What counts as offsides in a Religious debate?

Nick333

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I'm starting a new thread although this is really part of "Why blame God or Satan thread" but I'd rather not put that thread in any more risk of being locked.

What sparked my reaction towards edwe was his audacity in telling another forum member to shut up, which to my mind is the ultimate killer of debate (and ironically I m pretty sure I could make a convincing argument that it is a banning offense). Any nastiness that ensued was purely over that one point. Anything else was debate.

I reserve the right to refer to the Bible as a collection of fables. If anyone is offended by that its just tough. Its my opinion and if you disagree then prove that it isn't so.

There is no law limiting free speech when it comes to critcism of religion as, almost everyone except edwe seems to realize.

The fact is that in any debate on this forum we all come pretty close to insulting each other or each others ideas, christians as much as anyone else.
Its rarely had any real negative effect on the sense of community we all share here.

I propose that we shouldn't allow it to become a problem even in threads debating religion. If something or someone offends you say so without resorting to telling someone to shut up, better still mock back. Better yet don't let stuff offend you at all. Few of us on here know each other well enough to be offended by personal insults. And none of us has any beliefs or ideas that aren't subject to critisism.

I'm not trying to preach, I obviously need to practice this as much as anyone.
 

Highflyer_GP

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I believe it's all fair game as long as it doesn't become personal.

Personally I'm tired of suppressing an opinion because somebody might be offended. Why should it be different to any other debate?

For instance I could create a cult where we believe that molesting a goat is a holy thing, and if people call it sick and twisted then I should take offense because they're attacking my cult. Sounds retarded doesn't it? If one cannot handle criticism then they shouldn't engage in discussion in the first place. The subject matter is irrelevant.
 

bwana

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It ceases to be a meaningful debate when you resort to attacking the individual rather than their ideas.
 

Nick333

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It ceases to be a meaningful debate when you resort to attacking the individual rather than their ideas.
You do realize that anything that was could be construed as an "attack" on edwe was in response to his telling another member to shut up though?

I was merely commenting on his behaviour (rather heatedly admittidly).
 

Nick333

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A cross thread response to edwe

Additionally I would genuinely like to apologise to Debbie2 for my response to her satirical post. I overreacted, since I was really angry at Nick333 (possibly incorrectly, I might add). It was funny, I was just unable to appreciate it under the circumstances.
I tried really hard not to respond this, but...the last thing I posted in that thread prior to your response to Debbie was a response to dodo and that was yesterday.
Do you mean to tell me that you were still upset about what I said to dodo yesterday and that caused you to be rude to Debbie?
 

Syndyre

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Haven't been following the thread you mentioned but I agree with the other posters, as long as what you're saying is regarding the subject matter and not personal I don't see how its really a problem. People take their religion seriously and personally, but just because they revere something doesn't mean they can expect everyone else too.
 

Debbie

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<Um just to be clear I never really had a chance or enough spare emotion to be offended by anything that was said here today, bar maybe the misinformation on HIV/AIDS. I've got no prob with anyone.>
 

Edwe

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Just to put things into perspective:

I made a post saying that people who have not read the Bible should not make claims about God (the Christian God, I thought was implied, although Nick333 seemed to disagree).

In response to this, Debbie2 made a satirical post in which she quoted my posts, in which was included:

Debbie2 said:
So best you shut your mouth, nthdimension. Just shut up already and accept that what WE say about god is the truth....because we're christians, we're so special, god loves us, in fact he loves us more than he loves you, and just you watch, he will reward us. As for you, well you're clearly going to hell for eternity! Our god is a loving god!
Seeing this as somewhat mocking, I replied:

Edwe said:
No, you shut up – nobody likes sarcasm. We are all special, God does love us and God loves you too, since he created you.
I did not mean this as a personal insult towards Debbie2, and have since sorted it out with her. In response to this last post of mine, Nick333 posted, among other things:

Nick333 said:
now you can shut the **** up
Nick333 said:
Why the **** should we believe that your collection of fables is most important subject matter over anyone elses?
Nick333 said:
Don't be a silly little, fascist, prick is what I'm saying.
Nick333 said:
If you do you get to shut up while the grownups carry on having a reasonably mature debate.
I am not saying that I am blameless, but I do think that Nick333's response was disproportionately aggressive. I may be deluded.

I don't want to turn this into a childish "he said then I said" debate - you be your own judge. Read from here onwards if you have the time for such trivialities :

http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php?t=60648&page=26
 
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Nick333

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<Um just to be clear I never really had a chance or enough spare emotion to be offended by anything that was said here today, bar maybe the misinformation on HIV/AIDS. I've got no prob with anyone.>
I'm not particularly concerned with anyones feelings. Frankly I would be disappointed if you had gotten all pouty about it, like someone else I could mention.

All that episode did in my opinion is illustrate the fact that while many christians pay lip service to the concept of free speech, they really believe that what they hold sacred should be exempt from criticism. It's the basis of every atrocity commited in the name of religion, and no matter how christians like to write it off as a characteristic of other "so called" christians, I have spoken to very few (I can only think of two on this forum and frankly only time will tell with those)who will not show that side of there beliefs when prompted just a little. Its fascism pure and simple and it deserves being kicked in the teeth.
 

PeterCH

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I reserve the right to refer to the Bible as a collection of fables. If anyone is offended by that its just tough. Its my opinion and if you disagree then prove that it isn't so.

There is no law limiting free speech when it comes to critcism of religion as, almost everyone except edwe seems to realize.
The Bible is not a collection of fables. In as much as organised religions of today are not cults. These are conventions assumed or taken upon by society. So even if you believe all the content in the Bible is fictitions whether it is symbolic or not, you create your own definition of what current society considers religion and fable. Religions are not fables according to societal rules. That is you CAN call the Bible anything you won't but officially and semantically it is not that. I could also label the constitution as a fable too, but it is not. I could call common law a fable. I could call art a fable. I could call modern medicine a fable or whatever, but once again I'd
be incorrect according to what we currently as the human society hold. Religions do not fall in the realm of fantasy.
Neither do we recognise as Tooth fairy worship as a religion but more of a fable or delusion. In psychiatry the same applies. Societal norms - for example talking to God and visions of God do not constitute delusions or hallucinations as long as other explicit criteria for psychotic disease are not met. If a person functions perfectly in society and has no other features of psychosis he is not labeled
psychotic. Religion is NOT a delusion according to the DSM.IV
which is the 'bible' of modern psychiatry. So for example if a psychiatrist
wanted to label God woship as a delusion he'd be laughed out of any professional hearing or board, even by his atheist/agnostic colleagues.

I've read recently some new work been done on the concept of the universe actually being finite and being much smaller than we thought. At the same time there are other academics who believe we may actually be living in a huge simulation. Arguments like those even raise the possibility of a supreme creator much more - and in the scientific mind. :)
 

PeterCH

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It ceases to be a meaningful debate when you resort to attacking the individual rather than their ideas.
One thing that people don't undestand is that when you insult a religion you're attacking that very person. Its the same with a very patriotic person. Telling them that their country is worthless, its citizens are lazy, whatever will obviously anger some people. With religion, many religious people consider religion to be the ultimate basis of their life. Religion makes sense to their life,
they have a family, children, relatives, friends, a job, hobbies, possessions,
ideas, a culture, education etc - but only the belief in God makes these all worthwhile for them. In fact the word 'worthwhile' is far too weak to
actually describe the emotions or the dependence on God for these people.
When you tell them that God is a toothfairy you're in essence insulting the
deepest part of their self, ego, consciousness, soul, whatever. I don't get offended by religious critcisms, but I do get peed off when people who are
ignorant of key issues are critical of my beliefs, yet my beliefs do not interfere with their own. My own private faith, I'm not the type to scream
"*****" in the crowd and raise my arms etc, does not and should have no bearing on anyone else in this universe. If I choose to believe in God that is my thing. People who without knowing all the facts attack one's religion
because they were scolded by a nun when they were small, or were raped
by a minister, or read some fictitious accounts of the Inquisition, are just
perhaps bigoted. I don't mind atheists/agnostics but I don't like bigoted points
of view and I definitely dislike hypocrisy. Many atheistic people are hypocritical, on the one hand they moan about how Christians try to
convince them about *****, on the other hand they are just as stubborn or even more so in trying to convert people to atheism. :)
 

PeterCH

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6 words:Attack the saying not the sayer
Perhaps because on the forums, we tend to see each other as 'text'
and avatars attacking the saying and not the sayer is a bit more difficult
than in real life.

However you're right. People should not hold each other personally accountable.
Yet supposedly you love your child but someone on the street tells you that
your child is a little criminal bastard. Would you not get peed off? Surely, yes.
Is it irrational, yes.
 

arf9999

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The Bible is not a collection of fables. In as much as organised religions of today are not cults. These are conventions assumed or taken upon by society. So even if you believe all the content in the Bible is fictitions whether it is symbolic or not, you create your own definition of what current society considers religion and fable. Religions are not fables according to societal rules. That is you CAN call the Bible anything you won't but officially and semantically it is not that. I could also label the constitution as a fable too, but it is not. I could call common law a fable. I could call art a fable. I could call modern medicine a fable or whatever, but once again I'd
be incorrect according to what we currently as the human society hold.
No offence, but this is just semantics. What differentiates a cult from a sect from a religion from superstition? The only difference is point of view. Christianity is a heretical sect of Judaism (or what was Judaism 2000 odd years ago), a cult if you prefer... as is Islam.

If someone has a vision of god, it is fair to assume that a) they have experienced a (possibly temporary) psychotic episode due to chemical imbalance; or b)they are deluded (possibly the victim of some form of hypnosis); or c) they are not telling the truth; or d) they did in fact see god. Using Occam's Razor, I'm going to suggest that it is likely a through c rather than d.

You can label anything a fable, but that doesn't make it so. Modern medicine, with all its shortcomings, can provide some empirical proof that it works. The constitution is an agreed set of laws. Art can be a fable... what does it matter?

Devil's Advocate: Just because something is a societal norm it is therefore not a fable? So in India, where Hinduism is the norm, it is as real and true as Christianity is in the West? The Bhagavad-Gita is just as true as the Bible? More so, considering that Hinduism as a organised religion is about 2500 years older than Christianity.

The Bible is a collection of fables, and in it are some good messages. There are rules of hygiene and laws to regulate and control society. However it is the work of men, not god. And many of those laws are anachronistic and meaningless in the modern age.

Calling Religion a delusion is probably hyperbole, but if people believe something that is patently untrue, they must be deluded. What else would you call it?
 

Nick333

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The Bible is not a collection of fables. In as much as organised religions of today are not cults. These are conventions assumed or taken upon by society. So even if you believe all the content in the Bible is fictitions whether it is symbolic or not, you create your own definition of what current society considers religion and fable. Religions are not fables according to societal rules. That is you CAN call the Bible anything you won't but officially and semantically it is not that. I could also label the constitution as a fable too, but it is not. I could call common law a fable. I could call art a fable. I could call modern medicine a fable or whatever, but once again I'd
be incorrect according to what we currently as the human society hold. Religions do not fall in the realm of fantasy.
Neither do we recognise as Tooth fairy worship as a religion but more of a fable or delusion. In psychiatry the same applies. Societal norms - for example talking to God and visions of God do not constitute delusions or hallucinations as long as other explicit criteria for psychotic disease are not met. If a person functions perfectly in society and has no other features of psychosis he is not labeled
psychotic. Religion is NOT a delusion according to the DSM.IV
which is the 'bible' of modern psychiatry. So for example if a psychiatrist
wanted to label God woship as a delusion he'd be laughed out of any professional hearing or board, even by his atheist/agnostic colleagues.


In that the bible is a collection of stories of dubious authenticity, designed to impart moral teachings to the reader, it is by definition a fable.

You've only proved that religious delusion is not a symptom of psychosis not that religion is not a delusion. Any psychiatrist who is willing to state catagoricaly that religion is not a delusion had better be prepared to prove the existence of god and thats just for starters. You're playing the semantics game as arf9999 has pointed out. Believers in alien abductions are not neccesarily labeled as psychotic or considered to be a danger to themselves or anyone else, but they can safely labelled as delusional.
Anyway there are two defenitions of delusional :

A delusion is commonly defined as a false belief, and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception. In psychiatry, the definition is necessarily more precise and implies that the belief is pathological (the result of an illness or illness process).
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusional
I've read recently some new work been done on the concept of the universe actually being finite and being much smaller than we thought. At the same time there are other academics who believe we may actually be living in a huge simulation. Arguments like those even raise the possibility of a supreme creator much more - and in the scientific mind. :)
The above mentioned are exactly what you call them : concepts. I've heard of them before and while intruiging they are only hypothesis'. There is no proof for either. In the case of the computer simulation hypothesis, I can assure you that the originators of the idea would certainly not suggest that we all start worshiping a computer programming god.

The difference is that religious people believe unsubstantiated hypothesis' emphatically, while the scientists and phillosphers who come up with the ideas you mentioned go out and either try to prove their hypothesis or accept that they will remain only ideas.

The one is a matter of delusion and the other is...well just having ideas, i.e. thinking.
 

Nick333

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One thing that people don't undestand is that when you insult a religion you're attacking that very person. Its the same with a very patriotic person. Telling them that their country is worthless, its citizens are lazy, whatever will obviously anger some people. With religion, many religious people consider religion to be the ultimate basis of their life. Religion makes sense to their life,
they have a family, children, relatives, friends, a job, hobbies, possessions,
ideas, a culture, education etc - but only the belief in God makes these all worthwhile for them In fact the word 'worthwhile' is far too weak to
actually describe the emotions or the dependence on God for these people.
When you tell them that God is a toothfairy you're in essence insulting the
deepest part of their self, ego, consciousness, soul, whatever. I don't get offended by religious critcisms, but I do get peed off when people who are
ignorant of key issues are critical of my beliefs, yet my beliefs do not interfere with their own.
Just because someone unwisely invests their entire existence in one unsubstantiated idea is not reason enough not to criticize said idea. If one can't appreciate life as is, without clinging to a delusion (the only way you're going to stop me from using that word is by sending god round to my place to introduce himself) that's your problem. Someones patriotism doesn't exempt there country from criticism. If a Zimbabwean loves his country it doesn't stop Zim from being a ****-hole.

I can criticize your beliefs as long as you have no proof for them, thats just the way it is. You're even allowed to criticize my lack of beliefs even though a lack of belief doesn't require any proof (how could it).

As long as christians feel the need to evangelize and form political parties and ask me for tax exempt status you'd better believe your beliefs are interfering with my own. Just becuase you may not believe in any of those things doesn't mean I shoulld stop attacking these peoples beliefs, which is held up as the reason they have the right to do these things. That you share some of their fundamental beliefs is just tough.

When every christian realizes that their beliefs do not afford them special right s and they go about their lives without trying to spread probable falsehoods, is when I'll stop pointing out that their beliefs are no more substantial than a childs belief in fairy tails. And then it will only be out of politeness.

My own private faith, I'm not the type to scream
"*****" in the crowd and raise my arms etc, does not and should have no bearing on anyone else in this universe. If I choose to believe in God that is my thing. People who without knowing all the facts attack one's religion
because they were scolded by a nun when they were small, or were raped
by a minister, or read some fictitious accounts of the Inquisition, are just
perhaps bigoted. I don't mind atheists/agnostics but I don't like bigoted points
of view and I definitely dislike hypocrisy. Many atheistic people are hypocritical, on the one hand they moan about how Christians try to
convince them about *****, on the other hand they are just as stubborn or even more so in trying to convert people to atheism. :)
The only reason any one needs to disbelief christianity or to criticize it or in fact even despise it is that it is by no scientific definition true. Lies suck. All the other nasty **** that christianity has done in the last two thousand years and continues to do are just reasons for us to combat it.

Believing that christians do not have the right to special treatment does not make someone a bigot. Just as hating racism does not make someone a bigot.
 

ghoti

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eople who without knowing all the facts attack one's religion
because they were scolded by a nun when they were small, or were raped
by a minister, or read some fictitious accounts of the Inquisition, are just
perhaps bigoted. I don't mind atheists/agnostics but I don't like bigoted points
of view and I definitely dislike hypocrisy. Many atheistic people are hypocritical, on the one hand they moan about how Christians try to
convince them about *****, on the other hand they are just as stubborn or even more so in trying to convert people to atheism. :)
Actually, its people like you that made me start to question Chritianity in the first place. Just look at what you wrote there very carefully. The irony is I bet you can not even see it :(
 

Edwe

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If one can't appreciate life as is, without clinging to a delusion (the only way you're going to stop me from using that word is by sending god round to my place to introduce himself) that's your problem.
You miss the entire point of a religion. It's about believing that in which you have no absolute proof. If we all had absolute proof about God and Christianity, what challenge would there be about being a Christian? We would all live perfect lives and go to heaven, not because we truly believe, but because we don't want to die.

I can criticize your beliefs as long as you have no proof for them, thats just the way it is. You're even allowed to criticize my lack of beliefs even though a lack of belief doesn't require any proof (how could it).
That's absolutely right. You can criticise and debate our beliefs all you want. Call it stupid if you like. That's the beauty of an open forum in a free country. We're trying to tell you that you can't, however, insult us personally by calling us "stupid little pricks" - that's just plain insulting, not debating. Attack the idea not the person, to repeat someone else's point.

When every christian realizes that their beliefs do not afford them special right s and they go about their lives without trying to spread probable falsehoods, is when I'll stop pointing out that their beliefs are no more substantial than a childs belief in fairy tails.
If you may have the freedom to criticise our beliefs, we have the right to promote them. It's a free country isn't it? Freedom of speech, as long as it doesn't constitute verbal abuse.

The only reason any one needs to disbelief christianity or to criticize it or in fact even despise it is that it is by no scientific definition true. Lies suck.
Very true. Lies suck. I'm not lying. I truly believe in God.

All the other nasty **** that christianity has done in the last two thousand years and continues to do are just reasons for us to combat it.
Christianity didn't do anything wrong. It's an idea that promotes love and peace. Some people who called themselves Christians have done some terrible things, but so have people who don't call themselves Christians. Why don't you say "let's combat hateful and violent people" instead of "lets combat Christianity". That's ridiculous - don't attribute things to Christianity that weren't caused by it, just because you despise it.
 
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Syndyre

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Christianity didn't do anything wrong. It's an idea that promotes love and peace. Some people who called themselves Christians have done some terrible things, but so have people who don't call themselves Christians. Why don't you say "let's combat hateful and violent people" instead of "lets combat Christianity". That's ridiculous - don't attribute things to Christianity that weren't caused by it, just because you despise it.
A lot of terrible things have been done not only by Christians but in the name of Christianity itself, with the support of major Christian organisations such as the Catholic church, that's where the distinction comes in. The same way if a terrorist organisation commits violent acts you attack both the organisation and its members. And no I'm not trying to equate Christians to terrorists, just using it as an analogy.
 

Nick333

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You miss the entire point of a religion. It's about believing that in which you have no absolute proof. If we all had absolute proof about God and Christianity, what challenge would there be about being a Christian? We would all live perfect lives and go to heaven, not because we truly believe, but because we don't want to die.
That does make sense, but only in a context of a supernatural reality. If one is skeptical (as you would probably admit one should be in all situations, except of course in the case of christianity) one would be forced to admit that proof for the existence of a supernatural reality is totally lacking. From a truly skeptical perspective your hypothesis is just to convenient. It could be used to justify the existence of any supernatural phenomena you'd care to mention.



That's absolutely right. You can criticise and debate our beliefs all you want. Call it stupid if you like. That's the beauty of an open forum in a free country. We're trying to tell you that you can't, however, insult us personally by calling us "stupid little pricks" - that's just plain insulting, not debating. Attack the idea not the person, to repeat someone else's point.
Come on dude. I actually said : Don't act like a silly, little, fascist, prick because you told someone to shut up, not because you're a christian. I apologize, I could have been more polite.


If you may have the freedom to criticise our beliefs, we have the right to promote them. It's a free country isn't it? Freedom of speech, as long as it doesn't constitute verbal abuse.
That is true. I never said I expected christians would ever actually stop trying to spread their brand of truth. I'm just saying as long as they do, I will make a point of showing how it lacks any sort of real proof.

Very true. Lies suck. I'm not lying. I truly believe in God.
Propagating a falsehood you believe may not be lying per se, but its still wrong in my book.
 
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