Mr Dawkins new book?

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Secularist

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Sep 29, 2006, 4:16:32 AM9/29/06
to
Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way through
then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
perspective?

It will be used a balancing argument in our next newsletter

Thanks

Rob
Sheffield Humanists Soc

Sam Wilson

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Sep 29, 2006, 9:53:27 AM9/29/06
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In article <1159517792.5...@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"Secularist" <rob_m...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way through
> then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
> perspective?
>
> It will be used a balancing argument in our next newsletter

I can't offer that, but you might like to read Stephen Unwin's piece on
the letters page of today's Guardian. It's online (currently - not sure
about the Guardian's policy) at
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1883572,00.html>.

Sam

Simon Woods

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Sep 29, 2006, 10:49:03 AM9/29/06
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Sam Wilson wrote:

I don't know if any saw his interview with Mr Paxman on Newsnight. Also
I found this review on the Prospect site, but I don't know it's
credentials. It certainly doesn't seem to be Nuts, anyway.

http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7803

Michael J Davis

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Sep 29, 2006, 11:27:56 AM9/29/06
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In message <1159517792.5...@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
Secularist <rob_m...@hotmail.com> writes

>Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way through
>then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
>perspective?
>
>It will be used a balancing argument in our next newsletter

Did you review Alistair McGrath's book, "Dawkins' God"?

Frankly, I've given up on Dawkins because when it comes to religion he
just isn't scientific enough. I'm happy to read him on evolution, though
that's what he knows about.

He is to religion what creationists are to science (i.e. he creates
straw men and bravely knocks them down).

Does his new book have anything new to say?

Mike
[The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
--
Michael J Davis
http://www.trustsof.demon.co.uk
<><
For this is what the Lord has said to me,
"Go and post a Watchman and let
him report what he sees." Isa 21:6
<><

Secularist

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Sep 29, 2006, 10:34:43 AM9/29/06
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Sam Wilson wrote:
> In article <1159517792.5...@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> "Secularist" <rob_m...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way through
> > then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
> > perspective?
>
> I can't offer that, but you might like to read Stephen Unwin's piece on
> the letters page of today's Guardian. It's online (currently - not sure
> about the Guardian's policy)

I have alreday read the piece this morning (secularists dont all read
the Morning Star), and it seems to be a logical circle - i.e. you
should be "open to all possibilities" I take that this means that we
should treat hard to prove issues such as the existance of god and the
existance of giant blue space wombats (floating in the windy storms of
saturn, playing the theme to "The Sale of the Century" on kazoos) with
equal weight.

While I do not want to get involved in a potentialy damaging flaming
session on this one, I was interested to see what the more reasoned
members of the church community thought about the entire arguement set
out in Dawkin's new book.

I recently read "Why I am not a christian" by Bertrand Russell (written
in the 1930's) and I believe that Dawkin's new book is actually an
expansion of the themes set out in Russell's paper. (i dont know if
anybody else has actually worked that one out).

pg

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Sep 30, 2006, 2:03:35 AM9/30/06
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"Secularist" <rob_m...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1159540483.6...@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...

| Sam Wilson wrote:
| > In article <1159517792.5...@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
| > "Secularist" <rob_m...@hotmail.com> wrote:
| >
| > > Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way
through
| > > then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
| > > perspective?
| >
| > I can't offer that, but you might like to read Stephen Unwin's piece
on
| > the letters page of today's Guardian. It's online (currently - not
sure
| > about the Guardian's policy)
|
| I have alreday read the piece this morning (secularists dont all read
| the Morning Star), and it seems to be a logical circle - i.e. you
| should be "open to all possibilities" I take that this means that we
| should treat hard to prove issues such as the existance of god and the
| existance of giant blue space wombats <snip> ....

And there you sum up what seemed to me to be a disappointingly
superficial response from Steve Unwin.

It seems to me that those that adhere to the real definition of
atheism - a lack of belief, rather than actual disbelief - are closer to
the aforementioned openness than those who refuse to accept the
possibility of an absence of foundation to their beliefs.

Nor do I wish to get involved in flame wars, but I too would have been
interested in an in-depth response from this ng to Dawkin's views in
this latest publication.

ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk

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Sep 30, 2006, 9:24:02 AM9/30/06
to
Secularist wrote:
> Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way through
> then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
> perspective?
>
> It will be used a balancing argument in our next newsletter
>
> Thanks

Somebody wants to issue a newsletter with a balancing argument from an
opposite viewpoint.


> Rob
> Sheffield Humanists Soc

Oh I see. It is not a Christian newsletter.

ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk

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Sep 30, 2006, 9:29:23 AM9/30/06
to
Michael J Davis wrote:

> Did you review Alistair McGrath's book, "Dawkins' God"?

Is that the book which saw Dawkins' arguments in his chapter 'God's
Utility Function', and beat a discreet retreat, rather than tackle the
most explicit statement of Dawkins reasons for not believing in a God
who loves the creatures he designed to tear each other apart to get a
meal?

<skip>

ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk

unread,
Sep 30, 2006, 9:35:18 AM9/30/06
to
Sam Wilson wrote:
> In article <1159517792.5...@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> "Secularist" <rob_m...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way through
> > then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
> > perspective?

> I can't offer that, but you might like to read Stephen Unwin's piece on


> the letters page of today's Guardian. It's online (currently - not sure
> about the Guardian's policy) at
> <http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1883572,00.html>.

Unwin writes 'His dismissal of Pascal's wager (which is that, given the
uncertainty, one has everything to gain and nothing to lose by belief
in God) is a stark indication of his commitment to certainty.'


Of course, if you are willing to bet your life on your belief that when
you die as a martyr you will enjoy eternal life in Paradise with a bevy
of every-virginal virgins, then Pascal's Wager becomes harder to
dismiss.

ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk

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Sep 30, 2006, 9:35:30 AM9/30/06
to
Sam Wilson wrote:
> In article <1159517792.5...@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> "Secularist" <rob_m...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > Just wondering - is anybody here willing to read it all the way through
> > then write up a brief (say 250 words) review from the christian
> > perspective?

> I can't offer that, but you might like to read Stephen Unwin's piece on


> the letters page of today's Guardian. It's online (currently - not sure
> about the Guardian's policy) at
> <http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1883572,00.html>.

Unwin writes 'His dismissal of Pascal's wager (which is that, given the


uncertainty, one has everything to gain and nothing to lose by belief
in God) is a stark indication of his commitment to certainty.'


Of course, if you are willing to bet your life on your belief that when
you die as a martyr you will enjoy eternal life in Paradise with a bevy

of ever-virginal virgins, then Pascal's Wager becomes harder to dismiss.

Les Hemmings

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Sep 30, 2006, 8:37:18 AM9/30/06
to
Secularist wrote:
we
> should treat hard to prove issues such as the existance of god and the
> existance of giant blue space wombats (floating in the windy storms of
> saturn, playing the theme to "The Sale of the Century" on kazoos) with
> equal weight.
>

That's the funniest thing i've read on usenet for ages!

Now, how do you get 3 half chewed "Crazy Sours Skittles" out of a keyboard?

Les :o)

--
Remove Frontal Lobes to reply direct.


By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our
brains drop out. (Richard Dawkins)

http://armsofmorpheus.blogspot.com/

http://www.richarddawkins.net/index.php


Les Hemmings a.a #2251 SA

Quasin

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Sep 30, 2006, 6:16:18 PM9/30/06
to
ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk wrote:

>
> Of course, if you are willing to bet your life on your belief that when
> you die as a martyr you will enjoy eternal life in Paradise with a bevy
> of every-virginal virgins, then Pascal's Wager becomes harder to
> dismiss.

Or if you view your life as highly dissatisfying or painful
(physically or emotionally), then taking the wager becomes
an easy choice because you really have nothing to lose.

I, for one, never thought Pascal's wager the slightest bit
convincing.

Richard Corfield

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Oct 1, 2006, 3:32:29 AM10/1/06
to
On 2006-09-30, Quasin <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote:
>
> I, for one, never thought Pascal's wager the slightest bit
> convincing.

It assumes that there is no cost to believing. I don't think that is
the case. The cost depends on your point of view which depends on your
beliefs. Some find belief beneficial. For Pascal the cost may have
been high.

Pascal would have had to have considered the cost versus benefit of
each of his choices, which means he'd have had to have put a value on
the promise of afterlife and worked out its probability. Otherwise it
would be like going to the races and saying "That name sounds nice".

- Richard

--
_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/_/_/ Richard Corfield <Richard....@gmail.com>
_/ _/ _/ _/
_/_/ _/ _/ Time is a one way street, .
_/ _/ _/_/ _/_/_/ except in the Twilight Zone 3^

Richard Corfield

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Oct 1, 2006, 3:39:19 AM10/1/06
to
On 2006-09-29, Secularist <rob_m...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> I have alreday read the piece this morning (secularists dont all read
> the Morning Star), and it seems to be a logical circle - i.e. you
> should be "open to all possibilities" I take that this means that we
> should treat hard to prove issues such as the existance of god and the
> existance of giant blue space wombats (floating in the windy storms of
> saturn, playing the theme to "The Sale of the Century" on kazoos) with
> equal weight.
>

It becomes quite an interesting question. The giant blue space wombats
may be an odd belief. Perhaps they meet up regularly with the Flying
Spaghetti Monster. There are other beliefs though that are common and
that seem just as far fetched to someone who doesn't believe.

Is it possible that a group of people could genuinely worship the Wombats
and achieve - what? Heaven? Enlightenment? Even asking the question
seems to want you to choose a reference point from which to ask it!

Kendall K. Down

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Sep 30, 2006, 12:22:20 PM9/30/06
to
In message <451e08bb$0$25953$ba4a...@news.orange.fr>
"pg" <pg...@alpesprovence.net> wrote:

> Nor do I wish to get involved in flame wars, but I too would have been
> interested in an in-depth response from this ng to Dawkin's views in
> this latest publication.

I think you are the second person in this thread to mention "flame wars". I
presume you are a newbie to uk.r.c, in which case I have to inform you that
we don't do flame wars here. Robust discussion, yes. Flame wars, no.

God bless,
Kendall K. Down

--
================ ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGGINGS ===============
| Australia's premier archaeological magazine |
| http://www.diggingsonline.com |
========================================================

Quasin

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Oct 1, 2006, 8:21:29 AM10/1/06
to
pg wrote:

> I too would have been
> interested in an in-depth response from this ng to Dawkin's views in
> this latest publication.

I have so many interesting-to-me things to do with my
limited time!

A request to spend several hours reading someone else's web
page about some book I'm unfamiliar with and presumably I'd
have to read the book too, and then spend more hours
drafting an in-depth response, just because someone who is
not part of my daily life wants a response, lands awfully
far down the list of things to do this year.

democr...@yahoo.co.uk

unread,
Oct 1, 2006, 11:11:20 AM10/1/06
to

Here is the video of the Newsnight interview of Dawkings with a couple
of chunks from the book.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/5372458.stm

Les Hemmings

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Oct 1, 2006, 12:10:49 PM10/1/06
to

He didn't ask you to visit a web page, just what you made of the arguments
in the book. I take it from your reply you would rather not have a single
one of your ideas challenged in any way. Spending a few hours on the reasons
you hold beliefs that you hang an entire life from does not seem excessive.
You could either come out of the book thinking "I'm right! And now I know
why I'm right!" or you could actually learn something from looking at the
views from the other side of the fence. Maybe they have something to offer
you? Maybe you have been wrong all these years. I think it is the fear of
the last one that makes you reply as you do. In fact, I might go as far to
say that religion itself is, in part, perpetuated by this fear. Suddenly
realising as an adult that you've been duped for many, many years is a
shocking thing and not many are brave enough to admit to their peers that it
is so...

Les

Michael J Davis

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Oct 1, 2006, 1:54:43 PM10/1/06
to
In message <4oa7mtF...@individual.net>, Les Hemmings
<les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> writes

>Quasin wrote:
>> pg wrote:
>>
>>> I too would have been
>>> interested in an in-depth response from this ng to Dawkin's views in
>>> this latest publication.
>>
>> I have so many interesting-to-me things to do with my
>> limited time!
>>
>> A request to spend several hours reading someone else's web
>> page about some book I'm unfamiliar with and presumably I'd
>> have to read the book too, and then spend more hours
>> drafting an in-depth response, just because someone who is
>> not part of my daily life wants a response, lands awfully
>> far down the list of things to do this year.
>
>He didn't ask you to visit a web page, just what you made of the arguments
>in the book. I take it from your reply you would rather not have a single
>one of your ideas challenged in any way. Spending a few hours on the reasons
>you hold beliefs that you hang an entire life from does not seem excessive.

I am a fan of Dawkins, I think his simple explanations of the complexity
of evolution are fantastic. However, his 'popular' work is full of snide
comments about religious belief. While I appreciate that he is hard done
by from the Creationist lobby - which (at a rough guess) represents
rather less than around 25% of Christians around the world - his broad
brush generalisations of Christians indicate that he has made no attempt
to find out why or what they really believe.

Dawkins has argued (IIRC) that faith is "blind trust even in the absence
of evidence". He offers no evidence for this belief, he doesn't even
seem to have investigated what most intelligent committed Christians
really do believe. He might find some who actually accept evolution, and
see if that is their approach. But no, he apparently prefers his own
definition. His own straw men are so much easier to fight.

>You could either come out of the book thinking "I'm right! And now I know
>why I'm right!" or you could actually learn something from looking at the
>views from the other side of the fence. Maybe they have something to offer
>you? Maybe you have been wrong all these years. I think it is the fear of
>the last one that makes you reply as you do. In fact, I might go as far to
>say that religion itself is, in part, perpetuated by this fear.

And you might be placing yourself in the same category as Dawkins were
you to do that - speaking from a place of ignorance.

>Suddenly
>realising as an adult that you've been duped for many, many years is a
>shocking thing and not many are brave enough to admit to their peers that it
>is so...

Funny - that we have many people on this group who were confirmed
atheists and had no difficulty in admitting that; and also here posts
our friend, Gareth, who had just admitted that he is no longer a
Christian.

AIUI, Quasin says merely that she would rather not go through old
arguments that she has met many times before. So if you'd care to tell
us what is new about this book, we might even look at it. Are there new
arguments, or is it just another irrational rant about what Dawkins sees
as the futility of religion?

I just thank God I'm not religious.

Kendall K. Down

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Oct 1, 2006, 5:39:23 AM10/1/06
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In message <slrnehurod.14t....@gateway.internal.littondale.dyndns.org>
Richard Corfield <Richard....@gmail.com> wrote:

> Pascal would have had to have considered the cost versus benefit of
> each of his choices, which means he'd have had to have put a value on
> the promise of afterlife and worked out its probability. Otherwise it
> would be like going to the races and saying "That name sounds nice".

No, it's like going to the races and being given a free bet. It doesn't cost
you anything (apart from the trouble of finding the bookie and joining the
queue) even if you lose, but if you win ... Wow!

Personally, I always fill out those coupons that tell me I have won ten
millions pounds - though if they demand I put a stamp on the letter to send
it back I don't bother. If it costs nothing, what have I got to lose?

And I once won a BMX bike. (Quality was terrible. It broke a week later when
my son took a jump a mere three bricks high. That's Asda for you.)

Quasin

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Oct 1, 2006, 2:35:10 PM10/1/06
to
Les Hemmings wrote:

> Quasin wrote:
>
>>I have so many interesting-to-me things to do with my
>>limited time!
>>
>>A request to spend several hours reading someone else's web
>>page about some book I'm unfamiliar with and presumably I'd
>>have to read the book too, and then spend more hours
>>drafting an in-depth response, just because someone who is
>>not part of my daily life wants a response, lands awfully
>>far down the list of things to do this year.
>
>
> I take it from your reply you would rather not have a single
> one of your ideas challenged in any way.

LOL! Just hanging out here makes sure every one of my
ideas, as well as my ways of expressing them, gets challenged!

I do not jump to the tune of every random piper who crosses
my path. I hope neither do you. Life is supposed to be
active, not merely reactive.

As to WHY I believe in God, logic is not the cause, just as
logic is not the cause of why I like strawberries and my
neighbor doesn't. Much of life is not about logic. Using
logic to try to prove or disprove the existence of God is,
er, illogical.

Quasin

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Oct 1, 2006, 3:16:42 PM10/1/06
to
Michael J Davis wrote:

> Dawkins has argued (IIRC) that faith is "blind trust even in the absence
> of evidence". He offers no evidence for this belief, he doesn't even
> seem to have investigated what most intelligent committed Christians
> really do believe.

Well, if he is using "blind trust even in the absence of
evidence" as explanation for why *some* Christians are
short-term creationists (even though most are long-term
creationists, believing that God created by using evolution
as a significant tool), I suppose the argument has some
merit in that short-term creationists, as far as I can tell,
point to the Bible as the only evidence for short-term
creationism, while people who don't accept the Genesis
account literally don't regard it as evidence, so to them
there is zero proof. The disagreement is whether Bible
constitutes "evidence," which is not the same as claiming
people are inventing something to believe on no basis at all.

If the position "blind trust even in the absence of
evidence" is intended as a definition of the word "faith,"
alas too many Christians sometimes use it that way, as if
the evidence precedes or even causes the thing one claims to
have faith about. ("If I believe hard enough I will be
healed.")

But evidence is a result, not a cause. We examine a room
and see blood splattered on a wall, a blood-stained knife
under the chair a distance away, and say these are evidence
of a struggle and maybe a murder. We examine more carefully
looking to find and understand clues to exactly what DID
happen; the struggle or murder caused the existence of the
evidence.

An encounter with God leaves the evidence of faith.
According to your web page Jenny looked at you and said
"what's going on, you are different?"

Seeing the evidence of the blood spatters and knife, one
deduces "something happened here." Seeing the evidence of
your changed behavior, she deduced "something happened to you."

Faith is the evidence - the result of - the encounter with
God. Nothing blind about it.

But if by "faith" he means more generally any belief in any
sort of God, and discounts as evidence anything that cannot
be subjected to purely physical, measurable, duplicable
tests, well, I guess there is no evidence for human love,
either, since no one can force it to happen on command under
lab conditions.

davey

unread,
Oct 1, 2006, 3:55:30 PM10/1/06
to

Read the bits from the book and there are so many statements I would
disagree with I don't know where to start.
One question springs to mind tho:
Why do critics of Christianity/Christians mostly quote from the OT and
hardly ever tackle the teachings of Jesus?
And always seem to quote 'fundamantalists' (eg Pat Robertson) rather
than enter into dialogue with more balanced spiritual/philosophical
views?
Then again I suppose (rightly or wrongly) Dawkins is more interested in
boosting sales than true exploration and dialogue.
Just a thought (or 2)
peace
davey

Alec Brady

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Oct 1, 2006, 4:37:22 PM10/1/06
to
On Sun, 1 Oct 2006 17:10:49 +0100, in <4oa7mtF...@individual.net>,
"Les Hemmings" <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> wrote:


>He didn't ask you to visit a web page, just what you made of the arguments
>in the book. I take it from your reply you would rather not have a single
>one of your ideas challenged in any way. Spending a few hours on the reasons
>you hold beliefs that you hang an entire life from does not seem excessive.

Doing it every time someone wants to discuss it might be. If I came
round your house this weekend and insisted on talking to you about God
- giving you big thick tracts to read and asking you to provide a
written commentary on them - would you think "well, spending a few
hours on the reasons I hold beliefs that I hang an entire life from
does not seem excessive"? And if someone else did it next month? When
would you resort to "for fuck's sake, my time's my own, who gave these
goons the right to decide how I spend it?"

>You could either come out of the book thinking "I'm right! And now I know
>why I'm right!" or you could actually learn something from looking at the
>views from the other side of the fence. Maybe they have something to offer
>you? Maybe you have been wrong all these years. I think it is the fear of
>the last one that makes you reply as you do. In fact, I might go as far to
>say that religion itself is, in part, perpetuated by this fear. Suddenly
>realising as an adult that you've been duped for many, many years is a
>shocking thing and not many are brave enough to admit to their peers that it
>is so...

Or perhaps some of us have been through these arguments already and
feel that we have better things to do than trawl through them again
for someone else's dubious benefit. Can you give me a good reason why
I should waste my time on this stuff *again*?
--
Alec Brady
"You have to regard everything I say with suspicion - I may be trying to
bullshit you, or I may just be bullshitting you inadvertently."
- J. Wainwright Mathematics 140b

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

Michael J Davis

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Oct 1, 2006, 5:18:06 PM10/1/06
to
In message <45201419...@nosuchisp.com>, Quasin
<qua...@nosuchisp.com> writes

Nicely put! (Wow that's the third one in as many days! We must watch
it, people will get suspicious if we agree too much!)

Mike

--
Michael J Davis

<><
We arrive at the Truth not by agreement
but by open minded disagreement,
while to close our mind is to be disagreeable.
<><

Graham Nye

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Oct 1, 2006, 5:37:29 PM10/1/06
to
Kendall K. Down wrote:
>
> And I once won a BMX bike. (Quality was terrible. It broke a week later when
> my son took a jump a mere three bricks high.

That's why they are known as BSOs (bicycle shaped objects)
in the other uk.r.c.


--
Graham Nye
graham(a)thenyes.org.uk

Les Hemmings

unread,
Oct 1, 2006, 3:24:40 PM10/1/06
to
Michael J Davis wrote:
>
> I am a fan of Dawkins, I think his simple explanations of the
> complexity of evolution are fantastic. However, his 'popular' work is
> full of snide comments about religious belief.

Snide? Hardly the right term when the collective mind of a whole species is
at stake!


>While I appreciate
> that he is hard done by from the Creationist lobby - which (at a
> rough guess) represents rather less than around 25% of Christians
> around the world - his broad brush generalisations of Christians
> indicate that he has made no attempt to find out why or what they
> really believe.

There is a smooth graph from the little old lady who does nothing more than
touch her cross when she crosses the road to the suicide bomber. Where do
you draw the line?

>
> Dawkins has argued (IIRC) that faith is "blind trust even in the
> absence of evidence".

Blind trust? So there really is 72 virgins waiting for the muslim terrorist?
Where is the evidence for this?

>He offers no evidence for this belief, he
> doesn't even seem to have investigated what most intelligent
> committed Christians really do believe. He might find some who
> actually accept evolution, and see if that is their approach. But no,
> he apparently prefers his own definition. His own straw men are so
> much easier to fight.

Absence of evidence? He uses the whole body of scientific findings. A
complete panoply of evidence from the incredibly small to the furthest
reaches of the universe. Show me one single shred of hard evidence for the
scientific theory that the universe, and ourselves, are the results of the
doings of a all knowing deity. And if a christian accepts evolution then is
he a christian? What are they going to do? Retreat further and further as
science increases it's boundaries? Once it was lightning, now it's quantum
physics with evolution somewhere in the middle.


>
>> You could either come out of the book thinking "I'm right! And now I
>> know why I'm right!" or you could actually learn something from
>> looking at the views from the other side of the fence. Maybe they
>> have something to offer you? Maybe you have been wrong all these
>> years. I think it is the fear of the last one that makes you reply
>> as you do. In fact, I might go as far to say that religion itself
>> is, in part, perpetuated by this fear.
>
> And you might be placing yourself in the same category as Dawkins were
> you to do that - speaking from a place of ignorance.

Ignorance of what? A few late bronze age myths cobbled together from
previous superstition and heresy? Not relevant to the 21st century I feel...

>
>> Suddenly
>> realising as an adult that you've been duped for many, many years is
>> a shocking thing and not many are brave enough to admit to their
>> peers that it is so...
>
> Funny - that we have many people on this group who were confirmed
> atheists and had no difficulty in admitting that; and also here posts
> our friend, Gareth, who had just admitted that he is no longer a
> Christian.

Good news all round then! What's your point?

>
> AIUI, Quasin says merely that she would rather not go through old
> arguments that she has met many times before. So if you'd care to tell
> us what is new about this book, we might even look at it. Are there
> new arguments, or is it just another irrational rant about what
> Dawkins sees as the futility of religion?
>

This new book draws together the thoughts of one of the most eminent
professors in modern academe. Read this for a light review of Dawkins
http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Media/seattle.shtml
It is the first time I have seen atheists come together behind such a work.
Tectonic plates are shifting underground, the RDF
http://www.richarddawkins.net/index.php is a major happening in secular
thought. Enough is enough! With the evangelical right wing and the neo-con
government in the US nothing less than the future path of the species is at
stake here... Pro lifers, abstinence, Battlecry 2006, creationism in
schools and the stifling of research. This is important!


> I just thank God I'm not religious.

You could have fooled me...

Quasin

unread,
Oct 1, 2006, 9:25:43 PM10/1/06
to
Michael J Davis wrote:

When a firm Catholic and radical Protestant agree three
times in three days, you know the world is ending soon! :)

Quasin

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 12:43:48 AM10/2/06
to
Les Hemmings wrote:


> Blind trust? So there really is 72 virgins waiting for the muslim terrorist?
> Where is the evidence for this?
>

> Ignorance of what? A few late bronze age myths cobbled together from
> previous superstition and heresy? Not relevant to the 21st century I feel...
>

You sound angry. What has caused this pain in you?

Some people who claim belief in a god are evil; some
atheists are evil; should I despise all atheists just
because some are mass murderers?


> This new book draws together the thoughts of one of the most eminent
> professors in modern academe.

LOL, I am surrounded by eminent professors: personally,
professionally, socially. Plus many of my close friends are
atheists. If there are any new arguments, I'm sure they
will tell me.

But since my experiences with God are just that,
experiences, not at all based on or derived from logical
analysis, what's the point of trying to address them with
mere logic? That's like trying to analyze modern art with
syllogisms. Can't be done in any way that makes sense.

Logic is a wonderful tool, in it's place. Not everything is
its place.

Quasin

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 12:29:38 AM10/2/06
to
Kendall K. Down wrote:

> Richard Corfield <Richard....@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Pascal would have had to have considered the cost versus benefit of
>>each of his choices, which means he'd have had to have put a value on
>>the promise of afterlife and worked out its probability. Otherwise it
>>would be like going to the races and saying "That name sounds nice".
>
>
> No, it's like going to the races and being given a free bet. It doesn't cost
> you anything (apart from the trouble of finding the bookie and joining the
> queue) even if you lose, but if you win ... Wow!

Deciding to be a Christian is like being given a free bet?
In some places at some times, maybe; but not for a Muslim in
Saudi or Iran; not for a person who knows how to support
himself or his family only by drug dealing; not for gang
members who risk getting beaten or killed for getting out;
not for men legally married to more than one wife who are
told Christianity requires abandoning one of the women;

and that's without getting into issues like whether
Christians inherently live on lower incomes than their
office mates because they are supporting churches with part
of their income, plus working less overtime because they are
supposed to take a day off to rest plus daily time for prayer,

and without getting into issues like teachings that
Christians have to give up certain enjoyable or productive
behaviors considered wrong by whatever church group they join.

and, and, and; but it's past my bedtime.

ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 1:40:19 AM10/2/06
to
davey wrote:

> Why do critics of Christianity/Christians mostly quote from the OT and
> hardly ever tackle the teachings of Jesus?

What parts of the Old Testament did Jesus disavow? The killing of
children by flooding the world?

Presumably you feel that religions which use only the Old Testament are
subject to criticism in a way that religions which have 2 Testaments
are not?

Luke 19:27 'But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king
over them-bring them here and kill them in front of me.'

The king in the Parable represents Jesus.

ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 1:34:23 AM10/2/06
to
Michael J Davis wrote:

> Dawkins has argued (IIRC) that faith is "blind trust even in the absence
> of evidence".

Just trust him. He is right about that. Don't you have any faith in
what he says?

<skip>

Kendall K. Down

unread,
Oct 1, 2006, 2:22:51 PM10/1/06
to
In message <4oa7mtF...@individual.net>
"Les Hemmings" <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> wrote:

> He didn't ask you to visit a web page, just what you made of the arguments
> in the book. I take it from your reply you would rather not have a single
> one of your ideas challenged in any way.

What a silly response!

Dawkins has a certain reputation, not just as an atheist but as someone who
frequently allows their strong feelings to overrule both logic and common
sense. Quite possibly Quasin has read some of his books before; I have not,
but like her I know of his reputation (from comments in newspapers and other
sources such as book reviews, as well as remarks on this newsgroup) and like
her have better things to do with my time.

Michael J Davis

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 6:00:37 AM10/2/06
to
In message <4oaivsF...@individual.net>, Les Hemmings
<les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> writes

>Michael J Davis wrote:
>>
>> I am a fan of Dawkins, I think his simple explanations of the
>> complexity of evolution are fantastic. However, his 'popular' work is
>> full of snide comments about religious belief.
>
>Snide? Hardly the right term when the collective mind of a whole species is
>at stake!

Snide, because in many cases there is nothing in the points he is making
that demand a reference to religious belief.


>
>>While I appreciate
>> that he is hard done by from the Creationist lobby - which (at a
>> rough guess) represents rather less than around 25% of Christians
>> around the world - his broad brush generalisations of Christians
>> indicate that he has made no attempt to find out why or what they
>> really believe.
>
>There is a smooth graph from the little old lady who does nothing more than
>touch her cross when she crosses the road to the suicide bomber. Where do
>you draw the line?

ROTFL! And you accuse Christians of fanciful beliefs!!

I think that there is a simple message that even atheistic[1] humanists
have taken on board - 'love your neighbour' and even 'love your enemy'.
It's built in to the major monotheistic religions.

[1] Christianity is also 'humanist' in most senses of the word.

>> Dawkins has argued (IIRC) that faith is "blind trust even in the
>> absence of evidence".
>
>Blind trust? So there really is 72 virgins waiting for the muslim terrorist?
>Where is the evidence for this?

LOL! I see logic is not your strong point. Because some people
believe some things does not mean that everything anyone
believes is true.

However, I will allow for someone providing you with evidence, I don't
happen to believe that either.

>
>>He offers no evidence for this belief, he
>> doesn't even seem to have investigated what most intelligent
>> committed Christians really do believe. He might find some who
>> actually accept evolution, and see if that is their approach. But no,
>> he apparently prefers his own definition. His own straw men are so
>> much easier to fight.
>
>Absence of evidence? He uses the whole body of scientific findings. A
>complete panoply of evidence from the incredibly small to the furthest
>reaches of the universe.

Excuse me. I have a scientific training. One of the key premises of the
scientific method is that it is based upon material facts and
observations. It specifically excludes the notion of God and other
matters of human concern.

>Show me one single shred of hard evidence for the
>scientific theory that the universe, and ourselves, are the results of the
>doings of a all knowing deity.

It's not a *scientific* theory. Nor is humanism.

>And if a christian accepts evolution then is
>he a christian?

Of course. With no problem. I am. I think if you are going to argue on
a Christian news group, you might check your facts. A few Christians
argue that the Bible is a manual of physics and cosmology. The majority
don't.

>What are they going to do? Retreat further and further as
>science increases it's boundaries? Once it was lightning, now it's quantum
>physics with evolution somewhere in the middle.

Are you having fun? I conclude you are not a genuine truth seeker.

>>> You could either come out of the book thinking "I'm right! And now I
>>> know why I'm right!" or you could actually learn something from
>>> looking at the views from the other side of the fence. Maybe they
>>> have something to offer you? Maybe you have been wrong all these
>>> years. I think it is the fear of the last one that makes you reply
>>> as you do. In fact, I might go as far to say that religion itself
>>> is, in part, perpetuated by this fear.
>>
>> And you might be placing yourself in the same category as Dawkins were
>> you to do that - speaking from a place of ignorance.
>
>Ignorance of what? A few late bronze age myths cobbled together from
>previous superstition and heresy? Not relevant to the 21st century I feel...

Sure. I am glad your worldview is based on your feelings. Is that either
logical or scientific?

>>> Suddenly
>>> realising as an adult that you've been duped for many, many years is
>>> a shocking thing and not many are brave enough to admit to their
>>> peers that it is so...
>>
>> Funny - that we have many people on this group who were confirmed
>> atheists and had no difficulty in admitting that; and also here posts
>> our friend, Gareth, who had just admitted that he is no longer a
>> Christian.
>
>Good news all round then! What's your point?

That there is a fair amount of openness here and not too much difficulty
in admitting changes in either direction. (My own testimony is on my
website.)

>> AIUI, Quasin says merely that she would rather not go through old
>> arguments that she has met many times before. So if you'd care to tell
>> us what is new about this book, we might even look at it. Are there
>> new arguments, or is it just another irrational rant about what
>> Dawkins sees as the futility of religion?
>
>This new book draws together the thoughts of one of the most eminent
>professors in modern academe. Read this for a light review of Dawkins
>http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Media/seattle.shtml

I told you I have read most of Dawkins books. I have no problem with his
scientific mind as he expresses it on evolution. Thank God, the money
donated by Microsoft is for graphic expressions of evolutionary theory.

>It is the first time I have seen atheists come together behind such a work.
>Tectonic plates are shifting underground, the RDF
>http://www.richarddawkins.net/index.php is a major happening in secular
>thought. Enough is enough! With the evangelical right wing and the neo-con
>government in the US nothing less than the future path of the species is at
>stake here... Pro lifers, abstinence, Battlecry 2006, creationism in
>schools and the stifling of research. This is important!

Seeking the truth is what humans are made for. Interestingly, can you
explain that in evolutionary terms?


>
>> I just thank God I'm not religious.
>
>You could have fooled me...

;-) Yes - I'm a Christian!!

Blessings

Mike

--
Michael J Davis

see www.trustsof.demon.co.uk
<>{
"The very man who has argued you down,
will sometimes be found, years later,
to have been influenced by what you said." CSLewis
<>{

Michael J Davis

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 5:28:33 AM10/2/06
to
In message <45206A95...@nosuchisp.com>, Quasin

You don't believe in the 'rapture' do you? ;-)

Michael J Davis

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 6:02:07 AM10/2/06
to
In message <1159767263.0...@k70g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
ste...@bowness.demon.co.uk writes

LOL! Of course. Do you think it was dictated by an angel to him? ;-)

Kendall K. Down

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 3:08:13 AM10/2/06
to
In message <452095B1...@nosuchisp.com>
Quasin <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote:

> Deciding to be a Christian is like being given a free bet?
> In some places at some times, maybe; but not for a Muslim in
> Saudi or Iran; not for a person who knows how to support
> himself or his family only by drug dealing; not for gang
> members who risk getting beaten or killed for getting out;
> not for men legally married to more than one wife who are
> told Christianity requires abandoning one of the women;

Even for those, eternal life trumps the things you mention.

God bless,
Kendall K. Down

P.S. I do not believe polygamists should be forced to abandon their multiple
wives.

Quasin

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 3:50:20 PM10/2/06
to
Kendall K. Down wrote:
> Quasin <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Deciding to be a Christian is like being given a free bet?
>>In some places at some times, maybe; but not for a Muslim in
>>Saudi or Iran; not for a person who knows how to support
>>himself or his family only by drug dealing; not for gang
>>members who risk getting beaten or killed for getting out;
>>not for men legally married to more than one wife who are
>>told Christianity requires abandoning one of the women;
>
>
> Even for those, eternal life trumps the things you mention.
>

Yes but, Pascal's wager has to do with whether it makes
sense to become a Christian if you *don't know* if there's
more than this life.

Your "free bet" sounds like you think being Christian costs
nothing, so why not - if there's eternal life you win all,
if no eternal life you lose nothing.

But for most, Christianity costs something: one morning a
week at minimum, your life or your job or you family for
some. Then if you aren't sure if there is such a thing as
eternal life, you are being asked to spend a whole lot more
than a postage stamp on the uncertain chance of winning a
prize. Of you win you win big but if you lose because in
fact there is no next life, you lose everything.

Which is why Pascal's wager is unconvincing to any
non-believer who doesn't dislike being alive.

Aside from the fact that it misses the point that
Christianity is about enjoying God now whether or not there
is anything after this life.

Les Hemmings

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 2:25:30 AM10/2/06
to
Quasin wrote:
> Les Hemmings wrote:
>
>
>> Blind trust? So there really is 72 virgins waiting for the muslim
>> terrorist? Where is the evidence for this?
>>
>> Ignorance of what? A few late bronze age myths cobbled together from
>> previous superstition and heresy? Not relevant to the 21st century I
>> feel...
>
> You sound angry. What has caused this pain in you?
>
This is a classic theist question. I have been asked this many times. It
seems most theists think that atheists have tried religion and been harmed
in some way to make them turn away from theism.

In my case I have never been religious. Bought up in a secular household, no
sunday school, normal platitudes endured at school assembly, weddings and
funerals. Never raped by catholic priests, never involved in cults etc. etc.

I just see what harm religion has, and is, doing to my species. I have had
spiritual experiences too. Faced with nature, love, fatherhood and the
sciences i have often been moved. Bought to tears during the last total
solar eclipse here in the uk from the sheer majesty of the universe we
inhabit. These highly emotional, deeply satisfying states (also achieved
personally with LSD and MDMA, our experience of the universe is chemical in
nature after all) have enriched my life and continue to do so.

At no time though has any of these experiences stepped outside what can be
explained logically or made me feel there was some sentient all pervasive
deity hanging about in the background. I have never felt even a whiff of god
and never felt the need to invoke him or her.

There is enough wonder, awe and pure beauty to keep anyone fullfiled within
the sciences without the straightjacket of a false cosmology cobbled
together a couple of thousand years ago...

The pain i feel is the fact that theists will never feel what it is like to
face the universe they inhabit with honesty. I think it is this, the
blinkering of the race and the lying to our children that hurts.

Les Hemmings

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 2:31:03 AM10/2/06
to
Kendall K. Down wrote:
>
> God bless,
> Kendall K. Down
>

god bless? Why would you say that to an atheist if not to be "silly" as you
put it. It's one of the nastiest sides of christianity. All this "I'll pray
for you...." "god bless you..." etc. Nauseating

pg

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 1:34:41 AM10/2/06
to
"Quasin" <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote in message
news:45209902...@nosuchisp.com...

Hmm. He doesn't sound "angry" to me. If you interpret your own
experiences with the same keenness to jump to conclusions about someone
you don't know from 'Adam', forgive me for not placing a great deal of
store in same as a basis for faith.

pg

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 3:05:37 AM10/2/06
to
"Kendall K. Down" <webm...@diggingsonline.com> wrote in message
news:33561c6f4...@diggingsonline.com...

| In message <4oa7mtF...@individual.net>
| "Les Hemmings" <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> wrote:
|
| > He didn't ask you to visit a web page, just what you made of the
arguments
| > in the book. I take it from your reply you would rather not have a
single
| > one of your ideas challenged in any way.
|
| What a silly response!
|
| Dawkins has a certain reputation, not just as an atheist but as
someone who
| frequently allows their strong feelings to overrule both logic and
common
| sense. Quite possibly Quasin has read some of his books before; I have
not,
| but like her I know of his reputation (from comments in newspapers and
other
| sources such as book reviews, as well as remarks on this newsgroup)
and like
| her have better things to do with my time.

So from hearsay, without first hand knowledge, you would dismiss an
alternative position out of hand. Clearly in terms of evidentiary
status, the bible is right up your street!

Michael J Davis

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 6:14:20 PM10/2/06
to
In message <4obq18F...@individual.net>, Les Hemmings
<les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> writes

>Kendall K. Down wrote:
>>
>> God bless,
>> Kendall K. Down
>
>god bless? Why would you say that to an atheist if not to be "silly" as you
>put it. It's one of the nastiest sides of christianity. All this "I'll pray
>for you...." "god bless you..." etc. Nauseating

But surely just a meaningless remark to you? Why nauseating?

Most of the atheists I have told I was praying for have at least
accepted it as a sign of my goodwill and concern.

Blessings

Mike
--
Michael J Davis

<><
Most of the atheists I know don't believe
in the same God I don't believe in
<><

Marcus Maxwell

unread,
Oct 2, 2006, 8:42:55 PM10/2/06
to
"Les Hemmings" <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> wrote in
news:4obpmrF...@individual.net:

> Quasin wrote:
>> Les Hemmings wrote:
>>

<snip>


>
> The pain i feel is the fact that theists will never feel what it is
> like to face the universe they inhabit with honesty. I think it is
> this, the blinkering of the race and the lying to our children that
> hurts.

May I point out that this is nonsense? You seem to assume that theists
deliberately mislead themselves and others. We do not. We may be wrong,
but we don't think we are, so we are neither being dishonest in our view of
the world, nor do we lie to our children.

(The same assumption is inherent in the title of Dawkins's book, and since
he long ago had the issue pointed out to him, I assume he chose it simply
for its rhetorical appeal rather than out of honest conviction.)

--
Marcus Maxwell

Richard Corfield

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 3:12:13 AM10/3/06
to
On 2006-10-02, Quasin <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote:
>
> Aside from the fact that it misses the point that
> Christianity is about enjoying God now whether or not there
> is anything after this life.

I wonder if this is a more modern interpretation. It's a good one, and
common elsewhere too.

- Richard

--
_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/_/_/ Richard Corfield <Richard....@gmail.com>
_/ _/ _/ _/
_/_/ _/ _/ Time is a one way street, .
_/ _/ _/_/ _/_/_/ except in the Twilight Zone 3^

John Blake

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 3:46:44 AM10/3/06
to
On Tue, 03 Oct 2006 00:42:55 GMT, Marcus Maxwell
<marcus....@REMOVEntlworld.com.easynews.com> wrote:


>
>May I point out that this is nonsense? You seem to assume that theists
>deliberately mislead themselves and others. We do not. We may be wrong,
>but we don't think we are, so we are neither being dishonest in our view of
>the world, nor do we lie to our children.
>

I wish theists would be really honest with themselves and admit that
what they believe is based entirely on faith rather than evidence.
Then, perhaps, they might stop the indoctrination of children and
allow them to think for themselves when they reach a suitable age. If
they are right about the existence of God then children will reach a
similar conclusion when old enough to apply reason and logic to the
matter.

Could it be that theists realise that most will see the falseness of
their arguments if early inculcation of beliefs is not carried out?


JB

Simon Robinson

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 4:42:56 AM10/3/06
to
John Blake wrote:
> I wish theists would be really honest with themselves and admit that
> what they believe is based entirely on faith rather than evidence.

I think you'll find most theists *are* being honest with themselves (to
at least the same extent that atheists are). ISTM the difference (for
those who think about the basis for their beliefs) is on the whole not
lack of evidence, but a different perception from atheists on what
things count as evidence.

> Then, perhaps, they might stop the indoctrination of children and
> allow them to think for themselves when they reach a suitable age.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'indoctrination of children'. It's not
possible to bring children up in a total vacuum, you inevitably have
some world views that you presume when you're bringing them up. Even a
supposedly impartial source like - say - the BBC News - follows some
'accepted' opinions on what is right and wrong, but those 'accepted'
opinions aren't universally shared across the World. I guess what
matters is that when you bring children up, you show by example that
you're willing to respect different beliefs, and you make it clear to
them that they are supposed to come to their own opinions, however the
trouble is, it's very hard to *completely* do that. (For example, would
you tell a child that it's for him to make up his own mind on whether -
say - rape and murder - are wrong or not?). At any rate, it doesn't seem
clear to me that Christians on average 'indoctrinate' children to a
greater extent than non-Christians.

> If
> they are right about the existence of God then children will reach a
> similar conclusion when old enough to apply reason and logic to the
> matter.

That sentence seems to indicate a remarkable faith that people will
obtain the right answer by logic and reason. That faith doesn't seem to
be born out by the large numbers of people who have put considerable
effort into thinking about these issues, and have come to completely
opposite conclusions. Whether God exists or not, there's clearly a lot
of people who've applied lots of reason and logic, but are wrong about
the matter.

> Could it be that theists realise that most will see the falseness of
> their arguments if early inculcation of beliefs is not carried out?

Oh yes! If only the people I'm arguing against would be honest with
themselves they'd see that I'm right.

I've seen that debating tactic used by both theists and atheists, and it
looks just as silly to me whichever side is using it.

Simon
http://www.simonrobinson.com

Michael J Davis

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 4:35:58 AM10/3/06
to
In message
<slrnei43ad.nt4....@gateway.internal.littondale.dyndns.org>,
Richard Corfield <Richard....@gmail.com> writes

>On 2006-10-02, Quasin <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote:
>>
>> Aside from the fact that it misses the point that
>> Christianity is about enjoying God now whether or not there
>> is anything after this life.
>
>I wonder if this is a more modern interpretation. It's a good one, and
>common elsewhere too.

I don't know. But we live in time so we can only live in the *NOW*,
Christ through his redemption has set us free from our past (providing
we let go and let Him) and our future is in God's hands anyway.

So live NOW to the fullness! It is where kairos meets chronos.

Mike

[The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
--
Michael J Davis
<><

"All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." (CSL)
<><

pg

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 2:25:28 AM10/3/06
to
"Les Hemmings" <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> wrote in message
news:4obpmrF...@individual.net...

| Quasin wrote:
| > Les Hemmings wrote:
| >
| >
| >> Blind trust? So there really is 72 virgins waiting for the muslim
| >> terrorist? Where is the evidence for this?
| >>
| >> Ignorance of what? A few late bronze age myths cobbled together
from
| >> previous superstition and heresy? Not relevant to the 21st century
I
| >> feel...
| >
| > You sound angry. What has caused this pain in you?
| >
| This is a classic theist question. I have been asked this many
times. It
| seems most theists think that atheists have tried religion and been
harmed
| in some way to make them turn away from theism.

On the other hand, it is - or a least was, for those of a certain
generation - something of a truism. Go back 40 or 50 years, and few
future atheists had much choice but to be brought up in an environment
which was 'Christian' to at least some degree. On the other hand the
notion of 'harm' is questionable. Yes, some cast off the shackles sooner
or later. In my case it was sparked by the reading of Hesse's Siddhartha
as a 12 year old. I certainly have no sense of harm whatsoever - on the
contrary, I am grateful for having had a direct experience of something
that I was later able to leave behind, quite happily, and with a sense
of a new insight. I see it more like shedding an old skin, part of
growing up.

Like Les, I feel the same awe and wonder, the same sense of enrichment
and empowerment, and the same sense of responsibility to my fellow man
that ensures a majority of non-believers are able and willing to live
according to a code of cooperation, respect and mutual support. A lack
of religious belief does not impart complete freedom of choice and
action, as some would like to think.

pg

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 1:56:28 AM10/3/06
to
"Michael J Davis" <?.?@trustsof.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:QnQNGlD8...@trustsof.demon.co.uk.invalid...

| In message <4obq18F...@individual.net>, Les Hemmings
| <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> writes
| >Kendall K. Down wrote:
| >>
| >> God bless,
| >> Kendall K. Down
| >
| >god bless? Why would you say that to an atheist if not to be "silly"
as you
| >put it. It's one of the nastiest sides of christianity. All this
"I'll pray
| >for you...." "god bless you..." etc. Nauseating
|
| But surely just a meaningless remark to you? Why nauseating?
|
| Most of the atheists I have told I was praying for have at least
| accepted it as a sign of my goodwill and concern.
|
| Blessings

I wouldn't go quite as far as "nauseating", but I imagine most
non-believers would find it at least a touch patronising. So no, I don't
find it meaningless. Although there can be no precise equivalent as I
cannot invoke a higher power, it is as if - knowing that I am addressing
a believer - I finished each exchange in this newsgroup with something
along the lines of:

"May you know the truth and responsibility of life without the crutch of
false beliefs" or "may common sense lift the wool from the eyes of the
deluded". Clumsy I know. I'll try to come up with something more
succinct...

Sincerely meant, of course, as a sign of my goodwill and concern.

pg

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Oct 3, 2006, 2:01:11 AM10/3/06
to
"Marcus Maxwell" <marcus....@REMOVEntlworld.com.easynews.com> wrote
in message news:Xns9851117ACB9...@140.99.99.130...

On the contrary, I see no inference that the misleading is deliberate.
Most atheists would suggest no such thing. The point is that the
consequences are the same, and here I agree with Les wholeheartedly.

Michael J Davis

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Oct 3, 2006, 8:38:16 AM10/3/06
to
In message <4521fb8d$0$27380$ba4a...@news.orange.fr>, pg
<pg...@alpesprovence.net> writes

LOL!

I'll pray that you do!

>Sincerely meant, of course, as a sign of my goodwill and concern.

Indeed.

Mike

--
Michael J Davis

<><
Religion is worthless unless it helps us rise above it to get closer to God
<><

Alec Brady

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Oct 3, 2006, 9:51:03 AM10/3/06
to
On Tue, 3 Oct 2006 07:56:28 +0200, in
<4521fb8d$0$27380$ba4a...@news.orange.fr>,
"pg" <pg...@alpesprovence.net> wrote:


>I wouldn't go quite as far as "nauseating", but I imagine most
>non-believers would find it at least a touch patronising. So no, I don't
>find it meaningless. Although there can be no precise equivalent as I
>cannot invoke a higher power, it is as if - knowing that I am addressing
>a believer - I finished each exchange in this newsgroup with something
>along the lines of:
>
>"May you know the truth and responsibility of life without the crutch of
>false beliefs" or "may common sense lift the wool from the eyes of the
>deluded". Clumsy I know. I'll try to come up with something more
>succinct...

Whether they find it patronising says more about them than about us.
It's a fairly ordinary Christian salutation.

All the best
--
Alec Brady
"You have to regard everything I say with suspicion - I may be trying to
bullshit you, or I may just be bullshitting you inadvertently."
- J. Wainwright Mathematics 140b

Richard Corfield

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Oct 3, 2006, 11:45:11 AM10/3/06
to
On 2006-10-03, Marcus Maxwell <marcus....@REMOVEntlworld.com.easynews.com> wrote:
>
> (The same assumption is inherent in the title of Dawkins's book, and since
> he long ago had the issue pointed out to him, I assume he chose it simply
> for its rhetorical appeal rather than out of honest conviction.)
>

I found it interesting - "The God Delusion" - because in some Hindu
philosophy at least we see things like "Deluded is he that says there
is no God". (I've leant my copy of the Gita out so can't give the
exact quote)

Marcus Maxwell

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Oct 3, 2006, 11:44:10 AM10/3/06
to
"pg" <pg...@alpesprovence.net> wrote in news:4521fca8$0$27380$ba4acef3
@news.orange.fr:

Perhaps not - to me, the word "delusion" tends to be indicative of
deliberate misleading, as in to delude someone, rather than, say,
"illusion." However, Les certainly said such a thing.

> Most atheists would suggest no such thing. The point is that the
> consequences are the same, and here I agree with Les wholeheartedly.

The end result may be the same in the sense that the child may grow up
to discover that its parents were wrong; it is not the same as
discovering that they deliberately misled it.

--
Marcus Maxwell

Marcus Maxwell

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Oct 3, 2006, 11:47:19 AM10/3/06
to
Simon Robinson <em...@via.my.web.site.com> wrote in news:4oem45Fe754tU1
@individual.net:

<snip>

I broadly agree with Simon.

--
Marcus Maxwell

Marcus Maxwell

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 11:50:27 AM10/3/06
to
Richard Corfield <Richard....@gmail.com> wrote in
news:slrnei43ad.nt4....@gateway.internal.littondale.dyndns.org
:

> On 2006-10-02, Quasin <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote:
>>
>> Aside from the fact that it misses the point that
>> Christianity is about enjoying God now whether or not there
>> is anything after this life.
>
> I wonder if this is a more modern interpretation. It's a good one, and
> common elsewhere too.
>

It's pretty old, surely? Doesn't the Old Testament pretty much assume that
God is for here and now, and death is pretty much final?

--
Marcus Maxwell

Kendall K. Down

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Oct 3, 2006, 2:56:38 AM10/3/06
to
In message <4obpmrF...@individual.net>
"Les Hemmings" <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> wrote:

> I just see what harm religion has, and is, doing to my species. I have had
> spiritual experiences too. Faced with nature, love, fatherhood and the
> sciences i have often been moved. Bought to tears during the last total
> solar eclipse here in the uk from the sheer majesty of the universe we
> inhabit. These highly emotional, deeply satisfying states (also achieved
> personally with LSD and MDMA

Ah. So we have a drug user lecturing us on logic. Very Pratchett.

God bless,
Kendall K. Down

--

Kendall K. Down

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 2:50:55 AM10/3/06
to
In message <4obq18F...@individual.net>
"Les Hemmings" <les.fron...@lobesvirgin.net> wrote:

> god bless? Why would you say that to an atheist if not to be "silly" as you
> put it. It's one of the nastiest sides of christianity. All this "I'll pray
> for you...." "god bless you..." etc. Nauseating

Because I hope that God will bless you with wisdom, discernment and a
knowledge of Himself. Be assured, however, that in no way am I seeking to
infringe your right to go to hell.

God bless,
Kendall K. Down

--

Kendall K. Down

unread,
Oct 3, 2006, 2:54:00 AM10/3/06
to
In message <4520ba44$0$25944$ba4a...@news.orange.fr>
"pg" <pg...@alpesprovence.net> wrote:

> So from hearsay, without first hand knowledge, you would dismiss an
> alternative position out of hand. Clearly in terms of evidentiary
> status, the bible is right up your street!

Odd, isn't it? Even more odd is the fact that I adopt the same dismissive
attitude towards drinking cyanide, eating transfatty acids and putting a
toaster in my bath.

As you are a person who will accept nothing except by personal trial, I
would be interested in seeing a picture of you. I presume something would be
visible over or under the bandages.

Kendall K. Down

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Oct 3, 2006, 3:04:01 AM10/3/06
to
In message <45216D6C...@nosuchisp.com>
Quasin <qua...@nosuchisp.com> wrote:

> Yes but, Pascal's wager has to do with whether it makes
> sense to become a Christian if you *don't know* if there's
> more than this life.
> Your "free bet" sounds like you think being Christian costs
> nothing, so why not - if there's eternal life you win all,
> if no eternal life you lose nothing.

Hmmmm. Let's think about that a bit.



> But for most, Christianity costs something: one morning a
> week at minimum, your life or your job or you family for
> some. Then if you aren't sure if there is such a thing as
> eternal life, you are being asked to spend a whole lot more
> than a postage stamp on the uncertain chance of winning a
> prize. Of you win you win big but if you lose because in
> fact there is no next life, you lose everything.

Everything? Lose?

People who believe in God and attend church live longer. So even if there is
no God, you're still a winner. They also report higher levels of happiness
and lower levels of stress. Sounds good to me. (I am aware that there are
exceptions to these generalisations, of course.) You have a wider circle of
friends, you get to mix with the nicest people (Southern Baptists excepted),
you spend no more than you might spend on joining a golf club or the Rotary
and it takes no more time (less, if your alternative is fishing). Sounds
good to me.

> Which is why Pascal's wager is unconvincing to any
> non-believer who doesn't dislike being alive.

Gosh! I'd be really worried if you didn't have the final paragraph.



> Aside from the fact that it misses the point that
> Christianity is about enjoying God now whether or not there
> is anything after this life.

Christianity is definitely life-enhancing. As the Founder said, "I am come
that they might have life - and have it more abundantly." All this and
heaven too!

God bless,
Kendall K. Down

--