(1) ToothyWiki don't do apostrophes in the title of pages. Ergo "I am talking about religion" rather than "I'm talking about religion". This gives the impression that my rantings are well thought out/spelt, sorry, not a chance. Same old Edith.
(2) Actual topic: Well with all the God-bashing I seem to do and the actual religious debates happening around here I might as well refine my position a little:
(2a) God-Bashing. Yes I make jokes about Christianity, I feel perfectly justified in doing so despite not being Christian. I have been raised as a Christian (well, sort of, the school curriculum was certainly based on a Christian up-bringing) in a Christian country, my relatives are Christian and until such a time as I was allowed to make my own decision on the matter (and for a number of years until I was such an age that people realised I was actually serious about it) I was by default labelled Christian. I am not Christian but Christianity is part of my heritage, it is part of who I am whether I like it or not. I therefore feel fully justified in critising it, or at least aspects I find silly, especially when they still affect me. I hereby claim OwnMotherRights on jokes.
Having said that I realise people take these things a little more seriously than I do and could well get offended by my light-hearted quips. In general I try not to say things that are actually offensive and I don't intend to hurt people with what I say for the hell of it (there are occasions I will hurt people with what I say for a very good reason but I try to minimise these events, they should be pretty obvious). I expect people to be able to distinguish between a joke and insult, if they can't then I suggest they learn and will continue to provide examples of light-hearted quips until they do so.
(2b) What I actually believe (definition of believe=suspect/hold to be the most likely explanation): Basically on a lack of convincing evidence of anything else in particular basis:
There is no God.
There are no absolute morals.
There is no afterlife.
There is no absolute fate. There is cause, effect and uncertainty however.
Perfect free will is Godhood, or at very least freedom from cause and effect.
Hmm, that comment reminds me of one of Spinoza's ideas, have you read him/about him? -- Xarak
Insomuch as we are part of a system of cause and effect we have the ability to affect the system we are part of in limited manners, this is a reasonable approximation to free will. It is largely an illusion.
Humans have sophisticated societies. They will tend towards benefitting these social structures.
There is no such thing as a perfect person or society.
Humans are not logical creatures. They are creatures which occasionally accept logic.
I am an illogical creature attempting to analyse the world logically, I will only ever have limited sucess and my findings may not guide my subsequent actions.
I could be wrong about any of the above. But until I decide otherwise I'll stick with what I have ok?
(2d) Responses to Relgious ramblings elsewhere now I've had time to think about things (may prove offensive but hopefully will prove informative and stimulating. Note, probably not joking here):
Hmmm, I seem to be running through an internal Q&A here trying to justify my position on God. I am aware of the dangers of supplying foolish arguments for me to knock over and feel good about it. Outside comments more than welcome here:
God has sent evidence that he exists - Lots and lots of people
Must have missed it. Seriously, if the issue is of such vital importance to my very wellbeing and immortal soul then why isn't it so fundamentally obvious that I don't even have to consider it to be flawed unless I get metaphysical? I don't have to believe in the chair I'm sitting on, I am fundamentally convinced it exists (insert argument about flawed input data here). Surely a loving, omnipotent God who thought it so incredibly vital that I believe he exists wouldn't have left any ambiguity in the matter.
God does not provide undeniability that He exists as to do so would be to deny free will - Argument heard voiced by several people.
Something strikes me as fundamentally silly about this argument. To inform reduces the logical choices yes, but I would rather not live in ignorance. I would rather make an informed choice than to rely on guesswork. The only logical option I can think of is that the choice of whether to worship god when you know the full facts is such that it would put anyone faced with the complete truth in a position where they were unable to choose or their choice meaningless. Either way I'm not entirely enamoured with the decision to worship in ignorance.
If the existence of a loving god who was to offer you eternal life and happiness if you loved him back was made known to you then you would be unable to love him. - Fewer people still, but generally those better informed.
After running into logic holes in thinking about this in both argument and counter-argument I have to examine the basic tenents of each and I suspect I run into a problem along the lines of WhatIsLove?? I'm sure there are good definitions out there. I'd like to hear them at very least. --Edith
(more Edith, this gets long and messy as I consider things and think aloud.) While I accept the argument that it's impossible to truly love someone while the option is "love me and get eternal bliss, don't love me and lose out" I find it impossible to accept that a being that offers me that option is deserving of my love. Love is mutual and unconditional. Why should I love God? Why should God love me? I suppose someone has to start the lovin', although that doesn't seem to be the way it normally works in practice, it seems to be more a step-by-step process, or possibly one of those leaps of faith whatsit. The problem is I see no reason to begin such a thing. I see no one to love, no creator, no omnipotent being, just me and the folks around me and I tend to love them, well some of them. Saying that the leap of faith to love God is to take all the hints he's been dropping (the whole sending his one and only son thing) and make the leap of faith that He exists is fair enough. The hints seem a pretty arbitary way of doing things and I fail to be sufficently convinced to make any such leap of faith. The fundamental problem is that I don't see anything to love and making a jump that if I suddenly decide to believe and love in a being which I am not convinced exists things will be better seems delusional. Making such a jump without thinking things will be better seems insane.
(yet more Edith here, caffeine-fueled brain cells pondering aloud once again) The argument seems more and more condradictory the more I think about it. Once I have heard the argument I can:
(a) Accept that there is a God and that the argument is true. Therefore I cannot love God as I believe I have a proverbial gun to my head with God screaming at me to love him or else.
(b) Accept that there is a God and that the argument is false. Therefore the argument is false and it does not sufficiently explain why God is so reluctanct to show himself. The argument becomes useless.
(c) Disbelieve there is a God, in which case the argument falls apart and becomes useless.
Therefore the argument is either useless or I'll be missing out on eternal bliss because of it. While this does not ruin the argument it strikes me as a very poor reason to believe in God and make that leap of faith.
(And Edith goes on. This one really has me worked up for some reason) How can I love something which I do not know? I do not expect to understand something fully to love it. To fully know something worth loving is impossible. However it is a general principle that the more I know it, the deeper the love, and/or the hate. God either does not exist or refuses to make himself blatently obvious, not allowing me to know Him to love him. Certainly I can study theology and love Him that way but that seems somewhat false, especially given the various mutually exclusive options available theology-wise and possibility of translation/editor errors. A God who hides and refuses to allow me to find out about him directly by letting me know He exists and telling me about himself doesn't seem like the kind of God I want to love anyway.
I've probably misrepresented enough Christianity to stop now. --Edith