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 What would it take to convert/deconvert?
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2558 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2011 :  13:26:42  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That question was asked of Richard Carrier and JPH in this part of their debate. Hat tip to AIG Busted blog.

>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2011 :  15:00:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Probably only a visit from the God Allmighty himself.

Or a drastic intervention on an irrefutable level, like all child-molesting prists, ministers, and enabling clergy in the entire world dropping dead on the spot with severly withered private parts.
That would make headlines in the news around the world on a level which no conspiracy in the world would be able to do. No logical explanation possible for the perfect timing of otherwise healthy people getting what they deserve...

I can think of a number of other scenarios, but all of them would require violations of the laws of physics on a massive scale, in order to be convincing. A few crop-circles in Europe spelling out "Jesus" or "Muhammed" just wouldn't do.

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Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 04/22/2011 15:08:58
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2011 :  20:56:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If there is an omnipotent god, then that god could just will us all to be aware of it's existence. In fact, one that demands worship would surely have to do that, especially when the punishment for not worshiping is eternal torture. God would be a massive dick if he threw you into that lake of fire for failing to worship, especially when it takes no effort on his part to just make everyone aware.

Anything short of that should be interpreted as somebody trying to sell you some shit. Anything less than that has a more plausible explanation than the existence of an omnipotent god.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2011 :  00:32:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Or a drastic intervention on an irrefutable level, like all child-molesting prists, ministers, and enabling clergy in the entire world dropping dead on the spot with severly withered private parts.


So not only does it have to be a "miracle" of sorts, it also has to coincide with exactly what you want to happen? Would killing random people in a similar way not convince you of a supernatural power?

Also the links were to a debate on what would that convert you specifically to Christianity. Any number of deities have been attributed the powers of life and death.

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2011 :  03:57:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Or a drastic intervention on an irrefutable level, like all child-molesting prists, ministers, and enabling clergy in the entire world dropping dead on the spot with severly withered private parts.


So not only does it have to be a "miracle" of sorts, it also has to coincide with exactly what you want to happen? Would killing random people in a similar way not convince you of a supernatural power?
What would be the justice in that?
Don't you think that molesting children is a sinful act which deserves severe punishment?
It's just an example though. I can think of other ones. Like all politicians suddenly being unable to tell anything but the truth, and a compulsion to tell us about their motivations.

Also the links were to a debate on what would that convert you specifically to Christianity. Any number of deities have been attributed the powers of life and death.
In my post, I opened up for other violations of the laws of physics. How about all places of worship crumbling to dust, except the christian ones?

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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 04/23/2011 03:59:49
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BigPapaSmurf
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3192 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2011 :  07:20:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nothing short of madness will convert me, though even if I was visited by God directly, I would have to assume my own insanity first as it would be far more likely.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2011 :  08:33:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have told my friends " If you ever hear of me converting to Christianity one of these things has occured. 1: I have suffered massive head trauma. 2: I have developed dementia. 3: I am lying for some particualr reason."

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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sailingsoul
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2830 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2011 :  15:30:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It would take a time machine for me. Having thrown out "magical theist thinking", like the world is only 6000 years old, it would take a trip back to a less enlightened time in my life. A less educated and experienced time. SS


There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  07:38:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What would be the justice in that?
Don't you think that molesting children is a sinful act which deserves severe punishment?
It's just an example though. I can think of other ones. Like all politicians suddenly being unable to tell anything but the truth, and a compulsion to tell us about their motivations.


OK so you need it to be something completely unexplainable and also "good". I was just wondering what your conclusion would be if it was something random, or "bad".

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  09:08:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

OK so you need it to be something completely unexplainable and also "good". I was just wondering what your conclusion would be if it was something random, or "bad".
Well, I wouldn't accept a loud thundering voice telling be human sacrifice is ok.
God supposedly made humans in his image. Since I think that "going good" is better than "doing evil", is it that outrageous to draw the conclusion that God should also prefer to want to do good rather than evil?.

On the other hand, the many evil things that religious practitioners have done, the conclusion should be that God is an evil bastard.

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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

Saudi Arabia
1266 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  09:20:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
it's not outrageous at all, I just thought it seemed odd you were only willing to believe in supernatural good.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  10:50:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's my take on the question. Or more precisely, my answer. Since we know that people of faith mostly say the evidence is within them, in that they were touched in some way by God, I'm open to experiencing that sort of thing. Obviously, If I were touched, like all other people of faith, I could not support what personally changed my mind in any empirical way, and I suppose that would seriously effect my standing as a skeptic. It's real easy to say "miracle" this and "evidence" that, and how you would react to a personal revelation. As skeptics, we tend to view those things through the lens of critical thinking as if critical thinking would still play a roll even if we had some transcendent experience that left us with no doubt. "No doubt" is, after all, a very un-skeptical position to take.

But here's the thing. I was once challenged by a good friend of mine, a Christian, to ask Jesus to come into my heart. I couldn't see any reason for me not to try the experiment, so I did. Every morning for a month I prayed for just such a deliverance. Jesus/God was a no show and I remain not a person of faith. I suppose if there is a God, which I doubt, s/he wants me to be this way because I did my part. And I did as honestly as I could.

Maybe I would have thought I had gone insane if I thought I had a personal revelation. But it seems more likely to me that if the experience was of such power as to leave me personally convinced, it's unlikely that I would have questioned my sanity. Of course, everyone else (the skeptics) would have. And I would have understood where they were coming from, being a skeptic myself.

I guess what I'm saying is that the ground rules of critical thinking and skepticism don't apply to claims of personal revelation if you are the one who God has reveled himself to, so the answers to what it would take, from a skeptics perspective, might just fly out the window if one day God bonks you on the head or comes into your heart.

Having said that, I do strongly doubt the existence of God on all of the grounds that most skeptics do. And I see no reason to change my position on that just because other people have claimed personal revelation. Anecdotal evidence is still anecdotal evidence and at best it can only serve to spark curiosity and investigation. It fails as actual support for anything real.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  12:20:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Also the links were to a debate on what would that convert you specifically to Christianity.

Christians usually likes to convince themselves that the Christian god is good and only capable of good things. So if I were to be converted by a miracle, it would be only logical to assume that the miracle in question fits the description "good", rather than evil or randomly neutral.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  15:51:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Here's my take on the question. Or more precisely, my answer. Since we know that people of faith mostly say the evidence is within them, in that they were touched in some way by God, I'm open to experiencing that sort of thing. Obviously, If I were touched, like all other people of faith, I could not support what personally changed my mind in any empirical way, and I suppose that would seriously effect my standing as a skeptic. It's real easy to say "miracle" this and "evidence" that, and how you would react to a personal revelation. As skeptics, we tend to view those things through the lens of critical thinking as if critical thinking would still play a roll even if we had some transcendent experience that left us with no doubt. "No doubt" is, after all, a very un-skeptical position to take.

But here's the thing. I was once challenged by a good friend of mine, a Christian, to ask Jesus to come into my heart. I couldn't see any reason for me not to try the experiment, so I did. Every morning for a month I prayed for just such a deliverance. Jesus/God was a no show and I remain not a person of faith. I suppose if there is a God, which I doubt, s/he wants me to be this way because I did my part. And I did as honestly as I could.

Maybe I would have thought I had gone insane if I thought I had a personal revelation. But it seems more likely to me that if the experience was of such power as to leave me personally convinced, it's unlikely that I would have questioned my sanity. Of course, everyone else (the skeptics) would have. And I would have understood where they were coming from, being a skeptic myself.

I guess what I'm saying is that the ground rules of critical thinking and skepticism don't apply to claims of personal revelation if you are the one who God has reveled himself to, so the answers to what it would take, from a skeptics perspective, might just fly out the window if one day God bonks you on the head or comes into your heart.

Having said that, I do strongly doubt the existence of God on all of the grounds that most skeptics do. And I see no reason to change my position on that just because other people have claimed personal revelation. Anecdotal evidence is still anecdotal evidence and at best it can only serve to spark curiosity and investigation. It fails as actual support for anything real.


Even if I suddenly became convinced that god was real, unless my brain was also changed to stop thinking the way I think about problems, I would not remain convinced for long unless the same thing happened to everyone else. That is the reason I answered the way I did. It would take an omnipotent deity literally no effort to make everyone aware of its existence, it could also fool us all into thinking we still had free will, and any omnipotent deity that has anything close to our sense of justice and fairness would do exactly that if the punishment for not believing is eternal torture.

As far as I can tell, I have free will. This alone excludes the possibility of anything omnipotent, so it would take an instant mass conversion to convince me long term. That or a lobotomy of my ability to think after being shown if it were just me alone getting the revelation.

Insanity is, after all, more plausible than an omnipotent deity.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  17:14:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dude:
Even if I suddenly became convinced that god was real, unless my brain was also changed to stop thinking the way I think about problems, I would not remain convinced for long unless the same thing happened to everyone else.
So you say. But then, you haven't had God come into your heart. You haven't been touched by real divine revelation. Your assumption is that you would still be skeptical about God after being convinced that God is real. I don't see how that follows. Isn't it more likely that you would conclude that your previous conviction that God doesn't exist was wrong? Of course, there would be the bummer of not being able to prove it to anyone else.

Dude:
Insanity is, after all, more plausible than an omnipotent deity.

Sure. But then we're both working under the assumption that God doesn't exist.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2011 :  19:22:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The obvious quesation is "convert to what?"

Deconverting, only should my religion stop fulfilling a need within me. Or when my flesh starts decomposing. Whichever comes first.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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