Statesboro, GA, USA
Your line of defense is that "one cannot know". So be it. There is no way to really continue a discussion where one participant uses belief in a form of mythology, where nothing can be proven, as his rebuttal.
Actually I never said that "one cannot know". That seems to be your (and according to you Rand's) take on questions of spirituality. Remember?
Biblical historicity can be only be proven to the degree that any ancient history can be proven. The miraculous aspects I believe because I have known miracles myself. In the New Testament the miraculous becomes more central to the analysis of history, and therefore the history becomes more difficult to explain without it. But whatever the case is, it is different than "mythology" where "nothing may be proven". I can recommend some books by historians who demonstrate the historical cogency of Christian belief. Perhaps you've only assumed that it is too fantastical for historical consideration.
You think my use of a turtle is disrespectful? The Indians thought the world rested on the back of a huge tortoise.
The obvious difference is, they believed it. So yes, when you said that "bible" and "turtle" were interchangeable, you were making an essentially negative statement. There's nothing wrong with that, other than you are assuming that the two beliefs are proportionate and perfectly comparable. We could have a separate thread about how Christianity history differs from mythology if you wish, though the thread has been done before (some time before you started hanging out here in philo 101).
The Egyptians thought cats were gods (and the cats have never forgotten it!).
Actually due to my Christian belief, I would have to say cats are idols. My wife subscribes to the idolatry by catering to their every whim. I just exist in a kind of smouldering prophetic protest, (quietly of course for fear of excessive scratches).
I believe organized religions were founded for one reason....power. The crusades are an excellent example of that.
There's one problem with that. Organized religions were all at one time unorganized. And often their "organization" led to a veering from their original standards. The first Christians were a handful of fishermen who followed a man who denied (to his followers amazement) the then-contemporary Jewish view of the Messiah as a military conqueror. He emphatically refused to be made king, on more than one occasion. He warned his disciples against viewing leadership and power the way the "gentiles" did, as lording power over others. He spoke about the greatest among them being a servant. He warned Peter that "those who live by the sword will die by the sword". So your appeal to the Crusades as a proof of the corruption of religion, is just that ... proof that something good can be corrupted. Proof that something straight can be twisted. It shouldn't be used as an excuse not to consider the revelation given by Christ on its own terms. Jesus himself said that few would follow the purity of that revelation to the end. But, as much as I point out that it is no reason for avoidance, being offended at religious apostasy is a problem that I sympathize with.
Throughout history leaders have used religion as the base to get what they want, from the Inquisition to the suicide bombers of today.
Yes I agree with you. Religion has been used selfishly.
I have not found a religion that portrays our creator, or God, in a manner I can believe in. If I ever do, it will be a religion that exalts man, not preaches that he get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness.
If your conception is that the Bible devalues and belittles mankind, I think you ought to reconsider that view. Man was created in the very image of God (no small epithet of honor). The eighth Psalm in the Old Testament psalter muses "What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and honor". Mankind (not only mankind, but every indivdual man woman and child) is considered worth God sending his own son to die for.
So why all the reprimanding, all the rebuke of sin, etc ...? Because the Bible recognizes the truth that the greater they are, the harder they fall. The higher the being, the more convoluted and lamentable is its corruption. You may disagree with that assessment but it is realistic. All of the compaints you issued above, about crusades, power plays, and despicable tendencies to oppress others for personal advantage, are in line with my view not yours. I am permitted to view man as a King and a Tyrant. Why? Because that what he is. Blaise Pascal once wrote:
"What a chimera, then, is man! what a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe"
And whether you realize it or not, this fits your typical approach to humanity (in discussion and otherwise). You certainly don't act and speak as if everyone, every act, and every motive is exalted and noble. Christian theology of fallen greatness matches the realism of observation. Don't get stuck with a false philosophy that doesn't take all into account, but only half of man's condition. The greatest loves can turn into the stormiest kind of hate. But indifference can do neither.
Oh and by the way, this nobility only needs to get down on his knees and beg forgiveness if he really needs to! I know this one does, at least!
That doesn't make Jesus any more real than Buddha, Mohammed, Tao, the druids or the hundreds of gods the Egyptians, Inces, Aztecs and who-knows-else believed in. They are all figureheads, all concoctions of whatever religion created them.
You want to demonstrate (beyond a general statement) that either Jesus, Mohammed, or Buddha were mere only concotions of the religions that created them? You can start with Jesus if you wish. Make another thread.
Ayn Rand made it very clear. Since no one can know if there is their particular brand of God or if there is an afterlife, why not direct your efforts to your life here on this planet? Sounds reasonable to me....
I suppose it would be reasonable, if it were true that "no one can know". But the conclusion definitely depends upon that premise, which oddly involves an absolute knowledge of the agnosticism of everyone else. Also there's no reason to think that God doesn't help direct our "efforts here on planet earth". Being "heavenly minded" doesn't have to mean being "no earthly good". Time is partly the determiner of our eternity, and presents our greatest challenge here and now.
Actually, in my own personal opinion, I believe Ayn Rand DID believe in a God or afterlife of some kind, else why would she advocate anything?
I'm pretty sure she claimed to be an atheist. Upon what are you basing your personal opinion of her theism? Why advocate anything if there is no God, is an argument I've been using for years. But I assure you not everyone sees it that way. They take the Imago Dei they possess (which can't dispose of telos and purpose, despite their philosophy) quite for granted.
She simply did not feel the need, or reason, to expound on something impossible to prove and belived that life here was what should be focused on and that those who tell you to sacrifice your life here for rewards on some afterlife level are evil.
But there again, that depends upon the premise that the present always outweighs the demands of the future, and the premise that the demands of the "life to come" cannot be known. I've already demonstrated that these are questionable. It also depends upon a cynicism that is thoroughgoing and non-negotiable. I'm cynical myself of much, but I don't think everyone telling me to "lay up treasure in heaven" is doing so with an evil intent. If there's a Heaven, then it sounds pretty reasonable to me. And hey, I have to point out that if you think we're not going to just die and rot, you're already on your way to having a definite religious article of belief.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (07-10-2007 12:26 PM).]