Let's discuss God, the Abrahmic religions and the questions they pose.

discuss God. Does he exist, yes or no? Is it a "he." Why is there suffering in the world with a good God? Does that mean that suffering is a good thing? Let's focus on God from an Abrahamic standpoint because that's the world we live in. Did Jesus perform miracles? Did Muhammad talk to an angel? Will there be new religions created in the future? Will there always be religions...is that a good thing or bad thing or should we be aiming for a religious-less world, if that is possible?

 

 

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  • Karen A.

    I just got this video link from the St. Pete athiest group. I haven't fact-checked it, but the presentation is interesting, and adds a little to Momir's suggestion that all civilizations develop religion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88GTUXvp-50&feature=share

    September 1, 2013

    • Brent

      Oh, guess that was Chris. An apologist for religion who never, to my knowledge, came to a meeting.

      September 21, 2013

    • Momir F.

      //Darwin, OTOH, described what he observed, and never suggested a man-made interference in natural selection was a good idea. Hence the two are not comparable.//

      Sorry... I'm still not seeing the distinction. I wasn't raised Christian, but I'm pretty sure the Bible doesn't tell people that they should go out and slaughter people... from my understanding, it's God's decision to do that. The Christian zealot is justifying his actions by saying "it's ok... my methods are harsh, but justice will be done in the afterlife... I am the divine hand of God and I will lead us all to a better world."

      By the same token, Evolutionary theory doesn't say that selective pressure is good or bad; it just describes how the process works.

      The secular zealot is justifying his actions by saying "it's ok... my methods are harsh, but the ends justify the means.. and science happened to provide a suitable means to my vision for a better world."

      September 22, 2013

  • Jean M.

    Here is that Dawkin's quiz, which is something we touched upon in the discussion:
    http://www.meetup.com/tampa-bay-thinkers/messages/boards/thread/37988852

    September 17, 2013

  • Scooter D.

    Thanks to all for pressing on in Dale's absence. May the "head dork" get well soon.

    1 · September 16, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    Everybody really chimed in! Please RSVP for next meeting to keep this group going

    September 16, 2013

  • bob h.

    A little disorganized. Fun, though.

    2 · September 16, 2013

  • Jose' L. V.

    I will not be able to make tonight due to work. Will try to make it next time.

    September 16, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    come to the After Meeting

    September 16, 2013

  • penelope

    I won't be able to make it tonight 'cause I have to work late. I was really looking forward to it too. :(

    September 16, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    love this series! Hitch on the God question: http://youtu.be/-KsiTmlZpok

    September 16, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    please RSVP to this meeting so we can keep the group going! http://www.meetup.com/tampa-bay-thinkers/events/139459062/

    September 16, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    what is the single best thing that secular humanists can do to prove there is no gods, demons, angels, devils?

    1 · September 6, 2013

    • Jean A.

      Trude, I hear what you are saying, and i also wondered, if the topic of gods is too old hat for some members. but, who knows, maybe some do have an interest in the topic, even if it is about different aspects of "gods" impact on legislation, textbooks, scientific progress, etc.

      I'm new, but, it seems others are trying to keep the group going in Dale's absence. Colin is begging others to post/suggest a topic,
      in multiple areas all over this site. His efforts to keep the group together, seem admirable to me. Maybe if you haven't already, do go post a topic/meetup idea.

      Religion is a powerful and destructive force, even to this day. It could be worth an occasional discussion now and then, although, perhaps different angles of how to best strengthen church/state separation, etc.

      September 16, 2013

    • Trude D.

      Yes, Jean, you're right. Re: church/state separation activism, you may be interested in a presentation tomorrow (17th) at the Clearwater UU Humanists meeting, 2470 Nursery Road: 7:00 PM, Edward Tabash on the history of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights and show that the intention of the founders was to create a constitutional system that was equal for believers and nonbelievers and assure that no religion is to ever have preference over another. He is a Constitutional Lawyer and Chair of the National Legal Committee for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, as well as the Honorary Chair of the Center for Inquiry West, and Chair of the First Amendment Task Force of the Council for Secular Humanism.

      2 · September 16, 2013

  • Trude D.

    For an upcoming meeting, how about "What makes us human -- is it just the opposable thumbs, or what?" Not that I have a clue, but as we're all human, I figure our opinions should count.

    2 · August 30, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Good points, Frank. Yes, I hope I did not appear to be indulging in anthropomorphism in my post.

      I think you may have nailed it, in mentioning scale...that is probably the main difference between our species, and other animals. Even though we do share Many commonalities with other animals, there IS a difference in scale..

      and yes, I think you are right, that maybe humans who do 'senseless' murders have a 'reason', however irrational it seems to us.
      but, it's hard to spot an 'irrational' animal upon animal murder, that does not seem to a have
      a Biological Advantage
      involved, like I mentioned.

      but, you make a good point, perhaps we are only inserting our ideas of what the animal's 'reasons' are, due to their simpler social structures.

      September 13, 2013

    • Katherine S.

      You should post it as a suggested event

      1 · September 15, 2013

  • Karen A.

    I'm going out of town, so can't make the meeting. I hope someone will let me know how the discussion goes?

    September 15, 2013

    • Jean M.

      bummer!
      holler at me, i'll let you know if any religious wars break out, bah haha!!

      September 15, 2013

    • Katherine S.

      :( Too bad you'll miss a good discussion.

      September 15, 2013

  • Rosa

    As much as I like the topic, I have to wait for the birth of my grandchild. Hope to join next time.

    September 15, 2013

    • Jean M.

      congrats! (come on, just slap on a beeper and join us, ha ha)

      September 15, 2013

    • Katherine S.

      Do beepers still exist?

      1 · September 15, 2013

  • bob h.

    Do we need Dale to focus the discussion? Is it about religion or the Bible? How do we define "the world we live in"?

    September 15, 2013

    • Jean M.

      good question, Bob. Lol, I imagine, THIS topic, very well might need some type of "focus-er" for the group, ha ha!!

      I think, someone else ran the meeting last month, and did well, near as I could tell. Seemed Fine to me, though, but, it was my 1st mtg, so what do I know. I am bringing a card for all to sign, to send to Dale.

      In America, the line between "religion" and "bible" is blurred for some, since it is USA main religion... Whoever chose this topic, seems to specify "The Abrahamic Gods" as the topic,
      so,
      I guess that'd include religion and the 3 biblegods and the bible, the quran, the torah, and all the various Abrahamic gods...
      {and all the other religions, will apparently Not be a focus...?}

      but, maybe whoever posted that as our topic, can come by clarify for you!!

      ..but, that's just my guess. could be wrong

      September 15, 2013

  • Jose' L. V.

    If you believe there is a God and you believe that God controls everything for a purpose, would pedophiles, murderers, rapist, etc.. be considered evil (and damned to hell for eternity) even though they are part of God's plan.

    1 · September 13, 2013

  • penelope

    I haven't attended a meetup yet and am very interested in going to this one in particular. I'm very open-minded yet also involved in my church. This sounds like it would a lot of fun to talk about

    1 · September 8, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Penelope. I've replied in the discussion area,
      as these forums seem to have limits. I'm new to this group, and kinda think,
      so far as a discussion goes, maybe that "discussion" area is easier to use. We can reply back And forth over here, if you want, cuz it is easier:

      http://www.meetup.com...­]

      September 11, 2013

    • Jean M.

      lol, I mean over There! not over Here! sorry.

      September 11, 2013

  • Erin

    Im looking forward to this meet up., This would be my first time.

    1 · September 9, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    posted this on my Dangerous Dogm page on Facebook: Perhaps the best quote in “Religulous” is the from the Vatican Astronomer. He says that “there is no science in the scripture.” The movie goes on to show the canonical and non-canonical scriptures were written over a period of two hundred years, but this was two thousand years ago! Most scientific achievements have been in the last two hundred years. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, the two have nothing to do with each other. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0815241/

    September 6, 2013

  • Karen A.

    I'm certain that anthropologists would suggest that religion developed as a result of civilization advances, not the other way around. Because humans developed agriculture and were living in stable groups, they had a little free time for discussion and contemplation. So the "stories" began in order to explain their questions about life and nature.

    I agree, Momir, that humans gravitate to living in communities, where they can help each other and develop social ties. Religions meet many of those needs, as do gangs and communes. God or other supreme beings are probably just hopeful myths that someone or something is in charge.

    Religion has nothing to do with our cultural advances, and we certainly won't return to hunting and gathering without it.

    1 · August 30, 2013

    • Jean M.

      but, some do.

      September 5, 2013

    • Jean M.

      I think Education and scientific literacy, will help enhance the chance of more and more people becoming rational,
      of more and more people learning the difference
      between subjective claims
      and
      objective, empirical evidence.

      September 5, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    is religion the same as belief in gods, demons and angels? Or is it something different? Is it also history, philosophy, morality and society? Is religion spirituality? Can one exist without the other?

    September 5, 2013

    • Jean M.

      so my point was, imo, there IS a difference
      between a deist and a theist,
      and between a belief system
      and
      a theological religion...imo.

      September 5, 2013

    • Jean M.

      "spirituality"­ can mean a lot of different things to different people,
      but, I think, depending on what the word means to You,
      that "spirituality"­
      and
      religion
      can be almost opposite of each other.

      and your last question, i'm not sure I fully understand what you are asking, (especially I am confused about what egggzactly you are asking about history, society, etc)

      but, so far as "morality"
      I think religion and morality are opposite.
      NOt related, not really.

      like the old quote goes:
      //Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right,
      and
      Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told."//

      September 5, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    Please join the after meeting so it will apear as an event - which we can copy for next time...

    http://www.meetup.com/tampa-bay-thinkers/events/129559212/

    September 5, 2013

  • Trude D.

    Here's a side-bar in the category of "good without God" - I'm quoting from the Scientific American article (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=just-thinking-about-science-triggers-moral-behavior): Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara set out to test [the hypothesis] that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit — its emphasis on truth-seeking, impartiality and rationality privileges collective well-being above all else. [More ...]

    1 · September 3, 2013

    • Trude D.

      Their new study, published in the journal PLOSOne, argues that the association between science and morality is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more moral behavior. Across all these different measures, the researchers found consistent results. Simply being primed with science-related thoughts increased a) adherence to moral norms, b) real-life future altruistic intentions, and c) altruistic behavior towards an anonymous other. The conceptual association between science and morality appears strong. The full article gives all the study method details and constraints.

      3 · September 3, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    Me know nothing about the gods. Me only hunter. Me look for truth about computers, markets, high-end audio and women. All mysteries to me. Old men in village no longer hunt. Sit around camp fire all day smoking pipes. Think about meaning of life. They think all life must come from old man in sky. All people therefore must worship Old Man in Sky and have big party celebration each equinox and solstice every year. Me know nothing about Old Man in Sky. Me see life all around me. Forest, animals, village. Me see death too. Me see things as small as a flea on dog hanging around campfire. Me see stars as far away as thousands of light years. Everybody does. Everybody always has. Old men say there is a Father in the Sky. Me never see him. Nobody has. Ever. Me think Old Man in Sky is campfire tale told by old men.

    2 · August 31, 2013

    • Jean M.

      I kind of think, gods were invented cuz of fear of storms or maybe fear of wildfires,
      and later, fear of droughts, and other bad weather.
      I think, early humans, not understanding weather, felt the storms were signs of anger,
      must be signs of some angry being up there....

      so they threw the best thing they could think of, (a virgin) into a fire or a volcano, as offering to placate the angry gods,
      and WA-LA!! The storms stopped! The gods were pleased by the burnt up woman.

      and it only got fancier after that....yet, the oppression and abuse of women,
      and fear-based decisions about things they do not understand,
      did remain as an integral feature of religion...

      That's my 2 cents on how gods were invented,
      was
      fear of weather....lol. I can picture that going down...

      2 · August 31, 2013

    • Jean M.

      even to this day, I occasionally hear someone (whether kidding or for real)
      remark that some storm, or some hurricane, or some weather event, or even a rainbow or sunny day,

      is a manifestation
      of the mood of the gods....

      August 31, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    According to the smoothly flowing “Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth” by Reza Aslan: “Contrary to popular perception, Jesus’s miracles were not meant to confirm his messianic identity. In all the biblical prophecies ever written about the messiah, there is no characterization of him as either a miracle worker or an exorcist; the messiah is king, his task is to restore Israel to glory and destroy its enemies, not heal the sick and cast out demons…”

    August 31, 2013

    • Jean M.

      I've always attributed the reports of his miracles(if Jesus actually existed at all, which is debatable)
      as something akin to gossip, combined with a bit of "The Emperor's Clothes" effect, (IF anything actually happened) combined with the need of his followers to HAVE some miracles to report. Jesus was preceded by so many "Jesus-like" gods,
      who all performed miracles, i'd imagine, there had to be pressure on his followers
      to report some miracles to fit in or even attempts to outshine, the other "Jesus-like" gods of that era.

      Even to this day, occasionally, one hears of large groups of religious humans all reporting some "miracle" (crying statues, visions of Mary in the sky). I don't think any magic trick was done,
      I think of this as something fascinating that some minds can do.
      also, the human memory is a most fascinating topic....

      1 · August 31, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Speaking of Jesus, most all of us have heard/been told, that Jesus was one heckuva admirable character...yet, I almost Never hear anyone challenge that remark.
      Even as a fictional character, was Jesus reeeally that admirable?
      http://www.meetup.com...­]

      1 · August 31, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    Suggested a Meetup for next month, please like it so we can keep this great group going

    2 · August 31, 2013

  • Momir F.

    Recent archaeological discoveries suggest that religion was one of the main catalysts that prompted the creation of what we tend to define civilization (as opposed to the conventional view that civilization arose primarily from the development of agriculture). As a species, we've always had religion, and we're constantly reinventing it (Sikhism in the 1400's, Mormonism and Bahai in the 1800's, Scientology and Wicca in the 1900's).

    I would argue that mankind craves what religion offers... that we're biologically hard-coded to seek it out & create it. The actual existence of God is completely irrelevant.

    Asking if we should be aiming for a religion-less world is a bit like saying "should we go back to living in a hunter/gatherer society?" You can remove a specific faith (how many people worship Ra these days?), but how can you possibly remove what drives people to pick up a religion in the first place?

    1 · August 30, 2013

    • Jean M.

      //" But to summarize, it's been the prevailing theory for a very long time that mankind could not have settled down into towns until agriculture and/or domestication was developed. "//
      Yes, this part I so agree with. Only 5% of the Gobekli site has been excavated, so i'd completely agree with your remark that it is premature to speculate much (on whether or not towns were around the pillars or not,??? is purely speculative as well at this stage, especially considering the marvelously ancient age of the site, ~9,000 BC)

      I am not sure i'd agree that Gobekli Tepe "turned that around" exactly. Well, it DID turn that around for some guy named Schmidt, who theorized, since the structures were tall = musta been "a place of worship". It's his guess on that, although some have jumped on that wagon.

      1 · August 31, 2013

    • Jean M.

      still, fascinating to think about!! It seems a leap to claim, no towns existed,(?), that building "shrines" (?)was what caused the humans to suddenly decided to live in one place, in groups.
      ...without agriculture, they would have had a hard time living in one spot...gods or no gods.

      Being a potter, I myself am fond of the theory, that it was pottery,(the ability to Store food) was what created civilization. (just kidding)

      August 31, 2013

  • Jean M.

    Very off topic, but, I am going to bring a get well card of some type to our next meeting, for all of us to sign. But, does anyone know where/how to send it to our leader who is apparently sick? Feel free to either msg me, or tell me at the next meeting, where to send the card.
    If someone is in a hospital, all we need is name/address of the hospital to get the card to him.

    1 · August 30, 2013

    • Jean M.

      and lol, not to worry, as eager as I am to ban Chad for being a hate monger racist bigot,
      I would not dream of pestering an ill person with such topics! I just think it'd be nice,
      after all the work that Dale has done to create and keep this group going, as well as the ca$h he has spent on the group's being on meetup---------if we AT LEAST send a card.
      (I know how much work it is, as I ran the Only atheist group in my last town, the only atheist group for Hours in any direction..shiver)

      August 30, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Has anyone heard anything about him? or know where he is?
      you can msg me, if you don't care to post that publicly, of course.

      August 30, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    that is too bad, I was wondering if that guy was cracked also

    August 29, 2013

    • Jean M.

      yeah, mighta been an irrational type, to one extent or another
      but, he waS kind, and polite, near as I could tell. I rather love kindness in people. He ("R") did Not deserve the treatment he got here on this page from Chad. nope. Chad's racism is even more irrational in many ways, and racism is maybe more dangerous,
      than religion.
      was no call whatsoever for the racist abuse that that man got on this page. That was just flat out wrong and cruel.

      August 29, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    on the home page, please suggest and LIKE another meeting so that the group can keep going until Dale comes back

    August 29, 2013

  • Karen A.

    Chad,
    About Hitler being evil: most people agree that killing 6 million people for no reason except that you don't like their race/religion is the definition of evil. And yes, it DID happen, with soldiers from many countries who liberated the concentration camps confirming it. Your rants against Muslims are way too close to Hitler's thinking. Luckily, you don't have the resources Hitler did.

    August 26, 2013

    • A. Colin F.

      He only came once anyway.

      August 27, 2013

    • Jean M.

      It might be true that Chad is only came to one meeting, but one can scroll back and see at least 3 months worth a ridiculous irrational remarks posted by Chad under most every meeting.
      Chads online presence in this group is damaging enough. Ignoring Chad does not seem to make him leave.
      I also have a concern that ignoring this racist could make the rest of the group appear complicit, as if we share or don't really mind Chad's racist hatreds.

      Apparently the muslim spaceship designer, "R", whose presence prompted Chad to make his "intro/about me" caption read "F#!k muslims"
      has left the group....and all of R's posts are gone now,

      so all of Chad's ugly, hateful insults and death threats posted Under that very polite man's comments,
      are all gone now, too.

      1 · August 29, 2013

  • Jean M.

    I have started a new thread, in the "discussion" area. It is a topic there is probably much to be said about:

    http://www.meetup.com/tampa-bay-thinkers/messages/boards/thread/37460472

    August 27, 2013

  • George

    (Continued from previous post):

    (3) And ignorant power without conscience is ultimately a blood-drenched abomination.

    (4) I regret that I have to share this planet with Chad, but there's nothing I can ethically do about that. However, I will not waste my time by attending any meeting which he is allowed to attend. It's not that I can't tolerate a different viewpoint; it's that I won't tolerate someone as foulmouthed and, in my opinion, foulminded as he.

    August 27, 2013

  • George

    Re Chad: 4 points:

    (1) Don't feed the trolls. It only makes them nastier. Or to use another metaphor, don't feed oxygen to raging flames. Starve them of air and they will die. In sum, ignore barbarians and ostracize them. They are not worthy of the attention of ethical people.

    (2) “I maintain that there is no common language or medium of understanding between people of education and without it . . . Ignorance has so far this advantage over learning: for it can make an appeal to you from what you know; but you cannot react upon it through that which it is a perfect stranger to. Ignorance is, therefore, power.” — William Hazlitt

    1 · August 27, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    on the home page, please suggest another meeting so that the group can keep going until Dale comes back

    August 27, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    please add ylur suggestions for ture meetings so people can sign up

    August 24, 2013

    • Jean M.

      and to be fair, there is nothing wrong with having an opinion! We ALL have them!
      Although, it is only fair, to admit, "this is my opinion" instead of putting forth, our opinion, is a "fact".
      and, it's worth pointing out,
      that some opinions are rational, and tend to be based on evidence that supports the idea,
      and some are just pretty much "made up" or are far-fetched, illogical interpretations of something. (like, the noise in my neighbor's home, is proof of a ghost, not her "opinion" but a "fact" since she HEARD the ghost lol)

      August 26, 2013

    • George

      Excellent explication by Jean Marie. As a lawyer, I am professionally interested in the difference between fact (evidence) and opinion. As an American, I am dismayed by how the massive inability to think rationally is wrecking this nation--and of course a crucial aspect of that is the inability to distinguish fact from opinion. So yes I would very much like a meeting on this topic.

      2 · August 26, 2013

  • Karen A.

    I think anyone is welcome Raaid, as long as you are willing to discuss rationally. It will be interesting to have a different point of view.

    August 25, 2013

    • Jean M.

      Yes Raaid, My Own personal rejection of your theory
      ( that if everything has an "opposite"-- that THAT is proof of gods)
      Does not mean you are not welcome to join the group. I am new to this group myself, but they seen a friendly group.

      However you have a right to know, there is a chance your views will be politely disagreed with.
      Many atheists usually do not necessarily accept someone's opinion as a "fact".

      Many atheists see the difference
      Between
      someone's opinion or personal interpretation of the world around them----
      and-----
      a fact.
      But like Karen says above, anyone who can speak rationally
      is welcome, I'd imagine.

      August 25, 2013

  • Jean M.

    Is cute, the title of this Meetup topic, would indicate there is only one "god"....<--- a word that has no universally accepted definition.

    Even among just the various Abrahamic religions ---there are multiple gods.... Even just the christian bible has three gods.

    Which of the "gods" do you want to talk about?

    1 · August 24, 2013

  • A. Colin F.

    do they provide viable and/or moral answers to questions?

    August 24, 2013

    • Jean M.

      No.
      Bt "they" you refer to the Abrahamic gods? In my opinion, the characters in those 'holy' books are horrible immoral examples of how to behave.
      Truly if we follow the rules and examples in those books , we would quickly become infamous, notorious criminals.

      2 · August 24, 2013

  • A. Colin Flood changed the date and time to Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    August 20, 2013

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