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No invisible means of support

GUEST,Art Thieme 30 Nov 05 - 12:08 PM
Ebbie 30 Nov 05 - 12:24 PM
Clinton Hammond 30 Nov 05 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Mr Happy 30 Nov 05 - 12:30 PM
Big Mick 30 Nov 05 - 12:32 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Nov 05 - 12:35 PM
Ebbie 30 Nov 05 - 12:46 PM
Donuel 30 Nov 05 - 01:00 PM
Ebbie 30 Nov 05 - 01:06 PM
Big Mick 30 Nov 05 - 01:13 PM
*daylia* 30 Nov 05 - 01:20 PM
Nigel Parsons 30 Nov 05 - 01:30 PM
Rapparee 30 Nov 05 - 01:38 PM
SINSULL 30 Nov 05 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 30 Nov 05 - 03:09 PM
Ebbie 30 Nov 05 - 03:50 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Nov 05 - 03:55 PM
gnu 30 Nov 05 - 06:18 PM
Bobert 30 Nov 05 - 06:37 PM
wysiwyg 30 Nov 05 - 07:16 PM
SharonA 30 Nov 05 - 07:16 PM
bobad 30 Nov 05 - 10:19 PM
Bill D 30 Nov 05 - 10:35 PM
Rapparee 30 Nov 05 - 10:43 PM
bobad 30 Nov 05 - 10:44 PM
SINSULL 30 Nov 05 - 10:54 PM
Beer 30 Nov 05 - 10:56 PM
SINSULL 30 Nov 05 - 11:03 PM
wysiwyg 30 Nov 05 - 11:44 PM
Big Mick 01 Dec 05 - 12:34 AM
The Fooles Troupe 01 Dec 05 - 01:04 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 01 Dec 05 - 01:11 AM
LilyFestre 01 Dec 05 - 08:11 AM
Big Mick 01 Dec 05 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 01 Dec 05 - 08:25 AM
The Fooles Troupe 01 Dec 05 - 08:29 AM
Rapparee 01 Dec 05 - 08:40 AM
*daylia* 01 Dec 05 - 09:41 AM
*daylia* 01 Dec 05 - 09:49 AM
Amos 01 Dec 05 - 10:28 AM
GUEST 01 Dec 05 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,*daylia* 01 Dec 05 - 08:54 PM
Rapparee 01 Dec 05 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 01 Dec 05 - 10:06 PM
Rapparee 01 Dec 05 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 01 Dec 05 - 10:20 PM
Bill D 01 Dec 05 - 10:21 PM
Bill D 01 Dec 05 - 10:31 PM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Dec 05 - 06:30 AM
JohnInKansas 02 Dec 05 - 07:17 AM
Michael 02 Dec 05 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 02 Dec 05 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,*daylia* 02 Dec 05 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,*daylia* 02 Dec 05 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,*daylia* 02 Dec 05 - 10:57 AM
GUEST 02 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM
Bill D 02 Dec 05 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,*daylia* 02 Dec 05 - 01:11 PM
*daylia* 02 Dec 05 - 01:24 PM
bobad 02 Dec 05 - 01:37 PM
*daylia* 02 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM
robomatic 02 Dec 05 - 04:19 PM
GUEST 02 Dec 05 - 05:40 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Dec 05 - 06:58 PM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Dec 05 - 06:58 PM
SINSULL 02 Dec 05 - 07:34 PM
GUEST 02 Dec 05 - 09:44 PM
Bill D 02 Dec 05 - 11:19 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 02 Dec 05 - 11:46 PM
Bunnahabhain 03 Dec 05 - 07:48 AM
Jeri 03 Dec 05 - 12:12 PM
wysiwyg 03 Dec 05 - 01:00 PM
bobad 03 Dec 05 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 03 Dec 05 - 02:48 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 03 Dec 05 - 07:31 PM
Bill D 03 Dec 05 - 08:54 PM
SINSULL 03 Dec 05 - 10:51 PM
Amos 03 Dec 05 - 11:46 PM
*daylia* 04 Dec 05 - 08:18 AM
*daylia* 04 Dec 05 - 08:42 AM
Jeri 04 Dec 05 - 09:05 AM
*daylia* 04 Dec 05 - 09:43 AM
Jeri 04 Dec 05 - 10:06 AM
Big Mick 04 Dec 05 - 12:07 PM
Big Mick 04 Dec 05 - 12:08 PM
Amos 04 Dec 05 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Dec 05 - 06:57 PM
Deda 04 Dec 05 - 07:19 PM
Amos 04 Dec 05 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 05 Dec 05 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 05 Dec 05 - 01:03 PM
Wesley S 05 Dec 05 - 01:30 PM
Deda 06 Dec 05 - 01:25 PM
Fibula Mattock 06 Dec 05 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 06 Dec 05 - 04:06 PM
Bill D 06 Dec 05 - 07:12 PM
Bill D 06 Dec 05 - 07:22 PM
Big Mick 06 Dec 05 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 07 Dec 05 - 01:07 AM
Paco Rabanne 07 Dec 05 - 03:54 AM
Wolfgang 07 Dec 05 - 09:57 AM
Janie 07 Dec 05 - 10:37 AM
Janie 07 Dec 05 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 08 Dec 05 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 08 Dec 05 - 12:31 AM
Jim Dixon 08 Dec 05 - 03:58 PM
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Subject: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:08 PM

Without lambasting or denigrating religious beliefs of anyone, can we try to state why we don't think that gods of any kind have ever existed!?

As I've said, God, the tall tales of Christ, ghosts, pagan incantations etc. have, truly, represented forms of wishful thinking to me. They are ways of controlling the masses. After gaining the maturity of some extended quantity of years, and looking at this world we are in as it has always been, I continue to, respectfully, I hope, state the facts of the matter that seem so obvious.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:24 PM

Believe it or not, Art, I would agree with you if it weren't for some intangibles.

Love
Beauty
Appreciation
Regret
Sorrow
Hope

These are not things measured on a physical compass.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:28 PM

"physical compass"

All a compass tells you is which direction your planets magnetic field runs in... it's got nothing to do with emotions...

Ever heard the phrase "The right tool for the job"?

"we don't think that gods of any kind have ever existed!?"
Ever? So they may have ONCE existed but have packed up tents and moved on down the road like divine tinkers? Interesting idea... it sure might explain why sometimes it seems like things are just getting worse and worse and worse...


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Mr Happy
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:30 PM

Agree= but not 'all people that on earth do well'

see here- new archbishop.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/4481796.stm


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:32 PM

Art, I have the greatest respect for you and your opinion. Bill D would be another that feels as you do that I have similar feelings for. But there is no way to explain it to someone. All of the things that Ebbie points out had as their genesis something greater, IMO. Faith comes from believing in something that is greater than ones self. I don't buy into the literal stories either, but I completely accept on faith the lessons taught by them and that they come from something greater than myself.

Mick


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:35 PM

Most people feel the need of something or someone to believe in. I have no religious beliefs, and am sure that when I die that is that.
Some people could not face that thought, and take refuge in reassurances that it will not be so.
In a way I envy people with an unshakable belief that they go on to a better place when they die, it must be very comforting.
Giok


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 12:46 PM

Clinton, I almost said physical 'plane' but inserted the other as a referent to being 'encompassed' about.

Giok, I don't actually agree with that statement either, that it's more comforting to believe there is a better place than it would be to accept extinguishment. I tend to feel that *no one* is absolutely unshakable in their beliefs. I could cite a number of scenarios that I believe would take people aback.( For that matter, people who are absolutely certain in any opinion are scary to me.)

On the other hand, a belief that the physical and material is all there is and that with your last breath you cease to be, why should that thought not be comforting?

Art, I love exploring the deepest corners of my mind's beliefs which is where I find subjects like this.

Mick, love you.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:00 PM

To my knowledge the only members of animal world to carrying on about God are modern homonids.

Its men who have written about God. Its men who since the 4th century have clamed to know and direct God's teachings and subsequently have written out women from the equality of men in religion and marketplace.

But now and then there is a man who either claims to be God or tells everyone he is directed by God.

There really is now a man who says he is God's man. The man to achieve God's plan on Earth. He is not the first to claim to be God's man for the job but he is the current President of the United States.

God's plan must be to have the US first cause a civil war in Iraq and then fight it for them:

To create an ongoing blood bath that would only dishonor those who have died in this blood bath UNLESS we continue the blood bath. To win the hearts and minds of the people by killing them and/or destroying their homes.

To build a new democracy where there was none. A democracy of the people by the people and for the people who recieve unbid contracts.



You know this makes me suspicious that this is not God's plan at all but just hollow lies told by the idiot son of a former CIA President who is now propped up by the advisors Rumsfeld and Cheney from the former Reagan/Bush administration .

Ted, idiocy falls by its own weight but it takes time.
I believe that the British Empire occupied Egypt for about 50 years before they realized their stupidity.

How long will it take for Americans to stop supplying toy soldiers for Bush?
Not long*.
How long until we stop pouring all our borrowed money into Iraq?
Not long*.
How long before there will be peace in the middle East?
Not long*



* ...in geologic terms.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:06 PM

"To my knowledge the only members of animal world to carrying on about God are modern homonids." Donuel

But that is the point, Don. As far as our knowledge goes, we believe that we are the only beings who think about the unseen. We are secure in our arrogance.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:13 PM

It is useful in all discussions on this subject to distinguish between religions and faith. I have real issues with the way religion is used to justify horrid actions. But I see the beauty of a creator in an unlimited number of natural occurences. I think all of nature shows us that it is completely natural to believe in afterlife, or reincarnation. Every single thing about creation leads us to that conclusion. Seasons, annual rebirth, they all point me to birth, life, death, rebirth. I find these lessons to provide me with insights on eternity.

Mick


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:20 PM

"No invisible means of support".

And here I thought this thread was about shopping for bras.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:30 PM

Anyone who thinks animals do not recognise deities has never read The Perishers (scroll down for one day's cartoon strip!)

Nigel


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 01:38 PM

Humanity has always created anthropomorphic gods and goddesses. We anthropormorphize animals, plants, rocks. I'm not sure that we can envision something that is not in our image, for we are all we actually know (and that imperfectly).

We can try to extend beyond the self, even though we usually fail -- perhaps it's the trying is what actually keeps us human.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 03:00 PM

I am always fascinated by people who escape some horrible disaster and then claim that "God was watching over me." If He was watching, why did the disaster happen in the first place? And why was he not also watching over the people who were killed or injured?

I am an atheist who is also fascinated by organized atheists who have set up a group of rules that exclude me. ESP, for example, does not exist in their creed. Experience it and you are out. I have experienced it and attribute it too to a set of chance circumstances that cause it to happen, not angels or demons or god. JA set creed of non-belief is just another form of controlling the masses, I think.

It is impossible to prove a negative. I won't try. So far, no one has been able to prove the existence of an all powerful deity to me. I will listen - skeptically.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 03:09 PM

The way I generally see it, all of those good qualities Ebbie mentions are a result of conscious decisions by pretty good people to adopt those ways of being. Their minds come to embrace those concepts after much living and thinking. For me it's a result of which salad bar items we take because the taste is either good or in the case of hot peppers, we choose to endure the pain because we like it.

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 03:50 PM

Some of the things I believe are the product of a developing understanding - (and I'm not done yet!). For instance, I agree with Sinsull that a god is not out there watching me walk along a sidewalk and protecting me from a ladder about to fall - but lets it fall on the next person. I agree with Sins that that's a strange, self-absorbed view of one's doing and being.

However (there is ALWAYS a however) I have come to believe somethings that I was never taught, and which may sound sacreligious to some.

I have my own tortured terminology for it, so bear with me...

I seem to have found that if one puts oneself into a certain flow, a certain mindset, perhaps, certain events will happen or not happen in a coherence that can be startling. I have come to the place where I count on it. That, basically, means that I *know* I will be where I need to be at any given time, I *know* that my life will unfold in the direction I *need*, I *know* that I will meet the people along the way who will help me learn, will help support me in the ways I need to see...

I suspect that it has nothing whatever to do with religion or a god's intervention. I suspect that the person can be an atheist or a saint and anything in between. (Maybe even a crook in his or her activities- although I would hope not!)

Another way of looking at it may be visualizing a strawberry bed. Each blossom and fruit appears separate and self sufficient but underneath there is a whole world we don't see, a network that connects them all, feeds them all and gives them all the information they need to thrive and produce.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 03:55 PM

what if he is watching you, this very minute......

he must have nearly as boring an existence as me, and he's got to keep surveillance up until the end of eternity. serves him right.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: gnu
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 06:18 PM

Death is what you make it.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 06:37 PM

Art, Art, Art...

Fir me it was kinda like learnin' to ride a bycycle... When the light came on it was on...

I am truelu saddened that you, or anyone, would go thru life without a relationship with God, let alone Jesus Christ...

All I can say is that while there are no words that will make you a "believer" that those of us who have a relationship with God know deep within their souls that He is in us, with us and lovin' us...

Can I prove that to you? No, but hey, if ya' don't mind I'll ask the Big Guy to make a special effort to break thru to ya'...

Peace thru Faith

Bobert


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 07:16 PM

Art, it was nice of you to try to broaden it past Christianity. It won't work, but it was nice.

I find these sorts of threads interesting, nowadays. First, I usually wonder, what makes a body go start one up? If people are so sure their isn't any god, how come they need to talk about religion so MUCH?

Also, I find these threads interesting in that they are the same sort of stuff Hardi and I hear when people come tell us all about their doubts, in church. See, y'all give us fabulous market research to draw upon. :~)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: SharonA
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 07:16 PM

I agree with Art. Sorry, Bobert; I guess you'll have to say my name three times, too!


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: bobad
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:19 PM

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
self-contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of
owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of
years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

Walt Whitman


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:35 PM

well~! I finally open this thread and find myself being used as an example! *tsk*..Mick!

You know, having been up to here in theories of religion and philosophy for many years, I guess I have a bit of an odd outlook compared to many of you. The very phrase " believing in something that is greater than ones self" causes me to start down thru a maze of thoughts.

It's not exactly that I disagree that there is something "greater than myself", but I really don't know what that means! (Not "don't know what it IS", but really..."don't know what that means!") If you read my 734 or so posts on matters like this, you'll note that I NEVER claim to 'know' that there is no 'supreme being'...it is just something that is not, by definition provable in the strict use of 'prove'.
All I can say is that, lacking proof, I choose not to buy into the enormously complex set of contradictory belief structures that mankind has woven. Life is bewildering, amazing, interesting, scary, wonderful...and infinite in its complexity. It doesn't, (to me) need a cause, a designer, a creator...etc...If one shows up, in a way that leaves **NO** doubt, I should like to ask him/her/it some pointed questions...but if not, I will ask other questions of myself and my friends about how to live well whether we ever have a definitive answer.

   I don't expect some of you to ever think like I do, as we all have different emotional needs and different ways of expressing them...some in metaphor, some in absolutes...and some just in more questions.

I do have personal opinions about how it all 'works', but since humans have the ability to reflect on their own existence (now THERE'S the amazing part!), they have the ability to create a universe of Gods in their own image...they just don't agree on the details.

Nietzsche, in "Zarathustra", said, "...and one old greybeard of a god stood up and said, I am the Lord, your God! Thou shalt have no other gods before me ...and all the other gods died laughing.."

It makes a certain kind of point....


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:43 PM

Again, let's not confuse "church" and "religion." And let's not assume that any one religion has The Word (bear with me, Bobert!).

For instance: Let your conduct be marked by right action, including study and teaching of the scripture; by truthfulness, in word, deed, and thought; by self-denial and the practice of austerity; by poise and self-control; the performand of the everyday duties of life with a cheerful heart and an unattached mind. How does this, which is from the Upanishads, differ so much from Proverbs 16?

Does Leave all things behind and come to me for thy salvation. I will make thee free from the bondage of sins. Fear no more. differ greatly from Luke 9:57-62? The quote I give is from the Bhagavad Gita, 18:66.

Are the enjoinments in the Qu'ran, Sutra 7:28-36 so different from the teaching of Christianity? Childrem of Adam, dress well when you attend your mosques. Eat and drink, but avoid excess. He does not love the intemperate.

Some things seem common to all of humanity....


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: bobad
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:44 PM

I think I'm in love with your brain Bill D.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:54 PM

So MUCH, Susan???? One thread from a man who has lived a long, full life, touched millions with his wit and music, and deals daily with a relentless illness. Given your background I would hope that it does not come as a surprise to you that as people age they try to understand the purpose of the life they have led.

I pity your parishioners if, when they ask for help, they get this same, dismissive "know it all" but offer nothing response. Have you some irrefutable proof of the existence of your deity? We are all ears. Blind faith does not work for many of us.

Lastly, Art made it clear that he was not attacking any religion. He is asking atheists for their reasons for not accepting the existence of a deity. It is a question that has fascinated the greatest minds for time immemorial and to date has not been solved conclusively. Books are published every year on the subject. TV, radio, the press cover it daily. I wonder why you are so afraid of people thinking along lines different from your own beliefs. Why are you so threatened especially if your faith is so rock solid?


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Beer
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 10:56 PM

Bill D,
Far out


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 11:03 PM

BillD,
Totally down to earth in my estimation. Bless you.
SINS


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Nov 05 - 11:44 PM

Wow, SINS, you read me wrong... real wrong!

~S~


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 12:34 AM

Bill, the "Zarathustra" quote is one of my all time favorites. And your explanation is why you are one of my all time favorites.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 01:04 AM

"humans have the ability to reflect on their own existence (now THERE'S the amazing part!), they have the ability to create a universe of Gods in their own image...they just don't agree on the details."

And Pratchett is one of the cleverest and funniest. Try 'The last Hero', but it is spread all thru the books.

"If people are so sure there isn't any god, how come they need to talk about religion so MUCH?"

Many of us don't.

Robin


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 01:11 AM

Wysiwyg--other religious people,

Susan, hello. I truly do respect and am happy for you and for all who have found peace just about any way they can do that.

My intention in starting this thread was to make a place where us atheists can tell of the philosophical journeys and paths we trod to get to our ways of viewing this life WITHOUT religious people joining in the discussion at all. So please, kindly exit stage right. Just for now though. We like having you around otherwise. ;-) **SMILE** (REALLY)

We know full well you are out there---and we love you !! So there. My wife of going on 40 years nearly is a very serious Jehovah's Witness. We do love each other. The only times we had trouble simply going by the old "live and let live" idea is when she and I conflicted in a way that prompted either of us to take actions based on our differing views that might have hurt the other one. Still, sometimes it had to go down that way in order for one of us to be able to live with ourselves. There were, and are,those hard places. But as Scotty Peck said, he felt that people get married for the friction !!" It's the hard stuff -- the friction -- that we learn from -- hopefully.

But I wasn't clear enough in my original post. This thread was to be for discussion by and for people who need no invisible means of support. NOT people of faith. No disrespect meant, really, but "faith", or the bible, or any other book is any kind of proof of anything to me---and generally it isn't proof of anything to most other atheists either. It's laws to keep the folks in line when wandering in both the actual desert--and in the desert of their minds.

With respect and affection,

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: LilyFestre
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:11 AM

Personally, I don't think it can be "proved" one way or the other...that's why it is called FAITH.

Some have faith in God and others have faith in no God...the decision is totally yours.

For me, I wonder how a person couldn't have faith in God (by whatever name), because the alternative is what? Have faith in myself? To a certain extent, sure....but there's so much that goes far beyond human beings that it makes no sense to me that there isn't more.

I can't prove many things but that doesn't mean they don't exist...

Michelle


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:24 AM

Folks, Art has eloquently and simply stated what he is after here. Let us honor his wishes and not hijack the thread from the stated intent. Besides, it is a fascinating subject which I will follow with great interest.

So ....... Christians, Jews, Witnesses, etc., let us butt out as requested by one of our best.

Mick


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:25 AM

Art, as I age and gain wisdom (or not), I find that so many of life's toughest questions really come down to conflicting definitions. What is "God"? What is "a god"? What is "conservative," what is "liberal," what is "torture," what is "folk music," etc. We argue about these things -- endlessly -- largely because we each have our own conception of what the words mean.

When people seek to define those words, they do so by using other words that are equally open to interpretation. For instance, if God is defined as a "supreme being" (which seems to be a common definition), what do "supreme" and "being" mean? Does God have a life? (What is "life"?) Does God exist as an entity that is separate and distinct from the consciousness of the people who believe in him? (What is "consciousness"?) Does the existence of the thought or concept of "God," in and of itself, make God real? (What is "real"?) The questions are endless, and the answers are always a matter of interpretation. Some might say that this is just playing with words, but words are all we have to use, and I would maintain that the answers to these questions depend on a cascade effect of definitions and interpretations that simply cannot be nailed down with the precision that is needed to get us to agree on what we're talking about.

At any rate, like you, I believe that God does not exist as a separate, distinct (to say nothing of anthropomorphic) entity who created the physical universe we inhabit. I simply see no evidence that this is so, and I see much that suggests that people have adopted these beliefs for psychological reasons -- good ones, perhaps, but that doesn't necessarily translate into literal truth. (What is "truth"? Pilate posed that question, of course, and I think it is one of the most interesting passages in the Bible.) However, if "God" is a synonym for "consciousness," and our consciousness is what allows us to experience the universe (unlike a tree falling in the forest, of which no one is conscious), then perhaps, in a sense, God really did create the universe? If I accept that, do I believe in God after all? Is it the same God that others believe in?

You can spend a lifetime pondering these questions, and many have. But if we take the most prosaic, mundane approach to defining these terms, then I'm with you on this; I do not believe that there's some old, bearded, guy floating around up in the clouds, causing floods, throwing thunderbolts, and deciding the outcome of the World Series.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:29 AM

You should read Terry Pratchett then!


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Rapparee
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:40 AM

In the long run, does it matter if those things that make up the core of human-ness -- things like caring for others, never injuring another unnecessarily, trying to understand the world around you -- derive from Yahweh, Krishna, or from the minds of philosophers? Perhaps those entities we call "gods" or "goddesses" are nothing more (or less) than the collective wisdom of the human race.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 09:41 AM

I don't care to argue for or against the existence of "God" today, but I will say this ...

NO alchemist, scientific genius or metaphysical guru has managed yet to produce living substance from dead atoms. Life is supported by non-living material (Ie air) and forces (ie gravity), but cannot be artificially generated from non-living matter by any known means.

IMO, the best explanation human beings have come up with yet is that without life-force energy - that mysterious, invisible force the Chinese call chi, the Hawaiians and the ancient Europeans called mana, and the Hindus call prana - 'dead' matter remains forever inanimate.

Blind faith in some Being supposedly up in the clouds watching over everything is not a prerequisite for recognizing life-force energy as the ever-present, indispensable, and yes invisible foundation which organizes, supports and maintains all life. “Beliefâ€쳌 is not necessary for working successfully with that energy to one's advantage, and in so doing realizing the awesome healing, generative and constructive Power each and every one of us has at our disposal, every day of our lives.

I know. I've been studying and practicing energetic techniques for a few years now, and I continue to reap the wonderful rewards of my efforts every day of my life.   Life has changed SO much - I just seem to be happier, healthier, more loving, positive, productive, grateful and understanding every day!   

Hey, I actually look forward to the coming day when I open my eyes in the morning these days! It felt so strange at first to have more than enough energy to easily accomplish everything I need to do. And I can fall asleep at night in 2 minutes flat now, with nothing but thankful, positive, affirming, joyful thoughts and images running round the brain.

This a totally new experience of life, for me, believe me!

Anyway, I have no problem recognizing the host of invisible physical and non-physcial forces or energies supporting my life - from gravity and magnetism and electricity, to other peoples' physical/mental/emotional/imaginative energy and products thereof, to "mana" or "chi". And, surprisingly enough, I don't need (or want) "religion" in any way shape or form to do that!

All the best in your search for truth, Art.

daylia


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 09:49 AM

Hey, check out the fourth paragraph in the post above ... does anyone know where the strange characters that suddenly appeared around the word "Belief" might have come from?!?

I sure didn't put them there, and they didn't show up when I previewed my work!   

Did I hit some key I wasn't aware of? Or no .... egads, maybe the Big Guy's out to get me back now .....   

;-)


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Amos
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:28 AM

NO alchemist, scientific genius or metaphysical guru has managed yet to produce living substance from dead atoms. Life is supported by non-living material (Ie air) and forces (ie gravity), but cannot be artificially generated from non-living matter by any known means.


Mighty fine assumption, but in fact, it has been done in laboratories. AND it is quite possible that all life is the by-product of someone interfering with dead atoms. Not just one Being, though. Maybe ALL beings do it. That means God is a highly distributed multi-threading network with no Central Server, a complex system-behaviour actually generated from a high number of simple transactions based on a simple set of rules.

A


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:53 PM

Mighty fine assumption, but in fact, it has been done in laboratories

It has?!? That's news to me! I'd love to see such a study (or two) if you could post it ....

That means God is a highly distributed multi-threading network with no Central Server, a complex system-behaviour actually generated from a high number of simple transactions based on a simple set of rules

Very interesting, Amos. I like it! But look what happens to the joy and love and bliss of it all when logic takes over    ;-)


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 08:54 PM

GUEST above is me, sorry


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Rapparee
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 09:47 PM

In 1837 Andrew Crosse produced mites named Acarus Crossii from an electrified crystals composed of, among other things, potassium carbonate and metallic arsenic in an atomsphere of "oxihydrogen gas."

His work was duplicated by W. H. Weeks under far more rigorous conditions than those of Crosse.

I have no idea if this work has been done since; a mob spurred on by religious "zeal" burned down Crosse's laboratory. His notebooks still exist.

Others, during the 20th C., have done similar work, such as creating a "primal soup" from inorganic compounds that might have been present in and on a newly-formed Earth.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:06 PM

Check out the Astronomy Picture Of The Day site. Glorious things are up there. You can actually watch the "beast" slouching toward whatever---Bethlehem, New York, Andromeda, Orion's Horse-head Nebula coalescing and becoming stars and making planets with their own planets (moons--asteroids--comets) as human eyes watch it s-l-o-w-l-y happening---some of it in our own lifetimes.----And that sets the stage for more "coalescing" into primordial various and sundry soups---some of which can maybe incubate a kind of life naturally---by evolving.

(As Lou Costello said to Bud Abbott, "Naturally? He's on third.")----But given the necessary chance, he, Naturally, will steal home from third while the catcher maybe/maybe not, seemingly, drops the ball---. Then the White Sox batter runs safely to first. PURE CHANSE creates the momentum and...

...ant the Chicago White Sox won the WORLD SERIES with a clean sweep! That's close to being as momentous as life starting here on Earth----and wherever else (maybe). **SMILE**   ;-)

Folks, go look at that space photos site. There is a new one every day. And sometimes you can see what has happened when entire galaxies collide---and leave their tell(the)tale residue dust an' chunky stuff the size o' Venus to get "towed around the heavens all day"---like that good old song, 'That Lucky Old Sun' says. Our Cassini Probe has taken photo views of Saturn and all the simply unbelievable rings and many moons and asteroids. And the cloud patterns in the atmosphere of Jupiter---with methane gas dust storms larger than our whole planet Earth---layered like a spinning beaker filled with multi-viscous liquids------OR a Navajo sand painting meant to depict the stratas of the Badlands or the Wind River Valley. No I.D. there (Intelligent Design) that I can see. Just, once-you've-got-the-Hubble-Telescope, observable and eventually explainable nature processes.

It's the nature of the beast that's slouching toward Bethlehem Steel---at least until---as Si Kahn wrote:

"The mills have shut down,
It was all that I'd knowed,
Tell me where can I go?
Tell me where can I go."


Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Rapparee
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:17 PM

Art, that's the opening page, the home page, for my computers both at home and at work.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:20 PM

Rapiere,

I was composing what I said while you were speaking here of primordial soup too. Fascinating.

We must be on to something!

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:21 PM

*daylia*...it took me two searches, with "life laboratory "amino acid" as the final search term, to find this page, explaining how we are able to do, in a laboratory, the basic first steps of creating necessary constituents of life.

Of course we have not started from scratch and created something that swims or hops or does rap music, for, if scientific theory is true, it took many millions of years and trillions of reactions with lightning, water, chemicals...and chance... to get those amino acids to combine into enzymes and substances which are sensitive to light and having some primitive cellular structure. And many MORE millions of years to get creatures who could argue about it all!

The key here is "millions of years" and "trillions of reactions". It is very difficult to grasp or comprehend numbers like that....one does not visualize enormous amounts of time and molecular interactions, you just have to 'realize' somehow the math involved and be in awe of the process. It is not magic, it is just laws of probability...like going to Australia and meeting your 3rd grade school teacher in a pub...only 283,094,573,027,200,329 times MORE complicated and unlikely! (There were only 6 billion people who could have been in that pub!)

We do sort of understand how life could have happened in such circumstances, and we know other aspects of the equations that might also have influenced it all.......and that's why some of us, as Art asked, don't 'require' a Divine creation or ANY "intelligent design"...we are content to just see what we can unravel of the process.

Does this remove the need for morality and love and beauty and justice and personal creativity? Not at all! Wherever we came from, we are complex creatures who HAVE those concepts, and there are detailed philosophical theories which (try to) explain why we need principles and laws and concern for our own survival and interrelationships.

Now, this is obviously not enough for many....and of COURSE was not enough for out remote ancestors who gathered in caves and wondered why night became day and what made fire and how babies were made. They NEEDED explanations, and had no laboratories or Mudcat forum to debate it all. We have 'creation myths' from many, many cultures....are the ones which got put into famous books any better than stories about "turtles all the way down"? And if so, why?

   The Christian Bible is a very complex book, and has some wonderful insights about many things. Whether it is literally true is not something we can never prove, but it shows ways to approach many issues. I have always been fascinated by the story of the "Tower of Babel", because I always read into that an explanation of why we can have so many different versions of *TRUTH*...and all those tongues and all those minds and all those people have NEVER come to an agreement about why, and when, and how, we got where we are.

To sort of answer Art's question, I don't believe what I don't believe because there is SO much to explore without choosing one of ....thousands?...of competing theories. Science is NOT just one theory among many...it is a never ending attempt to learn and clarify.

so..........


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Dec 05 - 10:31 PM

You want some interesting reading? (Yes...from a 'biased' viewpoint..*grin*) try this one which is one of the links from "turtles all the way down". It is both funny and instructive.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 06:30 AM

Pervasive Refusal Syndrome is the clinical situation where you think that your spouse or or well known close one has been replaced by a clone (or robot by the aliens).

The explanation for this is that the part of the brain that recognises the face is unable due to damage to consciously link with the part of the brain that associates the emotional experiences.

The unconscious thus comes up with a perfectly logical explanation as to why you think you recognise this person, but know that they are someone different.


Religious explanations and other myths are similar creations of teh unconcious mind.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 07:17 AM

Red Green has the explanation for all of mysticism, with the frequent line:

"The thing that men find it almost impossible to say; - - - -
- - - - - - -'I DON'T KNOW!'"

But I'm not sure whether he realizes it.(?)

When you don't know the answer, I find it "unsatisfying" to see something fabricated from imagination and offered as an "answer."

The only correct answer is "I DON'T KNOW."

And if "I don't know," and if "I can't find out," then it really doesn't matter.

If it mattered, the way in which it mattered would give me a way to know. For the "truths" of the mystics, there is no way to know - except to choose which *liar to believe. ... And have faith.

*Please don't take offense, but the "liar" (a euphemism here) doesn't know either. If he did he could show me a proof. He can't, and has nothing to offer except "you must have faith." Same thing the other liar says, but a vaguely different thing "you must have faith" about.

IT DOESN'T MATTER.

What people do to each other "because they have faith" in one liar or another does matter. It can be easily shown that some people "believe" when it benefits them, and that their "belief" matters. Mostly it's not an impressive record.

John


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Michael
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 07:55 AM

As Voltaire said 'If there were no God it would be necessary to invent Him)

Mike


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 08:12 AM

There is certainly some utility in "believing" in God, whether or not one's beliefs translate into literal truth. Belief in God provides people with a justification and framework for a whole set of other precepts, such as moral codes, creation myths, etc., which help us live our lives and illuminate persistent issues and themes that many of us encounter in our lives. Over time, belief in God has also provided a foundation for many of the institutions and developments that helped civilization advance: governmental structures, increased literacy, recognition of civil rights for less-powerful members of society, etc.

For many people, the utility of the belief is enough; they don't concern themselves terribly with whether their beliefs are literally true. It reminds me of the well-known "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" column that was published many years ago in a New York newspaper, which spoke of the magic of childhood, the love and comfort that Christmas brings, etc., and pointed to these concepts as "proof" (in a sense) of Santa's existence.

The question for our times, it seems to me, is whether the value of belief in a deity still outweighs the baggage that comes with it -- the literalism that conflicts with advancing scientific knowledge, the competing scriptures (and interpretations of scripture) that give rise to religious conflicts, etc. Many of us feel that humanity might be better off, at this stage, in basing our moral codes, our illuminating myths, and our sense of wonder, in soemthing other than literal belief in God.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 10:41 AM

Bill, thanks so much for going to the trouble of looking up that study. Haven't digested all the info yet, but it's interesting to note that even though the 'ingredients' or 'substance' of life (ie the 'primordial soup') have been replicated in the lab, no one has ever been able to artificially create even the simplest of one-celled living organism (like an amoeba) from those ingredients.

As you say, there are other non-physical ingredients involved ie time, probability. And I daresay this is an advantage for the whole human race, considering the lamentably destructive uses / purposes scientific knowledge and expertise have, and still are, being put to!

We do sort of understand how life could have happened in such circumstances, and we know other aspects of the equations that might also have influenced it all.......and that's why some of us, as Art asked, don't 'require' a Divine creation or ANY "intelligent design"...we are content to just see what we can unravel of the process.

Absolutely. Y'know, Bill, I find myself agreeing with you so much these days it's kinda nervewracking    ;-)

ANd thank you too, Art, for the reminder to check out the Astronomy Picture of the Day .... so awesome .... looks like a giant celestial amoeba!

Testing .... “Beliefâ€쳌


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 10:48 AM

Ok, this is really weird. I cut and pasted those strange characters and word "Belief" from my Dec 1 9:41 am post into my post above. WHen I previewed it, it showed up the way I originally typed it yesterday ie "Belief".

But when I submitted it, lo and behold there's those strange characters again!   Sorry bout the thread drift, but that's mystery to me, and I love solving mysteries. If they show up again when I submit this, well, hmmmmmm


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 10:57 AM

*whew*    they didn't appear again    Good!    (i think...)


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 11:15 AM

PS Found some info re ACARUS CROSSII (the mites created in the lab) by Andrew Crosse at this link

Andrew Crosse, an English country gentleman, in 1837 made the following experiment, which excited much publicity: he mixed two ounces of powdered flint with six ounces carbonate of potassa, fused them with heat, reduced the compound to powder and dissolved it in boiling water, obtaining silicate of potassa. This he diluted in boiling water, slowly saturating with hydrochloric acid.

This he then subjected to "a long-continued electric action, through the intervention of a porous stone" (?) in an effort to form crystals of silica. This did not happen, but on the fourteenth day of the experiment, he observed a few minute whitish lumps on the middle of the electrified stone. By the eighteenth day, these had grown and stuck out seven or eight filaments. On the twenty-sixth day, they had become perfect insects, standing erect on a few bristles, which were their tails....


That "porous stone" variable is suspicious. Could microscopic insect eggs /larvae have been lurking about in those pores? Did C19 experimenters have the equipment/expertise to rule out that possibility?


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 12:03 PM

*daylia*..." I find myself agreeing with you so much these days it's kinda nervewracking    ;-)"

go easy on your nerves..*smile*...If you DO change modify any of your long-established beliefs, do it because of what you think, not because you agree with me. Remember, we ALL would like to 'know' the answers to some of the questions our species has struggled with for thousands of years, and when certain answers are deeply embedded in our emotions and cultural heritage, it is hard to even begin to question or doubt. It is not necessary to totally reject one idea in order to explore another, especially when the older one just 'feels' more comforting!

    I tell myself that if there IS a 'supreme being who made and judges us', I sure hope he/she/it takes into account my attempts to USE the brain he gave me! I don't think I'd want to spend eternity with a God who expects blind obedience based on multiple interpretations of old texts. (and you ought to hear the mumblings and gasps from Jehovah's Witnesses when I tell them that! .

....and you know, if I could somehow prove that there was no Ultimate Truth and Divine Entity...etc., I'm not sure I'd want to show the proof to just everyone, as I can imagine the consternation and sadness it would create...*sigh*. All I want to do is encourage lots of critical thinking, and maybe we'll gradually get closer, as a race, to our potential.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 01:11 PM

...If you DO change modify any of your long-established beliefs, do it because of what you think, not because you agree with me.

Well, I make it a point to avoid "Belief", long-established or otherwise.

Besides, the personal will / desire to know the truth + the energy and means to act upon that will / desire + all manner of continuous, ever-changing external conditions, input and influence (hey, even including *gasp* yours, Bill! :)   =   a personal point of view that adapts and evolves and changes just as naturally and readily as the rest of the universe.

If this were not so I may as well be dead, I figure.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 01:24 PM

“Beliefâ€쳌 "Belief"


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: bobad
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 01:37 PM

daylia, are you making a statement about how you feel about the euro ?


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM

bobad - I don't know about the euro, but I did discover that those odd characters surrounding "Belief" appear only when I use Wordperfect to draft my posts. And they do not appear on the "Preview" feature, but only after submitting the post for public view.

Hmm. So it appears that strange and unexpected characters surround "Belief", lurking unsuspected within certain communication programs.

Such "Word" programs are marked by an allusion toward "perfection".

Furthermore, theses strange characters which conglomerate around "Belief" may remain undetected until the moment that "Belief" is made public.

Fascinating! Ah, such wonders remain to be discovered, right here on the Cat    :-D


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: robomatic
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 04:19 PM

Religion (n) - The awe in which we hold our ignorance.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 05:40 PM

No invisible means of support

The Bush administration


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 06:58 PM

Here's an article called The Vagaries of Religious Experience that throws some light on the psychology of belief. The author describes an experiment:
    when experimenters approached people who were standing in line at a photocopy machine and said, "Can I get ahead of you?" the typical answer was no. But when they added to the end of this request the words "because I need to make some copies," the typical answer was yes.
His interpretation is that people crave explanations of unfamiliar occurrences or behavior, and the words "because I need to make some copies" satisfies that craving even though it doesn't tell them anything they don't already know. Similarly, the explanation "because God willed it" satisfies many people's curiosity about all kinds of phenomena, from "why do fossils exist?" to "why did I survive that earthquake?".

Incidentally, I found that article through The Arts & Letters Daily, which always has some interesting stuff.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 06:58 PM

Re ACARUS CROSSII

they are just crystalline non-living structures - deposited by electrolysis. They are 'insects' in the same fanciful way as there are 'canals' on Mars.

The old 'water glass' allows lots of fun. When I was a kid, you could buy 'coral making kits' which sprouted silicate crystals from lumps of various crystals.


In much the same way as referring to the bible many years after the philosophical period of its construction, seeing old 'science' from eyes new with a wider set of understanding often makes hilarity at the ignorance and narrowness of viewpoints of older writings.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 07:34 PM

Creating life? Not quite yet:
http://archives.cnn.com/1999/HEALTH/12/10/simplest.cell/


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 09:44 PM

The Master Plan God has in mind for us is that he wants us to realize that we are indeed alone and it is truly up to us and no one else to make of it what we will. In that sense the possibilities are endless....


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 11:19 PM

It is? He does? We are? They are?.....and you learned this where? ?


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Dec 05 - 11:46 PM

It's quite fascinating what this topic is generating. Truly is. There is a lot for me to think over----on----and under. I'm going through a bit of heavy stuff here at home so I've not looked in here to the extent that I ought. But I will be back tomorrow or the next day. Thanks to all o' youse. We are walking along the "Razor's Edge" ---- as Somerset Maugham wrote it!   In my youth I wanted to become Larry Darroll---the main character in that good old book. He knew, as someone said in this thread earlier, that "it just doesn't matter"

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 07:48 AM

So this isn't a campaign aaginst strapless bras then?


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 12:12 PM

I had an interesting conversation with one of the Jehovah's Witness pair that came to invite me to convert. She said she'd joined the church because she'd asked a succession of religous leaders a question about something to do with what happens after death (I can't remember the exact question) and they couldn't answer, but when she got to the Witnesses, they had answers could.

I told her I was wary of anyone who claimed they had answers, especially ones others couldn't come up on their own and needed to be passed on by someone else, with no way to prove or disprove them. They just sounded good.

She needed answers that she liked and I'm happy with the questions. I was 13 when I figured out I wasn't likely to be satisfied with what other people told me was true and I'd better learn how to deal with uncertainty. Uncertainty really isn't all that bad. My beliefs, such as they are, are right for me whereas others work for other people.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 01:00 PM

People who know me well know how strongly I believe in individual choice in all things.

I just would encourage and challenge non-theists to speak positively of what you DO believe (and as Art asks, WHY), instead of in terms of what you DO NOT believe... to say what you are for, less than what you are against... to speak as an A-theist or Non-theist or Pro-whatever-you-are-ist instead of using such terms to make a very thin veil over being ANTI-theist or Anti-religionist or anti-whatever-hurt-you-or-pissed-you-off.

I'm suggesting, with all due respect, that to expect PRO-anything people to shut up while people speak against their daily life experience is NOT the finest hallmark of tolerance you can logically expect if you are not able to say what you DO believe that is good and useful to you in YOUR daily experience, and can only attack, denigrate, and ridicule what others are living and believing.

That area of positive description is an area in which "believers" and "non-believers" share common ground. I'd love to meet you THERE.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: bobad
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 01:20 PM

OK Susan

I believe in water, earth, sun, moon, warmth, cold, love, people, grass, trees, birds, animals, insects and the cycle of life and death among many other things I perceive with my senses. When I'm dead I will no longer perceive these things nor will I perceive that I am not perceiving them. This makes me neither afraid nor unhappy.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 02:48 PM

Susan,

I, too, was hoping to have a talk here that wasn't about why people hate certain religious doings. Many here have done that admirably well. For me, it's not that deep. I don't see evidence around me that supernatural stuff happens. I do see that, if I search long and hard enough, many aspects of Charles Darwin and science theories have proven accurate, and will continue to prove true because they are analyzed correctly with good (not bad) science. That won't be because of my just saying that, no matter how fantastic (meaning full of fantasy) claims in some book might be. That might be things like, say, "all creation in a few days" or "Icarus flying into the sun" or "infants being brought by storks" or "parting the Red Sea" or any of a million things people have CHOSEN to give credence to just because they decide to believe in it.

I might get scared by things that go bump (or bang) in the night when I can't find the sources of those right off the bat. But if I interpret that noise as being the ghost of the previous occupant of the house without seeing or talking to that spirit thing, well, shame on me. I've never, personally, seen an alien either, so I doubt those too. Still, the fact that we are HERE makes me "feel" that THEY might be THERE too... But I need proof.

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 07:31 PM

I have experienced some odd "supernatural" things that I cannot explain by means of science, but that does not mean that I have to believe in a creator. It just means that there are things happening that I do not have an explanation for.
There may be an existance after death, but this also does not explicitly require the services of any superior being or creator.
We'll all find out by experience or the lack of it one day.
Although I have heard and seen some unexplainable things, they did not confirm the continuance of existance of a particular person.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 08:54 PM

I've been sitting here for over an hour, trying to compose an approach to answering Susan's basic question and her plea for a more positive attitude....and it just gets longer and longer......and the more I type, the more I NEED to type to explain & qualify and the more disclaimers I need to issue...*sigh*...

I can see I'm not gonna get it like I want tonight...maybe never....and I have one more day at a craft show tomorrow. I have what I have written saved, and if I can sort it out, I'll get back to it tomorrow night. (It helps ME refine my thoughts, even if it is tedious to most of you...*grin*)

(Susan does ask us to do something which, if possible, could be very important, and I find it difficult to do it well. I am trying to explain why)


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: SINSULL
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 10:51 PM

In short, my own church betrayed me when I was a child. In my teens, I studied other faiths, mythologies, religions and came to the conclusion that none of them were based on fact.

The world we know exists because certain factors fell into place BY CHANCE. Had they not fallen into place BY CHANCE, Earth as we know it would not exist. A few more oxygen molecules in the atmosphere and life would not have evolved.

Ghosts, ESP, even the power of prayer will be explained, hopefully in my life time. More than likely they result from some currently unexplained ability of the mind. I see no reason to expect life after death. I see no proof of reincarnation. This is it.

Rather than criticize those with Faith, I envy them. How much simpler life would be if I could consult someone or something besides my own conscience to make difficult decisions. The big ones are simple - it is wrong to murder, rape, rob, etc. The grey areas are tough.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Amos
Date: 03 Dec 05 - 11:46 PM

Well, there's the indomitable and unlimited capability of the human spirit, when it is allowed freedom, its power for the good, its power to see truthfully when not interfered with, and its power to bring life and order where it find chaos, massive oppression and deathful dramatization.

Then there's the miles-deep importance of self-determination in individual thought and choice.

I believe if the species has any higher-scale commonality, it is the goal of evolving a sane destiny for ourselves.

I believe that the Individual transcends the boundaries of the body, the local continuum, and matter; that under the right circumstances he can grow to the limits of imagination itself in the exercise of his (or her) sovereign creative power.

I believe that genuine faith is a certainty in making good things happen, and that transferring that faith to external Entities, no matter what they are called, is a failure in integrity and a betrayal of self.

I believe many other things, also, but that's enough for one evening.

A


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 08:18 AM

All people need and want to reduce and avoid the inevitable miseries of life, and to be happy. If religious beliefs and affiliations (or lack thereof) reduce people's misery and support happiness, health, kindness and peacefulness, who in their right mind would throw the first stone?

I've explored a few different religious and quasi-religious traditions besides the brand of Christianity I was born into. And I've found that each and every one of these paths (and yes, even including   *gasp* Christianity!) offers a most valuable source of insights, truth and "life-management" skills and techniques. I incorporate whatever works from those traditions into my daily lifestyle / world-view, and leave the rest behind.   I cannot identify or affiliate myself with any particular group for long. Religions box me in, and I'm just plain miserable if denied the freedom to explore and change and grow.

Ditto for science. Science is vital and fascinating and indispensable, but only a few scientists can or will "think outside the box" that particular paradigm presents, at least publically! Just like only a few Christians or atheists etc can or will think outside their "box" of choice.

In this respect, I see no difference between science, atheism and religion.

I was reading yesterday about how the Dalai Lama addressed the Society for Neuroscience in Washington DC last week. He's been working with neuroscientists for the last twenty years, investigating the effects of Buddhist-style meditation on human brain development/capacity and psychology (ie emotional, social states).

Interesting to note that hundreds of scientists protested the Dalai Lama's invitation to speak at the College, on the grounds that he is not a scientist but a "religious" (and therefore laughable) political leader. How could anyone known the world over as the "14th incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion" have anything valuable to contribute to science or human knowledge? Why should he merit a place among the "gods" of the hallowed Halls of Science?

Interesting too that a large percentage of the protesters were Chinese, accusing him of using his work with Society for Neuroscience as a platform to promote his Tibetan political agenda.   And it's also interesting that in spite of the protests, thousands of neuroscientists and students showed up to hear him, and gave him standing ovations.

But most interesting, imo, is what the Dalai Lama had to say about Buddhism and science at that talk ...

"...If you blindly accept, you don't reach reality. Buddha said many things, but always encouraged empirical investigation, using your mind to see reality. It then developed in Buddhist tradition as a custom to examine his words and find those that contradict empirical evidence, and interpret them as less definitive.

...if the Buddha was writing now, he would write them differently, based on empirical evidence, science, and investigation...

Scientists are by definition, by and large, "openminded, objective, in the same tradition". In the Sanskrit tradition of Buddhism, if the "Buddhist finds traditions that contradict the evidence, then those parts of the tradition need to be rejected, or interpreted differently." The tradition believes there is a "liberty to change that which contradicts reality."

When I first wanted to talk to scientists, an older monk gave me the advice, "be careful. Scientists are killers of religion" - but I thought, scientists are also trying to find reality, and with an open mind. In the same way as we are .... ancient authors are viewed with 100% respect, but I told my colleagues that if we compared [these texts] to modern science, some would be contradictory.

Therefore, the Buddhist tradition, which respects empirical experience, requires us to view these texts with understanding, with the knowledge that these texts would be written differently today. I hope those senior colleagues don't view me as a rebellious Buddhist," he finished with a wicked grin."

Oh, it will be so good to see a day when scientists and religious fundamentalists of whatever stripe are this courageous, hopeful and "rebellious"!


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 08:42 AM

PS ... I like reflecting on this quote from the Tao Te Ching

"Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won't be any thieves.

If these three aren't enough,
just stay at the center of the circle
and let all things take their course"

And this one too. The Dalai Lama says he's used it all his life, to reflect upon when he needs courage facing mighty obstacles and seemingly hopeless problems. He says it reminds him of his life's purpose, and helps him sustain his determination.

"As long as space endures
As long as sentient beings remain
May I too live
To dispell the miseries of the world".

I'm wondering - do any of our onsite atheists or scientists or "religious" have a problem with that verse?


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 09:05 AM

It's hard to approach not believing as if it were a positive. Susan says, "I just would encourage and challenge non-theists to speak positively of what you DO believe..."

The default question is "What religion are you?" not "Do you have a religion?" The word 'atheist' means without god(s). This is what I think Susan meant by 'non-theist'. Susan refers to us by a negative. When one constantly has to explain why they don't believe, either because belief is the default or because someone thinks there MUST be something wrong with them, the reasons why you don't jibe with what they expect are more important.

What I DO believe:

I believe it's highly unlikely that there's an afterlife. I believe when you're dead, you're dead, and that you live on only in what you leave behind. You don't get another chance to do things right, so you'd better be careful this time around.

I do what is right because it's right, and I know right from wrong because I try to imagine how I'd feel in another persons place, I have a conscience, and I want to be good. If I only have one chance to walk down this road, so do my brother and sister, and I should do what I can to help them, get out of their way or get past them.

I believe in possibilities. There are loads of things I've never experienced that others have. It makes no sense at all to try to convince them THEIR experiences were wrong simply because they weren't MY experiences. I don't like the whole 'you must believe what I believe' thing, and I despise the 'holier than thou' attitude. Mind you, I've known some otherwise nice individuals who bludgeon people with that attitude, but I hope I never start wielding my beliefs as weapons.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: *daylia*
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 09:43 AM

I despise the 'holier than thou' attitude.

Well, that attitude is pretty hard to take. It speaks of ignorance and emotional/social immaturity. But will I allow it to undermine my relationships or happiness or health or peace of mind? Nah, not any more...it's easier to practice mental vigilance and self-discipline, so that my own negative, hateful, harmful thought-patterns, judgements and emotions may be replaced by patience, tolerance, understanding and compassion asap.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 10:06 AM

There's wisdom in that, *daylia*.
There's no reason why I need to allow myself to have a panty-bunching reaction to someone else's 'tude. I suppose we all think we're right, no matter what the subject or what, specifically, we think. It's just not nice to treat others as if they were less because they don't agree with us and it certainly isn't nice to be treated that way.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 12:07 PM

Exactly right, Jeri. And that goes for those that don't share my beliefs. There is very little in the conservative agenda I agree with, but the idea that being of a Christian persuasion is not a dirty idea. Live and let live is good sauce here. Also, being respectful of others beliefs. You know me like few others here. You should know that I am interested in others belief systems without regard to whether they are rooted in the same beliefs as mine. I get tired of folks telling me I am a fool for my beliefs. I also get tired of Christians who proclaim that all our laws and societal images of right and wrong are grounded in Judeo-Christian beliefs. I believe that the concepts of absolute right and wrong have been around much longer than the religions that claim them. I believe they are eternal concepts, and for me, a part of that which humans have come to worship and seek to understand.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 12:08 PM

P.S. Jerry Falwell and Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Two sides of the same coin, IMO.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Amos
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 01:34 PM

Mick,

Beautifully vented, mate.

Those who assert there are no "beliefs" in their world-view are confusing two versions of the word. There are lots of word-music beliefs out there that have little to do with the actual makeup of an individual's core belief system. The core beliefs, the primary assumptions about what to perceive in the world and what the world does, are often so intimately held as to be wholly invisible to the user; yet it is these transparent beliefs that account for the bulk of individual experience, because they define what one allows in and what one "must" think and do.

The genuine belief system of the individual is built around who he considers he is in what he considers the world. If on top of that he espouses doctrines held only intellectually, but not integrated into who he is being, then there will be a marked dissonance between what he says and what occurs in his life.

An example is those who intellectually espouse personal responsibility, but more deeply believe in an other-determined universe which brings them good or ill based on some mysterious external mechanism. Or those who intellectually wrestle with Judeo Christian beliefs who are closer to original paganism or anarchistic brutality in what they truly see in themselves and around them.

I think it is important to be able to see beyond the words and notice the actual music, the walk being walked.

A


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 06:57 PM

Sinsull and I seem to agree. The long posts working it out are truly grand, but what Sinsull said in his/her last post is a good nutshell synopsis of my overall feelings too. But I'm trying to wrap Christmas presents for my son and his family. Jerry, if it doesn't snow tonight, and my electric scooter works in the cold, Ruth and yours' will get mailed tomorrow.

Please someone, pass that on to Jerry if you will as I really doubt he's looking into this thread very often, if at all---and I cannot send a P.M. 'cause I'm still stuck in the twilight nether world of   (((((Guestland))))). Oh, never mind. I forgot about e-mail. When yer memory goes, forget it...

Yep, I love Christmas. Go figure! ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Deda
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 07:19 PM

I believe that the vast, positive, largely inexpressable capacities that we each have --- capacity to love, to help, to understand, to share, to sing, to give, to be generous -- add up in the aggregate to much more than the sum of our combined parts, even though that sum would be incalculably great. Into that aggregate also flows the universal will to survive, which is observable in every little blade of grass, every dot-sized fruit fly, every life form including planets and seaweed and earthworms and ants and people and all - all of those "Will-Survive"s add up to a great loud, deep, massive chorus of "WILL SURVIVE." In my world-view, that great chorus has the attributes of a being. And I can talk to it. It is like floating down a massive river, which WILL find a way to go downstream no matter how large a dam it runs into, and I can talk to the current, and sometimes it responds to me. When this understanding took form in my heart, I realized that the term "God" would work as a metaphor for what I meant, but at first I would always start out with a half-hour disclaimer about "what I don't mean, not the old bearded guy..." Now I don't waste my time trying to explain it. It doesn't matter, really. I figure the term God is always a metaphor, because anyone over the age of 12 or so knows it isn't the old bearded guy on the cloud, it isn't just a Judeo-Christian form of Zeus. We are all inter-connected, and the nature and substance of what connects us is this mysterious thing, to which I talk, and to which I attempt to listen.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Amos
Date: 04 Dec 05 - 07:49 PM

Wow.

I love you, Deda.


A


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 12:42 PM

Deda,

If I wasn't married, I'd figure out a way to P.M. you and make a proposal. You said lovely things there---as have many others in this thread. Thank you all.

I just finished wrapping the packages. Now I know what I forgot to get--and for who. Think I'll buy a memory upgrade too!!

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 01:03 PM

Deda, you did say lovely things; you expressed my own feelings much better than I could have.

I only wish your statement that "anyone over the age of 12 or so knows it isn't the old bearded guy on the cloud, it isn't just a Judeo-Christian form of Zeus" were really true. Unfortunately, I'm afraid a lot of people just can't give up the "old bearded guy," and seem intent on imposing all of his scriptural decrees on the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Wesley S
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 01:30 PM

One of my favorite cartoons showed God as "the old bearded guy" standing in front of an editors desk. The editor is telling God "I didn't say that it had to be perfect - it just has to be done in seven days"

It makes sense to me.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Deda
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 01:25 PM

Thanks. When I saw Art and Amos' lovely responses, and re-read my little blurb, I thought, that's pretty good -- and I decided to put it into my annual letter, over which I had been completely stumped. So this has been very helpful.

Amos of course I love, you too, bro!


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 01:54 PM

What lots of other people (like Bill D, Giok and Jeri) said. Count me in as someone with no need for an invisible means of support. Nor does science take the place of religion in my life - science is just another paradigm to me.

So Art said 'My intention in starting this thread was to make a place where us atheists can tell of the philosophical journeys and paths we trod to get to our ways of viewing this life WITHOUT religious people joining in the discussion at all. So please, kindly exit stage right. Just for now though. We like having you around otherwise. ;-) **SMILE** (REALLY)"

...and I am replying: road to Damascus anti-conversion. I realised that religion stuff didn't all make sense, and that a sense of wonder was perfectly possible without a belief in a higher being/spirtuality/insert-appropriate-religious-euphemism here. The more I learn, the more no invisible means of support makes sense.

I wonder why, in a society that is touted as moving away from the Church, and which likes to break more and more taboos, are people still quite shocked (sometimes horrified!) when I explain (when indeed they ask me what religion I am) that I'm an atheist and that I was never baptised?

If, when I die, there's nothing, it won't matter cos I'll be dead. (That's quite appealing sometimes actually.)


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 04:06 PM

...and people get strange with me when I say that I am a Jewish atheist. Yes, I know to be Jewish is to be a part of a religion. One test Jews have for deciding if someone is Jewish is to ask if your mother was Jewish, and Jews consider me Jewish because my mother was Jewish. (My father also drank a lot of Scotch. BUT that doesn't make me Liquor-ish ;-) Absinthe also tastes like licorice. (But "absinthe", some say, "makes the fart grow honder." ;-)

Comes down to me feeling that I am defined as Jewish by Hitler and his kind who would've burnt me to death in a concentration camp oven because of who my mom was! That is, in the end pretty much, definitive from where I'm sitting.

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 07:12 PM

Here is what I have been messing with...started it several days ago, so I just added more until I found a place to stop....I could start over and do it very differently, with different examples and directions.



hmmmmm... let me try to shed some light on that issue Susan mentions: being positive instead of being 'against' something and speaking of what you DO believe...etc.
It is not an easy path to negotiate, but I'll try to explain what some of us who are not religious deal with as we see & experience a world where pro-religious sentiment is not only common, but persistent AS an issue in culture, politics, schooling, war....etc. It is hard to hold to mostly positive statements when confronted by may of the situation I note in the following.

In one sense, it should not make any difference whether one believes in a spiritual realm or not. It could be simply a personal choice, where some attend services, pray, observe certain holidays and rituals, and try to comport themselves according to a moral standard that feels 'right' to them. In that sense, it 'could' be irrelevant what you or I do or believe, as long as we don't expect everyone to think as we think.
   Unfortunately, it often does not work like that. It is easy to point to the more extreme examples on either side: the Madeline Murray O'Hairs with obnoxious atheist adendas, trying to obliterate any mention of religion from public institutions-- or the TV evangelists (if I may, for a moment, consider them as a group), haranguing and begging and promising with sanctimonious posturing. In both of these situations, we have people with an agenda to influence or pressure others into either seeing their side, or at least not interfering with their message.

   What, then, of the quiet ones?--the believers who happily practice their faith (or un-faith) and do good works and care about everyone? The Mennonite rescue teams who arrive at the scene of a disaster and simply HELP, then return to their communities and give thanks that they were able to help? The Secular Humanists who try to promote understanding thru knowlege and communication? Perhaps the most important thing about the 'quiet ones' may be that, BEING quiet, they don't get much attention or command much authority when issues are being debated. If a news program wants to air a debate on an issue, who do they usually interview?
   Last night, on "Larry King Live" on CNN it was Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose-Driven Life" (full transcript of the show).
   He is a highly visible advocate of Christianity, who travels all over the world, preaching, teaching and 'setting a good example' of reason and tolerance....he says. Listening to him, or reading the transcript, he seems friendly, patient with penetrating questions, and well-read. He seems MUCH easier to listen to than an interview with Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, who are almost parodies of themselves, ..but who ALWAYS get attention just because they do make such outrageous proclamations!

(this seems rambling, perhaps, but I SAID it isn't easy connecting all the dots in this controversy)

anyway.....so what's the difference between Pat, Jerry...and Rick Warren, and between helpful Mennonites and quiet Quakers and the full Catholic hierarchy with Papal succession? Are all these really parts of one church?

If they are, then some of them are confused or careless, as they simply do not agree on some important points. If they are not, then it needs to be made clear just what is being claimed by each!

Being a non-religious type, but sort of a nice guy...like Art Thieme and a few others..*grin*..., I meet religious folks whom I get along with- some of whom tell me that they 'sort of' think that God will judge me by my life and deeds and that I will "do ok" in the afterlife, whatever it is. But I KNOW that some of those people go about praying for me, hoping that God will 'get thru' to me, because there IS this very clear tenet in most of their church doctrines that says "thou shalt not come unto the Father, but by me!"...etc.

Now there's the rub! Am I condemned because of my stubborness or not? There are many traditionalist (shorthand for 'fundamentalist') believers who have no doubts...no belief means not saved! Hopeless! Lost! You've all seen and heard the rules. But many modern Christians...the ones who don't shout so loudly or harangue so voiciferously... don't believe this, or don't like to dwell on that rule. ....Folks, we can't have it both ways when it seems such an important point! The question is: If it can't be both ways, why is not the most conservative, literal answer the 'right' one? And why dance around it?

Now naturally, I don't think I am in danger, but what I see is dozens of major divisions and hundreds of minor ones, all with different views and interpretations of 'truth'....how can anyone 'pick' among them if there are so few points of agreement? THIS is one of the reasons (going back to Art's original question)why many atheists feel as they do.

   Since we have this complex brain with 'free will', supposedly given us by a creator, why WOULD he expect us NOT to use it to question strange old 2000 year old stories? Why, if he wants certain behavior, does not the Heavens open each Sunday morning with a clap of thunder and a 'message of the week' formed by clouds? You see? Some of us need something **unmistakeable** if we are to buy into such a serious system!

We (I, anyway) are sorry, but "It's not up to us to question God's motives." just doesn't cut it. That begs the question! Read that interview with Rick Warren on Larry King...he starts with the assumption that the Bible is literally true and that God 'gave' it to men in a magical way....just as he (God)later seems to have done with Oahspe and Urantia, which still have a few followers! Urantia is just as big and complex as the Bible, and Oahspe even gives pictures and diagrams! Is it a matter of "majority rules"??? Or of "who was first?"...........I am also sorry, but saying that "we all have our different ways of worshiping and comprehending and coming to terms with the Divine Truth" is vacillation....if there is not a clear answer, it is worse than no answer! We would not fight so much if there WERE no competing answers offered by so many groups which are absolutely certain they have the best one.

....so...(there is no stopping place, but there IS a limit to time and energy to make the various points)...There are various reasons why many of us doubt, question and/or shrug. Too many answers...not enough answers...the wrong kind of answers....and, yes... a few with axes to grind due to personal disillusionment and pain.

Still, as I have said before, I QUITE understand why many find solace and comfort in religious beliefs, as many have done for thousands of years. It is not for me to DISprove them, and in fact, there IS no way to disprove them! But I am not *making* claims...just doubting other's claims. If one makes claims, THEY must provide the evidence, and it just ain't fair to redefine 'proof' and 'evidence' in order to claim a win.

Because religious belief is such an important aspect of human history, I cannot imagine it just going away any time soon...nor do I think that's a particularly good idea....and I WILL defend the rights of believers TO believe....as long as that belief does not include requiring ME to believe also. And isn't that the crux of the problem?
   *IF* one believes they have partaken of the TRUTH, don't they have the obligation to show others? The Bible seems to admonish them to! "Go thou and become fishers of men"....etc...and we have evangelists doing just that...and causing international incidents in their zeal sometimes. It seems, in the mind of many, that "the end really does justify the means" when it comes to witnessing and "acknowleging" God, as Judge Roy Moore tried to say in Alabama in his 10 Commandments struggle. "We are right, therefore we MUST win!"
....maybe you are, Judge Moore....but maybe you ain't...and as long as your type is banging at MY door for attention and privileged treatment, we will continue to have this stand-off as some of us continue to believe that
"Freedom of religion must also include the right to freedom from religion for those wish it."


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 07:22 PM

and I really do regret that some of that tends to sound like an 'attack'...that is not the point. I am not sure how to defend NOT believing without illustrating problem WITH believing.


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 07:31 PM

I thought it was done very well, Bill, and I don't feel as though you were attacking anyone. You did precisely what the thread requested.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 01:07 AM

Bill, and others too, good thoughts there. And lots of 'em too! ;-) Here's some more of what is happening for me...

I see good people all around me with a strange need for certainty. It's not just a desire for that commodity. They even find that it by making bargains with themselves to make it happen. They find the rule book---their Rules Ob De Road---to paraphrase the song as it was originally in Sarah Pratt McLean Greene's poem called "De Massa Ob De Sheepfol'" I'm practically surrounded by them folks and their found certainty. Truly, they are very good people---. As long as I don't have to continually argue with them. If I had a business and had to hire a bunch of people, I would hire THEM---and I would know that not even a paperclip would ever be stolen from me. In this world, in these times, that is really saying something.

So, for me, it's just simpler than it seems to be for you. I don't need to find the complex road of it, although I like your arguments with yourself, Bill, quite a lot--after I read through them.   I think I agree on most points. ------- But, again, one of the books I admire most is Alan Watts' The Wisdom Of Insecurity. I am possibly more depressed than the "certain" ones---although I see many who need and get real help from good professionals. I think I'm more realistic than those who find certainty by choosing to believe what is really unbelievable ;-) to me---because it's just so fantastic to me--as in fantasy laden

That is a large part of how and why it's a fairly simple matter for me to say I'm an atheist. Things just really do look that way to me when I'm being honest with myself about what I have seen all around me.

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 03:54 AM

100 is the new 99!


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 09:57 AM

Well said, Bill.

I'm more realistic than those who find certainty

Art, there is even more truth in what you say than one could wish: People tending to depression are more realistic than others (the causal connection is a riddle still), there's even a research field called 'unrealistic optimism'.

In a nutshell: You either can be wrong and happy or you can be right and unhappy.

That simplistic dichotomy is of course faulty for at least two reasons: First, people cannot chose what they are like a lifestyle ("from tomorrow on, I'll be an optimist"), second, the correlation is not very strong and there is a very large overlap.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Janie
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 10:37 AM

Like Mick, I am confident that there is a power greater than myself. I am comfortable being clueless about what that power is. Maybe it is a Creator(ess), maybe it is a collective consciousness of all sentient beings, maybe it is simply the power of relaionships. It doesn't really matter.

I understand religous and creation stories as powerful metaphors and tools that are useful in helping one think about the ineffable. People vary in their preference of tools.

When my grandfather died at age 97 I found myself reflecting on how his ways of being in the world shaped my father and in turn my own ways of being in the world. My son, who never knew him, will also be influenced. And so, for better or worse, he will live on as long as there is a chain of influence. The same will hold for you and me, Giok. For all I know, that is what eternal life is. It doesn't really matter. Meaning is what matters and each of us have to make meaning for ourselves.

Janie


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Janie
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 11:10 AM

I find the experience of the community of my church, the practice of the rituals of the service, and prayer supportive, helpful and meaningful in sustaining myself and others 'spiritually.' What do I mean by 'spiritual'? Again--I'm not sure--but it is part of what I use to make meaning and it definitely has to do with sustaining a sense that I am not the most important unit of creation, and that I am part of and responsible to the great web of creation and life--even those aspects of which I have no knowledge or awareness.

I call myself a christian with a small 'c' because I have been inculturated to be able to use those particular metaphors reasonably effectively to shape a paradigm of meaning.

Wolfgang,

In my experience as a psychotherapist, people who cannot create some existential meaning are more likely to experience depression that is extremely resistant to treatment. Often, but certainly not always, these are people with strong narcissistic tendencies whose paradigm of the universe has them at the center--not talking here about inflated ego and an overvaluing of self--but of the inability to experience others except from the point of view of the self. (example I can never have a successful relationship because if they really knew me, they would hate me as I hate myself--which, of course, often creates self-fulfilling prophecies.)

Being realistic without having a sense of meaning IS depressing. Whether one believes in God or believes there is no God--both are beliefs. Meaning can be made within either framework.

Janie


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 12:05 AM

No belief about it. Just logical delineations from observing the world all around me. ---- And for what it is worth, the most religious person I know has the most pain from mental illness of everyone/anyone I've ever met.

My sense of peace comes from existentially going with the flow as I've told about experiencing it in this thread.

(As Dragnet's Joe Friday, used to say, "Just the facts, mam. Just the facts!" ;-)

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 12:31 AM

From all the years I spent playing my found folksongs for people on the Mississippi River steamboats (not gambling boats) I have learned to try mightily to appreciate perusung whatever floats in the passing parade that come my way down the big stream to enlighten me -- pretty much by chance---by lucky happenstance. Even with reality's toxic pollution floating by on occasion, if you aim your camera's sights at the intriguing patterns of color and light and dark, quite often you can save images that are worth keeping.

Art


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Subject: RE: No invisible means of support
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 03:58 PM

"People don't come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God." ~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


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