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BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)

Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 01:44 PM
Amos 21 Jan 08 - 01:37 PM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM
Riginslinger 21 Jan 08 - 10:32 AM
Amos 21 Jan 08 - 09:46 AM
Riginslinger 21 Jan 08 - 07:52 AM
Tweed 21 Jan 08 - 06:28 AM
M.Ted 21 Jan 08 - 01:08 AM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 11:25 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 10:47 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,Will 20 Jan 08 - 10:08 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 10:07 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 10:05 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 09:57 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 09:49 PM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 09:14 PM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 09:13 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 08:13 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 08:12 PM
Bee 20 Jan 08 - 08:06 PM
Mrrzy 20 Jan 08 - 07:57 PM
Nickhere 20 Jan 08 - 07:56 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 07:11 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM
TheSnail 20 Jan 08 - 04:25 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 03:51 PM
Bee 20 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM
Bill D 20 Jan 08 - 12:51 PM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 10:42 AM
Riginslinger 20 Jan 08 - 10:00 AM
autolycus 20 Jan 08 - 06:08 AM
M.Ted 20 Jan 08 - 02:52 AM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 12:15 AM
Amos 20 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM
Nickhere 19 Jan 08 - 09:10 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jan 08 - 08:42 PM
Nickhere 19 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jan 08 - 08:24 PM
Amos 19 Jan 08 - 12:14 AM
Riginslinger 18 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 10:52 PM
M.Ted 18 Jan 08 - 09:07 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:44 PM

Thanks, Amos!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:37 PM

people who insist that mindless dogma trumps intelligent discovery.

I think this is a good thing to be against, Mrrz.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM

I see what you mean, Riginslinger - yes, one's own conscience is what one should answer to.

And no, I'm not saying "most denominations" deny science. I'm saying that many denomination deny scientific findings that contradict their dogma. Here in the old Southern US, you can belong to one of many, many "denominations" and still be a Christian who doesn't "believe in" evolution. This is the crux of what I am so against - people who insist that mindless dogma trumps intelligent discovery.

And all religions do claim that all others are false. Thus all religions preach at the very least that nonbelievers are worse (in some way, you can pick your Axis of Evil) than believers. Christianity and Islam, more so than Judaism or polytheisms, specifically teach that in order to be a good follower you have to convince (or kill) others who do not believe as you do. But of course the First Commandment, No Other Gods Before Me, was jewish before the other monotheisms happened.

Again, there is only a slight difference between followers of any one religion or god, and atheists, and it's that one religion or god. We all agree that all the other religions are false. Atheists just go one god farther.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM

At least they can read, Riginslinger;-)

As to your other comment, if you're doing business with a gaggle of free-thinking individuals, you need to keep a close eye on them, as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 10:32 AM

Okay, but you have to wonder about a book club that reads the same book over, and over, and...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 09:46 AM

A charming quote from a columnist, Ms. L:ovell, writing in the NEw York TImes:

"I live in Lower Manhattan. In my seriously secular neck of the woods, Christians are often dismissed as those homophobes on the news hell-bent on keeping half the population of Chelsea out of the wedding pages. Once, I told a member of the fabled East Coast Media Elite that I was raised Pentecostal and he asked if that meant I grew up "fondling snakes in trailers."

I replied: "You know that book club you're in? Well, my church was a lot like that, except that we actually read the book."

Until my heathen Damascene moment during a ninth grade unit on Greek mythology — my disbelief that a great civilization could actually believe in such far-fetched malarkey made me take a hard look at the virgin birth — I was one of the meek majority of Christians who never make the news, who would never dream of judging or hating others because the primary occupation of a true Christian is self-loathing. (All that wretch-like-me, original sin talk meant I spent my entire childhood believing I was as depraved as Charles Manson when in reality I might have been the best-behaved 9-year-old of the 20th century.) "


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 07:52 AM

"*Sigh* I'm going to have to write a book, I can already tell... yikes! And one should be responsible to one's loved ones as well as to one's self, no? And to one's community? And to those upon whom one depends?"


             Mrzzy - This has been bothering me for a while now. I think there is some confusion as to what was meant by the statement, "One should be responsible for oneself."
             It was in the context of: what do you use for moral guidance?
             An individual who is not addicted to some ancient superstion has to depend on his own sense of right and wrong when making these kinds of decisions. Church goers make the case that they are morally superior because they have the "dogma" to direct them.
             In most cases, churchgoers have the luxury of using the "dogma" for a cleansing mechanism.
             One learns--as I have on many occasions--that if you are going to engage in doing business with church goers, especially if you engage in doing business with a whole gaggle of them at one time, you need to keep your guard up.
             They will happily screw you to death--in a financial sense--and then grovel around on the floor of their church on Sunday morning, god forgives them, and they are ready to go out and screw some other poor sap on Monday.
             So beware if you intend on doing business with a gaggle of churchgoers.
             A rational, free thinking individual, on the other hand, if he does you wrong, has to deal with his conscience. So that's what was meant by being responsible to oneself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Tweed
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:28 AM

Ain't no Heaven
Ain't no burning Hell
There ain't no heaven
and no burning hell
When I die, Where I go..
Nobody know


John Lee Hooker's "Burning Hell"


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:08 AM

So you're saying that most religious denominations deny science, and that most advocate the supression of those that don't agree with them?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM

Most religious denominations do not categorically deny science... - Not categorically, no; just when it contradicts their dogma.

Most religious denomination do not advocate the oppression of individuals or groups. - Sure they do - any individual or group that doesn't believe as they do.

See, there is usually only one god/supernatural being/ between theistic beliefs and atheism: The one that the theist believes in. All others, we all agree (theists and atheists) don't exist...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 11:25 PM

Well, since you've asked--

Firstly, most religious denominations do not categorically deny science. There are, in fact, many religious institutions that actually teach and advance science. Catholic Unversity of America, for instance, has reputable Departments of Biology, Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry.

Secondly, most religious denomination do not advocate the oppression of individuals or groups.
In fact, many are actively engaged in civil and human rights activities. Martin Luther King, Jr. for instance, was a Baptist minister. And then of course there is liberation theology.

Thirdly, though there are certainly many religious persons who believe in an afterlife, for many, the concerns are primarily in the here and now, and for whom the reasons to live morally and ethically have to do with real world consequences. In a 1996 Presbyterian Panel survey only 51 percent of members and 46 percent of pastors said they believed in hell.

Even your statement about believing in a supernatural entity is up for grabs. It has been a long time since Christianity advocated that there was an actual guy walking around in the sky--St. Thomas Acquinas pretty much put that idea to rest for mainstream Christianity, and that was quite a while back.

Given that, yes, there are some people out there who believe things, advocate things, and do things that we disagree with. And it would be nice if they'd get out of our faces--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:47 PM

Or some man a great husband... And yes, I didn't like my grandmother but she did make my dad who he was, so I admired her anyway...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:23 PM

Well I guess you can at least take credit for bringing him into the world and start from there. And when he's a grown man (if he isn't already) sounds like he'll make some woman a great husband, too. So she'll have you to thank for that. I often think of this if I'm starting to feel a bit cranky towards my mother-in-law (she can be difficult at times): I think well, I have to admit if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have met my wonderful wife, so I have to at least thank her for that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: GUEST,Will
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:08 PM

"There is a terrible lot of us who don't think that we come from a monkey, but if there are some people who think that they do, why, it's not our business to rob them of what little pleasure they might get out of imagining it." -- Will Rogers


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:07 PM

Yes, he is a delight. There are times I wish I could take credit for him, though!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:05 PM

You're lucky with your son, I'm delighted for you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:57 PM

Yes, indeed. I wrote a paper on drug use (not abuse, that is recreational drug use that doesn't lead to addiction) and found that the only real consistency in people who become addicted is a history of alternating spoiling and neglect... apparently that leaves you not having enough of anything till you have too much of it. It was an interesting research topic.

Whereas, one of my sons was BORN civilized. Didn't have anything to do with what a completely nice person he is...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:49 PM

Yes, I remember reading that many years ago. I agree they won't grow up without discipline. Indeed I remember reading somwhere "10 top tips for turning your child into a delinquent" and it included such advice as "make sure he only eats the best organic food etc., while allowing hsi mind feast on any junk it likes on TV etc., / Give him everything he wants that way he'll grow up thinking the world owes him a living / laugh when he uses bad langauge so he'll think it's cute and clever..." etc., I can't remember the rest of it now, but it was going round for a while as one of those posters you sometimes find in novelty shopps and bookshops.

But when I said maltreated, I wasn't thinking of discipline, I was thinking of the ways adults can mess kids up through inconsistent parenting, lack of love, selfishness (kids have to come first, and by that I don't mean getting spoiled either). It's a tough job, no doubt.

In the area where I live, you sometimes see the kids playing. Most of the time it's just background noise you hardly notice, but now and again they do things that make you smile or wonder. There's one kid who, though he's still only about 9 or 10, just can't seem to leave other kids alone. He's always playing with them ina rough way and doesn't seem happy until he's amanged to upset someone. It amkes me wonder what kind of examples he's had that he feels the need to act like that. It'd be just as easy to be nice, and probably more productive even for him, but no, he has to act the jerk. I dread to think what he'll be like when he gets into his teens, unless he grows out of it. I had to knock on his parent's door one day to complain about something he'd done (which I didn't want to have to do, as it's very embarrasing for both). I wanted him to come out to the door so I could explain to him in person what the problem was. His mother's response? "He's just about to sit down to his dinner". ! I thought to myself 'well, actually I was just about to sit down to my dinner as well until I was obliged to come up here after finding your son climbing round in my back garden - again". My problem didn't matter a whit to her, all that mattered was that her son ate his dinner and she had a stress free life. So I began to undertand why he had no respect for anyone, it seemd clear he'd learned not to from his parents.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:45 PM

Yes, there should be a place in the world for grownups. The problem is, they never seem to make it to positions of influence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:32 PM

Nickhere - where you say "I believe most kids would grow up ok if they weren't maltreated one way or another by grown-ups" - ever read Lord of the Flies? They won't grow up civilized without discipline...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:14 PM

400 posts, Ringslinger, if I am not mistaken, and still going strong!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 09:13 PM

Would you be willing to offer an explanation for 400!!!?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:13 PM

And,

400!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:12 PM

I certainly did not; I said what I did in complete, uncompromising seriosoity....
:)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:06 PM

M.Ted said: "The problem with your position, Bee, as reasonable as it seems to you, is that, you make an amazing number assumptions about what "believers" believe that are neither universally, nor even broadly true."

I would appreciate it if you would enumerate that 'amazing number of assumptions', rather than making a blanket accusation of this sort.

I am not speaking from a vacuum, after all, having been a Christian for many years. I doubt I have ever stated anything about 'believers' as being universally true, other than the fact that they profess to be believers in a supernatural entity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:57 PM

Bee... who was it said that the optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears that is true?

Amos - symptomatically, perhaps (*BG*)?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:56 PM

Amos,

you didn't by any chance use this

Lingo-maker


while coming up with those last two posts? ;-)) Just joking!


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:11 PM

Well, it's perfectly obvious. The density and persistency of shared experience decreases as the degree of untrammeled consciousness increases and the number of simultaneous beliefs decreases. The density vector approaches zero as the consciousness factor approaches infinity. Symptotically or asymptotically I cannot say for sure.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 06:14 PM

A little bit like Professor Irwin Corey, isn't he, Snail?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 04:25 PM

Amos

and which of course compounds and complexifies as the granularity decreases and the sheer number of such postulated certainties increases and becomes internally inconsistent.

Well. Of course. Who could possibly disagree?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 03:55 PM

The problem with your position, Bee, as reasonable as it seems to you, is that, you make an amazing number assumptions about what "believers" believe that are neither universally, nor even broadly true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 03:51 PM

Extending from what Bee said back in to the philosophical musings department, there is one school of thought that argues that all experience is a byproduct of belief, perhaps beginning with "I am" and extending through more and more complex and intersecting and self-counteracting beliefs such as "I am in space", "Time is", "I am in a body", "I am a body" "I am male/female", "Force is overwhelming" "Space is infinite", "I must be ___ in order to survive" and so on and on. By this theory each of these spheres of reality is a postulated construct which engenders experience, and which of course compounds and complexifies as the granularity decreases and the sheer number of such postulated certainties increases and becomes internally inconsistent.

While this is not a theory in the sense that material science approaches theories, there could be a counter argument that material science is climbing up this pyramid from the most solid bottom layer (and thus the most heavily agreed-upon fabric of coincident beliefs) toward the layers that might differentiate between consciousness and structure.

Just more food for reflection.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bee
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:57 PM

This is not a comment on the most recent philosophical musings (interesting as they are), but something like a consideration of belief opposing non-belief.

There is never an equal ground from which to begin any discussions regarding the existence of a god. Those who don't believe in a god are unconcerned about the metaphysical consequences of their unbelief. They (we, I) don't expect to end up in hell, or outer darkness, or tormented by our separation from godly light, or to be denied eternity, because of atheism. The religious expect the worst.

Our concerns are more likely to be ensuring that believers act within reason when promoting their supernaturalism, and that they do not infringe destructively on our reality by insisting on adherence by all to those parts of their beliefs which include science denial, oppression of individuals or groups, or insisting on their morality being the only morality. These are important concerns, and all have solutions that are social or political in nature - within the realm of human capability.

But the true and kindly minded believer in god must feel particularly anxious and unhappy about those who don't believe, especially if they like or love the individual unbeliever, since their expectation is that atheism leads to an un-necessarily permanent death or worse, or to eternal torture. These would be horrifying prospects, if real, so I can entirely understand, for example, that a truly religious parent seeing their atheist child 'on the road to perdition' must feel tragically devastated.

So to those who really, truly, heartily believe in a judging deity, I am sorry when atheism close to home gives you pain. While I would much prefer you were able to see behind the curtain, or note the lack of imperial glad-rags, or otherwise, of course, see things my way, I can actually see why you feel you must so adamantly defend your faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:32 PM

"Open Mindedness" is sometimes a dubious value. As a musician, I find the creative process really favors closed mindeness--which is to say, finding useful devices like Travis-picking, for instance and eliminating all the extraneous possibilities--Bill's kind of "open mindedness" would be counterproductive, because it would require me to return to a neutral position and consider a lot of things that aren't very useful--

And, I bring up Travis-picking here because its definition and validity are as hotly contested at Mudcat as the idea of God--


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 01:11 PM

Reality is, fundamentally, a function of agreement about perception.

There is a threshold of material reality. Disagree with buildings or gravity and you can put your survival at risk.

There are a LOT of propositions which have fewer subscribers than material reality constructs have. Any proposition having to do with consequences, for example, or future events can be considered   risky in proportion to the degree it tries to extrapolate variables. Weathermen run into this all the time.

But in terms of material reality, demonstration to others with experience or measurement is pretty much the gold standard of evidence.

When you start penetrating the Wonderland of human psychology, or spirituality, while it is still true that agreement is a core index of reality, the territory gets nebulous, volatile, not to say miasmic, riddled with opinions, and colored strongly by the individual creatuve will. So common denominators and demonstrable phenomena are harder to come by.

Most psychologists who have spent any time counseling will have their own ideas about common denominators, but it is still pretty much a jungle out there, a metaphor augmented by the myriad of jungly superstitions and witchdoctors involved.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 12:51 PM

"To see the weaknesses in assertions is to do something from a particular point of view. A point of view which itself seems not to be in question. I'd like to know why that point of view, here called 'an open mind', is not in question. And how open it can be if it is already in a judicial (judging others) mode from the start."

autolycus: This is among the hardest points to clarify in these discussions. What you have done is to first characterize my statement as if it were merely one in a list of subjective opinions about how to approach issues.
   It is not easy to explain why it is merely an attempt to do a meta-analysis of the very logical/linguistic structure of arguments in general. It in no way disproves any particular conclusions, but merely analyzes how well they manage to be both internally consistent and how well they avoid certain common rhetorical errors.

It is possible, thus, to state a true conclusion, yet use quite slippery and invalid premises to get to it. In the same way, doubtful claims can 'seem' to be supported if one is careless about the structure of the premises.

All I am trying to do is link the idea of a **TRULY** open mind to the attempt to see why metaphysical claims, as a class, can usually be shown to involve some sort of error of one of the types described in the link above.....most commonly assuming certain facts within the structure OF the claim.

This whole process, if done as neutrally as possible, both understands the historical & cultural pressures to accept many forms of metaphysics, and recognizes why they can ONLY be 'believed' and not 'proven'.
   To me, this leads to a basic attitude of scepticism and formal, philosophical 'doubt', while continuing to be 'open' to any form of new ways to look at things.

As I said elsewhere, this is why certain claims ARE called 'belief', and why I type long, tedious disclaimers when I see what appear to be attempts to move 'beliefs' into a stronger position than they 'logically' deserve.

Now...have I totally muddied an attempt to clarify? *grin*


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:42 AM

"And one should be responsible to one's loved ones as well as to one's self, no? And to one's community? And to those upon whom one depends?"


                   One would have to be responisble to himself, before he could be responsible to all them other scissorbills.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:00 AM

"From what you are saying it appears that you think Christians see 'forgiveness' as a sort of blank check to do what they like."


                   Yeah, Nick, if every case, that's the way I've seen them use it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: autolycus
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 06:08 AM

iQuote - 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" Unquote

To see the weaknesses in assertions is to do something from a particular point of view. A point of view which itself seems not to be in question. I'd like to know why that point of view, here called 'an open mind', is not in question. And how open it can be if it is already in a judicial (judging others) mode from the start.




Quote -
i it requires some effort to break out of it and look for other kinds of evidence and realities beyond the mere five senses. Unquote


I think there's a bit of a premature move away from the senses, when people still haven't learnt the full use of them.

The refinder of my practice - Gestalt by Fritz perls - said he wanted people to 'lose their mind and come to their senses.' So I can rhink someone is angry with me because my beliefs orexperience or both are constantly trumping my senses, where if I heard better, for example, I may discover my belief is in error.

Quote -
i 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! Unquote

I can think of rather a lot of things that I think are real and I wouldn't know how to demonstrate.

And I don't believe I'm alone.


Mind you, i rather like Scrates's line,

"All I know is I don't know anything."

Peace, I love that Cherokee tale. Tho' I do like the Gestalt way of handling conflicts within the person.

Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 02:52 AM

An interesting point, Amos--it occurs to me, often, that a lot of perceived differences come from the fact that one group of people is uncomfortable with the metaphors that another group of people use to describe the same things.

When Nickere talks about bringing people to God, it makes people like Mrzzy bristle, and when she talks about making people confront reality, some of the rest of us get a bit bent--we never get any farther than that, though, and I really believe that, to a much greater degree that is clear, we are often referencing the same things--albeit with very different metaphors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 12:15 AM

I wonder how believers such as yourself, Nick, would describe God if they were not allowed in any way to anthropomorphize him?



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 12:07 AM

MrrZy:

As far as i am concerned full responsibility for self includes responsibility for one's connections, friends, family, lovers, business acquaintances, and even enemies. You cannot make decisions for others (in the sense of forcing your ideas on them) but you can be take as much responsibility as you can for the areas in which you communicate and be willing to take causative action where you can.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 09:10 PM

Agreed, Mrzzy. There's a much bigger element of revenge (as in victims / victims' families coming along to watch the gruesome spectacle at executions in the US) and in simply sweeping criminals under the carpet - the 'lock them up and throw away the key' approach

Nature v. nuture aside, I believe most kids would grow up ok if they weren't maltreated one way or another by grown-ups (whether through bad example, the kind of self-perpetuating society grown-ups have created etc.,)

So it could be said behind every criminal there's a couple of hundred or more people who've hurt him / her, bullied etc., We all owe a debt to seeing criminals re-integrated into society. That's not to say either criminals aren't responsible for their actions!

Equally importantly the victim needs to be have restitution made. The criminal needs to come to see their victim not as a walking bankomat but as a human being of equal value. I have heard of community 'restorative justice' schemes in the UK whereby a convicted criminal is invited to return something to the community or individual they've hurt. Anybody know more about these?

One thing I'd do right off is end this habit in courts of lawyers making apologies on behalf of their clients. While it's one thing having a lawyer representing you in dealing with the intricacies of the law, if someone can't make an apology themselves, it can't be much of an apology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 08:42 PM

Unfortunately, the current philosophy of crime seems to be punishing the criminal rather than making restitution to the victim, as older societies do...


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 08:36 PM

"No, you can't, because you are responsible for your own actions"

Forgiveness and responsibility...

I guess everyone is responsible for their own actions, except perhaps the insane and children up to acertain age who lack what is commonly called 'sense'.

From what you are saying it appears that you think Christians see 'forgiveness' as a sort of blank check to do what they like. Perhaps you think they shift the blame onto God. That's not so. That's not how Christians see forgiveness (any Christians out there are welcome to comment on my generalisation if they like)

Christian concept of forgiveness explained as best I can:

All things we do to hurt people are sins on two levels: they are sins against that person and since God has commanded us not to hurt each other, they are sins against God (i.e rejecting or going against His plan for creation)

Therefore forgiveness operates on two levels: God can (and does) forgive us for sins committed against Him (all sins fit in this category as we have seen). But He also expects us to 1) be sincere in our apology and have at least a sincere intention not to repeat our mistakes (though being human and weak it's unlikely we'll succeed for long). and 2) to make up / make restitution to the person we've sinned against.

An insincere apology is unlikely to sit well with God, and if you've experience of Him, you'll know what I mean. He's VERY patient but you'll know all the same...!

Part of that sincerity is trying to make up with the injured party, or if that's not possible (because they're too angry or hurt to even talk to you) to make it clear the door is open to them. If I steal from my friend and tell God I'm sorry, God will still expect me to give back the money as soon as I can to show my apology is sincere and to restore harmony. Sometimes it's impossible to make restitution directly, so there are other ways of doing penance: charitable works, self-sacrifice and so on.

God has a funny way of ensuring you do these things properly or you won't find much peace or rest. I don't remember where I saw or heard it, but a phrase I once heard was that every stolen thing cries out to God to be reunited with its rightful owner (I doubt that meant in an actual voice, but in the sense of somehow disrupting the balance or harmony of creation).

The corollory is of course that He expects other people to do the same for us, so it's a win-win situation when everyone pulls their weight. He also commands us to forgive each other and not hold grudges. This is difficult to do sometimes, it depends on what someone has done to you and whether they're even sorry. Prayer comes into place here - you can ask God to help you forgive.

One thing I have realised over the years, one significance of the Lord's prayer "and forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". One way fo reading that is we are asking God to match our mercy with His mercy. If we don't forgive people, can we expect God to be lenient with us? Just and fair, yes, as always, but merciful? We must exhibit the quality of mercy in order to expect it.

When we don't forgive people, we carry that around with us like a weight on the shoulders gnawing away at us. It's amazing how when you let go, the weight is immediately lifted off.

So Christian morality demands we be responsible for our actions - 1) sincerely saying sorry 2) accepting the sincere apologies of others as we would expect them to do for us 3) make restitution both to God and person.

Sounds easy, but as we all know in practice, it depends on what people have done! Some grudges are harder to shake off than others. But in my experience, prayer does help a lot in loosening them, and makes it easier for me to approach people I've hurt as well and be truly sorry in the ways outlined above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 08:24 PM

*Sigh* I'm going to have to write a book, I can already tell... yikes! And one should be responsible to one's loved ones as well as to one's self, no? And to one's community? And to those upon whom one depends?


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 12:14 AM

Being responsible to yourself is the closest any of us are going to come to Godhood in this life, so I think it behooves us to practice as much as possible.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: Riginslinger
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 11:28 PM

Yes, there's always that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 10:52 PM

One thing I keep in mind is, whoever it is, they've always got a book to sell--and the more controversy they create, the more they sell. That's the world we live in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 09:07 PM

That is a truly cozy arrangement--it even beats out nepotism--


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