1003: "Hitler and Eve"

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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Fire Brns » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

The zen master was quoting him. Notice how it says "says" not "said".
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It was the Renaissance. Everyone was Italian.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby addams » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:47 pm UTC

doogly wrote:
The Zen Master says, "One can not step into the same river twice."

Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher. Of the pre-Socratic club, he was extremely pre-Zen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen#Koan_practice
Zen is funny stuff. Even wiki does not know it all on this one.

And; Oh, How the jokes change as the circumstances change.
Who was the first person to look up from deep meditation and say the words, "It is all vibration."?
Chinese? Maybe. Greek? Nah.
The Greeks had things settled down into Four elements. If, it was not one, then, it was one of the other three. I have read about those guys arguing for days about what category each and every thing should be in.
Then there was Plato and his stupid Cave.

I, myself, have spent days talking about that stupid cave.

Zen is, just, more fun. All the rules are for allowing of freedom. If, the rule does not fit you, then, do not wear it.

The Basics are Laugh; Well Laugh often. And; Be kind.

Good ole' Nietzsche said, "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a tough battle." The circumstances for that one must have been weird.

He also said.

"And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Friedrich Nietzsche

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon under a full moon? I could not tell if it was looking back or not. I was busy with the Chemist. He was busy with a camera and we had two Spanish guys that wanted to see the moonlight reflected back off the river down below.

The Abyss can keep a person busy; If, you do it Right. We had that trip planned for that moonrise. The chemist got mad at me, because, there was a hill between us and the moonrise at internet time. Not internet time. We were working in real time. We were damn lucky a thunder storm did not roll in.

O.K. Tell me that the Grand Canyon at night is not the Abyss. You know of a better one?

How to get this back on topic. The natives around the Grand Canyon had an even more unlikely family creation story.
http://www.ewebtribe.com/NACulture/stories.htm
http://www.livingmyths.com/Native.htm

People attempt to comfort one another.
People attempt to explain the world for one another.
The Human Animal is made whole by his or her understanding of the Myths of others and being able to explain our own myths.

Shoot Children; The game is no where nearly over! The God Particle is, just a beginning for a whole new Religion.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson
/wiki/The_God_Particle:_If_the_Universe_Is_the_Answer,_What_Is_the_Question%3F
I know that the Physics guys do not want us to call it the God Particle. But; It's beauty was not be ignored.

Jokes. We need Jokes.
1. If a word in the dictionary is misspelled; How would we know?
2. Q. How many Irish does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Three. One to hold the bulb while the other two drink until the room spins.
3. What is with not having a third joke?
We can always make fun of the Scottish and the Californians.
The Punch line is, "I will be, just, you and me.

Oh. Three. Skydivers wear helmets. funny, because, it is true.

I still, totally, believe the Able and Eve story.

****************
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abyss_%28religion%29

Maybe, I don't know what an abyss is. Deep? Yes. Bottomless? Really?

Everything has a bottom.

Even a Black Hole has a bottom. I, just, can't see it from here.
I am in the Black Hole, here is a White Hole, there . Camp.

What does it, really, matter?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZXM2eq46_s

Is the Abyss Up or Down?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby webgiant » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:06 am UTC

Jared the Great wrote:
KShrike wrote:This crosses a line and yet...
Brings up a very good point. Just like "Adam and Steve", "Abel and Eve" is also immoral, probably even more immoral.

I stand here right now and challenge every single atheist/agnostic in this thread to prove to me that incest is moral. Go! (No, I'm not trolling)

But Randall definitely crossed a line. Incest isn't a joking matter...


The bible contradicts itself on the morality or lack thereof of incest. Adam and Eve had kids. Who did those kids have kids with? Their siblings. Who did those kids have kids with? Probably their siblings or cousins.
Then their second cousins, third, fourth, fifth, nth.
And for a non-biblical viewpoint on incest, we are all related via an uncountable number of common ancestors. But we don't call it incest. If you could magically see someone's ancestors, you would probably be shocked to find that you are interested in your, say, 17th cousin.

Its much worse than sibling incest. The bible only mentions four people at the beginning, and stipulates that there are no others: Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel. Cain then kills Abel. God tells Cain that he will walk the Earth and never settle down. Then Cain settles down with a new wife and founds a city with his offspring.

Now if the only woman present, according to the Bible, is Eve, then...
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Geronimo » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:57 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
Geronimo wrote:
markfiend wrote:
Given some of the things described in the old testament...
Psalm 137 verse 9 wrote:Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

... even if the gods were real, I wouldn't worship this immoral monster. (There are numerous other examples in the OT, but I can't be bothered tracking them all down right now.)


I never thought I would actually post on here, but I had to respond to this since I don't think anyone else has.

I wouldn't want to believe in that god either, which is why I went to look it up and then read it in context (very important for those quoting the Bible, either for or against Christianity). It is the Jewish people crying out for vengeance against the people (Babylon and the Edomites) that had just razed Jerusalem. What would you say if someone razed your home while destroying your country? And, if I am reading it right (two different translations), they aren't even saying they think that God will be happy, but the people that end up destroying the Edomites and Baylonians will be the happy ones.

OK, another example.
2 Kings 2 23-24 wrote:And [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.


My personal thought would be as follows.
The issue with the first verse is that it appears that God was the one that would be happy, but I believe it is others. There is no sense that God or even Elisha is happy with the 2 Kings verse you quoted this time. The following is a way better answer for you than I can come up with. I don't know if I can post links (it says url off), but is from the following site. http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/2kg/2.html

http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/2kg/2.html wrote:SAB says:
(2 Kings 2:23-24) God sends two bears to rip up 42 little children for making fun of Elisha's bald head.

Response to SAB:
Parents don't let little children out on the street. Not now, not then. And especially not in those woods where wild beasts still roamed freely. So the word little children does not have the meaning the author of the SAB attaches to it.
It seems the word children can be used for persons of up to thirty to fourty years of age, but giving the description of ‘little’ I suspect these children were probably between ten and twenty years old. At least they seem to have been at an age where they were still the responsibility of their parents, but also could distinguish between good and evil.
These children had parents like the author of the SAB: they didn't believe that whole story of Elijah having ascended to haven. How ridiculous, no one would believe that! They were making fun of it. Probably Elisha had invented the story in order to take over Elijah's position.
Basically they asked Elisha for a demonstration. A demonstration that his powers were from God, that indeed the story was true. They got their answer, and it was terrible.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby bmonk » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:03 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:
Fire Brns wrote: And I sound crazy right now making points about Christianity but one final point: there is no hell, a loving god would not want you to suffer in fire and brimstone for an eternity.
1. A loving God would not want you to suffer in fire and brimstone for an eternity.
2. A just God is required by justice to condemn you to suffer in fire and brimstone for an eternity. (And can't be bribed by 'good works'.)
3. Therefore, God made a way that we can be let off from the punishment, not by unjustly forgiving our crimes, but by Jesus' sacrificial death in our place. This requires trust in Jesus and repentance. (It's not conditional on doing good works, but we should do good in appreciation of what was done for us.)
4. Thus there's a perfectly good and just way of escaping the eternal suffering provided by God. God takes no pleasure in justly punishing those who reject this ticket out of hell, because he still loves them.

I'd argue it a little differently:

1. (keep) 1. A loving God would not want you to suffer in fire and brimstone for an eternity.

2. God gave us free will, and will not abrogate it; in love God accepts our choice when we insist upon it.

3. A soul that insists on going its own way, even when its way causes harm to it and all it touches, when it is suffering and refuses any relief, has made itself unable to experience anything but its suffering, which we call hell. As in (2), God will, eventually, accept this if we insist.

4. All that is needed is to turn to God and accept the healing and relief offered us.

5. I'd also add that I like C.S.Lewis' definition of hell, as the final severe mercy of God: a bandage for a soul that will not be healed, a limit on the limitless suffering that seeks to have everyone else suffer as well..

J Thomas wrote:To handle the christian thing without contradiction takes radical rethinking. People think of death as an evil thing, but should it be, to Christians? Death is your chance to end your dreary existence and start your glorious afterlife. People think of pain as evil. We don't like it. People think that a good God would give them a world where nothing ever happens that they don't like. But maybe "things I don't like" is not what we should mean by evil.

I suspect that you dislike bowing down to anybody. Here's a simple calculus problem -- which is worse, a short finite lifetime of pain, or an infinity of bowing down to God?

The trouble is, when I work out the Christian ideas without contradiction, I get a result that doesn't feel human. True Christians needn't care when they get cheated, and they can rejoice when they are led to the arena to be slaughtered. It's all logically consistent but if I lived like that people would think I was a fool. I'd hate that. To be a good Christian I'd have to stop living my life to meet the expectations of a bunch of lying, cheating human beings who watch television.

I think the Christian ideal is not so much those end-points, but the starting point: If God is love, and we are to be like God, we must be consumed in love. And the Good News is that someone consumed in love is not burned up, but lives forever. Even death is not a bar to love, properly understood.

And I agree about the television, and those who watch it.

Eternal Density wrote:
markfiend wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:Jesus is not god; he is the son of god.
Not the way I learned it. I believe in [...] one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
Begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of very God,
Begotten, not made,
Being of one substance with the Father,
The Nicene Creed makes it very clear that Christians believe that Jesus is god. As well as being god's son. (It doesn't have to make sense, it's theology.)

God created Jesus; Jesus's purpose is to rule the earth: Lord can mean king not just god. God also is used in many contexts in the bible; satan is described once as "god of this system of things". "One Substance" Jesus being created entirely by God and a reflection of him. Hypothetically everything else in the universe is created by both God and Jesus.
Furthermore this creed was created by men not taken from the bible, it's purpose was to validate the idea of the Holy Trinity; a fallible idea to begin with.

God did not create Jesus, unless you are an Arian. Which, I gather from your statement, you might well be.

The whole point of the Council of Nicaea (and the Creed it produced) is because the Scriptures were not adequate to describe the faith of the Church.

Eventually a catch-phrase for the Incarnation was: Only God can save; only through human can we be saved. Hence the insistence that Jesus must be fully, truly God, and fully, truly human. Which is why the Greek uses "homoousios", of the same substance ("of one being") with the Father.

Furthermore, this faith in the Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is not itself biblical.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:37 pm UTC

bmonk wrote:
J Thomas wrote:To handle the christian thing without contradiction takes radical rethinking. People think of death as an evil thing, but should it be, to Christians? Death is your chance to end your dreary existence and start your glorious afterlife. People think of pain as evil. We don't like it. People think that a good God would give them a world where nothing ever happens that they don't like. But maybe "things I don't like" is not what we should mean by evil.


I think the Christian ideal is not so much those end-points, but the starting point: If God is love, and we are to be like God, we must be consumed in love. And the Good News is that someone consumed in love is not burned up, but lives forever. Even death is not a bar to love, properly understood.


I like the emphasis you put on it. For this discussion I want to focus on the logic.

Suppose I were to say this. "If God really loved me, I would be in a world where nothing bad ever happens to me. I would always be so happy I could never imagine being happier. Everything would be wonderful forever. But right this minute I can imagine being happier than I am. So God has fallen down on the job. He owes me perfect happiness every second of my eternal life, and he hasn't delivered. So either God doesn't love me as much as he ought to, or He is too weak to treat me the way I deserve, or He doesn't listen to me tell him how unhappy I am.

Said that way, doesn't it sound petty and stupid and egocentric? But I say it's logically equivalent to the Problem Of Evil.

Eternal Density wrote:
markfiend wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:Jesus is not god; he is the son of god.
The Nicene Creed makes it very clear that Christians believe that Jesus is god. As well as being god's son. (It doesn't have to make sense, it's theology.)

God created Jesus; Jesus's purpose is to rule the earth: Lord can mean king not just god. ....
Furthermore this creed was created by men not taken from the bible, it's purpose was to validate the idea of the Holy Trinity; a fallible idea to begin with.

God did not create Jesus, unless you are an Arian. Which, I gather from your statement, you might well be.


There was one historical group of heresies which got the name Arian. If his ideas fit that group in one respect, that might not be enough for him to get that particular label. But it's only labels, anyway, not really that important unless we give them importance.

The whole point of the Council of Nicaea (and the Creed it produced) is because the Scriptures were not adequate to describe the faith of the Church.


I thought the point was to set up an alliance among christian groups that would be strong enough to suppress anybody who wasn't in the alliance. In that context, the theology was probably secondary. Compare to a multi-party parliament that's trying to establish a government -- they prefer to accept small parties that are ideologically aligned, but they'll accept whoever it takes to get a majority. Meanwhile they make lots of noise about platforms and governing philosophies and why the other guys are evil.

Eventually a catch-phrase for the Incarnation was: Only God can save; only through human can we be saved. Hence the insistence that Jesus must be fully, truly God, and fully, truly human. Which is why the Greek uses "homoousios", of the same substance ("of one being") with the Father.


Nicely arranged to accept a variety of doctrines, while still leaving room to reject anything they want to reject. Political compromise at its finest.

Furthermore, this faith in the Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is not itself biblical.


How could it be? The Bible doesn't even say which books should be accepted into the Bible and which are apocryphal.

All this politics has gradually given way to the new synthesis, which says that each of us must depend on our personal relationship with God. Regardless whether the Bible was written with God's inspiration, it should only be read with God's inspiration. Christian morality in which Christians try to force others to behave as they think Christians should, turns to Christian ethics where you personally choose whether to coerce others, based on what God tells you yourself and not what other sinners tell you that God said. It has been a long time coming.

And in that context, argument about details like the divinity of Jesus are at best peripheral to the question how to live a good life that Jesus and God will approve. The way I sense it, the only possible excuse for a Christian to argue theology is that he is doing it out of love.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:57 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Suppose I were to say this. "If God really loved me, I would be in a world where nothing bad ever happens to me. I would always be so happy I could never imagine being happier. Everything would be wonderful forever. But right this minute I can imagine being happier than I am. So God has fallen down on the job. He owes me perfect happiness every second of my eternal life, and he hasn't delivered. So either God doesn't love me as much as he ought to, or He is too weak to treat me the way I deserve, or He doesn't listen to me tell him how unhappy I am.

Said that way, doesn't it sound petty and stupid and egocentric? But I say it's logically equivalent to the Problem Of Evil.

Except the people positing the Problem of Evil aren't presuming that there is a God and that they deserve perfect care of their every need from him. They're saying that God is postulated, by those who believe in him, to care wholly and completely about everybody in every last regard, and also to have the power to do anything, and complete knowledge of everything, and the Problem is that such a postulated being would thus know to, care to, and be able to, and therefore would, tend to everybody's every need.

But not everybody's every need is cared to, so any God which might exist must either not know, not care, or not be as powerful as his proponents claim. "Either God doesn't love me as much as he ought to they say he does, or he is too weak to treat me the way I deserve they say he would, or he doesn't listen to me tell him know how unhappy I am." They don't claim that they deserve a God who knows, cares, and is powerful enough to tend to their every need, which is what would be stupid and egocentric. To people who don't believe in such a God, the very postulation of him sounds itself like stupid and egocentric wishful thinking.

"Oh, how comforting it would be to know that there is an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful father figure to watch after me. I choose to believe that there is, so that I will feel comfortable in this troublesome life. Nevermind the contradiction of life being troublesome to begin with if there really is such a being... it must not really be troublesome after all, somehow, even though it seems like it to me. Everything's alright, my problems are all in my head. There. I feel better already."
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Kit. » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:43 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Kit. wrote:
Monika wrote:Sidenote: Atheists could also be subcategorized in other ways besides positive/negative regarding the knowability. E.g. they could be categorized into those who see atheism as a belief and those who see at as a non-belief and those who think this makes no difference ;) .

So, how are those "shut up and calculate" guys called then? Because it seems I'm one of them.

Not sure what you mean.

OK, I'll tell you. Do you know that the Intelligent Design theory can actually be falsifiable?
Spoiler:
All we need for that is a stable measure of design intelligence.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:52 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Suppose I were to say this. "If God really loved me, I would be in a world where nothing bad ever happens to me. I would always be so happy I could never imagine being happier. Everything would be wonderful forever. But right this minute I can imagine being happier than I am. So God has fallen down on the job. He owes me perfect happiness every second of my eternal life, and he hasn't delivered. So either God doesn't love me as much as he ought to, or He is too weak to treat me the way I deserve, or He doesn't listen to me tell him how unhappy I am.

Said that way, doesn't it sound petty and stupid and egocentric? But I say it's logically equivalent to the Problem Of Evil.


Except the people positing the Problem of Evil aren't presuming that there is a God and that they deserve perfect care of their every need from him. They're saying that God is postulated, by those who believe in him, to care wholly and completely about everybody in every last regard, and also to have the power to do anything, and complete knowledge of everything, and the Problem is that such a postulated being would thus know to, care to, and be able to, and therefore would, tend to everybody's every need.

But not everybody's every need is cared to, so any God which might exist must either not know, not care, or not be as powerful as his proponents claim.


So they are making a straw-man argument. They make a parody of a Christian claim.

They claim that not everybody's every need is cared to. But they don't recognize the possibility that everybody's every need in fact is cared to. Perhaps people don't have a need to notice that their every actual need is cared to, and so many of them do not notice.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:02 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:So they are making a straw-man argument. They make a parody of a Christian claim.

Your version of Christianity doesn't claim God to be omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent, then?

J Thomas wrote:They claim that not everybody's every need is cared to. But they don't recognize the possibility that everybody's every need in fact is cared to. Perhaps people don't have a need to notice that their every actual need is cared to, and so many of them do not notice.

So your position is that the world actually is perfect, and there is no room for improvement, there is no evil either natural or man-made, and most of us are just unable to appreciate how perfect and evil-free the world is? And that them being unhappy for their failure to recognize the perfection of the world is a part of that perfection, and not a defect?
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:So they are making a straw-man argument. They make a parody of a Christian claim.

Your version of Christianity doesn't claim God to be omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent, then?


Yes, it does.

J Thomas wrote:They claim that not everybody's every need is cared to. But they don't recognize the possibility that everybody's every need in fact is cared to. Perhaps people don't have a need to notice that their every actual need is cared to, and so many of them do not notice.

So your position is that the world actually is perfect, and there is no room for improvement, there is no evil either natural or man-made, and most of us are just unable to appreciate how perfect and evil-free the world is? And that them being unhappy for their failure to recognize the perfection of the world is a part of that perfection, and not a defect?


I say this is the logical version of the Christian claim. Them being unhappy is not a defect in the world, though it could be irrelevant rather than perfect.

My personal Christian idea is that the world has not been fully created yet. We are not permanent fixtures in the world but part of the scaffolding that God is using to create the world. When a piece of scaffolding is no longer needed in its current configuration, it gets recycled.

Carpenters take care of their scaffolding, but the point of the building site isn't to provide ideal conditions for the temporary structures. Their point is to be used to create something else. I don't right off know about anybody who agrees with me about this.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Kit. » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:My personal Christian idea is that the world has not been fully created yet.

Genesis 1:
...
27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2:

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
...
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:01 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
J Thomas wrote:My personal Christian idea is that the world has not been fully created yet.


Genesis 2:

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
...


Whether or not the Bible was written with divine inspiration, it takes divine inspiration to read it.

If you choose somebody else to be your authority to interpret what God tells you, then you need divine inspiration to choose that person.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Kit. » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
J Thomas wrote:My personal Christian idea is that the world has not been fully created yet.

...
If you choose somebody else to be your authority to interpret what God tells you, then you need divine inspiration to choose that person.

You wouldn't be a Christian then, though.

I wonder, if Romans had the same copyright laws as we have now, how would Christianity evolve?
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:20 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
J Thomas wrote:My personal Christian idea is that the world has not been fully created yet.

...
If you choose somebody else to be your authority to interpret what God tells you, then you need divine inspiration to choose that person.


You wouldn't be a Christian then, though.


Do you have a taxonomic guide to Christians like an entomologist with beetles?

The Pope gets to say who is or isn't Catholic (plus the priests he delegates that authority to). But the Pope doesn't get to say who's a Christian.

Some Baptists say that anybody who has ever once accepted Jesus into his heart is forever more a Christian. But they don't tell me how they know whether or not somebody else has ever done that. It doesn't make for an easy way to decide which other people are Christian.

I doubt God or Jesus really cares which labels people use.

Anyway, what I'm saying is simple common sense. Yesterday I got a phone call about an online credit card transaction. They wanted me to give them some of my bank security information so they could verify my identity. Of course I got their number and contacted my bank first, and then called them back. I didn't trust them with my bank account just because they said they represented the bank.

If you'd do that for a little bit of money, doesn't it make sense you'd do it for your immortal soul? Before you accept the Pope or anybody else as your intermediary with God, you need to first check directly with God whether He wants you to.

I wonder, if Romans had the same copyright laws as we have now, how would Christianity evolve?


All by itself I doubt that would matter much. In the times when the scriptures were changing around, I can't see Christians suing each other in Roman courts about whose copy was authentic. It would be like the effect of FDA pharmaceutical regulation on illegal drugs.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Kit. » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Kit. wrote:You wouldn't be a Christian then, though.

Do you have a taxonomic guide to Christians like an entomologist with beetles?

Kinda. The Nicene Creed (the Constantinople edition) is a good start.

J Thomas wrote:Some Baptists say that anybody who has ever once accepted Jesus into his heart is forever more a Christian.

Some people are wrong. It's a well-known fact.

J Thomas wrote:I doubt God or Jesus really cares which labels people use.

I doubt God really exists. But it's not the point. We are not preaching here. We are discussing which labels people use.

Unless you count it as "romance", but I'm yet too see people really discussing romance on the hkcd comic thread forum.

J Thomas wrote:Anyway, what I'm saying is simple common sense. Yesterday I got a phone call about an online credit card transaction. They wanted me to give them some of my bank security information so they could verify my identity. Of course I got their number and contacted my bank first, and then called them back. I didn't trust them with my bank account just because they said they represented the bank.

If you'd do that for a little bit of money, doesn't it make sense you'd do it for your immortal soul? Before you accept the Pope or anybody else as your intermediary with God, you need to first check directly with God whether He wants you to.

Who sold you the idea that you have an immortal soul? Aren't you going to check its status with the same provider?

Besides, it's kinda strange to call a random number trying to find God there. Could as well be the Devil.

J Thomas wrote:All by itself I doubt that would matter much. In the times when the scriptures were changing around, I can't see Christians suing each other in Roman courts about whose copy was authentic.

I doubt that Jews would have their part under GPL.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby markfiend » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:34 am UTC

Geronimo wrote:My personal thought would be as follows.
The issue with the first verse is that it appears that God was the one that would be happy, but I believe it is others. There is no sense that God or even Elisha is happy with the 2 Kings verse you quoted this time. The following is a way better answer for you than I can come up with. I don't know if I can post links (it says url off), but is from the following site. http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/2kg/2.html

I've snipped the text you linked; do you want to pretend that the text doesn't say what it says?

But the mere fact that you have to go through these mental gymnastics to explain away and apologise for the atrocities in your "holy" book, well, doesn't that even make you stop and think?

OK another example: Slavery. http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl3.htm

There are several places, particularly in the Mosaic Law, detailing how you should treat your slaves. There are some places in the New Testament which (arguably) deal with slavery, but nowhere does it say "thou shalt not keep slaves".

===================================

Re the discussion on who is a "real" Christian: IMO one has to take people at their word; if someone says "I am a Christian" then as far as I'm concerned, they are a Christian.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:08 am UTC

Kit. wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Kit. wrote:You wouldn't be a Christian then, though.

Do you have a taxonomic guide to Christians like an entomologist with beetles?

Kinda. The Nicene Creed (the Constantinople edition) is a good start.

J Thomas wrote:Some Baptists say that anybody who has ever once accepted Jesus into his heart is forever more a Christian.

Some people are wrong. It's a well-known fact.


I'm beginning to doubt that reasoned discussion with you is possible on this topic. You are doing the No True Scotsman fallacy.

"Christians have to believe this particular illogical garbage."
"I'm a Christian and I don't believe that."
"No, you aren't a Christian because if you were truly a Christian you would believe this particular illogical garbage."

You apparently aren't a Christian yourself but you're deciding who's Christian and who isn't.

J Thomas wrote:Anyway, what I'm saying is simple common sense. Yesterday I got a phone call about an online credit card transaction. They wanted me to give them some of my bank security information so they could verify my identity. Of course I got their number and contacted my bank first, and then called them back. I didn't trust them with my bank account just because they said they represented the bank.

If you'd do that for a little bit of money, doesn't it make sense you'd do it for your immortal soul? Before you accept the Pope or anybody else as your intermediary with God, you need to first check directly with God whether He wants you to.

Who sold you the idea that you have an immortal soul? Aren't you going to check its status with the same provider?


Of course.

Besides, it's kinda strange to call a random number trying to find God there. Could as well be the Devil.


If you don't believe you can contact God and tell whether it's God or not, how are you going to check what other people tell you about God? Are you just going to believe they have some special channel to God and you don't?

That makes no sense.

J Thomas wrote:All by itself I doubt that would matter much. In the times when the scriptures were changing around, I can't see Christians suing each other in Roman courts about whose copy was authentic.


I doubt that Jews would have their part under GPL.


Ah! So if the Romans enforced rabbinical copyright, and punished Christian proselytizers for having Jewish texts, how would that change things? My first thought is that Jewish Christians might have an out because they were Jewish. But then when masses of nonJewish Christians took over, some sort of exegesis would be written which explained enough background for Judaism that Christ's story would make sense. It would present Judaism as some typical middle-eastern religion, and most Christians would fill in the blanks with whatever they knew about Attis and Cybele and Ba'al etc. There would be no Old Testament and not very much fellow-feeling for Jews as people of the book. Probably much less fellow-feeling than Bahais have for Muslims.

I can imagine that might have rather large consequences down the line.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Kisama » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:49 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:If you don't believe you can contact God and tell whether it's God or not, how are you going to check what other people tell you about God? Are you just going to believe they have some special channel to God and you don't?

That makes no sense.
I don't see how either belief makes more sense than the other.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:26 am UTC

Kisama wrote:
J Thomas wrote:If you don't believe you can contact God and tell whether it's God or not, how are you going to check what other people tell you about God? Are you just going to believe they have some special channel to God and you don't?

That makes no sense.
I don't see how either belief makes more sense than the other.


I was kind of hoping not to get into that, but if you have a direct experience with God then that makes a difference.
If you've never had that experience, why would you believe what other people say about it?

It makes perfect sense to me that people who have never had any contact with God would not believe any of it. What doesn't make sense is people who haven't had that experience who do believe a big mishmash of writings and doctrines that are dramatically inconsistent internally and also inconsistent with those people's experience.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby XTCamus » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:07 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Kisama wrote:
J Thomas wrote:If you don't believe you can contact God and tell whether it's God or not, how are you going to check what other people tell you about God? Are you just going to believe they have some special channel to God and you don't?

That makes no sense.
I don't see how either belief makes more sense than the other.


I was kind of hoping not to get into that, but if you have a direct experience with God then that makes a difference.
If you've never had that experience, why would you believe what other people say about it?

It makes perfect sense to me that people who have never had any contact with God would not believe any of it. What doesn't make sense is people who haven't had that experience who do believe a big mishmash of writings and doctrines that are dramatically inconsistent internally and also inconsistent with those people's experience.

Well, you can't argue with that logic. Unless.... these people had experiences that they couldn't understand or explain, and so simply convinced themselves that they were in contact with God? But, no, it clearly states above that you're talking about people who actually did have a direct experience with God.

So that's settled.

There's no way Kisama et al can realistically recover at this point. Huh, and I really thought Pfhorrest's last question was going to trip you up, but we all saw how you knocked that one out of the park too. You've left them all speechless!


Anyway, back to Adam and Eve, and this infernal question of who stole Cain's cherry. Lucky for us there are respected sources who have addressed this for us such as:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/who-was-cains-wife

"We’re not told when Cain married or many of the details of other marriages and children, but we can say for certain that Cain’s wife was either his sister or a close relative.

A closer look at the Hebrew word for “wife” in Genesis reveals something readers may miss in translation. It was more obvious to those speaking Hebrew that Cain’s wife was likely his sister. (There is a slim possibility that she was his niece, but either way, a brother and sister would have married in the beginning.) The Hebrew word for “wife” used in Genesis 4:17 (the first mention of Cain’s wife) is ishshah, and it means “woman/wife/female.”

And Cain knew his wife [ishshah], and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son—Enoch (Genesis 4:17).

The word ishshah is the word for “woman,” and it means “from man.” It is a derivation of the Hebrew words ‘iysh (pronounced: eesh) and enowsh, which both mean “man.” This can be seen in Genesis 2:23 where the name “woman” (ishshah) is given to one who came from Adam.

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman [ishshah], because she was taken out of Man [iysh]” (Genesis 2:23).

Thus, Cain’s wife is a descendant of Adam/man. Therefore, she had to be his sister (or possibly niece). Hebrew readers should be able to make this connection easier; however, much is lost when translated."

OK, so don't read too closely or you'll see that this argument does not actually rule out Eve, but somehow the conclusion does. In fact what is pointed out is that the same word that Adam used for Eve is the one used for Cain's wife, which is not exactly an argument against, is it? It is more of a "well it obviously couldn't have been his mother, so therefore must have been" logical leap. Of course adding that "much is lost in translation" is also a little ironic when trying to conclude what things "we can say for certain".

Later it gets pretty scientific too, with a chart showing mutations increasing rapidly after the Curse, and even explaining how mutations work and everything:

Each person inherits a set of genes from his or her mother and father. Unfortunately, genes today contain many mistakes (because of sin and the Curse), and these mistakes show up in a variety of ways. For instance, people let their hair grow over their ears to hide the fact that one ear is lower than the other.

Again, you can't argue with that. I've seen people who wear their hair like this, they are not making this stuff up!
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:40 am UTC

XTCamus wrote:
J Thomas wrote:... if you have a direct experience with God then that makes a difference.
If you've never had that experience, why would you believe what other people say about it?

It makes perfect sense to me that people who have never had any contact with God would not believe any of it. What doesn't make sense is people who haven't had that experience who do believe a big mishmash of writings and doctrines that are dramatically inconsistent internally and also inconsistent with those people's experience.


Well, you can't argue with that logic. Unless.... these people had experiences that they couldn't understand or explain, and so simply convinced themselves that they were in contact with God?


"Direct experience with God" is a culturally-determined label. We have no way to measure God or define Him. When the experience is all internal, how would we prove whether we're talking about the same thing? Your personal experience is not the same as the labels you put on it.

But, no, it clearly states above that you're talking about people who actually did have a direct experience with God.

So that's settled.


It makes a certain kind of sense to believe that you never really know anything. Maybe your wife has been cheating on you for the entire course of your marriage. Maybe like young Goodman Brown you should suspect that everybody who seems to agree with you is really doing an elaborate charade and they all laugh at you behind your back. Maybe you're really a butterfly dreaming you're human.

On the other hand, I find it works better to believe that I can tell when people are lying, and when somebody successfully lies to me it's because I want to believe the lie and I'm lying to myself to help them. I can't tell you whether this belief is true, but in my experience it gets better results.

I don't know how to talk about transcendent experiences. But if you have one, it makes Pascal's wager make sense. Before the experience, you live in a world where nothing is certain, where morality mostly means you stick up for your friends right or wrong because they'll go away if you don't, where your life is mostly a meaningless void punctuated by sex etc. During the experience you know who you are and how you fit into things. You see in general what's there for you to do for humanity and the whole world. You are a cherished part of something bigger, independent of your acknowledged flaws.

Afterward, it makes some sense to forget about it. If you do your part for humanity and the world, people will think you're weird. They won't be quite comfortable around you. It will be a big effort and you might fail. Anyway it might not be true. Maybe you weren't part of anything bigger than yourself, maybe it was just a brain fart. Maybe it wasn't God but some malevolent demon trying to trick you. Anyway, quantum mechanics explains the whole world to six sigma without assuming any gods or demons, so they don't really exist. Just forget about your transcendence, in reality there's nothing but individual people acting in their own self interest in a random world where nothing matters after you're dead and precious little matters before that.

Except -- in that world what do you have to lose if you act on your personal experience? And in the spiritual world, which might possibly exist in some sense, what do you gain if you deny everything?

On the other hand, if you haven't had the experience yourself, it all sounds like mumbojumbo and there's no reason to believe in it.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby addams » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:16 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
XTCamus wrote:
J Thomas wrote:... if you have a direct experience with God then that makes a difference.
If you've never had that experience, why would you believe what other people say about it?

It makes perfect sense to me that people who have never had any contact with God would not believe any of it. What doesn't make sense is people who haven't had that experience who do believe a big mishmash of writings and doctrines that are dramatically inconsistent internally and also inconsistent with those people's experience.


Well, you can't argue with that logic. Unless.... these people had experiences that they couldn't understand or explain, and so simply convinced themselves that they were in contact with God?


"Direct experience with God" is a culturally-determined label. We have no way to measure God or define Him. When the experience is all internal, how would we prove whether we're talking about the same thing? Your personal experience is not the same as the labels you put on it.

But, no, it clearly states above that you're talking about people who actually did have a direct experience with God.

So that's settled.


It makes a certain kind of sense to believe that you never really know anything. Maybe your wife has been cheating on you for the entire course of your marriage. Maybe like young Goodman Brown you should suspect that everybody who seems to agree with you is really doing an elaborate charade and they all laugh at you behind your back. Maybe you're really a butterfly dreaming you're human.

On the other hand, I find it works better to believe that I can tell when people are lying, and when somebody successfully lies to me it's because I want to believe the lie and I'm lying to myself to help them. I can't tell you whether this belief is true, but in my experience it gets better results.

I don't know how to talk about transcendent experiences. But if you have one, it makes Pascal's wager make sense. Before the experience, you live in a world where nothing is certain, where morality mostly means you stick up for your friends right or wrong because they'll go away if you don't, where your life is mostly a meaningless void punctuated by sex etc. During the experience you know who you are and how you fit into things. You see in general what's there for you to do for humanity and the whole world. You are a cherished part of something bigger, independent of your acknowledged flaws.

Afterward, it makes some sense to forget about it. If you do your part for humanity and the world, people will think you're weird. They won't be quite comfortable around you. It will be a big effort and you might fail. Anyway it might not be true. Maybe you weren't part of anything bigger than yourself, maybe it was just a brain fart. Maybe it wasn't God but some malevolent demon trying to trick you. Anyway, quantum mechanics explains the whole world to six sigma without assuming any gods or demons, so they don't really exist. Just forget about your transcendence, in reality there's nothing but individual people acting in their own self interest in a random world where nothing matters after you're dead and precious little matters before that.

Except -- in that world what do you have to lose if you act on your personal experience? And in the spiritual world, which might possibly exist in some sense, what do you gain if you deny everything?

On the other hand, if you haven't had the experience yourself, it all sounds like mumbojumbo and there's no reason to believe in it.


You, Dear J Thomas, Make perfect sense to me.

The reasons to believe that I saw the flower that I saw are as follows:
1. My story may amuse.
2. I may be able to show you the flower or one like it.
3. It makes me feel better when you believe me.
4. You may receive a moments pleasure from the act of altruism.

Did I see God? No. Well; Maybe.

I did see a flower and a wave and a sunset and I saw love and humor.

I know Love and Kindness and Humor are out there; Where people are. I know.
I, just, don't know how to prove it.

It is easier to prove the converse.

"Life does not cease being funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." George Bernard Shaw

He was one of the Irish poets.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bernard_Shaw

He is not on the wiki list of poets. I think that he belongs there.

Sometimes, I have something to say and the only way I know how to say it is by using other people's words.

Good words; J Thomas.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

My favorite response to these sorts of questions is to point people to Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett.


Death: Humans need fantasy to *be* human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
Susan (Death's grand-daughter - it's complicated): With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?
Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
Susan: So we can believe the big ones?
Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.
Susan: They're not the same at all.
Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what's the point?
Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?
"Greyarcher":Trying to build a proper foundation for knowledge is blippery.
"JimsMaher":Squirrels are crazy enough to be test pilots.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby XTCamus » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:48 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
XTCamus wrote:
J Thomas wrote:... if you have a direct experience with God then that makes a difference.
If you've never had that experience, why would you believe what other people say about it?

It makes perfect sense to me that people who have never had any contact with God would not believe any of it. What doesn't make sense is people who haven't had that experience who do believe a big mishmash of writings and doctrines that are dramatically inconsistent internally and also inconsistent with those people's experience.


Well, you can't argue with that logic. Unless.... these people had experiences that they couldn't understand or explain, and so simply convinced themselves that they were in contact with God?


"Direct experience with God" is a culturally-determined label. We have no way to measure God or define Him. When the experience is all internal, how would we prove whether we're talking about the same thing? Your personal experience is not the same as the labels you put on it.

But, no, it clearly states above that you're talking about people who actually did have a direct experience with God.

So that's settled.


It makes a certain kind of sense to believe that you never really know anything. Maybe your wife has been cheating on you for the entire course of your marriage. Maybe like young Goodman Brown you should suspect that everybody who seems to agree with you is really doing an elaborate charade and they all laugh at you behind your back. Maybe you're really a butterfly dreaming you're human.

On the other hand, I find it works better to believe that I can tell when people are lying, and when somebody successfully lies to me it's because I want to believe the lie and I'm lying to myself to help them. I can't tell you whether this belief is true, but in my experience it gets better results.

I don't know how to talk about transcendent experiences. But if you have one, it makes Pascal's wager make sense. Before the experience, you live in a world where nothing is certain, where morality mostly means you stick up for your friends right or wrong because they'll go away if you don't, where your life is mostly a meaningless void punctuated by sex etc. During the experience you know who you are and how you fit into things. You see in general what's there for you to do for humanity and the whole world. You are a cherished part of something bigger, independent of your acknowledged flaws.

Afterward, it makes some sense to forget about it. If you do your part for humanity and the world, people will think you're weird. They won't be quite comfortable around you. It will be a big effort and you might fail. Anyway it might not be true. Maybe you weren't part of anything bigger than yourself, maybe it was just a brain fart. Maybe it wasn't God but some malevolent demon trying to trick you. Anyway, quantum mechanics explains the whole world to six sigma without assuming any gods or demons, so they don't really exist. Just forget about your transcendence, in reality there's nothing but individual people acting in their own self interest in a random world where nothing matters after you're dead and precious little matters before that.

Except -- in that world what do you have to lose if you act on your personal experience? And in the spiritual world, which might possibly exist in some sense, what do you gain if you deny everything?

On the other hand, if you haven't had the experience yourself, it all sounds like mumbojumbo and there's no reason to believe in it.

I'm with all of you about the poetic stuff, especially the capitalized ones like Truth, Justice and the American Way. It's refreshingly honest when you admit that "...when somebody successfully lies to me it's because I want to believe the lie and I'm lying to myself to help them. I can't tell you whether this belief is true, but in my experience it gets better results." But that's exactly where you and I must part. These unexplainable experiences might be due to any of an uncountable number of spiritual sources, but how are they to be distinguished from those that happen after meditating, or fasting, or three slices of psilocybin mushroom pizza with extra cheese (mmm, is it lunchtime yet?) or even fever or mental instability? How can I be said to be denying everything, if I allow the possibility of all those (mutually incompatible) spiritual interpretations AND the possibility of other natural causes, differing only in perceived plausibility? But if it makes you feel better to believe that your own culturally-flavored interpretation is the winning lottery ticket in Pascal's Wager, then by all means, go for it. I just can't make such a leap. And for every person like you who gets better results being less skeptical, there's many who find they are better off being more skeptical. Personally I see negative consequences everywhere in the world from people believing what they wish were true, or because of what they fear may be true. But even if I believed that I would somehow be better off were I to approach this more like you, outside of an unexpected blow to the head, I don't see it happening. Whoever/whatever made me this way will have to make up it's own mind as to what I deserve in the way of Justice.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby addams » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:47 pm UTC

XTCamus wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
XTCamus wrote:
J Thomas wrote:... if you have a direct experience with God then that makes a difference.
If you've never had that experience, why would you believe what other people say about it?

It makes perfect sense to me that people who have never had any contact with God would not believe any of it. What doesn't make sense is people who haven't had that experience who do believe a big mishmash of writings and doctrines that are dramatically inconsistent internally and also inconsistent with those people's experience.


Well, you can't argue with that logic. Unless.... these people had experiences that they couldn't understand or explain, and so simply convinced themselves that they were in contact with God?


"Direct experience with God" is a culturally-determined label. We have no way to measure God or define Him. When the experience is all internal, how would we prove whether we're talking about the same thing? Your personal experience is not the same as the labels you put on it.

But, no, it clearly states above that you're talking about people who actually did have a direct experience with God.

So that's settled.


It makes a certain kind of sense to believe that you never really know anything. Maybe your wife has been cheating on you for the entire course of your marriage. Maybe like young Goodman Brown you should suspect that everybody who seems to agree with you is really doing an elaborate charade and they all laugh at you behind your back. Maybe you're really a butterfly dreaming you're human.

On the other hand, I find it works better to believe that I can tell when people are lying, and when somebody successfully lies to me it's because I want to believe the lie and I'm lying to myself to help them. I can't tell you whether this belief is true, but in my experience it gets better results.

I don't know how to talk about transcendent experiences. But if you have one, it makes Pascal's wager make sense. Before the experience, you live in a world where nothing is certain, where morality mostly means you stick up for your friends right or wrong because they'll go away if you don't, where your life is mostly a meaningless void punctuated by sex etc. During the experience you know who you are and how you fit into things. You see in general what's there for you to do for humanity and the whole world. You are a cherished part of something bigger, independent of your acknowledged flaws.

Afterward, it makes some sense to forget about it. If you do your part for humanity and the world, people will think you're weird. They won't be quite comfortable around you. It will be a big effort and you might fail. Anyway it might not be true. Maybe you weren't part of anything bigger than yourself, maybe it was just a brain fart. Maybe it wasn't God but some malevolent demon trying to trick you. Anyway, quantum mechanics explains the whole world to six sigma without assuming any gods or demons, so they don't really exist. Just forget about your transcendence, in reality there's nothing but individual people acting in their own self interest in a random world where nothing matters after you're dead and precious little matters before that.

Except -- in that world what do you have to lose if you act on your personal experience? And in the spiritual world, which might possibly exist in some sense, what do you gain if you deny everything?

On the other hand, if you haven't had the experience yourself, it all sounds like mumbojumbo and there's no reason to believe in it.

I'm with all of you about the poetic stuff, especially the capitalized ones like Truth, Justice and the American Way. It's refreshingly honest when you admit that "...when somebody successfully lies to me it's because I want to believe the lie and I'm lying to myself to help them. I can't tell you whether this belief is true, but in my experience it gets better results." But that's exactly where you and I must part. These unexplainable experiences might be due to any of an uncountable number of spiritual sources, but how are they to be distinguished from those that happen after meditating, or fasting, or three slices of psilocybin mushroom pizza with extra cheese (mmm, is it lunchtime yet?) or even fever or mental instability? How can I be said to be denying everything, if I allow the possibility of all those (mutually incompatible) spiritual interpretations AND the possibility of other natural causes, differing only in perceived plausibility? But if it makes you feel better to believe that your own culturally-flavored interpretation is the winning lottery ticket in Pascal's Wager, then by all means, go for it. I just can't make such a leap. And for every person like you who gets better results being less skeptical, there's many who find they are better off being more skeptical. Personally I see negative consequences everywhere in the world from people believing what they wish were true, or because of what they fear may be true. But even if I believed that I would somehow be better off were I to approach this more like you, outside of an unexpected blow to the head, I don't see it happening. Whoever/whatever made me this way will have to make up it's own mind as to what I deserve in the way of Justice.


Oh. So; In a great many words you have typed that you have never had a transcendent experience. Or; When you have had transcendent experiences you have not recognized them as anything transcendent. That is O.K. It is, just, fine. All the trouble people go to for transcendent experiences. Pfft.
Hey! How was that pizza? How are you doing, now? Feeling a little more transcendent?

Oh. And; Who made you this way? You did. You craft yourself every day, just like the rest of us do.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:15 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Before the experience, you live in a world where nothing is certain, where morality mostly means you stick up for your friends right or wrong because they'll go away if you don't, where your life is mostly a meaningless void punctuated by sex etc.

Or you think something like "If there were an all-knowing, all-good being, what would he say to do and believe? What is it to know? What is it to be good? How can I increase my knowledge and goodness?" And then you do that because knowledge and goodness are ends in and of themselves. You shouldn't need the existence of an actual all-knowing all-good being to drive you to learn about and improve the world.

It doesn't matter whether God exists. Either way it's up to us to figure out what he would want if he did (or does), and do that; because that is the end in and of itself, and God, if he existed (or exists), would be (or is) merely a means to identifying that end. If it were the other way around, and truth and goodness were arbitrary dictates of God, then why would we have reason to follow them? Because he's all-powerful and will punish or reward us? How is that any better than the bleak meaningless existence you depict above?

(And, back to the Problem of Evil, if he were all-powerful either way, he wouldn't need our help in achieving his ends, whether they be independently the right ones or arbitrarily decreed as right; it would be done already, and the world would be completely "good", either by some objective standard or by God's arbitrary whim).

In identifying and pursuing the ends which an omniscient, omnibenevolent God would want (in other words, in figuring out to the best of our ability what is true and good, and then acting on that), whether or not he exists, we ourselves become closer to what God would be if he did, and in the process, approximate him into being through ourselves. We discover, create, and become the purpose of life.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:15 am UTC

XTCamus wrote:These unexplainable experiences might be due to any of an uncountable number of spiritual sources, but how are they to be distinguished from those that happen after meditating, or fasting, or three slices of psilocybin mushroom pizza with extra cheese (mmm, is it lunchtime yet?) or even fever or mental instability?


If they leave you in the state you feel you ought to be in, then it doesn't really matter about the details, does it? If you get that experience by meditating, does it matter whether meditation has let you sort out your mind and your life, or whether meditation has made you receptive to God? Either way, you benefit. If you get a fever and God comes to you then, that's fine. If you get the same result as a physiological byproduct of fever, fine. Meditation is undependable for that and so is fever, but that's OK, when it happens it happens. If you are mentally unstable and you have an experience which puts you onto a stable track, is it a big deal whether you attribute it to God or not?

How can I be said to be denying everything, if I allow the possibility of all those (mutually incompatible) spiritual interpretations AND the possibility of other natural causes, differing only in perceived plausibility? But if it makes you feel better to believe that your own culturally-flavored interpretation is the winning lottery ticket in Pascal's Wager, then by all means, go for it. I just can't make such a leap.


That's fine. My experience has been that a good mathematical proof is definitive, and nothing else is. In the real world there's always another possible explanation and no interpretation can be definitive. To get anything done at some point you have to just proceed as if you know what you're doing and hope it works. If you have the experience I've failed to describe, then you'll know what I'm talking about. In the meantime it makes perfect sense for you to take the stand you're taking.

And for every person like you who gets better results being less skeptical, there's many who find they are better off being more skeptical.


I don't have any basis for statistics on that. My instinct is to feel that if you have an unusual experience and you feel that you're better off to reject it, then it probably was not the sort of experience I mean.

Personally I see negative consequences everywhere in the world from people believing what they wish were true, or because of what they fear may be true.


Agreed! Also some people who seem basicly good refuse to do what they are pretty sure is right, because they aren't completely sure.

But even if I believed that I would somehow be better off were I to approach this more like you, outside of an unexpected blow to the head, I don't see it happening. Whoever/whatever made me this way will have to make up it's own mind as to what I deserve in the way of Justice.


That's fine. But don't count yourself out while you're still alive. No one should be certain what they will experience in the future, or how they will respond. Also, even though human beings seem to be built in a way that lets us have transcendent experiences, it isn't like we require such things to be good people.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:40 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:In identifying and pursuing the ends which an omniscient, omnibenevolent God would want (in other words, in figuring out to the best of our ability what is true and good, and then acting on that), whether or not he exists, we ourselves become closer to what God would be if he did, and in the process, approximate him into being through ourselves. We discover, create, and become the purpose of life.



Are you saying that humanity is a Reimann sum trying to approximate God*?




*for a given value of 'God' of course
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby markfiend » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:20 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:I don't know how to talk about transcendent experiences. But if you have one, it makes Pascal's wager make sense. Before the experience, you live in a world where nothing is certain, where morality mostly means you stick up for your friends right or wrong because they'll go away if you don't, where your life is mostly a meaningless void punctuated by sex etc. During the experience you know who you are and how you fit into things. You see in general what's there for you to do for humanity and the whole world. You are a cherished part of something bigger, independent of your acknowledged flaws.

Yes but "transcendent experience" is entirely explicable in terms of brain chemistry (and can be replicated using (among others) the aforementioned Psilocybe mushrooms). No gods required. I have had such an experience. I still don't think that gods are real.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Scott Auld » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

The comic was the set-up. This thread is the punchline.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
J Thomas wrote:During the experience you know who you are and how you fit into things. You see in general what's there for you to do for humanity and the whole world. You are a cherished part of something bigger, independent of your acknowledged flaws.


Yes but "transcendent experience" is entirely explicable in terms of brain chemistry (and can be replicated using (among others) the aforementioned Psilocybe mushrooms). No gods required. I have had such an experience. I still don't think that gods are real.


I consider that an entirely valid interpretation. There's no possible experience that can't be interpreted more than one way.

It sounds like your experience was one you didn't get a lot of value from, so you chose to interpret it as something meaningless. That's a legitimate choice.

As a side issue I want to consider the idea "entirely explicable". After Newton, a lot of people decided that the universe was entirely explicable through calculus. There was mass which interacted by collision and by gravity, and then there was light and heat and a few others. If you knew the position and velocity of every particle in the universe, then you could predict everything forever. (Though in practice the three-body problem was a challenge.) A clockwork universe.

After we got computers it made sense to interpret human brains as computers. Our minds are nothing but computers -- plus hormones.

And now that we're getting so much detail about neurons and such it's only natural to figure there's nothing more. Human minds are nothing but neurobiology, neurobiology is nothing but physiology, physiology is nothing but biochemistry, biochemistry is nothing but organic chemistry, organic chemistry is nothing but physics, and physics is nothing but quantum mechanics. If you understand quantum mechanics you can explain everything in the universe. In principle. How naive were the Newtonian explanations! Well, but those were the best reductionist explanations available at the time. And quantum mechanics is the best reductionist explanation available now.

Back to the transcendental experience stuff -- imagine your neighbor tells you she just had a conversation with her grandfather in London. He told her he loved her, and she feels good remembering it. Imagine that you then say "There's no reason to think you were talking to your grandfather. Science explains your telephone entirely in terms of electrical current in wires that make a diaphragm vibrate. And by coincidence I was told that my grandfather was visiting London, and while he was supposed to be there somebody called me on the phone and said they were in London. Whoever it was sang an Irish drinking song and sounded drunk, and after they passed out the connection got broken. I don't think it was my grandfather at all."

Quite likely it wasn't your grandfather.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Geronimo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:46 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
Geronimo wrote:My personal thought would be as follows.
The issue with the first verse is that it appears that God was the one that would be happy, but I believe it is others. There is no sense that God or even Elisha is happy with the 2 Kings verse you quoted this time. The following is a way better answer for you than I can come up with. I don't know if I can post links (it says url off), but is from the following site. http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/2kg/2.html


I've snipped the text you linked; do you want to pretend that the text doesn't say what it says?

Well, first off, you cut out the part that I thought was most relevant (the part that wasn't my thoughts). The explanation from here:
http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/2kg/2.html

http://www.berenddeboer.net/sab/2kg/2.html wrote:SAB says:
(2 Kings 2:23-24) God sends two bears to rip up 42 little children for making fun of Elisha's bald head.

Response to SAB:
Parents don't let little children out on the street. Not now, not then. And especially not in those woods where wild beasts still roamed freely. So the word little children does not have the meaning the author of the SAB attaches to it.
It seems the word children can be used for persons of up to thirty to fourty years of age, but giving the description of ‘little’ I suspect these children were probably between ten and twenty years old. At least they seem to have been at an age where they were still the responsibility of their parents, but also could distinguish between good and evil.
These children had parents like the author of the SAB: they didn't believe that whole story of Elijah having ascended to haven. How ridiculous, no one would believe that! They were making fun of it. Probably Elisha had invented the story in order to take over Elijah's position.
Basically they asked Elisha for a demonstration. A demonstration that his powers were from God, that indeed the story was true. They got their answer, and it was terrible.


markfiend wrote:
But the mere fact that you have to go through these mental gymnastics to explain away and apologize for the atrocities in your "holy" book, well, doesn't that even make you stop and think?


It doesn't take any 'mental gymnastics' for me. These 'kids' insulted God's prophet, and then asked him to prove that he really was said prophet. So Elisha gave them a demonstration that removes all doubt. Do I think he could have done it without the 'kids' dieing? Sure, but then A) I am not God, and B) What kind of a lesson would it be for others if the bears just came and scared them away?

markfiend wrote:OK another example: Slavery. http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl3.htm

There are several places, particularly in the Mosaic Law, detailing how you should treat your slaves. There are some places in the New Testament which (arguably) deal with slavery, but nowhere does it say "thou shalt not keep slaves".


I don't know enough about slavery in the Bible to answer this fully. My initial response would be similar to a previous response on this forum, some people are just wrong. Taking U.S. slavery as an example, there were obviously plenty of people that used the Bible as an excuse to keep slaves. But there were also many people that used their beliefs to free the slaves.
Second thought, not that slavery or divorce are remotely similar, but I want to point out how the laws are similar. God makes laws to allow slavery, even though he is against it. He does this because his people are going to do it anyway, so he gives it some structure and to appease his people. My belief in his treatment of slavery is the same. The people were doing it, and were going to continue to do so, so he regulated it.

Final thought, Slavery in the Hebrews time was very different from what we know today.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby addams » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:03 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
markfiend wrote:
J Thomas wrote:During the experience you know who you are and how you fit into things. You see in general what's there for you to do for humanity and the whole world. You are a cherished part of something bigger, independent of your acknowledged flaws.


Yes but "transcendent experience" is entirely explicable in terms of brain chemistry (and can be replicated using (among others) the aforementioned Psilocybe mushrooms). No gods required. I have had such an experience. I still don't think that gods are real.


I consider that an entirely valid interpretation. There's no possible experience that can't be interpreted more than one way.

It sounds like your experience was one you didn't get a lot of value from, so you chose to interpret it as something meaningless. That's a legitimate choice.

As a side issue I want to consider the idea "entirely explicable". After Newton, a lot of people decided that the universe was entirely explicable through calculus. There was mass which interacted by collision and by gravity, and then there was light and heat and a few others. If you knew the position and velocity of every particle in the universe, then you could predict everything forever. (Though in practice the three-body problem was a challenge.) A clockwork universe.

After we got computers it made sense to interpret human brains as computers. Our minds are nothing but computers -- plus hormones.

And now that we're getting so much detail about neurons and such it's only natural to figure there's nothing more. Human minds are nothing but neurobiology, neurobiology is nothing but physiology, physiology is nothing but biochemistry, biochemistry is nothing but organic chemistry, organic chemistry is nothing but physics, and physics is nothing but quantum mechanics. If you understand quantum mechanics you can explain everything in the universe. In principle. How naive were the Newtonian explanations! Well, but those were the best reductionist explanations available at the time. And quantum mechanics is the best reductionist explanation available now.

Back to the transcendental experience stuff -- imagine your neighbor tells you she just had a conversation with her grandfather in London. He told her he loved her, and she feels good remembering it. Imagine that you then say "There's no reason to think you were talking to your grandfather. Science explains your telephone entirely in terms of electrical current in wires that make a diaphragm vibrate. And by coincidence I was told that my grandfather was visiting London, and while he was supposed to be there somebody called me on the phone and said they were in London. Whoever it was sang an Irish drinking song and sounded drunk, and after they passed out the connection got broken. I don't think it was my grandfather at all."

Quite likely it wasn't your grandfather.

Whoa! J Thomas; That was the long way around the barn.

But; I think that you got there.

It is nice to know that there are people out there that want others to be comforted and happy. Good You.

Someone wrote that mental illness plus the idea of God can produce people on the Stable Tracks.
I think that this is so funny. Stables already have Gods. They are the horses.

If, you are there to serve the Gods and have permission of the Clergy, then, stables are a fine church experience indeed. Horses make a good religion. They keep the people humble and elevate the people to a state of respectability. I had a horse experience.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby AndyClaw » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:22 am UTC

Jared the Great wrote:
AndyClaw wrote:The biblical account of creation is consistent with genetics and biblical ethics.
The first created people would not have been created with genetic mutations. So where is the harm in inbreeding?
And why couldn't God have permitted marrying your sister while he knew that there would be no harm, and later, for our own good, make it prohibited in his revealed laws?
The greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor. The laws reveal things about God to us. This comic shows a twisted way of thinking about God.

What of morality? Evil is evidence for God. http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6023


1: No... just no.
2: Every child born has some form of genetic mutation that one or both of their parents did not have.
3: Wait, what?
4: Those laws reveal stuff about this character, but so do the words of his son: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34-39. And this god of yours also encouraged his followers to commit genocide. (I can't find the exact verse right now, though)
5: Ooh, yay, that argument! So, there is a standard for every subjective thing? People vary in smelliness. Some are not very smelly, some are very smelly. Therefore, there has to be some greater standard for smelliness, which we shall call God.

1. By itself, my first line is an assertion and not an argument, so I'll let you do the same :) and restate that I am going to argue that the Bible is consistent with itself. If you don't believe it and try to fit it inside your own belief system, it IS complete nonsense, but I believe that it is revealing one consistent and true message.
2. My point is that the first children would have had so few mutations because they would be so close to the first perfect parents that there would be no harm.
3. My question challenges the assumption that marrying your sister was always condemned by God. I don't think it was.
4. Are you implying that Matthew 10:34-39 is a call for violence? Thats a stretch. I think Jesus there is saying that we can't expect his message to be accepted universally, and that it will actually cause division. And God did command the Jews to commit genocide. As creator, he has the right to do what he wants with his creation, and mercifully gives every person the freedom to choose whether to acknowledge their creator, and the people that the Jews slaughtered were incredibly wicked even by atheist standards, because by wicked I am talking child sacrifice. And by the way I don't think that children go to hell, so considering that the Bible teaches that this earth is just a passing moment in light of eternity, I don't think it is bad for God to let a child be killed. Perhaps those who suffer the most here on earth are given the greatest rewards for all of eternity. Kinda puts a different spin on things, doesnt it? Oh wait, Jesus said that.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:35 am UTC

eran_rathan wrote:Are you saying that humanity is a Reimann sum trying to approximate God*?

More or less, although that and the way I stated it, that people should aspire to be what we conceive God to be whether or not anything exists which instantiates that concept, are put sort of a misleading way around for the sake of inspirational religion-poetic phrasing. It would be more straightforwardly stated that whether or not anything exists to substantiate the concept, we conceive God to be that which people should aspire to be, or more mathematically put, that our concept of God is that of the limit of an infinite series of personal improvements.

We start with "what is it that makes a person a better person?", then imagine someone having maximal instances of all those qualities, and call the resulting concept of such a perfect person "God". Thus it doesn't matter whether anything exists to instantiate that concept for it to be something necessarily to be aspired to. Of course, what that concept is thus depends on what qualities you take to be virtuous. Consequently, while it may not matter whether you believe in the existence of the right God, it matters very much whether what your concept of "God" (personal perfection) is, as that reflects what you consider to be virtuous qualities, what you value, and so what you will aspire to be and encourage others to be.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby XTCamus » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:55 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Are you saying that humanity is a Reimann sum trying to approximate God*?

More or less, although that and the way I stated it, that people should aspire to be what we conceive God to be whether or not anything exists which instantiates that concept, are put sort of a misleading way around for the sake of inspirational religion-poetic phrasing. It would be more straightforwardly stated that whether or not anything exists to substantiate the concept, we conceive God to be that which people should aspire to be, or more mathematically put, that our concept of God is that of the limit of an infinite series of personal improvements.

We start with "what is it that makes a person a better person?", then imagine someone having maximal instances of all those qualities, and call the resulting concept of such a perfect person "God". Thus it doesn't matter whether anything exists to instantiate that concept for it to be something necessarily to be aspired to. Of course, what that concept is thus depends on what qualities you take to be virtuous. Consequently, while it may not matter whether you believe in the existence of the right God, it matters very much whether what your concept of "God" (personal perfection) is, as that reflects what you consider to be virtuous qualities, what you value, and so what you will aspire to be and encourage others to be.

That's brilliant, I love it. Though I don't think many believers today are going to see much similarities between this and their idea of God...

Who will answer their prayers, reward the righteous, and provide retribution to the wicked and the unfaithful? Who will save them from their fear of the unknown, and their fear of not-knowing, and provide the Transcendent meaning to their life that they so crave? Without these traditional aspects of God they are left feeling frightened and alone, face to face with the Void.

If only there were some way to deal directly with and eventually overcome such fears and insecurities... To become like that mythical pachyderm and realize that you do not need a magical feather in order to fly. To look the world straight in the eye and not blink. But, of course, that would be Absurd.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby addams » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:24 pm UTC

XTCamus wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Are you saying that humanity is a Reimann sum trying to approximate God*?

More or less, although that and the way I stated it, that people should aspire to be what we conceive God to be whether or not anything exists which instantiates that concept, are put sort of a misleading way around for the sake of inspirational religion-poetic phrasing. It would be more straightforwardly stated that whether or not anything exists to substantiate the concept, we conceive God to be that which people should aspire to be, or more mathematically put, that our concept of God is that of the limit of an infinite series of personal improvements.

We start with "what is it that makes a person a better person?", then imagine someone having maximal instances of all those qualities, and call the resulting concept of such a perfect person "God". Thus it doesn't matter whether anything exists to instantiate that concept for it to be something necessarily to be aspired to. Of course, what that concept is thus depends on what qualities you take to be virtuous. Consequently, while it may not matter whether you believe in the existence of the right God, it matters very much whether what your concept of "God" (personal perfection) is, as that reflects what you consider to be virtuous qualities, what you value, and so what you will aspire to be and encourage others to be.

That's brilliant, I love it. Though I don't think many believers today are going to see much similarities between this and their idea of God...

Who will answer their prayers, reward the righteous, and provide retribution to the wicked and the unfaithful? Who will save them from their fear of the unknown, and their fear of not-knowing, and provide the Transcendent meaning to their life that they so crave? Without these traditional aspects of God they are left feeling frightened and alone, face to face with the Void.

If only there were some way to deal directly with and eventually overcome such fears and insecurities... To become like that mythical pachyderm and realize that you do not need a magical feather in order to fly. To look the world straight in the eye and not blink. But, of course, that would be Absurd.


Dumbo? Really? Theology based on Dumbo?

Umm. The Magic Feather? Did you mix your metaphors? Tisk. Tisk.

Now; What are you typing about? Who is they?

You typed the following:
"That's brilliant, I love it. Though I don't think many believers today are going to see much similarities between this and their idea of God..."

The Poster above you typed the following:
"Consequently, while it may not matter whether you believe in the existence of the right God, it matters very much whether what your concept of "God" (personal perfection) is, as that reflects what you consider to be virtuous qualities, what you value, and so what you will aspire to be and encourage others to be.

See? That, kind of, stands alone. It is not fear of what they will do with Knowledge that motivates us. Is it?
Who are they?
What do you aspire to be?
What will you encourage others to be?
Those are nice questions.
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I'd still hang out with her. You?
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby XTCamus » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:02 pm UTC

addams wrote:
XTCamus wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Are you saying that humanity is a Reimann sum trying to approximate God*?

More or less, although that and the way I stated it, that people should aspire to be what we conceive God to be whether or not anything exists which instantiates that concept, are put sort of a misleading way around for the sake of inspirational religion-poetic phrasing. It would be more straightforwardly stated that whether or not anything exists to substantiate the concept, we conceive God to be that which people should aspire to be, or more mathematically put, that our concept of God is that of the limit of an infinite series of personal improvements.

We start with "what is it that makes a person a better person?", then imagine someone having maximal instances of all those qualities, and call the resulting concept of such a perfect person "God". Thus it doesn't matter whether anything exists to instantiate that concept for it to be something necessarily to be aspired to. Of course, what that concept is thus depends on what qualities you take to be virtuous. Consequently, while it may not matter whether you believe in the existence of the right God, it matters very much whether what your concept of "God" (personal perfection) is, as that reflects what you consider to be virtuous qualities, what you value, and so what you will aspire to be and encourage others to be.

That's brilliant, I love it. Though I don't think many believers today are going to see much similarities between this and their idea of God...

Who will answer their prayers, reward the righteous, and provide retribution to the wicked and the unfaithful? Who will save them from their fear of the unknown, and their fear of not-knowing, and provide the Transcendent meaning to their life that they so crave? Without these traditional aspects of God they are left feeling frightened and alone, face to face with the Void.

If only there were some way to deal directly with and eventually overcome such fears and insecurities... To become like that mythical pachyderm and realize that you do not need a magical feather in order to fly. To look the world straight in the eye and not blink. But, of course, that would be Absurd.


Dumbo? Really? Theology based on Dumbo?

Umm. The Magic Feather? Did you mix your metaphors? Tisk. Tisk.

Now; What are you typing about? Who is they?

You typed the following:
"That's brilliant, I love it. Though I don't think many believers today are going to see much similarities between this and their idea of God..."

The Poster above you typed the following:
"Consequently, while it may not matter whether you believe in the existence of the right God, it matters very much whether what your concept of "God" (personal perfection) is, as that reflects what you consider to be virtuous qualities, what you value, and so what you will aspire to be and encourage others to be.

See? That, kind of, stands alone. It is not fear of what they will do with Knowledge that motivates us. Is it?
Who are they?
What do you aspire to be?
What will you encourage others to be?
Those are nice questions.
I don't care what Eve did with Able. (Or; Was it Cane.)
I'd still hang out with her. You?

"They" are those believers who I predict will feel less than satisfied with Pfhorrest's idea of God. The majority of believers I have met describe "a relationship" of sorts with (at least an occasionally) interventionist God. They often suggest that this is what gives their life a Transcendent meaning. Others go even further and say that they cannot imagine anyone finding happiness, a fulfilling life or ultimate salvation without something very similar.

Dumbo's magic feather is a thing. I think you are right that it sits uncomfortably here, but it is not what my philosophy is based upon.... that would be Camus.

Addams, PM me if you want detailed answers to these points or your other questions, since this feels too much like "explaining the joke".

I may sound cocky, but as the 'new guy' here I still feel a bit giddy and awkward about rubbing elbows with all of you talented writers and thinkers, and I'd be happy if what I have written finds resonance with even a handful of others.
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Re: 1003: "Adam and Eve"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:49 pm UTC

XTCamus wrote:"They" are those believers who I predict will feel less than satisfied with Pfhorrest's idea of God. The majority of believers I have met describe "a relationship" of sorts with (at least an occasionally) interventionist God. They often suggest that this is what gives their life a Transcendent meaning.


Have you done math? I had a teacher once who explained in her Polish accent "Some people say they get proofs in their sleep. I tried that. I woke up in the middle of the night knowing the proof, and I had pen and paper waiting to write it down. Then I went back to sleep. In the morning I looked at my proof. It was garbage, it made no sense. You can't do proofs in your sleep. You only do proofs with hard work."

But sometimes I did wake up with an instant understanding how to do a proof, and when I wrote it down it worked. Sometimes that happened while I was awake. Sometimes when I woke up I'd remember dreaming about how a proof worked, not all the details but the feel of it, and when I did the proof it felt the same and the feelings seemed to guide me to the result. Often counterexamples would come to me suddenly.

After I had the insight I still had to do the work of writing it down and checking it. Sometimes the instant flash of understanding turned out to be wrong. Not very often, but it did happen. And sometimes it didn't come. Better to get results with hard work than wait around hoping for inspiration. "Chance favors the prepared mind."

If you get a transcendent experience that seems to put everything together, you still have to follow up. It's like, when you get an instant insight how to do a mathematical proof, but you don't actually write it down, how much good is that?

Others go even further and say that they cannot imagine anyone finding happiness, a fulfilling life or ultimate salvation without something very similar.


Which shows that getting a transcendent experience isn't always enough to get people to free up their imaginations. Of course, they could be lying about it. People will usually say they have personal conversations with God if their pastors tell them they're supposed to. A little bit like Nasrudin with Tamerlane.

"I hear you're a mystic and you get arcane visions."
"No, it isn't really like that."
"Have an arcane vision for me now or lose your head."
"I see the golden chicken and the silver bowl! The ruby dagger sways! Ahhh!"
"Good. How is it that before you told me you couldn't do it, and now you can?"
"Fear can work wonders."
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.
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