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1  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: Is there a way to be notified when someone responds to or quotes my posts? on: November 30, 2015, 08:15:47 pm
Have you looked at the notifications and email option? I don't know how it works, because I haven't tried it. Maybe some who has tried it can help you, or you can try it yourself. I haven't because I don't know if I want to receive emails. Sometimes, when I post a lot it could help because I don't see all my responses. I do try to keep up by looking at my previous list of posts, from my profile, however. I would assume that you know that you can list all your posts, but in case you don't there is that option on yours and you can see a list of anyone's post also.
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: November 30, 2015, 03:07:10 pm

And I wish Atlas then also allowed socks so I could make a pile of them for the sole purpose of liking this post some more.

LOL. When I start a topic and nobody responds I could talk to myself and nobody would know.
3  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Are you a Muslim? on: November 30, 2015, 03:00:08 pm
I was wondering how many of you consider yourself Muslims.
If you feel that you are partly Muslim in some way, but not truly Muslim,
I have provided "all other answers".
Please post an explanation for that option if you don't mind.

My answer is "no".
63 day poll; longer than usual because we are getting new members here all the time.
If you convert to Islam or are Muslim and stop being one, as always, I allow change of vote.
4  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: Could you kill a Baby Hitler? on: November 29, 2015, 10:48:33 pm
Remember Back to the Future?
5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What is your favorite 2016 debate moment so far? on: November 29, 2015, 10:13:30 pm
Fiorina, when answering the question about her greatest weakness,
"I've been told I don't smile enough"
and then smiled. Smiley
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Does Bernie Sanders have support from former Ron Paul supporters? on: November 29, 2015, 09:56:51 pm
It makes sense to support either one of them, because of their vote against the Iraq war, although they are not similar on other issues.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Whose odds have increased most in the last month? on: November 29, 2015, 09:47:09 pm
I voted for the obvious Cruz and Clinton. But one could make a case for O'Mally and Rubio.
Sanders isn't out yet. (duh) He could get momentum if he comes close in Iowa and wins NH,
but Clinton's lead in SC (as one example) makes it unlikely that Sandersmentum will carry him to victory.
8  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Pope Francis: neurotic priests scare me, many rigid priests have mental issues on: November 29, 2015, 09:31:28 pm
The world would be a better if more people went to see a therapist.
This is in many ways better than simply confessing to a Catholic Priest or seeking advice
from a minister of any faith tradition.
Not all therapists are good of course, so it is important to find the right one.
If someone is mentally ill, this is crucial. If someone is sane, it is still a good idea to
talk to someone, because the craziness all around us is difficult to deal with even if we are basically ok mentally.
Unfortunately it can be expensive.
9  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: November 29, 2015, 09:20:37 pm
It is a type of consequentialism, of course.
10  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Life inside the cave. (the allegory of) on: November 29, 2015, 09:17:45 pm
another metaphor that means the same thing:


some related links:





11  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Life inside the cave. (the allegory of) on: November 29, 2015, 08:52:10 pm

Most of you have heard about the allegory of the cave.
I have been thinking lately and about the problem of groupthink vis a vis religion.

Many people live in the 'cave' of their own religious tradition  because they are
under the impression that if it isn't broken, why fix it.
Another reason for staying within one's faith tradition is that to do otherwise would
be unthinkable or even something that they have never really bothered to think about.
Still yet another reason is that if they are unsatisfied with their particular sect,
the may look for another sect within their tradition.
Once someone decides to look for an entirely different tradition altogether, the risk
that they will find the same problems with their new religion as with the old ones, arises.

Finally one may come to the conclusion that all religions are fatally flawed and decide
to start their own. More often than not, perhaps, they don't find any followers.
This is not something that many people are too eager to try.
There is comfort in community.
If this kind of person is lucky s/he may eventually find someone else who is tired of organized
religion. However, there is no certainty that this will ever happen.
12  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Understanding Islam, and reading the Qur'an chapter-by-chapter on: November 29, 2015, 08:26:16 pm
You are going to see a lot more about Jesus as you go forward. Muhammad was evidently shocked and horrified by the idea that God could have a flesh-and-blood son and viewed that as idolatrous, but was also very impressed with Jesus as a prophet. Muhammad also will maintain that Jesus didn't actually die on the cross, but rather, a body double of some sort was crucified in his place.

This is one of the biggest differences between the two religions. Obviously if someone over simplifies by saying "all religions basically teach the same thing" that is simply not true. The only area for common ground would be to say that either religion could get you to heaven. There is evidence for this in both the Koran and the Bible, but that truth escape most people. (of course, I don't believe in an eternal hell, which makes what I said problematic for me and a lot of others, but it is a valid point, I think, nonetheless).
13  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Mainstream Muslims Finally Take on Extremists on: November 29, 2015, 07:57:16 pm
There are huge problems.
 One is confirmation bias. How does one reason with someone who rejects reason? How do you have constructive dialogue with a literalist of any religion? Are literalist Christians going to have constructive interfaith dialogue with literalist Muslims?
 Another is political correctness. PC can be a road to hell with good intentions.
Another is groupthink. This is similar to sectarianism. Even liberal religions are tainted with sectarianism, confirmation bias, and groupthink.
There so many divisions in any religion.
There is no solution to the problem that everyone can agree on.
Reason is possible, but is it possible to extricate emotion from reason?
What is the solution?
To encourage Radical Muslims to give up most of what they believe in and become as liberal or even radical as possible, and remain Muslims? The more you water down a religion by rejecting it's core teachings the more reason to abandon the religion altogether.
Are you going to solve the problem by trying to convert Muslims to another Abrahamic religion?
Would that solve the problem? Good luck trying.
Or why not convince them to give up on religion altogether?
It seems hopeless, but that doesn't necessarily mean that give up trying, only that you don't have unrealistic expectations or get discouraged when you fail.
One response is to argue for ethics and common sense morality.
But how are you going to do that when a literalistic interpretation of the Koran or Bible is such a big part of so many faiths? Obviously the Bible and Koran are not the same and it is difficult to find common ground between the two religions. I think that you would have better luck looking for ways to have interfaith dialogue between Christians and Buddhists. But that is moot, because the problems between Islam and Christianity are a huge problem with no easy answer.
The point that is lost in all of this is not to oversimplify the problem. Calling terrorists radical Islamists tends to confuse the issue. Yes, of course ISIL/DAESH is Islamic, but to say that radical Islam is the enemy confuses the problem. You are not going to solve the problems of literalism any time soon, but that doesn't mean that there are ways to deal with the violent ones. Those who are responsible for working on the problems, leader of all the countries of the world, are ultimately going to be the ones who have to deal with the issue. The big picture problem, namely, the downside of religion, is going to take a lot longer than dealing with the immediate crisis.

Everything that I have said here is probably moot anyway. I don't know if any of it contributes to the dialogue, but it is difficult to summarize the complexity of religions when they are so many of them and they are not merely equal alternative. All this is complicated by the fact that Republicans and Democrats are just as divided as religions are and they have strangely become so unwilling to co-operate, and of course they blame each other for refusing to co-operate which only compounds the problem. They also get distracted on so many other issues. I haven't even scratched the surface of the problem,  have I? edit: the devil is in the details, focusing on the big picture and saying that all we need is peace and love, which is all well and good, but creates a false dichotomy between getting lost in the details without finding any solutions or simply oversimplify the problem, with Why can't we all just get along? Well maybe we could if we were logical beings, but we're not.
14  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Which matters more - a snail or a human fetus? on: November 29, 2015, 01:05:44 am
What about plants, do they have feelings?
15  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you believe Creationism should be taught in public schools on: November 29, 2015, 12:59:05 am
Yes, beacuse students should always learn both sides of the argument and come to their first win conclusion.
Should atheism be taught in religious schools? Shouldn't the students get both sides on the god issue as well?
16  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do you believe Creationism should be taught in public schools on: November 29, 2015, 12:53:40 am
Is there any scientific evidence that there is a creator?
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Marco Rubio: 'Ignore' Gay Marriage Decision Because 'God's Rules Always Win' on: November 29, 2015, 12:32:13 am
How exactly can any Republican win the general election if they alienate every group except angry conservative Christian white heterosexual males with guns?
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Forum Ideological Wings? on: November 29, 2015, 12:17:34 am
I am sure that I would be alone like some alien from another planet.
19  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Hell on: November 29, 2015, 12:12:11 am

Do Jews believe in hell? I genuinely don't know.

As for me, I feel that the idea of anybody - even Hitler or Ted Bundy or phone operators that put you on hold for three hours - deserve eternal torment. It just feels unambiguous ly wrong, and an area of theology that I cannot wrap my head around.
Three hours? You have a lot more patience than I do.
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Who is most likely to win? on: November 29, 2015, 12:06:31 am
I am guessing Rubio, Cruz, and Trump in that order. Although there is still a chance it could be someone else.
Change your vote if you change your mind.
Five day poll.
Rubio also probably has the best chance (of the top three) against Clinton, if she is the nominee.
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: None of the Republican candidates have condemned the PP shooting on: November 28, 2015, 01:40:42 pm
Even worse, would be trying in any way to justify this obvious evil. If any candidate does this, I would expect that candidate to pay the penalty. By penalty I don't mean actual punishment but losing credibility and therefore, hopefully support.
22  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Hell on: November 28, 2015, 01:37:35 pm
As a current Universalist, yes, but only if their spiritual journey requires them to. One thing that many Universalists fail to truly comprehend is that many people think they are unworthy of Heaven, Nirvana, whatever their preferred afterlife may be.  As such, they personally require some form of propitiation to take place before they can accept grace.  In the Christian tradition, Christ provides that propitiation for us thru his crucifixion.  Personally, as a Christian Universalist, I think the crucifixion was necessary because there are those who would not be willing to accept grace save by such a demonstration of God being willing to do whatever it takes to convince us stiff-necked sinners that our sins are not so great as to deprive us of God's love.  Yet, I don't deny that there may be those who cannot be convinced save by experiencing Hell as a form of personal propitiation.

I do realize my conception of Hell, more closely resembles the classic version of Purgatory, but my view of the afterlife is such that it occurs outside linear time, so even an infinity of time spent in Hell is not boundless.
First, I answered NO, but by no I mean am talking about eternal suffering. Hell exists but I don't think that anyone should spend eternity suffering, nor would most people want to. As to the quotation, I would point out that 19th Universalists were divided into two camps, one that believed in ultra-universalism, meaning that all go directly to heaven and don't have to spend any time in hell and the restorationists who believed in a period of appropriate punishment in a temporary kind of purgatory for the harm that they had commited.
23  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: November 27, 2015, 11:15:36 pm
So, what are practical logical common sense alternatives to utilitarianism AND WHY Would they be any better? Be specific, and offer concrete examples.
24  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Mainstream Muslims Finally Take on Extremists on: November 27, 2015, 11:10:14 pm
Conservatism, even if it's not violent, encourages violence. If a society endorses the views that the Koran was literal and Mohammad was a great guy, that's going to encourage some people to act out the Koran literally and act like Mohammad.

True, and I think violence is a great evil, but there are other evils.
(Note: I don't mean to imply anything about what you personally think on any of this because I have no idea, my comments are not directed at anyone in particular)
Can you substitute the word "religion" for conservatism? Liberal religion is much less harmful than conservatism, but it is like the ice cream analogy. Small amounts of religion can be harmless in the same way that small amounts of ice cream are better than binging on ice cream.
Liberalism has it's downside as well, moral relativism, angry emotion, and extreme political correctness where one has to watch every word one says in the fear of possibly offending someone. The belief in god and or an afterlife may be harmless in themselves but when other religious ideas are added to those ideas, they can be harmful. Insofar as liberalism encourages interfaith cooperation and coexisting that is good, but atheists should be included as well, in spite of all the anti-atheist bigotry.
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Is Virginia a must-win state for both parties? on: November 27, 2015, 06:45:27 pm
If the Democrat carries PA, WI, NV, NM and NH s/he would only need OH, VA or FL.

The Republican would be in trouble without winning all three: OH, VA and FL.

VA could be the deciding state, although OH is about as likely a win for either party.

It is a plausible scenario that the Republican could win all three states and become POTUS.
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