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wynken vanaril

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About wynken vanaril

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  1. The inhabitants of this realm seem to know me by the name of Wynken, though I recall naught of them. The torn pages of this journal are illegible. The writing is my own but I have no memory of it, and this sword chills me to the core though I dare not part from it. Such a twisted and ugly weapon would be considered unusable by most but I feel as if it is an extension of myself, and I wield it with power and precision. So angering that I struggle to know who or where I was one year ago but recount vividly the distant past that has made me who I am today. Those harsh realities, lessons well learned in my youth. I suppose I can thank my father for that in the least. He got his in the end, although those early years spent at his manor were not without benefit, that mansion that doubled as guildhall for The Hand of Azrael. They were a band of mercenaries, hired killers really, few in number but most efficient. Daggers were forced into my hands as soon they could adequately wield them. I was no more than six years of age when I received my first lesson in armed combat, and the small scar on my right hand still bears resemblance to the teeth marks from the rat in that musty celler. One of many trials I would endure with little gained other than personal development and a growing need to earn the respect that my father carelessly withheld. I would not have survived my adolescence without the training I received under the weapon masters and thieves there, as I was expelled from the hall upon my thirteenth year. Told by my own father to not return until I could do so undetected, I took to the dank and impoverished streets of the city under threat of death at the hands of my father's cohorts. Employing the skills I had acquired, I carved out an existence in the city's vicious underbelly, taking what I needed to survive from those unable or unwilling to keep it from me. Though existence became easier with the passage of time and I began to settle in to the routine of my life on the streets, the deep seated hatred I harbored for my father was never far from my mind. I watched as even wretched and destitute children played games and tarried in the streets, enjoying their existence in the bliss of careless freedom. As I looked on them with jealousy and rage, I couldn't help but feel comfort in that my existence was real, and that their happiness would fade leaving nothing to show for it. By the age of sixteen I had grown in confidence as well as ability and began to indulge in the finer things. Rumor of my talents spread through the city's network of underground and less than legitimate proprietors, and I began filling their contracts. However, with success came a level of fame that is unbecoming of beings who make their existence by remaining unseen, and numerous times the undiscovered or unsuccessful attempted to claim for themselves what was mine by putting a dagger into my back. It was also not uncommon for those few who had established themselves as hired thieves, assassins, or informants to compete over contracts or bounty, and on one such occasion, I found myself defending against a member of The Hand of Azrael. We came together on even footing, and through the engagement he did not recognize me, though I did him. I reveled in his astonishment, eyes widened, as I whispered my name into his ear while the last of his blood ran from his throat. I had thought many times before of the moment that I would finally reenter my father's house, but that incident bolstered my resolve and signified in my mind that I was now ready...
  2. How tenable reality and how fragile the mind that, in a moment, all perceived truth could be admonished; that one could find themselves in a dream world, plagued by reveries and memories of events that had never transpired, or simply awake without any recollections at all, but now my past is once again made clear to me and I am myself. All that remains of my former self are the tattered scraps of some rambled writing and this tarnished sword.
  3. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='19488' date='Nov 4 2008, 10:01 PM']I don't think altruism is the source of moral behavior - I would call it the most qualifiable expression of moral behavior. As you know, I think its roots are biological.[/quote] What are your thoughts on morality? I don't know that we've established exactly what you believe other than your disdain for objectivism. [quote]As for the Levites - uh, they became the priestly class. See [url="http://bible.cc/joshua/13-33.htm"]Joshua 13:33[/url]. Red line to God? Sounds more valuable than material wealth to me, and it did to them, too. Leviticus is so named for a reason. The cynical side of me sneers, "knowledge is power, and money is often merely the means to power"; the more Judeo-Christian-friendly side of me says, "spiritual wealth is more valuable by far." B)[/quote] What good is spiritual wealth when its proprietors and inheritors are the only who know it to be a sham? As far as power is concerned, not only did the inherit little power which was eventually relinquished entirely with the adoption of a king, but it also seems like a lot of hard work and devotion for so little real authority. Also, you have to consider the cultural context of the radical laws in Leviticus. The religions in Mesopotamia during that time were very violent and unrestrictive, but Hebrew law established many regulations including foods that couldn't be eaten and restrictions on sex.
  4. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='19474' date='Nov 4 2008, 11:56 AM']What is the use of morality that does not take into account altruism?[/quote] Does any moral system really claim that altruism is the source of moral behavior? [quote]I don't hold Israel liable; I hold the Deuteronomist and Priestly writers, and you and every other victim of their propaganda, culpable for asserting "Oh, never mind, there was really only one god. Sorry." The evolution of monotheistic practice is almost certainly a cultural rather than an objective phenomenon, and I will continue to argue that the only thing the Book really tells us about this evolution is that the Levites' power-play for control of the priesthood was successful. A great deal of evidence indicates the Book's writings were assembled from older writings that were redacted by later priests to expunge the holes in their narrative.[/quote] Again they rallied it into nothing. The Levites received the least land and absolutely no wealth or possessions. Your assertion just doesn't make sense logically. Why make a play for power and attain none?
  5. I'm sorry. I misunderstood you, and we're arguing semantics. I thought you meant that only Israelites as a race of people could receive God's grace. Anyway, we've strayed far from the original topic anyway and should probably have had this conversation in the "Religion Thread".
  6. [quote]It's ironic that you should bring up Objectivism, a philosophy I never tire of running into the dirt.[/quote] I also loath Randian Objectivism. I was just trying to emphasize the point that altruism and morals are not the same. [quote]So it matters to you that the Samaritan actually existed? Why? You can't prove a single word of truth in the Book, not one*; you can only say that the Book says so and insist it must be true. That's called begging the question, brother. In my view, that demeans the wisdom of the myths.[/quote] I don't see how a factual account of actual events carries less wisdom than fiction. Also, I'd go so far as to say that 90% of Biblical scripture is historically factual and archeologically verifiable. So on the contrary, I believe the real question has to be, why deny the speculated 10%? :spiteful: [quote]It wouldn't be hard at all. Passages in both testaments make this assertion almost verbatim; when I'm not at work, I'll look up chapter and verse for you.[/quote] Allow me to spare you the trouble by presenting my rebuttal first: Genesis 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. Galatians 3:7-9 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Psalm 67:1-3 1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah 2 that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. 3 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." [quote]The implication is that they were polytheistic before they were otherwise, and the available evidence (both archeological and textual) seems to support that hypothesis. Your use of the verb "backslide" is significant to me in the extreme.[/quote] I really don't see your point. The revealing of God would have taken place ex post facto. How can you hold Israel liable for traditions held before God revealed himself to Abraham, and how does Israel's backsliding even after the revelation alter what would be an objective truth? If God exists...He exists weather the Israelites continued to follow faithfully or not. I'll tell you without argument that Israel did practice polytheism in the centuries before Jesus' teachings. I'll even help you make your case. Jeremiah 2: 19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. 20 "Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute. 23 "How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals'? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, 24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving— in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her. 25 Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, 'It's no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.'
  7. [quote name='lightsage' post='19416' date='Nov 3 2008, 10:09 AM']another topic eh? Let's say religion is relative for it's a relative truth...[/quote] You lost me at relative. Care to elaborate?
  8. ^ I take no offense, however in my defense, I typically reference only Christianity because it's what I believe to be truth. Also, my knowledge of other religions is nowhere near as expansive as my knowledge of Christian doctrine, and it is wise to speak only on topics that you know, hence my apparent bias. I have nothing against other religions, which is why I didn't opt for a "Christianity Thread". I just tend to debate and theorize within my area of expertise, as we all do or should. Another reason that Christianity gets the most mention is that the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam hold the world majority at about 50%, while [b]maybe[/b] 8% of the world population follows Buddhism. If anyone else would like to strike up a topic for conversation, I'll be glad to carry the other end. It's easy to single me out as an ethnocentrist when I'm the only one posting
  9. In regards to that article, altruism and moral behavior are not necessarily one and the same. You can act both morally and selfishly at the same time. In fact, capitalism and Randian Objectivism are founded on just that ability, and free markets obviously work very well. While I generally oppose utilitarianism on the grounds that the ends don't always justify the means, I don't see any harm in doing good because it's our creator's will and plan for human existence. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='19111' date='Oct 28 2008, 10:07 PM']By contrast, the answer "a being of infinite complexity created it" is a simple, satisfying answer, but it is illogical. I happen to think it is also dishonest. If the origin of the universe is problematic, whence the origin of the creator? S/he is Increate? Not satisfying; it's simply an assertion backed by (at best) second-hand evidence of communication with an infinite being. And if this being was created, we once again encounter the problem of regress, much as did the Greek pantheon's origin as narrated by Hesiod. Sooner or later you have to draw a line, mythologically speaking, beyond which no further questions are permitted and no further thought is possible.[/quote] An infinate being by definition has no origin. Also, the First Cause argument is solved by looking deeper at the Cosmological Argument. The physical laws and time as we experience them and test them are finite and began (presumably) at the time of the Big Bang. In keeping with conclusions that are logical and empirical, we can only assume that those laws exist within our universe because we obviously can't test anything outside of it. So...it's preposterous to even imply that anything (let alone a being that actually "claims" infinate existence) beyond its boundaries must have had an origin. [quote]I am a great fan and student of myth, but I contend that presenting it literally does it a grave disservice. Did a man named Midas have the power of transmuting materials to gold by touching them? Almost certainly not, but even to ask the question misses the point of the story.[/quote] The beauty of scriptural poetry and parables is that they carry a double blessing of both wisdom and truth [quote]But some will insist their interpretations of a myth are better than others', and further they will insist that all gods are false but theirs; and even if they can agree on a God, they may disagree on what S/he said or did not say, did or did not do, revealed or did not reveal. Who is right? There is (arguably) more evidence for Mohammed than there is for Yeshua of Nazareth, so why aren't you a Muslim? Mohammed spoke to Gabriel, too... or didn't he? Most likely, you aren't a Muslim because your parents weren't, if we are to be honest about it. I will allow that some people find appeal in religions beyond their own cultures, but they are outliers in the statistical continuum.[/quote] Every human possesses an ego and emotional predisposition. Atheists are no different though most will deny their social construction as it pertains to religious (or non religious) beliefs. When I speak of religion or cosmology I tend to attempt to place everything into the context of absolute truth. Human interpretation is irrelevant because there exists an objective truth regardless of our admission, belief, or knowledge of it. [quote]My point with reference to God's contact with other cultures is that the probability of such contact impeaches the Judeo/Christian/Islamic continuum's claim to exclusive (or privileged) contact with this being. You like the Aten hypothesis; so did I, when I identified myself as a Christian. But Aten is nowhere countenanced in Exodus or any of the other canonical Jewish writings; and given the probable origin of Moses' name, again presuming we can count on Exodus to be honest, Akhenaten came after Tuthmosis III.* While it is delightful to speculate that Amenhotep IV seized on Judaism and became Akhenaten after the events of Exodus, no serious biblical or Egyptological scholar accepts this hypothesis... to our mutual dismay, perhaps, but I did warn you of the perils of syncretism.[/quote] I don't necessarily like that theory, I said that I like it better. Also, you'd be hard pressed to find proof that the Bible (again I can't speak to the Qu'ran) supports exclusive or even privileged contact with God. [quote]What I am trying to convey, by contrast, is the idea that ancient Israelite polytheism was both widespread and conventionally accepted, and that monolatry, monotheism, and the assertion of Yahweh's supremacy over all other gods were later and in some cases highly political developments. The story of the Pentateuch seems to indicate otherwise, but textual and archeological cues offer some, though not incontrovertible, evidence to support the idea of a polytheistic Israel in ancient times. The fact is that we will probably never know the truth: we can offer faith, or we can continue to probe the very fragmentary surviving evidence with doubt, but that is all. Your faith is an assertion that the biblical narrative is authentic, and there can be no argumentation with faith. You are either right, or you are not, and if you have decided you are right then conversation ends.[/quote] Heh, I never debate with the intention of changing my mind or the minds of others, but yet I still debate. I see it as more of a mental exercise. A way to learn and grow, not to win or lose. Also, you must recall that there were many many years in which Israel and Judah had regressed or backslidden into polytheism. Read any of the prophets...it makes complete sense to me, and is completely supported Biblically, that there would be archaeological evidence of Israel practicing polytheism. [quote]As much as you like flipping blivets at my wife :yahoo: , she was gracious enough to furnish you with a textual basis for your mathematical reasoning: [url="http://bible.cc/2_peter/3-8.htm"]2 Peter 3:8[/url].[/quote] Blivets is a great word... :drinks: I use that verse often in this situation. It aligns itself perfectly with my assertion that God is outside of time. When you get the chance, I highly recommend Gerald Schreoder's article on the age of the universe: [url="http://www.geraldschroeder.com/age.html"]http://www.geraldschroeder.com/age.html[/url]
  10. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='18960' date='Oct 27 2008, 02:50 PM']I don't follow you. There is no evidence for a god.[/quote] False. It just isn't empirical. [quote]That is an elementary apologetic argument, and it is easily dismissed. The answer to the question "from what" is, at the moment, "we don't know," but we have some ideas. That's beside the point: as scientists, those who study Physics make no claims to complete understanding. Science requires doubt to be worthwhile. I am not making a single statement of faith, not a one. I am simply saying there is no reason whatsoever to say, "the universe is complex, ergo God."[/quote] That wasn't really my argument. I'm not one of those who believe God must be the answer because of the insurmountable statistical hurdles in front of nature. [quote]But this leaves open the possibility that some other people(s) discovered God, and their discovery was lost to time. This ancient, heavily redacted text is not good evidence, even the story of the religion it purports to tell, because of the now-outdated biases of the revisionists and editors.[/quote] It's likely that God would have reached out to other nations, even in unison with His contact with Israel. Likewise, there could be life on other planets who have their own Messiah or who have no need because they made better choices than the human race...I don't really see your point, or how it clashes with scripture. [quote]Clearly the Israelites had names of gods before the Exodus account of Moses receiving the true name of God. Psalm 82 says, "You are all of you sons of El..." I submit to you that this name, which is not exclusive to Judaism, was not selected by accident. I can't prove a thing, but neither can my opponents; all I can do is offer reasonable conclusions and raise doubts. Syncretism gets very thorny, and to our dismay ancient historical texts are notoriously unreliable.[/quote] I am again unclear as to what it is you're trying to say. In any event, I like the theory about Atenism being the foundation for monotheistic Judaism better than what I believe you're trying to convey. The fact that Moses enacted a monotheistic doctrine after hightailing it out of Egypt adds a great deal of strength to the argument. [quote]The apocryphal Christian writings are a side-issue; Moses clearly cannot have written all the works ascribed to him, since (as my wife points out) he narrates his own death. And Moses, or his acolytes, or those who wished to use his name in later years to add credence to their accounts (a common phenomenon in ancient writings, much like the apocryphal George Carlin/Jay Leno/David Letterman "quotes" seen in email forwards), had everything to gain by championing their tribal god over the others. The book of laws is Leviticus, not Danicus.[/quote] I assume your wife was not there to ensure the narration wasn't written in a prophetic fashion...he was after all said to be receiving dictations directly from the Lord to that point. [quote]...which sounds awfully like a release of ignorant religious tradition to me.[/quote] The phrases are synonymous. Religion, by and large, is a human tradition. [quote]The structure of the earth as described by Genesis is manifestly "untrue", by which I mean factually inaccurate, yet neither you nor I use it as grounds for dismissing the importance of the myth. I think you need to examine the cosmology of ancient Israel again, for I can't agree with you that the religious perspective has never changed. All available evidence points very strongly to the contrary, from today back to the earliest literary and archeological sources we have. You seem to allow for the poetry of Genesis, so why not a poetry of Ameratesu?[/quote] Although I don't consider myself to be a fundamentalist (young Earth) Christian, I do believe the scriptures are literal, merely not always from a perspective we fully understand. In his books, Gerald Schreoder makes mathematical arguments which seek to reconcile the 6 days of creation with the ~13 billion year old universe.
  11. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='18960' date='Oct 27 2008, 02:50 PM']Easy there, killer. I apologize - it's a manner of speaking. You have my respect, and you ought to know it. I am expressing my frustration, that's all.[/quote] I'll respond to the rest of this as soon as I get a chance, but I did want to say that I was also merely doing a bit of venting of my own. I appreciate the respect and you have mine as well. I mostly wanted to take the opportunity to air some of my own intentions. I have been labeled arrogant and pretentious on other forums in the past, and I'd like to avoid such a stigma here while still maintaining an intellectual presence if at all possible.
  12. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='18934' date='Oct 26 2008, 06:40 PM']You're the one who keeps falling back on 'free will' when the absurdity of omnibenevolence is held up for scrutiny. If there were such a being, and if she were to create the laws of Physics as we understand them, then it follows logically that we could come to our own conclusions if she did not go to great pains to establish her own existence beyond reasonable doubt, which she clearly has not done.[/quote] We sure could, but in keeping with free will, influence is not the same as control. It just seems to me that such a being wouldn't even bother if it were to be entirely absent from its creation, so in my mind, an active God is much more credible. [quote]The very idea of a supreme being of infinite (or near-infinite, or hyper-infinite) complexity is unlikely in the extreme, given that we have no empirical evidence whatsoever to think such a being exists, and plenty of empirical evidence to suppose that the universe grew in complexity from a simple state according to laws we continue to observe and understand.[/quote] The assumed implication that the universe simply grew is laughable. Grew from what? We have no idea what exists beyond our universe let alone how simple or complex it is. The claim you're trying to assert has as much foundation on faith as any I could make about a creator. Even if everything past the moment of quark confinement suggests complexity from simplicity, it still doesn't prove that such a simple singularity was born of an even more simplistic event. [quote]Oh, Wynken. You are better than this.[/quote] I've heard this many times in past debates and it always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It is impossible to be better than one's self, and I've not studied any of this formally. My knowledge of cosmology, philosophy, and theology was all acquired of my own accord, on my own time, on my own terms, and merely as a hobby. Although I enjoy and even invite debate, it is only to satisfy my own thirst for information and intellectual entertainment, and not to declare mental supremacy or my expertise in a given subject for I claim to posses neither. [quote]First, whence came Abraham, and what was his profession? Was he the first human being to discover God? Talk about seeming unlikely: human beings have existed for millions of years and have developed numerous sophisticated societies. Logic suggests all of them should have had roughly the same chance of discovering the Greatest Mystery in the Universe, but all of human evolution led to this one Sumerian astrologer? I don't buy it.[/quote] This would be a logical assumption if it had been a discovery and not a revealing. God [b]chose[/b] to reveal Himself to Abraham and the Israelites for a purpose. There was no discovery and it was not left to random chance. Also, it makes perfect sense to wait until civilization had progressed to the point that both spoken and written language could properly preserve and relay such an important discovery. [quote]And then - was his God Yahweh? When is Yahweh first mentioned, and by whom, and who wrote the books, and who edited them, and what was their agenda? What was the cultural difference between Judah and Israel?[/quote] There wasn't a Judah until hundreds of years after there was an Israel or a Torah. As I recall, Yahweh was first mentioned in Exodus when Moses receives the true name of God. He would have authored the book, it would have been ultimately "edited" by the Council of Nicea. Moses would have had nothing to gain through fabrication as he parlayed it only into a long walk through the desert, and if we're going to argue about the Council of Nicea, I'll have to brush up on my knowledge of the Dead Sea Scrolls. [quote]The hypothetical Deuteronomist and Priestly writers seem to have done their best to expunge all traces of early Jewish/Israelite polytheism, but they failed. No matter how many apologetics-based logical gymnastics I read, the plural [i]elohim[/i] is damning all by itself, and the questions get more embarrassing from there:[/quote] I'm no linguist and really have no interest in a lengthy study of Hebrew, but here's what I learned from a quick wiki search: [i]Elohim has plural morphological form in Hebrew, but it is used with singular verbs and adjectives in the Hebrew text when the particular meaning of the God of Israel (a singular deity) is traditionally understood. Thus the very first words of the Bible are breshit bara elohim, where bara ברא is a verb inflected as third person singular masculine perfect. If Elohim were an ordinary plural word, then the plural verb form bar'u בראו would have been used in this sentence instead. Such plural grammatical forms are in fact found in cases where Elohim has semantically plural reference (not referring to the God of Israel). There are a few other words in Hebrew that have a plural ending, but refer to a single entity and take singular verbs and adjectives, for example בעלים (be'alim, owner) in Exodus 21:29 and elsewhere. [/i] [quote]As my questions above imply, I conclude that the textual basis of understanding the Judeo/Christian/Islamic god (they are all the same god, though each earlier tradition repudiates the next) shows a fairly clear evolution of the cultural conception of the gods, who eventually became one god, and later one god specifically, and still later one god who is suddenly proclaimed to be higher than all the gods of all other lands. But the text is suspect, and after a point all we have is archaeology, which does not support a strictly text-based understanding. The combined evidence seems to indicate that the story was told, and re-told, and changed as necessary to suit the questions and cultural beliefs of the day.[/quote] The Abrahamic God is referred to as the Lord Most High in early portions of Genesis. After the Torah was compiled it would make sense that Jewish tradition would shun the erroneous ways of their past, and before hand they could have obviously not been expected to do so. You'll have to clarify the time line you're referring to. [quote]As for more recent and famous retroactive assertions, you have but to consider the trial of Galileo. Here's a guy who has empirical evidence that the Earth moves, but the Church can't accept that, and centuries elapse before the idea really takes hold.[/quote] You're confusing Catholic or even religious tradition in general with actual Biblical truth. The Bible never claims that the Earth is flat, stationary, or the center of the universe. There were no retroactive claims made at that time...just a release of ignorant human tradition. [quote]And then, well, yes, the Earth moves, but it is according to God's plan. And then, well, yes, evolution is beyond serious dispute (except in the benighted regions of my homeland where it isn't), but that is part of God's plan, too, once we grow to understand and accept it. Before human beings had a notion of space/time, how could we have said God was not subject to its laws? It's so very easy to say, "well, God exists beyond the universe as we know it," but that assertion is untestable, makes no predictions, and is demonstrably a modern claim. In Genesis, God walks in the Garden in the cool of the evening. A depressingly large number of people takes that verse literally, but I suspect you aren't among them.[/quote] Omnipresence must be a splendid thing. Whatever caused the universe necessarily exists outside of it. It's not a convenience it's a logical necessity. [quote]If you want to say, well, the Book says God is ineffable, you aren't making a unique claim - all great religions make the same essential claim: Vishnu, El Elohim, Great Spirit, Huehueteotl, Chaos (the Greek Myth version), or Nammu, take your pick. Even in myth-cycles such as Shinto, in which the creator deities are part of the world, they are Increate and therefore eligible for the same claim to non-limitation by physical laws as we understand them.[/quote] Agreed. I did say we may arrive at a handful of eligible Gods, though I don't think you could argue that any creator god fits the criteria, and the only reason I don't push the issue using the examples you've provided is that I'm unaware of the majority of them and I'm feeling too lazy to research them for logical flaws or limitations.
  13. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='18895' date='Oct 25 2008, 10:09 PM']If you mean the entire Olympian pantheon, sure, I'll give you that one... but Greek mythology goes back further into prehistoric religions.[/quote] The implication of this is that God put forth the effort to create a universe that would foster intelligent life and then allow those beings to ignore or forget altogether His divine existence. It seems unlikely. [quote]To use your definition or criterion of god, then, I would have to argue that from a historical perspective, such a thing is only as old as human awareness of the laws of the material universe, and that the same retroactive assertions about Yahweh/El Elohim/El Elyon/El Shaddai/Allah could be applied just as easily to nearly any other creator god.[/quote] You are going to have to provide some sources for these retroactive assertions because I'm unaware of any record of the Abrahamic God that predates the Torah and Judaism, and I'm also unaware of any Old or New Testament verse that would so limit the Jewish or Christian God (I can't speak for the Islamic religion but I doubt you'll find anything in the Qur'an either). Also, to this point I haven't really stated that the Abrahamic God is the true God, but merely that only those that fulfill a certain criteria (which the Abrahamic God does) could possibly be our creator.
  14. [quote name='Tarquinus' post='18819' date='Oct 24 2008, 01:41 AM']I would ask which God you think is the authentic one, but you have made your bias plain enough. Hail Zeus![/quote] This one's easy. The only gods that could have possibly facilitated the creation of the universe are those that are not at all bound by any of its laws including time. That eliminates the entire greek pantheon, and you'll find that it really only leaves a small handful (maybe 2) gods that have been recorded throughout our history. The FSM fails in this regard considering that it had the capacity for drunkenness...any God worth debating must be able to fulfill the requirements of the cosmological argument. [quote]All of which presupposes we accept your baseline assumption, which is illogical in the extreme. But even many people of faith would take issue with your apparent contrast between God and evolution; frankly, I think you embarrass them with this kind of talk.[/quote] Actually, the Genesis account only mentions God creating something directly in two occasions. The verses read, "and the Earth brought forth life". It leaves more than enough room for abiogenesis, evolution, and a Big Bang. [quote]Truth is empirical. Saying something loudly does not make it true. Yes, but what we atheists are saying is largely based on evidence. You present no evidence at all.[/quote] Science can't achieve absolutes...neither can empiricism. All of the evidence in the universe could be dead wrong...the senses are not infallible, and on an absolute scale we really have no reason to believe that what they relay to us is reality other than convenience and convention. [quote]You can say this as many times as you want and still fail to see the absurdity of it. Good and bad are matters of human perspective. Omnibenevolence is a huge problem for apologists and students of theodicy alike. Sin. So much for omnibenevolence. If you hope to comfort me with the thought of infinite torment, you are howling at the moon.[/quote] Not quite. Omnibenevolence and suffering are reconciled through the necessity for our free will, and also for free will in the physical laws. Fire burns, water drowns...it's just the way things go, and in order for us to have a capacity for true love, we must also have the capacity for true evil and hate as well. God wasn't in the business of creating robots, and so we have suffering as well as love and happiness.
  15. [quote name='TheNinjunny' post='18802' date='Oct 22 2008, 09:45 PM']I can't say I've used the Mock feature much, but I'm surprised to hear there is some in there *makes a mental note to check that...* While It might be Nice to have some new Chat features, it will be pretty unlikely that they will be done anytime soon. Besides using the *s (or whatever works for you) to denote an action works well enough for any role play that might come up. and wynken, there is a system in place for these commands already, you have to unlock the code from the MD Shop though...[/quote] I just uncovered that option yesterday, though I can't afford to purchase it as of yet. I use free credits. <.< >.> Don't judge me.
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