view, all we know is a sect of Jews became enamored with a preacher character and due to a lot of luck managed to grow into a sizeable following. A cult usually has that charismatic leader in the first person. To have a second hand claim of greatness is a lot harder sell. Saying "I am god in flesh, look I can make a coin appear from behind your ear" is very compelling, but saying "I once knew a guy who could make coins appear, and he claimed to be god" is a pretty weak claim. Of course its all guess work based on very limited information, so while I would say this idea is plausible, I wouldn't believe in it without considerable data to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.
  14. Wild, baseless assertion... How do you know his bones are dry? Could be quite moist
  15. The majority of people, both Christian and atheist, think that Jesus probably did exist. The question is whether he was just a charismatic preacher or something supernatural. The mythicists position has to prove a negative, which is a hard thing to do in this case. There is enough of an argument to leave a degree of doubt, but not enough to be a clear cut case. Personally the charismatic preacher theory seems most likely, as this fits with how cults commonly grow (John Smith, Ron Hubbard, Muhammed, Jonestown etc).
  16. I'm sorry you feel that way, I haven't seen any rude or abusive posts, I've looked back over your introduction and everyone seemed very cheerful and welcoming. Certainly lots of questions were asked, but even those were done without personal insult. The moderators on here are usually very vigilant about personal attacks and that is not tolerated. If you can let us know what has upset you then perhaps we can help?
  17. There are a few commonly held ideas about the story of the resurrection outside of it being a miracle (which we only have the doubtful word of the bible, a book written by unknown authors, at unknown dates, for unknown reasons). The mythicist view is that Jesus probably didn't exist at all, based on his similarity to earlier god-man stories, lack of physical evidence and lack of contemporary writings. The only writings of Jesus were at best decades, if not centuries after his claimed death. The more common view was that it was a mundane event that had later stories told about it, and supernatural claims attached. It is quite believable that a Jewish preacher called Jesus existed, had a sect of followers and was arrested and executed. What became of the body? Perhaps buried, taken by his followers, interred into a mass grave for criminals as the Roman's usually did or burnt on a pyre. With no physical body his followers could make all sorts of claims and with no one else there to check those stories, they were accepted and elaborated on. The third option I'll mention is the belief of some small sects of Christians that Jesus survived the crucifixion. He was not up on the cross long enough to die naturally, and his legs were not broken like the other criminals. They also mention that when he was stabbed in the side the blood flowed, this could be a sign the heart still beats. If his followers managed to take him down before he died, then nurse him back to health, so that he rose a few days later from his death bed, then they would need to hide him and rush him away to avoid the Romans returning to finish the job. The sects claim that he fled to India where he lived out the rest of his life preaching. There is a tomb in India which is claimed to contain the remains of Jesus: Tomb Of Jesus In India So maybe he didn't exist, maybe it was a purely mundane event or perhaps he survived and fled. All options that do not require any supernatural input and are therefore more likely than miracles occurring.
  18. Could you elaborate on this idea? I don't follow what you are trying to say. I could imagine several reasons for denying the supernatural, so any claim that there is only one possible reason seems incorrect.
  19. This always got me. In the end days would come the anti-Christ, and he would perform miracles and magic and convince many to follow him. People would be following believing that the miracles they witness came from God, even though they weren't, because we can't tell the difference. Of course God should punish everyone who is tricked by a super-powerful being who can do real magic, cos we didn't know better. But can you imagine a guy turns up and says "Hi, I'm Jesus returned" and starts regrowing lost limbs, healing by touch, walking on water and locating my lost car keys, only to have Christians turn around and say "Hang on, he might be trying to deceive us!" What could he do that would possibly reassure them that he was actually the one and not just a devil in disguise? They complain that atheists have a high level of scepticism, but if they can't even accept supernatural powers as evidence then their level of scepticism far surpasses ours.
  20. I've heard plenty of apologists try to prove the resurrection (not Gazza in particular, but the arguments are almost always the same). The uphill battle that apologists have, is that proving a crucifixion would not prove anything (as a form of execution it was used thousands of times, so someone called Jesus being crucified would be statistically likely). They need to prove that Jesus was dead and then came back to life, and there is no evidence for that outside of the unfounded assertions made in the bible. There are no claimed first hand accounts and the biblical writings are by unknown authors and from unknown dates (guessed to be decades or even centuries after the events). There was one sect of Christians who believe Jesus survived the crucifixion as he was not up long enough to expire and didn't have his legs broken like the others (which is the normal way to kill the person quickly, as once they cannot support their weight they will be unable to breathe). He rose after a few days of recovery, still showing the wounds on his body, and his followers quickly rushed him out of the country so that the Romans didn't finish the job. They claim he fled to India where he lived out the rest of his life preaching, and there is a tomb there where they claim his remains lay. Tomb Of Jesus In India While the majority of Christians reject this (after all it removes Jesus's sacrifice and makes mockery of thousands of years of belief), a non-supernatural answer is automatically more plausible than the bibles supernatural one. A failed execution being claimed to be divine favour would certainly set that person up for worship. End of the day there is simply no way to ever know what happened, or even if the person called Jesus existed at all.
  21. We've all had dreams and understand how crazy they can be. Science doesn't really understand what they are or why dream occur, there are a few theories but its a subject that is hard to know anything about for sure. I've heard of people having religious dreams and upon waking, making lifestyle changes based on it. There are people who claim to be "dream experts" who will help interpret your dreams, and people who claim supernatural effects or causes of dreams. Personally I've had plenty of crazy dreams, but never any religious or supernatural feeling. Has anyone on here experienced amazing dreams that felt real to you? My favourite dream had me driving an old beaten up Honda Civic and was pulled over by the Special Police. They were investigating claims of Wookie smuggling and searched my car for any signs. They became very suspicious when they found a jar of guacamole in the back, because as everyone knows guacamole is a Wookie's favourite food. Thankfully I was able to point to the expiry date and show the jar was 2 years past its best by and they let me off. It was not clear why I had 2 year old guac in my car and while my mother drove a Honda Civic at the time, I've never owned or even driven one. In my 20's I had such crazy dreams on a regular basis and I started writing a dream journal, capturing over 30 of them before they began getting infrequent. Now days I have a dream I remember only once or twice a year. No idea what in particular inspired that period of vivid dreaming, there was nothing that stands out as a likely cause. If you are a vivid dreamer (or at least someone who remembers your dreams) have you found they have changed during your atheist journey? Did you have religious dreams?
  22. I've seen a lot of Christians fixate on the mark of the beast being a requirement for trade. That mention has had people guessing at currency changes (release the Euro, "omg the Euro is the only way to trade, you have to agree to use this "mark of the beast"", or to guess that currency will cease to exist and the mark is the trading system that replaces cash (magnetic swipe cards, chip cards, proximity cards, Google pay or biometric payments). Each new change is panicked about, then promptly forgotten as the world keeps going and nothing happens. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia - The fear of the number 666 (I have no idea how to pronounce that word!). There are stores who refused to sell goods to the value of $6.66 as it might be the number of the devil. "Sorry, could you buy a stick of gum just to make sure you don't bring around the end of the world?"
  23. It sounds like your parents are close to your wife as well, if so, are they likely to talk to her and hear her side of the story to get the full facts? You could go with vague answers and legal talk "we had irreconcilable differences, but its too painful to talk about, so please can we not open that wound?" Would they accept an "I don't want to talk about it" answer? The other option would be to find a softer leaving the church description. Something like "I've doubted my faith and have been searching for answers, I've become agnostic due to doubts but wifey's faith is strong and we couldn't see eye to eye." Many Christians have no problem with the term agnostic, when used by someone to mean "I don't know what to believe", which is a less scary step than the dreaded atheist word.
  24. I think this is partially covered by the section "God is not necessary", that is saying life can be good without god, that you can achieve whatever you want regardless and can be an upstanding moral person without god.
  25. First they would need to define "great". Is the greatest human the smartest, fastest, strongest, longest lived or greatest philanthropist? Of course what they really mean by "maximally great" is "god", but does maximally great have to mean all-powerful, all-present and all-knowing, or could you still be lacking in an area and yet still be the most powerful being in the universe? Then you need to define "possible world", in this case it refers to imagination land and not a real place. If they admit that then they scuttle the whole argument. You then have to make the huge jump, that something that exists in imagination land must exist in the real world, and there is really nothing that bridges that gap. The argument should read: God exists in imagination Existence is greater than non-existence, therefore god must exist to be the greatest Therefore god exists There is really nothing else to it.
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