Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fact VS Belief? No Contest, Or So I Believed

I think I can finally find some peace with the fact that I'm not going to be able to change christian minds by sheer force of will nor strength of invective.

This article helped me to understand what I'm up against:

The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science


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It helps to understand why they can never understand me.

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Of course I already knew some of this, but it's nice to see it so well laid out. I knew they were not reachable, and that it was the power of an emotional belief over an intellectual fact, but this traces out the rationale of it all better for me than I had for myself.

Why, I might as well try to 'write my name in the snow' in Siberia. From here.

So, enjoy. Talk amongst yourselves.........

Oh, and PS: Mike, this one's for you.

***************
PPS: On a related note, that of the triumph of christian religious ignorance over both intellect and common decency, here's an amazing thing.

Not in a good way.

What kind of world do they envision?

Or is that the problem, that they do not envision any world, since the bible lays it all out for them? After all, if you 'know how it all ends' then you obviously have no power to change it or affect it in any way by your personal actions... it's not up to you to make the world a better place, is it? It's up to god. And he's decided to scrap the whole project.

How utterly love-less they are.

319 comments:

  1. Glad to see you find some peace on the issue. I liked the article especially the last line, deal with values and let the facts have a chance. Sounds like you are giving the blog up. If so I hope you, and all the other folks the very best.

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  2. Oh, I don't know if I'm giving the blog up just yet.

    I think I can write with more of a sense of peace now. I have burnt myself out on the christians, but hey, they are, after all, rathe an evil lot, so it's not over yet. If you don't fight against that sort of thing it wins. So I'm not quite ready to end the blog. I just want to write more calmly and I think I can care a bit less about the results now.

    Besides, then I wouldn't be able to bounce things off of all of you anymore.

    Hey, if it fades out, fine. If not, I'm gonna still be here. I enjoy talking to all of you too much to just throw it away.

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  3. Brian,

    Did you check out the other links from my post?

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  4. Brian:
    "I just want to write more calmly and I think I can care less about the results now."

    This statement is the key to "winning". In any argument, the participants are emotionally invested to the point of anger. In a true debate, the participants retain enough emotional distance from the issues to be able to argue rationally. Over the years I have spent moving both emotionally and intellectually to the conclusion that no God exists, my need to "convince" anyone else has diminished proportionally with my anger at having discovered that my parents were hypocritical in their religious beliefs and that I had spent so much of my youth studying that hypocrisy. Also, I think, the more at peace one becomes with a lack of belief in God, the less urgent "winning" bcomes. Finally, when you can see a debate like this blog as an intellectual excercise to firm up your own thiughts, rather than to change those of other debaters, you will be able to decrease the emotional trauma that arguments cost in favor of the satisfaction of "
    winning" a debate may bring to the successful debater.

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  5. Thanks for the link. Understanding other pov's is a necessary difficulty, a liberating difficulty.

    It's only irks me when the holders of those perspectives become bullies, then I tune out.

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  6. I hate those fucking socialist kindergarden kids!

    WTF is socialist about teaching a kid to share ?

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  7. I didn't check out the other links, Ed.

    I never saw anything about tone trolling there. Just the loftus article based on the same article that I posted here. I clicked through to the original, and I liked it, and frankly had thought I'd seen it somewhere else, in a google news sweep... Yes, I forgot you gave me the link, doh...
    At any rate I was too interested in that one to follow other links. And then I thought I'd post it here since I wanted to have that conversation. The article helped me out.

    Can you re-post a link here to the tone-trolling thing?

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  8. WTF is socialist about teaching a kid to share ?
    -------
    They want them to all grow up to be Gordon Gekkos.
    Greed is good, right?

    Except that the man that wrote the movie 'Wall St' was being sarcastic. He never thought the business world would agree with that saying and embrace it.

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  9. I really do think that our religious conservative friends have aquired and developed a true and harmful psychosis here. Even thinking that kids shouldn't be taught to share. That's real pathology. Not a joke. It's bad enough that they should be in treatment in a facility and not out on the streets. Or out having kids! Yikes!

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  10. Oliver Stone. That's the name. I'd forgotten. The man who created the movie 'wall st.'
    I saw him once last year on Bill Maher and he admitted that he never thought the business world would embrace that saying, that it was written to sound bad, to make his character seem utterly lacking in morals... not to turn into a popular saying!
    I guess he overestimated the morality of the business world. Don't we all.

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  11. Brian,

    See the links in this thread by the lady that calls herself 'articulett'.

    Apparently there was a big brouhaha a couple of years ago over someone making false claims and such, that kind of parallels the sort of things that S.E. Cupp person was trying to accomplish, i.e., that atheists should treat Christians with respect even when they're at their shrill worst.

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  12. The articulette links are fascinating.
    This is so very frustrating. Religionists, ya can't live with them, and it's illegal to kill them off. What to do?

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  13. I was reading how in China today they forbade religious services for christians and even arrested those who showed up.

    Am I a bad person for wishing that to happen over here? For admiring China just a little bit on this one issue?

    They're very harmful to society, and should be locked up so they can't destroy everything in the pursuit of their beliefs and their elevation of said beliefs to the status of 'fact' in their tiny minds. So, not prison, but enforced treatment facilities of some kind.

    We'd be humane! After all, we're not christians...

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  14. Hey, Eric! Long time no type...

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  15. Ste B - finished an old story and posting it. One I'd wanted to get done for a long time.

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  16. Just read it.

    WOW.

    I wish I could write like that.

    Totally captured me in like three sentences. I liked the ending, in spite of its sadness.

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  17. You need to have a 'Pliny's book of Short Stories' out there, my friend. You've got one sale already here.

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  18. This from the BBC:

    "24 April 2011 Last updated at 19:26 ET Help The Archbishop of Canterbury has delivered his Easter message, urging Christians to seek happiness rather than prosperity.

    Dr Rowan Williams said there was more to life than 'Gross National Product'.

    Meanwhile, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland used his Easter message to attack what he called 'aggressive secularism'.

    Robert Pigott reports."


    Interesting. The ABofC seems to 'get it' and the Catholic bishop in Sotland is clueless.
    Leave it to the catholic to attack on the issue of 'we don't have enough people.' Great way to win hearts and minds.

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  19. Hey, whaddaya know... if you leave out the 'c' in scotland you get 'sotland.'

    Isn't that more like Ireland though?

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  20. Try to imagine if for hundreds of years your hierarchical individualist teaching(for the rich and middle classes) which is artfully melded with egalitarian community teaching for the poor, is challenged.

    How do you fight back?

    Call the challengers ignorant! Call the challengers angry! Call them evil!

    Show them how it is that they just think they are soooo smart!

    If your teaching lacks sense you need to create jargon for it, right Jerry?

    Spirituality.

    "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." - Gen.2:7

    "But that's an allegory/analogy!", the type 2(non-literal) Christian might say.

    OR, more than likely the Christian would let you argue the point about spirit being breath for as long as he/she can, before letting you in on the joke, that he/she doesn't actually believe that. Of course any discussion, Christian vs. non-believer is doomed even from this simple point(Is spirit the literal breath of God or what?).

    Christians have many ways to rationalize away any point at all.

    'You ought to read the whole thing FIRST! Then decide!"

    'You have to read it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!'

    What they're trying to say is that we all understand what 'spirit' is and we can either believe that it's literal or we can believe it's allegorical(whatever that really means in this situation) just so long as we are willing to go along with the idea.

    They seem to be saying, "There's this thing called 'spirit', which as Jerry pointed out, is an emotion, like love perhaps.

    But you know that isn't true because of the reaction of believers to non-believers, believers trying to take the high ground and 'expect' deference for their POV.

    Believers feel deference, submission. They may secretly hate it because they may understand that it's no GOD that they're defering to but their Christian parents, Christian teachers, Christian bosses who they feel it is necessary to defer to, to submit to.

    Thing is, if they have to, why not YOU, you ignorant, hateful, narcissistic, arrogant, uppity Atheist!

    I put 'uppity' in there, because it is for the same reason that atheists are not really American that Obama is not really American, you see?

    It shouldn't be very surprising to anyone that they demand deference and submission from part of society that they already feel superior to, whether they be gay or atheist or black even.

    Is it any wonder they practically despise the poor, the old and the sick?

    GAWD forbid you're a poor, old, sick, gay atheist black person!

    You're likely to make them feel nauseous.

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  21. Brian, I think you'll find that most people who are Atheists came to that decision on their own through experience and knowledge.

    However, the same cannot be said for Christians. Many are brought up that way, live in a dominant Christian environment or become one out guilt of their lives, lonliness and fear of death.

    But there are Christians such as myself who became Christians out of experience and knowledge.

    I think people should not indoctrinate their kids and when we get to a certain age, we should look at what we know versus what we don't know and try figure things out for ourselves.

    If becoming an Atheist or a Christian is the result of that, then I believe no matter what, that person would be far more reasonable and tolerable in how they interact with other people.

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  22. If your teaching lacks sense you need to create jargon for it, right Jerry?

    Spirituality.

    They seem to be saying, "There's this thing called 'spirit', which as Jerry pointed out, is an emotion, like love perhaps.

    I said there is love that is not emotion, and because you seem not to know that type of love you seem to think does not exist. Just like the author in the article said, people get locked into their belief systems and cannot see what is available for others to see. I can see no difference between what was said in that vain and the ideas you keep repeating. If you do not understand it, it cannot exist because you don't think so. What is the difference between a Christian that knows there is a god, and an atheist that knows there is none? I think both are lost in a belief system that have blinded themselves by choice that leads to destructive thinking.

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  23. "I said there is love that is not emotion, and because you seem not to know that type of love you seem to think does not exist."

    Sorry, "love that is not emotion."?

    " people get locked into their belief systems and cannot see what is available for others to see"

    In this sense 'see' is 'comprehend' or 'imagine', yes?

    Yes, when I hear 'spiritual journey', I understand it as my relfection of my life as I gained understanding about life, how I came to, and come to better understand the motivations of myself and others.

    Example, "When I was a child I thought as a child..", is claiming spiritual growth, like a mental journey through time. Like when you grow up being told one thing which everyone expects you to believe, then having a series of 'AHA!' moments.

    Imagine with me. We are in church, being told that we are all equal in the eyes of the LORD! We are miners and our Earthly lord, the mine owner, who barely pays us enough to live on, is THE MOST GENEROUS of us in the community! He gave a HUGE donation for the church repairs and upkeep and sends money to feed the starving kids in Africa and India!

    But he pays us barely enough to feed our family on, he flies into a fury at the mere thought of unionization.

    Apparently the spiritual notion, the idea which the church leader is planting in our minds every Sunday, that we are all equal in the eyes of the LORD, is being recieved differently by the hierarchical individualists in the flock as "I am the lord your owner, you live under my rules! We come to church on Sunday to maintain the pretense of equality."

    Don't you notice how your definition of spirituality itself separates yourself from a non-spiritual individual like myself?

    Apparently I cannot 'see' something that is obvious to you. I am inferior in your eyes.

    This is the same 'door' that institutional religions use to look down on the people they percieve as inferior all the while denying that they do it.

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  24. Jerry:
    As you suggest, there is no difference between the belief in any system that seeks to answer the big questions in the Universe and rigid non-belief. The major difference, however, derives from one who, having concluded (hopefully after due consideration, as Botts suggests) that God exists, accepts any of the established religions. In this regard, the atheist, generally, does not adhere to any doctrine, let alone "rules" for how he/she should relate to his/her fellow man. Religionists, on the other hand, often must seek to proselytize and/or denigrate those who do not believe as they do to get the only affirmation of their beliefs possible in this life and, as a result, can have nothing but disrespect/animosity for those who do not believe at all. In short, the atheist has no reason to care how anyone else believes or tries to propitiate their chosen Deity, as long as those beliefs are neither forced upon him nor infiltrated into secular aspects of communal life.

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  25. Jerry: (continued)
    Most organized religions, particularly when they are state supported or at least recognized, are systematically guilty of all of these abuses I have mentioned, especially of seeking to marginalize (if not wipe out) those whose beliefs or lack thereof undermine their need to have everyone "agree" with their teachings. That this universal organized religious need may be couched in "caring for another's eternal soul" does not alter the fact the they absolutely need to continue press everyone else at every opportunity. Thus, Brian's original references in this current thread speak to a mental mechanism that has tremendous "survival" value and netaly explains the usual impossibility to convince such fundamentalist believers of anything that goes against their indoctrination.

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  26. Apparently I cannot 'see' something that is obvious to you. I am inferior in your eyes.
    ---------------
    YES! That is the attitude. A very salient point, pboy. It's an ego trip to even think that. It's self-congratulatory. It seperates 'me' from 'you' and places me above you. Because I'm so special. Because I can see it and you can't. Poor you. Poor, poor you.

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  27. I think that it is in our nature to play, "Who's the king of the castle".

    We are social beings, our smallest unit, the individual, gaining social status by becoming the leader of a micro-society, known as a 'family'.

    This is expanded on and grows into a hierarchy, which is simply a mental construct enslaving the physically weak, the mentally weak and the financially weak, to their 'overlords'.

    It is my opinion that your notion of spirituality is a concept which binds you to(or at least can bind you to) this enslaving hierarchy.

    I believe it is your opinion that your notion of spirituality FREES you from(or at least can free you from) the enslaving hierarchy.

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  28. This idea of spirituality is made clear in the Bible through the stories of Jesus.

    Much like the idea that we are all spiritually equal which is doled out in church today, the Bible constructs the same confusion with Jesus claiming we have the same spiritual equality while he emphasizes, at times, the the submission and subservience that we owe our earthly leaders.

    Eric and MI are quite happy to dismiss the fact that they are not free by claiming that they have previously made a free choice to submit, and that we should do that too.

    But this is why it is a lie. We cannot be spiritually equal if we are submitting to a spiritual leader and it's pure confusion technique to preach spiritual equality from a spiritually superior position.

    The only possible meaning for 'equal' there, is 'subservient' or 'deferent'.

    Saying, "I need you to defer to my spiritual superiority here as I instruct you that you are my spiritual equal.", makes no sense.

    Or do you imagine that the Orwellian, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.", makes sense, or is even intended to make sense?

    Of course Jerry, if you already feel that you ARE one of the 'more equal' when it comes to this concept, might it not be that you already feel 'more equal' when it comes to easier to grasp concepts such as physical strength, mental alacrity and/or brute force wealth?

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  29. But this is why it is a lie. We cannot be spiritually equal if we are submitting to a spiritual leader and it's pure confusion technique to preach spiritual equality from a spiritually superior position.

    How can you make such statements when you do not believe in anything spiritual? You claim spiritual ideas are not real., then go on to say how things are on the spiritual level. Spiritual superior position does not exist, but how would you know? It seems that you only understand a mundane hierarchy. You could have learned a great deal about the spiritual level from Botts when he posted regularly, but instead all you wanted to do was beat him over the head about the bible.

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  30. "Happy Wester!"

    Such a contrarian. ;)

    "Hey, Eric! Long time no type..."

    Hi, Ed. Good to hear from you. I've read some of your contributions on DC lately, though I haven't been able to respond.

    "Eric and MI are quite happy to dismiss the fact that they are not free by claiming that they have previously made a free choice to submit, and that we should do that too."

    Hi Floyd

    I would never say anything like that. Indeed, Catholicism is very much in line with the classical Western tradition (from Plato on) when it comes to freedom: I'm free to the extent that my reason governs my passions, and not (as many modernists would have you believe) to the extent that I can satisfy my desires. Indeed, if my desires are disordered, then satisfying them makes me *less* free. So true freedom is to be found in virtue. Surely this is much wiser than the modern conception of freedom, is it not?

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  31. Jerry, if you go back and reread what I said, you might notice what I said about what I feel is meant when we speak of a spiritual journey.

    So, your point about me not 'believing in it' is bullshit.

    But it's basically a feeling.

    So, are you just trying to be a wise-ass telling me what words I'm allowed to use, now?

    I don't believe there are such things as .... (Gods, but since I don't believe they exist, according to Jerry I'm not ALLOWED to say words describing things that don't exist)

    How is what you just said not just giving a non-answer answer?

    How is this not just proving my point that your just playing with words here?

    Eric, same thing. You just altered the meaning of the word 'free' to suit your answer.

    "What you said isn't true since I mean something else than you when it comes to freedom."

    Well, la di da both of you.

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  32. "Eric, same thing. You just altered the meaning of the word 'free' to suit your answer."

    No, Floyd, I didn't "alter" it. This isn't a matter of how we arbitrarily choose to use words. There are much deeper issues involved, and how you understand and answer the questions these various issues raise determines your view. And certain things follow necessarily from these answers, often in illuminating ways.

    For example, if you understand freedom to mean something like, having the ability to satisfy your desires, then it follows that the successful tyrant is the freest of men. if you think this is true, I'd recommend reading Xenophon or Plato (or almost any classical author). Too many of us today are completely ignorant of the classics, and so we miss out on the wisdom of the ages. Interestingly, this too is relevant to the classical conception of freedom: An awareness of the ideas of the great thinkers that a classical liberal arts education provides makes you more free than those who are products of their time and place (why do you think they call it a 'liberal' arts education?).

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  33. pboy,
    So now you are saying that you do believe is a spiritual level that can be experienced in this life time?

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  34. Well, I was just putting you and MI in there as Catholics who basically are told how to think by the Pope.

    I realise that many Catholic women disregard the Pope's(or a previous Pope's) instructions regarding abortion and prevention, nevertheless, I'm thinking that to call yourself Catholic with any meaning to it, entails giving up the freedom to do as YOU will, yes?

    I'm sorry if i sound like some kind of red-neck Protestant when I'm typing, I have nothing against Catholics or Protestants that I don't have against Muslims and Scientologists to name a couple more.

    So, I'm not trying to quibble about this one word, I'm just saying that Muslims accept the loss of some freedom being Muslim and Catholics by being Catholic and so on.

    e.g. Can you, be honest now, suddenly decide that Allah is the one true God and Muhammud is his prophet?

    No.

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  35. No Jerry, you're doubling down on being a wise-ass now.

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  36. pboy says,
    Don't you notice how your definition of spirituality itself separates yourself from a non-spiritual individual like myself?

    Yes I can see by this statement that accusing you of being non-spiritual is BS.

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  37. "So now you are saying that you do believe is a spiritual level that can be experienced in this life time?"

    No, I don't. But much like I don't believe that there are gods at all and still can speak of God or gods, I don't believe in spirituality and can still speak to it.

    Even if you decide I'm not 'allowed to'.

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  38. pboy,
    You have made it clear that you are willing to twist another person words trying to get your BS to fly. This idea you stated,
    "Apparently I cannot 'see' something that is obvious to you. I am inferior in your eyes."

    It is you who is bringing up the idea of someone being inferior. It is obvious that is how you think as you brought it up. I do not think you are inferior, but you project that onto me as though I thought that way.

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  39. Eric said,

    "Hi, Ed. Good to hear from you. I've read some of your contributions on DC lately, though I haven't been able to respond."

    Yup. I've spotted you lurking in the gallery over there. Whassup? Working on a thesis?

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  40. Ian said,

    "So, I'm not trying to quibble about this one word, I'm just saying that Muslims accept the loss of some freedom being Muslim and Catholics by being Catholic and so on."

    All of us (as you've pointed out before, peeb) have constraints on our range of possible action that makes us less than totally free. Even Eric's example of the most extreme tyrant is handcuffed in one way or another; e.g., by needing a trustworthy military to impose his rule.

    True freedom is a utopian illusion.

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  41. And lest I be called unobservant (although I would not argue with 'un-Observant'...)

    Welcome back to Botts, too!

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  42. Apparently I cannot 'see' something that is obvious to you. I am inferior in your eyes.
    ---------------
    YES! That is the attitude. A very salient point, pboy. It's an ego trip to even think that. It's self-congratulatory. It seperates 'me' from 'you' and places me above you. Because I'm so special. Because I can see it and you can't. Poor you. Poor, poor you.

    I know nothing about gems, but if you say to me you see and understand things about gems that I do not understand that your are on an ego trip and in fact saying poor boy to me as thought you are somehow special?

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  43. Now you're talking as if I'm equivocating about my position Jerry.

    I don't believe that there are such things as gods, yet I talk about definitions of such a thing.

    Same thing with spirituality. You saying that I don't, I do, I can't make up my mind, sort of thing, misses the points(likely deliberately) of what I say.

    Do you feel that you've ducked my point about equality vs. hierarchy, and how the notion of spirituality is used to confuse that issue,
    completely here?

    ReplyDelete
  44. It's similar to infinity vs. numbers Jerry. A confusion is easily made.

    Spirituality analogized as love or 'the underlying feeling that we're supposed to have'(the spirit of Christmas), generalized as the 'spirit' of something.

    Bunch of soldiers on LSD sitting around laughing instead of looking for someone to kill, just missing the 'spirit' of the thing.

    Someone refusing to dish out candy at Hallowe'en. Not in the 'spirit' of the thing.

    But the 'spirit' of religion entails holding objects and places and rituals as 'holy' as well as everyone agreeing that religious leaders have the final word on what is right. This isn't even touching on what I think you mean by it, which makes for more confusion, don't you think?

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  45. Do you feel that you've ducked my point about equality vs. hierarchy, and how the notion of spirituality is used to confuse that issue,completely here?

    If you mean people using religion and religious words to confuse people, sure, there are those that are into ripping off religious people. Some are doing their best, like Observant, some are just rip off artist. So? About equality vs hierarchy, you have already stated you do not indulge in spiritual thinking where equality is a reality.

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  46. Ian said,

    "Do you feel that you've ducked my point about equality vs. hierarchy, and how the notion of spirituality is used to confuse that issue, completely here?"

    If it's any consolation, Peeb, I get what you're saying, and agree that Jerry is misunderstanding your position.

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  47. Jerry, "So?"

    So, it isn't 'just a word' as far as religious leaders fleecing their flock, and it isn't 'just a word' to the 'flock'.

    It isn't 'just a word' to you, Jerry.

    It is in fact the word being used in the same way as you're using it, with the exact same non-definition that you use. Kinda like love.

    Actually, kind of like love that isn't an emotion, whatever that's supposed to mean.

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  48. But the 'spirit' of religion entails holding objects and places and rituals as 'holy' as well as everyone agreeing that religious leaders have the final word on what is right. This isn't even touching on what I think you mean by it, which makes for more confusion, don't you think?

    No doubt about that.

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  49. I feel that there is another way to look at 'spirit' also.

    If you look around you and notice the objects there it's a unique situation where how you feel about these objects has a parallel in your mind of how that object feels about you.

    This reflection of your thoughts about is the natural inclination of our mind to anthropomorphize even the deadest of objects.

    The objects around you, exist in that particular position in time and space only once although they can certainly be in the same local space for a period of time, so as you think of the objects, you may imbibe them with a 'spirit'.

    A cup is female, a vessel.
    A knife, an arrow, a gun is male.

    That kind of thing. Brian is no doubt good at this kind of enspiritualizing.

    But it's all bullshit Jerry.

    It's all in our minds.

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  50. But it's all bullshit Jerry.

    It's all in our minds.

    Are you saying all experiences is bullshit or maybe you are having experiences outside your mind. If it all happens in the mind, how do you define what is real and what is not? My guess is you are using a mixture of conditioning, and facts you have learned. So you have learned that it is easier to pu pu the idea of another level of life available to us than to spend the necessary time to understand the reality of it. I would also guess that your main objection is coming from conditioning of lumping organized religion with the spiritual level as though they had something to do with each other. It is true religion talks about it but few are those who seem to understand what they are talking about. Like comparing Botts insights to Observant's or MI's.

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  51. "Are you saying all experiences is bullshit"

    Are you willing to agree that there is a harsh reality that we can both agree is real?

    When we wake up tomorrow, the sun will shine, we'll breathe the air, your family will still be your family and so on.

    We know these things so intimately that we CAN bicker about it.."But what if a meteor hits, or an earthquake?", and so on, but that just makes my point.

    But there is a purely subjective element where you basically have to tell me how you feel in some way for me to know how you feel.

    There is plenty room for bullshit in this area, hence the findings shown in the post.

    Take 'spirituality', for example. I've been basically listing the ways the word might be used and we agree that some of the ways we use the word are either trivial(spirit of Halloween) or a confidence game(using basically your notion of spirituality for political or economic reasons).

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  52. Hey Jerry, you could admit that the word spirituality has been trivialized and hijacked(you pretty much did), and call what you believe karma or something to differentiate it.

    :o)

    problem solved.

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  53. Take 'spirituality', for example. I've been basically listing the ways the word might be used and we agree that some of the ways we use the words are either trivial(spirit of Halloween) or a confidence game(using basically your notion of spirituality for political or economic reasons).

    As far as I know there is little or no relationship between the spirit of Halloween or whatever and the spiritual level of life. It is like using the word bare or bear. Sounds the same but the alikeness ends there. There may be a way to connect the two for your thinking such as the spiritual brotherhood of mankind which is the spiritual level of life, but once understood the ideas such as one human being inferior to another is no longer even thought about as on the spiritual level the equality is real, and not a thought that has no basis in reality. That leads to loving all of your fellow man and is not necessarily emotional although there can be emotion connected to it.

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  54. I don't know which news you watch Jerry, but where is this spiritual brotherhood of man at?

    "All the councillors hate the waiters, and the lake has alligators."

    When did this spiritual brotherhood of man start, and where?

    Seems as if we are defined by our victories in war, how easily we could crush our enemies and how black we can paint our neighbours.

    I did a little test a couple of times, saying to proselytizing Christians, "Hey could you pray for me, I'm an atheist."

    There's this look of disgust they get on their face.

    Sweet.

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  55. You'd imagine that we might see this spiritual brotherhood of man at a mother/son level, but not necessarilly.

    If the child claims he's not sure of the existence of God, the mother is just as likely to give him no Xmas gifts and no Xmas dinner rather than giving in spite of the kid's problem with the idea of God.

    Wonder how many Christians would exclude down and out atheists from their soup kitchens if atheists physically 'different'?

    Same thing.

    Still, I think you're taking this off on a tangent, grumbling about points you seem to generally agree with me on.

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  56. Hey Jerry, you could admit that the word spirituality has been trivialized and hijacked(you pretty much did), and call what you believe karma or something to differentiate it.

    :o)

    I do appreciate what you are saying, but how do you change the meaning of anything just because many use the word for other purposes. Many preachers are still going to lie that they understand something that they do not. People can only talk about things they think about regardless of the facts or truth involved. I do not see changing the use of the word helps at all. Karma is an attempt to explain how come things happen to people because of the past. I can see no way to use that word. It is like the atheist have tried to hijack the word faith, and use only a very narrow definition that substitutes for the word religion. I suppose I could abandon that word to just because of the narrow definition some use. No thanks. I have to go for now but later I will try to write where I am coming from, perhaps that will help.

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  57. I did a little test a couple of times, saying to proselytizing Christians, "Hey could you pray for me, I'm an atheist."

    There's this look of disgust they get on their face.

    Sweet.
    ------------
    How telling is that?

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  58. Jerry said, It is true religion talks about it but few are those who seem to understand what they are talking about. Like comparing Botts insights to Observant's or MI's.
    ----------------------------------

    I would agree to a point with you Jerry. The word spiritual is used to define many experiences in life regardless of the definition. People who claim to have an out of body experience / revelation or some kind of a phenomenon associate it as being a spiritual experience or journey.

    I am persuaded to believe that in order for a person to have a real spiritual experience the experience it self must be encountered by a spiritual being to make it valid. Botts insight on a spiritual issue may differ from mine but who’s to say which of us have it right. If Botts interpretation of the word satisfies your understanding of the word then it does nothing more than prove you and Botts are in agreement on it’s definition.

    The word spirit has been applied to many things as in the spirit of fairness / spirit of the game or the spirit of 1776 and so on. These are not spiritual encounters in fact they have nothing to do with the spiritual realm at all. You mention organized religion as if it is out of order or out of harmony with the Bible. The fact that Jesus organized a church and it is a religious organization makes your comments against it seem stupid to me. There are many different denominations, even the non-denominational church’s are a denomination, Self branded if you will have it that way.

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  59. Botts morality is apparently based in love for others disregarding any differences.
    I don't see that in you. Plus, you have more ego than he does.
    So, there's a difference. He's more like Jesus than you are in those senses. Unless you're talking revelations version Jesus. Then you win.

    Just giving you my view from outside the psychosis. Hope it helps.

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  60. The fact that Jesus organized a church and it is a religious organization
    ------------------
    When did he do that? I missed it.

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  61. Didja even read the article, Mike? Least you could do considering I dedicated this post to you...

    :-)

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  62. Brian I understand you just fine. You are highly educated and you need factual conformation over faith.
    The big bang theory and evolution are supported by scientific evidence where in the creation doctrine is faith based without evidentiary support. In your opinion it is myth and anyone who adheres to it’s teaching is either uneducated , stupid or both. You claim to posses more empathy than most or all Christians which is ironic in itself because the main them of Christianity is love and meekness of which most Christians show little of both.
    You indeed have an ego problem and on many occasions admitted to this, and at the same time condemned others for having the same frailties as you do, which of course shows we are all cut from the same cloth.

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  63. Yes I did read it Brother Brian but I did not look at the link.

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  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  65. "Brian I understand you just fine. You are highly educated and you need factual conformation over faith."

    I wonder if factual confirmation would suffice.

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  66. "...if my desires are disordered, then satisfying them makes me *less* free. So true freedom is to be found in virtue. Surely this is much wiser than the modern conception of freedom, is it not?"

    It's one of those rare moments. But I agree with Sr. Católico.

    ------

    Mike the Unobservant,

    You've only been a jerk twice this thread! I'm proud of ya buddy. Way to go.

    You have so much to learn from people like Botts and Jerry.

    But who knows, maybe you actually want to grow, relate to people and humble yourself... perhaps that's why you're here.

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  67. We all have an ego problem Mike, unless we're christ or the bodhisattva. I'm just painfully conscious of mine and I don't honestly see you noticing yours at all. You see mine very well, but your own? Not so much.

    Just trying to be honest rather than abusive for a change.

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  68. I wonder if factual confirmation would suffice.
    ----------------
    Silly wabbitt, of course it would. You're just worlds away from anything near that, and you wish wish wish you had something concrete to show me, but nope, so instead you solilloquize and pontificate (ooh, how appropos!) and it's all stuff and nonsense. But it's pretty. I'll give you that.

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  69. And Mike, something you said stands out to me. The part about me being highly educated.

    I'm flattered that you think so.

    Wanna know how I feel about it?

    I used to think (believe!) that I was a very smart person because I had a lot of people telling me that I was.

    Nowadays I go online and encounter peiple that mae me feel like a moron.

    Pliny for one.


    But many, many others.

    I'm relatively stupid, Mike.

    Do I try?

    Hell yes.

    But still, I seem to be, much to my chagrin, not so bright. And I have a temper. I hate people with tempers, but there I am.

    So, think about that. I do.

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  70. Eric, here's a question:

    You talk and talk about philosophy and argue the arguments of the past, trying to re-order them or re-interpret them perhaps in a manner more amenable to absorbtion by someone so opposed as myself, and spend your life pursuing this goal of I guess, convincing people that you're brilliant at arguing for catholicism. Maybe you want to be the next Dinesh.

    You have intellectual capacity. You retain knowledge. You can assimilate it and use it effectively in a seemingly (!) cogent argument.

    My question is, what have you created? What do you create? What do you give the world to better it?

    Read Pliny's blog, not that I worship him or anything. Check out his fiction. He has a creative mind. And he creates complex computer programs.

    I admire that a lot, I must confess. Evevn more than fact retention, my personal strength if it can even be called so. Yours, too, from what I see.

    Can you create anything, or are you only a synthesizer? Of the work already done by others?

    Just curious.

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  71. Pliny, while I'm on the subject, I loved both of the recent stories I've read on your blog; the first one I saw the ending coming but it was still a fun time had by all and an interesting new slant on a supposedly familiar subject. The second one, I didn't predict the ending at all and I was pleasantly surprised. Technically, the second one was the most impressive. I lie being surprised. That was the one I envied you for, you jerk.
    The subject matter made the first one equally interesting though. However the second one proved your expertise to me. It even got me to thinking why I am not able to write like that. I am sure it's a good portion of natural talent, but then I got to wondering about how much of it was nurture. As in, I was never encouraged in any way to tell creative stories as a child nor did I have any role model that was talented in that area. Not even close. Did you?

    Talented story-tellers are a treasure that we have rightly appreciated since pre-written-language days. Especially back then. Today, it's a dying art. Left in the dust by our short-attntion-span society, I fear.

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  72. Brian:
    Somewhat aside....
    "Talented story-tellers are a treasure that we have rightly appreciated since pre-written-language days. Especially back then. Today, it's a dying art. Left in the dust by our short-attntion-span society, I fear."
    In fact, Brian, it appears that it is the cultural value that "story-tellers" bring to us that has led to Scripture. The Bible is full of good stories, many of which can provide wisdom to those who can understand and apply them to current current cultural issues, especially if they understand that they ARE ONLY STORIES! Moreover, every good teacher I have ever experienced or read has had a talent for story telling. The difference between a good teacher and someone like Pliny (who, I believe is an excellent teacher) is the gift of being able to originate the stories, rather than simply picking and choosing those of others (Eric, perhaps)that can illustrate the point the teacher is trying to impart to his listeners. Finally, some of us seem to have selected one story (Mike?), to the exclusion of all others, and, rather than trying to continue to learn from other wise stories or ones that have been written only recently, put themselves in the position of needing to defend their chosen story against all others. So, whereas I certainly agree with you re Pliny's talent as a story teller, I value his abilities as a teacher who can use the stories to enlighten us even more.

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  73. Harry said,

    Mike the Unobservant,

    You've only been a jerk twice this thread! I'm proud of ya buddy. Way to go.
    -------------
    I may be unobservant about many things but I got you pegged, buddy…..

    And you are right both Jerry and Botts have taught me a few things about myself… My thanks to them. Lets not forget Brian, he has been very articulate in showing me my flaws as well, ”ego”/ pride/ self-absorption / lack of empathy. I'm a unpolished stone.

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  74. You mention organized religion as if it is out of order or out of harmony with the Bible. The fact that Jesus organized a church and it is a religious organization makes your comments against it seem stupid to me. There are many different denominations, even the non-denominational church’s are a denomination, Self branded if you will have it that way.
    April 27, 2011 6:16 PM

    All of the organized religion that you know is self branded. Jesus did not start a church, the Christian church was Paul, and Peters sad attempt to teach spiritual ideas ,and failed miserably and created a religion ABOUT Jesus, and shoved the religion taught by Jesus into obscurity. I do not find organized religion out of step with the bible, in fact the problem is they are in step with that antiquated way of thinking that is the number one obstacle in the advancement of Jesus' actual teaching. It is very evident you are into the bible, not Jesus. I remember calling your attention to a verse that had one of the most meaningful statements credited to Jesus, and you said it was an obscure verse. I am sure you were right from your viewpoint, and that is the point. Your view point is from the bible, not Jesus and the spiritual life he talked about. Do yourself a favor and read ONLY the red in the bible for at least a year without reading ANYTHING else in that book, and after one year you might be able to get a clearer picture what Jesus was all about.

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  75. Jerry:
    "It is very evident you are into the bible, not Jesus."
    Hear, hear!
    See my recent post above.

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  76. Well said Harvey and Jerry,

    However antiquated the metaphysical line of reasoning in the Judeo/Christian "bible," there are a few redemptive pearls. One can tell that some parables and proverbs come from the wisdom of experience or broader conceptions of social justice.

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  77. Go away for a few days and look what happens! Thank you for the kind words.

    I'm not pessimistic about the fate of story telling. I think it's alive and well, just mutating in its form.

    As usual Harvey said it well. Story telling is an important part of our social heritage since it was (probably) the first form of education and codifying of rules. Our most primitive form of history.

    That's, of course, both its strength and weakness. Which parts are meant as metaphor and which are canon (if any)? Plus story telling existed long before the scientific method came along to place rules on hard history.

    That would be fine if we used the stories of antiquity as interesting segways into understanding our ancestors; the way we use Greek or Roman mythology, for example, rather than as a rule book for modern times.

    It's a major reason I like Shakespeare more than the Bible (other than I think its better written) is that the plays get people to think and talk about human nature without there being any baggage about any larger implications.

    Much like in journalism, when the story becomes the story, something valuable is lost. A good story gets people thinking, entertains, educates, or simply amuses the author. We get into trouble when we try to make it something else. A good story teller to me can make a point but mostly gets people to think in ways that might not have considered. If the author is trying to lead someone to a preconceived position, then it's just marketing to me, not storytelling. I love stories - hate marketing

    As for your question Ste B, no I wasn't around great story tellers as a kid. But I always admired it as a way to convey important concepts without using the hammer of philosophy. I always admired Twain, Rogers, and have enjoyed Hal Holbrook's versions of Twain's story telling. In my humble opinion, 'The War Prayer' is the greatest story of all time.

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  78. I went to church as a child, and teenager. Not every Sunday but enough to understand what was in the bible, and what was being taught as Christianity. I had no trouble rejecting the teaching as they are so flawed only a person that fails to question the truth could possibly buy into Christianity. For several years I never even thought about religion as I thought it was a waste. I seized upon a chance to go to an institute and learn counseling (marriage, and lay psychoanalyst ) I had a practice that was growing, and was enjoying the situation. One day I had an inner experience that enlightened me to the fact we are equal. Now I know that on the mundane level of life we are not equal but I had been introduced to another way of thinking that changed my life. It was but a few weeks later that the question came into my mind about if I though god was real or not. Giving this some though for a few days I decided no, there was no god. Right away I got the question, who was Jesus. I decide he probably lived somewhat as stated in the bible, very intelligent, and advanced, but hardly divine. A few days later I experienced being born again. After rejecting both god, and Jesus as being real or divine I experienced a spiritual birth. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. I wanted to know more of what Jesus said. I tried the bible but that just threw me back into the thinking of Christianity, that I knew was out to lunch. After all I had been born again without jumping through the hoops put up by the false teachings of Christianity. So I read a lot of eastern, mostly Zen Buddhism. I was able to go back to the bible after a few years without it dragging me back into the BS taught by Christianity. Some of the Christian beliefs that my experience has proven wrong; The need to recognize there is a god. That one has to accept Jesus as their personal savior. that one must be baptized. That the kingdom of heaven is somewhere else. That the bible is the word of god. etc. To knowingly buy into a system that I know is riddled with errors would be extremely foolish. (to be finished later)

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  79. Very funny Jerry, you went to church not every Sunday but you went enough to know what was in the Bible…. Too funny. Most people who are interested in understanding what the Bible says spend years studying it and still are unsure of some of it’s teachings…. But you managed to get an understanding of it by going to church now and then. Lol
    ------------------------------
    You have NO idea what Christianity is….The disciples of Christ were given the name Christians by those who opposed them, it was meant as a slur because they walked in the teachings of Christ. Hence the term
    “ Christ like” The only flaw in Christianity is the weakness of our Adam nature also known as the fleshly man. Jesus said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. It is the desire of every true Christian to live as close to God as possible but the flesh or carnal mans nature gets in the way from time to time.

    ------------------------------
    No doubt you did think religion was a waste just as you think Christianity is a waste yet today.
    --------------------------
    So you say one day you had an inner experience that made you aware to the fact that all men are created equal…. That is not a spiritual enlightenment Jerry, I believe Abraham Lincoln was the first to make that statement. Now you say man is not equal on the mundane level of life… When you die do you take any more with you than any other man? While you live is your life more important that any other man? It looks to me like the playing field of life is pretty equal, Only difference is some achieve more because their drive is fueled by success while others are content.
    ----------------------------
    Your whole born again concept is NOT in harmony with the teachings of Christ in the red or black letter edition. You have no idea what being born again is. You claim the experience you had introduced you to a new way of thinking …. And I agree with you… I have never in my life ever heard of any one who claimed to be born again ,and at the same time deny the very person the concept originated from.
    You or any other person CAN NOT experience a spiritual rebirth also known “born again” and reject God and Christ for the themselves reject all who will not believe in them….What you are saying is impossible where God is concerned.
    ----------------------
    So you threw Christianity out the widow with the Bible to I suppose, and tried Buddhism… I got news for you Jerry… Buddha taught meditation and said it worked for me maybe it will work for you. That is no where near the concept Jesus taught.
    And last Jerry, you claim the Christian way is foolish, and you are right ….it is to unbelievers such as yourself. You haven’t been born again Jerry, you have deceived your own self.

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  80. Jerry said,
    "It is very evident you are into the bible, not Jesus."

    Harvey said,
    Hear, hear!
    ----------------------------
    The Bible is the source of the teachings of Jesus. So to say I am into the Bible is the same as saying I am into Jesus and His teachings. I didn’t say I parroted His life…. Big difference Nor have I ever meet a man who lived his life above sin as did Jesus …

    I know you think Peter / Paul and the rest of the boys who are listed as writers of the NT are obsolete when it comes to Jesus and His writings, but the fact is, their writings are in harmony with the red letter words that are accredited to Jesus. The problem is not the writers of the NT… The problem is the readers.

    Harvey said Her, here!
    ----------
    Lol…

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  81. One thing I have learned is the mind has no inherent way of knowing the truth from a lie. It only will refuse to buy a lie when the instinct that come with the Human package or previous conditioning or programing has a problem with the incoming info. So the mind cannot be trusted to know the truth. All of the info other than my personal experiences have come from other minds that are no more trust worthy than mine. The only absolute I have found is "I am". With my new insights, and my training I found it very easy to change my thoughts to anything I wanted. But now comes the big question, if I can change my thought to whatever, how do I decide which ones are right. My conclusion to this problem is; The first question of life is, do I want to continue to live on this world. I answer, that question with, what kind of life are we talking about. That is one thing I have never understood about Christians, many say they do not like the life they are experiencing, but are ready and excited to sign onto an eternity of it. To me if life is not basically enjoyable I want nothing to do with it. So my bottom line on choosing what thoughts I embrace must be qualified to lead to an enjoyable life. This is where the spiritual way of thinking comes in, it produces the most enjoyable way to live I have ever read, heard, or experienced. By far.

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  82. Observant why do you not own it, you have bought into manmade religion and refuse to hear anything that disagrees with it? The spirit sets one free, and you remained chained to a book where there is no freedom.

    You say; You or any other person CAN NOT experience a spiritual rebirth also known “born again” and reject God and Christ for the themselves reject all who will not believe in them….What you are saying is impossible where God is concerned.
    ----------------------
    Now what you are saying here is I am either lying or do not know what my experience was. Now how do you know this? You don't, you read it is some book and are basing your judgement on someone else's idea. Yea, I know you cannot own the truth here because if you did you would realize what you have done to yourself
    .

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  83. Observant, as far as understanding the bible, how many cow pies must one step in before he/she recognizes they are stepping in shit?

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  84. There's a lot more evidence in the bible that Jesus wanted his followers to be more like say, Jerry or Botts, than Observant. However, people like Observant have read the book through a filter of what they wish to see in it, what others have told them that it says, so where we see gentle Jesus meek and mild who loves the poor and the sick the most and cares not one whit for the wealthy, where we read the words that are there, he sees, well, something else. Something contrary to all of that. Because he has to. Or else. He'd have to change himself. Too painful to even go there. He'd have to give the ego up. His religion has told him that it is his soul.

    Interesting problem in human psychology. How to get through to a real believer like Mike when everything you tell him is run through that selfsame filter?

    It's better perhaps, to treat them as lost forever, and go have dinner.

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  85. In order for Mike to understand the bible his way, he has to do what?

    Go to church, a lot. He just said so to Jerry.

    So obviously, he needs help in order to 'understand' it. And yet, the words are plain.

    It's the church part of the equation that prevents him from seeing that. The more time he spends there, the more he 'knows' that he's right, because that's what they're telling him over and over and over and over and over and over and..... It obviously makes him fell better 'knowing' he's 'right' than he thinks it would make him feel actually following the exact words in the book as written.
    Ignorance is what again? Oh yeah, bliss. Bliss. Happiness. Ignorance is happiness. Not because it's better to be ignorant; because it's so much easier.

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  86. Nor have I ever meet a man who lived his life above sin as did Jesus …
    -------------
    I hear this way too much from christians.

    I see it for what it is now. An excuse not to even try.

    And that... well, that misses the whole point completely, now doesn't it?

    Look into yourself and see that what I am saying is the truth. Or don't. I am no longer attached to whether you ever see anything.

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  87. "..I will fear no evil.."

    You see, if you don't fear no evil, you're not a Christian.

    If you think it's really saing, "I will not fear evil.", you're just reading it wrong.

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  88. Good one Pboy!!
    Perhaps you meant this to be funny (although I doubt that), but you have recognized a central truth for Christians. If there were NO EVIL in the world (as the Bible defines EVIL), Christianity would have no basis for its beliefs. It is noteworthy that the doctrines of Christianity revolve around Adam's fall from grace, which requires eternal damnation for all humans. If it were possible for a person to reach his/her heavenly reward by simply having lived a "good" life, there would be no need for forgiveness, let alone God having fathered a clone of himself in human form and then sacrificed Himself to expiate this original EVIL. All of Christianity and most of the other established Abrahamic religions would also fall by the wayside.
    Brilliant!!

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  89. pboy,

    I hope that the two long post I made gives you a better idea where I am coming from.

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  90. Observant,
    I have to wonder how come you want to de legitimize others experience. You did this to Ryan, Botts, and you do it to me. Are you so afraid that you refuse to see we are different, and as different people we are bound to have different ways of experiencing life. What I see wrong with Christianity is plan as day in Ryan's case. His experience is just as legit as yours or mine, but the phoney ideas put forth by Christianity caused Ryan to finally conclude it was all phoney. What a shame. Of course you and other Christians are very willing to wash your hands of false info that drives people like Ryan away from pursuing his experience. That is like pilot washing his hand of the crucifixion. You not only do not believe anyone whose experience is different than your intellectual understanding, you put out a judgment that it cannot happen that way because you cannot understand how anyone's experience could be beyond your understating. The only reason I can think of to act like such a jerk is you are seriously afraid. You spoke of scholars and their understanding of the bible. Where can you find a more consecrated group of bible thumpers than in the Vatican. And we all know how rampant child molesting went on (and probably still does) in that group. If that is the ultimate trip the bible puts one on, I am very glad to pass on that. Better check yourself, seeing as how it lead those scholars to become the lowest of the low. My conclusion at this time is you are drowning in fear, only reason I can think of to act so ridiculous toward other people. Brian might be right it is you ego, maybe so, but I am betting on fear, of course fear in this case is very ego related. As far as Ryan goes, I would like to talk to him in about ten years. I have confidence that Ryan is a truth seeker, and will find out sooner or later that the spiritual life is real and the way to go even though Christianity had nothing but a false teaching that sent him on a detour. If he was not a real truth seeker he would be still stuck in the same swamp he experienced in Christianity, the swamp you seem to be stuck in. One thing that you have helped clarify in my mind. The difference between biblical Christianity, and the spiritual life is like night and day. Maybe if you were to focus on how can it be that we are all equal you to could find the spiritual life rather than the life of fear the bible offers.

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  91. Fear conditions and the ego believes. It's a two-pronged attack. There is always the fear, fear of hell, fear of being a sinner, fear of learning something that might sway your faith. Fear of reality, in effect. All based in the coercive morality system employed. But the ego relates to belief. One is taught that it is best to listen to the desires of one's own ego more than things like outside facts and the exhortations of others. To have faith (believe with no evidence) is elevated to parity with and even superiority to listening to the facts that exist. Mere faith is best. And faith means not listening to others *because you KNOW you're right.* (Even when wrong) Faith is a type of egotism in and of itself. And it's actively cultivated in the religion as something desirable and a goal to acheive, rather than something to avoid at all costs in one's thinking, a mental flaw, which is what it really is.

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  92. Oh and let's not forget 'fear of one's own sexuality' which is perhaps the most damaging kind.

    So the fear damages them, breaks them if you will, and the egotism allows them to believe they're doing just great as they are, no need for improvements or growth of any kind.

    I mean, what does one say of the person that has a story in their heads that they insist on believing even when confronted with proof that it is not valid? They cling to it and deny all proofs and all evidence, why?
    Because it's been linked to their ego, that's why.
    To believe that they have been wrong all along, at this point is not even an option anymore, now is it? Their mind is set in ego cement.

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  93. I thin that, in order for a human being with a human spirit, to believe that they must be a subservient groveller to a god they fear and love at the same time, a god of love who kills at the drop of a hat, a god of love that created a hell for those he doesn't love, one must be broken like a horse. One's spirit must be utterly broken. At a young age, preferrably.

    That's what hell is for, of course.

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  94. The Bible is the source of the teachings of Jesus. So to say I am into the Bible is the same as saying I am into Jesus and His teachings.
    ---------------
    There are many other things in the bible that are actually contary to the teachings of Jesus, so believing in them all at the same time produces a psychosis, a schism, a trauma. It's not possible to believe in contraries unless one is willing to sacrifice one's sanity in order to do so.

    So, do unto others and an eye for an eye, but don't forget to turn the other cheek as you do so...

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  95. Is it brave to not be able to overcome your fear of your god? Is it brave to not be able to even listen to any counterarguments, to spurn them reflexively? No, it is not. It is cowardly. Becoming an atheist in the face of all the christian conditioning, overcoming your FEAR of hell, your FEAR of your god, and leaving the religion, now that is a brave thing to be able to do. That takes balls. It's like breaking out of prison.

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  96. There are many other things in the bible that are actually contary to the teachings of Jesus, so believing in them all at the same time produces a psychosis, a schism, a trauma. It's not possible to believe in contraries unless one is willing to sacrifice one's sanity in order to do so.

    Amen

    "ego cement" that is funny

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  97. Brian,

    "There is always the fear, fear of hell, fear of being a sinner, fear of learning something that might sway your faith. Fear of reality, in effect. All based in the coercive morality system employed."

    Not one to pass up a complement if I can give it, this idea is where you helped loosen my faith shackles. Thank you sir.

    The "bible" even condemns itself in this regard. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Fearing an abstract parental figure is death to a positive self-image. Self-hate then becomes the main psychological filter, distorting and undermining perceptions. If you hate yourself how can you trust yourself? If you can't trust yourself, you go back to the Lord who condemned you in the first place. Such a superbly vicious cycle.

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  98. So well said, harry. Really well put. If I helped you in any way to see that, I'm very happy.

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  99. Fearing an abstract parental figure is death to a positive self-image. Self-hate then becomes the main psychological filter, distorting and undermining perceptions.
    ---------
    And there's more. Now factor in absolutely positively being forced by everything you believe in, to also love that parental figure with all your heart and soul and somehow therefore it's you that is bad, is possibly even unworthy of his love, which he supposedly gives freely or something like that. When you can mix jesus love and yaweh 'love' and have to believe both are valid kinds of 'love' then it's an incredible mindfuck isn't it? It's almost, well, evil, isn't it? So then god is love, and love is also hatred and self-rightous indignation and wrath and jealousy and punishment and egternal agony. If we question that, we're evil to even ask. More evil. It's a rigged game.

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  100. Yes. Exactly.

    Hopefully the deconstruction of religion in general, but especially the Abrahamic ones, will expunge that insidious emotional torture and give us real clarity as to religion's positive utility in human life.

    I think we're close. I just wish there were more atheist theologians, the more the better.

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  101. Yeah, and hopefully they won't take out the planet in their death throes. Because, they would. In a heartbeat. Given the chance.
    Which is why the idea of a dominionist like Palin with the 'red button' is a horror show.

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  102. No Harry, you are wrong .There is not always fear. Fear is replaced with love…After a person is born again God takes away the fear… The Bible said perfect love cast away fear. You said at one time you were a Christian …. If that is so then you should be able to explain to me what the fear is, and what caused it.
    The scripture , The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, This scripture does not pertain to Christians…. It’s intent is to non-Christians. This type of fear will cause people to seek God for salvation for their souls. Christian people don’t run around afraid all the time as you suppose. You guys don’t have a clue when it comes to Christianity. No self hate as you claim. Harry, what made you think you were at one time Christian.

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  103. Mike...

    If only you could see how you're not getting what we're talking about at all.

    You're afraid for instance, to even think that you might be WRONG. Fess up. You can't even go there in your head. You've convinced yourself that you're absolutely right, and that is ALWAYS a very bad thing for anyone. Because that's just when people are the MOST WRONG. When they're as sure as you are that they aren't.

    Look within, Mike. Not in a book. In yourself.

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  104. You can't experiment in your mind, ask yourself real questions, and then ask yourself if the pat answers which you've been told are the right answers to those questions, are really the right answers, or just how other people in the religion wanted you to think.
    Because dude, it's the latter. Trust me.
    You're not even reading the bible right. You can't see that jesus is not on your side on this stuff. He makes it really plain, too.
    Poor Jesus. He tried. He tried his best to be plain enough to get through to you. It's right there in the book.

    Too bad you can't see it, huh? What a waste of a life.

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  105. "Harry, what made you think you were at one time Christian. [sic]"

    What makes you think you're one now?
    ------

    Why is your interpretation correct of the bible correct and others' bogus? Each sect of christianity has a different view on the compilation of writings. Many say that the 'fear of the lord' comment applies to christians.

    In fact, Fred Phelps would say that you're going to hell Mike. You would say (and probably have said) that the posters on B's blog will be going to hell. I have no more reason to believe you than him. Your evidences equal each other.

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  106. Hey Obsy,

    It's the Sabbath, why don't you take a break?

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  107. I wonder how it is even possible for there to be so very many fools in the world that all proclaim that they and they alone (and their church) have the exact correct understanding of the bible and of jesus christ, and then add in all those of other religions that believe the exact same about their god and church/temple/mosque, and how many are even ready to die for that belief, and yet again they're all different, so while it's possible that one particular one is the right one, it becomes vanishingly unlikely that any of them are. From outside that group of sects and religions there is not one that has anything really different to recommend it, certainly not christianity, and yet, they all go on and insist to themselves that they are somehow so incredibly smart that they and they alone have it right, and the rest can go to hell.

    Now that's what I call PRIDE, Mike. Hubris, even, in a way. To actually think so much of yourself that you think you're the one that has it all right and all the rest of the world is wrong, takes a lot of pride.

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  108. In fact, Fred Phelps would say that you're going to hell Mike. You would say (and probably have said) that the posters on B's blog will be going to hell. I have no more reason to believe you than him. Your evidences equal each other.
    ------------
    Of course they do. Exactly. No real difference.

    You can say I suppose that mike's beliefs aren't as hateful and intolerant and that he's somewhat nicer to others than is Phelps and try to differentiate on that basis, but then you'd have to admit that botts and jerry both kick his ass in those departments... so where does that leave him? Equally as wrong, to be sure.

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  109. What makes you think you're one now?
    -----------
    Lol... he's so self-blinded, Harry. The fact that he is so sure that he is one is precisely why he can't ever become one.

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  110. Do all self-thought 'real christians' believe that they and they alone think that they've had a special revelation from their god? Really? That the other believers haven't ever had those exact same type of feelings, even visions or whatever? It's in our psychology that if we want something to be true badly enough we start to believe that we can see it. Especially when complicated by all the guilt and doubt and fear and rapturous emotions involved in such a thing as one's religion. And more especially when told by others in the faith that it is possible and they've had it happen to them and it is very desirable to have one?

    Geeze, that's naive, isn't it?

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  111. Isn't it in luke somewhere about the rich man not being able to get into heaven?

    Didn't the rich man in that story behave exactly the same as mike, except in that case it was about giving away his wealth to get into heaven? As in, he couldn't do it, because deep down he couldn't believe that he had to. It meant more to him that even what jesus was telling him. And, he was the one who asked. That was when jesus said that thing about a camel and the eye of a needle.

    I'll paraphrase jesus:
    'It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a person who only believes that they follow me, to realize that they do not.'

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  112. And how is it that I can see mike so clearly reading that last paragraph and reacting 'what do you know about the words of jesus, I'm the expert, I go to church all the time, I read the bible, I'm the one that understands it better....'

    I I I I I I I I I I I I I I

    A perfect illustration of what I mean.

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  113. I'm stoning myself as we speak. Sabbath or no.

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  114. "Is this knee-jerk dislike of atheists warranted? Not even close.

    A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency — issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious."

    OF COURSE THEY ARE!!!

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  115. One of the things that puzzles me about bible believers. If a person is a parent, and just has the natural animal instinctual love for his/her child which is often deep enough that the parent would give his/her physical life if necessary. Most parents give so very much of their lives every day for their offspring. Thinking of an imperfect human being giving so much to another, and then think of a perfect loving father, which god is supposed to be, according to Jesus. How can a person who knows the love for the child, and thinks of god as a loving god, relate that to a god that would do what the man created god of the bible did?

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  116. Bri, we're all wrong by virtue of the fact that we disagree with Mike.

    Jerry,

    Well said. It's not eloquent in the slightest but I know what I would call a father who parented like Jehovah... a dick.

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  117. You are being very kind Harry.

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  118. Well I see they are honoring the chief pedophile.

    "Vatican officials have insisted that John Paul deserves beatification despite the fallout from the abuse scandal, saying the saint-making process isn't a judgment of how he administered the church but rather whether he lived a life of Christian virtue."

    As though the two could be separate. There seems no end to the duplicity.

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  119. At least the old pedophile wasn't a nazi too.

    (Sigh)

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  120. I've said this before but...

    Do you people see that Yaweh is an active male parental role model for christians?
    Because I certainly do.

    The Authoritarian Father who will brook no disobedience... corporal punishment will follow, or worse. He's right every time because he says he's right, and that's the best reason. Keep the kids in terror of his Power and Will...
    And since he's always right, he can do anything, anything he wants to, and it's justified, because after all, he's the Father... So pederasty is no big deal, whippings are de rigeur, and always there will be screaming and yelling and cruelty... because no matter what, he loves you, and it's good for you. Somehow.

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  121. Brian: "There is always the fear, fear of hell, fear of being a sinner, fear of learning something that might sway your faith. Fear of reality, in effect. All based in the coercive morality system employed."

    Harry: "Not one to pass up a complement if I can give it, this idea is where you helped loosen my faith shackles. Thank you sir."

    Harry, that's interesting. Would you be willing to elaborate on what that ideas is, and how it helped you? I'd appreciate your input too, Brian (or anyone else's, of course!).

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  122. Eric said...

    Brian: "There is always the fear, fear of hell, fear of being a sinner, fear of learning something that might sway your faith. Fear of reality, in effect. All based in the coercive morality system employed."


    The fears you mention here is illusions. The only real fear that us humans experience is the inherent animal fear, all others are simply fears of the mind. Fear of hell, fear of being a sinner , etc is little more than mental masturbation. If these are your fears you can thank your belief system.

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  123. Harry, it's interesting that deconstructing fear (at least how I interpret your statement) was a huge part of your shedding superstition. I can't really say that any one thing lead me to discount the whole belief thing. It was many things in concert. There are two things which generally stand out as cornerstones. One of course is science. The deeper I looked the less designed anything appeared. The way the world worked was easier to explain in a naturalist sense. For example, in our very genome is the kind of road map back to the beginning that is completely missing from theological explanations. A history of evolution. All right there in living color.

    The other thing is something I've posted on before; There are humans who are more loving, forgiving and just than the God of the Bible. Since that house of cards is central to why we are such loathsome sinners compared to his divine perfection, the existence of even one more perfect human is a fatal exception.

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  124. Harry, that's interesting. Would you be willing to elaborate on what that ideas is, and how it helped you?
    ---------
    Hary is welcome to try. As to me, no, since no further elaboration is necessary unless the person is either intentionally or unintentionally in denial of the entire concept. So then, what point expostulating? You can't or won't see it, or admit that you do at any rate, so to try to explain to you is a complete waste of time. You get off on frustrating the atheists. Why give you the satisfaction?

    Silly christian, believers can't really defeat thinkers; they only believe that they have. One of the reasons they're so obnoxious.

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  125. Brian said,
    Mike…

    If only you could see how you're not getting what we're talking about at all.

    You're afraid for instance, to even think that you might be WRONG. Fess up. You can't even go there in your head. You've convinced yourself that you're absolutely right, and that is ALWAYS a very bad thing for anyone. Because that's just when people are the MOST WRONG. When they're as sure as you are that they aren't.

    Look within, Mike. Not in a book. In yourself.
    --------------------------------------
    The irony is I do get what you are saying. Brian, here me please. The reason I do not believe in evolution is because it is scientifically impossible for life to evolve from a non-life source.
    I don’t have to fear being wrong…. For one thing , If, and I say “If for your benefit” I’m wrong then what is there to fear? Death is nothing more than the unknown, and I face that in my life on a day to day basis. Who knows what tomorrow will bring…. Could I face death today ? Sure, but I don’t fear it… I learned a long time ago that dying is as much a part of life as living. And Brian , I didn’t convince myself … That’s my point here. The same God you say does not exist insured me He does, and promised me one day that He would be there when I die to carry me over to the other side. You are the ones who are in fear, there’s always that little thought in the back of your minds…. What if…

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  126. The reason I do not believe in evolution is because it is scientifically impossible for life to evolve from a non-life source.
    I don’t have to fear being wrong….
    ---------------
    But you are indeed wrong about that, Mike. We've gone over this one before. Life does indeed evolve from non-life sources given enough time and the right conditions, mike. It's not even hard to understand. Proteins and amino acids are chemicals, but they are also 'almost' life. Like a half-way point between life and non-life.
    You refuse to see it. Your belief gets in the way. You have to be right, even though you are not. And you fear being wrong about your faith, so you can't be, you won't allow yourself to even go there.

    Not very brave, mike.

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  127. The most chickenshit people I've ever seen confront their own death, the most confused and fearful, were christians. Family members. And family friends. Their faith failed them, really, in the end. They told themselves they believed all along, all their lives, so they wouldn't fear death, but that just didn't work in the end. The doubts they had suppressed all their lives surfaced, when death was at the door.

    I do not live in fear of death, and I know that I will face it much more bravely than they did. It's not that hard to. They were terrified.

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  128. Mike said,

    "...it is scientifically impossible for life to evolve from a non-life source."

    Name ONE scientist that has made such a sweeping statement, and I'll show you a fellow of the Discovery Institute.

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  129. It is however, scientifically impossible for a religious nut to ever believe that they might be wrong.

    The science involved is basic psychology, mike.

    You are not one that can rise above that, are you mike.

    What a shame.

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  130. The irony is I do get what you are saying. Brian,
    -----------------
    If that ever happened, you'd immediately fall down to the ground in tears, sobs wracking your body as your entire life flashes before your eyes. That's how very much you DO NOT EVER get what I'm talking about, mike.

    But you sure do like to BELIEVE that you do, dontcha?

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  131. What's next mike? Sticking your fingers in your ears and singing 'la la la?' I mean, you're practically there already.

    Too scared to dare to listen to us evil folk, I guess.

    Great conditioning ya got there dude. Seamless, really.

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  132. I suppose that my post does not really answer the question, since I am neither a Christian nor was I ever "born again". As I have posted before, I am a Jew, born and bred, and remain one to this day, although after extensive study of Torah, Tanakh, Talmud, etc. and fairly rigid observance during my first 18-20 years, I rather suddenly realized that I had never stopped to ask myself if I believed in any God, let alone the one to wich the accident of my birth happened to bring me. Perhaps if my parents had been fundamentalist Christians, I would have had a similar experience to some of you I have read about here.
    In any event, after quite serious "seeking" among several types of Christianity,Islam,etc., I was forced to the conclusion that
    1) I could find no more logical answers among them to the questions of existance than my birth tradition had provided, but even more to rhe point,
    2) I realized that I did not seem to have a "god-shaped" hole in my psyche. Since I found myself at peace with reality and, in particular, with no great concern that this life is all there is and that it would end with a state of existance (or lack thereof) no different than what I may have had before I was conceived, the entire issue of belief, let alone any need to modify my behavior to propitiate some deity, simply fell away. Over fifty years (and counting) after this "epiphany" I am still at peace with those decisons I made in my early twenties. Freeing myself from "belief", however, has certainly neither freed me from the ethical training I grew up with, nor has it given me license to behave uncaringly towrd my fellows in this life or toward any life, for that m,atter. The only difference is that what matters now is not the opinion of my parents or teachers, but my own opinion of my behavior. In that regard, I still feel that much of my religious upbringing has still provided me with wise guidelines, at least insofar as they apply to interpersonal relationships; any relationship to a God simply is irrelevant.

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  133. Toward any life?

    See, that is something that christian morality misses altogether. Reverence for ALL life, not just human life.

    What an entirely deficient system of morality. It can't even be called that, really. It doesn't even qualify. It's more an IM-morality system.

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  134. This is part of a post of mine on this issue of abiogenesis. It's not claiming to be the answer merely to show that naturalistic processes can result in the development of life.
    ---------------------------------

    "In the beginning there were the elements. Forged in the hearts of dying stars. Scattered about by explosions so big that we don't have words to do it justice. Some of those elements happened to condense along with many others to form a rocky planet just far enough from its primary star to have liquid water. Through well known chemical processes these became compounds including lipids, amino acids and nucleic acids. No magic save physics was required to reach that point. Nucleic acids could become RNA strands through self-catalyzing reactions that can be mimicked in a lab today. Lipids could form globules encasing small quantities of fluid and any random compounds so engulfed. Peptides could form from the amino acids. All these things can be replicated today. There appear to have been ample avenues for these events to have occurred on the primordial Earth.

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  135. And so it probably went for some very long time until perhaps through countless random mutations of unstable nucleic acid strands a sequence of base pairs had enough affinity for a particular set of amino acids that they came into proximity long enough and frequently enough to create a peptide that made that particular strand less unstable. If so, it might have stoked the first fires of natural selection. How at such a primitive level? If it were more stable it might catalyze more copies of itself and begin to represent a larger and larger percent of the available strands. Natural selection is simple reproductive success. We tend to think of it only in the context of living systems but in pre-life conditions, reproductive success may be nothing more than greater chemical stability and superior catalysis. Is that enough to favor one arrangement of compounds over another? - just ask DuPont or any other chemical manufacturing company. Perhaps the strands were aided in this by being surrounded by the lipid globules preventing dilution of the reactive elements allowing for more reactions. Maybe not. But this imagining once again does not require magic beyond organic chemistry.

    Although all these reactions were merely the product of simple chemistry at some point perhaps either a random mutation in a nucleic acid strand or a random combination in a peptide created from raw amino acids created a new sequence. One that made it easier for our more stable nucleic acid strand to be created from random nucleotides floating about. A catalyst. The first enzyme. Back and forth it went for time beyond imagining. The addition of a new peptide making it easier to create a new peptide or nucleic acid strand or visa versa. Natural selection by chemical stability and the ability to replicate from the primordial soup. (Remember - creation of the options for selection is random but natural selection is very nonrandom and an extremely powerful driver.) In time enough of these accidents accumulated that a tally of useful bits could be immortalized in a strand of nucleic acid sequences. Maybe some combination made it more likely that those lipids would aggregate around the reactive mass of more complex compounds. And the principle players required to make a cell were brought together. For now, all powered by the heat of the earth’s creation. There may have been many contending arrangements fighting for supremacy but eventually some structures centered around using DNA provided just enough stability to improve their replicative success and just enough chemical divergence to ramp up the engine of selection. The other contenders hadn't a chance. Soon the victor's descendants would stumble upon a chemical arrangement that would allow them to gather a small part of the enormous energy of our local star. But physics still ruled. Organizing that all that energy required a larger component of disorder within the ecosystem. As a consequence they would pollute the atmosphere with a terrible poison - oxygen. A pollutant that would turn out to greatly accelerate local disorder (satisfying thermodynamics) but also provide the ample power needed for more complex life. A billion or two years later, one family of their distant descendants would ponder and argue the nature of existence.

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  136. So well put, pliny. Saint Sagan would be proud.

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  137. "Fear of hell, fear of being a sinner , etc is little more than mental masturbation. If these are your fears you can thank your belief system."

    Jerry, that's interesting. I never thought of it as being solely due to the way I believed. It's possible I guess.

    For me, belief, in the sense we are talking about, is a non-starter. With no evidence to justify it, it is solely a function of the working brain, adding 'system' to the word seems silly, like building a castle in the sky of the mind. So regardless of whether my castle in the sky causes me angst or pleasure I am still trying to inhabit an illusion.

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  138. Check CNN... The POTUS is coming on to announce that we have the corpse of Osama bin Laden

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  139. Yeah, I was just coming on to announce it. The Prez will speak shortly.

    Obama did it. Sonavabitch.

    HEY YOU ASSHOLE REPUBLICANS! STILL BELIEVE HE'S A MUSLIM???

    (ahem)

    Sorry about that. Had to get it off my chest.

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  140. A republican conundrum.

    It is in their blood to revel in military victories.

    They want to revel in this one.

    However, Obama did it.

    Shit.

    Do they what, develop brain tumors?

    And how in the hell will they be able to slur him now? That'll have to tame down a notch, maybe.

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  141. Mike, mike, mike...

    You've been calling him 'oby' and dissing him at every turn.

    You may apologize now. It is time for it.

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  142. This is huge. Did I need to even say that?

    This is really huge. It may even be just what we needed as a country right now.

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  143. This makes sense. Dick Cheney was/is a war profiteer, he doesn't benefit if we win. Obama was just doing the job Dick didn't allow Bush to do.

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  144. I just read a good one...

    Fox News is reporting, Donald Trump is demanding to see BinLaden's deathe certificate.


    Don't forget Birthday salutations for pboy !

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  145. I just figured it out (who Obama reminds me of...):

    Just as I was watching the third iteration of his speech, it hit me.

    He's Rod Serling, with a good tan.

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  146. Rod Serling...

    'Considered for your approval....'

    I loved the TZ...

    And tonight, it feels like I've entered it.

    I'm so not used to anything good happening.

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  147. Thanks mac. Another year older and closer to death.

    What does Osama being dead mean to me? A horrible news day. It's 10 a.m. and I've seen that face and heard the platitudes about freedom and justice 'til I'm sick of it already.

    I, myself never tire of hearing how the corporations, through their political shills, are trying to throw grandma on the street and help ruin the economy they pretend to cherish!

    Old age being rebranded from priceless, to worthless.

    And homeless people don't vote.

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  148. I was just telling some of my friends on facebook that I expect that, contrary to the claim of having thrown him into the sea, my guess is that Osama will be stuufed, mounted and passing out cigars at Langley within a month.

    And if he's not, then he should be.

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  149. Who knows - maybe in 50 years somebody will find his skull in a paper bag like Hitler's was in KBG headquarters.

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  150. "As to me, no, since no further elaboration is necessary unless the person is either intentionally or unintentionally in denial of the entire concept."

    Brian, I'm serious: I don't quite understand the reasoning, but I'd like to.

    I fear many things; does my fearing them say one thing about whether they're 'real'? I don't think so. As I understood it, Harry was saying that once he understood that fear plays a role in religious belief, his leaving behind religious belief was eased. If this is what he was saying, then I think my initial point stands: the question isn't whether some belief induces fear, but whether the belief is true, and if so, whether its object should be feared. Do you disagree?

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  151. I'm sorry, how the hell did we get bin Laden's DNA in the first place?

    Happy birthday peeb.

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  152. Harry:

    The Bin Laden family is huge. Osama has something like 50 siblings, cousins, etc... some of whom live in America and don't like what Osama was doing, and cooperated with the U.S., as much as they were able, which wasn't much beyond providing DNA samples, apparently.

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  153. Thanks Ed, I wasn't going to bother trolling the net for fear of numerous conspiracy links popping up in my search and giving me hyped up info.

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  154. Harry was saying that he realized that the reason that he didn't seriously consider other viewpoints, other religions, or none at all for that matter, couldn't look at them and ask himself honestly if they had validity too, or if no religion had validity, was that he had fear, and that fear he realized, was intentionally induced by that selfsame religion. Once he realized that a fear was holding him back, he rebelled against it. As is natural for a free person, he rejected the ideology that used subtly induced fear to keep it's believers believing instead of thinking.

    So what's your point, Eric? That you REALLY believe that you're right and your god is real?

    So what?

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  155. The reason it is difficult to ask yourself if you are wrong, or to ask yourself if you are following a false religion, or to listen to other viewpoints with a truly open mind, is fear. Induced fear/programming such as believing oneself 'evil' or even that one is'going to hell' for even doubting a little bit, and so forth. Plus the ego-related fear of being wrong, pure and simple.

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  156. In some individuals the fear is very minor, and the ego is ascendant. So in those people they are so in love with themselves that they use their religion to justify their egotism. They belong so as to feel saved and good and moral and special and chosen and a part of something greater blah blah blah. All egotism. Because they don't ever ACT that way; the mere fact that they 'know' (believe) that they are all those good things, is precisely why they never strive to become them. Believing that you're 'all set' and saved and going to heaven, to a person in whom the threat of hell is the ONLY thing stopping them from being a brute (due to defective coercion-based christian morality) means they are FREE to be the inner asshole they always wished they could be.

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  157. Not to mention that morality based on fear (as ALL religious morality is) is absolutely ridiculous.

    The concept of God's Law means we have to obey or we're toast (literally, in the christian view?) if we do not OBEY. There's really no good in the heart that is only behaving out of fear of retribution or want of eternal reward.

    If any religious minded commenter will answer me here:
    Do you fear Hell? Even the apologist version of Hell that is merely a separation from god ?

    If you answer yes, how do you reconcile that with your freewill? Are you really free to choose?

    Would you still be a good person if you didn't have your god's guidance?

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  158. All great points, Mac.

    Eric, do you fear hell? At all?

    Do you believe in it?

    Do tell, sir.

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  159. Not to mention that morality based on fear (as ALL religious morality is) is absolutely ridiculous.
    -----------
    Yes, I harp on this constantly. Coercive morality isn't. Isn't morality at all. It's acting moral, on purpose, out of fear of consequences if you don't. Action based in fear cannot be called moral action, even if the result is a morally just outcome. The intent was not to help others out of love for others, or to be a good man so as to help others and lessen their burden on this sad earth. The motive, is selfish. A morality based in a selfish motive. And we wonder why there are so many sick people walking around.
    The ost immoral people are consistantly the ones that believe that they are among the very best, most moral of all people. God helps with that a lot. God can build a great self-image in a person no matter what heinousness is buried in their heart and mind. God allows self-justification. And look also at all the immoral examples that god himself nas set, found in the bible. The ultimate bad father archetype, distant, uncaring, treating his children like an ant farm. An experiment. Or even a bet with satan.
    Pathetic. I can't believe any one of them have the sheer balls to defend it to me.

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  160. Of course they don't merely defend their moral system, they actually are idiotic enough to insist that it's the very wellspring of all love and morality on the planet! That it's the very basis of all morality!

    What hubris, to actually believe they're that good while being that bad in the world.

    Induced hubris, of course.

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  161. Eric,

    What if the very evil you create is only due to you believing yourself a sinner by nature, saved by grace?

    What if the only way to truly do good works is by understanding the self as good and pure? Not evil. Not bad. Not rotten. Not fallen.

    You have the intellectual capacity to see the gigantic flaw in expecting someone who hates themselves to love others... and yes, if you think you're a sinner saved by grace, you hate yourself.

    You hate yourself so much you think you need somebody else's nature. You think you are insufficient, lacking, defective. Your pride is simply a rational reaction to another human being telling you a lie, 'Eric's not good enough.'

    This lie is a stunning perversion of your natural morality: duty to yourself and others. Salvation undermines both. It is self-contempt hiding in a bright light. It leaves you bereft of the capacity to participate in a social activity such as altruism except in name.

    But part of you already knows all this. I hope you'll listen to it and quit the cognitive dissonance game.

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  162. Brian said,...

    "Coercive morality isn't. Isn't morality at all. It's acting moral, on purpose, out of fear of consequences if you don't. Action based in fear cannot be called moral action, even if the result is a morally just outcome."

    An easier way to say this is to say that "obeying God isn't moral; it's just obedient".

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  163. An easier way to say this is to say that "obeying God isn't moral; it's just obedient".
    -----------
    Nice.

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  164. Pboy my superskeptical friend,

    I'm getting data here from the news as regards the Bin Ladin kill, that is bothering my intuitions.

    They buried him at sea? So fast? They say it's because they don't want a location for pilgrimages or whatever... this bothers me. A red flag.

    Also, the narrative is too perfect. Even the flaw, a helicopter down, is too convenient. Too much like 'blachawk down' etc.

    It's too pat.

    Am I being too skeptical?

    I want to celebrate along with everyone else, but I must confess these serious doubts.

    Hope I'm wrong.

    What do you (and all of the rest of you for that matter) think?

    I see red flags. Shit.

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  165. Whenever I feel my emotions responding, I am wary that they are being expertly manipulated.

    This just seems too 'good' to be true.

    Hope it is.

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  166. I often wonder what virtue is to be found in obedience. Especially obedience to a tyrant, out of fear of his power. To even grovel, abasing one's self. And to think this a virtue somehow

    To me it seems the very essence of cowardice.

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  167. Plus, what the psyche of the god so honored? Why the need for complete abasement and prostration to his awesomeness?

    Why the huge fucking ego, is my point I guess...

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  168. About the 'helicopter down' part of the narrative.

    It makes Obama look smarter than not only Bush for getting Bin Ladin, but smarter than Clinton for *specifically having personally thought of having a contingency plan for just such an occasion.* It's in the news that Obama himself thought of having a 'plan b' if a *helicopter* went down....

    Are you seeing this too, or am I falling victim to 'conspiracy-think?'

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  169. I just thought of a comment for my christian friends...

    Review my last comments. Can you at least see that I question literally everything? You know I like Obama, mostly... and yet I do not hesitate to hold him to my standards. Not to his. To mine. I doubt his honesty in this. Hope I'm wrong, but still, I am in doubt here.

    When I did this with god many years ago, he unfortunately failed miserably. My questions, much to my surprise, penetrated the charade like a neutrino through gossamer. It's not hard to see how much christians are 'trying' for lack of a better word, if you just frigging look. The religion most emphatically does NOT stand up to honest, unbiased scrutiny.

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  170. It leaves you bereft of the capacity to participate in a social activity such as altruism except in name.
    ------------
    Yeah. In a nutshell, if you help out an old lady crossing the street, you do it to feel better about yourself and your chances of getting into heaven. This allows you to have no qualms about taking away her social security, since that is a comfortable distance away from you.

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  171. Mac, The concept of Gods law was so mankind would have a knowledge of sin.
    God has given man a choice to choose between good / evil, right / wrong.
    There are consequences to these choices, all persons are accountable for his / her actions… We see this in our judicial system as well.

    The point you guys are missing is this, God did not make hell for mankind…. Hell was originally made for Satan and his angels as eternal punishment for trying to overthrow God from His throne. This is where the trouble begin, Satan was cast out of heaven unto the earth to have his revenge on God by way of Gods creation Adam / Eve. Adam / Eve had a choice just as you do… They could have rejected Satan’s sale pitch … They had the choice of freewill ,the choice to obey the command of God and not to eat or touch the forbidden fruit. I understand you are probably rolling on the floor by now with the forbidden fruit story, the thing is I do not believe the fruit on that particular tree was much different from any other tree accept for the fact that God said do not eat or touch it. We see here that it is the disobedience of Gods will that brought the fall of man, the fruit was nothing more than the trigger that started the motion.

    I feared hell before God saved my soul ,but I do not fear it now , not for myself, because God took the fear away when he delivered my soul.
    Yes I was free to choose and I at this point was well aware of the consequences of my choice.
    I have known many people who were not religious and they lived good moral lives… It is not the goodness God requires of man it’s repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

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  172. Brian said,...

    "Plus, what['s] the psyche of the god so honored? Why the need for complete abasement and prostration to his awesomeness?

    Why the huge fucking ego, is my point I guess..."

    It's obviously an analogue to the earthly heirarchy, and explains one's duty to be obedient to the earthly king's commands. You know, I've been saying this for as long as I've been blogging:

    "(Organized)Religion is a control device invented by the ruling class for the purpose of maintaining civil control".

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  173. Are you seeing this too, or am I falling victim to 'conspiracy-think?'

    Here's a possible explanation:

    A "free press" notwithstanding, there are very good reasons why our leadership (and not any particular leader, either) should refrain from blurting out "the whole truth". This should be obvious, too, even though many naive people in America think that "the American people deserve to know the truth".

    There are a lot of dynamics here.

    There's the "Peace Dividend Factor" (from 1991), where folks think that by having killed one man or solved one problem (in this case a dead bin Laden solves the problem; in 1991 the fall of the Soviet Union "solved" the problem), we can now pack up our military and leave Afghanistan and Iraq. The problem remains or a new problem emerges or becomes apparent, even though we all cheered the death of that rag-head bastard.

    Another issue is summed up in a book by Heinlein (I think it was "Double Star") where there was a revolutionary underground organization that had spies in the legitimate government. The main premise of the story was that the real leader had inconveniently died, so his inner circle pressed an actor that looked like the deceased leader into playing his part, at least temporarily. So here's this guy who has no political savvy, and he asks (naively), "Why don't we just kill all the spies?" and his handlers tell him that to do so alerts the opposition that we're onto their activities. Better to isolate them and feed them worthless information, let them think they're still "operating".

    And that's just two examples off the top of my head...

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  174. Observant,
    The book you read, you take over other peoples actual experience, so it obvious that you totally bought into your understanding of it. Do you remember the problem that Moses had with the people of his day worshiping idols, and his problem with them? Well you do belong to that group as you are buying into the bible the same as the people in Moses day bought into idols. The bible is your IDOL. Worshiping the living god you are not (unless Jesus was lying in his description of god).

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  175. I certainly have no way of knowing about Bin Laden and his demise when or where. I do know that I saw several times the communication that he bragged about 911. From where I sit it looks like this article is about like those that do not believe man ever set foot on the moon. I looked hard at all the pictures when they came out looking for a change and never found it. I could be wrong, but I think this article is BS. I do not think any president would go out on that limb. To easy to saw off, and that would be the end of him. The up side is to small for the tremendous down side. I do have confidence in the people who would know if he was killed, and buried long ago, and see the west getting off to the story of today, will come forward with the grave site to prove how screwed the west is. Their egos will not be able to resist putting the west in its place, and prove Obama is nothing more than a lying westerner. Time might tell for sure.

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  176. 'Twas just an example of a conspiracy theory I ran across, Jerry. I wasn't holding it out as authoritative, only that there are other opinions and stories out there.

    Who knows what the truth is?

    This killing of bin Laden only happened a couple of days ago, in an era of instant global news, video, photography, DNA analysis... but the parallels to the Jesus story are there for all to see, and it's not looking so good for the "historicity" aruments...

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  177. ...all of which brings us back to the question of "Fact vs. Belief".

    What ARE the facts? None of us lowly plebes knows, nor are we ever likely to get an honest answer from our "gubnint".

    This leaves all of us forming our own pet beliefs in the absence of any observable truth.

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  178. ...all of which brings us back to the original question of "Fact vs. Belief".

    None of us knows the truth, nor are any of us plebes ever likely to get a straight, honest answer from our "Gubnint".

    This leaves each of us free to form our own pet beliefs in the absence of any observable "truth".

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  179. Dang it! The first one vanished, so I wrote it again...

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  180. This leaves each of us free to form our own pet beliefs in the absence of any observable "truth".This leaves each of us free to form our own pet beliefs in the absence of any observable "truth".

    Amen. That is our condition, we can know some facts but we also must act on beliefs that are not factual as far as we know. Such is our fate. The best we can do is make sure the beliefs we use always are in agreement with the facts we know. For the beliefs we use that we can have no facts to help us, we must be very careful, and be ready to change our beliefs as new facts enlighten us. As we look around the world today it is glaringly obvious that organized religion ignores to many facts to be useful.

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  181. In the news.

    Bush gets credit for and takes responsibility for the very 'best' of the USA shooting dead an unarmed retired guy! Seems he resisted capture.

    What am I saying, of course he's not 'taking the blame' for anything.

    He's willing to take credit for anything, but Obama is going to get any blame here.

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  182. Here's a little story about a player in the online game Evony.

    He mentioned that his keyboard was acting up. I suggested that he ought not to be buying keyboards from passing gypsies.(a joke, I thought)

    Suddenly he is totally irate at me and informs me that when he was fighting for 'my freedom' in Afghanistan, a gypsy killed his wife!

    Now this seems a little contrived to me, but let's take him at his word.

    What does this say about this man?

    Not only does he hate an entire class/tribe/community of people for what one of them did, he's willing to hate me for mentioning them to his 'face'.

    Damned Romanians! They're all small-minded BIGOTS, and we 'good guys' ought to condemn every single one of them, their children and their childrens' children!

    Meh, maybe not though, maybe it's just this one fool? Who knows, maybe his kids are 'cool'? Perhaps he already hated gypsies and this story(true or false) is just like the cherry on top, allowing him to seethe with hatred and blame people he feels superior to for his problems?

    That could happen, no?

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  183. pboy,
    I read an article that said Canada is now in the grips of the conservatives, hope you have better luck with them than we have had.

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  184. So god doesnot' require goodmness, just repentence...

    What a load of hooey.

    Repentence, is not necessary when one is good. Or it is less necesary. But your god does not care about man sinning less, just as long as man repents.

    STOOOOPID.
    No wonder your god doesn't require man to be good. He certainly isn't. He's an asshole. So why care if man is too, I guess.

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  185. Mike, I can dismiss the entire story of heaven, the war of the angels, lucifer's fall, and the garden, with six words.

    God is omniscient and all-powerful.

    Figure the rest out for yourself. You're being a child here.

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  186. I feared hell before God saved my soul ,but I do not fear it now , not for myself, because God took the fear away when he delivered my soul.
    ------------
    Yeah, that was what I meant by going from the fear stage to the ego stage. You used to fear because you were unsure, and then your fear wore down your resistance to the idea of being saved, made it more desirable until it became a fanatical wish, and so you decided at one point that it happened, probably had some great euphoric feeling because your fear was lifted, and now you're confortably in the egotism stage, happy in the 'sure knowledge' that you are not going to hell, because you were good enough, you were chosen, it makes you so happy to KNOW that you are safe now... You know that you are good enough to 'get in' now... even if you are not really that good in the real world, now at least you can believe that youa re, with zero doubts. So, you are at peace with your goodness. You're one of 'the chosen few' now...
    Trouble is, a lot of other christians who aren't anything like you also think so. Of all different stripes. And people in other relisions also have similar feelings about their god or gods.... so it's all a huge psychological game you're playing with yourselves. And it all revolves around making yourselves feel good, without necessarily DOING any good at all in the world. Lie you just said, your god doesn't require that you BE good, just that you BELIEVE that you are. And that you repent of course, since after all, in his eyes you're lower than an earthworm for all that 'original sin' and all, right? But he loves you....

    Ego. Like I've said. Nothing you believe in really makes any sense. It's all a story that has been told to you, and now you're telling it to yourself over and over so that you can keep believing it in the face of how very idiotic it is.

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  187. Atheist: Why are you not good in the world? Why do you not perform good deeds like Jesus did in his life? Why do you not follow his example?

    Christian: Because god doesn't require that we be good, just that we repent.

    Atheist: Repent what? Wouldn't god be more pleased if you didn't sin in the first place?

    Christian: Absolutely not, that is not his concern. As long as we repent, we get into heaven!

    Atheist: But but.... if you sin less, you have less to repent. Doesn't this belief of yours allow you to sin at will, basically, in the knowledge that all you have to do is repent later on?

    Christian: God only cares about our repenting our sins. We all sin, after all, and none among us can be perfect, none of us is Jesus...

    Atheist: So you don't even TRY?

    Christian: Try what? I don't get what you're talking about... I'm saved, that's all I need to know.

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  188. why would Jesus set all those examples and tell all those stories about being good to all others, especially the least among us, if he didn't want us to attempt to emulate them, tl follow his examples? He didn't do and say all of that just to show us how much better he was than us. He showed it all to us so that we could knkow that we can follow that path, and use him as the goal, the ultimate example that, while perhaps un-attainable to us mere mortals, is the perfect ideal to strive toward.

    And then you silly churchpeople took it all backwards, because after all, it's more fun that way. It's so much easier to only speak of goodness without actually DOING any of it.

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  189. Mike, now I'm curious...

    Tell me what kinds of sins you repent to your god.

    I'm curious what you consider a sin worthy of your repentence.

    Or do you just 'blanket-repent' to god, as in, saying 'I'm sorry for whatever I did...'

    How does that go, when you pray for repentence?

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  190. Mike, how do you interpret Luke: 18-23?

    I believe that is the 'camel-through-eye-of-needle speech.

    ?

    Why is the rich man so blind, do you think, to Jesus' words?

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  191. To me, I would consider voting against taking care of the poor and elderly a huge sin.

    How do you feel about that?

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