OT: poll-- Is there a god and if so, is there some religion you believe he prefers you practice?

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 18, 2012 - 11:53pm
No, I'm a hardcore atheist.
36% (18 votes)
Agnostic
22% (11 votes)
Southern Baptist
0% (0 votes)
Catholic
10% (5 votes)
Jewish: reform Judaism
2% (1 vote)
Buddhist
6% (3 votes)
Muslim
2% (1 vote)
Amish
0% (0 votes)
Norse gods
0% (0 votes)
Wiccan
0% (0 votes)
Hasidic jew
0% (0 votes)
Scientology
0% (0 votes)
Mormon
0% (0 votes)
Jainist
0% (0 votes)
Greek orthodox
0% (0 votes)
Greek Gods
0% (0 votes)
Jewish; conservative Judaism.
0% (0 votes)
Christian scientist
0% (0 votes)
Other religion; misc.; non-Jesus based.
4% (2 votes)
I reject the atheist / theist divide and refuse to select.
4% (2 votes)
Henningite
0% (0 votes)
Church of the big lebowski.
2% (1 vote)
Chinese folk religion
0% (0 votes)
Chinese folk religion as practiced in Taiwan
0% (0 votes)
Worship mammon
0% (0 votes)
The free market.
2% (1 vote)
i worship other misc false idols.
0% (0 votes)
other misc: Jesus-based religion.
10% (5 votes)
secular environmentalism
0% (0 votes)
Bokonist
0% (0 votes)
UU...
0% (0 votes)
Peyote church
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 50
Submitted by svelte on February 27, 2012 - 7:18am.

zk wrote:

Fletch wrote:

If the human race is just a cosmic fart, then it would behoove the clever people who can escape consequences to break moral norms if it makes their atoms resonate with "happiness".

It does behoove clever people who can escape consequences to break moral norms. That's why we need to do our best to build and maintain a society that doesn't let those clever people escape consequences.

Hold on a second - I strongly object. What you appear to be saying is that people only do the right thing because there is a God watching and judging them. If there is no God, then you appear to be saying people are free to do immoral things.

I don't agree with that at all. People can be raised with a high moral standard even without the presence of a god. And many are.

Just as there are many church goers who do absolutely horrid things, despite their belief that they are being judged.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 27, 2012 - 7:52am.

heck isn't Tony Soprano even feeling (rightly or wrongly) more free to do his business because he can get forgiven at Church? it's not really the presence of God that made people do the right things, it was the prospect of roasting forever in the Lake of Fire.

Now hell has gone out of style.

heaven is in fashion, but hell is out.

Someone tried to convert me recently, saying something like. yeah, physicist Stephen Hawking thinks his wheelchair is bad, moving it around with his tongue, but it'll be sheer comfort compared to spending eternity in the lake of fire.

dude had a point. Hell ups the ante. Hard to picture stephen hawking in hell, for some reason...

the case for hell:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/opinio...

Submitted by zk on February 27, 2012 - 8:08am.

svelte wrote:
zk wrote:

Fletch wrote:

If the human race is just a cosmic fart, then it would behoove the clever people who can escape consequences to break moral norms if it makes their atoms resonate with "happiness".

It does behoove clever people who can escape consequences to break moral norms. That's why we need to do our best to build and maintain a society that doesn't let those clever people escape consequences.

Hold on a second - I strongly object. What you appear to be saying is that people only do the right thing because there is a God watching and judging them. If there is no God, then you appear to be saying people are free to do immoral things.

I don't agree with that at all. People can be raised with a high moral standard even without the presence of a god. And many are.

Just as there are many church goers who do absolutely horrid things, despite their belief that they are being judged.

When I say "it behooves clever people," I'm responding to Fletch's point that, if there's no god (the human race is a cosmic fart), then people have no external force encouraging them to do the "right" thing. My response was that they don't and that we as a society need to give them that encouragement. I may have made it sound like I was talking solely about punishment as a means of giving them that encouragement, so I can see how you'd take it that way. But raising people with a high moral standard is part of us building a society to give them encouragement to do the right thing. In addition, there is the internal encouragement that people get from their genetic makeup that I mentioned in an earlier post.

So I totally agree with you that people can be raised to have a high moral standard in the absence of god. And I also think that most people are, to some degree, born with some kind of moral compass.

Submitted by zk on February 27, 2012 - 8:12am.

In fact, if we could get everyone on board with raising their kids that way (impossible, of course), then there'd be a lot less need for the punishment side of the equation.

Submitted by Fletch on February 27, 2012 - 9:15am.

I don't see how [the scientific method] is premised on "truth's" existence or the fact that truth can be known by a mind.

The scientific method assumes truth can be discerned. Not really sure how else to say it. It seems to be the best method for discerning scientific truths. It can not, obviously, be used to discern all truths.

I'm responding to Fletch's point that, if there's no god (the human race is a cosmic fart), then people have no external force encouraging them to do the "right" thing.

My point was actually that if there is no God, there is no such thing as morality. Only behaviors which promote the continuation of the species. I think we actually agree on this point.

the social threats of prison, bankruptcy and ostracism probably do more to threaten clever people to stay in line than the threat of hell.

Probably true, but I made no mention of hell (or heaven) as a motivator. I'm saying that if morality is solely a human construct, then it logically follows that it behooves those who can beat the system without consequence to do so if it will make their endocrine system happy. The larger point being that one can claim some actions will not promote the survival of the species, but you have no basis for claiming that the destruction of the species is "bad" or that well-functioning society is "good". It is, to quote Homer (Simpson), "just a bunch of stuff that happens". Not caring about the survival of the species may go against our evolutionary instincts, but if your intellect is smart enough to realize that your being doesn't transcend the material universe, you are also smart enough to recognize such instincts as chemical illusions.

People can be raised with a high moral standard even without the presence of a god. And many are.

I absolutely agree with this.

Submitted by UCGal on February 27, 2012 - 10:28am.

I guess the issue I have with hardcore atheists (Those who are 100% certain there is no higher power) is the same one I have with hard core religious folks (those who are 100% certain there IS a higher power).

Life is not black and white. There are unexplained things... coincidences, miracles, things we haven't figured out the scientific explanation for. It takes a leap of faith to be certain, beyond doubt, in either direction.

That's why I put myself in the agnostic camp. So far the scientific explanations appeal to me more than the religious explanations. But there are still open issues.

But Bill Maher had a funny bit, decades ago, about the wishy-washiness of agnostics. He talked about hate groups burning a question mark on their front lawn.

As for morality. I consider myself pretty darn moral and ethical. But I'm not religious. I know someone who is guided in almost every decision by his faith... He's very active in his church, regularly acts as a lay preacher, yet he regularly screws over people he does business with. He holds himself up as a man of faith - and then rips people off. He doesn't see the disconnect. It probably helps that his faith is different than those he's ripping off... so I guess it doesn't count in his mind... he's allowed to rip off folks who don't believe the same as him.

There are plenty of devout people who have shady ethics.

Submitted by zk on February 27, 2012 - 10:30am.

Fletch wrote:

I don't see how [the scientific method] is premised on "truth's" existence or the fact that truth can be known by a mind.

The scientific method assumes truth can be discerned. Not really sure how else to say it. It seems to be the best method for discerning scientific truths. It can not, obviously, be used to discern all truths.

Ok, but if you want me to understand, you'll have to explain why you think the scientific method assumes the truth can be discerned. And also, why exactly it's relevant to our discussion, because I've lost track of that.

I'm responding to Fletch's point that, if there's no god (the human race is a cosmic fart), then people have no external force encouraging them to do the "right" thing.

Fletch wrote:

My point was actually that if there is no God, there is no such thing as morality. Only behaviors which promote the continuation of the species. I think we actually agree on this point.

I don't think we do. You seem to focus on the continuation of the species. You talk several times about going against the moral code to make the endocrine system happy, as if that's the only way to make the endocrine system happy. There's another way. And that way is living within a society that allows us to pursue things that make our endocrine system happy within the confines of that society. So behaviors that allow us to construct/maintain/live within that society can be called "morals" or they can be called "behaviors that allow us to construct/maintain/live within that society." Whichever you want. If you define morals as something set by god, then obviously there can't be morals without god. But I would disagree with your definition of morals. I would define morals as "behaviors that allow us to construct/maintain/live within a well-functioning society." (Obviously it's more complicated than that, but for the purposes of this discussion, I think that brief definition is sufficient.) And therefore I would say that there is such a thing as morality, even without god.

the social threats of prison, bankruptcy and ostracism probably do more to threaten clever people to stay in line than the threat of hell.

Fletch wrote:

Probably true, but I made no mention of hell (or heaven) as a motivator. I'm saying that if morality is solely a human construct, then it logically follows that it behooves those who can beat the system without consequence to do so if it will make their endocrine system happy. The larger point being that one can claim some actions will not promote the survival of the species, but you have no basis for claiming that the destruction of the species is "bad" or that well-functioning society is "good". It is, to quote Homer (Simpson), "just a bunch of stuff that happens".

Well, that depends on how you define good and bad. But I think that I would call a well-functioning society "good" because it allows humans to pursue things that, as you put it, makes their endocrine systems happy.

As far as the destruction of the species, other than the pain (and/or shortening of life) it will cause individuals at the time of its occurence, I don't think the end of the human species is a bad thing. Besides being inevitable, I don't think it makes any difference.

But I'm not sure I see the relevance of that opinion. Also, I'm curious whether the continuation of the species is important to a Catholic and if so, why it's important.

Fletch wrote:

Not caring about the survival of the species may go against our evolutionary instincts, but if your intellect is smart enough to realize that your being doesn't transcend the material universe, you are also smart enough to recognize such instincts as chemical illusions.

Chemical illusions? Not sure what you mean by that, but I don't think I agree. Unless you count consciousness and everything within it as chemical illusions. Instincts are real parts of our wiring/chemical make up with real, physical components and real consequences. They're a matter of life and death. If you're saying that they're no more than a matter of life and death, that they don't mean anything to the universe, then I'd agree.

Submitted by Fletch on February 27, 2012 - 5:40pm.

And also, why exactly it's relevant to our discussion, because I've lost track of that.

This came up because I said I could not comprehend the existence of things that transcend that material universe (such as truth) without positing a transcendent Creator.

You talk several times about going against the moral code to make the endocrine system happy, as if that's the only way to make the endocrine system happy.

I've re-read what I wrote and I don't think I implied this at all. Sure, people can be hard-wired to enjoy "good" behavior. But what about the clever misanthrope? Shouldn't he be true to himself?

I would define morals as "behaviors that allow us to construct/maintain/live within a well-functioning society."

So we do agree.
You: morals are human norms.
Me: morals are transcendental truths.

I think clubbing a baby seal (as described earlier) is objectively immoral.
You think it's OK because it didn't harm the functioning of society.

A more extreme example:.
Faced with an act of genocide, the most you can say is, "That was evil. And by 'evil' I mean, 'not good for the functioning of society.'"
I can say, "That was evil."

As Dosteyevsky put it: "If there is no God, everything is permissible."

Also, I'm curious whether the continuation of the species is important to a Catholic and if so, why it's important.

I didn't bring this up because of any specific tenet of the Faith. I brought it up to point out that for the atheist, the "well-functioning society" (or continuation of the species) is the ultimate "good" even though it really has no more greater significance, value, or importance than a well-functioning rock.

Unless you count consciousness and everything within it as chemical illusions.

For the atheist, what else would instincts and thoughts be? It comes back to Zippy's Chesterton quote (to paraphrase): the atheist is not free to believe in the transcendental. At least not with intellectual consistency.

Submitted by zk on February 27, 2012 - 6:47pm.

Fletch wrote:

And also, why exactly it's relevant to our discussion, because I've lost track of that.

This came up because I said I could not comprehend the existence of things that transcend that material universe (such as truth) without positing a transcendent Creator.

We must be defining truth differently. What do you mean when you say truth? And why does truth transcend the material universe?

You talk several times about going against the moral code to make the endocrine system happy, as if that's the only way to make the endocrine system happy.

Fletch wrote:

I've re-read what I wrote and I don't think I implied this at all. Sure, people can be hard-wired to enjoy "good" behavior. But what about the clever misanthrope? Shouldn't he be true to himself?

If he lived in anarchy, maybe. But, thankfully, he doesn't. Unless he lives somewhere like, maybe, Somalia. The misanthrope or the psychopath or the sociopath, if they live in society, are required to either 1)follow the rules or 2)suffer the consequences that society has decided he should suffer or 3) hope he gets away with it. Maybe a couple other options I can't think of off the top of my head, but you get the point. So the misanthrope or the sociopath suffer the inability to be "true to themselves." Society can't give everybody everything they want and still function. Not without god, anyway. It's not a perfect system. But, as I said before, it's all we have.

I would define morals as "behaviors that allow us to construct/maintain/live within a well-functioning society."

Fletch wrote:

So we do agree.
You: morals are human norms.
Me: morals are transcendental truths.

Close enough, I guess. I don't know if I'd say "norms," so much as complex rules developed over millenia.

Fletch wrote:

I think clubbing a baby seal (as described earlier) is objectively immoral.
You think it's OK because it didn't harm the functioning of society.

I didn't say clubbing a seal was OK. I did imply that there were (are) circumstances in which it would be ok.

Fletch wrote:

A more extreme example:.
Faced with an act of genocide, the most you can say is, "That was evil. And by 'evil' I mean, 'not good for the functioning of society.'"
I can say, "That was evil."

That seems to comfort you somehow, but I'm not sure why. Besides which, if you define morals as I do, there are still gradients. A small transgression such as stealing a pencil from the store will have very little effect on society. Genocide obviously is a different story.

Fletch wrote:

As Dosteyevsky put it: "If there is no God, everything is permissible."

First of all, Dostoevsky didn't actually say that. A character he wrote, Ivan Karamazov, claimed to believe it (but didn't actually say it). In any case, if something is permitted by the universe but not permitted by society, then it's still not permitted by society.

Also, I'm curious whether the continuation of the species is important to a Catholic and if so, why it's important.

Fletch wrote:

I didn't bring this up because of any specific tenet of the Faith. I brought it up to point out that for the atheist, the "well-functioning society" (or continuation of the species) is the ultimate "good" even though it really has no more greater significance, value, or importance than a well-functioning rock.

That depends on how you define significance, value, and importance. To me, the happiness of billions of people (or one, for that matter) is more significant, valuable, and important than a well-functioning rock.

It seems to me that, for you, nothing can have any importance unless your personal god is involved. Or am I misreading that?

Unless you count consciousness and everything within it as chemical illusions.

Fletch wrote:

For the atheist, what else would instincts and thoughts be? It comes back to Zippy's Chesterton quote (to paraphrase): the atheist is not free to believe in the transcendental. At least not with intellectual consistency.

More than illusions but less than transcendental.

Submitted by Fletch on February 27, 2012 - 7:33pm.

First of all, Dostoevsky didn't actually say that.

I'm pretty sure what I wrote reads, "As Dosteyevsky put it", but OK. I hope the fact that you made the distinction doesn't mean your getting annoyed. That's not my intent.

It seems to me that, for you, nothing can have any importance unless your personal god is involved. Or am I misreading that?

I see God as the conclusion, not the premise. I think, for example, that transcendent moral laws exist. Therefore, I conclude there is a moral law giver. I think matter exists, therefore I think there is a matter-giver. And yes, it's true: my feeble brain can not grasp how anything has value in a universe land-locked by atoms. I can't even grasp what "value" would even mean if it were merely a brain pattern.

I've enjoyed this. In my opinion, all the skirmishes over politics and worldviews are proxies for this discussion. The further you get from this fundamental discussion, the messier the discussion tends to get. Such conversations are still important, but they rely more and more on interpretation of data.

I'll probably check in again tomorrow, but I can't keep this up. I hope this hasn't been tedious.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 27, 2012 - 8:38pm.

God and religion have a pretty sketchy history of serving a moral example for nice, or even what we would nowadays call remotely civilized, behavior.

Isa ll human-created morality ultimately arbitrary and self-directed? Is only God's morality is objective, unchanging, real?

Uh, no.

I'm not even sure what this God-given morality is. It seems like it would be as subject to interpretation as any other moral precepts. it sure seemed to justify Spaniards raping pillaging and torturing the natives for gold, burning witches, etc.

And your baby seal clubbing is wrong example seems to me merely a modern sensibilitity picked up from Greenpeace advertising, rather than some sort of God-given morality. It seems exactly the sort of thin that evolved from humans thinking about what is right or wrong, not anything remotely handed down from any kind of God.

Hell, weren't we all happily clubbing baby seals just a few short decades ago for coats with nary a thought toward theological questions? Heck,
I think the Bible would actually support clubbing baby seals, too, since we have dominion over the animals. I mean, how is it different from killing baby cows or lambs or whatever, except they're rarer and arguably cuter?

I don't get it.

Submitted by zk on February 27, 2012 - 8:42pm.

Fletch wrote:

I can't keep this up. I hope this hasn't been tedious.

I can't keep this up, either. But it's been far from tedious. I've enjoyed this exchange quite a bit. Let's debate the Chargers or the Padres or maybe even the housing market next time.

Submitted by Fletch on February 27, 2012 - 10:43pm.

Durnit scardey, I have to stop. But I did step in this, so:

There are three ways an act can be immoral
1. The act itself can be intrinsically wrong. Murder (as distinct from killing) is the easy example.
2. One could have a bad intention.
3. The circumstances could make it wrong.

The first factor is objective.
The second is subjective. But a transcendent moral law says I must always have the right intention.
The third is indeed relative. We have to decide how best to apply a moral absolute to a situation. This will be a function of the education/ inculcation/brainwashing of your mind. But, a transcendent moral law says the particular situation must, as your conscience sees it, support my action.

Clubbing a baby seal is not intrinsically wrong, but as I described it, would be wrong because of 2 and 3. There certainly could be circumstances when it would be necessary.

Spaniards raping and torturing natives for gold seems to fail all three. This clearly damages the moral credibility of the creed they represent, but it does not change the underlying moral ideal. In fact, you can't truly criticize such behavior without having a moral ideal against which to compare.

Not believing in God because of the bad behavior of his followers is understandable. I think Gandhi said something along the lines of, "I love your Christ but not your Christians." I would just offer that good acts done in God's name, by their nature, tend to be quieter than the bad ones, but may have a far greater impact.

zk:
I look forward to it. I'm currently in escrow after renting for 3.5 years. I'm pretty nervous, but I have a renewed thirst for some housing market talk.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 28, 2012 - 12:39am.

arent there plenty of murders that seem intrinsically right?

Like, all the murders on Dexter?

And besides, even if a killing doesn't strike you as particularly right, don't you have to kill if God tells you to kill?

Isn't that what Abraham and Isaac teach us? When you get the word from the Big Guy, you must act, even if the Big Guy's request seems loopy? Mustn't direct orders be obeyed?

I suppose people feel nowadays that God wouldnt really make such wacko requests, that was just the old days. nowadays people just pray on lite issues, like who to vote for in the upcoming election, or for the speedy recovery of friends who have illnesses.

But it sure seems like if you're in intimate contact with the creator, and like the Godfather, he calls on you for a favor, you have no choice but to respond. You cannot refer God to the Ten Commandments or some obscure Talmudic interpretation and say you cannot violate a particular moral ideal.

He's the Boss. The Ultimate Arbiter. FOrget what's int he book and all this philosophizing. If, as you seem to claim, he's really out there, alive and well and full of plans for us and the world, and it's all Really True, can't he communicate to you to do something that might seem to you nuts and on its face immoral? He has a history of this kind fo behaviour.

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and God told you to kill someone in particular?

Would you obey? Get some medication? Double check with him in a week?

I mean, if people really take this prayer stuff seriously, really believe God is out there and in communication with us, why don't we take more seriously people who sayGod told them to kill particular people. it's in the Bible, isn't it? God telling people to do crazy things.

Your claim that morality is based in God seems like it opens the floodgates to everyone putting their own spin on what God told them last night whilst they were praying. He could be whispering all kinds of different things in everyone's ear.

Who decides whose interpretation is correct? Reverend Lovejoy? Each individual according to his conscience? Popular opinion?

In the final analysis, Arent there plenty of meaningful moral ideals not involving God? I mean, the same ideal doesn't become meaningless if it's from a human as opposed to a God, does it? if it's a good idea, it's a good idea, regardless of author.

How is God urges you to treat your neighbor as yourself different in substance from you should treat everyone as you'd like to be treated?

Submitted by Blogstar on February 28, 2012 - 9:31am.

The whole intellectualizing god, proving god through academic debates , strikes me a kind of desperate fallback, after the bible and miracles are shown to be weak testimony. I do find the arguments tedious because there really is no footing in philisophical debates for proving god. Might as well try finding god with peyote.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 28, 2012 - 1:33pm.

Agreed. better w peyote. I think but am not sure the sup ct upheld certain native am rights to take peyote as part f their general quest to find god.

Not sure how you can convert in though

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 28, 2012 - 1:34pm.

So if there were a church that dropped peyote on the weekend, would you join?

Submitted by Arraya on February 28, 2012 - 1:43pm.

walterwhite wrote:
So if there were a church that dropped peyote on the weekend, would you join?

Here ya go!

http://www.peyoteway.org/

The Peyote Way Church of God is a non-sectarian, multicultural, experiential, Peyotist organization located in southeastern Arizona, in the remote Aravaipa wilderness. It is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Native American Church, or any other religious organizations, though we do accept people from all faiths. Church membership is open to all races. We encourage individuals to create their own rituals as they become acquainted with the great mystery. We believe that the Holy Sacrament Peyote, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle (see Word of Wisdom), can lead an individual toward a more spiritual life.

Peyote is currently listed as a controlled substance and its religious use is protected by Federal law only for Native American members of the Native American Church. Non-Indian Peyote use is protected in five states : AZ, NM, CO, NV, and OR. We do not have access to Peyote where it grows in South Texas and Mexico. As it is an endangered species, we believe an essential and inseparable part of our religious practice is the growing and stewardship of the Holy Sacrament Peyote.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 28, 2012 - 2:01pm.

Let us pray.

Submitted by Arraya on February 28, 2012 - 2:39pm.

walterwhite wrote:
Let us pray.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAndRR5CB...

Submitted by briansd1 on February 28, 2012 - 3:38pm.

I think that walter is qualified to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 28, 2012 - 10:07pm.

If you actually talk to god on peyote is that less authentic than actually talking to god not on peyote?

LSD god vision v peyote god vision; less real?

Submitted by zippythepinhead on February 28, 2012 - 10:09pm.

zk, the alternative explanations for the solar miracle at Fatima are interesting (ESP, dust phenom,UFO, mass hallucination,etc) but not very satisfying. Still, they all are consistent with rare events, but then I have to put my hand to forehead, Lt. Colombo style, and say, "there is just one part I don't understand: the TIMING. How could these 3 children have predicted to the hour when this extraordinary event would happen, whatever it was?" Remember the skeptics and believers present were out in vast numbers. "And my old raincoat has just reminded me of one more thing. How do you explain the fact that the multitudes soaked from standing for hours in pouring rain were instantly dry, clothing, hair, everything? Not even a microwave could have worked that fast. No sir, it just doesn't add up".

Submitted by zk on February 28, 2012 - 11:18pm.

zippythepinhead wrote:
zk, the alternative explanations for the solar miracle at Fatima are interesting (ESP, dust phenom,UFO, mass hallucination,etc) but not very satisfying. Still, they all are consistent with rare events, but then I have to put my hand to forehead, Lt. Colombo style, and say, "there is just one part I don't understand: the TIMING. How could these 3 children have predicted to the hour when this extraordinary event would happen, whatever it was?" Remember the skeptics and believers present were out in vast numbers. "And my old raincoat has just reminded me of one more thing. How do you explain the fact that the multitudes soaked from standing for hours in pouring rain were instantly dry, clothing, hair, everything? Not even a microwave could have worked that fast. No sir, it just doesn't add up".

The timing? Really? Sorry, zippy, but that's the easy part. 50,000 people showed up to see what would happen. At the time it was supposed to happen. When else would all those people see what they wanted to see?

Picture it. There you are. With 50,000 other people. Hoping to see a miracle (or, in the case of a few people, doing your job reporting on a prediction of a miracle). You're waiting around. It's been rainy and cloudy. The sun breaks through the clouds. Maybe a few thousand people look up at it. Hey, a miracle is predicted, and the sun just broke out and is shining Jesus rays down on us. That's pretty exciting. Maybe that's where the blessed virgin Mary is going to show up. Let's stare at the sun. If you stare at the sun, strange things happen to your eyes. The sun can appear to dance and move. But you don't know this is retina damage, you just see the sun dancing and moving. And you are expecting to see a miracle. And lo and behold, there's your miracle. You exclaim loudly along with the other thousand people who see it. The excitement spreads. Pretty soon, everyone is yelling, "look at the sun. It's moving, changing colors, it's dancing." So the other 49,000 people start staring at the sun. And a lot of them see the same thing. Some because of the optical effects of staring at the sun, some because they want to see a miracle, some because they don't want to be left out of the excitement of seeing a miracle. Maybe some because they're so caught up in the excitement. Really, it must have been quite a wild scene.

As for the clothes drying, well, I'd imagine time flies when you're witnessing a miracle. Maybe the sun was hot and dried people's clothes fairly quickly. Maybe the excited, post-miracle conversations turned to the amazing drying of the clothes. Maybe this excited conversation among the crowd got exaggerated and was perpetuated and then exaggerated some more. I've been in situations where I witnessed an incident, and a couple hours later heard other people who were there talking about it and what they were saying didn't match what happened at all. And these people are frequently all agreeing with each other. That's how people operate. And this was pretty banal stuff. Imagine if you thought you'd witnessed a miracle. Imagine how much excited buzzing was going on in that crowd. It's not hard to see how things would get distorted, exaggerated, and just plain made up.

To conclude from the reports from fatima from a hundred years ago that god came down and showed these people something doesn't add up. Only a christian who wanted to believe it would believe it.

I'm really curious about something. You believe that what occurred at Fatima was a miracle. To me that indicates that you're not looking at it with true skepticism. So I'm really curious whether you'd look at the things Jacarandoso mentioned (Miracles of Allah, Miracles of Hindu gods, Origin of Mayan Gods) with the same lack of skepticism. Or would those things somehow not seem like real miracles to you?

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 29, 2012 - 7:52am.

Doesn't this blog itself stand fir the proposition that people are nuttier in crowds

Submitted by zk on February 29, 2012 - 11:30am.

walterwhite wrote:
Doesn't this blog itself stand fir the proposition that people are nuttier in crowds

Or, as agent K said in "Men in Black," "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals."

Submitted by Blogstar on February 29, 2012 - 11:44am.

walterwhite wrote:
So if there were a church that dropped peyote on the weekend, would you join?

I'd probably go for the Free Weight Church of Squats first...or is that the First Church of Free Weight Squats?

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 29, 2012 - 3:49pm.

Peyote lifting?

Submitted by zippythepinhead on February 29, 2012 - 6:35pm.

I wasn't there, so I have to go by the historical record. If the broad aclaim was that the clothing and even the ground was instantly dry, then I accept that. Your speculation on this point boils down to this: you simply don't accept that evidence. The staring at the sun explanation would indicate that even you too would have have been taken in had you been there lest you were the sole skeptic clever enough to see through the deception. This sign was FOR the skeptics and there were many, many present; the local press was anti-clerical (akin to the NYT and Wash Post of our day) and if you read their reports, seeing "sun spots" didn't wash with anyone. Whether or not any of this happened makes no difference in my faith, and as has been already pointed out, the church approved the miracle but doesn't require any of the faithful to believe it. It's the context of this whole event that makes it so important; the setting, timing, and character and message of the person to whom this event is linked. There is really no proof of God from miracles, just clues regarding his presence. Lucy was impressed enough to spend the rest of her long life as a nun! (some hoax)

Submitted by zk on February 29, 2012 - 7:22pm.

zippythepinhead wrote:
I wasn't there, so I have to go by the historical record. If the broad aclaim was that the clothing and even the ground was instantly dry, then I accept that. Your speculation on this point boils down to this: you simply don't accept that evidence. The staring at the sun explanation would indicate that even you too would have have been taken in had you been there lest you were the sole skeptic clever enough to see through the deception. This sign was FOR the skeptics and there were many, many present; the local press was anti-clerical (akin to the NYT and Wash Post of our day) and if you read their reports, seeing "sun spots" didn't wash with anyone. Whether or not any of this happened makes no difference in my faith, and as has been already pointed out, the church approved the miracle but doesn't require any of the faithful to believe it. It's the context of this whole event that makes it so important; the setting, timing, and character and message of the person to whom this event is linked. There is really no proof of God from miracles, just clues regarding his presence. Lucy was impressed enough to spend the rest of her long life as a nun! (some hoax)

You really don't have to go by the historical record. You can use your own judgement of human nature and some common sense.

I didn't say anything about sun spots. Where did you get that from?

The sole skeptic clever enough? There were people there who saw nothing. Did you not read that in any of your sources?

You didn't answer what you think about miracles from other religions. It's a key point and you seem to be avoiding it.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 29, 2012 - 8:19pm.

Zippythepinhead is one of my more favorite cartoon characters. Probably zippy would believe in Fatima but he'd also believe he saw god inside a jelly donut.

Are we having fun yet? I remember zippy before he was big. An early childood memory is being 13 and really interested in underground comics, for adults only, way more interested in that than porn, and trying to sneakily read them at this newsstand. Man they were interesting. Much of ny worldview I guess was shaped by r crumb.

One of the things my mom really stressed was never ever stare at the sun. Indeed during the I think 1972 or so eclipse, we viewed it with cardboard boxes on our heads with a hole cut out. Our family photo taken by the planetarium appeared in the ny daily news. Only my brother took the box off his head. We still have the tattered paper. I think the caption was " just a bunch of blockheads". My dad spent his entire life selling corrugated boxes, so we got them clean and free. I think my mom really drilled the no sun staring rule onto our head so she wouldn't raise fatimaniacs.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 29, 2012 - 8:33pm.

I added an option on the poll for peyote church.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on February 29, 2012 - 9:17pm.

Arraya have you done the spirit walk at peyoteway church?

Submitted by UCGal on March 1, 2012 - 11:08am.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/01...

I thought the article was relevant to this discussion.
(even if it doesn't mention peyote or lifting weights.)

Submitted by zk on March 1, 2012 - 1:58pm.

zippythepinhead wrote:
Your speculation on this point boils down to this: you simply don't accept that evidence.

Actually, what it boils down to is this: Given all the evidence, which is more likely: That people got excited and mistook what they saw (the sun moving around, which appears to happen if you stare at it) for a miracle and that things got exaggerated in all the excitement? Or that an omnipotent, omniscient benevolent god created the universe and came down and showed the people something that day. And if you think that, based on the evidence, the latter is more likely, it can really only be because you want it to be.

Submitted by zippythepinhead on March 1, 2012 - 3:13pm.

I

zk wrote:
zippythepinhead wrote:
Your speculation on this point boils down to this: you simply don't accept that evidence.

Actually, what it boils down to is this: Given all the evidence, which is more likely: That people got excited and mistook what they saw (the sun moving around, which appears to happen if you stare at it) for a miracle and that things got exaggerated in all the excitement? Or that an omnipotent, omniscient benevolent god created the universe and came down and showed the people something that day. And if you think that, based on the evidence, the latter is more likely, it can really only be because you want it to be.

We may be beating a dead horse here. Perhaps we can agree to disagree.

Submitted by Arraya on March 1, 2012 - 8:10pm.

walterwhite wrote:
Arraya have you done the spirit walk at peyoteway church?

No, but I've done similar "rituals";)

Submitted by hslinger on March 2, 2012 - 2:53pm.

I am god and all imposters and their followers must be punished.

Send me all your money and your daughters: must be 18+, no fatties, no fuglies. Send pics prior to donating daughters.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 2, 2012 - 6:04pm.

Wouldnt the world be a better place if all Internet discussion eventually ended in discussions of peyote rituals rather than Hitler comparisons?

Submitted by Arraya on March 5, 2012 - 6:28pm.

The first American populizer of Eastern thought, Alan Watts, suggested in his 1966 book, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, that the whole universe consists of a Cosmic Self playing hide-and-seek, hiding from ITSelf by becoming all the living and non-living things in the universe, forgetting what IT really is; the upshot being that we are all IT in disguise and that our conception of ourselves as an "ego in a bag of skin" is a myth; the entities we consider separate "things" are merely processes of the whole. Interestingly, this exotic philosophical perspective is now the core of Gaia theory, which has become broadly accepted in the biophysical sciences, the basis of epigenetics which postulates that DNA expression is controlled from outside our "bag of skin" by environmental factors, and central to evolutionary biology which notes that the mitochondria in our cells that produce chemical energy were (are?) non-human bacteria. We are as much our environment as our in-vironment.

From a long time virtual friend,a tenured professor at Case Western;

That I am Everything means that I am Everything and Everyone that has ever existed, exists now, and will ever exist in the Universe. I am the Universe. I am this sentence. I am any sentence that has ever been written or spoken in any language at any time in the evolution of the Universe. I am the person reading this sentence and the person writing this sentence. And so on. That I am Irreducible means that any attempt to study Myself (that is, the Universe), will fail to understand All that I am because I am All in All. Everything does indeed mean Everything, which, I might point out, includes Nothing within Itself. The Origin is Zero and Infinity in One.

Being awake isn't some namby-pamby New Age schtuff. The Truth has been around for a long time. Mystics come, mystics go, All saying the exact same thing, "I am the Truth," and "I am God," and "I am That."

Heh, most who hear those things rolls his/her eyes and goes, "Oh no, not another lunatic."

Note that I give Myself the Power to reject who and what I am; to reject that I am the Truth.

Doesn't change the fact that I=God.

Peace on Earth,

As a scientist who has spent much of his life — or, alternatively, as Science, that has spent much of the last few centuries of Homo sapiens' existence — reducing things to their component parts, I have found that the ultimate explanation is that the biological, chemical, or physical system cannot be reduced without losing information about said system. Indeed, theory proves this to be a natural law. That law of unity is universal, unbreakable, true, absolute, and so on.

Note how, in the current zeitgeist, I resist accepting the Unity that I am (this forum, this thread, this post). Just like economies, ecosystems, bodies, wavefunctions, and political systems collapse, so too does the ego collapse ("ego death").

All collapse simultaneously at a Universal revolution.

http://www.egodeath.com/EntheogenTheoryO...

The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death explains what is revealed in religious revelation and in enlightenment, including the nature of personal control agency.

The essence and origin of religion is the use of visionary plants to routinely trigger the intense mystic altered state, producing loose binding of cognitive associations. This loose cognitive binding then produces an experience of being controlled by frozen block-universe determinism with a single, pre-existing, ever-existing future.

Experiencing this model of control and time initially destabilizes self-control power, and amounts to the death of the self that was conceived of as an autonomous control-agent. Self-control stability is restored upon transforming one's mental model to take into account the dependence of personal control on a hidden, separate thought-source, such as Necessity or a divine level that transcends Necessity.

Myth describes this mystic-state experiential insight and transformation. Religious initiation teaches and causes this transformation of the self considered as a control-agent, through a series of visionary-plant sessions, interspersed with study of perennial philosophy. Most modern-era religion has been a distortion of this standard initiation system, reducing these concepts to a weak interpretation that is based in the ordinary state of consciousness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hW6Dm_m5t4

There is no separation between spirit and matter...all is one, as it always was.

The psychedelic experience helps some understand this

Alan Watts on LSD
http://deoxy.org/w_psyrel.htm

The experiences resulting from the use of psychedelic drugs are often described in religious terms. They are therefore of interest to those like myself who, in the tradition of William James,1 are concerned with the psychology of religion. For more than thirty years I have been studying the causes, the consequences, and the conditions of those peculiar states of consciousness in which the individual discovers himself to be one continuous process with God, with the Universe, with the Ground of Being, or whatever name he may use by cultural conditioning or personal preference for the ultimate and eternal reality. We have no satisfactory and definitive name for experiences of this kind. The terms "religious experience," "mystical experience," and "cosmic consciousness" are all too vague and comprehensive to denote that specific mode of consciousness which, to those who have known it, is as real and overwhelming as falling in love. This article describes such states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs, although they are virtually indistinguishable from genuine mystical experience. The article then discusses objections to the use of psychedelic drugs that arise mainly from the opposition between mystical values and the traditional religious and secular values of Western society.

http://www.thefix.com/content/steve-jobs...

But equally suggestive, at least to us, is a quote from Steve Jobs to New York Times reporter John Markoff, who interviewed him for his 2005 book What the Doormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer. Speaking about his youthful experiments with psychedelics, Jobs said, "Doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." He was hardly alone among computer scientists in his appreciation of hallucinogenics and their capacity to liberate human thought from the prison of the mind. Jobs even let drop that Microsoft's Bill Gates would "be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once." Apple's mantra was"Think different." Jobs did. And he credited his use of LSD as a major reason for his success.

http://www.hallucinogens.com/lsd/francis...

Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago.

The abrasive and unorthodox Crick and his brilliant American co-researcher James Watson famously celebrated their eureka moment in March 1953 by running from the now legendary Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to the nearby Eagle pub, where they announced over pints of bitter that they had discovered the secret of life.

Crick, who died ten days ago, aged 88, later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD then an experimental drug used in psychotherapy to boost his powers of thought. He said it was LSD, not the Eagle's warm beer, that helped him to unravel the structure of DNA, the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXmzcroUmdU

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 5, 2012 - 6:49pm.

Yeah. Plus, hitler never took any peyote.

Submitted by Arraya on March 5, 2012 - 7:41pm.

walterwhite wrote:
Yeah. Plus, hitler never took any peyote.

That is probably a pretty safe assumption. Turn of the century racial "science" is pretty inconsistent with the universal "oneness" that goes along with that experience.\

More on Christianity and "psychedelics"

http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Mushroom-Mush...

The most important subject in the world is the question of to what extent were visionary plants used throughout Christian history. This book provides the right kind of evidence and argumentation to reverse the refusal to countenance that question, a refusal for which the exagerratedly venerated hero Wasson is largely to blame. There is a great abundance of evidence in support of the maximal entheogen theory of Christian history, which can be readily seen if one ignores Wasson's efforts to stymie the investigation. Examining the entire issue of use of all visionary plants in all religions in all eras, including all forms of evidence, it is now a certainty that Christianity has centrally incorporated visionary plants all throughout Christian history -- the question is no longer "did Christians use entheogens?"; the question has become "to what extent did Christians use entheogens?"

My systematic theory, published online and already announced to a wide variety of scholars in email, is that Christianity began not in themes from Egypt as Irvin and Acharya S would have it, but rather, first and foremost, as a counter-propaganda rebuttal to Roman Imperial theology. Roman imperial theology utilized the era's ubiquitous use of visionary plants such as in mystery initiation and symposium "drinking" parties, to prop up and justify Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar's violent, crucifying system of empire.

In rebuttal, Christianity was created and became popular by utilizing anti-Roman, Jewish-styled themes, fabricating a counter-Caesar figure of Jesus. The origin of Christianity has two main parts: the use of visionary plants (which was utterly normal and ubiquitous in late antiquity), utilized for the purpose of not only individual spiritual enlightenment as Irvin would have it, but even more for the purpose of erecting an alternate, egalitarian, social-political support network, using a Jewish-like synagogue network that was separate from the official culture's honor-and-shame hierarchy.

Me, from another thread on religion;

The virgin birth, death and resurrection theme along with the "hero" God-man archetype arouse in the eastern Mediterranean, where farming cultures developed religions that celebrated the yearly return of crop fertility. It dates back to before the Abrahamic religions.

Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung argue these common archetypal manifestations fulfill a psychological need. Jung made argument that; these archetypal symbols are psychological projections of the collective unconscious, the need of the human mind faced with the overwhelming specter of imminent mortality to fashion eternal symbols of human resurrection married to the god's victory over the shadowy domain of death, a spiritual transcendence of the physical underworld to the numinous realm of eternal spirit, logos, the human and the divine united in a transcendent marriage of cycles of life, death, and infinite revitalization. This is the role of the dying/reborn god.

Campbell concludes that the god who emerges from the virgin birth is you – you have died to your animal nature and come to life as a human incarnation of compassion… born of a virgin to signify that the begetter is of the spirit and not merely of the flesh.

And finally,

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

-Albert Einstein

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 5, 2012 - 7:57pm.

True, but Albert still couldn't get along w his wife even though he and she were really the same being.

Submitted by Arraya on March 5, 2012 - 8:00pm.

walterwhite wrote:
True, but Albert still couldn't get along w his wife even though he and she were really the same being.

Heck,most of the time I don't get along with myself

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 5, 2012 - 8:06pm.

Fair enough. I know there's been a flurry if research on psychedelic mushrooms actually curing addictions, depressions, other problems. I don't think the country can handle the truth though.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 5, 2012 - 8:08pm.

Did steve jobs LSD advocacy get press in any of those death coverage stories?

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 5, 2012 - 8:12pm.

I can only find one blog mentioning that jobs asked prospective employees how many times they'd dropped acid to throw them off guard.

Submitted by briansd1 on March 20, 2012 - 6:56pm.

Some people believe there's only one God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYCgTsBiBnI

“This nation was founded as a Christian nation...there’s only one God and his name is Jesus. I’m tired of people telling me that I can’t say those words. [...] If you don’t love America and you don’t like the way we do things, I’ve got one thing to say -- Get out! We don’t worship Buddha. I said we don’t worship Buddha. We don’t worship Mohammed. We don’t worship Allah. We worship God. We worship God’s son Jesus Christ.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/unde...

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 20, 2012 - 9:10pm.

this nation was founded as a bunch of different kinds of christians who were each irritating in their own way and fundamentally had in common the unyielding conviction that they couldn't stand each other. Those are our bedrock principles.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on March 20, 2012 - 9:12pm.

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/658335...

ok this is funny. why religious people are like star trek nerds...