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    Summary of the Nye/Ham debate Summary of the Nye/Ham debate
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#696 - solid 6/10 reporting in 06/28/2014 on Post your selfie here -2
#42 - I would suck a bag of dicks for sliders of this 02/23/2014 on I SHOULD GO, MOTHER FUCKER!!! +3
#55 - if anyone wants it 02/20/2014 on Adventure Time Sex Joke +4
#23 - No way could homer take one of these out with only a bat 02/13/2014 on Livin' in 'Stralia +4
#12 - Yes, it was for whether or not his model of origins is viable.…  [+] (25 new replies) 02/05/2014 on Summary of the Nye/Ham debate +30
#18 - boothead (02/05/2014) [-]
Actually it was for proving whether or not teaching biblical origins and the creationist evolution orchard was a viable thing to be taught in schools.
User avatar #76 - lfunnymanl (02/05/2014) [-]
holy fuck you are stupid
User avatar #19 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
Well, that's very true. I think it is a valid thing to be taught in schools.

I mean, nobody complains when they teach the kindergartners about The Pokey Little Puppy, do they?
User avatar #47 - ohhh (02/05/2014) [-]
Religion belongs in a persons household. Or a private school. To make it mandatory in public schools would be not only against the constitution, but you may as well go ahead and teach all the other religions. I mean hell, why not? If were going to include sorry include that one, why not all the others. Doesn't matter either way though, the american people would never be stupid enough i hope to do that
User avatar #137 - include (02/06/2014) [-]
It's cool bro.
#21 - boothead (02/05/2014) [-]
Honestly I'm rather back and forth, yes i think about there being a god and yes the idea seems silly however on a part of moral standings the United States would only be better bring Christianity back in schools instead of 'Life is worthless we are intelgent animals lol snooki'
If you're personal beliefs interfere with what is actually right for a country you have no reason to debate and no reason to speak up. (Like gun control, the facts are there, you have to remove cities of course, most people over the population tend to be spread around more, with that in mind United States, 4th safest place to live, anywhere our armies are occupying, not so much)
User avatar #24 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
But that's the thing right there.

It's not being used as a system of beliefs or morals to start helping others. It's being used as a weapon. Allowing them to teach it as fact in schools is giving it a substantial weight that can be used by those who use it for hate.

It sets a precedent that completely violates the legal separation of church and state. As much as I hate to use the 'slippery slope' argument, this is an ideal time for it, as it's giving the argument that 'My religion is right, the government says so'.

There's a very clear line between believing in something and deciding that everyone should believe it as well. Just as some people believe in the Christian god, there's hundreds of millions of people who have just as deeply held religious beliefs. Shouldn't they be made to teach them in the curriculum, too?

In the end, it's a matter of personal choice, one that should not be forced onto children. School is an institution in which people are taught undeniable fact. They're taught to listen, they're taught to question, they're taught to learn. They're taught that the sky's the limit, because anything they can imagine can be attained with enough hard work, dedication and perseverance. School is a place to learn and to inspire, and to make yourself better than you were yesterday.

The unfortunate truth about Christian doctrine, I'm afraid, is that people are taught the exact opposite. They're taught to listen, true, and they're taught that the sky's the limit, but for all the wrong reasons. They're taught to listen because they're unworthy to question, and they're taught that the sky's the limit because a supernatural power that controls absolutely everything wills it to be so. Instead of encouraging people to explore, innovate and improve themselves, it's taught that an omniscient being is watching, waiting and judging your every single move in order to torture you for all eternity if you don't spend your life living in perfect obedience to them. That's
User avatar #27 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
Christianity by no means discourages people from exploring, innovating, and/or improving themselves. In fact, I think that Ham demonstrated that pretty easily by pointing out that there are plenty of Christians who have contributed to our scientific knowledge of the universe. Rather than simply wanting to know for the sake of knowing, they want to know so that they can better understand the created order and better serve God because of it. Heck, the Bible even says that mankind is ordered by God to "fill the earth and subdue it," not to sit around in complacency.

While some Christians may be taught not to question things, there are also plenty of people (not just children) now who blindly accept naturalism simply because that's what other people told them to believe. It's not a matter of the person not being allowed to discover by a particular worldview, but just a matter of how much people care about discovering in their own right. Even within the realms of exegesis and theology, Christians continue to make advances and better understand God's revelation, expressing the same truths in different ways and contexts.

Though I know that SOME exist, I have never personally heard of a fellow Christian who was told to just accept things for the sake of doing so. The Bible also says, "always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" (I Pet. 3:15), which in fact suggests quite the opposite, encouraging people to know why they believe what they believe.

I do want to end, however, by saying that I personally do not necessarily endorse either a literal creation approach or a theistic evolution approach; all I know is that both are equally defensible while yet remaining faithful to Scripture--Genesis 1 is not intended to be a science textbook! With that in mind, I just wish they would teach both approaches as potentially valid in school (and they are, assuming you don't preclude supernaturalism a priori).
User avatar #29 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
But that's the thing, though. They aren't defensible. Just look at how their defender did against Nye in this very debate.

He straight up used the argument of 'You weren't there, you can't prove it'. This is the sort of thinking that it inspires. The reason that they shouldn't be taught as equally valid is that they AREN'T equally valid. There is nothing, absolutely nothing whatsoever, to support Christianity other than a single book of bronze age fairy tales and the fact that someone in power told you it was true.

That's really it, though. The entire reason that Christianity, or any religion, for that matter, still even exists is because someone in power told someone else that it was correct, and they believed them for absolutely no further reason than 'Person X told me'. Religion throughout history has been a tool to control those lower on the political and social ladder. It was a tool to inspire obedience and respect.

The biggest issue I have with this sort of thing can be found squarely with the bible, and with the various 'interpretations' of it. Those who claim it to be truth pick and choose. They pick and choose which parts of it are 'right' and which parts aren't. Why is one part right and another wrong? Why is it right that anyone who has a different relationship than the bible says is alright should die, yet tattoos, wearing mixed fabrics, touching the skin of a pig, etc. are all perfectly reasonable in modern society? If one part of it's true, that must mean that every part of it's true.

And what about the religion that sprang from a king wanting to get a divorce? That's a part of christianity that's considered perfectly 100% valid, despite being created for personal reasons. What about the hundred different branches created specifically to cater to those in power's whims?

They are not both potentially valid. One is proven, tested fact. Fact. It is things that are proven to be true. The other is hearsay. Not just hearsay, but coercion. It's
User avatar #32 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
Well, I don't want to put myself into a position where I am defending something I don't know too much about or necessarily believe anyway, so I won't try to speak in defense of Ham (although, for the record, I do think at least some of his arguments are valid).

However, regarding most everything else you said, I can and will respond.

1.) I did not say "equally" but "potentially" valid, and it is a fact that unless you a priori rule out supernaturalism, creationism (either via evolution or literal, 6-day creation) is potentially valid.

2.) I will boldly deny your claim that the only reason religion still exists is because of its use as a form of manipulation by those in authority, and in fact I think that this is easily done by merely demonstrating that not all religions have their source in power or politics, and Christianity in particular was the exact opposite. It was "invented" by someone who was a carpenter and who died for his beliefs, and then carried on by fishermen, most of whom then proceeded to die as well for their belief.

3.) Nevertheless, I absolutely agree with you that religion has been used, frequently even, for manipulation and in doing so terrible things have been accomplished. Regarding Christianity in particular, you of course have the Crusades (and a vast list of other wars, but that alone serves as an adequate exemplar, I think). Needless to say, people abuse things. But, that being said, this cannot be used against religion, for people have frequently abused any and every ideology or technological for their own purposes. No, rather, Christianity or any other religion must be assessed by its internal consistency and external validity. Regarding that, you will have to wait for my follow-up post (coming shortly as a response to this. . .)
User avatar #34 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
Now, most importantly, concerning the truth of Christianity in and of itself:

1. Regarding external validity, in this particular case I'm afraid you must rely on archaeological and historical-textual witnesses. There truly can be no objective, scientific test for its validity (remember, many theologians hold to a non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1, but this will be discussed later). There are several things that might be said here, but suffice it to say that regarding the biblical text itself (especially herein talking about the Old Testament), it is remarkably in accord with the extra-biblical textual and archaeological evidence of the time period, at least when speaking in historical matters. Furthermore, in the last century, our confidence of the textual accuracy of the extant biblical manuscripts has only increased with new discoveries, most particularly the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. It is easily shown that while there are a variety of slight variations due to scribal error, the vast majority of the text is remarkably intact, much better than any comparably old text. Additionally, none of the possible textual difficulties concerns a point of major theological significance. Finally, just as a general note regarding the concept of supernaturalism and/or the miraculous, one needs to understand that the miraculous by definition is not scientifically demonstrable; indeed, that is the whole point! Miracles were recorded precisely because they were anomalies, not because people were stupid and didn't understand that things operated according to fixed principles. If that had been the case, they would not have been worthy of mention.

2. Now, regarding the internal consistency of Scripture and its supposedly arbitrary application/interpretation, I can understand where you are coming from. At first glance, it seems absurdly obvious that Christians are simply picking and choosing whatever they want! (again, to be continued. . .)
User avatar #35 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
. . . However, the more you actually examine the situation the more you realize that it makes sense, and that the Bible itself actually declares that certain teachings and laws were never meant to be universal, because that had not been their point. Jesus criticizes the Jewish religious leaders of His day for understanding the Law of Moses too literally. They denounce Him for healing a man on the Sabbath since God said it was supposed to be a day of rest, but He shows them that they have misinterpreted that Law and are applying it incorrectly. This is because many of the Mosaic laws were not intended to be universal laws. Rather, they were given by God to the Israelites at a particular time and in a particular place for their particular situation.

"Now, wait a minute," you might say, "that means that the God who made those laws is not unchanging--He is capricious!" But is that really the case? For if you examine the laws in question, you will realize that they are simply particular expressions of God's unchanging moral character, applied in certain circumstances for certain reasons. But it is the spirit behind those laws that reflects God's character, not necessarily the laws themselves, and that is why the laws reflecting the moral spirit of every law given in the Old Testament are renewed in the New Testament, summarized by Jesus as "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:35-41).

The only thing that remains to be answered is why these particular laws were given in the time of Moses. And while the answer for every exact law is not always 100% clear, we have sufficient evidence concerning that era and cultural setting to justify that most of the laws were given in order to distinguish Israel from her pagan neighbors, who would use, for example, tattoos in their rituals.
User avatar #37 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
First, I have to concede that I did misquote you, and use equally as opposed to potentially. I apologize for that.

Now, onto your claims.

1. The bible is not a single piece or work. The bible is a collection of different papers and scripts and books, over 3500 at last known count, written by different people at different times and added on as 'god's word' by those who would use religion to enforce their own values onto others' moral codes. The reason it's archaeologically accurate (to a point, I must point out) is simply because the people who wrote particular sections which correspond to actual fact lived in those times and wrote what they knew. I was never denying when it was written.

The reason that it's so intact, even when taking into account some extremely important texts (Livy's Ab Urbe Condita springs to mind, possibly the most useful text we have when looking at Roman society, yet most of it has been lost over time), is that it was valued by the people who used it. The simple fact of the matter is that if someone values something, they'll seek to preserve it. The fact that different people in different places had copied the book really doesn't have any bearing on anything. The most plausible explanation for the Dead Sea Scrolls, too, is just that. Someone had writings which they told someone else were valuable, and they were copied and distributed to others.

As for your second main point, you're right. It DOES seem absurdly obvious that various sects are picking and choosing what to listen to and obey... And honestly, it's because they are. There are just so many blatant contradictions in absolutely everything that's said. Even the fact that you're saying 'We're supposed to pick and choose, because some of the things said aren't relevant' outlines that perfectly.

What's said in the bible is relevant to the Israelites because it was written by them. It was written by a group of bronze age farmers, and has almost no relevance today.

(continued)
User avatar #41 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
1. I don't mean to be obnoxious in doing this, but could you give me some examples of the "so many blatant contradictions in absolutely everything that's said"? As one who has read the complete Bible multiple times and studied it formally for five+ years, I'm eager to hear what they are.

2. While the terminology "picking and choosing" may be used to describe the fact that Christians are not to enforce all Old Testament laws, it is fundamentally misleading in the sense that it is quite clearly defined in the New Testament which of these laws were temporally limited and which were not. And, furthermore, that decision was not itself capricious. It is very easy to see that the Mosaic Law contains, broadly speaking, three types of law: 1) cultic/liturgical, 2) civil, and 3) moral. The first two of these are limited as their original purpose was to establish Israel as an independent, nation, holy (i.e. "set apart") for God in contradistinction to their pagan neighbors, who engaged in fertility cults, child sacrifice, and the like. These laws, while never contradicting the spirit of the moral law behind all of them, were nevertheless not meant to be applied universally since not all cultures or eras are like that which Israel faced at that particular time.

3. As you have gone on to discuss the concept of moral law, this ties in nicely. I couldn't agree more that these laws teach you "how not to be a cunt." But, as any good psychology/sociology student will tell you here, correlation does not determine causality. You make the conclusion here that because these laws appear to you to be reasonable, they are merely human laws. But that conclusion is unwarranted. And, no, I'm not going to argue that they necessarily imply divine origin either, as that would be the same error the opposite direction. Therefore, you must find another basis on which to determine the truth or falsehood of the Bible.

(to be continued. . . )
User avatar #43 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
(. . . continued)

4. Now, I am not sure to which of my quotes you are referring, but the only one I can see as being relevant is 1 Peter 3:15, which encourages the Christian to know what he believes and why he believes it. And if you are in fact referring to this text, I am not sure how you reach your conclusion that it matter-of-factly says "God is right." Now, Peter herein assumes that the person to whom he is writing is already a Christian, so there is that, but he nevertheless encourages the person to make sure that he can justify his belief to others and to make sure that he has thought it through--far from the accusation that the Bible encourages mindless belief.

5. Finally, as to your quote of H.P. Lovecraft, I fully agree that if parents think their belief is true they need only encourage their children to seek the truth. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that when belief is forced it results negatively for the child and the belief (referring to the way in which it is perceived by others). Nevertheless, it is not unreasonable for an innocent person who is on trial for murder to defend herself by putting forth her case in the best possible manner, calling to witness her best alibis and evidences to manifest the truth of her innocence, especially when there is a particularly aggressive prosecutor attempting to convict them. Therefore, is it any more unreasonable for a Christian parent to ask that their belief be taught in school for what it is a potentially valid explanation for cosmic origins, alongside of course the evidence for the alternative?

I just can't help but feel that we make too big a deal out of presenting a particular approach when we could simply present both approaches as potentially viable explanations for the same evidence, especially when even creationism can be interpreted in an evolutionary context anyway. As you said (paraphrased), "if the facts are true, there is no need to bludgeon youth into an artificial conformity."
User avatar #42 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
Don't worry, you don't come across as such.

Unfortunately, I've got class in about 6 hours, so I'm going to need to go to bed. However, I'll be back tomorrow.

Take care, this has been really interesting. Talk to you then.
User avatar #38 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
The reason that I say 'almost' is because some of what it says are simply basic human decency. Let's look at the big ten, shall we? As I'm aware that there are different versions of them, I'm going with the ones found at 'God's Ten Laws'.com. Now, I'm obviously aware that I'm not putting the exact text, I'm simply putting them down in plainer terms.

1. I'm god. Deal with it. You can't have any other gods, it must be me.
2. Don't carve anything that can be worshipped
3. Don't misuse my name
4. Pay attention to the specific day that I say is holy
5. Treat your parents right
6. Don't kill anyone
7. Don't cheat on your wife
8. Don't steal
9. Don't lie
10. Don't get jealous

Let's take a quick look at these, outlined several times in the bible. Of the ones that aren't constant reminders that you need to believe in god and that he should be the most important thing in your life, the rest are simply how to not be a cunt.

Don't steal from people. Don't kill people. Don't lie. Don't cheat on your wife. These aren't divinely inspired rules. They're simply reiterations on how to not be a total scumbag. They're things that anybody should do, not because a god told them to, but because caring for one another and not stabbing them in the back is not just a good way to stay alive longer, it's simply a logical thing to do. No man is an island, and we all need each other. We have physical, social and emotional needs that must be satisfied, and doing any of those things are quick ways to deny ourselves of them.

In addition, several of the passages you've quoted are simply ones saying that 'God is right, and as long as you believe that, you will be able to justify most anything'. While I can see how that applies here, it really doesn't make much of a difference one way or another.

I'd like to finish off here with a quote, one that goes back to the original point of all this, by H.P. Lovecraft:
User avatar #39 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.
#49 - boothead (02/05/2014) [-]
I have to respect both of you for not resorting to name calling, and I agree it would violate separation of church and state but if that is the case then we shouldn't be teaching either model in school and allow kids to educate themselves on the matter.
User avatar #30 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
a threat. It's a threat that 'If you do not act as you are told, you will be tortured for the rest of eternity.'

It's puppetry, is really all it is. It began as those in power telling those who were beneath them that they would be given nothing but excruciating pain for the rest of existence if they did not follow these specific laws.

They are not equally valid, because one of them is literally nothing more than an ancient means of keeping those who might speak out under control.
User avatar #31 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
As I've said, however, I completely encourage you to believe whatever you wish. If something gives you comfort, then I wholeheartedly encourage you. If you feel it gives you purpose, if it inspires you, if it makes you hope and feel, innovate and create, if it makes you think, then it is more valuable to you than all the schooling in the world.

I encourage you to find what you believe in with all my heart.

I just don't believe that it should be taught in schools.
User avatar #25 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
why I say that religion has no place in schools. If you want to teach a child in the home, then by all means. You're 100% free to live your own life and to practice any damn religion you please.

However, when you begin forcing it on those who aren't yet old enough to make a rational choice, and when you're taking your personal beliefs, the same ones that so many people use as weapons, use as a platform from which to say 'You are wrong, you are a sin, the fact that you exist is a blight on the world' and deny others things that should otherwise be civil rights, that's where I take an issue.

You can believe in whatever you damn well please, but it does not belong in schools.
#36 - hutty (02/05/2014) [-]
why the debate on funny junk about the debate is almost better than the actual debate
is beyond me
:/
User avatar #40 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
Simple. We give a shit, and aren't out to make the other look bad.

We're here for honest discussion, not to prove who's right or wrong.
#15 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
#8 - Ham cited the bible, as evidence of the bible, and cited it as…  [+] (27 new replies) 02/05/2014 on Summary of the Nye/Ham debate +135
#11 - boothead (02/05/2014) [-]
You have no idea what the debate was for, do you?
#12 - dovanerrevarine (02/05/2014) [-]
Yes, it was for whether or not his model of origins is viable. Which, by proving that it was scientifically invalid, he showed that it was not in fact viable.
#18 - boothead (02/05/2014) [-]
Actually it was for proving whether or not teaching biblical origins and the creationist evolution orchard was a viable thing to be taught in schools.
User avatar #76 - lfunnymanl (02/05/2014) [-]
holy fuck you are stupid
User avatar #19 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
Well, that's very true. I think it is a valid thing to be taught in schools.

I mean, nobody complains when they teach the kindergartners about The Pokey Little Puppy, do they?
User avatar #47 - ohhh (02/05/2014) [-]
Religion belongs in a persons household. Or a private school. To make it mandatory in public schools would be not only against the constitution, but you may as well go ahead and teach all the other religions. I mean hell, why not? If were going to include sorry include that one, why not all the others. Doesn't matter either way though, the american people would never be stupid enough i hope to do that
User avatar #137 - include (02/06/2014) [-]
It's cool bro.
#21 - boothead (02/05/2014) [-]
Honestly I'm rather back and forth, yes i think about there being a god and yes the idea seems silly however on a part of moral standings the United States would only be better bring Christianity back in schools instead of 'Life is worthless we are intelgent animals lol snooki'
If you're personal beliefs interfere with what is actually right for a country you have no reason to debate and no reason to speak up. (Like gun control, the facts are there, you have to remove cities of course, most people over the population tend to be spread around more, with that in mind United States, 4th safest place to live, anywhere our armies are occupying, not so much)
User avatar #24 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
But that's the thing right there.

It's not being used as a system of beliefs or morals to start helping others. It's being used as a weapon. Allowing them to teach it as fact in schools is giving it a substantial weight that can be used by those who use it for hate.

It sets a precedent that completely violates the legal separation of church and state. As much as I hate to use the 'slippery slope' argument, this is an ideal time for it, as it's giving the argument that 'My religion is right, the government says so'.

There's a very clear line between believing in something and deciding that everyone should believe it as well. Just as some people believe in the Christian god, there's hundreds of millions of people who have just as deeply held religious beliefs. Shouldn't they be made to teach them in the curriculum, too?

In the end, it's a matter of personal choice, one that should not be forced onto children. School is an institution in which people are taught undeniable fact. They're taught to listen, they're taught to question, they're taught to learn. They're taught that the sky's the limit, because anything they can imagine can be attained with enough hard work, dedication and perseverance. School is a place to learn and to inspire, and to make yourself better than you were yesterday.

The unfortunate truth about Christian doctrine, I'm afraid, is that people are taught the exact opposite. They're taught to listen, true, and they're taught that the sky's the limit, but for all the wrong reasons. They're taught to listen because they're unworthy to question, and they're taught that the sky's the limit because a supernatural power that controls absolutely everything wills it to be so. Instead of encouraging people to explore, innovate and improve themselves, it's taught that an omniscient being is watching, waiting and judging your every single move in order to torture you for all eternity if you don't spend your life living in perfect obedience to them. That's
User avatar #27 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
Christianity by no means discourages people from exploring, innovating, and/or improving themselves. In fact, I think that Ham demonstrated that pretty easily by pointing out that there are plenty of Christians who have contributed to our scientific knowledge of the universe. Rather than simply wanting to know for the sake of knowing, they want to know so that they can better understand the created order and better serve God because of it. Heck, the Bible even says that mankind is ordered by God to "fill the earth and subdue it," not to sit around in complacency.

While some Christians may be taught not to question things, there are also plenty of people (not just children) now who blindly accept naturalism simply because that's what other people told them to believe. It's not a matter of the person not being allowed to discover by a particular worldview, but just a matter of how much people care about discovering in their own right. Even within the realms of exegesis and theology, Christians continue to make advances and better understand God's revelation, expressing the same truths in different ways and contexts.

Though I know that SOME exist, I have never personally heard of a fellow Christian who was told to just accept things for the sake of doing so. The Bible also says, "always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" (I Pet. 3:15), which in fact suggests quite the opposite, encouraging people to know why they believe what they believe.

I do want to end, however, by saying that I personally do not necessarily endorse either a literal creation approach or a theistic evolution approach; all I know is that both are equally defensible while yet remaining faithful to Scripture--Genesis 1 is not intended to be a science textbook! With that in mind, I just wish they would teach both approaches as potentially valid in school (and they are, assuming you don't preclude supernaturalism a priori).
User avatar #29 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
But that's the thing, though. They aren't defensible. Just look at how their defender did against Nye in this very debate.

He straight up used the argument of 'You weren't there, you can't prove it'. This is the sort of thinking that it inspires. The reason that they shouldn't be taught as equally valid is that they AREN'T equally valid. There is nothing, absolutely nothing whatsoever, to support Christianity other than a single book of bronze age fairy tales and the fact that someone in power told you it was true.

That's really it, though. The entire reason that Christianity, or any religion, for that matter, still even exists is because someone in power told someone else that it was correct, and they believed them for absolutely no further reason than 'Person X told me'. Religion throughout history has been a tool to control those lower on the political and social ladder. It was a tool to inspire obedience and respect.

The biggest issue I have with this sort of thing can be found squarely with the bible, and with the various 'interpretations' of it. Those who claim it to be truth pick and choose. They pick and choose which parts of it are 'right' and which parts aren't. Why is one part right and another wrong? Why is it right that anyone who has a different relationship than the bible says is alright should die, yet tattoos, wearing mixed fabrics, touching the skin of a pig, etc. are all perfectly reasonable in modern society? If one part of it's true, that must mean that every part of it's true.

And what about the religion that sprang from a king wanting to get a divorce? That's a part of christianity that's considered perfectly 100% valid, despite being created for personal reasons. What about the hundred different branches created specifically to cater to those in power's whims?

They are not both potentially valid. One is proven, tested fact. Fact. It is things that are proven to be true. The other is hearsay. Not just hearsay, but coercion. It's
User avatar #32 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
Well, I don't want to put myself into a position where I am defending something I don't know too much about or necessarily believe anyway, so I won't try to speak in defense of Ham (although, for the record, I do think at least some of his arguments are valid).

However, regarding most everything else you said, I can and will respond.

1.) I did not say "equally" but "potentially" valid, and it is a fact that unless you a priori rule out supernaturalism, creationism (either via evolution or literal, 6-day creation) is potentially valid.

2.) I will boldly deny your claim that the only reason religion still exists is because of its use as a form of manipulation by those in authority, and in fact I think that this is easily done by merely demonstrating that not all religions have their source in power or politics, and Christianity in particular was the exact opposite. It was "invented" by someone who was a carpenter and who died for his beliefs, and then carried on by fishermen, most of whom then proceeded to die as well for their belief.

3.) Nevertheless, I absolutely agree with you that religion has been used, frequently even, for manipulation and in doing so terrible things have been accomplished. Regarding Christianity in particular, you of course have the Crusades (and a vast list of other wars, but that alone serves as an adequate exemplar, I think). Needless to say, people abuse things. But, that being said, this cannot be used against religion, for people have frequently abused any and every ideology or technological for their own purposes. No, rather, Christianity or any other religion must be assessed by its internal consistency and external validity. Regarding that, you will have to wait for my follow-up post (coming shortly as a response to this. . .)
User avatar #34 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
Now, most importantly, concerning the truth of Christianity in and of itself:

1. Regarding external validity, in this particular case I'm afraid you must rely on archaeological and historical-textual witnesses. There truly can be no objective, scientific test for its validity (remember, many theologians hold to a non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1, but this will be discussed later). There are several things that might be said here, but suffice it to say that regarding the biblical text itself (especially herein talking about the Old Testament), it is remarkably in accord with the extra-biblical textual and archaeological evidence of the time period, at least when speaking in historical matters. Furthermore, in the last century, our confidence of the textual accuracy of the extant biblical manuscripts has only increased with new discoveries, most particularly the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. It is easily shown that while there are a variety of slight variations due to scribal error, the vast majority of the text is remarkably intact, much better than any comparably old text. Additionally, none of the possible textual difficulties concerns a point of major theological significance. Finally, just as a general note regarding the concept of supernaturalism and/or the miraculous, one needs to understand that the miraculous by definition is not scientifically demonstrable; indeed, that is the whole point! Miracles were recorded precisely because they were anomalies, not because people were stupid and didn't understand that things operated according to fixed principles. If that had been the case, they would not have been worthy of mention.

2. Now, regarding the internal consistency of Scripture and its supposedly arbitrary application/interpretation, I can understand where you are coming from. At first glance, it seems absurdly obvious that Christians are simply picking and choosing whatever they want! (again, to be continued. . .)
User avatar #35 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
. . . However, the more you actually examine the situation the more you realize that it makes sense, and that the Bible itself actually declares that certain teachings and laws were never meant to be universal, because that had not been their point. Jesus criticizes the Jewish religious leaders of His day for understanding the Law of Moses too literally. They denounce Him for healing a man on the Sabbath since God said it was supposed to be a day of rest, but He shows them that they have misinterpreted that Law and are applying it incorrectly. This is because many of the Mosaic laws were not intended to be universal laws. Rather, they were given by God to the Israelites at a particular time and in a particular place for their particular situation.

"Now, wait a minute," you might say, "that means that the God who made those laws is not unchanging--He is capricious!" But is that really the case? For if you examine the laws in question, you will realize that they are simply particular expressions of God's unchanging moral character, applied in certain circumstances for certain reasons. But it is the spirit behind those laws that reflects God's character, not necessarily the laws themselves, and that is why the laws reflecting the moral spirit of every law given in the Old Testament are renewed in the New Testament, summarized by Jesus as "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:35-41).

The only thing that remains to be answered is why these particular laws were given in the time of Moses. And while the answer for every exact law is not always 100% clear, we have sufficient evidence concerning that era and cultural setting to justify that most of the laws were given in order to distinguish Israel from her pagan neighbors, who would use, for example, tattoos in their rituals.
User avatar #37 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
First, I have to concede that I did misquote you, and use equally as opposed to potentially. I apologize for that.

Now, onto your claims.

1. The bible is not a single piece or work. The bible is a collection of different papers and scripts and books, over 3500 at last known count, written by different people at different times and added on as 'god's word' by those who would use religion to enforce their own values onto others' moral codes. The reason it's archaeologically accurate (to a point, I must point out) is simply because the people who wrote particular sections which correspond to actual fact lived in those times and wrote what they knew. I was never denying when it was written.

The reason that it's so intact, even when taking into account some extremely important texts (Livy's Ab Urbe Condita springs to mind, possibly the most useful text we have when looking at Roman society, yet most of it has been lost over time), is that it was valued by the people who used it. The simple fact of the matter is that if someone values something, they'll seek to preserve it. The fact that different people in different places had copied the book really doesn't have any bearing on anything. The most plausible explanation for the Dead Sea Scrolls, too, is just that. Someone had writings which they told someone else were valuable, and they were copied and distributed to others.

As for your second main point, you're right. It DOES seem absurdly obvious that various sects are picking and choosing what to listen to and obey... And honestly, it's because they are. There are just so many blatant contradictions in absolutely everything that's said. Even the fact that you're saying 'We're supposed to pick and choose, because some of the things said aren't relevant' outlines that perfectly.

What's said in the bible is relevant to the Israelites because it was written by them. It was written by a group of bronze age farmers, and has almost no relevance today.

(continued)
User avatar #41 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
1. I don't mean to be obnoxious in doing this, but could you give me some examples of the "so many blatant contradictions in absolutely everything that's said"? As one who has read the complete Bible multiple times and studied it formally for five+ years, I'm eager to hear what they are.

2. While the terminology "picking and choosing" may be used to describe the fact that Christians are not to enforce all Old Testament laws, it is fundamentally misleading in the sense that it is quite clearly defined in the New Testament which of these laws were temporally limited and which were not. And, furthermore, that decision was not itself capricious. It is very easy to see that the Mosaic Law contains, broadly speaking, three types of law: 1) cultic/liturgical, 2) civil, and 3) moral. The first two of these are limited as their original purpose was to establish Israel as an independent, nation, holy (i.e. "set apart") for God in contradistinction to their pagan neighbors, who engaged in fertility cults, child sacrifice, and the like. These laws, while never contradicting the spirit of the moral law behind all of them, were nevertheless not meant to be applied universally since not all cultures or eras are like that which Israel faced at that particular time.

3. As you have gone on to discuss the concept of moral law, this ties in nicely. I couldn't agree more that these laws teach you "how not to be a cunt." But, as any good psychology/sociology student will tell you here, correlation does not determine causality. You make the conclusion here that because these laws appear to you to be reasonable, they are merely human laws. But that conclusion is unwarranted. And, no, I'm not going to argue that they necessarily imply divine origin either, as that would be the same error the opposite direction. Therefore, you must find another basis on which to determine the truth or falsehood of the Bible.

(to be continued. . . )
User avatar #43 - beren (02/05/2014) [-]
(. . . continued)

4. Now, I am not sure to which of my quotes you are referring, but the only one I can see as being relevant is 1 Peter 3:15, which encourages the Christian to know what he believes and why he believes it. And if you are in fact referring to this text, I am not sure how you reach your conclusion that it matter-of-factly says "God is right." Now, Peter herein assumes that the person to whom he is writing is already a Christian, so there is that, but he nevertheless encourages the person to make sure that he can justify his belief to others and to make sure that he has thought it through--far from the accusation that the Bible encourages mindless belief.

5. Finally, as to your quote of H.P. Lovecraft, I fully agree that if parents think their belief is true they need only encourage their children to seek the truth. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that when belief is forced it results negatively for the child and the belief (referring to the way in which it is perceived by others). Nevertheless, it is not unreasonable for an innocent person who is on trial for murder to defend herself by putting forth her case in the best possible manner, calling to witness her best alibis and evidences to manifest the truth of her innocence, especially when there is a particularly aggressive prosecutor attempting to convict them. Therefore, is it any more unreasonable for a Christian parent to ask that their belief be taught in school for what it is a potentially valid explanation for cosmic origins, alongside of course the evidence for the alternative?

I just can't help but feel that we make too big a deal out of presenting a particular approach when we could simply present both approaches as potentially viable explanations for the same evidence, especially when even creationism can be interpreted in an evolutionary context anyway. As you said (paraphrased), "if the facts are true, there is no need to bludgeon youth into an artificial conformity."
User avatar #42 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
Don't worry, you don't come across as such.

Unfortunately, I've got class in about 6 hours, so I'm going to need to go to bed. However, I'll be back tomorrow.

Take care, this has been really interesting. Talk to you then.
User avatar #38 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
The reason that I say 'almost' is because some of what it says are simply basic human decency. Let's look at the big ten, shall we? As I'm aware that there are different versions of them, I'm going with the ones found at 'God's Ten Laws'.com. Now, I'm obviously aware that I'm not putting the exact text, I'm simply putting them down in plainer terms.

1. I'm god. Deal with it. You can't have any other gods, it must be me.
2. Don't carve anything that can be worshipped
3. Don't misuse my name
4. Pay attention to the specific day that I say is holy
5. Treat your parents right
6. Don't kill anyone
7. Don't cheat on your wife
8. Don't steal
9. Don't lie
10. Don't get jealous

Let's take a quick look at these, outlined several times in the bible. Of the ones that aren't constant reminders that you need to believe in god and that he should be the most important thing in your life, the rest are simply how to not be a cunt.

Don't steal from people. Don't kill people. Don't lie. Don't cheat on your wife. These aren't divinely inspired rules. They're simply reiterations on how to not be a total scumbag. They're things that anybody should do, not because a god told them to, but because caring for one another and not stabbing them in the back is not just a good way to stay alive longer, it's simply a logical thing to do. No man is an island, and we all need each other. We have physical, social and emotional needs that must be satisfied, and doing any of those things are quick ways to deny ourselves of them.

In addition, several of the passages you've quoted are simply ones saying that 'God is right, and as long as you believe that, you will be able to justify most anything'. While I can see how that applies here, it really doesn't make much of a difference one way or another.

I'd like to finish off here with a quote, one that goes back to the original point of all this, by H.P. Lovecraft:
User avatar #39 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.
#49 - boothead (02/05/2014) [-]
I have to respect both of you for not resorting to name calling, and I agree it would violate separation of church and state but if that is the case then we shouldn't be teaching either model in school and allow kids to educate themselves on the matter.
User avatar #30 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
a threat. It's a threat that 'If you do not act as you are told, you will be tortured for the rest of eternity.'

It's puppetry, is really all it is. It began as those in power telling those who were beneath them that they would be given nothing but excruciating pain for the rest of existence if they did not follow these specific laws.

They are not equally valid, because one of them is literally nothing more than an ancient means of keeping those who might speak out under control.
User avatar #31 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
As I've said, however, I completely encourage you to believe whatever you wish. If something gives you comfort, then I wholeheartedly encourage you. If you feel it gives you purpose, if it inspires you, if it makes you hope and feel, innovate and create, if it makes you think, then it is more valuable to you than all the schooling in the world.

I encourage you to find what you believe in with all my heart.

I just don't believe that it should be taught in schools.
User avatar #25 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
why I say that religion has no place in schools. If you want to teach a child in the home, then by all means. You're 100% free to live your own life and to practice any damn religion you please.

However, when you begin forcing it on those who aren't yet old enough to make a rational choice, and when you're taking your personal beliefs, the same ones that so many people use as weapons, use as a platform from which to say 'You are wrong, you are a sin, the fact that you exist is a blight on the world' and deny others things that should otherwise be civil rights, that's where I take an issue.

You can believe in whatever you damn well please, but it does not belong in schools.
#36 - hutty (02/05/2014) [-]
why the debate on funny junk about the debate is almost better than the actual debate
is beyond me
:/
User avatar #40 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
Simple. We give a shit, and aren't out to make the other look bad.

We're here for honest discussion, not to prove who's right or wrong.
#15 - LaBarata (02/05/2014) [-]
#218 - >mfw living in seattle during green river killers spree 01/27/2014 on Top Ten Serial Killers +1
#165 - Athletic accolades deserve to be recognized, as do academics, …  [+] (2 new replies) 11/04/2013 on Good Guy Head Coach -->... 0
User avatar #209 - KayRed (11/04/2013) [-]
Fucker! Do you know what "glorified" means? And don't assume I'm unathletic, I am very athletic, I just don't play any sports, because Academics is way more important, and it will always be more important, and those fucks who get their dicks sucked by every teacher around them because they play a game will learn that the hard way. Those teachers aren't doing them any favors, this guy is.
User avatar #191 - tittentei (11/04/2013) [-]
The last sentence is irrelevant. Never go after the player (argumenter) instead of the ball (argument).
#126 - Picture 10/28/2013 on Twerks everytime +1
#50 - He lives 10/28/2013 on Who wants pizza? 0
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