Who is Jesus and why does he matter?
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That is a veiled accusation of dishonesty directed at the majority of posters on AR. So maybe you didn't come here to slander atheists, but it seems you have slid into that trope rather quickly.
Moral decline? That is an argument of magnitude. Good look trying to justify an argument of magnitude involving morality.
And just some advise for the future: you probably shouldn't present an argument predicated on the existence of souls, to a group of people who largely think souls are not real. It would be like arguing that pots of gold must exists at the ends of rainbows, based on some property of leprechauns. Not a very good argument to present to people who don't think leprechauns are real.
Well I was hanging back, as I've seen plenty of these threads, and have started to find them irksome.
However I will answer FWIW.
Jesus is a character from a religious tome, and there is no contemporary evidence he existed at all, and only scant anecdotal claims after that.
The superstitious claims that he was a deity made flesh are unsupported by any objective evidence, and many of the claims not only derive from an epoch of ignorance and superstition, but many of the claims contradict known scientific facts. And of course all claims for miracles, in their definition, are argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacies. We can't explain X therefore god did it.
Morality is subjective, and this includes religious morality, since the moral authority of a deity cannot be invoked without any objective evidence, and simultaneously be cited as providing objective morality.
As for alcohol and substance abuse, I fail to see why the resulting risks of addiction imply anything but natural phenomena. Recovering from, or avoiding such risks if you have an addiction can be extremely difficult, and I can see why some people turn to the placebo of religious belief, with the network of support it can often provide.
However and notwithstanding the dearth of objective evidence, religions come with baggage, much of which is pernicious, and as the late Christopher Hitchens once wrote...
"Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse."
That sums up my position quite nicely. Life can often seem too much, but religion is a crutch, a comfort blanket, a diversion from the harsh realities of life, much as alcohol and substance abuse can be, so it's not surprising that people prone to addiction fall into religion when they recognise the harm they are doing through substance abuse.
That said I wish you well, and hope you continue to turn your life around.
And already, the canards are being trotted out. When this happens, I don't take prisoners.
I would, in response, ask how can YOU value life, if you regard the life you're living as merely some sort of exam to be endured, in order to be allowed to spend eternity kissing the arse of your magic man?
It's precisely because we regard this life as being IT, that we value it so much. It's our one opportunity to achieve something of merit. Since no one has ever provided genuine, substantive evidence for an "afterlife" (the scientific journals of the entire planet would be all over whoever succeeded in this matter, and that this has not happened should be telling you something), we take the view, based on a large body of observational data, that death, for want of a more robust analogy, is basically the final throwing of the switch to "OFF" before the microbial recycling crew starts getting to work.
Indeed, since all that we've ever seen from mythology fanboys like you, when asked awkward questions about such topics, is regurgitation of the same unsupported mythological assertions we've been waiting to see corroborated for millennia, or the peddling of fatuous and absurd apologetic fabrications of a sort i would have pointed and laughed at when I was five years old, I and several others here regard the requisite output as effortlessly discardable. Not least because the proper rules of discourse tell us this.
Moving on ...
We do. Next?
Try the observational data informing us of the benefit or harm dispensed to others.
Oh no, not the "atheistic worldview" drivel yet again ... it's fucking petunias time ...
Allow me to bestow upon you the education you manifestly need here.
Atheism, in its rigorous formulation, is nothing more than suspicion of unsupported supernaturalist assertions. That is IT. In short, it consists of "YOU assert that your magic man exists, YOU support your assertions", preferably with substance instead of the usual collapsed intellectual soufflés we see being brought here by the usual suspects. As a corollary, atheism doesn't involve the presentation of assertions, it leaves that to mythology fanboys. Furthermore, when a question about such entities or processes as emotions are involved, we turn to the disciplines whose remit includes those questions, and evaluate their postulates accordingly.
Unfortunately, this is another elementary concept mythology fanboys either fail to understand, or ignore for duplicitous apologetic purposes - namely, that atheism doesn't pretend to be an over-arching "world view", it concentrates upon a single remit. We leave answering questions to those disciplines constructed specifically to address said questions - for example, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, psychology and neuroscience, or in some cases, certain philosophical disciplines such as ethics. In short, we leave these matters to the experts, instead of pretending that we have all the answers, the way mythology fanboys do.
As for the matter of emotions, well guess what? They arise from brain chemistry. You might have learned about this if you hadn't slept through your science classes and wasted your time with mythology instead. Just because you don't understand the requisite scientific findings, neither invalidates those findings, nor gives you a free pass to insert your magic man like a well-lubed dildo. Learn this lesson quickly to save yourself further embarrassment here.
In the case of love, well guess what? Two oligopeptide hormones, vasopressin and oxytocin, play a key part. They also play a key part in mate choice, parental bonding and a host of other similar aspects of human behaviour. Furthermore, we share the essential underlying molecular biology with all the other mammals, which exhibit key requisite behaviours when these hormones start exerting their effect.
Oh, and before you launch into the requisite fallacy, which I've observed emanating from other mythology fanboys before you turned up here, just because we paid attention in class and learned about this, does NOT for one moment mean we are incapable of experiencing the requisite emotions, when those hormones exert there effect within us. I've seen several mythology fanboys peddling the retarded notion that learning about a part of the human condition purportedly destroys our ability to experience those parts of the human condition, and I treat the requisite assertion on their part with the scorn and derision it deserves.
So, before you make yourself look even more stupid than is typical of mythology fanboys here, drop the "atheistic worldview" canard, because it IS a canard.
Moving on ...
And once again, it seems I'm going to have to spoon-feed an idiot mythology fanboy with the requisite elementary concepts at work here.
First, read the above paragraphs about being able to experience the requisite emotions, regardless of whether or not we've learned something in depth on the matter.
Second, let's deal with the "belief" nonsense once and for all shall we? Namely, that those of us who paid attention in class, reject belief itself as purportedly providing substantive knowledge, because it doesn't. This is because belief, certainly as practiced by mythology fanboys, is nothing more than uncritical acceptance of unsupported assertions, which apart from being fatuous, is also a violation of the proper rules of discourse. Quite simply, when we are presented with a purported postulate, we ask ourselves what evidence exists to inform us of the truth-value thereof. The moment we have evidence informing us accordingly, belief is superfluous to requirements and irrelevant.
Third, once again, the matter of the existence of ethical precepts isn't the remit of "atheism", it's the remit of philosophical ethics, among other disciplines. And, once again, we turn to the relevant experts in the field, and ask them to present their findings. Do learn this elementary concept before embarrassing yourself further here.
I'll come to the matter of the existence of ethical precepts, and the origin thereof, a little later, when dealing with another of your canards.
Unsupported blind assertion. More on this shortly, as promised above.
I've already provided one. Namely, observational data informing us of the benefit or harm dispensed to others.
Now, I'll come to the requisite canards that allow me to present rebuttals to your ignorance properly, even though I'm quoting them out of order, because quoting them in this order allows me to demonstrate neatly your failings. Viz:
You are apparently unaware, that there exists an abundant scientific literature, documenting the evolutionary and biological basis of  our capacity for ethical thought, and  the motivation to act thereupon. I provide an appropriate (and lengthy) dissertation on this topic here, which you are advised to read before continuing to entertain delusions on this topic. Be advised that said dissertation only covers a tiny fraction of the available literature, and that a proper treatment would require me to write a textbook extending to around 40,000 pages.
Oh dear, not the "random" canard again.
Whenever a mythology fanboy starts using the word "random", the alarm bells start ringing among those of us who paid attention in class, not least because we've see mythology fanboys peddle repeatedly, the myth that the word "random" means "by accident without rhyme or reason". Except that among scientists, this is NOT how the word "random" is used. Instead, scientists use the word "random" as a shorthand for two applicable processes.
With respect to "random" processes, first, scientists know that there exists a multiplicity of processes that can produce a particular outcome, but in the case of some of the observed phenomena in question, they lack the detailed audit trail of data that tells them which of that multiplicity of well-defined processes actually took place in the given instance. As a corollary, scientists operate on the basis that the transition from state A to state B, is best modelled by a probability distribution governing that multiplicity of processes, and if you had paid attention in the requisite classes, you would know that probability distributions are well defined mathematical entities.
Second, scientists use the word "random" to describe processes that are modelled by Markov chains, which again are well-defined mathematical entities, based upon a probability distribution. Markov chains have demonstrated their utility value in modelling all manner of processes, and as a corollary, are pressed into service whenever a direct audit trail of deterministic interactions is lacking. Quite simply, they work.
Simply put, in the world of science, "random" is a shorthand for "we lack a detailed audit trail of data, so we're modelling this as a Markov chain process".
It emerges the moment entities that are capable of pursuing goals come into being. Which has clearly happened here.
Oh, and before you launch into the predictable canards on this matter, you might want to spend a decade learning about the output of Turing, Kolmogorov and Chaitin, which are all applicable here to various extents.
Fuckin’ A butterfly boy- damn I was in need of some mental stimulation...I could “feel” my brain cells dying reading some posts...
However, I’m sure my “kudos” may have killed a few of yours....
“It's precisely because we regard this life as being IT, that we value it so much. It's our one opportunity to achieve something of merit.”
Once again, Cali, a pleasure to read your posts. (And I'm still envious of your command of the English language... *chuckle*...)
Hello Winston! Whether mythical or real I cannot be certain that Jesus was a real life person or based upon a collection of Rabbis and a lot of the evidence that would prove it conclusively just isn’t there. I am sure you could debate that point thats what I have found out. I’ve attached a link to a video that talks about what the first Christians believed about Jesus. Even a really cool frieze of a baby faced Jesus using a wand to turn water into wine. Once I started to get a picture of how Jesus evolved from his origins to the modern perception, it has made me lean towards the position that he evolved as a mythological figure within Christianity. He at first had to compete with a young golden Apollo in Pagan Rome, and then became the stern, paternal figure we know from the Middle Ages. Anyway if you have the time give the video a skim. I’ll try to get you an abbreviated version. Would be interested in your thoughts as well. Thanks for taking the time to find out more about Atheism!
The truth has nothing to fear from honest inquiry :) https://youtu.be/M4o1dc41r28
"Thanks for taking the time to find out more about Atheism!"
I'm a bit confused.
He's already been told, several times, that atheism is simply a lack of belief in god(s). That nothing else is implied or may be inferred. IE there is no such thing as an atheist position on ANY other topic.
I'll be truly appreciative if you could explain what more one needs to know. I'm old and easily confused, but it's never too late to
Hi nakedskeptic ...
I browse the link, and the documentary appears interesting - I do love art and the evolution of “belief” ...something I’ve put on my “to do” list :)
Personally, I know what you mean by “atheism” but, it is a weird usage.
Cranks...I think this is his first post, I checked his profile - to me, it appears that way, I could be wrong...
"..I think this is his first post, I checked his profile - to me, it appears that way, I could be wrong..."
Mkay. Still sounds like an odd thing to say. As if he hasn't grasped the meaning of atheism. Didn't mean to be hard on him.
You weren’t :)
Trust me, after my last discussion...
Benefit of “doubt” until it is fully-earned to not trust (but that just always has been me - I can’t seem to want to “unlearn” this personal principle).
@Winston: From an atheist perspective, is anyone truly ever “wrong” if atheism doesn’t allow to have a fixed ethical standard?
I'm outraged by the nerve of religious people who drop in and blithely suggest that an atheist can have no morals, no ethics, no sense of right or wrong. Are their minds so stultified by chanting and incense that they don't know how insulting that is?
I'm just an amoral atheist, but I've managed to live this far without raping children, slaughtering followers of the wrong prophet, or milking money from the poor to buy myself mansions and executive jets.
Algebe?!?!???? “ I've managed to live this far without raping children, slaughtering followers of the wrong prophet, or milking money from the poor to buy myself mansions and executive jets.”
Really?!! How’d you do it?!????? That’s amazing!!!!!! WOW
Lol - I can relate as an “apostate under Satan’s grip”...
@Whitefire13: How’d you do it?!?????
My wife wouldn't let me. Plus I don't look very good in a black dress.
@Algebe Re: "My wife wouldn't let me. Plus I don't look very good in a black dress."
Hmmm... Seems you and I have the same problem. My wife won't let me do nasty and horrendous things either... *frownie face*... Plus, there is that annoying allergy I have to seeing/hearing innocent people in pain and seeing innocent people get cheated/mistreated. Although, I DO look fabulous in a black dress. Problem with that, though, is she gets really pissed when I wear hers and stretch them out too much.
@Tin-Man: annoying allergy I have to seeing/hearing innocent people in pain
That's your pesky ape empathy. Evolution's a bitch, ain't it. The only cure I know is a good dose of religion.
Algebe “... your pesky ape empathy.”
At first read, I’m like, “Does he think he’s talking to Cog” ...and then immediately, I thought “What the fuck?!?!”
Then I read a little more, whew...evolution!
Not all apes are created equal! (Oh god, oh god,
OH GOD!!!! What thread am I on?????? I used the “create” word and I’m an atheist - fuck!!!!!! )
@Whitefire13: I used the “create” word and I’m an atheist.
You also used the word "god" three times. But you ended with the word "fuck", so all is forgiven.
Welcome to the Planet of the Apes.
Who is cheesus and why does he matter? Cheesus was and is, a myth. The idea of him, matters to deluded people that need a crutch to get through life.
doG: You know, Cheesus and crackers. Well,,, the church likes to call the wafers because they don't have any fucking salt on them. Nevertheless, when you can mask the plaster taste with dips, spray cheese, or wine.... they go down quite nicely.
LOL. Very good.
@Op by Winston
What are your thoughts? Who is Jesus to you?
I consider myself a "strong" atheist. I am very confident there is no "god." Google the definition of the word "god" if you want a precise answer.
Jesus is a bit like a comic book superhero "superman" to me. A fictional entity plagiarized from religions before it, (and renamed!) Likely *VERY* loosely based on some early very human christianity religious martyr.
A useful story to christianity to garner support for that religion. That has zero actual evidence that this "jesus" figure is anything more then what I suggested above.
You do not believe Santa Claus is an actual real person right? Seems pretty obvious to you right? Well that is roughly how I feel about Jesus. Only difference is: billions of people "believe" in jesus where only a few million young kids "believe" in Santa Claus.
I wish to step outside of this debate and forum to commend you, person to person, for shaking off your destructive lifestyle and getting your life back.
I've been there, done that myself. There was a time in my life when a good evening's amusement was going down to the seedy part of my big city, getting drunk at a cheap booze-hall, getting in a few knuckle dusters, and being a total asshole to everyone around me. Been there, done that. Multiple times in jail, theft, massive debt and fraud, hurting others, a crappy lifestyle living in the seediest dumps you could imagine, and rubbing shoulders with addicts, alcoholics, bikers, drug dealers, the list is a very long one. I was an alcoholic, I took drugs, even heroin. I consorted with the toughest whores in town, and the wackiest homeless you could imagine.
I now step back into this forum and offer my opinion.
For anyone who has had any contact with AA, there is one word that they use a lot, and it is "denial". Until you get past your personal denial, you can never start the road to recovery.
But once you truly accept the trouble you are in, or acknowledge the harm you are doing to yourself, then the next step is healing yourself and getting your life back together.
I used to smoke, and tried many times to quit. But I never quit until one day a switch went off in my head, and all of a sudden, I told myself, I don't need that anymore. And from that second forward, I stopped smoking, and it was not difficult for me.
And the same with the part about my destructive asshole lifestyle. One day, at about the age of 32 I told myself that I didn't like who I had become. The moment I had this thought, I started to change myself for the better.
The point I am making that you decided to stop being destructive. That is the important part, that you acknowledge your condition. It doesn't matter what therapy you sought out, it would be very effective because you wanted to change your life. You turned to religion and because you got positive results, you thought that religion was the factor that "saved" you.
No, you saved yourself.
For anyone who has had any contact with AA, there is one word that they use a lot, and it is "denial".
Just so. The cliche is "denial ain't a river in Egypt"
Addicts of all kinds are Olympic class rationalisers and deniers of personal responsibility. The technical term is 'bull shitters'
Your story about quitting smoking is interesting. For me it was the thought "If I don't stop I'm going to die". Made a committed decision to stop, for my own sake. Cold turkey, hardest thing I've ever done., after trying everything, including patches, inhalers,pills and hypnosis.
I stopped smoking on January 13 2003. I recently worked out the the money I've saved is well into six figures. Today a pack of 20 in this city is $23.86 . I was smoking 70 a day. I'm a bit OCD
Excellent post. Thank you.
A word on AA; Considering it's run by a bunch of drunks, many brain damaged, I think it does remarkably well.
My last pack cost $1.00. I think that was 45 years ago.
A pack of 200 cost about $30 when I quit. I began smoking in 1964. A pack of 20 was 3 shillings. (30 cents) But then my take home pay was $17.50 a week. Mum took $5 for board.
I remember being horrified when I visited Canada in 1985 to discover a pack of 20 was $7
Also visited China that year. The local smokes were under a dollar a packet (as 'rich' gwai lo and gwai po we paid more) Pretty sure they contained some kind of manure.
It came as a shock to learn we were considered rich by locals in a few countries we visited. The proof was that we had the money and the time to travel on holiday.
That was something I noticed too, traveling off the beaten tourist path, even if you only make 20k us dollars a year, you are "rich" to many people in the world.
"That was something I noticed too, traveling off the beaten tourist path, even if you only make 20k us dollars a year, you are "rich" to many people in the world."
Not just off the beaten track, although rural areas tend to be cheaper than in the Big Smoke.
Exchange rates are a bit of a hint., E.G Malaysia, Mainland China [30 years ago] Philippines, Hong Kong (also 30 years ago)
When I lived in Singapore(1969-70) the exchange rate was 3.29:1. Now it's closer to 1:1 . Still very high in many SE Asian countries. EG Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
I used to go mad shopping in Hong Kong when the rate was around 6:1. Stopped when it finally dawned on me that the cheap prices meant that workers were paid very little. Then I stopped seriously bartering and began seriously over tipping.
It's moot now of course. My last overseas trip was in 2000. Nothing planned any time soon. Last trip was to the UK, via Kualar Lumpur. Apart from the fact that my health has deteriorated, I do not enjoy travelling alone.
I didn't know about Jesus 3 years ago.
One thing for sure. Nobody agrees on what he is, u til asked together (for most people).
One will start speaking about him with confidence, the others will agree.
Otherwise most of them when asked just tell me he existed, and that there are proof.
They tell me they know that because they were told.
(now I read the other posts... still not used to forums)
Raphael ... kudos kid for reading and writing as much as you do! Especially, and I’m sure you engage in it also (?!?), other media offers
quicker response time and shorter responses (more “real” time)... my boys tend to engage in that type of “forum”
They prefer it.