Sunday, 17 July 2016

Thought for a Sunday

 

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[Hat tip.ATHE1STP0WER/Kriz]

16 comments:

  1. Ah. The old "limited options" ploy. There is, of course, an option "d": People have willfully misinterpreted said holy work for political ends. Presumably, God allows this misapplication of His word for the same reason He allows all the other crap to go down - that annoying thing called free will. Amusingly, free will seems to be what libertarians and atheists value the most yet they become terribly upset when God allows them it. Go figure.

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    1. Option (d) seems implausible when people sacrifice themselves in the name of that religion (eg: suicide bombers). There's no motivation to intentionally kill yourself when all you have is a political (concrete) end. Nor is there much motivation to live in squalor under a religious theocracy when you're not one of the elite in charge. Even if the ones in power don't believe it, the masses who put them there have to believe they are there by virtue of their religion, and the power they exercise is a true expression of that religion (when they cease to believe it they overthrow them).

      I understand the Christian position that God gave us free will, but isn't that just another version of (a)?

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    2. I don't quite see that, Mark T. If you're kids play up because they've reached an age where you're allowing them to exercise their freewill a bit more, it doesn't mean that you want them to think or act like that.

      "I understand the Christian position that God gave us free will, but isn't that just another version of (a)?"

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    3. @Richard: I see your point, sort of. The difference being however that as a parent I don't pretend to be any all-powerful, all knowing god. If I was an all-knowing and all powerful god, and could make my children whatever I wanted them to be; and I gave them the ability to cause mischief, one could infer from that I wanted them to have the ability to cause mischief.

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    4. Yes, but again that doesn't logically mean you want them to do bad things. The ability to choose bad things means the ability to choose and pursue value, which might be reasonably considered to be a higher value than the mindlessness of an ant, or the Borg, who have no values. But anyway, I think this Sunday thought is really aimed at Islam. If you insert IS, Islam and Allah in there, it makes things a bit more specific. That people are concentrating on Christianity even when it is aimed at Islam shows the bias that the West has, and which it needs to get over fast if it is ever to save itself from a rapidly advancing tyranny.

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    5. Richard - The quote we are discussing doesn't infer that god wants an undesirable outcome, but that god wants "there to be a way" to interpret it to produce an undesirable outcome. That is clearly the implication of an an all-powerful all-knowing god that gives man free will, because if god didn't want that possibility he wouldn't allow it.

      I'm not sure what "people" you're referring to who are concentrating on Christianity. The Christians who are challenging the quote perhaps are, but not me. I agree that the quote applies to Islam more than any other religtion, but to understand properly the Islamic threat you have to recognise the general principle, that to varying degrees applies to all religions. The fact that you regard the quote as llogical, but still (correctly) regard Islam as a serious threat makes me question whether you do understand properly the nature of the threat. And if you don't understand it properly, it will naturally lead to you advocating 'solutions' that are either ineffectual or counter-productive.

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    6. The whole thing is on shaky ground right from the get go. The very first paragraph claims that those who say that Islamic state has nothing to do with Islam are wrong, but it provides no evidence to back up that assertion. It just assumes that that is the case. From there it leaps to the conclusion that it must all be about interpretation. But there is no logical reason to make that leap, not without examining Islam to first see whether or not Islamic State actually does have something to do with Islam. The apostasy laws are based on such things as Muhammad saying "he who leaves his (Islamic) religion, kill him). That, taken with the other foundations for the apostasy laws, is pretty clear cut. It isn't an interpretation problem. It is an Islam is fucking evil problem, and it's weaker followers are in denial.

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    7. "but to understand properly the Islamic threat you have to recognise the general principle,"

      No!!! You have to study Islam to understand Islam.

      " that to varying degrees applies to all religions. The fact that you regard the quote as llogical, but still (correctly) regard Islam as a serious threat makes me question whether you do understand properly the nature of the threat."

      The general principle is not the immediate threat and to focus to on it at the expense of focusing on Islam itself would be suicidal. The general principle is of faith over reason, and that applies to a very broad spectrum, from Christians to tea leave readers. Yes, faith is the enemy, but a faith-based mind filled with Christian ideas is very much preferable to a faith-based mind filled with Islamic ideas. Many Christian ideas, in fact, are actually quite good and even pro-liberty. Islam on the other hand is totalitarian through and through. It is an extremely dangerous threat, and very much being underestimated by leftitarians.

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  2. This wicked blasphemer is hinting that God is part of an undesirable group, and not a Conservative.

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  3. That's a big old fail of logic. The knife maker either wants people to be stabbed, can't adequately tell people not to use his knives to stab, or doesn't exist. Um, no.

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    1. I am not religious, I am an atheist, but I have to agree. Points 1, 2, and 3, are not logical conclusions.

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  4. #2 is a fatal flaw. IF God gave people free will, THEN it necessarily must follow that they have the ability to misinterpret any statement, no matter how clear. Anyone who has debated with a sophist has seen this in action.

    The fatal flaw in #3 is a failure to understand what religions are claiming. The statement presumes that religious believers believe their god authored their holy book. None that I'm aware of do, however; all religions I know of that have holy books claim that their god INSPIRED the holy book. It is therefore not necessarily true that if neither 1 nor 2 are true, therefore there is no god.

    More generally, the three options listed are not, as is strongly implied and obviously intended, an exhaustive list. A few moment's thought will provide numerous other interpretations ("The holy book in question is outdated and was later superseded by the religion's god" is one that immediately springs to mind as an ex-Roman Catholic). As long as free will is accepted by the religion (and the Desert Dogmas all, to the best of my knowledge, acknowledge free will) an exhaustive list of reasons why a clear statement could be misinterpreted is likely impossible, as dishonest people will always discover new ways to misinterpret the issue.

    I strongly recommend Dr. Steven Dutch's essay on God's Grandchildren (http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/GodGrandchild.HTM). It addresses the various ways in which religious doctrine can be re-interpreted, in a much more nuanced manner than the above quote. It's fairly pro-theistic, but that appears to be largely a rhetorical device; these misinterpretations are possible even if we assume the original religious doctrine was right and straight from the mouth of God.

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    1. "The statement presumes that religious believers believe their god authored their holy book. None that I'm aware of do,"

      Islam does. Islam considers the Qur'an to be the revealed word of Allah delivered through the conduit of Muhammad. The Qur'an is, literally, the perfect word of Allah and therefore pure perfection.

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    2. "It is therefore not necessarily true that if neither 1 nor 2 are true, therefore there is no god."

      Regardless of 1 & 2, there is no evidence of God. Until there is evidence, there is no God, just as, until there is evidence, there is no green glowing orb like spider at the centre of the Universe, wherever the centre of the Universe is.

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    3. The fact that Islam believes that Muhammad acted as a conduit grants them a get-out-of-jail-free card, if they are pressed. Roman Catholics believe (or, rather, are supposed to believe) that the Bible is the inspired word of God as well--but when faced with the myriad of errors they resort to "Yeah, well, God inspired the book but the people who wrote it couldn't translate the divine inspiration perfectly." Conservative Islam--like conservative Christianity--sounds like it's simply not addressing those issues; I'd be curious to see what more liberal Muslims had to say on the topic. That's an inherent problem when you're dealing with a billion people: they interpret things differently. Islam is particularly bad about it, given that there's no central authority anymore (RCs at least have the Vatican, and if I understand correctly Islam used to have one under the caliphate, but not anymore).

      Regarding your second post, please point out where I said any god DID exist. I was critiquing a specific line of reasoning--the conclusions do not logically follow FROM THE GIVEN PREMISES. Whether other premises allow one to reach the given conclusion or not is, for obvious reasons, outside the scope of my statement.

      Let me give you an analogy (and I'm taking some time with this because I've found atheists online are generally HORRIBLE at understanding this point). Let's say I'm looking at a bridge on the route to Chicago. I claim that the bridge is structurally unsound, and cannot be used; we need to remove it. You respond with "But Chicago exists!" On any jobsite I've been on or heard of, you would be given very strange looks at best, and escorted off the premises at worst. Whether Chicago exists or not is simply irrelevant; this particular bridge is not stable. In the same way, the conclusion--that gods don't exist--may or may not be valid; it doesn't matter to my statement one way or another and I therefore, properly, ignore that issue for the moment. This particular argument is unsound, and therefore cannot support the conclusion. The ultimate validity of the conclusion is an entirely separate issue, just as the existence of Chicago is an entirely separate issue from the structural integrity of the bridge.

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    4. The Qur'an isn't the same. It isn't the inspired word of God like the Bible. It is the revealed word of Allah. In other words, the Bible is written by man, but the Qur'an is the literal word of Allah himself. Divinely created.

      The last Caliph was during the Ottoman Empire. A Caliph, though, doesn't bring an end to the problems that Islam creates. Islam is militant and totalitarian and that isn't in a Caliph's hands. A Caliph can soften it to some degree, by going easy on the non-Muslims under his rule, but that is down to his whim, not down to Islam. The great Islamic Scholars have written the rules based on their study of the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. They spent 300 years working on it after Muhammad died, and then decided that was it. It is now set in stone. Apart from a few minor issues (such as, is it ok to beat your wife a couple of times only, or can it be four or five times) that is debated, the main issues (such as, you can actually beat your wife if she misbehaves) are sorted and agreed upon. Islam means submission. A proper Muslim is someone who submits to the law of Allah. A Muslim isn't supposed to think for him or herself, but is to do what Allah has decided for him, as is written in Shariah.

      Also, in Islamic law, only a Caliph can call all the Muslims to war. That is one of the aims of the violent Jihad groups. An established, legitimate, Caliph, can rightly call the Umma to war against non-Muslims. The Muslims who are heeding the call, from all around the world, are Muslims who have decided that the Caliph, and the new Caliphate, is legitimate. The more successful the attempt to set up a Caliphate becomes, the more that muslims around the world are going to be attracted to it. If the Islamic State is scattered to the winds in Iraq and Syria, their tactics will just change. They all go back into the wood work, and keep plugging away. We are seeing that already in their call for Muslims to remain in their own countries now, rather than going to the Caliphate, in order to bring the war into the West.

      Regarding my second post, I didn't say that you said there was a God. I was just adding to what you said.

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