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Posts Made By: Paul Kammueller

December 28, 2002 02:13 AM Forum: Religion

Attack of the Clones

Posted By Paul Kammueller

OK so by now you've seen this thing on the news about this claim of a human clone. Ignoring for a moment whether the claim is valid, how do you guys feel about this?

The people making this claim belong to a religion founded on the idea that little green men created all life on earth. Do we want these people making lots of carbon copies of themselves? Or any other group for that matter?

I think this will lead to no end of trouble.

January 15, 2003 05:39 AM Forum: Religion

What is Truth?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Seems after seeing some discussion that much disagreement and debate arises from a fundamental difference in perception of what the root of truth and reality is. To quote Pilate, "What is Truth?"

Atheist Foundation:
Premise: The truth is out there. You only need to seek it.
Assumptions: The real world contains sufficient information and physical laws to explain nature and existence, given enough time and science

Theistic Foundation:
Premise: The truth is in the sacred text. You only need read it.
Assumptions: The writings are divinely inspired and thus the word of God

Two fundamentally conflicting models of reality.

January 16, 2003 04:06 PM Forum: Religion

Can logic be a religion?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

I want logic to be a religion. That would be cool. But it will never take. It lacks the two strongest motivators that make the big established religions (and also elections) successful. Those motivators are:

1) Promises (salvation)
2) Threats (damnation)

The thing that keeps poking at me about the established theistic religions of today is that, on the face of it, they strike me as illogical.

For example:

In Christianity, you are promised salvation if you accept Christ as Savior. You are promised damnation if you don't.

In Islam you are promised salvation if you accept Mohammed as the Last Prophet and Allah as the one true God. Jesus is considered a great prophet, but you are damned if you call him "God" for then you are guilty of the deification of human beings.

Either one or both of these beliefs must be wrong. It is possible that one of them is right, but not both. Which one you believe, in nearly all cases, depends upon which culture you are raised in. Upon being presented with the competing belief later in life, the 'other' will sound foreign and downright blasphemous to you. Conversions are very few.

So whether you are saved or damned depends, in 99% or so of cases, upon where you are born. This strikes me as exceedingly illogical.

January 16, 2003 09:25 PM Forum: Religion

A Comparison of Logic for Discussion

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Atheistic Creation:

Conclusion: God(s) do not exist

Premise: Everything is natural. Natural processes give rise to everything that is.

Flaw in Logic: The premise does not necessarily lead to the conclusion, it only allows for its possibility.

Theistic Creation:

Conclusion: God(s) exist

Premise: Everything is artificial. Things cannot simply "exist" or processes "occur", they are so ordered that they must have been designed by an intelligent entity.

Flaw in Logic: If everything so ordered must be intelligently created, then badly unresolved is the issue of who designed God, a being much more ordered and perfect even than the Universe itself which is deemed "to good" to have occurred by nature. If God (and the space/hyperspace in which he exists) are made an exception with a wave of the hand and a "they always existed" statement then the basic Premise is false and the conclusion makes no sense.

January 17, 2003 07:51 PM Forum: Religion

Why are we religious?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

I said earlier that I regarded all religions (including atheism) as a person's personal model of reality.

It occurs to me that perhaps it is not so much that a religion is a mental model of reality. Perhaps, rather, it is a filter. Even if one religion is the correct one, clearly almost all religions are wrong, for most of them are mutually exclusive. The very variety and history of religions of the world dictates that whether there is/are god(s) or not, we would most certainly feel the need to create them and worship them. But why?

Maybe it's because as a species we have a difficult time with the idea of accepting reality at face value. So we construct supernatural beings and worlds to explain that which we don't understand and promise ourselves eternal life. We place them conveniently out of reach in order to avoid encountering anything disturbing that we can't explain or anything that might counter the belief. We construct our 'reality filter' in such a way that reality makes sense to us and is made more palatable, and the Unknown is pushed forever out of sight and out of mind.

January 19, 2003 04:47 AM Forum: Religion

This sucks

Posted By Paul Kammueller

So go to Sesame Street Live and a friend's birthday party and I come back here sleepy and exhausted and 80 or so posts have gone by. Ooof.

January 22, 2003 06:51 AM Forum: Religion

The house of cards on a rock

Posted By Paul Kammueller, as I see it, the end result of clinging to absolutism and fundamentalism. You end up with a belief system that at first looks very impressive but suddenly crumbles to the ground whenever the harsh breeze of reality blows against it.

Always remember, that whatever your religion is, you are following the teachings of Men. This calls for humility, whatever your belief system is. If you are a Christian, you are not following Jesus' teachings, you are in fact following other men's teachings who are claiming to relay what Jesus' teachings were.

The first Gospels were written decades after Jesus was crucified -- they didn't bother to write stuff down at first, of course, because he promised to come back before they died. As the years wore on, they had to face the fact that, gee, maybe he's not coming back, so maybe better write some of this down before we kick the bucket, so they jotted down the few bits of speeches they could remember remember anymore by that time.

This is only an example, but always remember -- whatever holy book you follow, never forget that you are relying entirely on the integrity of the author -- who is human.

So be careful in judging those of competing religions. Your prophets too may be true or false. They may have been inspired by God or they may have been inspired by hallucinogenic drugs. You don't know, because YOU WEREN'T THERE.

To my knowledge we do not yet have a book actually written by a deity. All religious doctrines are thus subject to human fallibility on three fronts, the fallibility of the author, the fallibility of those deciding what makes it into the final canonized work, and the fallibity of the end reader interpreting the meaning. The degree of correctness of your particular religion, whatever it is, is impossible to judge. All that can be said with any certainty is that they're all undoubtedly wrong to a considerable degree.

January 23, 2003 05:00 AM Forum: Religion

Alrighty then

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

January 23, 2003 05:15 AM Forum: Religion

Near Death Experiences (NDE's)

Posted By Paul Kammueller

It's getting slow again. We need a new subject. Anybody had an NDE? Know anybody who has? Inspirational? Evidence of something? Complete and utter rubbish?

I know this kind of blurs into the 'paranormal' field and not all (and maybe not even most) religious people believe in these, but I thought I'd liven things up with some expansion into the whole death thing.

January 23, 2003 06:29 AM Forum: Religion

Philosophical query- if I were a God,

Posted By Paul Kammueller

why would I want to be worshipped?