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It is here where the debate started to degenerate. DoDo was speaking of possible beliefs in general, taking in a wide range of things people believe in.
You examined DoDo's non-denominational list looking through a Christian prism. Your findings are correct but it hadn't been DoDo's intention to discuss Christian faith in particular.

When people turn away from the traditional state religion, it does not necessarily mean that they will adhere to the God of consumerism to substitute for the loss.

First, faith does not necessarily require formal church membership. Second, people can turn away from Church tradition and make a conscious choice for a different Christian Church, other religion or philosophy, and Christians are not immune to consumerism, either.

You contend that we all need something to believe in. I share this view. It belongs to human nature.

Why does the religious person think, consumerism would be "the" substitute of religion?

Religion is a house of faith. Religious faith speaks of believing in something that we cannot see. Faith in the unseen is spirituality.
While religion is the 'house of' spirituality, the latter is not limited to the former but religion without spirituality is empty. When you take away faith from religion, you're left with dogma, laws and a cathedral. "Practicing" religion without faith can be as empty as consumerism. This also explains why "religious" people are not entirely immune to consumerism.

People who don't have faith, in the unseen, the Spiritual, God that is, will hold on to and put their faith in what is seen. They become materialists. They put their faith in what they see, in what appears to be real, trustworthy and objective - safe ground, IF and only IF there really isn't anything else and real there that escapes their five senses which are bound in space and time.

Little can be said as to where those who leave the Lutheran church will turn...

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:36:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is here where the debate started to degenerate. DoDo was speaking of possible beliefs in general, taking in a wide range of things people believe in.
You examined DoDo's non-denominational list looking through a Christian prism.

Bingo.

They put their faith in what they see, in what appears to be real, trustworthy and objective - safe ground, IF and only IF there really isn't anything else and real there that escapes their five senses which are bound in space and time.

Actually, relying on what we can determine from empirical observation would be safe even if there were supra-empirical entities or phenomena "out there." That which cannot be reliably detected is unlikely to harm or benefit you. After all, if it could reliably harm or benefit you in some way, it could be reliably detected by examining the harm or benefit it occasions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:18:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That which cannot be reliably detected is unlikely to harm or benefit you.

Tiens! What is "unlikely" in this deranged world? If there's a 0.01 % chance that an unlikely possibility may have a lasting effect on your life/death, it's still very much worth the consideration.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:02:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Nordic countries have a total population of around 25.000.000. A 0.01 % annual probability event would occur on the order of two and a half thousand times per year. That is in the same order of magnitude as fatalities from automobiles. With average life expectancy being on the order of 100 years, a 0.01 % lifetime probability event would occur on the order of 25 times per year. This is in the same order of magnitude as fatalities from terrorist attacks if you include 9/11, or an order of magnitude greater than fatalities from terrorist attacks if you exclude 9/11 on the grounds that it is an outlier.

These countries have universal health care and uniformly excellent record-keeping, and have had this since the late 1960s. So it is probably safe to assume that a 0.01 % probability event that caused grievous bodily harm would have been discovered by now.

If you want to push it to the bounds of detectability, you have to go to a 0.00001 % lifetime probability. Whether Pascal's wager is worth taking on those odds is, of course, a matter of personal preference. But that's the right order of magnitude for the probability of an undetectable effect.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 03:59:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL!

I meant this slightly differently as you might imagine.

You and I aren't just numbers to which probabilities will apply or not. If there's just a remote possibility out there that the experience of something that is not provable or measurable to your satisfaction but that contains a truth of life and death, then it's worth being examined IMO.

The challenge for someone like you is, though, that there's no way to examine it from a distance, applying rational reasoning only, or looking for scientific proof. Faith doesn't explore from the outside but invites you to go through the experience and discover from within.

The weight of just a small probability of finding something worth to be found, shifts as you learn of people who have been there and found. The statistically measurable probability becomes a plausible reality that can be ignored, with some effort but it cannot be denied.

The plausible reality that I'm speaking of is the existence of one loving God.
   

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 04:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there's just a remote possibility

No, there isn't. If there's a remote possibility of one thing, then the remote possibility of every other equally unlikely thing has to be considered too.

Since there's an approximately infinite number of remotely unlikely things, this is neither helpful nor clever.

Of course what you're really saying is that one remotely possible thing is far less remotely possible than the others.

But you're just saying it. You're not giving any reasons why it should be.

If you could give reasons it wouldn't be remotely possible any more.

Since you can't, just saying it is as valuable as anything anyone says for any and all reasons - i.e. not at all.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, what you're asking is why one possibility should be less remotely possible than all other remote possibilities?

Well, we're not really speaking of possibilities but of truths. There can be many possible truths but maybe there is one Truth. One. Not many. One Truth that sheds light on why we're here and where we're going.

You can find comfort in believing that there is nothing there there unless someone comes along who's telling you that he has found The One Truth. That could be me. :) But there can be others, speaking of something different but insisting also on The One Truth. Does this prove that there cannot be One Truth because two persons don't speak about this One Truth in the same terms or because they contradict each other?

Maybe the two are looking at the same thing but speak of a different experience because not one person is like the other, because God is unfathomable, holy and doesn't come with a manual on 'its' mechanics.

Therefore, what may appear to you like a remote possibility (yes, I brought that into the debate), I have experienced as absolute Truth, along with millions of others. We speak about it differently, we experience it differently, we go to different churches but there's common ground, as outlined by Lynch somewhere in this diary.

I don't say you Must believe because others do but there's reason enough to consider checking it out. "It" = the mystery supporting this faith.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the point is that almost everyone here - to my limited knowledge - has 'checked it out' and found 'it' lacking. And it is not good enough to say that this mystery is unfathomable. Firstly because that would negate a central tenet of your religion that the bible  is indeed a manual 'in its mechanics' - according to many of its followers. Your 'religion' is very well 'fathomed'. The Qur'an is very well 'fathomed'. Many other 'religions' are 'well-fathomed'.

But assessing the 'fathoming' of different beliefs would seem to indicate that the sea bed of belief is constantly changing. It is not. The various charts are wrong or inadequate - the sea bed is right. Always.

Atheism does not imply selfishness, any more than Christianity does. In my experience atheists only reject the ritualistic (jingoistic) elements of different beliefs - while accepting that there useful if not imperative social behaviours, recommended by many religions.

I am perfectly content with a world view that is 100 % emergent.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"'checked it out' and found 'it' lacking."

The ONLY way to check it out is through the personal experience. It's a way of the heart.

Mostly, people won't find their own prayer lacking or God lacking - but the Church and what they experience from other Christians who are also only human in their imperfection.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:28:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ONLY way to check it out is through the personal experience.

Well, no.

I don't have to check out Scientology "through personal experience" to know that it's a viciously authoritarian Ponzi scam that I really don't want anything to do with. So clearly it is possible to check out religious claims by other means than through intimate personal experience.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:34:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's. Not. Truth.

Your opinion doesn't make it truth. Your experience doesn't make it truth. Your stating that it's truth doesn't make it truth.

With the possible exception of my shoe, there is absolutely nothing less reliable as a moral guide than opinion and personal experience. Both opinion and experience are notoriously easy to steer, fake and manipulate - and if you look at the sociology of religions and ideologies, this is exactly what they do, using known techniques of manipulation and dissociation.

I have no problem at all with someone saying 'Well, that's just my view.'

But when one personal view is somehow supposed to magically trump other people's personal views because the person lacks the critical skills to understand why it can't - that's when something has gone horribly wrong.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"when one personal view is somehow supposed to magically trump other people's personal views because the person lacks the critical skills to understand why it can't - that's when something has gone horribly wrong"

I don't claim that my personal view would "trump" anybody else's. My view proves that there's someone (myself) who has found on her way what many other's claim wouldn't be there.

It could stir curiosity - or confirm my madness. :)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:32:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nice reply :)

it's not about trumping anyone, this isn't bridge.

or poker even... it's campfire talk about what it means to be human, on a quiet night, when you can hear yourself think, and people open and share feelings too often kept inside, dreams they had forgotten to water, plans that lay buried in the freezer.

how their hearts yearned for the Summer Lands, the atavistic memory of earth before the Great Despoliation, and the simplicity of good people living honestly together.

even if it was a myth... it doesn't stop the yearning, the inner pull that some have felt their orbits altered by, as they search for the meaning others laugh at, not always kindly.

if time is circular, or spherical, or cyclic, then maybe this yearning is for a future within our grasp as a species, would we put our minds to it.

we are an astonishingly creative people, if we shift focus from a purely intellectual paradigm to one more heart-centred, we could easily solve any problems we have. when you think of all the people who want to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours, and those who don't, i think the former far outweigh the latter.

the latter however compensate for this by burrowing into power positioning, profiting from inveigling the public tirelessly to want selfish goals and consume like there's no tomorrow, simultaneously crowing about freedom, democracy and other feelgood buzzwords to make people feel false empowerment from status, fancy kit etc. (and thereby devaluing language, our most living link with the past) by polluting it with schizoid, crazymaking doublebind no-winners, making parody of shared heritage of meaning.

so what they lack in numbers, they overcompensate with shrillness, and ratlike hunger for scraps of power, out of which they make a patchwork of hate, bigotry and institutionalised extortion-of-the-fit, by the fitter, for the benefit of the fittest!

nice neck of jungle we got ourselves into...

planet of the shapes

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:35:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we are an astonishingly creative people, if we shift focus from a purely intellectual paradigm to one more heart-centred, we could easily solve any problems we have.

Our main fucking problem is that we wrap up our heart-centered* paradigm in intellectual clothes. 99% of the decisions we make and opinions we adopt are not governed by intellect. Our intellect, such as it is, is mostly used to justify choices we've already made.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:54:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And those 'choices' are simply neural networks being 'consensual'. The human brain/mind is perhaps the only example of <trumpets> true 100% democracy. The fact that the intellect still thinks it's in charge is one of the great illusions.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I'm just being silly - everything with a living cell in it is 100% democratic.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And thus the word "democracy" loses all meaning ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:20:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where's that campfire where people are compensated with grades for the speeches they hold?
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 01:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great question lily, although i am not too sure i am reading you right... maybe we need to make one up.

monetise mojo! invest in that brainwave factory you always dreamed of.

out of a world population of 6 billion or so, most of whom live appallingly insecure and dangerous lives, there are maybe a an elite of say 1 million, whose daily decisions, consciously or not, perpetuate the worst of the evil we suffer from and are dragged down by.

if those people all went to sleep and had a dream in which they were visited by the ghosts of future unborn children, woke up epiphanised (sounds like something a fancy plastic kitchen gadget would do), we could start to see some globe-rocking changes within 24 hours.

heck it should only take 5 minutes to come to your senses, if the material presented itself right!

i reckon our job is to pray for that collective epiphany, when the stubborn, proud million stop resisting ways to improve the fates of the others. i don't wish nightmares on anyone, my guess is it already takes some very expensive therapies/medications to keep them functionally at bay as it is.

but i remain adolescently entranced by the scifi notion i actually dreamed of once (too much peter pan and nougat, probably) of some keening electronic sound that blew down the chimneys and wouldn't let people sleep until they had sorted themselves out spiritually, made peace with their consciences to the best of their abilities, remembered how they weren't really doing that great a job of loving their neighbours in the way their pastor spoke of on sundays, all to have the simple gift of a good sleep, (something they had so often ignored their own needs for).

there's be a lot of lights left on all night as people cut new deals with themselves, to devote more energy to those in need, to insulate their homes better and turn off the lights more often...

the blessed zonk, most precious of the many gifts of life, and the ultimate one we can most fondly count on, when our days are done!

all hail the Mighty Zonk, forgiver of consciences, soother of torments, salve of the guilty, balsam to the cosmic wound of fallible existence!

zzzz

(is that a mosquito i hear? let's turn up that white noise generator that always reminds me of malibu, shall we hon?)

shares in melatonin go through the roof...

you can tell they're still resisting by the red-eyed stagger down the front steps in the mornings, (insert evil cackle)

now back to lesbian marriage in helsinki suburbs and religious backlash, or is that blowback, must consult the eroto-Saurus. who knew such a protest could engender such a wondrously weird discussion in ET land.

;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 08:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
With the possible exception of my shoe, there is absolutely nothing less reliable as a moral guide than opinion and personal experience

surely that would deny the conscience, for on what possible other bases could one form one?

in fact consciences molded from (educated, informed) 'opinion and personal experience' in my judgment are are a lot more likely to be wholesome and beneficial, than the potted fossils of supposedly great, iconic semi-historical (mythic?) figures and the legends of spiritual derring-do created in their wake.

all too easy to iconise people millennia after they're dead, when their foibles are long forgotten, their mummified counsels become largely irrelevant, and their miracles witnessed by unknowns, and testified to by unreliable scribes.

the bible contains the words of jesus, and very fine words they are too, and difficult to embody, especially if your life plans don't include modern versions of crucifixion.

the more i hang out at ET, i wonder if i am going to wake up one morning and 'lose my faith', because i have never encountered a group of such intelligent, knowledgeable, and amusing people in one space in my life.

the fact that they are overwhelmingly atheist i do find extraordinary, but that's not what bothers me about these discussions here at ET...

it's the confusion i experience when i see that people whose conviction that their lives have been touched by faith has clouded their perception with regard to how best to explain it to others yet unblessed (and thus unbiased) by that particular set of feelings.

i keep expecting my memory to devalue its own emotional connection to its experiences, because i prefer the company of atheists to those of faith, when it comes to intellectual discussion. atheists are freer within their mental boxes (of healthy skepticism/unbelief than most religious people are in the infinite spaces of their own belief systems, amazingly enough.

a fine paradox to ponder, with the corollary precautional point that while some folks might be way more fun to discuss this wondrous existence with, they may not have what one needs in deep crises of the soul, indeed why should they, since they, (often as adamantly as any fervent believer), discount or ignore any need for its existence?

there are some experiences whose effects on one's inner life are so pleasurably profound as to be unforgettably positive. what's interesting is every culture has a different shaped god-ology, as it has differences in average height, melanin quotient, hair/eye colours, choice of sounds to make as language and so on.

from some here one may get the impression -writely or wrongly- that because religiously demented people are responsible for pretty much of man's inhumanity to man, with the possible exceptions of stalin, hitler and pol pot, who were evil enough without needing recourse to such antiquated folderol as religion masking powerfreakery, it appears.

no point to be taken there, correlation is not causation after all... monstrosity of character can occur equally monstrously with any ideology, real or faked. religion is a mostly failed attempt to proactively arm a child morally to stand up for the goodtrueandbeautiful in this vale of joyful tears.

my personal feeling is that if god wants to disappear from hir artefacts, like some great authors write the first person from the plot, then no amount of speechifying from the faithful is going to lead to mass epiphanies of the sort favoured by religions.

intellect is a great razor to separate the farcical from the simply absurd, and it's a pleasure to see it wielded so gracefully, it is always kinder to make a clean deep cut, as any good surgeon knows.

i admire lynch and lily both for mustering their best to try and cast light into this depraved tavern of heathens, but i have to hand the game to the atheists/neurogeeks so far, by a mile.

i don't think we will catch any really beautiful butterflies with only reason for a net, but why collect them at all, surely seeing them is enough?

i have met and dialogued with great reasoners, some of good faith (and no religious belief) and some who were religious but communicated no spiritual current, or even any particular maturity of character. sometimes religion is used as a numb-er/pacifier of doubt, when doubt should be welcomed! doubt is your friend, without it how can you understand being when doubt is finally silent?

removal of doubt is a two-edged thing, one a mercy, as the torture of separation from the source is ended, the second a threat, because as soon as you ascend the hill of certainty, you can forget the most important thing of all, that we are all on the same level, and sure enough, we get lynch here acting out with juvenile testicular challenges, and lily, of such sweet and reasonable demeanour, resorting to a 'i said it, so it must be so' didactic, which leaves the conversation the end of its intellectual road, dangling in the void.

a bridge to nowhere!

i guess it boils down to proselytizing, do you feel it's necessary? just because faith was such a boon to one's own life, might it not be a bane to others? who are we to know and gamble on that? one person's medicine is another's poison.

if we could exchange 25% of our intellect for moral maturity, wouldn't we be better off making that choice, if we had it?

of course i don't believe we do, these bulbous, swollen thought-glands bobbling above our shoulders are our responsibility to develop and enjoy sharing the full fruits of with each other, and good discussion about the gnarliest of abstracts is like great food or wine. we need the intellectual friction created by dialogue between faithed and not, about philosophy, history, art, compassion, it brings many interesting issues to the surface, issues vital to our self-understanding as a species. it's another of those perennially fascinating dualities, like male and female. could there be a 'faith gene'? i'm starting to think there might be...

if one is blessed with a personal connection to the great author of all, one should be able to stand strong in that, no matter what others may believe. if one is called to testify about one's beliefs, i think one should use the language and terms one knows will be understood by those listening, and neither stoop to abuse, or retreat to some lofty tower to talk down to those unfortunately not sapient enough to share one's own privileged position.

i think it's hopeless to proselytize actually, and possibly self-damaging. the contours of one's faith should be as private as the secrets between man and wife, and people should be ready to be judged by their own lights, not because they took shelter under the umbrella of some secondhand belief system not directly validated by their own being, or believed in some force that dealt them special favours simply because  they knew it existed and mumbled the right mantras.

belief is just another personality flavour at the end of the day, it's always been and always will be by peoples' actions that their lives will be counted as worthy or less. god breathes through us all, not just those who see, or whose neurotransmitters are working a certain way.

awe, wonder, joy, bliss, gratitude, contentment... they are free to all of any persuasion, they just seem to accumulate more when people are kind, patient, generous and thoughtful, (some pious, some irreverent, some both!). next to these qualities, all the holy books are merely confused exhortations, attempting to ensure these virtues' promulgation.

weird how that works. religions make simple, intuitive things complicated, historically for the worst and wrongest of reasons, namely the selfsame temporal power they soapily pretend to eschew.

they detract from true spirituality, which is why the progenitors of these religions tore down the old gods of the religions extant before their turn at tyranny.

it's not the religious impulse that's at fault, or the lack of it, really. it's the simple fact that many of us were raised with varying degrees of empathy. and some have not fully realised how to deepen and expand it to the levels needed in these times we are navigating. moral badges or credo brands are neither  significant nor useful any more, or they would have done what they set out to do by now. in fact they are as much divisive distractions, outdated polarities, as they are genuine inducements to inclusive, collaborative, progressive activism, with several notable, heroic exceptions. we have to go beyond, to a place where we stand without crutches of any kind, leaving all certainties (most of all the ones that ask others to stop thinking for themselves) behind, and unite in acceptance and common, mutual fellowship, irrespective of private beliefs about what we cannot prove scientifically, no matter how strongly we feel graced and guided by them. if we keep it private, we will convince people better. if we live exceptionally because of our power to bring the best into and out of our lives, then others will want to emulate that. just as i trust we wish to emulate good characteristics in people, whatever they believe! trying to communicate things that are unlanguageable leads to egg on face, and not much else.

tho entertaining colman is reward enough! %}

...and gives (way too easy) target practice to all the archers here, who've been whittling some extremely fine points for years, and deploy them pretty devastatingly, as/when seen to be needed.

maybe god wants to be like training wheels...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 09:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"because i prefer the company of atheists to those of faith, when it comes to intellectual discussion. atheists are freer within their mental boxes"

"dialogued with great reasoners, some of good faith (and no religious belief) and some who were religious but communicated no spiritual current, or even any particular maturity of character."

i did cross more than one narrowminded atheist and charismatic faithful; question of luck, I suppose

"intellect is a great razor to separate the farcical from the simply absurd, and it's a pleasure to see it wielded so gracefully"

provided the mill has seeds to grind

"sometimes religion is used as a numb-er/pacifier of doubt, when doubt should be welcomed! doubt is your friend, without it how can you understand being when doubt is finally silent?"

sometimes; sometimes is not

"they detract from true spirituality"

speaking from experience? or from the lack of it

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:14:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comment responses

"they detract from true spirituality"

speaking from experience? or from the lack of it

both, like you and everyone else!

the logos came before the churches, baraka before islam. essenes before christians, yoga before hinduism. the tao before taoism.

etc.

 it seems like truth has a brief heyday between the crumbling of an old ideology and the crystallising complacency of a new one.

before populist morphs to popular, and truth slips once again into hiding.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:05:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The weird - or possibly not so weird - thing about organised religion is how it always, reliably, seems to become associated with top-down power structures.

We all know how anti-progressive the Catholic church has been in Europe. But I suspect far fewer people realise that Tibetan Buddhism has always acted to maintain an essentially feudal system in Tibet, or that Zen Buddhism was closely associated with Japanese imperialism and fascism for much of its history. Many Hindu gurus have interesting links to the Indian political establishment.

And so on.

When you watch new cults being formed - the ones where self-styled gurus work hard to destroy everyone's ego, except their own - you can see how the process works from the ground up.

Sure, if you're in it, it looks real and believable. It's not until you can look at it from the outside that you can see what a bad joke it is, and how the spiritual, financial and sometimes the sexual benefits seem oddly limited to a privileged inner circle.

Unfortunately good faith may not be enough. Some people have it, but it seems that many don't.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed - organized religion gave us the word 'hierarchy'.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
many masochists looking for their own true love...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:24:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
okay, let me put it this way then : would you care elaborating on this? thanks

"weird how that works. religions make simple, intuitive things complicated, historically for the worst and wrongest of reasons, namely the selfsame temporal power they soapily pretend to eschew."

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 03:00:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see TBG's comment about heirarchy below.

authoritarians, who are not trammelled with such time-consuming trivialities as maintaining relationships, with real, fragile, emotionally unbalanced people, (the whole motley crew of us), have much time on their hands to create mischief.

they look for new ideas in order to piggy back agendas of their own upon, thereby corrupting the original energy, and making it into an ersatz version, more easily packaged into little dogma bites for children to chew on.

i guess the most glaring example i find hardest to digest is an image of a bejewelled pope, wearing enough bling on each finger to feed a small country, lectures a crowd of shoeless latin american peasants on the need for humility, and asks for their paltry pesetas so to keep him and his silken court in the manner to which they have become accustomed for centuries.

some get to heaven before they die, on the backs of those who have to wait, nice.

i think if the martians are watching, well, it's embarrassing! we could/oughta (must?) do better than this. a religion can work 'on paper' and be completely inappropriate 'on the ground', just as any other ideology. it's the execution of these once-bright ideas that lives up to its name, and ends up suffocation-by-bureaucracy, extinguishing what it pretends to protect and enshrine.

if you think of the golden rule as centre, religions are journeys towards the periphery, (ever arcaner) riffs on that central theme.

arcane works very well for heirophants, and other pro mystifiers. we are presently entangled in semantic thickets of specialist jargon, one pole of which is local slang/dialect, followed by legalese at the government level. all social structures tend to rise and fall in this way, it seems written into the dna, from simplicity of spontaneous emergence from unexpressed embeddedness, through the birthpangs into maturity, at which point the spiritual materialists have arrived in thick (sic!) enough droves to turn truth into truthiness, game over...

and the magma searches for another crack in the crust.

game on!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re hierarchy, agendas -- you reply yourself in the second half of your post, I guess.. unfortunately it is inherent to human organizations, and the moment the church got mass dimension it was nearly automatically prone to it. I suspect many faithful are disgusted, so normal it is to expect exemplarity from spiritual guides. But then can one go ahead and draw the conclusions you do in your previous posts... I guess one can, provided it is done equitably, without rancour or some pilloring intention (which is maybe your case).

"simplicity of spontaneous emergence from unexpressed embeddedness, through the birthpangs into maturity"
quite so; man's aging evolution is rediscovered in mankind level processes. Does this make mankind old already? Do civilizations die in a way similar to a man's flame slow extinguishing?..

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 10:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have printed out your comment, to read and understand it. Here's how I tried to sum it up (+ comments) -

You see faith as ones private business and assume that communication about faith boils down to proselytising and ends with egg in face, okay.

Further you defend what I would call religious relativism.

"all the holy books are merely confused exhortations, attempting to...".
"... religiously demented people are responsible for pretty much of man's inhumanity to man"
"religion is a mostly failed attempt to proactively arm a child morally to stand up for the goodtrueandbeautiful in this vale of joyful tears."

-> I disagree. I believe that religions are not relativistic because they are rooted in existential truth. Spiritual truth mixing with world power is dynamite. It can happen that religion doesn't reflect faith, its inner truth, as it should because of that. This doesn't change Truth itself.

You claim that faith would be subjective and a private experience that should not necessarily be shared with others.

-> It's of course everybody's business to share or not to share.

We are entitled to have doubts.

-> I agree, especially when we try to nail the invisible and absolute. :)

divisive distractions, outdated polarities

we have to go beyond, to a place where we stand without crutches of any kind, leaving all certainties (most of all the ones that ask others to stop thinking for themselves) behind, and unite in acceptance and common, mutual fellowship,

-> You wish we'd already be in heaven. No matter how outdated polarities may seem to you, we live in a polarised world that's marked by divisions and conflicts. Families fall apart and humanity doesn't unite in acceptance and common, mutual fellowship.
For now, your vision is only just a dream.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:

...and gives (way too easy) target practice to all the archers here, who've been whittling some extremely fine points for years, and deploy them pretty devastatingly, as/when seen to be needed.

maybe god wants to be like training wheels...

LOL. Thanks.

Actually, thanks for the whole piece, which imho, nails it. A spiritual experience must by definition be personal, thus is not transferable to others. So until (if and when) I experience it, I will not have had that experience.

Any reasonably competent god should anyway have the power to make itself known to all beings, if that is what it wishes. And if it does not wish to make itself known to me, well, that is not for us lesser beings to question, innit? If it does take control of my tv-set to declare its existence, then it can declare itself the same way to anyone else. I do not see how any capable god would need my help in that respect. A god that does not show itself sure works in mysterious ways, and a god that works in mysterious ways while keeping records of slights against it and then doles out punishments, well I think Ennis in Preacher nailed how petulant the common version of the christian god appears.

Or it just likes to be a training wheel.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 03:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
disclaimer: all these conversations end up jumping the snark...

what beats me is how some jump on and start pedalling without training wheels, maybe i was brainwashed into thinking i needed them, and would have 'got it' anyway without, if that's how it shook out.

or they just fell off too early...

s'fer sure and certain, that nothing is!

:)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 04:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Lily:
Therefore, what may appear to you like a remote possibility (yes, I brought that into the debate), I have experienced as absolute Truth, along with millions of others.

Why do you experience this as "Truth"? if its true or false there must be some level of explainable logic behind the structure of these thoughts, which one would assume would be explainable.

This all brings back to mind the Stephen Roberts quote

Stephen Roberts quotes

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:35:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you experience this as "Truth"? if its true or false there must be some level of explainable logic behind the structure of these thoughts, which one would assume would be explainable.

I agree. I might explain it in a diary.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 03:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There can be many possible truths but maybe there is one Truth. One. Not many. One Truth that sheds light on why we're here and where we're going.

Maybe there is one Truth. Maybe our entire civilisation is a giant virtual reality MMORPG. Maybe each atomic mass contains an entire universe. Maybe a lot of things.

Every time you say "maybe it is this way," you impose upon the reader's credulity, as he might assume that you have some sort of evidence for your assertion. It is common practise among those who value small-t-truth to require that such impositions upon the reader's credulity be accompanied and justified by said evidence.

This is called placing the burden of proof upon the person making the positive assertion.

Does this prove that there cannot be One Truth because two persons don't speak about this One Truth in the same terms or because they contradict each other?

First, see above on the proper placement of the burden of proof.

Second, while it does not disprove the notion that there exists a Truth, it does prove that, all else being equal, the probability that your Truth is, in fact, the Truth is less than or equal to 1/N, where N is the number of strictly incompatible Truths being professed.

So even if we accept for the sake of the argument that there exists a Truth, you still have to differentiate yourself from all the other wannabe missionaries out there. Because N is a very large number.

For myself, I find the Bayesian view very elegant: There is no Truth, only a large web of conditional probabilities. Show that one condition was misidentified at some point, and you alter all the probabilities that are "downstream" from it. Perform a new experiment, and you weave a new thread into the tapestry, which in turn will act as a precondition for future experiments, and which will itself be revised based on future data.

But of course elegance is not proof either. Which is why I stopped subscribing to any particular ontology a while ago. Epistemology is much easier, since the proof is in the pudding, so to speak: An epistemology that permits you to make correct predictions with a minimum of fuss has a distinct advantage over one that does not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:30:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
": There is no Truth, only a large web of conditional probabilities. Show that one condition was misidentified at some point, and you alter all the probabilities that are "downstream" from it."

This is only from your own point of view, not objective reality. The fact that you evaluate probabilities is your own brain experience, with no effect whatsoever on the underlying reality you're trying to assess. When you correct conditions, you change your own probability calculations, not the underlying reality. The fact that we take a well-adjusted 1000 people sample, ask them questions and conclude that 30% of the whole population would like to reinstate the death penalty in France, that is still JUST A POLL, not the results of an actual referendum on the matter. I don't know how many times election results differred from poll results, but even if it only differred one time alone, or indeed never ever, it would still not make a poll worth an election - to me, at least. I'm saying this even as we're more and more governed by poll interpreters, not politicians who, rather than putting their own ideas on the table, elegant or not, make a pot-pourri instead, of what their poll consultants tell them people Probably want. The subprime crisis is yet another  school case of how mistaken, albeit elegant, statistics-based thinking can be. I suspect Armaggeddon will come by the hands of a mad scientist too much in love with the outlandish elegance of an equation to push the off button.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that you evaluate probabilities is your own brain experience, with no effect whatsoever on the underlying reality you're trying to assess.

Of course. But it does mean that we cannot meaningfully say to know that The Truth exists or what it is, because we can only know the world in probabilistic terms. Even if The Truth is out there, there is no way to identify it as being The Truth under a Bayesian epistemology. And that's not a bug, that's a feature.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:46:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly. Which simply means one should pick a better epistemology :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which part of "it's a feature, not a bug" did you find it hard to understand?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:08:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am simply not into IT metaphors :) Kindly speak plain english to this heathen.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The inability to identify The Truth is not an accident in Bayesian epistemology. It is a deliberate design element.

It's an advantage, not a handicap.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:10:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay. I know that. It's neither an advantage, nor a handicap. Bayesian analysis is just that. I still find your admiration of it quite abstract and of hte narcisistic kind, (ie pointless), if you will, hence my reaction.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:54:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
I still find your admiration of it quite abstract and of hte narcisistic kind
Just out of curiosity, what does Bayesian mean, in your own words?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"what does Bayesian mean, in your own words"

It's JakeS' word!

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And also a very important topic in probabilities.
I'll try to answer that question in a way that will hopefully bring some added value wr to what anyone could find on the internet.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bayesian refers to a specific, precise, operational technique for consistently updating quantifiable assumptions in light of new empirical evidence. The fact that you dubbed it as "abstract" and "pointless" is prima facie evidence that you don't understand its essentially operational quality.

It sould be obvious why it would be possible to devise an entire epistemology around the concept of making explicit one's knowledge (in particular, and most controversially, the assumptions implicit in a situation where there is "no prior data") and how "new data" actualizes the knowledge/assumptions.

I agree that JakeS's use of the phrase Bayesian Epistemology in this thread may be a bit of a rhetorical flourish, but your "abstract, narcissistic and pointless" jab just demonstrates ignorance.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comment is inspiring but I avoid negative ratings.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 01:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and in what way demonstrates ignorance, pray you enlighten this poor soul

if you wanted to know what I meant, a simple question would have sufficed. that was no jab, just the observation that his appreciation of 'elegance' re Bayes' theory reminds of those mathematicians in love with their equations - or of those other writers infatuated with their own twists of phrase. more still,  my slightly abrupt tone in my other post is explained (re politicians).

finally, I believe Jake is perfectly capable to answer on his own, what do you think

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 02:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
oh and Migeru, you answering your own question re Bayes, what does that show, in your opinion ? :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 02:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that JakeS's use of the phrase Bayesian Epistemology in this thread may be a bit of a rhetorical flourish

I actually dislike that name, for much the same reason that I suspect you do. But that's what it's called, and I can't think of a better name for it on the fly.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 08:10:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
It's JakeS' word!
No, unfortunately it isn't.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:58:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it Bayesian's then? Lucky him!
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 01:15:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to toss out Kant and Hume as well, I suppose.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Get back to me when your one loving god (not belief in your god, but the gal herself) actually displays any noticeable impact on the income distribution of a country, on the global availability of raw materials, on the technical competence of our engineers or in some other noticeable way improves upon or detracts from the survivability, comfort and pleasure of the human condition.

Until and unless that happens, I'll be working with the people and tools that are known to be capable of improve the human condition. There are many pursuits that are, in my considered opinion, much more urgent than speculating on the existence of an entity that does not deign to reveal itself to even the most refined tools of detection available to industrial civilisation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:17:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Get back to me when your one loving god (not belief in your god, but the gal herself) actually displays any noticeable impact on the income distribution of a country, on the global availability of raw materials, on the technical competence of our engineers or in some other noticeable way improves upon or detracts from the survivability, comfort and pleasure of the human condition.

I have been quarrelling with something recently, and a friend of mine told me, "Sometimes we forget how HOLY our God is." A God who has created this World with plenty of beauty and us in it, thinking, feeling, intelligent, how can He be any less than the sum of it and us all?

You cannot understand God when you look from this side, from creation, only. You're bright but limited. We all are limited in space and time. We sit on gravity and live until we die. Our senses are under a veil. We can only see so and so far. And we judge from what we can experience with our five senses but is this all that exists?

No. There's a deeper meaning but you must accept that God is not a blog buddy. The plan on His mind is so much bigger than (y)our understanding.

At the same time, God is not distant and faraway. That's the good news.

Until and unless that happens, I'll be working with the people and tools that are known to be capable of improve the human condition. There are many pursuits that are, in my considered opinion, much more urgent than

Very good. But one thing doesn't exclude the other. You can do what you feel is needed here and now AND experience God at the same time or become aware of how you're experiencing God already.

speculating on the existence of an entity that does not deign to reveal itself to even the most refined tools of detection available to industrial civilisation.

:) Fortunately, our God is the God of all times and not just the one of industrial civilisation. Since the power is on His side rather than on yours, you can only seek and meet Him on His terms - through faith and prayer, and not even the most refined tools of modern communication available are of any help. They're just toys.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You cannot understand God when you look from this side, from creation, only. You're bright but limited. We all are limited in space and time. We sit on gravity and live until we die. Our senses are under a veil. We can only see so and so far. And we judge from what we can experience with our five senses but is this all that exists?

That's cute, but it will not help me remove the smog from Tunis and it will not help ensure that all Algerians have electricity.

I'm a simple man with simple desires. I just want everybody to have shelter from the elements, clean air, clean water, wholesome food and electricity. If all of humanity has those things before I die, I'll die happy. If, on my deathbed, I can in perfect honesty say that I helped make sure that more people have those things than would otherwise have had them, I'll die happy.

God won't help me accomplish those things. Engineers will, politicians can and bankers might.

:) Fortunately, our God is the God of all times and not just the one of industrial civilisation. Since the power is on His side rather than on yours, you can only seek and meet Him on His terms - through faith and prayer, and not even the most refined tools of modern communication available are of any help. They're just toys.

That's cute. But faith and prayer will not recover a single gram of iron, it will not create a single ball bearing and it will not lay a single meter of railway. Nor will neglecting faith and prayer obstruct the recovery of a single gram of iron, obstruct the creation of a single ball bearing or obstruct the laying of a single meter of railway.

So I fail to see why I should make allowances for it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"gibber, gibber".

Fairy tales.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 02:56:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does the religious person think, consumerism would be "the" substitute of religion?

2 reasons:

First, because the religious person (of the Christian faith) has learned that throughout history, Man has always been faced with a materialistic/temporal temptation versus a spiritual/divine calling. This is a recurring theme in Christian Holy Scripture. It's therefore plausible to conclude that if Man abandons his spiritual calling, it is to revert to materialistic temptation.

Second, because in today's world, consumerism is constantly being touted as THE new religion. Feel bad? Just go out and buy some stuff - and if it doesn't make you feel better, go out and buy some more. There was a great diary on ET about the Bond Gods driving monetary and fiscal policy which was unsupported by conventional wisdom. Well, we have the same thing on main street and it's called consumerism.

by Lynch on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 02:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, those are the reasons but we live in tricky times. Not all Christians are Amish or live as hermits in the woods. Consumerism affects everyone to various degrees, and it's too easy to conclude that those who withdraw from institutionalised religion will turn to the God of consumerism.

This deduction would be possible if church membership equalled faith and spirituality. I don't think that we can say it always does, especially in the situation described by Sven where the church is not only seen as a house of faith but also as the institution that transmits general humanistic values and ethics and fills societal functions, like running kindergartens or hospitals.

I agree that atheism is obviously linked to materialism where it's only matter that matters, and consumerism is its cousin but consumerism really affects us all, especially around Christmas time. :)
   

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 02:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I dislike using the term "materialism" to describe a philosophical or political position, because it is often ambiguous whether it should be taken to mean ontological positivism or productivism/consumerism. I assume that you mean ontological positivism, since using it in the sense of productivism/consumerism would be tautological in this case.

That being so, I'm not quite sure what made you conclude that ontological positivism is intimately connected to consumerism. I can't see any obvious logical or psychological connection.

As an aside, while ontological positivism is related to atheism, it is not quite the same thing. It is possible to be an atheist and still believe in, say, astrology, which is inconsistent with a position of ontological positivism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 04:11:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I used the term materialism because it contains "matter" as opposed to "spirit".

Atheists can of course be spiritual as well, be that by seeking answers in astrology, or in occult practices, calling on 'dark' forces or through other possible experiences.

In that sense, 'spiritual atheists' are not materialists, or atheism does not imply materialism.

I cannot make much of "ontological positivism". Maybe you can explain the meaning to me?

Materialism as much as consumerism speaks of a strong attachment, if not clinging to this world. Faith is the force that teaches us that these things will pass and do not matter which should make the believer free from this attachment (bondage), ideally.

Without faith, we have nothing to oppose the forces of this world that boil down to everyone's selfish will which makes us susceptible to consumerism.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I totally disagree. What is wrong with 'clinging to this world' if one sees this 'world' as being an emergent phenomenon?

Why are atheists selfish? Why is fear the central driver of your religion? Why is compassion such a low priority for you? What are you afraid of?

Why do you promise to your believers that everything will be OK when you are dead? But not before?

How can you venerate deliverance without scolding circumstance? So, for instance, how is it possible to thank a god for rescuing the Chilean miners without blaming that god for this accident in the first place?

Perhaps you are confusing selfishness with a demand for human rights?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is wrong with 'clinging to this world' if one sees this 'world' as being an emergent phenomenon?

There's clinging to this world and clinging to this world. This world consists of here and there, heaven and earth. I do not believe that we're here on Earth, and there, heaven would be for later.

I believe that this world is both but we're limited (space/time) and free-willed. We can already experience heaven, glimpses of it - for as long as we live since we're spiritually blind, or in Christian terminology, in our fallen state, sinners, separated from God.

Clinging to "this world" refers to the here only, not the spiritual, eternal aspect of our life.

The core of Christian faith - is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and he sent the Holy Spirit so that we would be able to be with Him, have the spiritual experience and See, with our hearts, through faith.

Why are atheists selfish?

Everyone who is separated from God is on his own, with himself, alone - and from there, selfish, confined to the prison of the "Self". This is not a reproach. It belongs to our human condition unless we return into the Father's arms.

Why is fear the central driver of your religion?

The awareness of the reality of death is a central driver. Most people fear death. We fear because we're separated from God. This separation causes us pain.
We experience God through friendships and loving bonds with other people. Death will separate us from what/who we've known and loved. We fear more separation.

There's a song that I like with a line in it, "If we could see what the angels see... we'd understand that death is just a swinging door."

Personally, I am not comfortable with drawing people to God with heaven and hell rhetoric. "If you don't have faith, you'll go to hell." - We have faith, because we have a deep longing for God, not because we're so afraid. But then, and this is also true, when we're afraid and turn to God, the fear will go away. So.

Why is compassion such a low priority for you?

It's not a low priority for me.

What are you afraid of?

Me personally or the generic Christian-"I"? In any case, I have ordinary fears like everybody else but hope to manage them constructively(?) through faith. (This is not my strength.)

Why do you promise to your believers that everything will be OK when you are dead? But not before?

"I" am a Christian but no specific Church representative.
Everything may be "okay" - but not yet perfect - before we're dead.
You are hinting at why is there suffering? Why is there inequality, injustice? Why...? - Questions that cannot be answered at the surface.

How can you venerate deliverance without scolding circumstance? So, for instance, how is it possible to thank a god for rescuing the Chilean miners without blaming that god for this accident in the first place?

You Can complain or submit to God's holiness and trust His "plan" that is greater than our understanding. Everything is meant to work for our best. God let this accident happen. He listened to prayers, and the miners were saved. Maybe safety standards are going to improved as a consequence, and many lives will be saved in the future. Maybe weak family bonds were strengthened through the experience. People who lacked faith, found God. There can be many reasons why this occurred the way it did.

Perhaps you are confusing selfishness with a demand for human rights?

I support human rights. As I explained before, I understand selfishness rather as a form of poverty than a base attitude.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:20:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a somewhat unusual definition of selfishness, and one that may lead to confusion when used in the company of those who are only in possession of a more limited thesaurus.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 08:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This unusual definition of selfishness addresses the cause of selfishness, not what it produces.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 03:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This unusual definition of selfishness postulates a cause of selfishness that is wholly uncorrelated with the the effects that the common version of English attribute to selfishness.

While correlation does not prove causation, absence of correlation does disprove causation. Necessary versus sufficient conditions, again.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 08:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot make much of "ontological positivism". Maybe you can explain the meaning to me?

Ontology is the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with what can be said to exist. As opposed to epistemology, which concerns itself with how we learn about the world. Positivism is the philosophical view that the predictive power (and parsimony) of statements is our only guide to the world.

So ontological positivism is the position that everything that exists is amenable to experimental detection. As opposed to epistemological (or methodological) positivism, which merely makes the much weaker statement that the best way to go about learning about the world is to poke it and see what happens. Ontological positivism posits that God does not exist, because there is no evidence of God's existence. Epistemological positivism posits that if God does exist, we'll figure it out in its own good time as long as we keep making predictions and testing them experimentally.

Materialism [...] speaks of a strong attachment, if not clinging to this world.

Eh, not really. One does not have to rage against the dying of the light in order to believe that the light really does die, and doesn't simply move on to somewhere else. Death is not, a priori, any more terrible to those who believe that it is the last chapter in their book than to those who believe that it is the last page of the first chapter.

Now, it is very human to rage against the dying of the light. It is not many who would not like just one more dance, just one more kiss, just one more birthday party. And frankly, I see nothing particularly wrong with that.

Without faith, we have nothing to oppose the forces of this world that boil down to everyone's selfish will which makes us susceptible to consumerism.

We have the impartial spectator; the man within the breast. And we have ideology, for that matter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 08:07:13 PM EST
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