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Old 05-17-2020, 11:28 AM
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"it was God's plan." Oh, give me a break!


"God's plan!" I am not a "believer" but I have a particularly hard time with "believers" who believe everything that happens is part of some plan!

Detroit Lions' safety Tracy Walker says his cousin Ahmaud Arbery 'did not deserve that'


"He did not deserve that. And, you know God has a plan for everybody, man, but you know, it's tough," Walker said to ESPN.

Last edited by 2Bits; 05-17-2020 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:37 AM
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"God's plan!" I am not a "believer" but I have a particularly hard time with "believers" who believe everything that happens is part of some plan!

Detroit Lions' safety Tracy Walker says his cousin Ahmaud Arbery 'did not deserve that'


"He did not deserve that. And, you know God has a plan for everybody, man, but you know, it's tough," Walker said to ESPN.
I am also not a "believer", but if someone who is encountering a universe that they don't understand, and retreating into the notion that "God has a plan but I don't understand it", I find it silly to begrudge them that. And certainly I wouldn't let it upset me to the level of arguing about it.
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Old 05-17-2020, 01:16 PM
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I'm guessing this isn't so much a pitch for an argument as a post in the wrong forum.
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Old 05-17-2020, 01:51 PM
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Seems to me to interfere with free will.
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Old 05-17-2020, 01:52 PM
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Seems to me to interfere with free will.
You have free will...











...to do exactly what God has planned for you.
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Old 05-17-2020, 02:01 PM
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I'm guessing this isn't so much a pitch for an argument as a post in the wrong forum.


Seconded!



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Old 05-17-2020, 02:40 PM
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You have free will...











...to do exactly what God has planned for you.
Indeed, God wants people of their own free will to act like God's robot and follow The Plan.
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Old 05-17-2020, 04:07 PM
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I am also not a "believer", but if someone who is encountering a universe that they don't understand, and retreating into the notion that "God has a plan but I don't understand it", I find it silly to begrudge them that. And certainly I wouldn't let it upset me to the level of arguing about it.
You've never had someone tell you that a child that learned how to unbuckle their car seat but the parents hadn't gotten around to addressing it died in a car wreck because God had a reason.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:05 PM
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You've never had someone tell you that a child that learned how to unbuckle their car seat but the parents hadn't gotten around to addressing it died in a car wreck because God had a reason.
The two elements of my statement are how that person deals with their grief, and my level of upset about it. Based on what you have posted, I stand by my statements.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:17 PM
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I am also not a "believer", but if someone who is encountering a universe that they don't understand, and retreating into the notion that "God has a plan but I don't understand it", I find it silly to begrudge them that. And certainly I wouldn't let it upset me to the level of arguing about it.
No, because such a retreat implies passive acceptance that we cannot understand the universe, and undermines our motivation to effect change. Sure, there are some things we cannot change. But a superstitious fatalistic worldview permeates everything. A choice to feel better in the short term through superstitious rationalization is little different from trying to feel better by getting drunk. It might grant superficial comfort, but it's ultimately harmful.

Was half a million deaths a year from polio "God's plan", something that we should just have passively accepted as beyond our understanding?

Was Arbery's death part of "God's plan"? No, it was an evil act committed by evil men, and we should be angry and stay angry until we extirpate such evil from our society.

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Old 05-17-2020, 05:28 PM
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No, because such a retreat implies passive acceptance that we cannot understand the universe, and undermines our motivation to effect change. Sure, there are some things we cannot change. But a superstitious fatalistic worldview permeates everything. A choice to feel better in the short term through superstitious rationalization is little different from trying to feel better by getting drunk. It might grant superficial comfort, but it's ultimately harmful.

Was half a million deaths a year from polio "God's plan", something that we should just have passively accepted as beyond our understanding?

Was Arbery's death part of "God's plan"? No, it was an evil act committed by evil men, and we should be angry and stay angry until we extirpate such evil from our society.
So, you are saying you do begrudge Tracy Walker that retreat. In that, you would be compounding his pain, something I will not do.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:34 PM
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So, you are saying you do begrudge Tracy Walker that retreat. In that, you would be compounding his pain, something I will not do.
If someone wants to deal with their own suffering by calling it God's plan, I'm fine with that. But anyone trying to tell another person who is suffering that the tragedy is for the best because it is God's plan deserves to be punched in the face.
Which would be God's plan also, wouldn't it?
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:36 PM
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The two elements of my statement are how that person deals with their grief, and my level of upset about it. Based on what you have posted, I stand by my statements.
Based on my level of experience with what I posted, I stand by my statement that you have not experienced it.
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:47 PM
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So, you are saying you do begrudge Tracy Walker that retreat. In that, you would be compounding his pain, something I will not do.
I think stopping the next black jogger being lynched is a higher priority than concern about whether Tracy Walker feels sad. And I think the correct understanding that his murder was an avoidable consequence of the actions of evil men, rather than a fatalistic acceptance that it was part of God's ineffable plan, is more conducive to achieving that aim.

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Old 05-17-2020, 05:52 PM
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Based on my level of experience with what I posted, I stand by my statement that you have not experienced it.
That's right, I have not experienced what you describe. What does that have to do with my support of Tracy Walker's statements, and my reaction to the resulting level of opprobrium of the OP?
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:10 PM
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You said it would not upset you, I say you are mistaken.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:15 PM
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"God's plan!" I am not a "believer" but I have a particularly hard time with "believers" who believe everything that happens is part of some plan!

Detroit Lions' safety Tracy Walker says his cousin Ahmaud Arbery 'did not deserve that'


"He did not deserve that. And, you know God has a plan for everybody, man, but you know, it's tough," Walker said to ESPN.
He's trying to cope with a murder. Whatever gets him through the night. I wouldn't choose now as a good time to debate him on his beliefs.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:33 PM
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I think stopping the next black jogger being lynched is a higher priority than concern about whether Tracy Walker feels sad. And I think the correct understanding that his murder was an avoidable consequence of the actions of evil men, rather than a fatalistic acceptance that it was part of God's ineffable plan, is more conducive to achieving that aim.
Hear, hear.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:16 AM
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I think stopping the next black jogger being lynched is a higher priority than concern about whether Tracy Walker feels sad. And I think the correct understanding that his murder was an avoidable consequence of the actions of evil men, rather than a fatalistic acceptance that it was part of God's ineffable plan, is more conducive to achieving that aim.
The two aren't mutually exclusive. If you believe that God allows tragic things to happen to innocent people because of some plan that humans can't understand, but also believe that God wants humans to work for a better and more just world in ways they can understand, then your theology isn't an obstacle to your "achieving that aim".

Tracy Walker used his celebrity to be interviewed by a major news outlet about this tragedy, during which he made it very clear that he is angry about it, and that his family and community "want justice" for what happened to his cousin. I don't think he needs anybody patronizing him with lectures about what "correct" understanding would be most "conducive" to that fight for justice.

(Especially given America's persistent cultural requirement that black men, especially physically powerful young black men, need to project extra-high levels of serenity and acceptance in the face of aggression in order not to be interpreted/portrayed as "dangerous" "savage" "animals", it's kind of galling to see a black sports celebrity getting finger-wagged for allegedly being too serene and accepting about his cousin's slaying. Tracy Walker probably understands a hell of a lot better than you do what sort of remarks from a black football player about the lynching of a black jogger will actually be most "conducive" to inspiring America to push back a little harder against our cultural legacy of racism.)
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:08 AM
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Um.. guys?

You are aware that this subject has been debated at great length and in any amount of detail by theologians and philosophers for many, many centuries? Anything you can say off the top of your head about this subject has already long since been said and argued about, even in pre-Christian times by ancient philosophers (ancient Greeks also believed in Fate decreed by the Gods).

Christians have been debating predestination as long as Christianity has existed. Many, many sharp minds have considered this question over many, many centuries. (The evangelical dumbed-down version of Christianity excepted.)

So, to use an analogy, you're dropping into this thread a little late, and not reading a few thousand years of previous posts...


Here are some summaries to start with:

Fatalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Foreknowledge and Free Will (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Predestination in Christian theology (Wikipedia)
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:55 AM
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...Tracy Walker...
The framing of this as whether anyone would begrudge Walker his comfort is obviously not the point. Of course he can choose to cope with this tragedy on a personal level any way he chooses.

The point is, to the extent some superstitious notion of God's ineffable plan enters the debate on public policy, that's where it must be challenged as nonsense.

Hell, the notion that racist murderers are part of God's plan is small potatoes. Pence and Pompeo believe that crisis and war in the Middle East is foretold in Revelation, a precursor to the Second Coming. They regularly attend an "End Times" Bible study group, and these beliefs shape our foreign policy.

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Old 05-18-2020, 03:56 AM
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I think stopping the next black jogger being lynched is a higher priority than concern about whether Tracy Walker feels sad. And I think the correct understanding that his murder was an avoidable consequence of the actions of evil men, rather than a fatalistic acceptance that it was part of God's ineffable plan, is more conducive to achieving that aim.
There is absolutely no reason you can't do both. It's part of God's plan, and these bad people did bad things. It's the same issue as noticing that the macroscopic world is deterministic, and yet people still make choices. The answer is just that their choices are already baked in.

It shouldn't be hard at all to conceive of the idea that a God who knows everything that is going to happen can have a plan that takes into account the choices of humans, given that he knows what those choices will be. There is no reason this should mean that people should not try to influence those choices to make the world better. It's not like the Bible isn't full of people trying to stop evil people or giving advice on how one should act, after all.

It also shouldn't be obvious to see that this is true in practice. No one who says "it was God's plan" also stops looking for the natural cause. They try to help the doctors, stop the criminals, fix the safety hazards, etc. Hell, God's plan could be in part to wake people up to these dangers.

The worst thing you can do to try and convince people that an atheist worldview is correct is showing a lack of compassion. If you can't even sympathize when they have a grieving child, then when can you do so? Christians see this sort of uncompassionate atheism and recoil in horror.

Is it not the same when you encounter a Christian who feels the need to proselytize at a funeral? Their lack of compassion, seeing it as a place to recruit rather than caring about comforting the grieving, is disgusting. They likewise have their excuses for why it's okay--that they have some higher cause to worry about--but it doesn't stop it from seeming cruel and thus causing their target audience to hate them.
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:13 AM
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Christians have been debating predestination as long as Christianity has existed. Many, many sharp minds have considered this question over many, many centuries.
And the only reason this part of the debate lasted longer than 5 minutes was because these many "sharp minds" were so stubbornly resistant to the obvious (and only) way to resolve the fundamental logical contradictions inherent in their religious beliefs.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:22 AM
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We can discuss the exact mechanism for Egyptian pyramids raising the bodies of Pharoahs from the dead - they did it thousands of years ago so we cannot say anything new about it - but 30 seconds of thought soon yields the fact that they were wrong for all of those thousands of years.

So now we wonder why they thought such obviously wrong thought and how those thoughts turned into a belief system that acquired an institutional momentum which became a religion that drained resources and bled their nation white.

So, we are not debating the obvious logical flaws - the relevance here is how it came to this, and how we can avoid such stupidity in the future.

Lots of things in religion are very much like conceptual viruses, they spread and are very difficult to cure and take many lives and are often beyond logical understanding.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:51 AM
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Equanimity in the face of both good fortune and bad is, in my opinion, not something to be contemptuously dismissed as ignorant religiosity. A peaceful heart is characteristic of people with a deep spiritual practice, and in my experience it is rarely attained without a great deal of persistence, attention, and struggle. Being able to hold grief, fear, or the desire for revenge within a context of healing usually requires community support and it helps to have context, examples, history, ritual, and faith. Remember the Amish whose children were killed by a mass murderer?

Nothing about Christian faith is intrinsically passive nor unquestioning. Whether some choose to use it that way does not negate this.

I also find that the angry arrogance of people on this board who seem never to have had anything of spiritual significance ever happen to them, never felt comforted by communal ritual, never found richness and meaning in a religious tradition, and assume that the yes billions of humans who have, are grotesquely deluded and incredibly stupid compared to themselves, to be a bit laughable.

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Old 05-18-2020, 07:24 AM
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This comment supposes that religion is a requirement of feeling spiritual relief, that somehow religion has answers that are not available anywhere else in terms of community, family, support and guidance.

Quite simply it is not, in fact, for billions of us religion has been a destroyer of life, property and community values.

Even today it is used as a basis for discrimination and murder, and it is not an excuse to state that such people who practice religion in such ways are not 'true' believers or are not following the real spirit of god's grace.

So, we ask, does Gods will' mean we are predestined to certain courses and does this absolve us of fault for following such a path - in which case sin itself simply does not exist - or

Do we have ethical and moral responsibility for the choices we make because we always have self determined courses that we select.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:34 AM
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This comment supposes that religion is a requirement of feeling spiritual relief, that somehow religion has answers that are not available anywhere else in terms of community, family, support and guidance.

<snip>
No, it doesn't But it seems to be a very strong component. I have been around people of deep religious/spiritual practice for five decades now. They are Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and sometimes interesting combinations of these. I don't know anyone who does not have roots in some spiritual tradition who has the qualities of these people. This may be anecdotal evidence but it's all I have, and I'm willing to stand by it.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:52 AM
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Unfortunately, 2Bits, many "Believers" don't really have a strong knowledge of what it is they so ardently believe. According to Scripture, God's "Plan" was for humans to live a sinless, perfect life in the Garden of Eden which, for all practical purposes, was Heaven on Earth. Humans subverted "The Plan" by doing something that God specifically did NOT want or plan. Nothing has changed over the intervening millennia.

Jesus wasn't big on mandates, but he did have one of great note. "This commandment I give unto you, 'Love one another.' " That's basically "The Plan". So, how are we doing? Well, based on empirical evidence, most of what humans do is NOT "The Plan".
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:07 AM
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You said it would not upset you, I say you are mistaken.
I am responding to Tracy Walker's reaction, not your tragic story. Why is this so difficult for anyone to understand?
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:31 AM
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In the long run, God wins eventually. We can't change that. But that doesn't mean that He likes it when we delay His plan. He'd much prefer that we all just choose to be good to each other now.
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:31 AM
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In the long run, God wins eventually. We can't change that. But that doesn't mean that He likes it when we delay His plan. He'd much prefer that we all just choose to be good to each other now.
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:49 AM
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First, you must assume a god exists. Once we've passed that hurdle, we can discuss what his/her/its/their plan(s) might be, and how you know that.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:28 AM
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The point is, to the extent some superstitious notion of God's ineffable plan enters the debate on public policy, that's where it must be challenged as nonsense.
I suggest we refrain from applying such challenges to the publicly expressed personal beliefs of a black family member of a black lynching victim, especially since he's already clearly stated that he's angry about the lynching and wants the perpetrators brought to justice.

If some racist shitstain starts in trying to minimize the lynching with musings that "Oh yes it's a very sad tragedy but in the bigger picture God has a plan for everybody so we shouldn't be making such a big deal about it", then of course you can and should tear said racist shitstain a new one.

But getting on your high horse about the need to publicly "challenge" the black family member's expressed belief as "nonsense" because you're concerned about its hypothetical negative impact on "the debate on public policy"? That strikes me as getting a little too close to arrogant-asshole-behavior territory. And given that the family member is black and you're not, you could be veering towards the particularly smelly area of white-condescension-arrogant-asshole-behavior too.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:55 PM
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I think H.L. Mencken said it best.

"God is a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh."
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:25 PM
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I am responding to Tracy Walker's reaction, not your tragic story. Why is this so difficult for anyone to understand?
Ok, sure, but that was not at all apparent in your first post.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:43 PM
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But getting on your high horse about the need to publicly "challenge" the black family member's expressed belief as "nonsense" because you're concerned about its hypothetical negative impact on "the debate on public policy"? That strikes me as getting a little too close to arrogant-asshole-behavior territory. And given that the family member is black and you're not, you could be veering towards the particularly smelly area of white-condescension-arrogant-asshole-behavior too.
Right. As a POC myself (though not black), it makes me feel very cringy to see a bunch of white liberals look down upon black folks for being religious, and lament that those religious black people are important in the Democratic Party. And then turn around and go after the other side for racism (which, they definitely have, but way to completely ignore the log in your own eye).

Now I can't for sure state that the posters here are white or liberal, but it's something I've come across quite a bit. Though it could be I'm just tired of the racism in the Democratic primary.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:31 AM
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Do people who trust in "God's plan" believe in the literal Old Testament? Where God decided to do a hard reboot and wiped out 99.9% of humanity, not to mention most land-based life, in a flood? Not to mention a thousand other dickish plans the Old Testament God came up with. That's not a God I'd want to trust in.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:32 AM
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Do people who trust in "God's plan" believe in the literal Old Testament? Where God decided to do a hard reboot and wipe out 99.9% of humanity, not to mention most land-based life, in a flood? Not to mention a thousand other dickish plans the Old Testament God came up with. That's not a God I'd want to trust in.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:42 AM
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I think H.L. Mencken said it best.

"God is a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh."

H.L.M. had the best words.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:05 AM
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In the long run, God wins eventually. We can't change that. But that doesn't mean that He likes it when we delay His plan. He'd much prefer that we all just choose to be good to each other now.
A double post! Undoubtedly part of the plan.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:08 AM
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First, you must assume a god exists. Once we've passed that hurdle, we can discuss what his/her/its/their plan(s) might be, and how you know that.
Well, the OP specifically referred to people who identify as "Believers". In a case like that, I think the discussion should center around the logic/validity of THEIR beliefs, and they should be held to the standards of what THEY believe in.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Ulfreida View Post
I also find that the angry arrogance of people on this board who seem never to have had anything of spiritual significance ever happen to them, never felt comforted by communal ritual, never found richness and meaning in a religious tradition, and assume that the yes billions of humans who have, are grotesquely deluded and incredibly stupid compared to themselves, to be a bit laughable.
Undeniably, many people find comfort in many types of rituals and traditions. Not coincidentally, they are the rituals and traditions they grew up with or adopted. I think that it's important to be able to distinguish between a practice that gives you comfort and the belief that what you are practicing is ordained by a higher authority. Historically, and currently, the manner in which people observe these rituals and to whom they are attributed continues to be a point of friction among populations. So that's kind of a problem. Another problem is the dismissal, as you've just done, of those "So made that cannot believe". What you see as "angry arrogance" is an expression of frustration by some of us who have not had a transcendent religious experience, nor do we find ourselves missing out on the kind of spiritual meaning it carries to those who have. But we are constantly being reminded that we are somehow not right unless/until we do. And let's not forget that being a-religious was quite frowned upon until fairly recently. So we have no right to forget that now that many religions have taken on a friendlier face and benighted victim attitude, it was far more punitive when it thought it could get away with it.
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  #43  
Old 05-19-2020, 09:55 AM
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...Tracy Walker probably understands a hell of a lot better than you do what sort of remarks from a black football player about the lynching of a black jogger will actually be most "conducive" to inspiring America to push back a little harder against our cultural legacy of racism.)
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
I suggest we refrain from applying such challenges to the publicly expressed personal beliefs of a black family member of a black lynching victim...getting on your high horse about the need to publicly "challenge" the black family member's expressed belief as "nonsense" because you're concerned about its hypothetical negative impact on "the debate on public policy"? That strikes me as getting a little too close to arrogant-asshole-behavior territory. And given that the family member is black and you're not, you could be veering towards the particularly smelly area of white-condescension-arrogant-asshole-behavior too.
So your strategy for defending the indefensible notion that religious belief (and I'm not talking about some vague sense of "spirituality", but specific superstitious truth claims) should inform public policy is to:

(1) Create a straw man that I'm advocating making an insensitive and inapproriate personal attack on a man while he's dealing with bereavement;

(2) Summon the woke identity-politics idiocy that ideas should not stand and fall on their own merits, but hold merit only according to the color of the skin of the person who advocates them.

As for the latter, that's what's condescension-laden racist bullshit. It's one thing to advocate listening carefully to black people on their social experience with these issues, sure. But what you're implying is that if a black person advocates an idea, that idea should not be subject to intellectual scrutiny and debate like the ideas of white people, but must be treated with kid gloves. That's an incredibly patronizing and racist notion.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-19-2020 at 09:59 AM.
  #44  
Old 05-19-2020, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
So your strategy for defending the indefensible notion that religious belief (and I'm not talking about some vague sense of "spirituality", but specific superstitious truth claims) should inform public policy [...]
Now this is what a strawman looks like, as opposed to your exaggerated claims about my own post.

Opining that singling out the publicly expressed personal beliefs of a lynching victim's relative for scoldy anti-superstition critiques is "getting a little too close to arrogant-asshole-behavior territory" is not in any way "defending the indefensible notion that religious belief [...] should inform public policy".

You keep resolutely ignoring the fact that Tracy Walker explicitly made a statement to "inform public policy" that's the exact opposite of what you claim to be worrying about. Namely, Walker said that he and his family want justice for this killing of an innocent victim.

Your persistent disregard of this very clear call to action, in favor of continuing to wring your hands about the damage you supposedly fear that Walker's passing allusion to his own personal religious beliefs might inflict on "public policy", is, to say the very least, not rational.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann
But what you're implying is that if a black person advocates an idea, that idea should not be subject to intellectual scrutiny and debate like the ideas of white people, but must be treated with kid gloves.
More flailing strawmannery. Of course I'm not saying that no black person's idea should ever be "subject to intellectual scrutiny and debate". What I'm saying is that under the circumstances, singling out the personal beliefs of a black relative of a black lynching victim as the subject of your pious "anti-superstition" puritanism comes across as kind of jerkish behavior.

If you can respond to any of my points without having to construct an obvious strawman argument to take the place of what I'm actually saying, I'll gladly continue the discussion of them. At present, I don't think your artificially applied anti-religious pecksniffery is really contributing much to the debate in this thread.
  #45  
Old 05-19-2020, 02:50 PM
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Do people who trust in "God's plan" believe in the literal Old Testament? Where God decided to do a hard reboot and wiped out 99.9% of humanity, not to mention most land-based life, in a flood? Not to mention a thousand other dickish plans the Old Testament God came up with. That's not a God I'd want to trust in.
"It's all part of God's plan!" was probably very little comfort to the Canaanites.
  #46  
Old 05-19-2020, 02:50 PM
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It might be difficult to non-religious people to reconcile, but believing "it was God's plan" does not prevent individuals from taking action. It's not a call to sit a do nothing it's an attempt to cope with the fact that bad shit happens to good people.
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  #47  
Old 05-19-2020, 04:51 PM
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I find it interesting how God manages to act in a manner that is indistinguishable from randomness.
  #48  
Old 05-19-2020, 04:53 PM
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I find it interesting how God manages to act in a manner that is indistinguishable from randomness.
Mysterious ways and all that, I guess.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:15 PM
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I find it interesting how God manages to act in a manner that is indistinguishable from randomness.
What if, shall we call him a Creator, designed a universe that was self-operating. It expanded and contracted. It created life and destroyed it. Where decisions by lifeforms could alter the future but had consequences. Where randomness ruled. It would be a God version of Sim Universe.
  #50  
Old 05-19-2020, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by madsircool View Post
What if, shall we call him a Creator, designed a universe that was self-operating. It expanded and contracted. It created life and destroyed it. Where decisions by lifeforms could alter the future but had consequences. Where randomness ruled. It would be a God version of Sim Universe.
In what way would it be distinguishable from a universe without a creator?
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