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mattfara50
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Joined: April 28th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » April 28th, 2018, 5:27 pm

I decided to sign up here so I could further a conversation I was having on YouTube with another new member, Spiral. I look forward to that, and also to discussing many topics with many people. Though I am agnostic, I've been trying to hear out the cases made for God's existence in the past few months. The notion that one's (putative) experience of God is sufficient for warranting a belief in God is, perhaps, empirically testable. So I've been church-hopping and window shopping theologies. So far, no divine experiences, so no change in my belief system. Nevertheless, many of the arguments laid out by William Lane Craig, an apologist, are interesting, but I still find myself unmoved emotionally.

Looking forward to the conversations to come,
Matt

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Big Boss
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Re: Hello!

Post by Big Boss » May 1st, 2018, 6:37 am

Hi Matt,

I would consider myself an atheist but I, like you, seem to want to find arguments to support the existence of God to see what they're all about. One thing I have found is that no matter how logical an argument is for the existence of God, there is always an end where you really are just relying on faith. I mean, that seems obvious, but I suppose I am just never really convinced by these arguments for design and all that.

I like forward to seeing your contributions. I am fairly new here myself.

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LuckyR
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Re: Hello!

Post by LuckyR » May 3rd, 2018, 2:55 pm

mattfara50 wrote:
April 28th, 2018, 5:27 pm
I decided to sign up here so I could further a conversation I was having on YouTube with another new member, Spiral. I look forward to that, and also to discussing many topics with many people. Though I am agnostic, I've been trying to hear out the cases made for God's existence in the past few months. The notion that one's (putative) experience of God is sufficient for warranting a belief in God is, perhaps, empirically testable. So I've been church-hopping and window shopping theologies. So far, no divine experiences, so no change in my belief system. Nevertheless, many of the arguments laid out by William Lane Craig, an apologist, are interesting, but I still find myself unmoved emotionally.

Looking forward to the conversations to come,
Matt
Welcome. Good luck in your quest, though many would parse the difference between god and religion and caution you that seeking one solely within the confines of the other may lower your chances of success.
"As usual... it depends."

mattfara50
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Joined: April 28th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Re: Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » May 3rd, 2018, 6:13 pm

I think a discriminating mind can separate the wheat from the chaff. I'd entrust religion with methodology and see what comes of it; as far as doctrine goes, I'll leave that up to me.

mattfara50
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Joined: April 28th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Re: Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » May 3rd, 2018, 9:18 pm

Big Boss wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 6:37 am
...no matter how logical an argument is for the existence of God, there is always an end where you really are just relying on faith. I mean, that seems obvious, but I suppose I am just never really convinced by these arguments for design and all that.
My thoughts exactly. I hope we can hash some things out. I have tried to use an argument mapping software for some of Craig's work. I'd love to share once I can start doing private chats.

Thanks!

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LuckyR
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Re: Hello!

Post by LuckyR » May 4th, 2018, 5:59 pm

mattfara50 wrote:
May 3rd, 2018, 6:13 pm
I think a discriminating mind can separate the wheat from the chaff. I'd entrust religion with methodology and see what comes of it; as far as doctrine goes, I'll leave that up to me.
You are correct that "a discriminating mind can", yet in practice most don't. Good luck.
"As usual... it depends."

mattfara50
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Re: Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » May 4th, 2018, 7:07 pm

LuckyR wrote:
May 4th, 2018, 5:59 pm
mattfara50 wrote:
May 3rd, 2018, 6:13 pm
I think a discriminating mind can separate the wheat from the chaff. I'd entrust religion with methodology and see what comes of it; as far as doctrine goes, I'll leave that up to me.
You are correct that "a discriminating mind can", yet in practice most don't. Good luck.
That's true. I went to a few Quaker gatherings over the past couple weeks, and it has been interesting. Were you to ask me my initial impression of Quakers, I'd equate them with Amish or Mennonites: deeply conservative and iconoclastic. But these people were only iconoclastic. They were a meeting of LGBT supporters who shied away from using the word God. "Inward light" was their choice.

They have an interesting motto: "What can'st thou say?" This is a call to the Quaker to let orthodoxy go in favor of listening to their own voice. This branch doesn't have a sermon. They sit in silent prayer together, much like Buddhists. So far so good.

Unfortunately, their silent time can be unpredictably interrupted by anyone who wants to share a thought. This is usually autobiographical and cloying. Outside the "prayer" meetings, I attended a "seeking" group this week, which, on this occasion, consisted of three members of the faith talking about peace. Pacificism is one of their guiding principles, along with equality, community, and integrity. These principles manifest differently for the branches of Quakerism, so there is no strict code of conduct - only norms.

I decided to put a bit of pressure on their dedication to pacifism. I asked about self defense. I asked about the extreme measures of the Jains. The members decried other Christian sects for using their "religious privilege" to make the LGBT community "the other," and called them fascist for trying to claim superiority. Of course, they are doing exactly the same thing but seemed to be blind to it. They tried to assert the power of the Golden Rule, but I raised some skeptical points against it. They did not seem willing to follow my train of thought. When I politely called out their "otherizing" of evangelical Christians, they didn't seem to understand.

I found this disappointing. The group was highly educated (a professor, a database administrator, an activist) and ostensibly open minded, given their abandonment of anything recognizably Christian. But they didn't seem interested in challenging their own beliefs. What's more, they seemed to try and quell my questions and gently push me to speak in a more Quaker fashion, ie, primarily from personal experience and feelings (not hypotheticals) and frame my disagreements in much the same way practitioners of Marshall Rosenberg's non-violent communication would.

I will continue attending the Sunday group for the silent prayer. I'll skip the rest.

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Greta
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Re: Hello!

Post by Greta » May 4th, 2018, 8:04 pm

An interesting read, Matt. It's understandable to feel hostility towards those who give every impression of wanting to see you wiped from the face of the Earth. Pushing back is not the high road, although I'd argue it's still nowhere near as low as the road taken by discriminatory aggressors.

I rather like the attitude of the Jains and the golden rule by the way. Why kill an ant if one doesn't need to?

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Felix
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Re: Hello!

Post by Felix » May 5th, 2018, 4:37 am

Though I am agnostic, I've been trying to hear out the cases made for God's existence in the past few months. The notion that one's (putative) experience of God is sufficient for warranting a belief in God is, perhaps, empirically testable. So I've been church-hopping and window shopping theologies.
A church is about the last place to look for evidence of Spirit - unless it's the Native American Church or such where entheogens are used to help one get out of one's head, or a meditation group of some sort.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

mattfara50
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Re: Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » May 5th, 2018, 12:29 pm

Greta wrote:
May 4th, 2018, 8:04 pm
It's understandable to feel hostility towards those who give every impression of wanting to see you wiped from the face of the Earth. Pushing back is not the high road, although I'd argue it's still nowhere near as low as the road taken by discriminatory aggressors.
Greta, what I really want out of a conversation like the one I had with the Quaker group is to see other people, in the Christian sense, forgive and love their enemies. I think this starts with fairness toward one's enemies' views. When I read that evangelicals want homosexuals "wiped from the face of the Earth" in your words, I feel frustrated. That is not, from what I've read and heard, their position. This is exactly what I (and ironically, the Quakers) mean by "otherizing." The conservative Christian policy is inimical, no doubt, to the interests of LGBT, but is by no means on a par with genocide. And though my beliefs align with LGBT generally, I think that painting them as monsters is completely unproductive: firstly, it prevents a real understanding of their concerns, and consequently precludes dialogue.

mattfara50
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Joined: April 28th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Re: Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » May 5th, 2018, 12:35 pm

Felix wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 4:37 am
A church is about the last place to look for evidence of Spirit - unless it's the Native American Church or such where entheogens are used to help one get out of one's head, or a meditation group of some sort.
I am also a proponent of those two methods. But it seems implausible that Christianity (or any other organized religion) has nothing worthwhile to say about experiencing the God they worship. Yes, social control and power are likely the key priorities (even if implicitly), but I will see for myself whether there are any spiritual diamonds in the rough.

I just bought myself a young Brugmansia. I don't know anyone who'd call that plant entheogenic, but the stories about it, new and old, are very interesting. Hell of a conversation piece, I'd say.

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Greta
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Re: Hello!

Post by Greta » May 5th, 2018, 6:44 pm

mattfara50 wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 12:29 pm
When I read that evangelicals want homosexuals "wiped from the face of the Earth" in your words, I feel frustrated. That is not, from what I've read and heard, their position. This is exactly what I (and ironically, the Quakers) mean by "otherizing." The conservative Christian policy is inimical, no doubt, to the interests of LGBT, but is by no means on a par with genocide. And though my beliefs align with LGBT generally, I think that painting them as monsters is completely unproductive: firstly, it prevents a real understanding of their concerns, and consequently precludes dialogue.
Sorry to frustrate you with colourful prose, but it's not even close to the frustration that queer people feel about the relentless attacks on their right to exist by theists based on superstition.

When a group decides that a person should not exist - be they "wrongly" coloured, gendered or sexualised - where does this leave their victims? The intent is not strictly speaking genocide, it's true, rather eradication.

mattfara50
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Re: Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » May 5th, 2018, 11:12 pm

Greta wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 6:44 pm

When a group decides that a person should not exist - be they "wrongly" coloured, gendered or sexualised - where does this leave their victims? The intent is not strictly speaking genocide, it's true, rather eradication.
Perhaps I haven't seen what you've seen. Can you point me toward any official statements from representative evangelical groups that are calling for the eradication of LGBT people?

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Re: Hello!

Post by Greta » May 6th, 2018, 3:14 am

mattfara50 wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 11:12 pm
Greta wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 6:44 pm

When a group decides that a person should not exist - be they "wrongly" coloured, gendered or sexualised - where does this leave their victims? The intent is not strictly speaking genocide, it's true, rather eradication.
Perhaps I haven't seen what you've seen. Can you point me toward any official statements from representative evangelical groups that are calling for the eradication of LGBT people?
Gay conversion therapy for starters.

mattfara50
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Re: Hello!

Post by mattfara50 » May 6th, 2018, 7:25 am

Greta wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 3:14 am
Gay conversion therapy for starters.
Ironically, I think this might propagate homosexuality. There is evidence that homosexuality is genetic, and therefore heritable. If homosexuals do not procreate, then their genes cease to propagate. By encouraging homosexuals to procreate, one increases the homosexual gene pool. Gay conversion therapy would, at least biologically speaking, do quite the opposite of what you claim.

Of course, I assume you mean that gay conversion therapy opposes homosexual behavior. That is incontestably true. But the part I don't understand is how you equate behavior with identity so strongly. I am a musician. Were I to move to a country where music is forbidden on religious grounds, I would be unhappy, but I would not be threatened existentially. I am still alive whether I create music or don't.

Greta, I think we have improvised too liberally on an introductory post. Would you like to take this discussion into a new thread? What would you like to call it? And thank you very much for talking with me about this. Let me say that I think the LGBT community has suffered immensely, and I don't mean to discount that by questioning your beliefs. I could be utterly wrong about everything I believe in life generally, but the only way for me to find out is to argue my position until it is defeated.

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