What's an Atheist? Catch-All

CheezePavilion wrote:

Paleo, did you finally finish Atlas Shrugged? ; D

No, he sounds happy the universe exists, and John Galt's speech is enough to make everybody wish the Bing Bang had never happened. Anyways . . .

Rezzy wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Your last question is an entirely different issue. An interesting one, sure, but a different thread. As for theism/atheism, I don't care what the Webster's definition is, language is defined by usage, and I do think there is a difference between "theist" (believes in a God/Gods), "atheist" (no God), and "spiritual" (believes in something, but not a "God" person).

I disagree.
If the split between Theist and Atheist is the belief in 'something.' Then the boundaries of that 'something' become important. The only reason you can list 'spiritual' as separate is because the 'god' element is not clearly defined. The fact that you use the phrase "God" person illustrates the issue... your phrasing implies the limiting of 'God' to personifications. That scope would be too narrow for the various concepts that have and still embody the term 'god.' This could cause you to rule out 'higher powers' that don't fall within your notion of a god and create the illusion of requiring another classification, since 'spirituality' without a "God" person would be somewhat, but not really, Atheist.

Then how would you characterize someone who believes in reincarnation, but no actual God? As we use the terms (which is, again, the important part), they would seem to be neither theist nor atheist.

Rezzy wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

It's completely liberating.

Exactly the term that came to mind for me as well, but I felt I had piped up enough for a little while. I do apologize for stepping on some toes and chiming in, but this topic has been on my mind quite a bit lately so I'm glad the thread revived. Thanks, CheezePavilion!

Thanks to you too, Rezzy--I'm glad you chimed in!

Malor wrote:

I remember thinking that I wanted to do nothing so much as to give her a cookie and a blanket, and say, "Welcome to reality, hon. Sucks, doesn't it?" And just sit there feeling a bit bleak for awhile, commiserating. The atheistic worldview is really depressing. It's also probably right.

I think it's more depressing to realize that god supposedly created humans in his image and yet we're capable of the most foul things imaginable. That and billions and billions of stars and planets were created so we'd have something to look and marvel at while we did horrible things to each other.

I'd like to point out that the general term "theist" doesn't imply that the person in question sees the literal hand of God mysteriously doing every little thing in the universe. I can cook a hotdog by putting it in the microwave. I don't have to rub the heat into it with my hands.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Then how would you characterize someone who believes in reincarnation, but no actual God? As we use the terms (which is, again, the important part), they would seem to be neither theist nor atheist.

Who/What maintains the queue? Or is it assumed to be unguided and random?
Queue with tiers that can be influenced? Theist.
Unguided/random (constant amount of life-force applied to beings)? Could be an Atheist, depends on who/what does the accounting/auditing.

Edit to emphasize: Using my definition of a 'god.'

As far as I understand it, "upgrading" up the line of reincarnation relies on achieving enlightenment in the present life, according to the precepts discovered by Buddha. Nirvana is achieved when all desire is abolished. So the way you go is guided and influenced - but that is chiefly by your own actions.

LarryC wrote:

I can cook a hotdog by putting it in the microwave. I don't have to rub the heat into it with my hands.

Genesis 38:9-10 sez you shouldn't touch your hotdog lest you heat it up for the wrong person (or worse, no one).

Yeah. It's a little more complicated than that, because of later developments somewhat equivalent to the reformation. The base principle is that by following the eight-fold path (right perspective, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration) one can be enlightened and achieve nirvana (which is to say: non-being). There's a traditional view that during reincarnation you'll generally arrive at a station in life where you have the opportunity to learn an essential insight and come closer to enlightenment. However, it is possible (if unlikely) to achieve nirvana within a single life, and there's not necessarily a standard progression of situations everyone is expected to travel through. (Contrast this with the Hindu caste system, in which there is a definite progression, and one is expected to execute one's station in life well in order to progress to the next--and there's a sense that those at higher stations are entitled to the good things they get, while those at lower stations deserve the crap that's piled on them. This idea is quite possibly one of the things Siddhartha was reacting to--he is supposed to have been driven to his insights by the contrast between his own situation as a prince in contrast to the poor and diseased.)

The later developments I spoke of have to do with beliefs like those of pure-land Buddhism. According to this tradition, the Buddha Amitabha dedicated himself to removing the suffering of all sentient beings. As a result, if you focus on being mindful of Amitabha Buddha, for example by chanting his name repeatedly throughout your life, such that you are tremendously focused on him at the moment of death, you may be reborn in the pure land, where there is such plenty and freedom from suffering that you will easily be able to make the effort required to be enlightened and achieve nirvana. (And while you're working on it, things are pretty darned nice anyway compared to normal existence.) This form is much more based on the idea that if you have faith in Amitabha Buddha you will achieve enlightenment for sure, with less need to worry about all of the right behaviors you must cultivate on the eight-fold path.

In contrast to the Christian division between pre- and post-reformation ideas, the fact that faith can take you to the pure-land doesn't mean you can't also achieve enlightenment the old fashioned way, (or even in the other new-fashioned way--via a blast of insight--espoused by Chan/Zen Buddhism.)

The pure-land idea clearly has a specific being you can appeal to to aid you on your way to enlightenment, and expect direct intervention (although only at your death.) I think that's about the closest you get to a "god" in Buddhism (although Buddhism does not preclude gods in the form of powerful spirits who play their goddish games with mortals and get cool toys--they're frequently described as misguided souls who've taken a wrong turn on their way to nirvana--deluded into believing their majestic lives are wonderful when in reality they're subject to the same suffering as all beings. Much like royalty writ large, really.) Of course, there's clearly a supernatural element here in the form of reincarnation, and there's also the tradition that sometimes those who achieve enlightenment will allow themselves to remain on the wheel longer in order to help more people to achieve enlightenment through their teachings.

There's definitely no all-powerful judge or creator or anything of the sort in Buddhism, though. Even Amitabha Buddha can't help someone who isn't mindful enough to get in a position to be drawn into the pure-land, even though he wants to save all beings from suffering. And there's no being that sorts people between lives into their next reincarnation--that's taken to be a natural (well, as natural as it can be, anyway :D) process.

--

Hope that clears things up somewhat.

Stengah wrote:
kazar wrote:
Stengah wrote:

Cheeze: By the definitions of theist and atheist I'm familiar with, there is no "neither." Theist = a person who believes in at least one god/diety (with the definition of god/diety being defined by them). Atheist = does not believe in any god/diety (with the definition of god/diety being defined by them as well). A person who thinks we were brought to earth by an advanced alien race but that they were merely more advanced = atheist. A person who thinks the same thing, but worships the aliens as gods/dieties = theist..

This is an interesting point, but a person that believes we were brought to earth by an advanced alien race (and created by that race), then in theory, they are our gods (creator) so I would argue that they are also theists. They might not use the word god, but they believe in a higher power and a creator. They just don't use the word "god" to describe them. In theory God is an all powerful alien (a Q if you will) that created man kind. I don't even think theists can dispute that, though they might not like the term alien.

I disagree. I mean, a creator does not need to be a god the same way a higher power doesn't need to be a god. That's why I left the definition up to the person. If we ever create an AI, I wouldn't consider us to be it's god (even though it's reasonable that others might).

If you look up what the definition of God (http://dictionary.reference.com/brow...) other then the Gods of some attribute (like love or war), a god is a supreme being that creates and rules. If you create an AI, and you rule it, then you are it's God. You may not consider yourself as such, but it fits the actual definition. Now, if you yourself were created by a God, and you create an AI, then it also stands that your God is a super-God if you will to the AI. There is nothing wrong or unlikely that the Christian God is simply a really powerful being that was able to create the universe and everything in it. Where he came from is unknown to us, and probably beyond our comprehension (maybe we will reach that level of knowledge one day, or maybe not).

OG_slinger wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I can cook a hotdog by putting it in the microwave. I don't have to rub the heat into it with my hands.

Genesis 38:9-10 sez you shouldn't touch your hotdog lest you heat it up for the wrong person (or worse, no one).

Try reading the context there. Onan died because he deliberately and defiantly disobeyed God. There is no Biblical mandate against the physical act of masturbation. Just saying.

And this is why I <3 GWJ.

And here I thought we were talking about tasty tasty beef and/or pork and/or chicken sausages.

Edit:

On the god-definition front, I like this definition from that page:

a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force

Gods of places are pretty common, and that's probably the origin of multiple deities in some ancient pantheons. (i.e. the local gods of multiple localities (cities and hills were pretty common) ended up smushed up in a common pantheon over time through economic and military conquest, with each tending to take up a particular role related to their traditional interests in the larger political sphere. There's very good evidence that this is what happened with the Egyptian pantheon, and it seems likely that other similar pantheons were formed in similar ways. Not too big a stretch from "I'm familiar with the gods of the three mountains near me" to "Oh, by the way, we kicked your asses, so it's pretty clear that your god is subject to our god, so you'd better show him some respect, too.")

So, a god is a supernatural being that has full or partial dominion over some part of the universe, broken down either by locality of influence or thematic influence (or both). Up to and including the concept of one god with dominion over the entire universe of places and ideas.

kazar wrote:

If you look up what the definition of God (http://dictionary.reference.com/brow...) other then the Gods of some attribute (like love or war), a god is a supreme being that creates and rules. If you create an AI, and you rule it, then you are it's God. You may not consider yourself as such, but it fits the actual definition. Now, if you yourself were created by a God, and you create an AI, then it also stands that your God is a super-God if you will to the AI. There is nothing wrong or unlikely that the Christian God is simply a really powerful being that was able to create the universe and everything in it. Where he came from is unknown to us, and probably beyond our comprehension (maybe we will reach that level of knowledge one day, or maybe not).

Hypatian wrote:

So, a god is a supernatural being that has full or partial dominion over some part of the universe, broken down either by locality of influence or thematic influence (or both). Up to and including the concept of one god with dominion over the entire universe of places and ideas.

I don't disagree that those are good definitions for what constitutes a god. I'm just saying that it's not my place to tell someone what they can or can't worship as a god. A man who thinks that the squirrel that lives in the tree in their backyard is the god of 212 Spruce Lane and that they need to leave a daily tribute of acorns (lest it becomes displeased and disrupt his sleep with incessant chattering) is as much a theist as a Catholic. They believe there is a god; whether that god really exists or not doesn't matter. You're free to disagree with them and their definition of a god, but they believe that a god exists, thus meeting the definition of "theist."

Stengah wrote:
kazar wrote:

If you look up what the definition of God (http://dictionary.reference.com/brow...) other then the Gods of some attribute (like love or war), a god is a supreme being that creates and rules. If you create an AI, and you rule it, then you are it's God. You may not consider yourself as such, but it fits the actual definition. Now, if you yourself were created by a God, and you create an AI, then it also stands that your God is a super-God if you will to the AI. There is nothing wrong or unlikely that the Christian God is simply a really powerful being that was able to create the universe and everything in it. Where he came from is unknown to us, and probably beyond our comprehension (maybe we will reach that level of knowledge one day, or maybe not).

Hypatian wrote:

So, a god is a supernatural being that has full or partial dominion over some part of the universe, broken down either by locality of influence or thematic influence (or both). Up to and including the concept of one god with dominion over the entire universe of places and ideas.

I don't disagree that those are good definitions for what constitutes a god. I'm just saying that it's not my place to tell someone what they can or can't worship as a god. A man who thinks that the squirrel that lives in the tree in their backyard is the god of 212 Spruce Lane and that they need to leave a daily tribute of acorns (lest it becomes displeased and disrupt his sleep with incessant chattering) is as much a theist as a Catholic. They believe there is a god; whether that god really exists or not doesn't matter. You're free to disagree with them and their definition of a god, but they believe that a god exists, thus meeting the definition of "theist."

I think what you are describing is not what is god, but what people believe is their God. If someone believes that squirrel created the world and everyone in it, then yes, that would fit into the definition of God, to that person. Whether they are right and that squirrel actually is a God could be up for debate, but that person would be a theist as he believes in that squirrel (and he might be onto something ). Where I was coming from is that ignoring all the religions today, that it is possible that there is some being that is way more advanced then we are (or possibly ever will be) that created our universe and can control it in any way he/she/it sees fit. That being would be the God of all of us, whether you believe in him or not. Yes, you can call that God an alien, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the being is a God.

Nomad wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I can cook a hotdog by putting it in the microwave. I don't have to rub the heat into it with my hands.

Genesis 38:9-10 sez you shouldn't touch your hotdog lest you heat it up for the wrong person (or worse, no one).

Try reading the context there. Onan died because he deliberately and defiantly disobeyed God. There is no Biblical mandate against the physical act of masturbation. Just saying. :)

The context is deliberately ignored by many Christian sects.

So what's the defining attribute? Worship? When do you consider someone or something your God?

kazar wrote:

I think what you are describing is not what is god, but what people believe is their God. If someone believes that squirrel created the world and everyone in it, then yes, that would fit into the definition of God, to that person. Whether they are right and that squirrel actually is a God could be up for debate, but that person would be a theist as he believes in that squirrel (and he might be onto something ). Where I was coming from is that ignoring all the religions today, that it is possible that there is some being that is way more advanced then we are (or possibly ever will be) that created our universe and can control it in any way he/she/it sees fit. That being would be the God of all of us, whether you believe in him or not. Yes, you can call that God an alien, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the being is a God.

Using a persons own definition of a god as the basis for whether or not they are a theist is exactly what I'm describing. To do otherwise is to try to impose your belief on them. You would believe that being was my god, but I wouldn't. I'm okay with people believing that their god is my god too, so long as they keep it to themselves. I personally don't think that a god exists, just beings that possess powers that have been historically attributed to (or reserved for) gods. To reuse your Q example, I don't consider Q a god. He had god-like powers, but I view him as a life-form we simply don't yet understand. So while you would view the more advanced being that created our universe as the god of both of us, I would agree that it is our creator, but I wouldn't consider it my god.

Edit - What I'm trying to say is that I don't believe any gods exist (and certainly not capital "G" God either). I am open to the possibility that beings exist that one could call a god, for lack of a better word (and because "advanced lifeform we don't fully understand" is too long to type out every time you want to talk about it).

LarryC wrote:

So what's the defining attribute? Worship? When do you consider someone or something your God?

I don't. Others are free to answer however they want. I just feel it's wrong to answer for them.

Stengah wrote:

Using a persons own definition of a god as the basis for whether or not they are a theist is exactly what I'm describing. To do otherwise is to try to impose your belief on them. You would believe that being was my god, but I wouldn't. I'm okay with people believing that their god is my god too, so long as they keep it to themselves. I personally don't think that a god exists, just beings that possess powers that have been historically attributed to (or reserved for) gods. To reuse your Q example, I don't consider Q a god. He had god-like powers, but I view him as a life-form we simply don't yet understand. So while you would view the more advanced being that created our universe as the god of both of us, I would agree that it is our creator, but I wouldn't consider it my god.

Edit - What I'm trying to say is that I don't believe any gods exist (and certainly not capital "G" God either). I am open to the possibility that beings exist that one could call a god, for lack of a better word (and because "advanced lifeform we don't fully understand" is too long to type out every time you want to talk about it).

The definition of god is finite. There are no "persons own definition". People could choose what they believe is a god, but what make a god a god can't and shouldn't be based on personal definition. If someone believes that the squirrel is their god, then that is their choice. But if they say that that squirrel is their god, but not their creator, then it doesn't fit the definition. If we can bend the definition to include whatever we want, then what is the point of a definition?

To go back to the Q example, supposing Q was responsible for the creation of the human race, then by definition he is the god of the human race. You can choose to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). There may or may not be evidence of his existance or even that he created us. But why would your choice change the fact that he created the human race? This is all based on the proposition that Q exists and that he created us. If he doesn't exist or didn't create us, we still have the choice to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). All that changes is who is right. And does being right really really matter?

kazar wrote:

The definition of god is finite. There are no "persons own definition". People could choose what they believe is a god, but what make a god a god can't and shouldn't be based on personal definition. If someone believes that the squirrel is their god, then that is their choice. But if they say that that squirrel is their god, but not their creator, then it doesn't fit the definition. If we can bend the definition to include whatever we want, then what is the point of a definition?

To go back to the Q example, supposing Q was responsible for the creation of the human race, then by definition he is the god of the human race. You can choose to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). There may or may not be evidence of his existance or even that he created us. But why would your choice change the fact that he created the human race? This is all based on the proposition that Q exists and that he created us. If he doesn't exist or didn't create us, we still have the choice to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). All that changes is who is right. And does being right really really matter?

I'm not sure where you're getting this from. The words "god" and "creator" are not equivalent. Even for a theist, there is no reason to worship exclusively or even at all whatever deity or force you believe is responsible for your creation. Shiva isn't exactly in the creating line of work, but is worshipped by many. Likewise, the gods worshipped by men in ancient Greek mythology were not the same beings they held responsible for creation.

So... um... what the hell are you talking about?

Hypatian wrote:
kazar wrote:

The definition of god is finite. There are no "persons own definition". People could choose what they believe is a god, but what make a god a god can't and shouldn't be based on personal definition. If someone believes that the squirrel is their god, then that is their choice. But if they say that that squirrel is their god, but not their creator, then it doesn't fit the definition. If we can bend the definition to include whatever we want, then what is the point of a definition?

To go back to the Q example, supposing Q was responsible for the creation of the human race, then by definition he is the god of the human race. You can choose to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). There may or may not be evidence of his existance or even that he created us. But why would your choice change the fact that he created the human race? This is all based on the proposition that Q exists and that he created us. If he doesn't exist or didn't create us, we still have the choice to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). All that changes is who is right. And does being right really really matter?

I'm not sure where you're getting this from. The words "god" and "creator" are not equivalent. Even for a theist, there is no reason to worship exclusively or even at all whatever deity or force you believe is responsible for your creation. Shiva isn't exactly in the creating line of work, but is worshipped by many. Likewise, the gods worshipped by men in ancient Greek mythology were not the same beings they held responsible for creation.

So... um... what the hell are you talking about?

Seconded.

To continue with Q. I can believe Q exists, but not consider him a god. Yahweh himself could pop up right next to me, demonstrate conclusively that not only do the laws of the universe not apply to him, but also that he is directly responsible for the human race existing, and he would still not be my god. I would call him the being that the Abrahamic religions call God. If he provided us with no better term, I would be fine with people referring to his kind of being as gods, but I would neither worship him, nor submit to his rule (at least not merely on the basis that he was the one that made them, he'd have to prove each rules was good first before I'd agree to follow them).

Hypatian wrote:
kazar wrote:

The definition of god is finite. There are no "persons own definition". People could choose what they believe is a god, but what make a god a god can't and shouldn't be based on personal definition. If someone believes that the squirrel is their god, then that is their choice. But if they say that that squirrel is their god, but not their creator, then it doesn't fit the definition. If we can bend the definition to include whatever we want, then what is the point of a definition?

To go back to the Q example, supposing Q was responsible for the creation of the human race, then by definition he is the god of the human race. You can choose to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). There may or may not be evidence of his existance or even that he created us. But why would your choice change the fact that he created the human race? This is all based on the proposition that Q exists and that he created us. If he doesn't exist or didn't create us, we still have the choice to believe in him (theist), or not (atheist). All that changes is who is right. And does being right really really matter?

I'm not sure where you're getting this from. The words "god" and "creator" are not equivalent. Even for a theist, there is no reason to worship exclusively or even at all whatever deity or force you believe is responsible for your creation. Shiva isn't exactly in the creating line of work, but is worshipped by many. Likewise, the gods worshipped by men in ancient Greek mythology were not the same beings they held responsible for creation.

So... um... what the hell are you talking about?

I posted a link to the dictionary definition and I did mention the non-omnipotent gods that were usually a god of something specific (like love and war) are in a different category then what I was talking about.

And I was addressing the point that God can be an alien that is so advanced that it created the human race. My point is that such an alien would be the god to the human race.

I liked Stengah's analogy to an AI because I have always thought it an interesting concept. If I were to write a program that creates virtual life, I would effectively be their god. I would have the power to smite any one of them if I chose. I could also cause miracles to happen or even enter the world as an avatar to help guide them. I could chose to control what they thought making all of them believe in me, or give them free will. Even if I would leave them alone to develop on their own, I would still be their god. Some may believe in me, others may not.

An advanced alien that created the human race wouldn't be a god--it would be an advanced alien. It might "effectively be our god" (in terms of having done something that many believers would say can only be done by their god--that's valid grounds for a [em]metaphor[/em]), but it wouldn't [em]be[/em] our god. We wouldn't necessarily choose to worship it (or propitiate it), we wouldn't necessarily attribute supernatural greatness to it, we wouldn't necessarily attribute [em]god-hood[/em] to it, etc. Being a creator of something doesn't imply being a god of something, even if that thing is sentient. Parents aren't gods to their children, for example. Lab workers aren't gods to children who are mixed in test tubes. And they won't be even if an artificial womb is invented.

Your assumption that "the non-omnipotent gods that were usually a god of something specific (like love and war) are in a different category" is using Abrahamic religion as a normative reference, and that's a tremendously invalid thing to do considering the number and variety of gods that were worshiped by people throughout history (and yes, are worshiped even today). (It's also a pretty common thing to do in cultures derived from Western Europe, where Abrahamic religions were practically the only ones practiced for over a millenium. But that doesn't make it correct.)

Even if you restrict yourself to "one-true-creator gods" (which, obviously, must be unitary and must be creators, by definition--although more typically creators of everything and not any one specific thing), being the creator of something [em]still[/em] doesn't imply god-hood over that thing.

In short: The definition you linked doesn't support your thesis, the evidence doesn't support your thesis, and even logic doesn't support your thesis. I'm not even sure why you're trying to make the claim you're trying to make.

Regardless of why you're trying to make it, it doesn't hold water in [em]any[/em] way.

So I show a dictionary definition that says that a god is the creator of the universe and you discount it and say it doesn't hold any water? You can't just add to the definition as you see fit. "God-hood" doesn't mean that you worship it.

Regarding the parent comment, parents don't create their offspring, they reproduce. We are getting to the point where we, as man could create life (modifying the genetic code to make a new type of life, or the AI angle).

Edit: One last thing. I never discounted other gods that people worship or am making the Abrahamic religion as a normative reference. I was addressing the discussion that aliens could have created the human race, where only religions that believe in creation would apply. So please don't say I am ignoring other religions.

kazar wrote:

So I show a dictionary definition that says that a god is the creator of the universe and you discount it and say it doesn't hold any water? You can't just add to the definition as you see fit.

I'm afraid that happens to language quite frequently. The dictionary is no more a supreme source of word definitions than any sacred text the supreme source of morality. Pick a word that you know and are familiar with, then go to your local library and ask to see the Oxford English Dictionary, and look up your word.

It's also worth noting that you discounted other definitions in favor of the first definition. And that definition of "God", capitalized, is the definition of the singular Abrahamic God, not of "a god" in general. If you go with that definition, you're still off, because that's the definition of [em]the[/em] God. "The one supreme being, the creator and ruler of the universe." No powerful alien can satisfy that definition unless they created the entire universe and have absolute power over it.

kazar wrote:

The definition of god is finite. There are no "persons own definition".

kazar wrote:

I never discounted other gods that people worship or am making the Abrahamic religion as a normative reference.

I don't see how these statements fit together, particularly in the context of your discounting definitions after the first listed definition (which is precisely the Abrahamic concept of a single omnipotent God.)

kazar wrote:

This is an interesting point, but a person that believes we were brought to earth by an advanced alien race (and created by that race), then in theory, they are our gods (creator) so I would argue that they are also theists. They might not use the word god, but they believe in a higher power and a creator. They just don't use the word "god" to describe them. In theory God is an all powerful alien (a Q if you will) that created man kind. I don't even think theists can dispute that, though they might not like the term alien.

The above does not fit with the definition of the word "God" or "god" that you linked to, nor to a better more general definition of the term. "X is Y's creator" does not imply "X is Y's god". "X is a 'higher power' to Y" (which I take to mean "X has powers beyond Y's comprehension") does not imply "X is a god to Y".

It simply does not follow.

NSMike wrote:
Nomad wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I can cook a hotdog by putting it in the microwave. I don't have to rub the heat into it with my hands.

Genesis 38:9-10 sez you shouldn't touch your hotdog lest you heat it up for the wrong person (or worse, no one).

Try reading the context there. Onan died because he deliberately and defiantly disobeyed God. There is no Biblical mandate against the physical act of masturbation. Just saying. :)

The context is deliberately ignored by many Christian sects.

Also note that Onan wasn't masturbating, he was sleeping w/ his brother's widow, but pulling out before climax, coitus interuptus.

God's Holy Word and Testament wrote:

8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.

What we've got here is Daddy ordering a younger brother to sleep w/ his older brother's widow so that she might bear "legitimate" children for her dead husband. Onan didn't want to have to raise another man's shorties, so he slept with her, he pulled out. G*d struck him dead for this.

It could as easily be seen as a death sentence for birth control or coitus interruptus. This is also why some people have a problem with the so-called biblical worldview.

It should also be noted that Tamar (the widow in question) when she realized Judah wasn't going to marry her to his youngest son, as the law required, she disguised herself as a prostitute and slept w/ Judah, the father of her husband and Onan. When it was discovered she was pregnant, he was going to put her to death, but she blackmailed him w/ the knowledge that he was the father. He seemed to think that turnabout was fair play and called it all even.

*Edit for traffic jam of non-closed tags

**Edit: Just realized this might be the biblical source of the sportsman's double.

Double Post for great justice!

I don't know what an atheist is, but I do know that there is some crazy sh*t written in the bible.

Quote:

We literally find it easier to believe than disbelieve, no matter what the topic. This is true of people who are pre-disposed to belief and people who lean skeptic.

I've noticed that in myself, actually. That's why I was saying it takes a lot of training and mental discipline to override the brain's basic desire to believe. I appear to be strongly wired for belief, and I constantly have to kick myself when I start detecting motives where none exist. It may not be true for everyone, but I find overriding magical thinking very difficult. It's constant work, even after all these years.

I suspect I'm similar, since even mild OCD is partly the result of reduced filters in pattern recognition, but I think that made me over-compensate, because although I have bought into Velikovsky and Psi and the like at times (especially as a teenager), I always have this incredibly strong urge to say "Wait, why?" and start digging up information on things. Science and weighing things on evidence can be tiring, but somehow it's natural for me; I see a lot of patterns to things but I have this strong desire to say "Okay, which patterns are actually *real*?". Honestly, it's likely based on a strong fear of embarrassment (and constant anxiety is another sign of messed up brain chemicals). I'd love to think of myself as a born skeptic, but the evidence says I'm not.

Very helpful for critical and analytical thinking though, which I use in my job all the time.