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This seems like such an obvious topic that it's probably been done before, but if so I don't recall it. Anyway. I've been making my views on religion known more than my relatively restrained usual lately, and I've come across some really smart people who disagree with basic premises of what I think. While I can definitely be persuaded on matters of semantics, the overall gist of the arguments I've seen - basically that disciplines other than scientific ones (say, philosophy, theology, even literature, etc) describe reality, that there is somehow a different sort of reality for them to describe, I can't be persuaded into thinking, at least not with the arguments I've met with so far. Whatever forces organize the universe are unlikely in my view to take human considerations (hey, isn't astrology a discipline to some people) into account when acting.

Anyway, I have gone many years with the (perhaps unjustified) assumption that most people on this board are atheists; but even if this is true there are likely to be disagreements about what the implications of this are. Lovecraft (an unapologeticaly elitist atheist) thought that voting rights should require an IQ test, for example. When I see Sarah Palin, I am tempted to agree. Intelligence does not mean that people won't be crazy it just makes it statistically less likely. Anyway that's enough from me, it's been a while since there was a good/new discussion thread on here so hopefully this goes somewhere.
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I dont expect you to agree with that simply because of the Its nice to think that an all powerful entity looks upon the things we do part.

Bear in mind that I did not say weather I believe this to be true or not, and still havent. 
Re: Willem 
I mostly agree with you but I think that being based on absurd premise does not invalidate something, at least not artistically. For example, The Metamorphosis begins with the premise that a man can be transformed into a giant insect. I can still really appreciate the works of Dante and Milton though I think they're founded on ridiculous premises. For me, there is much in most religious traditions that is of great cultural value (though American evangelical protestantism doesn't give a shit about culture except as something to police - it's megachurches rather than cathedrals there). The thing is that people must distinguish from what creates a powerful emotional response (art, mythology, the props of religion) and what is literally true about the universe.

re: Ricky, I see what you mean. I've met several people who were raised Christian (even Mormon), then got heavily into sex, drugs and crime when they were teenagers, then went back to religion basically for nostalgia's sake to try to undo what they'd done. Funny though how sex and drugs are basicaly fine for rich people (or at least they have to go a lot further before they hit rock bottom) but for people working at crap jobs it doesn't take long to run into the long arm of the law and have external forces impose regret on you, and in at least two of the cases of people I met, have society itself attempt to ram religious reform down their throats. 
Religious Experience:

Taking lots of E's and clubbing with a bunch of people who keep hugging you and telling you how much they love you. Seeing everyone as something to be adored, looking kindly at everyone. Feeling a strong sense of love from everything. Watching your old-fashioned, conservative freinds turn into hippies! 
Ethics != religion (or even a theological viewpoint) 
Socrates warned his prophecy wouldn't be wrote down and we would never known what he ment.He surely ment something by that.
That little god particle.

Religions claim the "I am the one that is",
la illala ilhala,
buddah's shrine.
I think it is a more practical thing this god behaving. If you're in a lucky position you can feel like a god untill your awareness of others, who haven't that luck are already doomed to hell.

I can only find one conclusion to this pathos,
God must be the lost collective sub consiousness. 
come on man, quit with this method of contributing. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but each of your comments in this thread, is basically poking an ant hill from afar, like a condescending fag unwilling to enter into the conversation, but rather only snipe at it. Say something that can be responded to, or leave it alone, superiority complex bastard. 
Handbags Out Ladies. 
I like poking anthills and watching all the ants scurry around. 
well Shambler you're coasting off of previous awesomeness, so you have a lot of asshole credits you've hardly used (lol). I guess NE is too as well (though not nearly so much), but I mean, I find it weird to think that people feel like they have the right to be an aloof asshole cause they made some curvy dm map 10 years ago. You've got no credit. If you're an aloof cock, stay too aloof to express that fact to use peons. If not, then talk about it and get down here with the rest of us mortals, so we can respond to your assertions. Internet arrogance is bullshit. BTW if you're trolling, +1 to your awesomeness. 
I'm with Douglas Adams on this topic - (something like) "isn't enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it too". 
I find it interesting that every single argument I've heard for the existence of an intelligent creator being has fallen short - every single argument I've heard has a counter argument based in logic, science and/or evidence which seems to nullify it.

I'm beginning to wonder if atheists need to help out theists /deists by playing Devil's Advocate just so we can maybe advance the argument because the theist/deist side seems to have stagnated - they can't seem to come up with anything new. 
I hope I'm not coasting off stuff....I think our community is coasting along just on it being a shared community and a shared history....that's generally good enough from POV. Ntty might be being an asshole but he's OUR asshole, right??

None of my posts here have been trolling, and I genuinely do like poking anthills, although all the scurrying little fuckers are freaky!! 
Regarding That Post Shambler 
well, starting from "You've got no credit" on was meant for NE not you. I kinda think that if someone contributes enough to the community, I ignore them pissing me off, to a degree which is proportionate. what I meant regarding coasting for you was based on previous awesomeness you have like 20 free asshole posts, and you haven't used ANY of them. Aka you haven't been a dick once though you have the right to many times based on your community contributions. I've never liked hearing unexplained aloof comments and the club has always been based on reputation, and so long as reputation is based on mapping, release a map or stfu.

My estimation of the average ELEK map was 7/10, he released 5 good maps, so maybe he had 35 free passes, before I started being like k man your contribution to the community is not neutral, infact it's gay. NE, CZG, people like that, their mapping contribution don't buy them a free pass on a FU from me with this aloof shit. If you're not engaging the topic, don't bother. I'm not trying to be an asshole I'm just saying I'll allow asshole shit for the sake of art, but it's 2010 and if you want to be an asshole you need to provide an awesome map or explain your aloof comments. 
I like Quake, fish, and cheese. My religion is VONDUR
(Btw ... @ MH ... LOL)

I find it interesting that every single argument I've heard for the existence of an intelligent creator being has fallen short

Why does it matter if there is a creator? If there is or if there isn't, what does the answer to the question matter?

I am still here either way and have to wake up in the morning, consume some nutrients, and brush my teeth. ;)

The real irony is that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question but that in the attempt to find the answer to the question that can never be answered: you grow.

People like me view the answer to the question itself as immaterial (and an answer like "42" works just fine for me).


I get to choose how to spend my time!

What I mean by this is that, I could get all picky with all the various religious and then get on their case and argue with those people and point out inconsistencies. I could even make it a passion in my life.

Now ... the real question: is that a good use of my time? 
I guess what I'm saying is that is not the same thing as terafusion chat, or whatever. be as old school in terms of referring to inside jokes, as you want. I'd like to say this to you, as well, though: what have you done in the last 5 years? Nothing bad to your personality, career, or talent. I'm just wishing that this could be a place for actual Quake people to talk about actual Quake. You want to fuck around, why is this the place? 
I'd just like to repeat this shit. Put up or shut up. We're living in a world of Negke, Necros, ijed, Willem, JPL, MadFox, Trinca, Mike Woodham, and Q1SP people who are around who never gave a shit about DaPak. Please, scale your comments to what you've done in the last 5 or even 10 years. I think NSOE gives me the right to be a way bigger asshole but you never see me fly off the handle except in response to people like you guys. Jesus. 
Pascal's Wager 
Did anybody else stop to think about Pascal's Wager and notice that he confused payoff over infinity with infinite payoff?

If ignorance is bliss, then humanity is already in heaven. 
What does the answer to the question matter? Are you fucking serious? How many people have killed each other in the name of their god(s)? How much bullshit is going on in the world for the sake of religion? How many inter-religious squabbles are there that do nothing but divide what would otherwise be the concerted effort of mankind to better itself (or at least kill each other over something that EVEN EXISTS.)

The real irony is that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question Prove it. Just because we don't know doesn't mean it's unknowable.

In the ~500 years or so that mankind has adhered to science we went from believing the world is flat to the fucking iPhone, and that's with a small minority of people dedicating themselves to scientific progress. I know it's a totally unrealistic scenario, but imagine what could be done if people stopped satisfying themselves with "God did it" and started looking at the world with the curiosity of a scientist. 
To The I Phone? 
sounds like some DE-evolution happened in the past ~15 years....

Of Course I'm Serious 
How many people have killed each other in the name of their god(s)?

If there aren't any gods, then that's just bad social behavior. How can you blame these non-existent "gods" for human behavior?

A "god" didn't make them do it; they managed to do it themselves just fine.

"Origins of universe unknowable" ... Prove it. Just because we don't know doesn't mean it's unknowable.

It is very provable if you believe a mathematic discovery from around the 1930s that states that no system can be self-validated. I can't remember the specifics or the name (I think it was Godel's but it's been a while) but it is impossible from within a system to prove the system's "rules".

This is why, for instance, geometry relies on postulates.

Or why we only study our world as observers (you can't remove the observer from observation; i.e. there are perceptual limitations).

Some of the philosophical works of Decartes delved into this. And some popular expressions "I think therefore I am."

Summary: because we are contained within an enclosed system, we have perceptual limits and certain information that cannot be validated with full certainty. Or what Sleeperwalker implied with the modeling the universe from within problem (it can't be done).

These types of problems have been examined by mathematicians and philosophers for ages.

Disclaimer: This doesn't mean I am the best qualified to explain it, though ;) I did my best. 
I didn't blame the gods for the actions of the humans - but they (falsely) believed something and then acted on that belief. That's why religion and gods are dangerous and why the question needs to be answered. (Again, I'm fairly confident that at least no god that mankind has invented actually exists.)

It's like if you lie to your best friend and tell him that his wife has been murdered and the person responsible is so-and-so - if he falsely believes you he may likely commit a horrendous act of vengeance because of his emotions. This example illustrates why knowledge, not false beliefs, which have little to no evidence (and even more evidence against them) are important.

As for Godel's whatever, I will have to look that up to even see if it is relevant. If you have links, please to provide. 

It's like if you lie to your best friend and tell him that his wife has been murdered and the person responsible is so-and-so ...

Well, you've kind of reached my point.

The problem never was "gods" to begin with, but rather that people do bad things.

Look at the French Revolution where they started with using the guillotine on Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI and the mob mentality eventually ended up with Antoine Lavoisier -- the discoverer of OXYGEN! -- guillotined!

The problem isn't religion but that uneducated people can so easily be manipulated.

Educated people who aren't struggling for survival (i.e. they have adequate food, medicine and such) generally are rather peaceful and seem to be able to hold a diversity of beliefs without killing each other or hating on each other too much ;)

And if that fails: get them addicted to the interwebs, playing teh XBox 360 and surfing for pr0n. 
This example illustrates why knowledge, not false beliefs, which have little to no evidence (and even more evidence against them) are important.

I think you and I have been saying the same thing with different ways of expressing the viewpoint, for the most part. 
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