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I'll be looking forward to your further thoughts on this subject. I tend to agree with the above. Still, it does seem that punishment--or the threat of it--changes the way we behave. I'm not sure that can't be accommodated within the theory, but it does appear at least paradoxical.
12 months ago on A Lunchtime Conversation – Causality
We're competitors. We will be as long as we have to compete to survive. And sometimes, right or wrong, we get the idea that we'll survive better if we bump off the people who are competing with us.
1 year ago on The Human Implications Of War
@plasticmadness I can't quite see whether you're seconding what I wrote or arguing with it. Let me make it clear that I've been insisting all along that rape is never funny. In my comment above I was only trying to imagine any scenario where joking about it might not be utterly despicable. The only possibility I can think of is when the woman herself makes a joke about it as a coping mechanism, trying to deal with the horror of it. Now, it's hard for me to believe any woman would. Still, I know different people handle this kind of thing in different ways. For instance, I read of one woman who had been raped who somehow needed to talk about it with everybody. That seems weird, because the shame of the thing drives most rape victims to be very closemouthed about it. Nevertheless, this woman had to talk about it. Similarly, perhaps there could be some rape victim somewhere who might find joking about it psychologically palliative. I don't know that such a thing has ever happened. Maybe it never could. My point is that in that situation--and in that one alone--I might see such a joke as less than reprehensible.
2 years ago on Rape Is Never Funny
@plasticmadness I agree with this. I've been trying to imagine any case where a rape joke might even be acceptable, let alone funny. I suppose there could conceivably be a woman who has been raped and who, herself sometimes jokes about it as a coping mechanism. Around others she might even laugh. But deep down she's not seeing anything funny about it. And later, when she's alone, she crawls into bed and cries herself to sleep.
@Herpert_Derpington What a monument to idiocy! Too bad more people don't drop by here to appreciate it. That comment ought to be carved into a stele and planted in your front yard for all the world to gawk at.
2 years, 1 month ago on Rape Is Never Funny
As a man, I have to admit I don't really "get it" when it comes to rape. I simply can't put myself in a woman's shoes enough to truly grasp the horror of the thing. Still, I've tried, and the insights I've gained thereby show me it's horrible enough. I cannot imagine anything remotely funny about it. Ever. In any situation. I shudder at the mentality of anyone who would joke about it.
@askegg That's a big part of the problem, I think. There's no way to get a handle on just what the differences would be. We have no indisputable example of something God has created, so we can't point and say, "See? That's the kind of thing God turns out."
2 years, 1 month ago on It Doesn't Matter If God Exists
@Dgsinclair Why, sure! If anyone doesn't agree with you, it must be because his understanding is "superficial." What other possible explanation could there be?
A truly deistic God would be a curiosity, but it would probably be hard to justify wasting a lot of time on him. On the other hand, a sustainer God, by whom "all things consist," as Colossians says, would be of vital interest. He would not only have been Creator, but would be the one who is " upholding all things by the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3). If we wanted to understand how things work at the most elemental level, we would have to have some understanding of how God works.
As you say, "God is not the problem here." Personally, I think such a being would be the most fascinating of all possible subjects. The problem, as you suggest, is that no one has been able to demonstrate that there is any need of such a Person, and much less that he actually exists. The concept of deity seems to be what we might call a phyletic snowball, something that probably started as simple animism, but an idea that grew and grew until today it has such mass and momentum that it's hard to see how it'll ever melt away.
@Smithersoutback @Mortified @martinspribble @mspeir @blamer Well, they have "theodicies" to deal with all that. Grand sounding word, "theodicy." Let's coin a new fallacy: Argument from Bombast.
2 years, 1 month ago on Could A God Prove Its Existence?
@Mortified Okay, it turns out Martin's comment is above, not below. Whatever.
@Mortified Read what Martin said, below. That's pretty much the story. You're right that some of the NT--the genuine Pauline stuff--that was written early. But divorced from the preconceptions instilled into the reader by the much later Gospels, the Jesus of Paul was a character you likely wouldn't recognize. You're living a fantasy if you think the NT is historically accurate. And the OT? How many bona fide archeologists actually working in the field do you suppose accept the foundational parts of the OT--such as Exodus and the Conquest--as history? Actually, good luck finding one. William Dever, for instance, one of the preeminent biblical (he prefers the term "Syro-Palestinian") archeologists in the world today, began life as the son of a Baptist tent revival preacher, pastored churches himself while going for his PhD at Harvard, but ended up learning too much to keep his faith. I'm pulling Dever out of a hat because I have several of his books on my shelf right now, but it's a story that's told over and over with many different names. Knowledge--real, evidence-based knowledge--is no friend of faith.
@Mortified No, the Bible is not "a reliable collection of historical documents." No, the NT is not "verified accurate both by internal and external sources." Your move.
@Mortified What "historical evidence" do we have that "demonstrate the abilities that God is reported to have demonstrated"? What beyond a bunch of old outlandish tales that can't possibly be verified?
And how about dropping the insulting "determined not to believe" crap. It doesn't take any "determination" but the determination not to be gullible. What you don't know about me is that I was a believer most of my life. Trust me, I wasn't "open-minded." I fought hard to hang onto my faith. I was dragged kicking and screaming away from it. So I've been on both sides of the fence. How about you?
@Mortified You're taking some leaps there, aren't you? You go from "no problem with the potential existence of someone who can do any of the things God is claimed to have done," to "therefore you have no problem with the actual existence of someone who has done all of those things." Why? How did you jump that gap?
So, you'd accept the word of "someone who calls themself God"? Why? Because he "can genuinely claim responsibility for the actions of the God in the bible." Do you understand that the issue under discussion is whether anyone could "genuinely" make such a claim and how?
You seem to hop right from the "potential" of deity to not only god, your favorite "God"? Why? How do we get from that potentiality to "rightful position as creator, parent, monarch or redeemer"? Because "they let you watch them destroy the universe and create another one just like it, or another that was nothing like it, or both"? I've already seen that, in science fiction. An important question is why anyone should believe such a display might be veridical and not just a staged illusion or even a hallucination?
2 years, 2 months ago on Could A God Prove Its Existence?
We're getting ahead of ourselves wondering what kind of hocus-pocus it would take to prove godhood. To persuade me there's a God there would have to, before anything else, be some intelligence, some candidate for the position <i>obviously making the effort</i> to convince me he's the real deal. It doesn't look to me like anyone wants the job.
@godlessgirl Actually, I guess I can't afford to be too critical. He's got me beat. ;-)
3 years, 1 month ago on Smoking Hot Wives and Christian Prayer Clichés
Seeing him, I wonder what she has to be thankful for.