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Go to: Talking to people works!

nick keighley's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by nick keighley

Comment 22 by The Next Billy Graham :

Well how come we didn't figure out that the earth was round until 1492

this is a myth.The ancient Greeks actually got a reasonable number for its circumference. All educated people knew hte world was round. The problem people had with Columbus is he had a crap value for the earth's circumference. Until his dieing day Columbus believed he'd been to the East Indies.

but in the bible in GENESIS it says it is or the fact that in Revelations it says that the Bear and the power from the west will fight with an eagle Bear- russia power from west- china Eagle- us.a or the fact that evelution is retarded because if we evelutionanized from apes than why are there still apes,

msot Americans came from Europe. How come there are still Europeans? We all descended from African people how come there are still Africans? My mother is the grandmother of my niece, how come my mother still exists?

Another answer is that we occupy different ecological and geographic niches therefore we are not in direct competition. As human population expands we do come into conflict with other great apes. And they are not doing well. In 30 years your question may become meaningless as there may not be any other great apes.

gorillas, chimps, orangs, or whatever primate [fulll stop][new paragraph] judgement day is comiing soon. Heres how i see it i have a 100% chance of not having any pain after i die . If christianity is right i go to heaven if its wrong well i go into the ground and stay ther. But if non believers are wrrong they go 2 hell. Just something to think about

Pascal's wager without the elegance and clarity of language

Sun, 19 Aug 2012 13:40:07 UTC | #951040

Go to: Simply ... should I read the bible?

nick keighley's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by nick keighley

Comment 11 by Roedy :

Since English literature, and idioms quote heavily from the bible, it is necessary just to understand the language to read the bible.

Reading it cover to cover will make two huge points:

  • it is mostly boring and very badly written. It is not the great masterwork of literature it is cracked up to be. There are some moments of brilliance, but most of it is appalling, hardly the work of a deity.

  • Jehovah the god is not loving, kind, perfect. He is a peevish, petty, evil little gnome. Christians never quote the vast majority of the bible which talks about his bad behaviour.

  • I have composed a bible study guide of some of the stranger parts of the bible. It is on my website. Moderators have told me I may not directly link to it.

    Only the Jehovah's witnesses take seriously what the bible says, though they find ways to twist the interpretation. It is very rare to find anyone but an atheist who has read the whole thing.

    Most Christians have only been exposed to a minute faction of it — the greatest hits. I can't think of a more effective way to disillusion a Christian than to dare him into reading the entire bible.

    Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. ~ Isaac Asimov 1920-01-02 1992-03-06

    Asimov (an atheist jew) also wrote a commentry on the bible which is worth a look at

    Sat, 18 Aug 2012 14:12:54 UTC | #951001

    Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

    nick keighley's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by nick keighley

    Comment 27 by maxplastic1942 :

    Philosophers like J Krishnamurti, whilst accepting the fact of physical evolution, deny that any psychological evolution has ever taken place, pointing out that we are just as tribal and caught in our own cultures and belief systems as were 20,000 years ago.

    evolution moves slowly. Culture and technology quickly. We have hunter-gatherer minds with 21st century tools.

    He also made the point that if we examine ourselves honestly we will find that our so-called morality is actually no morality at all.

    I disagree. He may have no morality but that's his problem.

    Atheists may pin their hopes on technology eventually finding a way to cure the human condition,

    not this one "cured of the human condition" sounds a bit like "ethnic cleansing". Deeply frightening psyco-babble designed to hide a nasty truth. I don't want to be cured by technology or anything else.

    whilst religions hope for some kind of outside intervention from a hypothetical deity. Krishnamurti seemed to suggest that arguing about who is right is a meaningless intellectual exercise as the truth lies beyond mere verbal agreement and is to be found in the unbiased examination and understanding of our own nature as it really is,

    with him so far

    and not in a preoccupation with the endless proliferation of insanities that that same nature has caused in the outside world and the concomitant arguments generated by them. If he is correct and there is neither a personal God and that all future technological advances will be subverted in one way or another by our own lack of morality,

    ah! another Cyber Punk fan! No matter what the technology some geek will weaponise it.

    then. surely, if there is no psychological transformation of the individual, we are all doomed to a more or less meaningless life, (apart from the spurious meanings that we invent for ourselves) either until the sun gives out or we fall victims to our own inventions.

    you say this like its a bad thing...

    Accepting the truth that there is no god(s) or smart aliens going to bail us out is the beginning of growing up and starting to face our own problems in a realistic manner. This can only be for the good.

    Sat, 18 Aug 2012 13:55:15 UTC | #951000

    Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

    nick keighley's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by nick keighley

    Comment 20 by Aguazul :


    regarding morality. I don't know much about theoretical discussions, but tracing back the influences on myself, I find that the religious stories told in my childhood were designed to give examples of good and bad, right and wrong, and listening I found myself agreeing and disagreeing, so they were an influence.

    I'm not so sure. I too had a CoE primary school education. And I'm not sure those stories were so useful. "The Good Samaritan" clearly ok (though people miss the point and go away thinking Samaritans are particularly good people), "Noahs Ark" bit brutal really; leaving all those people to drown. But primary school just dwells on the animals in twos and the stuff with the dove. "Doubting Thomas" I remember coming away thinking what a bad person Thomas was! Thomas is a scientist and engineer "Don't Tell Me! Show Me!". He should be a christian hero! "The Tower of Babel" of course inspired me to build things (or rather being useless with "stuff"- to become a computer programmer).

    "The Gardarene Swine", "The Loaves and The Fishes", "Paul On The road To Damascus", "Pentacost" all great mythology but hardly a coherent moral framework.

    Actually, I think this is probably the main focus of CofE religious education for younger children in the UK -- rather than the child brainwashing and manipulation that some mention from the US. Also there are some common cultural ideas derived from religion in the UK (or Scotland at least) such as: Salvation through hard work, showing off is being big-headed, suffering is beneficial, whatever. So we should all be living in spartan white cells flogging ourselves daily: No fun for us!

    inducing a sense of guilt seems to be high on the list. I remember entering a church (for a wedding) with a friend and he said "I always feel guilty when I come into a church" "oh" I said "religious upbringing?". Fortunately that side never took with me.

    To me morality is a set of rules partly designed so that a society functions well, and partly designed to guide an individual towards activities that suit the designs of whoever created the moral code. Maybe that is to be more spiritual, or maybe to be more productive, or whatever. In any case, to me morals are designed, and then taught.

    I think morals are more like language. Language and morality evolve over time in response to chance and cultural pressure. Sometimes people try to consciously modify them. They rarely succeed.

    I don't see how they can be derived from empathy.

    empathy is necessary but not sufficient. (I'm not sure I agree that it is necessary, but I think that was the thrust of his argument)

    Empathy is a feeling not a set of rules. Part of the journey is breaking and remaking parts of our inherited moral code.

    Sat, 18 Aug 2012 13:44:44 UTC | #950999

    Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

    nick keighley's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by nick keighley

    Comment 17 by irate_atheist : Comment 16 by BenS -

    Call me a bluff old sentimentalist but I prefer to resolve arguments through reason and critical thinking. I can't imagine any point in my life where someone standing in front of me and repeating "You're a Jew." will ever convince me that I'm a Jew. As far as arguments go, that one's shit.

    what a wimp!

    So good, it's worth repeating.

    Unlike their shit arguments.

    in chess there's a rule that says if you repeat the same position n times (I think n is 3) the game is declared a draw. I apply the same rule to arguments (well actually I privately call it a Win to Me). Shouting at me has the same result.

    Sat, 18 Aug 2012 13:10:02 UTC | #950998

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