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anatess2

I never thought Richard Dawkins was stupid.

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Until now.  Sam Harris is another atheist who has made commentary about religions and "Mormonism".  But he doesn't come off as stupid - at least not from the ones I saw/read.  At least he tries to understand religious teachings and the people that put their faith in them.

 

Edited by anatess2

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I've seen this before. On the whole, I quite like Richard Dawkins, but he makes the mistake of equating God with something like Big Foot, or the Loch Ness Monster, or the Yeti - something which might or might not exist within our universe, for which evidence can be collected and analysed. God isn't like that. God is not something within creation (or the universe, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it). God is that which is separate from the universe and bestows that property of existence.

I remember years ago, as a kid, walking through some long grass early on a sunny morning and saying to myself "God exists, whether He exists or not". At the time I couldn't articulate what I meant by that, but I think I now know what I was grasping at: to say that God exists or doesn't exist is meaningless - rather He is that which bestows the very property of existence. To say "God exists" is rather like saying "water is wet". Yes in once sense it is, but in another sense it is not. Rather than saying "water is wet", it is more true to say "water is wetness"...a thing is wet if it has water on it.

On the other hand, perhaps that is not very helpful. We have simply given existence a new name: God. But I think it strikes at the root of the arguments Dawkins presents in The God Delusion. God is simply not the kind of thing that is amenable to the methodologies Dawkins uses.

I can see where he's coming from about the language of the BoM. Though I was always attracted to LDS, the "thee's" and "thou's" of the BoM have always irritated me intensely. Some people say "that is Biblical language". No, it's not. No one in the Bible ever said "thee" or "thou" or "thine". Those pronouns belong to early Modern English. As far as I can see, there's only one good reason for keeping them in the Bible - and that is that the Koine Greek had a seperate second person pronoun for the singular, which could correctly be translated as "thou" (or equally "tu" in French, or "du" in German). Using "thee" and "thou" is therefore strictly more accurate, but it has the unfortunate effect of giving the text an archaic flavour which it would not have had to its original audience.

Others insist that we should call God "thou", "thee" or "thy" when we pray, to "show respect" but this is false too. Back in the 17th Century - as well as in today in parts of the UK which still use these pronouns - calling someone "thee" would not necessarily have been respectful. When Hamlet tells Orphelia "Get thee to a nunnery!", is he showing her respect? Similarly today, a Yorkshire farmer might address his farmhand as "thee", but if he were talking to his landlord he would consider it more respectful to say "you".

Having said all that, it's not (as Dawkins insists) some knock-down proof that the BoM is nonsense. It's quite possible for a true prophet to record his messages in 1611 English, and still be a "real" prophet. It doesn't prove anything either way. 

Edited by Jamie123

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20 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

I can see where he's coming from about the language of the BoM. Though I was always attracted to LDS, the "thee's" and "thou's" of the BoM have always irritated me intensely. Some people say "that is Biblical language". No, it's not. No one in the Bible ever said "thee" or "thou" or "thine". Those pronouns belong to early Modern English. As far as I can see, there's only one good reason for keeping them in the Bible - and that is that the Koine Greek had a seperate second person pronoun for the singular, which could correctly be translated as "thou" (or equally "tu" in French, or "du" in German). Using "thee" and "thou" is therefore strictly more accurate, but it has the unfortunate effect of giving the text an archaic flavour which it would not have had to its original audience.

Others insist that we should call God "thou", "thee" or "thy" when we pray, to "show respect" but this is false too. Back in the 17th Century - as well as in today in parts of the UK which still use these pronouns - calling someone "thee" would not necessarily have been respectful. When Hamlet tells Orphelia "Get thee to a nunnery!", is he showing her respect? Similarly today, a Yorkshire farmer might address his farmhand as "thee", but if he were talking to his landlord he would consider it more respectful to say "you".

I'd agree with you on most of that.

The reason this language was chosen (yes, "chosen") was that Joseph felt that the language of the KJV was more regal or even more sacred than the common tongue of the era.  Whether it is or not is a matter of opinion.  But I cannot compare the language of Shakespeare with a careful translation of Shakespeare into modern English and somehow feel like it has lost something.

But you have not truly experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon. :) 

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1 hour ago, mordorbund said:

- Earth, Hitler 1938

Come quickly, Mordorbund, or I am dead.

So long lives this, and this gives life to .... what the heck?!?

@mordorbund

The man who could quicken a rock,
And make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion.

Edited by Carborendum

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Quote

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.

Let's try rephrasing this into modern English (American English).


The trait of mercy does not reduce us.
It drops as gently as rain from heaven
To the ground below.  It blesses twice.
It blesses the giver and the receiver.
It is the most powerful in the powerful.  It makes
A sitting king more kingly than his crown.
He can thwap you on the head with a scepter.
To show you who's boss.

But mercy is an more impressive than possessing the scepter.
In the heart of kings, it makes them "kingly".
God himself shows mercy through his power of grace.
And men can become like God
When we show mercy with justice.

 

Although I like the "thwapping" I just think something gets lost when you bring it to modern English.  Part of that is that we have no levels of formality.  We're far to irreverent in all our speech.  Nothing is sacred.  And by shifting our language, we shift our mindset into the sublime parts of our being.

I honestly feel sad for people who have not been educated in older forms of English because it is much more difficult to appreciate the meaning of passages like this when we have to put it in modern English vocabulary.

Then there is of course, the Triune Tale of the Diminutive Swine.

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On 5/14/2020 at 2:28 PM, anatess2 said:

Until now.  Sam Harris is another atheist who has made commentary about religions and "Mormonism".  But he doesn't come off as stupid - at least not from the ones I saw/read.  At least he tries to understand religious teachings and the people that put their faith in them.

Richard Dawkins (as well as Steven Hitchens) are/were smart man according to the natural man. They are those who are ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth (which is the irony of someone who talks about the importance of "what is true"). The scriptures describe these men more as "fools" rather than stupid. They have convinced themselves of their own wisdom, and you can't change the mind or heart that is stiff necked and uncircumcised. A man who talks about the importance of evidence while sharing an opinion (not a truth) to validate his own belief is double minded, or hypocritical.

I would say your experience with Sam Harris is different than mine. He has been around a long time, and I haven't heard anything from him for some time (so I openly admit maybe he has changed), but his understanding of religion was pretty poor (even the basics of Christian doctrine).

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15 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I would say your experience with Sam Harris is different than mine. He has been around a long time, and I haven't heard anything from him for some time (so I openly admit maybe he has changed), but his understanding of religion was pretty poor (even the basics of Christian doctrine).

I didn't say Sam Harris has a good grasp of religion.  I said, at least he tries to understand the religious point of view without finding the need to denigrate it like Dawkins does.  Dawkins comes off more as an anti with an axe to grind rather than a philosophical thinker.  Sam Harris' discussion about God with Jordan Peterson was awesome.  Peterson started off on the same foot as Harris in that both of them don't come from a position of faith... it's interesting how both of them diverged in their conclusions - Peterson going into the direction of belief because he couldn't logically find a reason to disbelieve it while Harris went into the direction of unbelief because he couldn't find a reason to believe it.

Edited by anatess2

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16 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Richard Dawkins (as well as Steven Hitchens) are/were smart man according to the natural man. They are those who are ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth (which is the irony of someone who talks about the importance of "what is true"). The scriptures describe these men more as "fools" rather than stupid. They have convinced themselves of their own wisdom, and you can't change the mind or heart that is stiff necked and uncircumcised. A man who talks about the importance of evidence while sharing an opinion (not a truth) to validate his own belief is double minded, or hypocritical.

I would say your experience with Sam Harris is different than mine. He has been around a long time, and I haven't heard anything from him for some time (so I openly admit maybe he has changed), but his understanding of religion was pretty poor (even the basics of Christian doctrine).

When I heard him say that he had looked thoroughly into the church, I'd have asked him, then what is the counter argument to the claim you just made?

He wouldn't be able to answer because he only heard one side of the argument and made a decision.  Well, that certainly sounds like looking into the matter THOROUGHLY.  So much for the scientific mind and rationalism.  Sounds more like rationalizing than rationalism.

Edited by Carborendum

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1 hour ago, anatess2 said:

I didn't say Sam Harris has a good grasp of religion.  I said, at least he tries to understand the religious point of view without finding the need to denigrate it like Dawkins does.  Dawkins comes off more as an anti with an axe to grind rather than a philosophical thinker.  Sam Harris' discussion about God with Jordan Peterson was awesome.  Peterson started off on the same foot as Harris in that both of them don't come from a position of faith... it's interesting how both of them diverged in their conclusions - Peterson going into the direction of belief because he couldn't logically find a reason to disbelieve it while Harris went into the direction of unbelief because he couldn't find a reason to believe it.

That is why I said according to my experience with Sam Harris he never truly tried to understand the religious point of view, and why I mentioned it has been some time since I have heard anything from him. I was only specifying that my experience was different with yours, not that you said anything incorrectly.

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3 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

That is why I said according to my experience with Sam Harris he never truly tried to understand the religious point of view, and why I mentioned it has been some time since I have heard anything from him. I was only specifying that my experience was different with yours, not that you said anything incorrectly.

I was simply correcting your understanding of what I said.  Because you said I said something I didn't say, not that it was wrong.  

Wow.  That was an awesome sentence.  :D

 

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