Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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rikuoamero
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Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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What I'm writing here is for those people who consider themselves to be former atheist i.e. at one point in life, they either lacked a belief in a god of any kind, or actively disbelieved there is a God (there's a difference between the two).
I'm hoping that at least some people who are of this group (and hopefully joined the usergroup called 'Former Atheist' on this site) are/were also skeptical, in that they demanded evidence for religious claims.

My question is - What is it that convinced you? If you were to somehow go back in time and meet your previous, atheist (hopefully skeptic) self, would you or could you use whatever it is that convinced you to convince that version of you? Or would your past self be skeptical and dismissive of what it is you present?

Just to be clear - This isn't restricted to Christians only. You can be a Muslim who considers him/herself former atheist or whatever religion or belief you subscribe to. I want to hear from you.
I also promise NOT to debate in this thread. All I want are responses and your thoughts on this question. I will probably debate elsewhere, but not on this thread. This thread is solely for me to gather information.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #211

Post by bluegreenearth »

2timothy316 wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:30 pm [Replying to bluegreenearth in post #210]

That is a surprise, I was expecting you to say we are not at a critical civilization ending time in our history like the video suggests.

Though I don't think we have had such time like we see today though-out all history. The global threat to ending life as we know though environmental destruction, humanity ending nuclear weapons, and a rotten global tight nit global economy has only been around in the past 100 years and not all of the history of mankind.
Those modern threats to human civilization are, indeed, unique in the history of humanity. However, there have been proportionally equivalent threats to humanity throughout its history. In fact, at one point in our ancient past, early humanity was an endangered species and almost went extinct as a consequence of global climate change. Furthermore, the quality of life for most humans throughout the ancient past had been so terrible that most people toady would probably prefer to die than live under the same conditions as their ancestors. In any case, if we manage to survive the current threats to human civilization, even a potential future utopian society on Earth will eventually have to figure out a way to survive the red giant phase of the sun in about 4 billion years. Beyond that, there is no credible justification to believe any society will survive the heat death of the universe. So, in comparison, we have more opportunity for human flourishing in our current time than the early hominids did or whatever species we evolve into just before all the solar systems in the universe are consumed by supermassive black holes.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #212

Post by 2timothy316 »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:12 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:18 pmWhat do you mean by "critical point" in the history of mankind because every point throughout the history of mankind could be interpreted as a critical point in some context?
Basically I think he means horrible consequences: A lot of people die who didn't have to.

Many people have a vague sense of these being the end times and I'm one of them despite not being religious. I think society is going to collapse because it's too corrupt to sustain itself. I think we live in an intentionally created system wherein no one really knows the rules, so the people at the top can follow none and claim to be following all the right ones.

The question is what to do about that.

If there was some hero who rushed in with guns blazing and somehow fixed things, he'd be exalted. The ledger of heroes is filled with people who took bold action and happened to succeed.

And the ledger of villains is ten times as full, with the names of people who did the same and didn't happen to be right.
I have no confidence that any one human, a billion of them or every single one will be able to right the world. Because we as humans can't be the one's that judge ourselves. We let ourselves off the hook too often, being too lenient, for self proclaimed 'greater good'. Or we are too harsh and judge people who could change their lives if they had the right help.

Yet as a whole, it is no surprise the world is in the condition it is in. The world as become too selfish. Truth is blurred. Loving one another is a considered a joke. Good has become bad and bad has become good. Who is a the center of this maelstrom? Corrupt government, Religious hate groups, and reckless corporations. Governments leaders that boldface lie, religious leaders more concerned with building their own wealth and power but want to look righteous while doing so. Corporations that profit off of the misfortune of others and squander the Earth's resources. All with the same selfish unloving mantra, 'let me get mine before I die and let the next person deal with the mess I've left.' These are the poisons that must be dealt with and there is no human that is going to be remove the poison in the hearts of men.

The judgement of all mankind is going to have to be handed to a much more knowledgeable and wiser being. One that can read hearts and make perfect judgments. That judge will be Jehovah's Son, Jesus Christ. (John 5:22).

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #213

Post by Purple Knight »

bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:24 pmIf the claim is that society is going to collapse within the next decade or so, the first step is to identify what we would expect to find during an investigation if the claim is false.
I don't think only 10 years is enough. I think it'll take 50.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:24 pmHow would you know if society was not going to collapse within the next decade or so?
Basically, sustainability. If I see sustainability I don't assume collapse. (I mean, it still could collapse, but so could any structure at any time for a reason unknown to me.)

Examples of unsustainability:

Rewarding criminals for a moment's peace. This will eventually result in more criminals, whatever immediate effect it has.
https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/19/health/c ... index.html

Parasites are rewarded over producers. This will ultimately result in more parasites and less producers. I consider the entire financial industry parasitical, but that certainly isn't the only example. Another example is that people who work for minimum wage cannot generally afford children, while people who don't work at all always seem to be able to.

You can't argue with evolution. Whatever behaviours are most successful will increase, and people predisposed to unsuccessful behaviours will decrease. When hard work and following the law are objectively bad behaviours, the future doesn't look bright.
2timothy316 wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:16 amYet as a whole, it is no surprise the world is in the condition it is in. The world as become too selfish.
I agree, and I don't overlook the role of religion (in the past) of policing selfishness. In the past, people took unfalsifiable claims, and centred a working worldview around them.

Unfortunately, "God, therefore do what I say" was unbelievably easy to hijack, and religion is now merely one more thing on the pile of corrupt forces in the world.

The question foremost in my mind is whether a sustainable system is vulnerable to corruption, or resilient against it. In other words, does this system reward those who exploit it, or does it punish them? Assume a bad apple or two; they will always be there. Do they shoot to the top or are they smashed like bugs?

"Don't be selfish" as a rule has done nothing but reward selfishness by shaming people for wanting not to give, give, give, and there's always a rotten apple at the top sucking it all up when people do give. I want a world where people aren't selfish, but I want one that also punishes the extremes of selfishness, instead of one where the selfish people are surrounded by the unselfish and get fat off of unselfishness.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #214

Post by 2timothy316 »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:12 pm
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:24 pmIf the claim is that society is going to collapse within the next decade or so, the first step is to identify what we would expect to find during an investigation if the claim is false.
I don't think only 10 years is enough. I think it'll take 50.
If there is one thing I have learned being on this earth is that things can move much faster than one thinks. If you told me a year ago that we'd be in a massive pandemic and a crowd of hundreds would be rushing the capitol chanting to kill the Vice President of the United States I'd probably be highly skeptical. We must to beware of optimism bias. I fall victim to this myself at times that I shouldn't. Optimism is good in many areas to give ourselves confidence. Like, telling ourselves we will do fine for a job interview. However, it can lead to a false sense of security. Such as thinking, the world is better off than what we are being told, it will all be ok at least for X years.
bluegreenearth wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:24 pmHow would you know if society was not going to collapse within the next decade or so?
Basically, sustainability. If I see sustainability I don't assume collapse. (I mean, it still could collapse, but so could any structure at any time for a reason unknown to me.)

Examples of unsustainability:

Rewarding criminals for a moment's peace. This will eventually result in more criminals, whatever immediate effect it has.
https://www.cnn.com/2016/05/19/health/c ... index.html

Parasites are rewarded over producers. This will ultimately result in more parasites and less producers. I consider the entire financial industry parasitical, but that certainly isn't the only example. Another example is that people who work for minimum wage cannot generally afford children, while people who don't work at all always seem to be able to.

You can't argue with evolution. Whatever behaviours are most successful will increase, and people predisposed to unsuccessful behaviours will decrease. When hard work and following the law are objectively bad behaviours, the future doesn't look bright.
Unfortunately this is true to some degree. In ancient Israel while under the Mosaic law when people would harvest they would leave the edges of their fields unharvested. Why? For the poor, those that have fallen on unfortunate times. Yet laziness was hated so the poor had to go work for their food. Those that grew the food didn't go harvest it for them and they take it to them. This is a principle that would be useful today. However, as we all know, this is only one problem we have in the world.
2timothy316 wrote: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:16 amYet as a whole, it is no surprise the world is in the condition it is in. The world as become too selfish.
I agree, and I don't overlook the role of religion (in the past) of policing selfishness. In the past, people took unfalsifiable claims, and centred a working worldview around them.
I don't overlook it as many do.The shroud of what happens after one's death has been used to terrorize people These false doctrines of heaven and hell with the clergy holding the keys to heaven has been very effective for thousands of years. As a former atheist I believed that when a person dies, their dead, end of story. When I started my study of the Bible I found out I was only half right. When a person dies, yes they are dead and know nothing. (Ecc 9:5) Yet that may not be the end of the story. (Acts 24:15) The part of the clergy's lie is that they hold the keys to heaven. Yet Galatians 6:5 says that each person is responsible for their own load, each holds their own destiny in their hands not some guy in a frock no matter how many degrees they hold or how high up in the church ranks they are. I try to relieve people of this lie but so many want the lie. Show up to place of worship, listen to a guy talk about one of 5 subjects, they are done and can continue feeling they are good with God no matter their actions. No amount of scientific fact or Biblical fact will changes the minds of some people. Their selfish needs are being met so they are content...amazingly though many while content they are not happy. It's such a paradox!
Unfortunately, "God, therefore do what I say" was unbelievably easy to hijack, and religion is now merely one more thing on the pile of corrupt forces in the world.
No doubt about it. But they want the story they have been told. Do as I say is so much easier. "Go to church, vote this way, do whatever you want, heaven awaits you." It's hard to stomach. Goes back to the laziness. People might not be physically lazy but they are spiritually lazy and that can be just as deadly and harmful.
The question foremost in my mind is whether a sustainable system is vulnerable to corruption, or resilient against it. In other words, does this system reward those who exploit it, or does it punish them? Assume a bad apple or two; they will always be there. Do they shoot to the top or are they smashed like bugs?
History has shown that civilizations where man is the leader, have ended in failure. Even a nation that supposed to have God as it's king but later want a human as king. (1 Samuel 8:5) That first king started off well. He was humble and honest. Later he became proud, selfish and murderous. Even those that are great leaders have one problem in common. Death. All to often the next guy after him is horrible. From what I have seen there has never been a sustainable system of human government.

There is one thing that many don't think is true, even those that call themselves Christians, but I feel should be considered. "The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one." - 1 John 5:19. While I still think that mankind would still not fair very well alone, the reason we rush to destruction is because there is an unseen powerful selfish influence on us. Ephesians 2:1, 2 call this being as 'the ruler of the air'. Meaning, these nasty influences are all around us as if in the air. Thus we humans take 2 steps forward and then 3, sometimes more, steps back because those bad apples are being made at an alarming rate just by the 'air' around them.
"Don't be selfish" as a rule has done nothing but reward selfishness by shaming people for wanting not to give, give, give, and there's always a rotten apple at the top sucking it all up when people do give. I want a world where people aren't selfish, but I want one that also punishes the extremes of selfishness, instead of one where the selfish people are surrounded by the unselfish and get fat off of unselfishness.
I want this kind of world too. It will require a particular path to follow. Yet you and I both know that the opinions on what that path is are like autumn leaves on the ground. Throw a dime out the window and hit 10 of them. What I found out is, if a person wants to change the world, first change themself. When a person changes themselves, that is changing the world. What should that change themselves to? Well, here is the best advice I can give anyone and its advice I didn't come up with, "But now you must put them all away from you: wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it... clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, humility, mildness, and patience. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah freely forgave you, you must also do the same. But besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union." - Colossians 3:8-14

Believing there is a God is important but just as important is taking action to change one's self. Both must happen for a better world. One without the other makes a better world unattainable.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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Post by Purple Knight »

2timothy316 wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:48 amWhat I found out is, if a person wants to change the world, first change themself. When a person changes themselves, that is changing the world. What should that change themselves to? Well, here is the best advice I can give anyone and its advice I didn't come up with, "But now you must put them all away from you: wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth.
There is talk that Jesus preached stoicism and Christianity (as well as the good Christians, not the liar ones) always seem to me to exemplify this. Bad emotions make you bad, basically.

What I'm not sure of is whether I agree this will bring a better world, or that Vulcans can't be evil. I think the more truly stoic one becomes, the more likely one is to be evil. If you disagree you'd be arguing that a computer couldn't commit genocide if you programmed it to.

You go on to tout the "good" emotions as necessary. The trouble is that emotions are a package deal. Each one has a purpose and a use. Each one helps us survive somehow. You can be a stoic and ignore all emotions, choosing logic and reason instead (and I try to) but I argue that you can't decide to ignore emotions you deem negative and follow those you deem positive. You're still relying on your emotions to guide you, and that works if you use them as they were intended to be used - together. Heeding some emotions and ignoring others, well... half of a working machine (assuming every part is necessary) equals a broken machine.

A real-life example is a criminal. We hate the murderer for a good reason, which is so that we will stop him from murdering. If we just forgive every murderer, we will get more murderers. People are smart and they're quick to figure out that if this behaviour helps them somehow, and is not punished, they should do that behaviour. Reason also suggests that if we want less crime, a criminal must expect to lose, not gain, from a crime. We also have the compassion impulse to stop us from punishing unduly and to help us forgive if someone is truly repentant. Emotion and logic: Two functional machines. But if you ignore reason, and ignore "bad" emotions, imo that's incredibly dangerous. You forgive out of rote and that has bad consequences, not good ones.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #216

Post by 2timothy316 »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:27 pm
2timothy316 wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:48 amWhat I found out is, if a person wants to change the world, first change themself. When a person changes themselves, that is changing the world. What should that change themselves to? Well, here is the best advice I can give anyone and its advice I didn't come up with, "But now you must put them all away from you: wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth.
There is talk that Jesus preached stoicism and Christianity (as well as the good Christians, not the liar ones) always seem to me to exemplify this. Bad emotions make you bad, basically.

What I'm not sure of is whether I agree this will bring a better world, or that Vulcans can't be evil. I think the more truly stoic one becomes, the more likely one is to be evil. If you disagree you'd be arguing that a computer couldn't commit genocide if you programmed it to.
From what I have read, Jesus taught to seek wisdom. James 3:17 says, "But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical." The definition of logic is, "reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity." If one were a Vulcan they might see mercy and reasonableness as not important if logic is all that is being sought. That is why seeking wisdom is a better course. The Biblical sense of wisdom lays emphasis on sound judgment, based on knowledge and understanding; the ability to use knowledge and understanding successfully to solve problems, avoid or avert dangers, attain certain goals, or counsel others in doing so. It is the opposite of foolishness, stupidity, and madness, with which it is often contrasted.​—De 32:6; Pr 11:29; Ec 6:8.

Can a person logically bring themselves to in an evil act and still be called logical? Most certainly! Yet can person use wisdom to carry out an evil act and still be called wise? Maybe from mankind's prospective but not from God's. Though they might try to pass an evil act off as wisdom. Yet If you pay close attention you'll see they are most likely acting hypocritical and/or partial which as James pointed out is not wisdom from above.
You go on to tout the "good" emotions as necessary. The trouble is that emotions are a package deal. Each one has a purpose and a use. Each one helps us survive somehow. You can be a stoic and ignore all emotions, choosing logic and reason instead (and I try to) but I argue that you can't decide to ignore emotions you deem negative and follow those you deem positive. You're still relying on your emotions to guide you, and that works if you use them as they were intended to be used - together. Heeding some emotions and ignoring others, well... half of a working machine (assuming every part is necessary) equals a broken machine.
"Each [emotion] has a purpose and a use." Yes sir!

From my point of view, there is no emotion that a human can have that God didn't put there. Isn't that an interesting thought? Humans can't just make a new emotion. Those that are thought of as negative emotions such as hate, fear, anger, sadness etc where not made by mankind. This would mean that any emotion is not inherently bad. Even anger is not considered evil in the Bible. Nor is hate, fear or sadness. I can even show scriptures to back that up and start a whole other thread on it.

Ignoring emotions is not good. John 11:33-35 reads, "When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he groaned within himself and became troubled. He said: “Where have you laid him?” They said to him: “Lord, come and see.” Jesus gave way to tears."
So Jesus neither held back his emotions or scolded others for showing theirs.

Yet I don't have to explain to you uncontrolled emotions can lead to a whole mess of problems. Proverbs 22:24 says, "Do not keep company with a hot-tempered man Or get involved with one disposed to rage, So that you never learn his ways And ensnare yourself." Some translations say, "a man given to anger". A person that 'gives' themselves to an emotion such as anger will act out in evil ways. It even says one can be 'ensnared' by these ways. A snare is a trap. So that means giving one self to anger and it becomes a habit, it is hard to escape that habit.

You said we are 'broken machines', you're right. We are broken machines but not by choice. This too could go into a whole new subject for a topic.
A real-life example is a criminal. We hate the murderer for a good reason, which is so that we will stop him from murdering. If we just forgive every murderer, we will get more murderers. People are smart and they're quick to figure out that if this behaviour helps them somehow, and is not punished, they should do that behaviour. Reason also suggests that if we want less crime, a criminal must expect to lose, not gain, from a crime. We also have the compassion impulse to stop us from punishing unduly and to help us forgive if someone is truly repentant. Emotion and logic: Two functional machines. But if you ignore reason, and ignore "bad" emotions, imo that's incredibly dangerous. You forgive out of rote and that has bad consequences, not good ones.
Yes, this is all a mess that I don't feel we humans are equipped to handle. We fumble through it the best we can but ultimately we let people that should be cut off from the Earth go. Yet what is worse is convicting a repentant man. And yet still worse is convicting an innocent man. There is a saying among us JWs, 'If man were left to judge mankind there would be no one left'.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

Post #217

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2timothy316 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:43 pmThe definition of logic is, "reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity." If one were a Vulcan they might see mercy and reasonableness as not important if logic is all that is being sought. That is why seeking wisdom is a better course. The Biblical sense of wisdom lays emphasis on sound judgment, based on knowledge and understanding; the ability to use knowledge and understanding successfully to solve problems, avoid or avert dangers, attain certain goals, or counsel others in doing so. It is the opposite of foolishness, stupidity, and madness, with which it is often contrasted.​—De 32:6; Pr 11:29; Ec 6:8.
It seems like you're still defining logic, because what you're defining here can't give you goals, it just helps you attain them. Even the way you've defined wisdom, I could have the goal of stamping out my competition and achieving success in the business world, and as a sociopath, if I reasoned every step and understood what I was doing, I'd still be wise.

The maybe bit here is understanding. Does a fellow trampling his way to the top really understand what he's doing to those he tramples? Maybe not. Maybe some people don't and that's why they do it. This is the foundation of the other-guy's-shoes trope. And at the end of the story, the former bad guy will, after having been hurt in the same fashion, cry that now he understands that that's what he's been doing to people, come to understand, and stop. The featured character in this trope lacks understanding.

However, there are just as many people who do evil precisely because it's been done to them and that's their sense of fair. They understand perfectly. It's just in-bounds. That's all.
2timothy316 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:43 pmFrom my point of view, there is no emotion that a human can have that God didn't put there. Isn't that an interesting thought? Humans can't just make a new emotion. Those that are thought of as negative emotions such as hate, fear, anger, sadness etc where not made by mankind. This would mean that any emotion is not inherently bad. Even anger is not considered evil in the Bible. Nor is hate, fear or sadness. I can even show scriptures to back that up and start a whole other thread on it.

Ignoring emotions is not good. John 11:33-35 reads, "When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he groaned within himself and became troubled. He said: “Where have you laid him?” They said to him: “Lord, come and see.” Jesus gave way to tears."
So Jesus neither held back his emotions or scolded others for showing theirs.

Yet I don't have to explain to you uncontrolled emotions can lead to a whole mess of problems. Proverbs 22:24 says, "Do not keep company with a hot-tempered man Or get involved with one disposed to rage, So that you never learn his ways And ensnare yourself." Some translations say, "a man given to anger". A person that 'gives' themselves to an emotion such as anger will act out in evil ways. It even says one can be 'ensnared' by these ways. A snare is a trap. So that means giving one self to anger and it becomes a habit, it is hard to escape that habit.

You said we are 'broken machines', you're right. We are broken machines but not by choice. This too could go into a whole new subject for a topic.
Well the hot-tempered man is an example of a broken machine because he is always hating or being bothered by something. If I have an emotion, I ask myself whether it serves a purpose and heed it if it does. Yes I hate paedophiles. Yes I hate murderers. I ought to. And no, I won't just forgive them all. If I forgive the paedophile and let him near my family he rapes my child. If I forgive the murderer he murders me, or worse, someone else.

I also hate beards. If someone has a neat, kempt beard, I ignore that hatred, though I still think people will full beards shouldn't be models. Is your face better than that other guy's? Should you be on that ad and I not? Well if you've got a full beard I don't know that. This is more a pet peeve than anything else though.
2timothy316 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:43 pmYet what is worse is convicting a repentant man.
I'm not sure I agree with this. If I repent, it means I want to be punished because I know what I did was wrong, and I know it deserves punishment. To me, there should be no problem with telling someone who repents to pay up and take his medicine, because he wants to be square again.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 1:08 pm
2timothy316 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:43 pmThe definition of logic is, "reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity." If one were a Vulcan they might see mercy and reasonableness as not important if logic is all that is being sought. That is why seeking wisdom is a better course. The Biblical sense of wisdom lays emphasis on sound judgment, based on knowledge and understanding; the ability to use knowledge and understanding successfully to solve problems, avoid or avert dangers, attain certain goals, or counsel others in doing so. It is the opposite of foolishness, stupidity, and madness, with which it is often contrasted.​—De 32:6; Pr 11:29; Ec 6:8.
It seems like you're still defining logic, because what you're defining here can't give you goals, it just helps you attain them. Even the way you've defined wisdom, I could have the goal of stamping out my competition and achieving success in the business world, and as a sociopath, if I reasoned every step and understood what I was doing, I'd still be wise.
Logic is defined as 'reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.' Wisdom is defined as 'the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.' Wisdom is a quality not a course of action. Being labeled wise is subjective. In your example the man might be seen as wise in business circles but unwise with regards to his reputation. This is why I was specific about the Biblical sense of wisdom as what is considered wise will change depending on what a person is trying to accomplish. Biblical wisdom doesn't give a person goals it helps in choosing them.

Logic is strict. Logic is like running a line of computer code. We hit the enter key the code does what it programmed to do. Linear thinking. Completely goal oriented. If the goal is good or bad for the person/s is not considered in logic. one trying to be a wise person might decide to use logic in a certain situation. That person might also decide that a logical approach might not be what is best. Whether or not that person is considered wise will be determined by the goal they were going for.

Does this make sense?
The maybe bit here is understanding. Does a fellow trampling his way to the top really understand what he's doing to those he tramples? Maybe not. Maybe some people don't and that's why they do it. This is the foundation of the other-guy's-shoes trope. And at the end of the story, the former bad guy will, after having been hurt in the same fashion, cry that now he understands that that's what he's been doing to people, come to understand, and stop. The featured character in this trope lacks understanding.

However, there are just as many people who do evil precisely because it's been done to them and that's their sense of fair. They understand perfectly. It's just in-bounds. That's all.
These are moral dilemmas. Is a person wise to stop trampling his way to the top? Depends on who you ask. Is it wise to pay evil back to someone that has does us something evil? This might seem like a case of logic but really it's a case for justice. Many think that justice is based on what is logical. Justice is actually based on what is right. What is right will depend on who you ask what is right. In your two examples there is where I would consult the Bible for what would be the right choice. There are those that would think that to be wise and some might think it's not. By consulting the Bible I'd be using my logic because in my reasoning I am adhering to strict principles of validity in a matter of what is the correct moral action.
2timothy316 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:43 pmFrom my point of view, there is no emotion that a human can have that God didn't put there. Isn't that an interesting thought? Humans can't just make a new emotion. Those that are thought of as negative emotions such as hate, fear, anger, sadness etc where not made by mankind. This would mean that any emotion is not inherently bad. Even anger is not considered evil in the Bible. Nor is hate, fear or sadness. I can even show scriptures to back that up and start a whole other thread on it.

Ignoring emotions is not good. John 11:33-35 reads, "When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he groaned within himself and became troubled. He said: “Where have you laid him?” They said to him: “Lord, come and see.” Jesus gave way to tears."
So Jesus neither held back his emotions or scolded others for showing theirs.

Yet I don't have to explain to you uncontrolled emotions can lead to a whole mess of problems. Proverbs 22:24 says, "Do not keep company with a hot-tempered man Or get involved with one disposed to rage, So that you never learn his ways And ensnare yourself." Some translations say, "a man given to anger". A person that 'gives' themselves to an emotion such as anger will act out in evil ways. It even says one can be 'ensnared' by these ways. A snare is a trap. So that means giving one self to anger and it becomes a habit, it is hard to escape that habit.

You said we are 'broken machines', you're right. We are broken machines but not by choice. This too could go into a whole new subject for a topic.
Well the hot-tempered man is an example of a broken machine because he is always hating or being bothered by something. If I have an emotion, I ask myself whether it serves a purpose and heed it if it does. Yes I hate paedophiles. Yes I hate murderers. I ought to. And no, I won't just forgive them all. If I forgive the paedophile and let him near my family he rapes my child. If I forgive the murderer he murders me, or worse, someone else.
I see no reason to forgive a person that practices fits of anger, sexual misbehavior or murder.

I also hate beards. If someone has a neat, kempt beard, I ignore that hatred, though I still think people will full beards shouldn't be models. Is your face better than that other guy's? Should you be on that ad and I not? Well if you've got a full beard I don't know that. This is more a pet peeve than anything else though.
Yeah, we all have those. I can't stand the act of turning left on four lane roads with no turn lane. I hate it when people do and when i have to do it. Yet I don't give myself over to anger about it by making rude gestures at the person or yelling at them going by. There is actually a scripture for these situations. Ephesians 4:26 "Be angry, yet do not sin." Anger is not a sin.
2timothy316 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:43 pmYet what is worse is convicting a repentant man.
I'm not sure I agree with this. If I repent, it means I want to be punished because I know what I did was wrong, and I know it deserves punishment. To me, there should be no problem with telling someone who repents to pay up and take his medicine, because he wants to be square again.
What I meant was harshly punishing a repentant man and by punish I mean eternal death. But yes, compensation most of the time is in order for justice to be served. Do the crime do the time or fine. Yet there are guys from the 60s and 70s that got 40 years in prison for a first time offense like robbery and they were only 18 at the time. Yet a person today might only get 5 years for exact same offense. Our justice system is wacked.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:47 pmLogic is strict. Logic is like running a line of computer code.
Only deductive logic. In the real world there will almost always be a little evidence for column A, and a little for column B, and we have to decide between them. It's still about achieving goals, not generating them.
2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:47 pmJustice is actually based on what is right.
I know, and I wish it were otherwise. I wish, "And we put this dangerous fellow in jail because we can't have him loose killing others," was valid, but it's not. I've come to understand that. The necessity of a thing does not justify that thing unless it's right to begin with. This means that policies which bring ruin are good ones, as long as they do right and not wrong. We must let the murderer loose to keep murdering if imprisoning him is really wrong.
2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:47 pmFrom my point of view, there is no emotion that a human can have that God didn't put there.
I totally agree with this, I just sub Nature for God. You do have to ask yourself if this emotion really evolved to help in this situation, and if it really doesn't, then you don't act on it. Some people think anger by itself is a sin, though. Not just wrath, but anger.
2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:47 pmYeah, we all have those. I can't stand the act of turning left on four lane roads with no turn lane. I hate it when people do and when i have to do it.
I agree with you. I think it's dangerous. I get anxious, however, rather than angry. Half the time the person behind you is antsy because he wants to go straight and he doesn't see you're waiting for the guy who's coming the opposite way and turning right. There's a road just like that near where I live and there's about two accidents there per month. Usually somebody turning left creams somebody coming straight from the other side who's turning right.
2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:47 pmI see no reason to forgive a person that practices fits of anger, sexual misbehavior or murder.
A lot of Christians would disagree with you. My family, for example, who aren't even Christian (they're Unitarian) but eagerly used the forgive-everyone-always-no-matter-what and had a Christian minister explain to me that when my drunk mother sold my cat, I was actually the one in the wrong for not forgiving her.

Most of my possessions had already been sold to pay for her booze. When she kidnapped my $2800 show-quality, pedigreed, prizewinning intact Japanese Bobtail and sold her, I was going to take her to court. My entire family bullied me into not doing it. And they had a real Christian minister on their side. I believe it was a presbyterian.

I even said, look, if she really wants forgiveness, she can go get me a shelter cat. A $50 shelter cat. I even told the minister that if she did it, I would give her back the $50 she spent on the new cat. I wanted nothing except proof she was sorry.

The minister said, nope, that's not forgiveness, I don't get to ask for ANYTHING. He quoted me this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_o ... ng_Servant
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?"

Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven. Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But because he couldn't pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!' The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

"But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'

"So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you!' He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?' His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds."


It's pretty airtight. It literally says I should not ask for another cat, or anything. Just forgive. Infinitely. No matter what.

Other than the fact that I don't believe in God, which, okay, is pretty serious, I could be a Christian if not for this forgive infinitely stuff. That, more than anything, just turns me off to Christianity.

And I still want my cat.

If God sends me to Hell for it, then I'll eagerly burn in Hell still wanting my cat rather than forgive her and go to Heaven. It's because I don't think I'm wrong.

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Re: Former Atheists - What convinced you?

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Purple Knight wrote: Fri Jan 29, 2021 1:33 pm
2timothy316 wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:47 pmI see no reason to forgive a person that practices fits of anger, sexual misbehavior or murder.
A lot of Christians would disagree with you. My family, for example, who aren't even Christian (they're Unitarian) but eagerly used the forgive-everyone-always-no-matter-what and had a Christian minister explain to me that when my drunk mother sold my cat, I was actually the one in the wrong for not forgiving her.

Most of my possessions had already been sold to pay for her booze. When she kidnapped my $2800 show-quality, pedigreed, prizewinning intact Japanese Bobtail and sold her, I was going to take her to court. My entire family bullied me into not doing it. And they had a real Christian minister on their side. I believe it was a presbyterian.

I even said, look, if she really wants forgiveness, she can go get me a shelter cat. A $50 shelter cat. I even told the minister that if she did it, I would give her back the $50 she spent on the new cat. I wanted nothing except proof she was sorry.
Ok first of all I'm a cat lover so this upsets me. So I I can empathize with you. If someone took one of my cats to sell them, I'd probably come unglued. Now on to the next part which I think you find my Bible based response if I were in your shoes and how those in my religion would respond interesting. As humans, perfect justice eludes all of us most of time so we have to the best we can with what we know. So many things are flying through my head right now but I will try to be as brief yet concise as possible.
The minister said, nope, that's not forgiveness, I don't get to ask for ANYTHING. He quoted me this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_o ... ng_Servant
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?"

Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven. Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But because he couldn't pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!' The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

"But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'

"So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you!' He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?' His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds."


It's pretty airtight. It literally says I should not ask for another cat, or anything. Just forgive. Infinitely. No matter what.

Other than the fact that I don't believe in God, which, okay, is pretty serious, I could be a Christian if not for this forgive infinitely stuff. That, more than anything, just turns me off to Christianity.

And I still want my cat.

If God sends me to Hell for it, then I'll eagerly burn in Hell still wanting my cat rather than forgive her and go to Heaven. It's because I don't think I'm wrong.
Based on what you described I don't think you're wrong. From a Biblical stand point you're not wrong either. And a side note on Hell, there isn't one. If one doesn't use rose-colored doctrine glasses to read the Bible, but that discussion is for another day.

First a little history on why Jesus was telling this parable. When Peter came to Jesus and asked how often should he forgive someone. Peter might have thought he was being generous because the Jewish tradition at the time was to 3 times. Jesus' answer was really more about the unforgiving nature of the Jews at the time. Small stuff that people would hold grudges over. In the parable the slave was forgiven for a huge debt. 10,000 talents. This would equal 60,000,000 denarii. 20 years of labor for a common worker of the day. Later the slave was seen choking the life out of another slave for a mere 100 denarii. Can you see how knowing the currency conversion makes this parable easier to understand what Jesus was trying to teach? He was teaching people not to be so petty over such small things when we ourselves have been forgiven for so much ourselves. He was also teaching us to not be keeping some sort of record of all the petty things people do that are wrong. But this is not where this minister should have stopped. There is more in the Bible about forgiveness than just this single account.

Did you know that there are scriptures that a person must follow in order to receive forgiveness? A person must acknowledge their sin, recognize that it is an offense against God, confess it unqualifiedly, have a deep heartfelt sorrow for the wrong done, and have a determination to turn from such a course or practice. (Ps 32:5; 51:4; 1Jo 1:8, 9; 2Co 7:8-11) They must do what they can to right the wrong or damage done or as the Bible says 'make peace' with the person they have done wrong. (Mt 5:23, 24) Then they must pray to God, asking for forgiveness on the basis of Christ’s ransom sacrifice.​—Eph 1:7. Note all of these must be met and not just the last one.

Here is forgiveness is not:
  • Condoning the offense: Saying that a wicked action is ok because xyz just doesn't sit well with Jehovah. This is the message it seems like that minister is sending. (Isaiah 5:​20)
    Pretending that the offense never happened: Even when one of God's loyal followers made a huge mistake, he was not shielded from the consequences of his actions. Why in the world would an unrepentant person get a pass? (2 Samuel 12:​9-​13, Gal 6:7)
    Allowing others to take advantage of you: While you might forgive a person, as in not demand compensation, the Bible is clear you don't have to put yourself in harms way again. (Prov 22:3)
    Pardoning with no valid basis: God does not forgive people who are guilty of willful, malicious sin and who refuse to acknowledge their mistakes, change their ways, and apologize to those whom they have hurt. (Proverbs 28:13; Acts 26:20; Hebrews 10:26) Such unrepentant ones become God’s enemies, and he does not require us to forgive those whom he has not forgiven.​—Psalm 139:21, 22.
With all of this being said forgiveness is still a good practice but in what way? Do I mean that a person be shielded from punishment? No. But you can 'forgive' or 'let go' of certain things. The Bible advises: “Let go of anger and abandon rage” (Psalm 37:8) and “a calm heart gives life to the body,”. (Prov. 14:30) You might want to 'let go' of the rage you might have against your mother. Not for her sake, but for your mental health. Carrying this like stuff around doesn't hurt the unrepentant person at all. But it will weigh you down. Don't let that happen.

Now briefly, if what happened to you happened in a JW congregation and your mother was a baptized unrepentant drunkard and thief, then she would be what we call, disfellowshipped. Not even speak a greeting to her. Many don't agree with disfellowshipping but it is Biblical and it is a last resort. (1Co 5:11; 2Jo 9, 10; Mt 18:15-17)

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