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> Science and Religion, Will they ever get along?
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post Aug 23, 2005, 08:27 PM
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Without religion would humanity descend into moral chaos?

Are scientific claims in some sense as unprovable as religious ones?
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Rick
post Aug 24, 2005, 01:11 PM
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1. No. Religion is holding man back from true social progress.

2. No. If that were the case, philosophers of science would long ago have pointed this out. Philosophy and science are not futile endeavors. Scientists are not fools for pursuing their vocations.
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post Aug 24, 2005, 02:17 PM
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QUOTE (Rick @ Aug 24, 01:11 PM)
....Scientists are not fools for pursuing their vocations.

...as philosophers of religion are?
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post Aug 24, 2005, 02:33 PM
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We must distinguish between theologians and philosophers.
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post Aug 24, 2005, 02:34 PM
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What is the difference?
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Rick
post Aug 24, 2005, 04:53 PM
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The subject of theology doesn't exist. The questions generally tackled by philosophers are relevant.
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post Jan 21, 2006, 12:22 PM
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A quote from Robert Todd Carroll:

"A delusion held by one person is a mental illness, held by a few is a cult, held by many is a religion."
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Rick
post Jan 24, 2006, 06:17 PM
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That's an apt quotation.
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lgking
post Feb 06, 2006, 11:16 AM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Aug 24, 01:53 PM) *

The subject of theology doesn't exist. The questions generally tackled by philosophers are relevant.
Rick, I presume you mean that "Theos"-- the One who theologians presume to study--does not exist. But surely theologians and theologies exist. Or do you say otherwise? smile.gif

BTW, IMO, because I believe that I have the right to define the god-concept as I understand it, I define G-D, not as a personal being who exists, but as the totality of all existence in which we live and move and have our physical, mental and spiritual beings. I find it impossible to deny this existence.

Meanwhile, because of free-will, IMO, anyone is free to reject G-D--total physical, mental and spiritual being. However, I would like to know if there is any value in denying TPMSB.

No doubt you are familiar with Pascal's wager. It may not prove the existence of a one god, but it sure points to the value of believing in something.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/




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post Feb 07, 2006, 04:33 PM
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QUOTE(lgking @ Feb 06, 08:16 AM) *

... the totality of all existence in which we live and move and have our physical, mental and spiritual beings. I find it impossible to deny this existence.


You keep defining god pantheistically yet you deny you are a pantheist! It seems to me that panentheism, as distinguished from pantheism, is a distinction without a difference.
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post Feb 07, 2006, 09:12 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Aug 24, 10:11 AM) *

Religion is holding man back from true social progress.


Religion serves its purpose. At the very least, it is a useful stepping stone onto higher things.
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post Feb 07, 2006, 09:49 PM
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....a step to higher things like?
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post Feb 08, 2006, 03:57 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Feb 07, 01:33 PM) *

QUOTE(lgking @ Feb 06, 08:16 AM) *

... the totality of all existence in which we live and move and have our physical, mental and spiritual beings. I find it impossible to deny this existence.


You keep defining god pantheistically yet you deny you are a pantheist! It seems to me that panentheism, as distinguished from pantheism, is a distinction without a difference.
Rick, my dictionary says that "pantheism" refers to all the physical forces of nature.

Pan-en-theism--G-D in, around and through all that IS--not in the regular dictionaries as of yet, includes the non-physical forces: the mental, spiritual, and immeasurable forces.

PAN-EN-THEISM http://www.websyte.com/alan/pan.htm
QUOTE
Pantheism and Panentheism
This universal arrangement is not pantheism (all is God), but panentheism, a term devised by Karl C. F. Krause (1781-1832) to describe his thought. It is best known for its use by Charles Hartshorne and recently by Matthew Fox.

I first heard it used in the 1970's. It was used by the former theologian and Dominican priest, Matthew Fox when he gave a seminar in Toronto. It was following this that I coined the word 'unitheism'--I've since been made aware of others who have done the same--to avoid the kind of confusion of which you speak.

ABOUT MATTHEW FOX
http://www.matthewfox.org/sys-tmpl/htmlpage20/
http://matthewfoxcs.blogspot.com/
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Rick
post Feb 08, 2006, 05:58 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay @ Feb 08, 12:57 PM) *

Rick, my dictionary says that "pantheism" refers to all the physical forces of nature.

Pan-en-theism--G-D in, around and through all that IS--not in the regular dictionaries as of yet, includes the non-physical forces: the mental, spiritual, and immeasurable forces.

From Dictionary.com:

pan·the·ism
n.
1. A doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena.

You (and others) seem to be making a non-existent distinction between the "universe and its phenomena" and "mental, spiritual, and immeasurable forces." In the 17th century, Baruch Spinoza defined his belief (pantheism) as god being the totality of existence. Therefore, nothing can be left out of pantheism. His proof was quite simple:

1. Assume god is separate from the universe.

2. Define god as "that which there is none greater."

3. Observe that the union of god and the universe would be greater than god.

4. Acknowledge that the assumption of step one results in the contradiction of step three.

Naturally, the establishment churches of his day rejected (and still do) his proof. What part of proof don't they understand?

This post has been edited by Rick: Feb 08, 2006, 06:22 PM
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post Feb 08, 2006, 06:26 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Feb 07, 06:12 PM) *

Religion serves its purpose. ...


From today's Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pa...ack=1&cset=true

Christians want to work to hasten the coming of the end of the earth. Muslims want to kill all infidels. Is that human responsibility and ethics?
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post Feb 08, 2006, 07:01 PM
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The best thing to believe in is the truth!
The best objective for anyone is to seek the truth!
The best way to seek the truth is..........?????
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lucid_dream
post Feb 08, 2006, 07:12 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Feb 08, 03:26 PM) *

QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Feb 07, 06:12 PM) *

Religion serves its purpose. ...


From today's Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pa...ack=1&cset=true

Christians want to work to hasten the coming of the end of the earth. Muslims want to kill all infidels. Is that human responsibility and ethics?


I'm not saying that religion is right, good, or ethical, but that everyone here who considers themselves beyond religion, including you, Rick, had to first pass through a religious phase, no matter how brief that may have been, before becoming disillusioned and moving onwards and upwards to better things.

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post Feb 08, 2006, 07:54 PM
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....an extreme rift occured between the two occured when Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky introduced his scientifc/theological synthesis "Worlds in Collision".
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Lindsay
post Feb 08, 2006, 10:46 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Feb 08, 02:58 PM) *

QUOTE(Lindsay @ Feb 08, 12:57 PM) *

Rick, my dictionary says that "pantheism" refers to all the physical forces of nature.
Pan-en-theism--G-D in, around and through all that IS--not in the regular dictionaries as of yet, includes the non-physical forces: the mental, spiritual, and immeasurable forces.

From Dictionary.com:
pan·the·ism
n. 1. A doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena.

You (and others) seem to be making a non-existent distinction between the "universe and its phenomena" and "mental, spiritual, and immeasurable forces."
In the 17th century, Baruch Spinoza defined his belief (pantheism) as god being the totality of existence. Therefore, nothing can be left out of pantheism. His proof was quite simple:

1. Assume god is separate from the universe.

2. Define god as "that which there is none greater."

3. Observe that the union of god and the universe would be greater than god.

4. Acknowledge that the assumption of step one results in the contradiction of step three.

Naturally, the establishment churches of his day rejected (and still do) his proof. What part of proof don't they understand?
Rick, in the spirit of dialogue, not debate, if you think of pantheism as a doublet of pan-en-theism, this is okay with me.

BTW, I am sure that atheists would also reject Spinoza's "proof". I also think that theists think of God as "that which is none greater" but in an immanent sense. IMO, I agree that it is okay not to agree, in every detail. I am more interested in: What is the practical value is all our speculation?

======================================
A SUMMARY OF THEISM, AS I UNDERSTAND IT
======================================
Theists, if I write anything which you feel is incorrect, or unfair, feel free to let me know. I was born and raised a theist, and I have a great deal of respect for all sincerely held beliefs and or opinions, as long as they are built on a moral, ethical and loving foundation.
==============================================================
Born in 1930, I was raised in what I now call the Sunday-school and Christian theism of that day. In one way or another, this theology is, to a large extent, still with us today, especially in the hymns, which are still sung in all our churches.

THEOLOGY IN THE HYMNS WE SANG, AND STILL SING
looking back, I remember, over and over again, almost without thinking much about the meaning behind the words we sang, we Sunday school children sang hymns like, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

In this, and in many other hymns in the current UC hymnary, which has over 1000 pages,, Jesus is spoken of and/or addressed, not just as an invisible and spiritual being. He is addressed as if he is a living being--the embodiment of God, in the here and now.

Often, contrary to the teachings of Jesus as found in the Gospels--where he talks of being, "...the servant of all--in our hymns, Jesus is addressed as our lord and king. He is spoken of as one who rides on in majesty (#126). Like a king, we crown him with many crowns (#211). And this--check out the hymnary index--is just a few of the numerous examples.

Over 50 hymns begin with the word 'God'. All hymns speak of, to and about God as if "He", like Jesus, is a person. He is written about as one who sees, with his eyes, everything we do. He listens, with ears, to our prayers. He even reads our thoughts. He is spoken of as one who is willing to do to, and for us, anything we can think of and ask "Him" to do, as long as we are willing to give Him the last word.

Granted there are hymns in the new hymnary which do make the attempt to be inclusive of both sexes, of other races and religions, including native spirituality. There are also many hymns which speak of the love of God, and that he wants to bless all humanity. But for the most past, God is clearly addressed as if he is an all powerful, all knowing, everywhere-present and white Christian, up there in heaven.

THE DOCTRINES OF THEISM
According to the doctrines of theism, this god-like and heavenly father lives in heaven, now. He is aware of you and me, now. He even knows that I am writing this, now. In addition to every word I write, he can read my every thought, even before I write it. Certain extreme forms of theism teaches that he knew I would do this way back when he created the world, in six days, in 4004 BC.

Theism tells us that there was a beginning. In the beginning, God created the cosmos, the universe, as we know and experience it, out of nothing. This means that the past, present and future are in his hands. By the way, if at anytime he wanted to do so, he could take control of everything. But for his own reasons, he has decided to hold off on this, for now. His giving us "free will" complicated things

Meanwhile, any Christian theist who is willing to admit: "I am a sinner. I cannot save myself simply by being a moral and ethical human being willing to keep the Golden Rule. My salvation comes ONLY when I am willing to confess my sins and say that I believe in Jesus Christ, as the one and only son of God." can expect that God will listen to all prayers and take care of all their needs

Christian theists believe that when they die, heaven awaits those who made the above confession; hell awaits those who do not.
==============================================================
Needless to say, early on, I questioned this Christian theism in which I was raised. For one thing, I found that many prayers went unanswered. Frequently, there was't even a clear, no. There was nothing but silence.

I look back, with thanks, that all of my questions were listened to with respect. At seventeen, I went off to Mount Allison University, NB, for four years study--I majored in philosophy and psychology. http://www.mta.ca

Then, for Biblical and theological studies, I went to the Atlantic School of theology, Halifax, NS. Later, I did post grad studies at Boston University. At all centres, my questions and comments were received, with respect, by professors and students alike. This, I feel, is what kept me in the ministry of the United Church of Canada for over forty years. I retired in 1994.

LABELS ARE USEFUL, BUT THEY DO NOT TELL ALL
About labels. In my opinion, labels are much like names, addresses and place names. They can be very helpful in telling others, in a general sort of way, where one is located. But they actually tell others very little about who one really is. Furthermore, labels tell us very little about the kind of life-style in which one lives, or wants to live.

And, keep in mind, because we live, I hope, in a free and demopcratic society, I am free to change my name and my location anytime I wish. In addition, I hope that I have some intellectual freedom.
============================
WHY I LABEL MYSELF A UNITHEIST
============================
With the above in mind, theologically speaking, the following is the label which I choose to describe myself, for now: For the nonce, I think of myself as a unitheist--G-D is that which is total, universal and all-encompassing, physically, mentally and spiritually. Meanwhile, I am free to change my mind when new facts come into my purview.

For me, unitheism bridges the gap between theism and deism. Unlike deism, theism thinks of God as interactive with us, almost imposing "his" will on us. Unlike theism, unitheism thinks of G-D as being interactive, without being imposing.

As I understand theism, theism asks us to think of God as an imposing and imminent being--a totally involved, all powerful, all knowing, a super personal and loving heavenly father who is in control of all history. In my humble opinion, theism presents us with a concept of God which, intellectually speaking, borders on a kind of idolatry of the mind. Therefore, I question it.

Deism, on the other hand, tells us of a God--one who can be similar, in may ways to the God of theism--whho is a transcendent being, with little or no concern with the human predicament. It appears that the God of deism lives in an ivory tower. In my humble opinion, deism is a kind of practical atheism.

Theists and deists, feel free to corrected me if you feel I am being unfair.

=========================00000000000000000==============================
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Lindsay
post Feb 08, 2006, 10:56 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Aug 24, 11:33 AM) *

We must distinguish between theologians and philosophers.
Okay, Rick. I agree. I prefer to think of myself as a philosopher.
Was it Will R. Durant--The Story Of Philosophy--who said: "All science begins as a philosophy and ends as an art?" IMHO, a good religion is like good art: It is full of goodness, order and design. It is given to that which is lovely, beautiful and true and the promotion of justice and peace.
BTW, I think that Durant had Canadian ( Quebec French) roots
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Rick
post Feb 09, 2006, 03:04 PM
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QUOTE(Guest_rhymer_* @ Feb 08, 04:01 PM) *

The best thing to believe in is the truth!
The best objective for anyone is to seek the truth!
The best way to seek the truth is..........?????

Reason.

QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Feb 08, 04:12 PM) *

... everyone ... had to first pass through a religious phase ... before ... moving onwards and upwards to better things.

If only there were some way to harness good intentions and skip the supernatural hogwash!
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Rick
post Feb 09, 2006, 03:26 PM
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Thank you, Lindsay, for that informative discussion of theism. Putting aside that highly flawed model for now, and assuming, for the sake of dialog, that we have narrowed the field down to two competing models, atheism and panentheism, how are we to decide which model of the universe we should adopt? Is there some test by which we can distinguish the true reality? Speaking as a scientist, if there is some way to distinguish an atheistic universe from a panentheistic one, then we should apply the test and decide.

If we can identify no test to make this determination, I suggest we apply Occam's Razor and select the simpler theory: atheism.
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post Feb 09, 2006, 03:34 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Feb 09, 12:26 PM) *
Speaking as a scientist, if there is some way to distinguish an atheistic universe from a panentheistic one


Mathematics and the mathematical beauty of nature is proof of God. What other proof could you hope for?


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Lindsay
post Feb 09, 2006, 05:04 PM
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QUOTE
'Feb 09, 12:04 PM'
'Guest_rhymer_*' post='59053' date='Feb 08, 04:01 PM' comments:
The best thing to believe in is the truth!
The best objective for anyone is to seek the truth!
The best way to seek the truth is..........?????
Rick responds to this: Reason.
I (Lindsay) Agree. But could we not also add: reason plus a sighted-faith--one that includes reason?

QUOTE
'lucid_dream' 'Feb 08, 04:12 PM'.
... everyone ... had to first pass through a religious phase ... before ... moving onwards and upwards to better things.

To this Rick comments: If only there were some way to harness good intentions and skip the supernatural hogwash!
I, Lindsay, respond:
QUOTE
IMO, Rick, there is a way: The way, as I see it, is as follows: It is up to me to tell you that my intentions are good. Then it is up to me to demonstrate that they are good, by what I say and do to, and for, you. BTW, this is one of the basic teachings of the Gospel of Jesus.
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Lindsay
post Feb 10, 2006, 05:39 PM
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Rick, et al: In another chatroom there are some atheists, positive and otherwise. You might be interested in the recent exchange:
QUOTE
For those who say:
QUOTE(Atheist @ Jan 21 2006, 01:18 PM)
I agree digger. God is an idea whose time has come and gone. I feel sorry for those who need some imaginary Being in order to feel good about themselves. It is a sign of immaturity, in my opinion, to need some imaginary Thingee to hang on to for comfort or for a reason to feel good about humanity or yourself.
*

To the above, I, Lindsay, responded as follows:

Check out the following story. It may be an apocryphal one, but it makes some interesting points. For me, as one who conceives of and perceives G-D in three ways, it makes a lot of sense.
Here is my theology in a nutshell:
1. G-D is the symbol I use to describe transcendent, impersonal being in all of nature--the object of study by those skilled in the natural sciences.
2. G-d is the symbol I use to describe god as personal being, in families and communities--the subject for study by those skilled in philosophy, sociology, psychology and theology.
3. The symbol I use for god in me, and in other persons, is g-d.
===============================================
A friend sent me the following story:
A University professor--a bit of an agnostic cynic, perhaps even an
atheist--at a well known institution of higher learning challenged his
students with this question:

"Did God create everything that exists?"
A student bravely replied, "Yes he did!"
"God created everything?" The professor asked.

"Yes sir, he certainly did," the student replied.

The professor answered,
"If God created everything; then God created
evil. And, since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works
define who we are, then we can assume God is evil."
The student became quiet and did not answer the professor's
hypothetical definition.

The professor, quite pleased with himself, boasted to the students
that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.
Another student raised his hand and said, "May I ask you a
question, professor?"

"Of course", replied the professor.
The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"
"What kind of question is this?

Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?"
The other students snickered at the young man's question.
The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist.
According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality
the absence of heat.
Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits
energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy.
Absolute zero (-460 F) is the total absence of heat; and all matter
becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist.
We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."
The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"
The professor responded, "Of course it does."

The student replied,
"Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not
exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light.
Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton's prism to break
white light into many colors and study the variouswavelengths of each color.

You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into
aworld of darkness and illuminate it.
How can you know how dark a certain space is?
You measure the amount of light present.
Isn't this correct?

Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is
no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"
Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course, as I have already
said. We see it everyday.
It is in the daily examples of man's inhumanity to man.
It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world.
These manifestations are nothing else but evil.
To this the student replied, "Evil does
not exist,sir, or at least it
does not exist unto itself.
Evil is simply the absence of God.
It is just like darkness and cold, a word that manhas created to
describe the absence of God.
God did not create evil.
Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's
love present in his heart.
It's like the cold that comes when there no heat, or the darkness that
comes when there is no light."
The professor sat down.
=================
The young man's name? Albert Einstein.


This post has been edited by Lindsay: Feb 10, 2006, 05:41 PM
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Rick
post Feb 10, 2006, 06:00 PM
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That little story sounds like one of those hoax email memes that goes around. While it certainly is a valid and clever attempt at refuting an atheistic proof from the existence of evil, I seriously doubt that Einstein (or any real person) was that young man.

Defining evil as the absence of god makes for a clever little story, but I define evil differently: unnecessary harm.
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post Feb 10, 2006, 08:31 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Feb 10, 04:00 PM) *

That little story sounds like one of those hoax email memes that goes around. While it certainly is a valid and clever attempt at refuting an atheistic proof from the existence of evil, I seriously doubt that Einstein (or any real person) was that young man.

Defining evil as the absence of god makes for a clever little story, but I define evil differently: unnecessary harm.


mm think of it this way bad people dont usually think what they are doing is bad. Psychotics who go on serial killings believe what they are doing is completly sane. Terrorists believe that they are doing their gods bidding when they launch attacks, Hitler believed he was purging the world of evil and helping god. Definitions of evil vary widely from culture to culture and person to person, some view eating cows as an abomination others as lunch, evil is more determined by what goes against or threatens ones self and ones beliefs.
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Lindsay
post Feb 10, 2006, 11:09 PM
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QUOTE(Rick @ Feb 10, 03:00 PM) *

That little story sounds like one of those hoax email memes that goes around..... but I define evil differently: unnecessary harm.
Rick, I did use the word "apocryphal" to describe the story.

However, I think that it is well documented that Einstein was not an atheist. And, interestingly, neither was Charles Darwin. Darwin's only academic degree was a Bachelor of Theology degree, from Cambridge. It seems to me that great thinkers simply use their brains to have greater theological concepts. My concept of G-D grew as I grew. In my 30's I grew away from traditional theism. It is still growing, I hope.

Anyone, what has been your theological journey?

This post has been edited by Lindsay: Feb 10, 2006, 11:11 PM
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lucid_dream
post Feb 10, 2006, 11:48 PM
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Theologians would consider Einstein atheist since he did not believe in a person-like God (as God is presented in the bible). Einstein's God was mathematical. Einstein's God was that of Spinoza's, who has been variously characterized as atheistic, monistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, and god-intoxicated.
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post Feb 11, 2006, 12:53 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Feb 10, 08:48 PM) *

Theologians would consider Einstein an atheist since he did not believe in a person-like God (as God is presented in the bible). Einstein's God was mathematical. Einstein's God was that of Spinoza's, who has been variously characterized as atheistic, monistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, and god-intoxicated.
LD, IMO, that should be: "Some theologians..."Einstein's concept of God is similar to what I have in mind when I write G-D. I think of the theology of the Bible, especially that of Moses, as henotheism--my God is superior to your god. I consider it a kind of mental idolatry suitable to those who lived in pre-scientific times, but not suitable today. I highly respect the ideas of Einstein as found at the following site:

http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Theology-Albert-Einstein.htm
====================00000000000000000000000=====================

Albert Einstein was a beautiful man, wise and moral, who lived in difficult times. I think all people will enjoy the great clarity and wisdom of his ideas, and they will find them very relevant and useful in our modern (and very disturbed) world. As he writes on humanity and true religiousness;

Albert Einstein Quotes on Philosophy of Religion, Theology, God
QUOTE
The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. (Albert Einstein)

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954) From Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press

Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being. (Albert Einstein, 1936) Responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray. Source: Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann

Based on a philosophy of religion similar to that advocated by Einstein, I will start of new thread.

This post has been edited by Lindsay: Feb 11, 2006, 04:39 PM
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