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Author Topic: THANK GOD FOR THE ATHEISTS
scifibum
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Are you familiar with the studies showing that certain types of physical brain stimulation can provoke a holy-feeling experience? I wouldn't be surprised, given that evidence, if most experiences imputed to the divine shared similar brain patterns.

As you note, this wouldn't really resolve the question of God's existence. There's always the fallback "God of the gaps" argument, which can survive pretty much any level of detailed analysis of physical reality, if you want it to.

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Pete at Home
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"Are you familiar with the studies showing that certain types of physical brain stimulation can provoke a holy-feeling experience?"

Wow, I had no idea. That obviously would provide non-conclusive evidence *for* an external divinity, particularly if such stimulation could occur without opening the skull.

"As you note, this wouldn't really resolve the question of God's existence."

No, but findings might alternately render belief in God more or less apparently reasonable.

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scifibum
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quote:
That obviously would provide non-conclusive evidence *for* an external divinity, particularly if such stimulation could occur without opening the skull.
I don't know why you'd think so. The fact that if you poke people they say "ow" doesn't provide evidence that pain exists outside the body.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
That obviously would provide non-conclusive evidence *for* an external divinity, particularly if such stimulation could occur without opening the skull.
I don't know why you'd think so. The fact that if you poke people they say "ow" doesn't provide evidence that pain exists outside the body.
I don't know why you'd think otherwise. The fact that if you poke people they say "ow" does provide evidence that pain functions to detect stimuli from outside the body.
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scifibum
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Right, so let's be precise: what we'd have is evidence that a certain kind of stimulus can cause a certain kind of response. What we would NOT have is evidence that a supernatural entity has a habit of using that stimulus. We wouldn't even have any evidence of whether that particular stimulus/response is ever produced by something else. I don't think LSD trips are evidence for prophetic visions sent from God, either.

(Not to mention that it would be kind of sloppy of God to completely fail to provide any security for his authentication system, don't you think?)

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
"Are you familiar with the studies showing that certain types of physical brain stimulation can provoke a holy-feeling experience?"

Wow, I had no idea. That obviously would provide non-conclusive evidence *for* an external divinity, particularly if such stimulation could occur without opening the skull.

"As you note, this wouldn't really resolve the question of God's existence."

No, but findings might alternately render belief in God more or less apparently reasonable.

It seems to me that the answer is transparently the opposite, that by stimulating brain centers one induces exactly the kind of mental response that people claim from "religious experiences".

See how hard this is? If every effect "God" has on the brain can be replicated without any recourse to a divine experience, then it suggests that divine experience is a projection of a biological phenomenon.

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Um, I don't think you want to go down the path of asserting that a scientific method can be followed to provide a falsifiable proof of God's existence. Any plausible hypothesis could lead us to the FSM or more likely, a proof that we are living in the matrix. Either of those outcomes would be disappointing to some.

Hmmmm. I don't really know what you are saying, but it sounds to me like your knowledge in said field dwarfs my own and so I must yield to such a tightly coherent, logical, and reasonable argument. I will not go down whatever path you are suggesting I was on. Thank you for the warning. I feel enlightened.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:

See how hard this is? If every effect "God" has on the brain can be replicated without any recourse to a divine experience, then it suggests that divine experience is a projection of a biological phenomenon.

If I can replicate an orgasm without recourse to outside physical stimulation, does this mean that my hand does not exist?
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Right, so let's be precise: what we'd have is evidence that a certain kind of stimulus can cause a certain kind of response. What we would NOT have is evidence that a supernatural entity has a habit of using that stimulus. We wouldn't even have any evidence of whether that particular stimulus/response is ever produced by something else. I don't think LSD trips are evidence for prophetic visions sent from God, either.


I'm inclined to agree with SciFi. I'm not sure what would be proven by such a test as mentioned by Pete.
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AI Wessex
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"If I can replicate an orgasm without recourse to outside physical stimulation, does this mean that my hand does not exist?"

Does it mean that your hand *does* exist?

[ August 07, 2013, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"If I can replicate an orgasm without recourse to outside physical stimulation, does this mean that my hand does not exist?"

Does it mean that your hand *does* exist?

No. Which is why I don't see exactly what the point of the experiment suggested by Pete would be good for. He seems to be interested in showing that individuals having "spiritual" or "religious" experiences may be having similar or even interesting brain patterns. I havn't figured out why that would be insightful.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"If I can replicate an orgasm without recourse to outside physical stimulation, does this mean that my hand does not exist?"

Does it mean that your hand *does* exist?

No. But without additional information about you, the fact that you can replicate an orgasm without recourse to outside physical stimulation, constitutes non-conclusive evidence for the existence of your hand. The evidence of your typing answers to these hypotheticals on Ornery provides additional non-conclusive evidence that you "have hand", as George Constanza might say.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Right, so let's be precise: what we'd have is evidence that a certain kind of stimulus can cause a certain kind of response. What we would NOT have is evidence that a supernatural entity has a habit of using that stimulus.

So you're inserting "supernatural" as a requisite part of the definition of God?

If some entity is out there, picking up on prayers and answering them, you won't call that entity God unless you can scientifically prove that he's supernatural? That seems like a cheat, scifi. Reminds me of those American sales adds, "savings of up to 50% or more." That's an awfully safe bet you're making. [Smile] That we can't scientifically prove something that by definition is not scientifically proven.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
"Are you familiar with the studies showing that certain types of physical brain stimulation can provoke a holy-feeling experience?"

Wow, I had no idea. That obviously would provide non-conclusive evidence *for* an external divinity, particularly if such stimulation could occur without opening the skull.

"As you note, this wouldn't really resolve the question of God's existence."

No, but findings might alternately render belief in God more or less apparently reasonable.

It seems to me that the answer is transparently the opposite, that by stimulating brain centers one induces exactly the kind of mental response that people claim from "religious experiences".

See how hard this is? If every effect "God" has on the brain can be replicated without any recourse to a divine experience, then it suggests that divine experience is a projection of a biological phenomenon.

While I disagree with your interpretation of what it would suggest, I am delighted at what seems to be a concession on your part that I have at least engaged the issue in good faith. Which is just about the nicest thing you've ever said to me on such a topic. [Cool]
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AI Wessex
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"No. But without additional information about you, the fact that you can replicate an orgasm without recourse to outside physical stimulation, constitutes non-conclusive evidence for the existence of your hand."

It seems like we're drifting, which is exactly what I expected to happen. I don't want to be coy, Pete, since this is a serious discussion and I know you intended to pursue it honestly. But there is no definition that you could come up with that would be anything other than an answer framed as a set of assumptions. My God (if I had one) could be defined in starkly different terms than yours, and I could insist that those are the qualities that we should look for. For instance, why not define God so that He demands human sacrifice and will visit the ills of the world upon anyone who won't satisfy Him?

Why should God care about humans, except that we "create" God for just that purpose. God could be Nature, which only "cares" about perpetuating ecological or geological existence. The steady decay of radioactive elements could be His greatest achievement and the envy of inert minerals.

God could be anything you want to define Him (It, Her, Them) to be, so the definition is arbitrary.

On the other hand, you could offer your definition and we could talk about whether and how those qualities are reflected in mankind and how they are perpetuated or reinforced.

I can't offer such a definition except as one that reflects what I understand man's biological needs and wants to be in human consciousness. But that is also a flawed approach, since no one completely understands what those needs and wants are and we certainly don't understand what consciousness is.

As a result I'm left with no definition of God and no God to define, but with a world of seeming infinite richness and complexity, and myself, an individual with very much finite capacity for knowledge and understanding.

In a sense, for me God is the question, for which there is no answer.

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Pete at Home
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"In a sense, for me God is the question, for which there is no answer."

To which I say again, that unless you give a better definition of the question, that you should hardly be surprised that you find no satisfactory answer. You should have gotten that much from Douglass Adams.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Right, so let's be precise: what we'd have is evidence that a certain kind of stimulus can cause a certain kind of response. What we would NOT have is evidence that a supernatural entity has a habit of using that stimulus.

So you're inserting "supernatural" as a requisite part of the definition of God?

If some entity is out there, picking up on prayers and answering them, you won't call that entity God unless you can scientifically prove that he's supernatural? That seems like a cheat, scifi. Reminds me of those American sales adds, "savings of up to 50% or more." That's an awfully safe bet you're making. [Smile] That we can't scientifically prove something that by definition is not scientifically proven.

No, that's not what I'm doing. "Supernatural entity" is one way that something-you-haven't-defined-for-which-we-might-collect-evidence might begin to merit the label "God". You've posited "out there, picking up on and answering prayers" as another such quality.

I'm not prescribing the definition of God, so there's no cheat. I was just pointing out that the phenomenon you said was inconclusive evidence of "external divinity" wasn't anything of the sort, and giving one type of evidence it failed to provide. Note that if you remove the word "supernatural" from what I said that what I said is still true. Better yet, change "supernatural entity" to "external divinity".

As a side note, if you find me someone who resembles God but isn't supernatural, then sure, I'll be open to acknowledging that entity's existence [Razz] . But I'd like to point out that nothing that isn't supernatural would tend to resemble most extant religious definitions of God. Even Mormons who like to include some limits in god's specifications - "eternal laws" - don't posit that those laws are one and the same with the parameters of our *physical* reality.

quote:
No, but findings might alternately render belief in God more or less apparently reasonable.
To return to the above - have you found that to be the case with any other scientific findings that relate to religious beliefs? What happens instead is that the goalposts are shifted. God changes from the the one who created the world just before our religious history began a few thousand years ago, to another one, where the world's creation took billions of years and his involvement was indirect. (This is for intellectually honest religious people. In other cases, including for this example, the scientific findings are simply rejected by some who continue to prefer their religious belief and even try to make up their own version of science to bolster it.)

With the "God helmet" experiment that makes some people feel like they are having a religious experience, you're inclined to see that as evidence that there's a mechanism that an external divinity would use to communicate with people, and others are inclined to see it as evidence that religious experiences don't involve any external entity, since the experience appears to be neural rather than spiritual.

We'd need to come up with a better test to produce evidence that would make everyone agree that a belief in God was more or less reasonable. As you've said, defining God first makes those tests more feasible. However most definitions of God (cleverly?) are untestable.

I think what changes people's minds is more often a personal experience of disappointment or grief or anger. Then the evaluate the same evidence in a different way. When the subject matter is already (usually) immune to reality-testing by definition, we don't get very far with the reality tests.

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Pete at Home
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" You've posited "out there, picking up on and answering prayers" as another such quality. "

Seems to me that's the precise "God quality" that would be relevant to some sort of physiological "prayer receptor" function in the human brain.

"have you found that to be the case with any other scientific findings that relate to religious beliefs? "

Beliefs, smeliefs. Why not start looking in the most obvious parts of religion that might correspond with scientific observation, i.e. religious observation. The testimony of thousands that there's some entity out there listening to and answering their prayers?

If you don't think that's a remotely interesting question of interest, or that we'd have to throw in a proof of theology or supernaturalness, then I guess we have different standards as to what is of interest.

"However most definitions of God (cleverly?) are untestable."

OK. But might the definition of "external entity that answers prayers" be testable? Can we think of any possible result of such an experiment that would make an external prayer-answerer more or less likely?

Also, I'd be curious if different religions tend to induce quantifiably different types of worship experience, quantified in terms of MRI and brain wave pattern.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
With the "God helmet" experiment that makes some people feel like they are having a religious experience, you're inclined to see that as evidence that there's a mechanism that an external divinity would use to communicate with people, and others are inclined to see it as evidence that religious experiences don't involve any external entity, since the experience appears to be neural rather than spiritual.
quote:
D&C 131, recorded 1843:
7 There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;

8 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.


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AI Wessex
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Pete: "To which I say again, that unless you give a better definition of the question, that you should hardly be surprised that you find no satisfactory answer."

Well, a poem is not a definition. Give one and I'll consider it.

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scifibum
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Pete, you jumped to "prayer receptor function" from "induced religious feeling". Why? (Serious question.) It almost seems when you say these questions are "interesting" it might mean that you think it's fun to find ways to exercise confirmation bias.

Can I think of a test that would show evidence of an external divinity, or more generally, a prayer-answering-entity? Yes, I can think of lots. Others have tried. I think the evidence is lacking. This is trivially easy. The problem is that a negative result (for whatever biased, narrow question you were testing) doesn't answer the question generally.

Much more importantly: Can you think of a test that will *rule out* prayer answers received from some external prayer-answerer? I can't.

Even the anecdotal testimony that lends interest to this question is wildly inconsistent, making it pretty hard to draw any logical conclusions about the properties of answered prayers, which makes it hard to falsify the hypothetical prayer answerer.

I've seen some feel-good stuff being circulated around the internet about experiments that claimed to show some effect from prayer, but I haven't seen anything reputable that even begins to show whether there's an external answerer-entity involved.

quote:
Also, I'd be curious if different religions tend to induce quantifiably different types of worship experience, quantified in terms of MRI and brain wave pattern.
Similar questions have been tested. Similar worship styles have similar brain activity patterns, from what I've read. You see differences between speaking in tongues and meditation, of course. I'm not sure what you are looking for, here. Similar actions go with similar brain activity patterns. I think that's to be expected.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
With the "God helmet" experiment that makes some people feel like they are having a religious experience, you're inclined to see that as evidence that there's a mechanism that an external divinity would use to communicate with people, and others are inclined to see it as evidence that religious experiences don't involve any external entity, since the experience appears to be neural rather than spiritual.
quote:
D&C 131, recorded 1843:
7 There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;

8 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.


Pete, if it's excited by electrodes, it hardly qualifies as some kind of undetectable pure form of matter that is beyond our impure ability to perceive.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
I've seen some feel-good stuff being circulated around the internet about experiments that claimed to show some effect from prayer, but I haven't seen anything reputable that even begins to show whether there's an external answerer-entity involved.
Nor have I! I'm just saying that this field of inquiry seems more likely to be fruitful than any other scientific examination of religion/spirituality than any other field I can think of.

What if you could show that certain answers to prayers were objectively correct, i.e. "I feel reassured that I will get better," and then they do. Or "God's told me I need to get ready to die" and they do. What if there's a correspondence between *correct* answers and brain-wave patterns? Would you recognize that as EVIDENCE (non-conclusive, as explained above) of an external answer source?

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kmbboots
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I seem to recall studies that show no difference between the recovery of people who had people praying for them and those who didn't if the sick person didn't know about the prayers. This would seem to indicate that any benefit from that kind of prayer is psychological rather than supernatural.

Frankly, I believe that trying to find proof of God is certainly foolish and possibly blasphemous.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
With the "God helmet" experiment that makes some people feel like they are having a religious experience, you're inclined to see that as evidence that there's a mechanism that an external divinity would use to communicate with people, and others are inclined to see it as evidence that religious experiences don't involve any external entity, since the experience appears to be neural rather than spiritual.
quote:
D&C 131, recorded 1843:
7 There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;

8 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.


Pete, if it's excited by electrodes, it hardly qualifies as some kind of undetectable pure form of matter that is beyond our impure ability to perceive.
Did you just go fundy/literalist on me [Wink] , or did you not notice that it was written in the 1800s, meaning that it was beyond the ability to perceive at that time, though not necessarily at this time or in the future?
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I seem to recall studies that show no difference between the recovery of people who had people praying for them and those who didn't if the sick person didn't know about the prayers. This would seem to indicate that any benefit from that kind of prayer is psychological rather than supernatural.

Frankly, I believe that trying to find proof of God is certainly foolish and possibly blasphemous.

IIRC, wasn't Jesus executed for Blasphemy?

If science can teach us how to pray better, how to better listen to God, how could that be bad? Would not the parable of the Talents suggest that God wants us to use everything at our disposal in order to know him?

Again, I am not looking for PROOF (i.e. conclusive evidence) of God, but rather for evidence and information about God. If I'm blaspheming, it's religion and human tradition that I "blaspheme" against, not the God of the Bible, who wants me to reason with him (see Isaiah) and to know him (Jesus).

[ August 08, 2013, 04:04 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"No. But without additional information about you, the fact that you can replicate an orgasm without recourse to outside physical stimulation, constitutes non-conclusive evidence for the existence of your hand."

It seems like we're drifting, which is exactly what I expected to happen. I don't want to be coy, Pete, since this is a serious discussion and I know you intended to pursue it honestly. But there is no definition that you could come up with that would be anything other than an answer framed as a set of assumptions. My God (if I had one) could be defined in starkly different terms than yours, and I could insist that those are the qualities that we should look for. For instance, why not define God so that He demands human sacrifice and will visit the ills of the world upon anyone who won't satisfy Him?

How we define god says volumes about what we've been taught. To the extent that it does not reflect what we've inherited, it says a lot about *us.* I believe there is a God and yet we invent him every time we try to talk to him. Just as we invent each other every time we try to communicate with each other. To the extent that our inventions correspond to the other we are speaking to, we communicate. You and I seem to be approaching one of such rare moments today.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I seem to recall studies that show no difference between the recovery of people who had people praying for them and those who didn't if the sick person didn't know about the prayers. This would seem to indicate that any benefit from that kind of prayer is psychological rather than supernatural.

Frankly, I believe that trying to find proof of God is certainly foolish and possibly blasphemous.

IIRC, wasn't Jesus executed for Blasphemy?

No.

quote:


If science can teach us how to pray better, how to better listen to God, how could that be bad? Would not the parable of the Talents suggest that God wants us to use everything at our disposal in order to know him?

Again, I am not looking for PROOF (i.e. conclusive evidence) of God, but rather for evidence and information about God. If I'm blaspheming, it's religion and human tradition that I "blaspheme" against, not the God of the Bible, who wants me to reason with him (see Isaiah) and to know him (Jesus).

That is a distinction I am not getting from what you have been writing.
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DarkJello
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Jewish leaders wanted Jesus killed for "blasphemy", but his "crime" was treason against Rome.
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AI Wessex
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"How we define god says volumes about what we've been taught. To the extent that it does not reflect what we've inherited, it says a lot about *us.* I believe there is a God and yet we invent him every time we try to talk to him. Just as we invent each other every time we try to communicate with each other. To the extent that our inventions correspond to the other we are speaking to, we communicate. You and I seem to be approaching one of such rare moments today."

What you are saying is that our individual "concepts" of God are essentially determined by our environment, which I agree with. That's why a discussion about whether God exists and what God "is" is almost meaningless. The only thing that matters is the value of God in people's lives.

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Pete at Home
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"What you are saying is that our individual "concepts" of God are essentially determined by our environment, which I agree with."

Not quite. I said that our individual concepts of God are shaped to some extent by our environment and to some extent by our choices. To which extent we follow, reject, or remain indifferent to our environment, also says a lot about us as people.

" That's why a discussion about whether God exists and what God "is" is almost meaningless."

Even if your depressing deterministic view of religion was true, then those questions would still not be "almost meaningless" since they would tell us about our environment. And that's an interesting enough topic.

"The only thing that matters is the value of God in people's lives."

Ah, now there I agree with you that is an issue of greater significance than what I've been talking about. But hardly quantifiable.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkJello:
Jewish leaders wanted Jesus killed for "blasphemy", but his "crime" was treason against Rome.

According to the NT text, Pilate found him without fault according to Roman law, but sentenced Jesus to appease the mob. And Herod also found no fault. The only court that found against Jesus in terms of culpability, was the illegally held Sanhedrin, which (like the Republicans do from time to time in the Utah legislature) convened the hearing at night so as to avoid the participation of the Pharisees, who were more scrupulous about the law and probably would not have condemned Jesus.
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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by DarkJello:
Jewish leaders wanted Jesus killed for "blasphemy", but his "crime" was treason against Rome.

According to the NT text, Pilate found him without fault according to Roman law, but sentenced Jesus to appease the mob. And Herod also found no fault. The only court that found against Jesus in terms of culpability, was the illegally held Sanhedrin, which (like the Republicans do from time to time in the Utah legislature) convened the hearing at night so as to avoid the participation of the Pharisees, who were more scrupulous about the law and probably would not have condemned Jesus.
I agree on all counts. That seems to be how it went down.
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Grant
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One of the first steps in having a discussion, and drawing information, learning from each other, is coming to terms. Good communication and understanding is predicated on two or more individuals understanding the language and the terms being used by the speaker, so the listener can comprehend.

If two or more people are going to have a discussion about God, or if someone just wants to listen and understand what someone is saying when they write or speak about God, then God must be defined. Otherwise, nobody will truly understand just what anyone else is talking about.

Simply defining God is necessary for any type of theological discussion. Weather the discussion is weather God exists or what God is, etc. To say that God cannot be defined, is to say that a theological discussion is impossible, which I firmly disagree with.

Just because one person's definition of God does not agree with someone else's is not an argument, it is simply a basis of conflict.

People's definitions of God, their conceptions, or rather pre-conceptions, do not occur in a vacuum. They are effected by our environment. That does not mean that an individual, in my opinion, cannot identify, with scrutiny and with outside assistance, their own pre-conceptions, and work around them in a discussion that attempts to remove them. People are NOT prisoners of their environment, otherwise no-one would ever be able to change their mind or be persuaded one way or another.

I honestly don't think that discussions about God are meaningless, but I do admit that they often don't lead anywhere. If your goal is resolution, then theological discussions are rarely productive. If goal is simply to gather information and learn, then you can find some success.

[ August 08, 2013, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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kmbboots
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Jesus was crucified under Roman law. Certainly, the Sanhedrin orchestrated it - and found Him guilty of blasphemy for which he was beaten - but He was executed by Rome for (they said) calling Himself King. "If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend: every one that maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
I've seen some feel-good stuff being circulated around the internet about experiments that claimed to show some effect from prayer, but I haven't seen anything reputable that even begins to show whether there's an external answerer-entity involved.
Nor have I! I'm just saying that this field of inquiry seems more likely to be fruitful than any other scientific examination of religion/spirituality than any other field I can think of.

What if you could show that certain answers to prayers were objectively correct, i.e. "I feel reassured that I will get better," and then they do. Or "God's told me I need to get ready to die" and they do. What if there's a correspondence between *correct* answers and brain-wave patterns? Would you recognize that as EVIDENCE (non-conclusive, as explained above) of an external answer source?

It wouldn't rule out the external answer source, but I think calling it evidence of an external answer source, even with qualifications, is going too far. My reluctance to call it that is probably an indication of my bias, as I'm probably not ordinarily such a stickler. But acknowledging my bias, I still think there's a problem with your hypothesis/test arrangement here.

If the hypothesis is that feeling like your prayer to be healed was answered correlates to getting better, this sounds like a decent test. If the hypothesis is that there's an external force predicting or controlling the future and instilling corresponding feelings, then I don't think the experiment tests that.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Jesus was crucified under Roman law.

No. He was crucified under Roman *power.* Roman *Law* found him blameless.

If you believe the testimony provided in the Gospels, that is.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2023&version=NIV
quote:
4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

5 But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” [17] [a]

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.

Police today in the United States have a practice of "arresting" someone at the scene to appease an angry mob, and then releasing them later. Such an arrest is technically unconstitutional, but no one has ever made a problem over it. Jesus' crucifixion was similarly, an exercise of Roman Power, but not pursuant to actual Roman Law. Like the flogging, it was an attempt to appease Caiaphas' little rent-a-mob.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
If the hypothesis is that feeling like your prayer to be healed was answered correlates to getting better, this sounds like a decent test. If the hypothesis is that there's an external force predicting or controlling the future and instilling corresponding feelings, then I don't think the experiment tests that.

My hypothesis is that there's an external source of prayer answer, which predicts the future. If correct predictions correlate to the same "signal" being received by the praying person, that seems to me to prove the hypothesis.

If the "signal" only correlated to people getting better, then I'd think that the signal was more indicative of internal healthiness than of external prediction.

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scifibum
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It's the "external" part we're hung up on, Pete. You've designed an experiment where a certain feeling (prediction) might or might not be shown to be accurate. But where is it coming from? You're not testing that at all.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Jesus was crucified under Roman law.

No. He was crucified under Roman *power.* Roman *Law* found him blameless.

If you believe the testimony provided in the Gospels, that is.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2023&version=NIV
quote:
4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

5 But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” [17] [a]

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.

Police today in the United States have a practice of "arresting" someone at the scene to appease an angry mob, and then releasing them later. Such an arrest is technically unconstitutional, but no one has ever made a problem over it. Jesus' crucifixion was similarly, an exercise of Roman Power, but not pursuant to actual Roman Law. Like the flogging, it was an attempt to appease Caiaphas' little rent-a-mob.

I don't dispute that. But the charge of calling Himself King was the offense that they used. Romans didn't care about blasphemy. (Personally, I am not sure the Sanhedrin would have cared about blasphemy if Jesus weren't upsetting their power applecart.)
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