On religion and such

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by BOBLAWLESS, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. Sorry if I offended you. That was not my intention. Does it matter if I like or don't like your opinion? I don't agree with it. But I respect it. It is yours to do with as you will. And I honestly hope you continue to share it, whether in this post or others. :beer2:
  2. wow !! i am amazed at the amount of replies to this subject or should i say opinions.if we can discuss things without fighting how about discusing religion within politics or is there such a thing? should one man be able to judge and drop a bomb on those who disagree ?
  3. This is a very good site. But it started out as a fly fishing site and now it seems that there is more over on the Politics and Religion than there is on actually fly fishing. :( :( :(

    Jim :( :(
  4. thats because people like you keep it going Jim :p :clown:
  5. redwoods:

    My answer would be, "No!" but then I was a conservative Republican until George W. opened my eyes. Now I guess I side with Bob Lawless and others of the more "liberal" persuasion yet I am most definitely a "born again" Christian. Don't lump all of us believing Christians with Bush crowd. His whole entourage almost frightens me to tears.

  6. "should one man be able to judge and drop a bomb on those who disagree ?"

    I really don't want to ask, but what one guy decided to drop a bomb on someone else simply for disagreeing with him??
  7. o.k. so my last post was clumsisly worded - especially the devout part. Please forgive me. I just felt like atheists needed some defense on this thread. I'm not an atheist, but I know some, and have read works by a few others, and they strike me as very intelligent and excellent people.

    Chadk, you're right on the mark with your description of intelligence. It's tough to quantify and perhaps silly to do so. But one my own barometers is the willingness to listen and to question - open mindedness if you will. Unfortunately that seems to be counterproductive to many religious doctrines, which tends to often place religion on the wrong side of history (see evolution, racism, homosexuality).

    Much of the problem is we are limited to our own experiences and prejudices. So when I say atheist, I imagine you guys conjure up images of pointy bearded ex-hippy college professors sitting atop their ivory towers at some liberal arts school, so blinded in their arrogance as to actually be ignorarant and close minded themselves. Yet, when speaking of fundamentalist, or evangelical, or any christian which strictly interprets the bible, I tend to think of Jerry Falwell, or the Phelps group in Kansas who attend funerals for gay people wearing tee shirts that say "God hates fags".

    That's the beauty of discussions like these, it teaches us not to stereotype.

    But a question for you and BR. How many atheists have you guys ever talked too? How familiar are you with their beliefs? BR to counter your assertions, here's an incomplete list of some famous atheists - a few possibly bordering on agnostic.

    Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, scientist, writer, printer (1706-1790).
    "Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so."
    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."

    David Hume, Scottish philosopher and historian (1711-1776).
    "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless . . . its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." [Of Miracles]
    "The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one."
    "When I hear a man is religious, I conclude that he is a rascal, although I have known some instances of very good men being religious."

    Thomas Paine, English born American author and revolutionary leader (1737-1809). Paine wrote in The Age of Reason, "Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible [by which Paine means the Old Testament] is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel." The Age of Reason also attacks Christianity as a system of superstition that "produces fanatics" and "serves the purposes of despotism."

    Clarence Seward Darrow, American lawyer (1857-1938).
    "I believe that religion is the belief in future life and in God. I don't believe in either. I don't believe in God as I don't believe in Mother Goose."
    quoted in Manual of a Perfect Atheist.

    James Madison, American president and political theorist (1751-1836).

    "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."
    "In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."
    "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." [April 1, 1774]

    Walt Whitman, American poet (1819-1892).
    Walt reportedly said, "God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards.

    Thomas Edison, American inventor (1847-1931).
    "Religion is all bunk."
    "I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God."

    Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect (1869-1959).
    "I believe in God, only I spell it Nature."

    Albert Einstein, German born American threoretical physicist (1879-1955).

    "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

    Joseph Campbell, American mythologist (1904-1987).
    ". . . god is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that."
    "Too many of our best scholars, themselves indoctrinated from infancy in a religion of one kind or another based upon the Bible, are so locked into the idea of their own god as a supernatural fact - something final, not symbolic of transcendence, but a personage with a character and will of his own - that they are unable to grasp the idea of a worship that is not of the symbol but of its reference, which is of a mystery of much greater age and of more immediate inward reality than the name-and-form of any historical ethinic idea of a deity, whatsoever . . . and is of a sophistication that makes the sentimentalism of our popular Bible-story theology seem undeveloped."

    Carl Sagan, American astronomer and author (1934-1996).
    There was an article, "In the Valley of the Shadow" in the March 10, 1996 issue of Parade Magazine in which Sagan discussed his atheistic beliefs in the face of his own death.
    In a March 1996 profile by Jim Dawson in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sagan talked about his then-new book The Demon Haunted World and was asked about his personal spiritual views.
    "My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it," he said. "An agnostic is somebody who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I'm agnostic."
    When asked how he would explain a "genuine mystical experience," Sagan responded: "Your question presupposes the existence of a genuine mystical experience and I'm not sure what that is. People have vivid hallucinations. How do you distinguish between altered states of consciousness? "If someone who has had an experience that tells us something about the universe that we didn't know and that later turns out to be true, then we'd have to say, 'My goodness.' " But that, he said, "would have to be more than the anecdotal reports that typically are used to support religious experiences."
  8. In regard to the intelligence of people of various religious positions. I think there is a large cross section of people on both sides of this issue. I believe it would be a mistake to equate faith or lack of it,with intelligence.
    Different people with diverse levels of intellegence are Christians the same is true for athiests, agnositics, muslims, shintoists, bhuddists etc etc.
    As I have probably said before I became a believer in Christ as an adult. My converson to Christianity was not without a lot a searching. I would not describe myself as a intellectual, but my search was more than emotional. I made my decision based on what I believed to be a rational, logical approach to the pros and cons of the Bible and the historical facts surrounding the life of Jesus Christ.
    I have spent 1000's of hours talking to people about religious issues over the last 30 years and I have never come to the conclusion that intelligence has anything at all to do with the individuals choice of believing in Jesus or not.
    What I have seen is that there are some people that are able to look at their own lives, whether good or bad, and see that they cannot rely on their own resources to obtain an abundant life here on earth and eternal life after death. At that point they knew that they needed someone to fulfill the role of Savior in their lives.
    Does this choice make them more or less intelligent than a person who chooses not to rely on Christ?
    Some choose to believe that Jesus is alive and is who He says He is, some don't it is as simple as that.
    jesse clark
  9. Kalm, thanks for the thoughtful dialogue. This can be fun when we don't make it too personal (but it has to be a little personal at least or we wouldn't bother with this crazy long post...).

    Yes, I have known and talked to many atheists. They are hard to weed out from the agnostic - and they tend to go back and forth depending on their moods or something... Those who cling to 'pure atheism' seem to be as devout as the most religious temple monk... I don't find any fault in that. But like you said, intelligence and wisdom requires a certain level of open mindedness. You can be open-minded and still be firm in your faith (or firm in your absence of faith).

    One thing that is fun to ponder is how the Bible\God views human wisdom and intelligence. We know He is no fan of prideful arrogance. By definition, faith in God is not something that can be found purely based on human intellect and wisdom. It cannot be found or proven in a laboratory. And similarly, salvation can not be earned by being ultra religious, being a really 'good' person, doing just the right things. For if you could 'prove' the existence of God, or earn your own salvation, there would be no need for faith and no need for Christ. Finding God would be up to the smartest, wisest, and most intelligent of society. Only those who are ultra religious would be able to earn salvation. This simply leads to a system of corruption, pride, and arrogance. It divides and creates a type of hierarchy. Essentially it creates the typical human designed 'religion'.

    But here is how Paul describes this all in one of his letters: (context - Paul was not only a high Jewish authority - Pharisee - and religious zealot who at first oversaw the violent and often deadly persecution of early Christians, he was also highly educated and a Roman citizen. But he did not want his religious accomplishments, social stature, political position, or his intelligence and education getting in the way of the true message he wanted to deliver)

    "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power."

    And he goes on:

    "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

    21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

    1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

    6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written: “No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”– 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[c] 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16“For who has known the mind of the Lord
    that he may instruct him?”[d] But we have the mind of Christ."

    But does this mean that the Bible\God is against people being open minded and getting educated. Not at all. It is just a matter of what we put our faith in...

    Examples of how the bible views wisdom, intelligence, and understanding:

    "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action."

    "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

    "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."

    "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

    "The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning."

    "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception."

    "How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!"

    "Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding."

    "Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."

    " 13 I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: 14 There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. 15 Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. 16 So I said, "Wisdom is better than strength." But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.
    17 The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
    than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
    18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
    but one sinner destroys much good. "
  10. I whole-heartedly agree with these last two posts by Jesse and Chad. Intelligence is not a factor. Wisdom, common sense and spiritual understanding cannot be quanitatively measured.

  11. i also agree with posts 248 - 249, if there is no god i had something to believe in, but if there is, i scored big!!! " just an opinion"
  12. I don’t think anyone in your list is an atheist in the true sense of the word. Skeptics, certainly. Some of them (Franklin, for instance) developed very strong beliefs in a personal God later in life.

    I will give you: Clarence Darrow (even though he was a self-described agnostic; see his essay “Why I am an Agnostic”); Walt Whitman (even though he never claimed to be an atheist and wrote, “I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least”); Thomas Edison (even though he attended church regularly and his biographer called him a “truculent agnostic”); Joseph Campbell (even though he called the existence or non-existence of God “unknowable”); and Carl Sagan (even though he was a self described agnostic). Again, these are not true atheists, but I will grant them to you as “atheist leaning agnostics.”

    But you may not have Franklin, Hume, Paine, Madison, or Einstein, for the following reasons:

    Benjamin Franklin – Absolutely not an atheist; not even agnostic. Later in life very much believed in God.
    “I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel."

    David Hume – No atheist, he was at least an agnostic, and more of a deist.
    “The order of the universe proves an omnipotent mind.”

    “All things of the universe are evidently of a piece. Every thing is adjusted to every thing. One design prevails throughout the whole. And this uniformity leads the mind to acknowledge one author.”

    Thomas Paine – Rejected the Bible, but clearly believed in God.
    "I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life".

    James Madison – Deist
    "...we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed to this rising Republic, and to whom we are bound to address our devout gratitude for the past, as well as our fervent supplications and best hopes for the future."

    Albert Einstein – Self described agnostic, the Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: "Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists."
    Einstein said “My position concerning God is that of an agnostic.”​

    Theism is not for idiots. I call as my witnesses: Isaac Newton, Johann Gutenberg, Louis Pasteur, Galileo, Plato, Aristotle, Copernicus, Luther, Adam Smith, Napoleon, Cromwell, Locke, Beethoven, Descartes, Michelangelo, Augustine, Calvin, Bach, Malthus, Francis Bacon, the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Thomas Aquinas, Magellan, Leonardo Davinci, Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, George W. Bush, Chadk, Cactus . . .
  13. :eek: I guess I'll have to forgive you for saying I should have been a lawyer! :eek:
  14. He is risen!

    Happy Easter to all.

  15. iagree :thumb:
  16. :thumb:
  17. give a man a fish you fed him dinner,teach a man to fish you fed him for life.

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