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BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)

Amos 07 Jan 08 - 03:29 PM
theleveller 07 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 03:16 PM
Nickhere 07 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 08 - 02:20 PM
Amos 07 Jan 08 - 01:52 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 01:27 PM
Donuel 07 Jan 08 - 12:57 PM
Donuel 07 Jan 08 - 12:18 PM
Wesley S 07 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 08 - 12:03 PM
M.Ted 07 Jan 08 - 09:53 AM
wysiwyg 07 Jan 08 - 08:59 AM
Riginslinger 07 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM
theleveller 07 Jan 08 - 08:22 AM
Amos 07 Jan 08 - 03:59 AM
theleveller 07 Jan 08 - 03:33 AM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 08:58 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 08:46 PM
wysiwyg 06 Jan 08 - 08:25 PM
Bill D 06 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 07:50 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 07:40 PM
Bill D 06 Jan 08 - 07:25 PM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 07:12 PM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 07:04 PM
Peace 06 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 06:10 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 06:06 PM
Peace 06 Jan 08 - 06:03 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 05:52 PM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 05:48 PM
Riginslinger 06 Jan 08 - 05:32 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 05:22 PM
Nickhere 06 Jan 08 - 05:13 PM
Mrrzy 06 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM
Amos 06 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM
Riginslinger 06 Jan 08 - 10:57 AM
wysiwyg 06 Jan 08 - 07:33 AM
M.Ted 06 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM
Mrrzy 05 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM
M.Ted 04 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM
number 6 04 Jan 08 - 07:36 PM
Riginslinger 04 Jan 08 - 07:06 PM
Georgiansilver 04 Jan 08 - 06:48 PM
Riginslinger 04 Jan 08 - 06:39 PM
wysiwyg 04 Jan 08 - 05:04 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:29 PM

Unm, TEd---I think you are misinterpreting her communication.

She is (I think) suggesting a standard of empirical, or at least heuristic, demonstration be used in assertions about non-material phenomena.

One reason (I think) she might be doing so is that without some sort of standard, any assertion from Gilgamesh to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and everything in between has no differentiating merit.

One could argue that in this arena one acts on faith and agrees with a source teaching or does not, based purely on internal resonance or something. But it is a very clear lesson of history that mass agreement is not a reliable crityerion for measuring the value of data or its truthiness or usefulness. ANd certainly, one individual's subscription on faith is nowhere sufficient as grounds for another to choose the same subscription, at least not if the other is looking for truthiness or usefulness.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM

Hmmm. Nick, I hear what you're saying. I think it's probably just a difference of approach. Personally, I will have nothing to do with organised religion, regarding it as largely a force for evil in the world. For me it's always been a very personal quest that I've undertaken alone.

Robert Graves said that when writing The White Goddess (in my view, a must-read for anyone interested in spirituality and comparative religion) any information that he needed just seemed to present itself at the right moment.Perhaps what Jung would describe as synchronicity. This has happened to me, many times; so much so that I once decided to trust to synchronicity to conduct my search. I started with one book then waited for others to present themselves, usually from something quoted in the text or that jumped out from the bibliography. It was an interesting and most enlightening period that, to some extent, is still continuing and some of the 'coincidences' were surprising and, at times, alarming. Where did it lead to? Don't know because I haven't got there yet and probably never will.......


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM

Oh, by the way, the title of this thread itself, created by Mrzzy, is mean-spirited.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:16 PM

Amos--call it "strong minded" and "abrasive", I won't disagree-- Mrzzy has certain beliefs about God, and she says that those beliefs entitle her to behave agressively toward people who she perceives to have different beliefs than she does. Other people have called that fanaticism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM

theleveller - I don't think that was what I was trying to say. But anyway, we all bring preconceived ideas to the table when making our enquiry - scientist and theologian alike. These preconceptions, as you call them, are usually the result of our experience. Further enquiry is pursued to see if these conceptions hold up. Along the way we may make new unexpected discoveries that either confirm what we know or add new dimensions to it, or refute it.

What scientist does not start out with the preconception that gravity is a force that attracts objects? If s/he discovers that something alotogether different is happening s/he may be taken by surprise and hurry to investigate the new phenomena. But the fact that it comes as a surprise is the sign that a preconception was held in the first place.

Enquiry into spiritual matters may not require a belief in God - at the outset. But the same can be said of the first steps of any journey of enquiry. The 12 year old starting out on a study of science subjects may have little or no knowledge of the topic and is not required to believe in the theory of relativity, much less understand it; but even s/he early on is expected to learn as truth various axioms which in turn are based on centuries of experience. With the total of knowledge available today, no one has the time to go back to alchemy and work their way up all over again in order to pass their school finals. If one had the time it would certainly be an interesting exercise and give one a far more comprehensive grasp of the subject than the 'learn-by-heart' method favoured by many students in order to get them through their exams. So there is some value in the 'authoritariansim' of this system for short term benefit and gain of the student. As s/he progresses, further study and experiment give wider understanding of knowledge already gained as well as opening the eyes to new knowledge.

The same thing happens in language acquisition. Most students these days learn a langauge idiomatically at the outset. They have to accept the 'authority' of the teacher that XYZ is the correct way of saying and pronouncing the phrase, in order to get by and get a foothold in the langauge. As they progress, they can learn more about the underlying structures of the language and wean themselves off the dependence on the authority of the teacher. This process can continue indefinitely. Anyone who tries to learn a language by first trying to learn the whole underlying grammar and insisting that it be 'proved' every step of the way, challenging the authority, will find themselves quickly frustrated (no matter how good the teacher) and probably give up. As a language learner myself I find I need patience and humility as well as determination. One has to defer to higher authority until one reaches the same level of proficiency, and accept their superior knowledge; one has to endure the unmalicious and genuine laughter of others as one comes out with odd phrases and idioms; one has to be determined to reach a level of satisfaction in knowing the langauge.

I think there can be something of the same approach with organised religion and indeed even with our individual spiritual quests. But a bad and unprofessional teacher can leave a student put off and carrying a chip on the shoulder, which Ringslinger mentions with his comment on abusive Sunday school. I'm not sure what your personal experience of Sunday school is, Ringslinger, so I can only hazard a guess; but it sounds like you had one of those 'bad teachers' that puts people off for life. A good teacher will waken the curiosity fo their student for teh subject rather than turning them off, and will ease the path of the student. There is "authority", I suppose, rather than "authoritarianism". Perhaps that's what you have in mind as well, Amos?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 02:20 PM

IRrational? Demonstrate, please. (Thanks, Amos!)

What question, Wes?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:52 PM

Well, Ted. I have to disagree. Strong-headed, sure. Maybe a tiny bit abrasive. But if you review her history of posts you will NOT find her being mean-spirited, and not (AFAIK) irrational, within normal human use of the term.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM

Sorry, left a word out--if "If reality is what can be demonstrated, what you have demonstrated is that you are petty, mean-spirited, and irrational."


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:29 PM

Mrzzy-If reality what can be demonstrated, what you have demonstrated is that you are petty, mean-spirited, and irrational.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:27 PM

"A black US president is more likely than an atheist President for a long time to come..."


                   That's so true, and I find it very frustrating when people who pretend to be tolerant refuse to admit it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:57 PM

" it's all been hashed over before. The horse is dead. So why continue to beat it?


Methinks he doth also believe that God is dead.
The strict linear fundamentalist word for word interpretation of the bible is also dead but there will always be people who thump it.
Metaphors have gotten narrow minded people in trouble for a long time. When the words in the bible "to the ends of the Earth" appeared some used it as justification that the Earth is flat.
Some people just can't handle metaphors.   
The horse is dead. So why continue to beat it?   ..... perhaps to tenderize the meat.



but seriously it would be nice if the world agreed to disagree in a civil manner regarding the differences of religion.

The horse will continue to be beaten...
A black US president is more likely than an atheist President for a long time to come.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:18 PM

People may demonstrate bible code prphsies come true.

Does that make them real?

The devil is in the details of interpretation, statistics, nonsense and non science.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM

I had a question for you Mrrzy - but it's all been hashed over before. The horse is dead. So why continue to beat it? Why not just agree to disagree?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:03 PM

Reality is defined by demonstration - if it can't be demonstrated, it probably isn't real. But if it can be, then it is. Not my definition - just reality!

All I resort to is reason - I have no powers other than pursuasion. But yes, I will use that power as much as possible, to convince people to accept reality rather than mythology when the 2 are in direct conflict.

Seems to me you're feeling challenged, M.Ted - could it be you're one of those people who prefer to cling to their beliefs even when contradicted by demonstrable reality - and to whom I am therefore seen as being unkind, because I don't support you in your, um, delusion? I wouldn't have thought so, but your recent anger towards me is most readily explained by someone breaking your idols at your feet, or whatever the biblical quote is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 09:53 AM

Mrzzy said, "And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality."

It seems to me she is saying that she believes that she knows what "reality" is, and that she is entitled to resort to anything in her powers to convince people that they are wrong. and that she is right.

It also seems to me that people who think like that are very dangerous when they have power over other people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:59 AM

Ah, Susan, I'm glad you've come round to my way of thinking.

LOL-- like I just came to that idea yesterday?!?!?!?

[shaking head]

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM

A good many of them, however, are often handicapped pretty early on, by having been subjected to the abusive concept of Sunday School.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:22 AM

"Man is by nature a curious, enquiring animal ....He (or she!) sets his mind to problems in a similar way, whether of religion or science. Though religion requires an element of belief (that God exists etc) of things not demonstrable according to the empirical "

I'm reminded here of the story of the Irishman who, when asked the way by a stranger, replied: "If I was going there, I wouldn't start from here". Enquiry into spiritual matters does not (and, I could argue, should not) require a belief in god and should not bring preconceived ideas as to the nature of god. Otherwise you will be using the search in the same way that a drunk uses a lampost - for support rather than illumination.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:59 AM

When it comes to prayer, and even the format of ceremony etc., people have applied their centuries of experience to that which seems to work best and many have attempted to understand WHY this or that way of praying seems more effective.


Funny -- when I conisder the bowdlerisms of the Nicea council and the doctrinaire and authoritarian traditions of most creeds, I am inclined to think this is exactly what is not the case.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: theleveller
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 03:33 AM

"What's getting to me these days is when there is insistence from non-believers that their non-belief ought to be adopted by believers-- in particular, me. It's just a crazy way of thinking; I have trouble reconciling that with their insistence that I better not try to tell them what to believe"

Ah, Susan, I'm glad you've come round to my way of thinking. My first post on this thread stated that evangelism is the ultimate arrogance (I include evangelism of any sort) and this brought the wrath of the god-fearing down on me with objections not just to what I was saying but to the way I conducted my argument (remember?). Now, perhaps, you understand what I was getting at.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:58 PM

OOps, perhaps methodolgy was not the word I was looking for - what I actually wanted to say was 'phases' or 'stages' in which new knowledge is acquired and developed from awareness of new phenomena.

Methodolgy is of course another thing, but even here there are *some* similarities. When it comes to prayer, and even the format of ceremony etc., people have applied their centuries of experience to that which seems to work best and many have attempted to understand WHY this or that way of praying seems more effective. That's just one example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:46 PM

Ok, Bill, see you in a few days. I'll just leave this last thought then:

"Most religious ideas just don't fit that category...thus the very USE of the term 'belief' instead of 'know'."

Yes, but up to a point only. Because of course science tests new ideas and gains new knowledge about the physical world and we are certainly physical beings so we can know these things on a physical level.

From the empirical, scientific perspective, religious beliefs are....well, beliefs.

But religion IS, in fact, concerned with gaining new ideas and knowledge. Often I see comments on how the church made up this or that, or invented new parts of religion that were not in the gospels. This equally often seems to be done with a view to casting doubt over the authenticity and sincereity of the religious body.

In fact, what people are actually witnessing is the historical progression of a church probing and exploring the new spiritual revelation and experience and attempting to draw conclusions that will update the body of spiritual and religious knowledge. This does not mean God changes or develops, but that human understanding of Him and our role in things can and does. John Polkinghorne ("Belief in God in an Age of Science") sums this up rather well, pointing to the early church writers and religious councils (such as the Council of Nicea or St.Augustine) and indeed even within the gospels as the significance of events only slowly began to dawn on the apostles.

We tend to take the Christian church for granted today and perhaps assume it was always more or less in its present form with the same basic beliefs, just with bits tacked on for political expediency (a view which assumes that the whole body of the church over 2,000 was singularly corrupt on a level not even found in politics....)

Actually the early church began life as a persecuted underground group which only slowly began to realise the full significance of events that had occured, and delve deeper and deeper into the mystery of it. There were many councils and discussions held over many years to try and update "the knowledge" (as marines might call it) and insights and come to a better understanding of what made it all tick. For once you get into it, you begin to find the spiritual world seems to be goverened by certian rules just as the physical one is, waiting to be uncovered by the curious.

Polkinghorne compares the methodolgy of science and religion and finds many similarities (once the difference of topic of the two fields is taken into account):

1) Both have moments of radical revision in which new phenomena lead to new insights, transcending previous understanding but also building on it.

2) periods of confusion during which old and new models exist alongside in unresolved tension (he gives the example of quantum theory 1900 -1925)

3) moments of new synthesis and understanding in which a theory is revealed as being capable of satisfactorily explaining the new phenomena ina convicing and comprehensive way while at the same time treating the old phenomena as particular limiting cases (again, the discovery of modern quantum mechanics)

4) continuing wretsling with unresolved problems, essential for total understanding of the new theory, but for the moment not capable of final solution (the measurement problem in quantum theory)

5) realisations that the new theory has deep implications of a kind unanticipated when it was first conceived (anti-matter, non-locality etc.,)


Man is by nature a curious, enquiring animal (unless he's had that curiosity hammered out of him, but before anyone rushes to give examples of totalitarianism, a simple boring 9-5 can accomplish that over the years). He (or she!) sets his mind to problems in a similar way, whether of religion or science. Though religion requires an element of belief (that God exists etc) of things not demonstrable according to the empirical (and I deliberatley do not say, scientific - the two are not the same thing) standards, it would be a mistake to assume no thinking is done in religion (that's what theologians are for, the scientists of religion; but as well as them, most individuals also enagage in some of this on their own level, just as not every lay person is a working scientist).


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:25 PM

... problems arise, as we see, when EITHER believers wish to suggest that their belief ought to be adopted by everyone, or when NON-believers try to deny believers freedom to practice their beliefs. Both attitudes lead to conflict....

Bill,

What I am having trouble with is not that people deny me freedom to practice my faith-- they can't, actually, since it's mostly a freedom of the mind and spirit: a freedom of motivation.

What's getting to me these days is when there is insistence from non-believers that their non-belief ought to be adopted by believers-- in particular, me. It's just a crazy way of thinking; I have trouble reconciling that with their insistence that I better not try to tell them what to believe-- I already DON'T-- so when they try it on me in reverse, it just seems nuts to me!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM

Right track? Yes...mostly....but even science does not usually proclaim any data or theory to represent some sort of absolute truth. They (researchers) might often bet that IF all data were known, theory 'X' would be true....stuff like gravity and the co-efficient of friction...whatever.

What they are most interested in is ideas which CAN be tested and new knowlege gained. Most religious ideas just don't fit that category...thus the very USE of the term 'belief' instead of 'know'. The problems arise, as we see, when EITHER believers wish to suggest that their belief ought to be adopted by everyone, or when NON-believers try to deny believers freedom to practice their beliefs. Both attitudes lead to conflict.

Now...I will likely not be on for a few days. I'll trace the thread and see what's happening later.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:50 PM

Bill, we're singing from the same hymn sheet so. I agree that just because 50 million Frenchmen... etc.,

"One way of testing the status of a claim is to substitute other terms and see if it still seems like a reasonable construction'

In the absence of concrete examples here to clarify what you mean, I'll go out on a limb by observing that the terms used as substitutes may themselves be culturally loaded with significance that has a major influence on whether one views them as being reasonable constructions. A bit like the student of langauges who guesses the verb has this or that ending 'because it sounds right'.

But from what you write overall in that post, I get the impression you do believe there are some truths to be had. "But I guess anyone is free to believe it. Further...IF you get 129,000,000 people to believe it, all you have is a 'force to be reckoned with', not necessarily a 'truth' " It seems to me (I may be wrong) that for that statement to have any practical value, one would have to hold the view that there is some such thing as truth, that some things are true (and conversely, others are not) and that there is some way to recognise truth. Otherwise it would become a entertaining but otherwise redundant academic exercise to even ponder the question. Am I on the right track?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:40 PM

Amos,

"But whatever you may have encountered in a spiritual realm which you bless with the label God, it is a bit too facile to consider you have not only touched the face of the Infinite but have touched the face the face of the same Infinite that another would experience if only he or she is open to the experience"

This part seems to carry the implication that there is more than one God. From the Christian persepctive, obviously by definition that's impossible, as God is seen as being a supreme being. You can have many tall buildings, but only one tallest.

On the other hand you may mean (I'm not sure) that probably no two people experience the same God the same way.

I don't deny that any two individual's experiences of what they call God may be different in ways. But it's like the 'can two people agree the colour is blue?' question. Even if another person sees a slightly different shade of blue, and even if we can never be 100% certain about this because of the subjectivity of each person's senses, both can agree to call that particular colour blue. It may even be a completely different colour to both (though this seems unlikely). It matters not, only that they both realise that it is not like other colours and that they can both recognise it when they see it.

Experiences of God may be a bit like this too. At least that's what I've found talking to other people with similar experiences: we find enough in common to agree we have both touched the same thing in some tangible way.

"It is perfectly possible that what you touched was the face of God filtered through some prior definition or other"

Perhaps, I don't know. I hear that people who've seen apparitions of Our Lady (Mary) have seen her according to their culture. I've never seen her, so I don't know. Perhaps God reveals Himself in ways people can cope with, to approach them in a familiar form. I don't know from your post if you're speaking about some physical / visual / auditory perception of God or something more abstract. Again, from speaking to people from all over the world the 'extra-sensory' perception (i.e not physical empirical) of what people call God seems to have many common traits, regardless of cultural background.

"But to impose that label [on Infinity] on any other being alive is just arrogance, and self-serving, no matter how big or grandiose a label it is"

I'm intrigued by this part. What do you mean? I don't think I understand it very well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:25 PM

"...a truly open mind would at least accept there may be a God and not flatly deny it, correct? "

That's correct.

But do be careful what inferences you draw from my admission. A truly open mind may admit that it is 'possible' that the spirit of Abe Lincoln is guiding George Bush....but such a claim would get few bets...or even any idea of how to test it. But I guess anyone is free to believe it. Further...IF you get 129,000,000 people to believe it, all you have is a 'force to be reckoned with', not necessarily a 'truth'.

One way of testing the status of a claim is to substitute other terms and see if it still seems like a reasonable construction.
This in no way addresses the possible metaphorical value of whatever story, religious view, custom, cultural value...etc. being discussed.

It is very hard to discuss these issues that mean so much to many people in ways that neither insult them on one hand nor grant their basic premises on the other hand.

A famous philosopher, Blaise Pascal, once argued that belief in a god was a 'good bet', because you won a lot if you bet right, and lost a lot if you were wrong. ("Pascal's Wager"). Trouble is, Pascal didn't consider all the possible ways one could bet...and philosophers ever since have waged an uphill struggle trying to explain why such a great argument was flawed.

still...Yes, an open mind is always ready to receive new evidence....but always with a pretty strict notion of what counts as 'evidence'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:12 PM

Nick,

Thanks for the thoughtful posts.

A couple of observations. Although scientific method can fall into the entanglement of materialism, this is not a flaw in the method but in the individual use of it. The logic of sound heuristic and empirical method does not go away because it approaches a spiitual question, but obviously, you have to apply the principles intelligently for the domain you are addressing. One example I have brought up many times before is that while material constructions above the quantum level tend to perform nearly identically under identical situations -- all hydrogen atoms, for example, have the same mass -- there is no reason to assume that that kind of repeat performance is a standard trait of any spiritual phenomenon.   Of course, even getting a fair grasp of what the differences are is difficult to do in a testable way, because of the intimacy of spiritual phenomena.

But whatever you may have encountered in a spiritual realm which you bless with the label God, it is a bit too facile to consider you have not only touched the face of the Infinite but have touched the face the face of the same Infinite that another would experience if only he or she is open to the experience.

It is perfectly possible that what you touched was the face of God filtered through some prior definition or other. It is pretty common in stories of meeting an embodiment of God to have him say that He appears in forms the individual can experience comfortably.

To impose a label on Infinity may be necessary for the preservation of one's individual sanity. But to impose that label on any other being alive is just arrogance, and self-serving, no matter how big or grandiose a label it is.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:04 PM

Hell, what good would an angel be if he weren't independent?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Peace
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM

Me too, Nick. Amos, btw, is one of God's angels on this planet. But he's very independent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:10 PM

Excellent Cherokee story. It's so true.... but I find I need a little help in order not to feed the bad wolf!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:06 PM

Amos, I think one problem though with 18th century rationalism is that humility went out the window in fact. While there is no doubting the empirical sciences' success in explaining the physical world, there has been a paradign shift over the last two hundred years that tends to assume that if science has dispelled old models about how the physical world works, it can equally do so in relation to our spiritual needs. Now, there's no humility in that, more hubris rather.

Some empiricists seem to have this anthropological view of religion, i.e that it served some useful need in ancient times, such as explaining why thunder clapped (eg God sneezed) or the crops failed, and that we have now outgrown such babyish explanations. But I posit that such 'explanations' existed first and foremost in the minds of the anthropologists themselves, who, perhaps because of the social darwinism of the cultures from which they sprang (now, there's a anthropological area ripe for study!), tended to assume technologically inferior societies were also intellectually inferior. This is not humility, it's self-delusion.

One of the best books I've come across dealing with this is Sale Kirkpatrick's "The Conquest of Paradise", though Richard Erdoes & John Fire Lame Deer "Sioux Medicine Man" makes several of the same points. And you can also see this clearly in Thomas O Crothan's "The Islandman" (he lived in a stone-age society both by lifestyle and technology, in the 1800s, but had an intellect and objectivity that would put many to shame today).


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Peace
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 06:03 PM

A Cherokee Legend [from the www]. I love the message, btw.


An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:52 PM

I don't know, Ringslinger, once again it all boils down to what kind of evidence you look for. If you are looking for height, weight and length, you might have some trouble spotting God, but on the other hand if you speak to people who've felt the effect of His presence in their lives, and seen some of the changes He's wrought in people you might form other opinions... and I do say a truly open mind will, as BillD says, consider all the possibilities.

But I agree it's a tough one. As Madonna sang "I'm an empirical girl, in an empirical world..." and if you've been raised in that, or trained to think that way, then it requires some effort to break out of it and look for other kinds of evidence and realities beyond the mere five senses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:48 PM

Kindness is a tricky proposition. Anyone trained in tough love knows the doctrine that you have to stick to the truth in order to dispel the obsessive rationalizations and justifications the mind manufacturers in an effort to somehow integrate its delusions with its more accurate data.

But it is ALSO true that the growth of a changing mind finding newer, richer, or wiser ways to see things only comes about in spaces where the individual's sovereign ownership of his own world view is not challenged or choked off. It is extremely hard to change a point of view WHILE you are having to defend it.

In the strange mixup of universes that leads people to generate religious propositions, there are some facts and some speculation and some downright inventions, just as, for example, there were all three present in the borning of the phlogiston theory, the caloric model of heat, or the invisible-ether explanation for the transmission of waves through vacuum. Intellectually, we outgrew all three of those models as we acquired better knowledge through experience (or so it seemed).

So -- both the learning and growing mind AND the mind that wishes to help and be kind, have to proceed with a modicum of appropriate humility just to be effective at what they are setting out to do, and for no bigger reason than that.


A
WHose-mouth-is-on-another-damned-roll...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:32 PM

A truly open mind, on the other hand, would happily agree that there's never been even a smidgen of evidence that there is now, or ever had been, any kind of a goD.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:22 PM

Bill - "Having an "open mind" in this context is just a euphemism for "not questioning". A **TRULY** open mind always considers all possibilities, and in doing so sees the weaknesses in assertions about metaphysical claims"

Fair enough. But I think some element of discrimination must of necessity come into it as we go thorugh life. For example, one might come to accept the reality of physical forces such as gravity, while recognising with an open mind that such forces may not exist or may act differently in certain circumstances. But that's a long way from being so open-minded that we are willing to test the theory out at any time, on any cliff.....

Another point "A **TRULY** open mind always considers all possibilities".... so, in this case (i.e under the topic of this thread) then, a truly open mind would at least accept there may be a God and not flatly deny it, correct? (and no, I have no-one in particular in mind here just in case anyone on the thread rushes to get offended, just a general observation)


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 05:13 PM

"And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality"

One aspect or version of reality, anyway. Aspect if you accept there may be more beyond the empirical that is also real; version if you deny it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 04:11 PM

Um - I didn't start this thread, you know. Well, I continued the one that had gotten really long, but the ones I had started were long off the front page. And you don't have to read my posts... although I wish you would.

And I don't think it a kindness anymore to allow people their insistence on refusing reality. I have said again and again that I'm not talking about rational people who accept reality and nonetheless, for no other reason than their faith, have faith.

I don't feel chewed on, by the way, but thanks! I am reminded of the old joke about the two sociologists who come across someone bleeding in the ditch, and say Whoever did this needs our help!

And being an atheist says absolutely nothing but good about the rational person's morals - after all, if it's only your invisible friends keeping you moral, I'd be afraid of you. I prefer to assume it's your intelligence and humanity. Are you really saying, WYSIWYG, that your values don't agree with kindness? Your posts to date belie that.

And I don't say people should be kind because I don't believe in superstitions, but because it's the right thing to do - whereas you (plural) seem to be arguing that people doing good because of their faith are somehow different (better?). I would agree that my thinking their motivation strange doesn't minimize the good they do. Again, I reiterate that my argument is that if you base your actions on superstitions, you justify an awful lot of horrors that are impossible to justify rationally by anyone with an ounce of kindness.

I maintain that the fact and threat of harm far, far outweigh the possibility of good, which good would happen anyway - but not the harm.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM

Wow!! Mrrzy posted a belief in direct response to WYS' request--not to say challenge--and all of a sudden she being chewed on for posting it the wrong way?

Please do not take such offense. It could be a lot worse than the relatively polite stuff in these periwinkle posts.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 10:57 AM

There you have it, Mrrzy. It's pretty obvious, looking at the last few posts, that you have to be addicted to some ancient superstition in order to understand kindness.

                     Maybe if you went out and mugged some old lady, and stole her purse, they'd figure you'd be worth saving.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 07:33 AM

I also believe that people should put kindness first on their list of priorities. Doesn't mean I think they DO - but I believe we ought to.

Mrr, when you post in opinion of what "people" or "we" should do, you go beyond saying what you expect of yourself, which is one approach to morality... You go beyond stating what you prefer other people to do towards you personally, which is one approach to negotiating relationships... You get into what other people ought to do, according to your values.

And just as you are offended when religious people tell you what you ought to do because of their values, it's offensive. A good number of Mudcatters are independent-minded enough to rankle at that tone, whehter they share the underlying belief or not, because it sets your judgment above their own.



I also share M.Ted's feeling.....

The other thread had quite a lot of deliberately thoughtful dialog in it, and a number of open points still under discussion between thoughtful individuals.... which (IMO) transcended the mean-spirited opening post it had. Then I saw that you had made a deliberate effort-- starting this "new" thread-- that took it right back to the intolerant and mean-spirited tone a number of people had worked hard to rise above.

Now you post about kindness... it's just a bit too much to straddle.


I'd like to suggest that you get off the "save the proselytized" soapbox for a moment and think how you would like your children to be treated if they made an effort to overcome a prejudice and then saw the prejudicial action aimed at them and redoubled by someone proclaiming, of all things, kindness.

If you posted about kindness because I asked what people believe in, here is an opportunity to exercise your belief by demonstrating what kindness YOU have attained.


I wish you well, but in these religion threads I am usually left feeling that you wish me not well, but harm. And you don't even know me.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM

You have definitely offended me. This is a mean-spirited thread, and I've about had it with your anti-religious cheap shots. Claiming that you put kindness first, after all the nastiness and smarmyness that you have posted puts it over the top. Enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM

? Putting kindness first is a bad thing? I am confused. How have I offended you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:19 PM

Give it a rest, Mrzzy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: number 6
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 07:36 PM

Good one Ringinslinger ... LOL

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 07:06 PM

It doesn't matter. All that has to be done is to get Ann Coulter to convince Bill O'Reilly that a god was seen leaving the Kansas City switch yard. He believes anything she says, so he'll go on the air with it, and it'll be real. Just like Weapons of Mass Destruction.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 06:48 PM

Hey Riginslinger..how do Gods dress then? So I should know if I see one! LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 06:39 PM

Just to keep the conversation going, I'm tempted to dress up like a god, alert the media in advance, and make sure they observe me catching a freight out of Kansas City...

                   It'd be hard to make the case there are no gods after that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 05:04 PM

And I believe that there are no "shoulds" in the universe. Certainly not to impose upon others as moral imperatives. Because I also believe in boundaries.

~S~


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