After observing the religion debates unfold on this forum I have some serious questions. For example, I have noted that many people have gone into the religious debates and came out more or less angry and dissatisfied with the others in the discussion. Some people have been very strong on their opinions and have jumped on these debates like a dog on ham.
My question is, why does there need to be this huge conflict between religions, and between religions and atheism?
I ask this because the only reason I can see for conflicts is people don't really believe strongly in their position. If they did, they wouldn't get upset if someone contradicted them. That is they themselves are not 100% confident in their conclusions. For example, if someone came up to you and said, "the earth is flat." You would probably laugh. Clearly they are in the wrong, and you know that they are! They could believe fervently in their perspective but it wouldn't really bother you. On a deeper level then I am asking a secondary question:
Why are neither the nonreligious or religious confident in their faith?
I think there are good reasons to debate religion and atheism and gnosticism and agnosticism. And whether or not someone gets angry may have nothing to do with a low level of certainty (in fact I think it may be all the contrary).
Debating and discussing are ways in which people approach the truth and test just how much they actually understand about their own beliefs and others'. It's a way to strengthen the ability to think critically and a way to expand your knowledge about the topics being debated.
I sometimes like debates about religion, as long as respect is preserved, sometimes they can be entertaining. I like to know why people may believe what they do and to hear people's ideas.
Another reason to debate these things it's because a good amount of all the different postures and sides, think of the other sides as damaging and/or dangerous. Examples: An atheist may find it worthy to debate topics regarding religion like separation church-state because s/he is affected by (let's say) a goverment that applies creationist ideas and therefore is censoring the teaching of certain science topics in school. therefore the atheist feels this topic needs to be debated and that the rules need to be changed (for which there needs to be some sort of conflict). Another way in which religion is damaging from an atheist view-point might be the fact that an atheist may see how others "waste" all their life basing their actions in "false" ideals, fears and rewards. Or because one is directly affected by religion, like for example, an atheist who used to be religious and, even though he/she has now stopped believing he/she still has an intrinsic and powerfull fear of hell because it was deeply inculcated during his/her childhood; another atheist might see this and think that religion is a topic worth of debates and discussions to help other atheists with this kind of problems. And on the other side, a religious person might consider non-belief dangerous and damaging. For example, a mother sees how her child is growing with atheistic ideas and therefore condemned to hell/non-heaven/non-whatever-ultimate-reward-her-religion-might-have, so she is terriefied and deeply concerned about the future and destiny of his child, therefore she would think it is worth it to debate and discuss this topics with w/e the atheist influence on the life of her child might be. I imagine that any strongly religious parent has (in their mind) valid reasons to cause confilct if they see how their children are slowly being "poluted" by the ideas of another religion or even the ideas of non-believers.
So of course it can be frustrated for some people to debate this kind of stuff, and of course some people will get angry. Some do because they suddenly find themselves unable to defend their convictions and beliefs and that frustrates them, some get upset because they see how the other side is strongly damaging society and causing all sorts of wrong things in the world or because whatever other reason they might have to care about this stuff.
To go ahead and aslo answer more directly your secondary question:
I don't think that's even true. Some people are not that certain, yes, but others are completely certain of their position and that certainty is exactly what causes them to care so much about the topic and therefore cause conflict. Also, in the case of the "nonreligious", I wouldn't say they aren't confident in their faith, because an atheis might have no faith at all.
Well, I think discussion is more productive than argument and conflict. Generally in argument, people are just trying to get their point across, and never really see the point of view of the other person. But learning and developing as a person comes from true philosophical discussion with others.
I hate it when people try to rip on my beliefs, so I have the courtesy not to argue and argue and argue endlessly and relentlessly about what we believe. Because argument can only be proven with concrete evidence, and since concrete evidence does not exist about or for the supernatural, it can't be used with faith or supernatural powers.
Generally in argument, people are just trying to get their point across, and never really see the point of view of the other person.
No, in argument people are able to see the POV of the other person, but they also believe they see things that make that POV incomplete or inacurate in some way.
Just wanted to share that.
I've seen this argument before, or variations thereof (Blind men and elephants etc). Generally speaking though, the people who use this to contradict people like Christians for making supposedly arrogent claims to truth, are themselves being exceptionally arrogent. The only way you could know about the Elephant and the blind man, or know what coulor the sphere is, is if you can see all of it. People who use this argument against Christians are surely being much more arrogent than any Christian claiming to know everything because they believe they know so much more, and that the Christian is blind.
I'm arrogant as hell, but I wasn't specifically referring to religion, and posted it simply because it made me laugh.
It's supposed to be funny and sadly ironic. It's not an actual argument about anyone.
And it doesn't matter if it could mean a virgin. Virgin birth's don't happen every day. Hell, they're impossible without any divine intervention. So if the Torah/OT is going to actually mention a virgin birth, it's not going to just mention it in passing in a way that could be interpreted otherwise.
Yes, but if you look at the context of the verse, it suggests a prophecy. Now, no ones going to make a prophecy of "A young woman will be pregnant!" because it's mind bogglingly normal. That'd be like making a prophecy of "The grass outside is green!". It's a big deal because it's a prophecy. The context suggests that it is the more remarkable meaning. Add to that the fact that this was believed to be the case a few centuries before Jesus, and the point I made about young woman being virgins of the period, and the fact that the word is never used in a way that contradicts the meaning "virgin" and there is a fairly good case for it's understanding as being "virgin".
That would be the case if the prophecy was limited to just, "A young woman/virgin will get pregnant!"
But seeing as it's a prophecy meant to prove to a bunch of people (Who would, by the time of Jesus's birth, be dead) that the chick in question would give birth to a son named Immanuel, and before he knew the difference between good and evil, some stuff would happen.
In layman's terms, he was trying to impress the Jewish dudes (Jewds? Judes?) by making a sign happen.
The thing is all the other prophecies about who this would be, could theoretically been anyone. The thing that marked this out was the fact that it said about a virgin birth. Because if it was just a guy who would be impressive and important, there would be no need to mention the fact about how he would be born. Of course he would be born of a young woman. That's how people are born, much of the time.
Actually, it was referring to a specific woman in the audience, if you look at the text.
""This young woman," will give birth to a son named Immanuel."
No. It is "The" not "This". It is the definite article.
Well people of the internet I thank you! After reading through the various responses it seems like conflict is just a natural outcome of impassioned debate. Furthermore, the topics that are the most fun to debate are the ones that people are passionate about. So it goes without saying then people are going to voice their opinions on the internet. Sometimes I guess it will seem harsh, but it is because they are wearing their heart on their cuffs I guess.