The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

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The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by XAtheistXX » Thu May 07, 2009 4:36 pm

I finally got my account working so we can debate here. I'll let Meta post his opening statement first and I'll reply and so on and people can vote on who won after the number of exchanges has been worked out. Sound like a plan?

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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by Metacrock » Thu May 07, 2009 5:07 pm

XAtheistXX wrote:I finally got my account working so we can debate here. I'll let Meta post his opening statement first and I'll reply and so on and people can vote on who won after the number of exchanges has been worked out. Sound like a plan?

great, welcome to the board. Good to see you. I'll get cracking on it after dinner, latter tonight. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by XAtheistXX » Thu May 07, 2009 5:15 pm

Thank you for the welcome.

"I'll get cracking on it after dinner, latter tonight."

I'm looking forward to it :D

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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by Metacrock » Thu May 07, 2009 8:37 pm

OK, I am not longer into making God arguments. To understand why read this:

Realizing God

http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2008/11/r ... g-god.html

and here:

The real reason for belief in God:
http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2008/10/a ... ch-is.html

But I will make two arguments here. These are not arguments to prove the existence of God. Instead my goal is to defend the following proposition: Religious belief is rationally warranted That is all I'm concerned with showing at this time. Please read the above articles to understand why.

Opening observation:

I. Religious Experience is Regular, Consistent, and in the sense of being inter-subjective is shared by millions of people in all cultures and times.

There are 350 empirical scientific studies that demonstrate this observation. I can't show you the studies here, that would take too long and too much copying. I don't have them all on my book shelve but I have some of the major ones. I can show you that there is a vast body of scientific done on the subject and all of that works shows the valid and advantageous nature
of religious experince. none of them, not one single study, shows that religious experince is bad for you. These are not done by Christians they are done by real social scientists and are published in real academic journals.

One of the best articles which gives us a sweeping panaramic view of the major studies done in the 90s and some from the early 2000's is an article by an Indian psychologist named Mohan. I will quote a couple of passages, the article is found here:

http://ipi.org.in/texts/ip2/ip2-4.5-.htm

I urge you to read it. In summarizing the studies Mohan says:
Both religion and spirituality are universal and widespread phenomena, in that they are integral to numerous cultures, and influence people of all ages, socio-economic status, and educational levels. They continue to live because of, among other things, social influences and need satisfaction. Every aspect of life, particularly in the East, is more or less imbued with religious sentiments or perceived as part of religious life. It is estimated that 94% of the American population believe in God, 88% believe God loves them, 81% believe we will be called before God on Judgement Day, 71% believe in life after death. More people have confidence in organised religion than in any other social institution (Gallup & Castelli, 1989).
He goes on:
Psychological well-being: definition

Since recorded history, philosophers have always considered happiness to be the highest good and ultimate motivation for human functioning, but it is only recently that excellent reviews of the history and philosophy of happiness have begun to appear in psychological literature (Diener et al., 1999; Chekola, 1975; Culberson, 1977; Willson, 1967). There have been many attempts to describe psychological health in ideal terms which give us a list of qualities that constitute a mature, healthy, fully functioning, self-actualizing person. It is important to examine the definitions provided by some health psychologists who have, in their attempts to define a healthy individual, spelt out a list of specific characteristics, mostly based on research and observation, that could be associated with an individual who is psychologically healthy and experiences a state of well-being most of the time.

In her analysis of many definitions Jahoda (1958), says positive mental health is based on the following: (1) Attitudes towards the self which include the accessibility of the self to consciousness, a correct self-concept which is one’s sense of identity and the acceptance of one’s self. (2) Growth, development and self-actualization (3) Integration (4) Autonomy (5) Perception of reality and (6) Environmental Mastery which includes abilities to work, love and play, adequate interpersonal relationships, the ability to meet situational requirements, adaptation and adjustment, and efficiency in problem solving.

David Seedhouse (1995), introspects that the term “well-being” as used in present day health promotion literature is an extremely vague notion. While psychologists believe well-being is constructed out of three components: (1) Life-satisfaction (2) Positive affect and (3) low Negative affect, the author concludes that judgements of well-being are irreducibly subjective and that the meaning and content of the term are seen to fluctuate, depending on who is using it and why it is being used. Myers and Diener (1995) in their paper entitled “Who is happy?” define high subjective well-being as frequent positive affect, infrequent negative affect and a global sense of satisfaction with life.

Based on the above discussion an operational definition of well-being may include the following: Firstly it may be understood as a scientific sounding term for what people usually mean by happiness. Secondly, it refers to what people think and feel about themselves i.e., the cognitive and affective conclusions they reach when they evaluate their existence. Thirdly, it involves the individual’s entire condition i.e., psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of one’s existence, and fourthly well-being is a relative state of affairs—relative to the situation as well as to the values of the particular culture one belongs to, such as the traditional “Indianness” of avoiding extreme and maintaining equilibrium, of having good health and practicing self control, self-realization and dissolution of the self.

Research studies

For the purpose of this review of studies relating spirituality with psychological well-being, studies involving religious influence have also been considered as they are closely related to spirituality.

Spirituality and well-being

From time immemorial it is believed that spiritual experiences and practices have a therapeutic value in so far as they are capable of establishing an integrated personality. A report (Culligan, 1996) of a 1995 conference held at Harvard University reflects the new collaborative attempts of religion and medicine wherein there is a recognition of the power of religion and spiritual practices in medical treatment. The conference explored the relationship between spirituality and healing in medicine, with reference to the major world religions, and it provided a platform to discuss the physiological, neurological and psychological effects of healing resulting from spirituality.

Several recent studies (Allman et al., 1992; Elkins, 1995; Shafranske & Malony, 1990) have shown that the majority of practicing psychologists though not involved in organized religion, consider spirituality important not only to their personal lives but also to their clinical work. In a study Sullivan (1993) reports findings from a larger qualitative study that is seeking to discover factors associated with the successful adjustment of former and current consumers of mental health services. The study concludes that spiritual beliefs and practices were identified as essential to the success of 48% of the informants interviewed.

Vaughan (1991) explored the relevance of spiritual issues for individual psychotherapy among those motivated by spiritual aspiration and concluded that spirituality underlies both, personal impulses to growth and healing, and many creative cultural and social enterprises. Spitznagel (1992) and Sweeney and Witmer (1992) discussed the spiritual element in the well-ness model approach to work-adjustment and rehabilitation counselling and said that this holistic concept of working with clients is generally centred on faith, belief and values. Westgate (1996) in her review proposed four dimensions of spiritual wellness: (1) meaning in life (2) intrinsic value (3) transcendence and (4) spiritual communality. The paper also discussed the implications of these dimensions for research, counselling and counsellor education.

In a two year exploratory group study of participants in spiritual healing practices, Glik (1986) found that the healing which occurred is related to various measures of psychological wellness defined as the construct of subjective health. Fehring et al., (1987) correlating studies that investigate the relationship between spirituality and psychological mood states in response to life change, found that spiritual well-being, existential well-being and a spiritual outlook showed a strong inverse relationship with negative moods, suggesting that spiritual variables may influence well-being.

Over the years numerous claims have been made about the nature of spiritual/mystical and Maslow’s “peak experiences”, and about their consequences. Wuthnow (1978) set out to explore findings regarding peak experiences from a systematic random sample of 1000 persons and found that peak experiences are common to a wide cross-section of people, and that one in two has experienced contact with the holy or sacred, more than eight in ten have been moved deeply by the beauty of nature and four in ten have experienced being in harmony with the universe. Of these, more than half in each have had peak experiences which have had deep and lasting effects on their lives. Peakers are more likely also, to say they value working for social change, helping to solve social problems, and helping people in need. Wuthnow stressed the therapeutic value of these experiences and also the need to study the social significance of these experiences in bringing about a world in which problems such as social disintegration, prejudice and poverty can be eradicated. Savage et al., (1995) provided clinical evidence to suggest that peakers produce greater feelings of self-confidence and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. Mogar’s (1965) research also tended to confirm these findings.

Some researchers in the recent past have found that life satisfaction correlated positively with mystical / spiritual experiences, and these experiences were further found to relate positively to one’s life purpose (Kass, et al., 1991). In fact researchers are of the view that a positive relation between positive affect and mystical experiences may not be surprising given that intense positive affect is often considered to be one of the defining characteristics of these experiences (Noble, 1985; Spilka, Hood & Gorsuch, 1985). The few studies that investigated well-being measures, spirituality and spiritual experience have found that people who have had spiritual experiences are in the normal range of well-being and have a tendency to report more extreme positive feelings than others (Kennedy, Kanthamani & Palmer, 1994; Kennedy & Kanthamani, 1995).

Spiritual experiences are also considered to be exceptional human experiences at the upper end of the normal range such as creative inspiration and exceptional human performance, and can be life changing. Fahlberg, Wolfer and Fahlberg (1992) interpreted personal crises from a developmental perspective that includes the possibility of self-transcendence through spiritual experience / or emergency. The authors suggest that health professionals need to recognize, facilitate and support positive growth experiences.

A study by De Roganio (1997) content-analyzed and organized into a paradigm case examples found in themes of 35 lived-experience informants and 14 autobiographers who represented a wide range of people with physical disability and chronic illness. It was found that the combined elements of spiritual transformation, hope, personal control, positive social support and a meaningful energetic life enabled individuals to improve themselves and come to terms with their respective conditions. These experiences led many people to realize their own interest, sense of wholeness and unity, and to experience and integrate a deeper meaning, sense of self and spirituality within their lives.

Some studies have offered a spiritual approach to addiction problems. Caroll (1993) found that 100 members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) benefited from spirituality which was found to correlate positively with having a purpose in life and the length of sobriety. Frame and Williams (1996), in their study of religions and spiritual dimensions of the African-American culture, address the role of spirituality in shaping identity, and conclude that reconnecting AA clients to their powerful spiritual tradition may be a crucial catalyst for personal empowerment and spiritual liberation. The finding was confirmed in a later study by Wif and Carmen (1996). Another study reported by Green et al., (1998) described the process of spiritual awakening experienced by some persons in recovery during the quest for sobriety. The data suggested that persons in recovery often undergo life altering transformations as a result of embracing a power higher than one’s self i.e., a “higher power”. The result is often the beginning of an intense spiritual journey that leads to sustained abstinence.

In the last few years investigators in the rapidly growing field of mind-body medicine are coming across findings that suggest that an attitude of openness to unusual experiences such as spiritual, transcendental, peak, mystical may be conducive to health and well-being. For example, Dean Ornish, a heart disease researcher, believes that “opening your heart” to “experience a higher force” is in an important component of his programme for reversing heart disease (Ornish, 1990, chapter 9). There are also studies that relate illness with spirituality: Reese (1997) found in her study of terminally ill adults aged 20-85 years that, (1) they had a greater spiritual perspective than non-terminally ill hospitalized adults and adults, (2) their spiritual perspective was positively related to well-being and (3) a significant larger number of terminally ill adults indicated a change toward increased spirituality than did non-terminally ill or healthy adults.

Further, McDowell et al., (1996) investigated the importance of spirituality among 101 severely mentally ill and chronically dependent in-patients, and 31 members of the nursing staff who treated them. It was found that both the patients and the staff who treated them were equally spiritually oriented, and that the patients viewed spirituality as essential to their recovery and they valued the spiritual programme in their treatment more than some of the more concrete items.

Numerous studies have found positive relationships between religious beliefs and practices and physical or mental health measures. Although it appears that religious belief and participation may possibly influence one’s subjective well-being, many questions need to be answered such as when and why religion is related to psychological well-being. A review by Worthington et al., (1996) offers some tentative answers as to why religion may sometimes have positive effects on individuals. Religion may (a) produce a sense of meaning, something worth living and dying for (Spilka, Shaves & Kirkpath, 1985); (b) stimulate hope (Scheier & Carver, 1987) and optimism (Seligman, 1991); (c) give religious people a sense of control by a beneficient God, which compensates for reduced personal control (Pargament et al., 1987); (d) prescribe a healthier lifestyle that yields positive health and mental health outcomes; (e) set positive social norms that elicit approval, nurturance, and acceptance from others; (f) provide a social support network; or (g) give the person a sense of the supernatural that is certainly a psychological boost-but may also be a spiritual boost that cannot be measured phenomenologically (Bergin & Payne, 1993). It is also reported by Myers and Diener (1995) that people who experience a sustained level of happiness are more likely to say that they have a meaningful religious faith than people who are not happy over a long period of time.

A study by Handway (1978) on religiosity concluded that religion is one potential resource in people’s lives. More recently Myers and Diener (1995) in their survey of related studies observe that links between religion and mental health are impressive and that culture and religiosity may provide better clues to understanding the nature of well-being. Religious belief and practice play an important role in the lives of millions of people worldwide. A review by Selway and Ashman (1998) highlighted the potential of religion to effect the lives of people with disabilities, their families and care givers.

Research relating stress to religion indicated that religious and non-religious people tend to experience equal amounts of stress but religion may help people deal better with negative life events and their attendant stress (Schafer & King, 1990). A study by Maton (1989) supports the view that high level of stress individuals are likely to benefit from perceived spiritual support and is consistent with the stress and coping model based on religion proposed by Pargament. Anson et al., (1990) found that belonging to a religious community reduced stress whereas personal religious beliefs did not among 230 members of a kibbutzim. Similar findings were obtained by Williams et al., (1991) where for 720 adults religious attendance buffered the deleterious effects of stress on mental health. Courtenary et al., (1992) found a significant relationship between religiosity and physical health and that religion and coping were strongly related especially among the oldest-old.

With regard to coping Pargament (1996) cites five studies that show that religious forms of coping are especially helpful to people in uncontrollable, unmanageable or otherwise difficult situations. In the same lines Moran also believes that survivors of crisis or disaster may benefit by experiencing God as a refuge and as a reason to have hope (Moran, 1990). Patricia (1998) in her review shows how religion and spirituality help adult survivors of childhood violence.

Individuals with strong religious faith have been found to report higher levels of life satisfaction, greater personal happiness, and fewer negative psychological consequences of traumatic life events (Ellison, 1991). Anson et al., (1990) examined among 639 Jewish retirees over 60 years the relationship between self-rated religiosity, physical and psychological well-being and life satisfaction using data from a longitudinal study. Findings revealed religiosity was only weakly and inversely related to health and psychological distress, poor well-being at time 1 and a decline in well-being during the follow-up year led to an increase in religiosity. Ellis and Smith (1991) administered to 100 undergraduate students the Reasons for Living Inventory (RFL) and a spiritual well-being scale, and found a positive correlation between religious well-being and the total RFL score. Ellison’s (1993) data from a national survey of Black Americans supported the hypothesis that participation in Church communities fosters positive self-perception.

There have been studies on the effects of religiosity. A study by Mookherjee (1994) found that the perception of well-being was positively and significantly influenced by, among other things, church membership and frequency of church attendance. Blaine and Crocker (1995) found that religious belief salience and psychological well-being were moderately positively correlated among Black students. Two-thirds of the panel reported a consistently positive attitude –toward being religious when subjects attached importance to being religious even after 14 years later (Atchley, 1997).

Many psychologists who study religion distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientation (Paloutzian, 1996). An intrinsic orientation involves internal religious motives within a person. On the contrary extrinsic orientation involves external motives outside of the religion, using the religion for unreligious ends. There appears to be a positive correlation between intrinsically religious people (religion as an end in itself) deriving substantial positive mental health benefit from their religion (Donahue, 1985). Intrinsic religiosity has been related to the following qualities characterising positive mental health: internal locus of control, intrinsic motivational traits, sociability, sense of well-being, responsibility, self-control, tolerance, and so on (Bergin, 1991).

A long standing misconception is that religion is a crutch for the weak. However, researchers in the psychology of religion have found that many religious individuals were competent. Payne et al., (1991) in their review on religion and mental health found that there was a positive influence of intrinsic religiosity on mental health in regard to well-being. In one study (Ventis, 1995) found that individuals with intrinsic religious motivation reported a greater sense of competence and control, as well as less worry and guilt than did individuals with extrinsic religious motivation. In another study by (Genia, 1998) it was found that intrinsically religious and pro-religious students reported greater existential well-being than extrinsic or nonreligious subjects.

As Indian culture has a long tradition of spiritual practitioners as well as authentic records of spiritual experiences it will not be out of place here to consider them briefly. In addition their contribution to well-being is not inconsiderable.
two of the major studies, Wuthnow and Nobel summarize the characteristic of self actualization demonstrated in the their studies. In other words, these are characteristics that
the studies show people who have dramatic religious experince have to a greater extent than those who do not have such experiences.

Long-Term Effects

Wuthnow:

*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style

Noble:

*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion




From Council on Spiritual Practices Website

"States of Univtive Consciousness"

http://csp.org/experience/docs/unitive_ ... sness.html


Also called Transcendent Experiences, Ego-Transcendence, Intense Religious Experience, Peak Experiences, Mystical Experiences, Cosmic Consciousness. Sources:

Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.

Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.
Lukoff, David & Francis G. Lu (1988). ``Transpersonal psychology research review: Topic: Mystical experiences.'' Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 20 (2), 161-184.

Roger Walsh (1980). The consciousness disciplines and the behavioral sciences: Questions of comparison and assessment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(6), 663-673.

Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (1983). ``Psychedelic Drugs in Psychiatry'' in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, New York: Basic Books.

Furthermore, Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being. (Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.)


this is just a tip of the ice berg. In the next post in this this thread I will make the arguments that spin off of this observation.
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2 arguments

Post by Metacrock » Thu May 07, 2009 8:44 pm

I. Argument from Epistemic Judgement




(1) No empirical evidence can prove the existence of the external world, other minds, or the reality of history, or other such basic things.

(2) We do not find this epistemological dilemma debilitating on a daily basis because we assume that if our experiences are consistent and regular than we can navigate in "reality" whether it is ultimately illusory of not.

(3) Consistency and regularity of personal experience is the key.

(4) religious experience can also be regular and consistent, perhaps not to the same degree, but in the same way.

(5) Inersubjective

RE of this type has a commonality shared by bleievers all over the world, in different times and diffrent places, just as the exeternal world seems to be percieved the same by everyone.

(6) Reala and Lasting effects.


(7) therefore, we have as much justification for assuming religious belief based upon experince as for assuming the reality of the external world or the existence of other minds.






II. Argument from Transcendental Signifier




(1)Transendental Signifier (TS):


The signification mark (word) which refurs to the top of metphysical hieararchy; the organizing principle which makes sense of all sense data and groups it into a meaningful and coherent whole, through which meaning can be understood.The corrolary, the thing the Transcendental Signifier signifies, is the "Trnascendental Signified (designated as TSed)"

(2) Signifier:

The term used of writtern words in the linguistic theories know as "structurailsm" and in the theories of French Linguist Ferdenand Sassure. A signifer is a "marK," that is writting, which designates a concept forming a word, that which points to an object as the thing that it is and no other. ie, a phsyical tree is the signified, the object of the signifier "t-r-e-e."


Preliminary Observations:

(1) Any rational, coherent and meaningful view of the universe must of necessity presuppose an oranizing principle which makes sense of the universe and explains the hierarchy of conceptualization.

(2) Organizing principles are summed up in a single first principle which grounds any sort of metaphysical hierarchy, the Transcendental Signifier (TS)

(3) It is impossible to do without a Trancendental Signifyer, all attempts to do so have ended in the re-establishment of a new TS. This is because we caannot organize the universe without a princinple of organizing.

(4)TS functions Uniquely as Top of The Metaphysical Heirarchy.It's function is mutually exclusive.



Argument:


P1) TS's function is mutually exclusive, no other principle can superceed that of the TS since it alone grounds all principles and bestows meaning through orgnaization of concepts.

P2)We have no choice but to assume the relaity of some form of TSed since we cannot function coherently without a TS
P3) We have no choice but to assume the reality of some form of TSed since the universe does seem to fall into line with the meaning we bestow upon it.

P4) The logical conclusion would be that There must be a TSed which actually creates and organizes the Universe.

P5) The sifnifier "God" is one version of the TS, that is to say, God functions in the divine ecnomy exacly as the TS functions in a metaphysical hierarchy.

P6) Since "God" is a version of the TS, and since TS and God concept share a unique function which should be mutually exclusive, the logical conculusion is that: God and TS share identity.ie "God" concept is descrition of the Transcendental Signified.

P7)Since the TS should be assumed as real, and TS and God share identity, we should assume that God is the Transcendental Singified, and thus is an actual reality.

rational warrant for belief in God's existence, QED.


if you have trouble understanding this argument there is a long article i wrote on the cadre blog that gives some explaination. Its' long and hard to follow but I tried to make it as clear as I could. Please read it:

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2009 ... ent-i.html

your move
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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by XAtheistXX » Thu May 07, 2009 9:30 pm

Hi Meta,

I'm confused, if you don't want to debate the existence of God what are we going to debate?

But I will respond to your claims and we can go from there.

First to the two links you gave if I understand you right is that objective, scientific proof of God is not possible. It's something that you just know. Is that correct?

Then you argue that religious experiences make religious belief " rationally warranted" and that it's also good for you.

Ok

First I would like to argue that these religious experiences do not necessarily point to the Christian God. I agree 100 percent that people all over the world have religious experiences but again, I argue that this does not prove that these beliefs are based on truth. The reason is because scientists have done many studies by stimulating the brain and all people experience religious type feelings and visions. This is evidence that religious belief is what is often called "hard-wired".

Someone might argue that these beliefs were put there by the Christian God but I would argue that this is false because if the Christian God did implant these belief into people why do so many people worship other gods that are not the Christian God? These experiments also seem to show that all kinds of "supernatural" experiences can be recreated by stimulating the brain and out of body experiences, hearing voices, and other things and this goes a long ways to show that all these experiences are not actually happening in the world but happening only inside a person's head.

Evidence of this fact can be seen at the following links -

http://www.nature.com/news/2002/020919/ ... 916-8.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/023055.html



I would also argue that just because something might be good for you it doesn't make it true. And there are even studies showing that religion can be bad for you.

Such examples are that women who are very religious sometimes do not seek prenatal care and in a study women who did not seek medical care perinatal mortality was 3 times greater than women who got medical care.

Also "Christian scientists" who did not consult doctors had significantly higher (p = .003) death rates than people who more regularly consulted doctors

-- Simpson, W.F. Comparative Longevity in College a Cohort of Christian Scientists. The Journal of the American Medical Assoc. 262: 1657-1658, 1989

I'd also like to point out that many times religious belief can cause violence and bigotry that causes wars and hate crimes. The murder of homosexuals is one example. Another example of the harm religion can cause is that it sometimes can stifle scientific cures, or preventions like condom use, the vaccine for the HPV virus and stem cell research.

I'm looking forward to your other arguments.

Thank you.

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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by XAtheistXX » Thu May 07, 2009 9:32 pm

It looks like we were posting at the same time. I'll get to your other arguments soon.

thank you

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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by XAtheistXX » Thu May 07, 2009 9:48 pm

As for your first argument called "Argument from Epistemic Judgement" I think you're pretty much arguing the same thing that you did before. That since most people have these experiences that's proof that these experiences represent reality. Is that right?

If I understand that argument I would just respond with what I wrote above, that these experiences do not represent reality and are only happening inside someone's head.

On to the second argument called the "Transcendental Signifier"

If I understand you right are you saying that we all need a basic principle, a starting point to interpret reality from? And this thing you would consider to be God? Is that right?

If I understand you right, I would disagree because this doesn't make God more likely. It seems that many things can be used as a basic principle and you're just saying that it's God, when something else could just as easily be that first principle.

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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by Metacrock » Thu May 07, 2009 9:54 pm

XAtheistXX wrote:Hi Meta,
I'm confused, if you don't want to debate the existence of God what are we going to debate?
The proposition that religious belief is rationally warranted. That doesn't necessitate proving God exists, jut proving that it's rational to believe in God.


But I will respond to your claims and we can go from there.

First to the two links you gave if I understand you right is that objective, scientific proof of God is not possible. It's something that you just know. Is that correct?
It's not a scientific subject so it has to be approached through other means, namely, philosophy, logic, reason, personal experince. Aboslute proof is not possible, the next best thing is that belief is rationally warranted.
Then you argue that religious experiences make religious belief " rationally warranted" and that it's also good for you.

right. it's rational to believe because it's good for you.

Ok
First I would like to argue that these religious experiences do not necessarily point to the Christian God. I agree 100 percent that people all over the world have religious experiences but again, I argue that this does not prove that these beliefs are based on truth. The reason is because scientists have done many studies by stimulating the brain and all people experience religious type feelings and visions. This is evidence that religious belief is what is often called "hard-wired".
That doesn't prove that religious experince can be reduced to just stimulating the brain. What's really going on in that stimulation is to open receptors to God's activity.

God created us as sentient beings. that means we have to communicate through the brain. So if God wants to give us a hint that he's there he has to use brain chemistry. That's no different than saying "if God wants to talk to us he speak into your ears."


Someone might argue that these beliefs were put there by the Christian God but I would argue that this is false because if the Christian God did implant these belief into people why do so many people worship other gods that are not the Christian God?

In my view that's not a consideration. I didn't say that I would debate that Christianity is the only rationally warranted religion. I just said religion itself is rationally warranted.

I am a Christian but I don't the truth or the unique nature of Christianity lies in being exclusive. Paul said people in other cultures and other faiths knew the true God too. Read Acts 17:21-19, and Romans 2:6-14.



These experiments also seem to show that all kinds of "supernatural" experiences can be recreated by stimulating the brain and out of body experiences, hearing voices, and other things and this goes a long ways to show that all these experiences are not actually happening in the world but happening only inside a person's head.
I want you to give me some documentation. I can demonstrate that those experiences are not proved to be valid religious experinces. But even if they were, this is nothing more than the innate sense of God that God himself put "on our hearts" so we would seek him. It proves nothing about the truth of God or the lack of God.

We experince God at the subliminal (mystical) level. Beyond words and images. when we load these experinces into language, we have to filter them through cultural constructs and this is what makes religions different. So they all reflect the same reality behind the constructs, but they are all tented by the cultures in which they are found.


Evidence of this fact can be seen at the following links -



http://www.nature.com/news/2002/020919/ ... 916-8.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/023055.html

hey don't take this as an insult or an attempt to show you up,I'm just being helpful, but you can make url's into links by using the url button on the tool bar right over the text box.

I would also argue that just because something might be good for you it doesn't make it true. And there are even studies showing that religion can be bad for you.
Quite the contrary. While that may not be the acid test of truth, it has always been seen a sign of truth content. We see this many areas:

(1) the theory of trouble shooting says try different approaches and see if it works, so there you have the idea that working is a sign of veracity.

(2) How do we know that science is true? What's the one test that we use to know that science is telling us the true picture? If it works. If it does what it is suppossed to do then it works. That is understood as "we know its true."

for example how do we know evolution is true? Because we can find evdience to demonstrate our predictions. So if the predictions work, (ie they do what they are suppossed to do) then they are true.

Religion is suppose to transform our lives. that's it's main function. That itslef could be an argument. I may add that to list of god arguments.



Such examples are that women who are very religious sometimes do not seek prenatal care and in a study women who did not seek medical care perinatal mortality was 3 times greater than women who got medical care.

that's not religious experince. That's the result of some religious sub culture and the doctrines they go by, it is not an example of religious experince of the sort I'm talking about. I didn't say you can't find screw up religious groups. But "mystical" or religious experince, the sort that created religion and that gives us the presence of God and keeps religion going has no deleterious effects.

Also "Christian scientists" who did not consult doctors had significantly higher (p = .003) death rates than people who more regularly consulted doctors
Christian science is not Christian. Its' a heretical sect. But remember now. we are no debating Christianity but religion in general. Christian science is not indicative of religious experience.



-- Simpson, W.F. Comparative Longevity in College a Cohort of Christian Scientists. The Journal of the American Medical Assoc. 262: 1657-1658, 1989
I'd also like to point out that many times religious belief can cause violence and bigotry that causes wars and hate crimes. The murder of homosexuals is one example. Another example of the harm religion can cause is that it sometimes can stifle scientific cures, or preventions like condom use, the vaccine for the HPV virus and stem cell research.

you can't prove it causes it. That may be a weak corroboration it's not a tight enough one to make causal connections.

The studies that I talk about demonstrate that those who have actual religious experiences are actually better about such things, less violent, greater social consciousness, and so on. That is directly refuted by my studies.
I'm looking forward to your other arguments.

Thank you.
[/quote]

Ok, it's up there. :mrgreen:
Have Theology, Will argue: wire Metacrock
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Re: The Existence of God - Metacrock vs. XAtheistXX

Post by Metacrock » Thu May 07, 2009 10:01 pm

XAtheistXX wrote:As for your first argument called "Argument from Epistemic Judgement" I think you're pretty much arguing the same thing that you did before. That since most people have these experiences that's proof that these experiences represent reality. Is that right?

If I understand that argument I would just respond with what I wrote above, that these experiences do not represent reality and are only happening inside someone's head.
that's beside the point. First of all if they were just in someone's head how can they change people's lives and make them better? It's clear some actual experince has happened.It's proved by brain waves, the effects on the people and a lot things.

More importantly, my argument says that we do not have an real evdience at the epistemological level. All we can do is make judgments, we can't know reality really is. We make those judgements based upon our experinces, if they are regular, constant and shared. the studies show RE (religious experience) is regular, consistent and shared.

Since RE fits the criteria we use to make judgments about reality we should be able to trust it and use it as guide to what is real.


On to the second argument called the "Transcendental Signifier"

If I understand you right are you saying that we all need a basic principle, a starting point to interpret reality from? And this thing you would consider to be God? Is that right?

If I understand you right, I would disagree because this doesn't make God more likely. It seems that many things can be used as a basic principle and you're just saying that it's God, when something else could just as easily be that first principle.

I am saying we can't do without this over arking principle. All people have them, we can't even talk without because language is based upon it. I call "organizing principals." science is based upon it. Since it's impossible to get by without it there must be one.

Derrida said God is the essential TS. In other words all the other organizing principles point to God as the ultimate organizing principle.
Have Theology, Will argue: wire Metacrock
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