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Sam Harris Takes On the Muslim Cartoon Controversy and His Critics

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Posted on Feb 3, 2006
Sam Harris
Courtesy of Sam Harris

Sam Harris

By Sam Harris

Update: Sam Harris responds to the Muhammad cartoon controversy.

In recent days, crowds of thousands have gathered throughout the Muslim worldburning European embassies, issuing threats, and even taking hostagesחin protest over 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that were published in a Danish newspaper.  The problem is not merely that the cartoons were mildly derogatory.  The furor primarily erupted over the fact that the Prophet had been depicted at all. Muslims consider any physical rendering of Muhammad to be an act of idolatry.  And idolatry is punishable by death. Criticism of Muhammad or his teachingwhich was also implicit in the cartoonsחis considered blasphemy.  As luck would have it, blasphemy is also punishable by death.  Pious Muslims, therefore, have two reasons to not accept less than a severing of the heads of those responsible,” as was elucidated by a preacher at the Al Omari mosque in Gaza.

Let us take stock of the moral intuitions now on display in the House of Islam: on Aug. 17, 2005, an Iraqi insurgent helped collect the injured survivors of a car bombing, rushed them to a hospital, and then detonated his own bomb, murdering those who were already mortally wounded as well as the doctors and nurses struggling to save their lives.  Where were the cries of outrage from the Muslim world? Religious sociopaths murder innocents by the hundreds in the capitols of Europe, blow up the offices of the U.N. and the Red Cross, purposefully annihilate crowds of children gathered to collect candy from U.S. soldiers on the streets of Baghdad, kidnap journalists, behead them, and the videos of their butchery become the most popular form of pornography in the Muslim world, and no one utters a word of protest because these atrocities have been perpetrated ӓin defense of Islam. But draw a picture of the Prophet, and pious mobs convulse with pious rage. One could hardly ask for a better demonstration of the manner in which religious dogmatism and its pseudo-morality eclipses basic, human goodness. This behavior would be impossible without religious belief. It is time we realized that the endgame for civilization is not political correctness.  It is not respect for the abject religious certainties of the mob.  It is reason.


While ԓAn Atheist Manifesto received considerable support from readers of Truthdig, a variety of criticisms surfaced in the reader commentary.  I summarize and respond to some of these below:

1. Just because you havenԒt seen God doesnt mean He doesnҒt exist.  Atheism, therefore, is as much an act of faith as theism is.

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Bertrand Russell demolished this fallacy nearly a century ago with his famous teapot argument.  As his response appears to me to be perfect, I simply offer it here:

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

If a valid retort to Russell has ever seen the light of day, Im not aware of it.  As I tried to make clear in my essay, the atheist is not in the business of making claims on insufficient evidence, he merely resists such claims whenever they appear on the lips of the faithful.  I donҒt think it can be pointed out too often that the faithful do this as well. Every Christian knows what it is like to find the claims of Muslimsthat the Holy Koran is the perfect word of God, that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, etc.חto be utterly incredible.  Everyone who is not a Mormon knows at a glance that Mormonism is bogus. And everyone of every religious denomination knows what it is like not to believe in Zeus. Everyone has rejected an infinite number of spurious claims about God.  The atheist rejects infinity plus one.

2. You will never get rid of religion, so criticizing it is just a waste of time.

I would be the first to admit that the prospects for eradicating religious dogmatism in our world do not seem good. Still, the same could have been said about efforts to abolish slavery at the beginning of the 19th century. Anyone who spoke about eradicating slavery in the United States around 1810 surely appeared to be wasting his time, and wasting it dangerously.  The analogy is not perfect, but it is suggestive.  If we ever do transcend our religious bewilderment, we will look back upon this period in human history with absolute astonishment.  How could it have been possible for people to believe such things in the 21st century? How could it be that they allowed their world to become so dangerously fragmented by empty notions about God and Paradise? The answers to these questions are as embarrassing as those that sent the last slave ship sailing to America as late as 1859 (the same year that Darwin published “The Origin of Species”).

3. Religion is our only source of morality. Without it, we would be plunged into a secular moral chaos.

This concern is so widespread that I have responded to it at some length.  A version of this response will soon be published in the magazine Free Inquiry (www.secularhumanism.org) as The Myth of Secular Moral Chaos.Ӕ

One cannot criticize religious dogmatism for long without encountering the following claim, advanced as though it were a self-evident fact of nature: there is no secular basis for morality. Raping and killing children can only be really wrong, the thinking goes, if there is a God who says it is.  Otherwise, right and wrong would be mere matters of social construction, and any society will be at liberty to decide that raping and killing children is actually a wholesome form of family fun. In the absence of God, John Wayne Gacy would be a better person than Albert Schweitzer, if only more people agreed with him.

It is simply amazing how widespread this fear of secular moral chaos is, given how many misconceptions about morality and human nature are required to set it whirling in a persons brain. There is undoubtedly much to be said against the spurious linkage between faith and morality, but the following three points should suffice.

If a book like the bible were the only reliable blueprint for human decency that we have, it would be impossible (both practically and logically) to criticize it in moral terms. But it is extraordinarily easy to criticize the morality one finds in bible, as most of it is simply odious and incompatible with a civil society.

The notion that the bible is a perfect guide to morality is really quite amazing, given the contents of the book. Human sacrifice, genocide, slaveholding, and misogyny are consistently celebrated.  Of course, GodҒs counsel to parents is refreshingly straightforward: whenever children get out of line, we should beat them with a rod (Proverbs 13: 24, 20:30, and 23:13-14). If they are shameless enough to talk back to us, we should kill them (Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Mark.7:9-13 and Matthew 15:4-7).  We must also stone people to death for heresy, adultery, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, worshipping graven images, practicing sorcery, and for a wide variety of other imaginary crimes.  Most Christians imagine that Jesus did away with all this barbarism and delivered a doctrine of pure love and toleration.  He didnt (Matthew 5:18-19, Luke 16:17, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 20-21, John 7:19). Anyone who believes that Jesus only taught the Golden Rule and love of oneҒs neighbor should go back and read the New Testament. And pay particular attention to the morality that will be on display if he ever returns to Earth trailing clouds of glory (e.g. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, 2:8; Hebrews 10:28-29; 2 Peter 3:7; and all of Revelation). It is not an accident that St. Thomas Aquinas thought heretics should be killed and that St. Augustine thought they should be tortured.  (Ask yourself, what are the chances that these good doctors of the Church hadnt read the New Testament closely enough to discover the error of their ways?) As a source of objective morality, the bible is one of the worst books we have. It might have been the very worst, in fact, if we didnҒt also happen to have the Koran.

It is important to point out that we decide what is good in the Good Book. We read the Golden and Rule and judge it to be a brilliant distillation of many of our ethical impulses; we read that a woman found not to be a virgin on her wedding night should be stoned to death, and we (if we are civilized) decide that this is the most vile lunacy imaginable. Our own ethical intuitions are, therefore, primary.  So the choice before us is simple: we can either have a 21st century conversation about ethicsavailing ourselves of all the arguments and scientific insights that have accumulated in the last 2,000 years of human discourseחor we can confine ourselves to a first century conversation as it is preserved in the bible.

If religion were necessary for morality, there should some evidence that atheists are less moral than believers. But evidence for this is in short supply, and there is much evidence to the contrary.

People of faith regularly allege that atheism is responsible for some of the most appalling crimes of the 20th century. Are atheists really less moral than believers? While it is true that the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying degrees, they were not especially rational. In fact, their public pronouncements were little more than litanies of delusion—delusions about race, economics, national identity, the march of history or the moral dangers of intellectualism. In many respects, religion was directly culpable even here. Consider the Holocaust: the anti-Semitism that built the Nazi crematoria brick by brick was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were undoubtedly religiousand the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued throughout the period. (The Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914.) Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields are not examples of what happens when people become too critical of unjustified beliefs; to the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of not thinking critically enough about specific secular ideologies. Needless to say, a rational argument against religious faith is not an argument for the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma. The problem that the atheist exposes is none other than the problem of dogma itself—of which every religion has more than its fair share. I know of no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

According the United Nationsג Human Development Report (2005), the most atheistic societies—countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdomare actually the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest by the U.N. in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causalityחbelief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief.  Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a societys health.

If religion really provided the only conceivable, objective basis for morality, it should be impossible to posit a non-theistic, objective basis for morality.  But it is not impossible; it is rather easy.

Clearly, we can think of objective sources of moral order that do not require the existence of a law-giving God.  In “The End of Faith,” I argued that questions of morality are really questions about happiness and suffering.  If there are objectively better and worse ways to live so as to maximize happiness in this world, these would be objective moral truths worth knowing.  Whether we will ever be in a position to discover these truths and agree about them cannot be known in advance (and this is the case for all questions of scientific fact). But if there are psychophysical laws that underwrite human well-beingҗand why wouldnt there be?җthen these laws are potentially discoverable.  Knowledge of these laws would provide an enduring basis for an objective morality. In the meantime, everything about human experience suggests that love is better than hate for the purposes of living happily in this world.  This is an objective claim about the human mind, the dynamics of social relations, and the moral order of our world. While we do not have anything like a final, scientific approach to maximizing human happiness, it seems safe to say that raping and killing children will not be one of its primary constituents.

One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the 21st century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns—about ethics, spiritual experience and the inevitability of human suffering—in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith. Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of human conflict.  The idea that there is a necessary link between religious faith and morality is one of the principal myths keeping religion in good standing among otherwise reasonable men and women.  And yet, it is a myth that is easily dispelled.


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By I AM 0NE GOOD CRISTHIAN, September 22, 2006 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it time for a New Crusade?With the Muslims recent violence against christianity, I think it’s time we’ve shown them that we are god’s true followers and that we are capable of vanquising the muslims back to the hell from which they were spawned. With modern technology it would be very simple to purge the world of the muslims.islam cannot reform. We cannot live with Islam as it is repugnant to
our ideas of human rights. The only answer seems to be to destroy
Islam. Enough is Enough and we are tired of terror attacks and it is
time to forever suppress them. Islam has brought this on itself.
Nobody should be surprised to see Mecca and Medina diasppear under
mushroom clouds. The terror regimes in Syria and Iran and Saudi can be
broken. Thw world simply has to recognize that islam is as bad as
Nazism and work to eliminate it wherever it exists.
In the 1840s, britain supprressed the Thuggeee Cult in India. In the
1940s, we suppressed the imperial cult in Japan. Int he late 20th
century, we suppressed the cult of communism. Islam is no different
and it is time to take action to suppress it.

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By HiveRadical, September 21, 2006 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So you know I haven’t passed over such I answer the Pope Muslim issue at the end.

You want the state to acknowledge the primacy of your faith, the superiour nature of your moral structures, and the godly nature and hence “rightness” of your ethics.

So do you. Yet you have nothing more substantial to defend the supremacy of your condition than I have. You have certainty in your belief that my dogma is worse than yours, or even worse, you dogmatically believe that your assessment of this situation is sufficient to make your judgment, applied to social constructs and institutions, as being superior. You believe it’s superior not because you have any proof that it is, rather because you are certain in the supremacy of the assessment that your subjective judgments (you can’t tenably deny not having such). You have no proof that your view is better than mine, there’s nothing to empirically indicate it is. All past attempts at claiming secularism you and Mr. Harris dump as having not truly been free of dogma (at least that’s what Mr. Harris asserted in his appearance today on the talk show “The Michael Medved Show”).

This puts the dream that you and Harris work for, and must have some hope of it’s plausibility, that a state sufficiently free of dogmatic influence can be created. Yet you both hold to this without any proof that it’s ever existed in the past nor any indicator that it’s likely to occur soon.

I hope Mr. Sam Harris reads this, because I’m about to use one of his favorite analogies.

The view of a ‘sterile’ government with respect to dogma is like Bertrand’s proverbial orbiting tea pot. It may well exist. <u>But there’s been nothing in the past to indicate such.</u> You can point to no government, past or present, that can execute such an ‘enlightened’ state—so why should we believe it can exist? And if it’s mere plausibility or ultimate provability is in question, isn’t the advocacy of such, to some degree or another, <u>a dogmatically based endeavor?</u>

<u>If it is such, what makes it more legitimate than the reasons for me holding my current paradigm?</u>

Air and food are not social constructs - they are physical nesseccities of life.  The “traditional family” is a social construct, and it’s flaws are the product of human nature and behavior.  It doesn’t seem to be the best way to raise children based solely on the vast numbers of damaged people coming out of families that would be called traditional.

So you can pop children out, let them out in the world immediately and they’ll survive just fine? Methinks you’ve watched one too many “Tarzan” or “George of the Jungle” episodes. To say that a family is not a physical necessity of life is like saying clothing is not a necessity of life, yes in some rare circumstances you might be able to get by without it, but no group has risen to any degree of civilization or complexity of society without it.

What about the controversy between the pope and islam?  He says it is a religion that promotes violence, and in protest to prove that he is wrong muslims and muslim leaders promote and treaten violence to avenge the insult to the faith.

Again, it’s human nature and the natural set up. Since you cannot provide me with a situation in which there was both a claimed secularist society, and no serious infringements on societal solvency overall, I can’t just take your word that it’s achievable or any more probable in avoiding the chaos we see in the anti-civilization complex surrounding Islam. It would be like the teapot assertion. You may claim it’s up there, but you’ve yet to provide me evidence greater in potency and sufficiency than what I’ve provided you about my faith. We are both asserting beliefs.

To demonstrate this we’ll go to a comments Harris made today. He talked about the disastrous consequences, as he saw them, perpetrated by christians in Africa who fought things like condom use and birth control. He laid out the numbers of those dying from AIDS.

Now let’s contrast that with the advocacy of one of your favorite states, Sweden. ‘Forward’ secular Sweden has been at the forefront of changing the de facto world wide ban on DDT into a permanent part of real international law, yet that very item has killed two million a year since DDT was demonized and it’s use almost universally revoked. That leaves us with death counts that greatly exceed those intentionally rendered deaths from the concentration camps. So while I can to see why Mr. Harris sees the acts based on Christian belief as being dangerous, what I don’t understand is his belief/hope/dogmatic pursuit of a world with a sufficiently non-dogmatic, or utterly non-dogmatic, social administration. Bertrand’s Teapot in orbit. That’s all his claimed goal is, Bertie’s Tea Party. Not to be confused with the Boston Tea Party.

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By archeon, September 21, 2006 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not nearly as silly, stupid, and ignorant than believing that a angle dictated the word of god to a human in a cave in the desert of Arabia.
Or believeing an angel sent fake egyptian tables to upstate New York.  Or that 2000 years ago a virgin who had not been impregnated by a man, gave birth to the messiah the actual and literal son of god.

The fact of the matter is this - I am willing to let you lead your life as you wish, but you and the rest of the worlds religious fanatics (this includes soviet/chinese communists, muslims, christians, etc) want to impose your belief system, faith structure, moral and ethical ethos and idiom on me.  You want the state to acknowledge the primacy of your faith, the superiour nature of your moral structures, and the godly nature and hence “rightness” of your ethics.

Air and food are not social constucts - they are physical nesseccities of life.  The “traditional family” is a social construct, and it’s flaws are the product of human nature and behaviour.  It doesn’t seem to be the best way to raise children based solely on the vast numbers of damaged people coming out of families that would be called traditional.

What about the controversy between the pope and islam?  He says it is a religion that promotes violence, and in protest to prove that he is wrong muslims and muslim leaders promote and treaten violence to avenge the insult to the faith.  It would be funny, if it wasn’t so FUCKING scary.

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By HiveRadical, September 21, 2006 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What exactly is the “traditional family”?
Which cultures idea of “family” are we looking at?  Oh yes that’s right a completly ethno-centric family view, based on judeo-christian “values” is what they are really talking about.  They don’t mean “traditional” they mean “christian”.

We mean “traditional.” Even in a precursory view of history you would see that in terms of both population and in terms of what’s constituted the majority practice in the vast majority of cultures in the world you’ll see heterosexual marriage being massively dominant.

As for abortion being murder.  It might be.  It might not.  I am happy to accept that for those for whom it is murder that they should not have abortions.  They are free to make that choice.  For those for who it is a viable choice, they should be free to have abortions.

If the traditional family is so good why is it the most dangerous place for children?  It is where sexual, physical, and emotional abuse is most likely to happen, and least likely to be noticed, prevented, treated etc.  The fact of the matter is that we are in greater danger from fellow family memebers than we are from strangers.  More people are murdered, raped, and abused by those who love them, than by strangers.

Your logic would be funny if it wasn’t so friggen sad. Your above argument is akin to my spoof on food and air. “All food and air is carcenogenic, It keeps you alive and you can’t develope cancer if you’re alive, so DOWN WITH FOOD AND AIR!”

Yes they’ve found gels that can, if inhailed and exhalled, act as a substitute to air. They’ve done tests on little rodents and the rodents have survived just fine. So since air presently has so many people keeling over maybe this gel stuff wouldn’t cause cancer. I mean I don’t know any case of an individual living off of breating this gel stuff that’s died of cancer, on the other end I know of tons of people that have died who just breathed normal air and ate normal food and now they’re DEAD! Since they all ate food and breated air, AND they’re all DEAD it must be what they hold in common that is most likely to be killing them!!! Down with food down with air!

Or it’s like the joke of the man who gets home and says to a family member “I just found out that 80% of automobile accidents happen within 20 miles of a persons home! WE’RE MOVING!!!”

I could go on for some time pointing out the inanity of your logic. I hope the above will sufice to demonstrate that it’s proximity and familiarity that is more likely to influence criminal and abusive actions than anything. And since any other redefining of what constitutes the family would not undo that key component an assumption either that a redefining is needed OR that any other non-traditional setup will be as good or better than the present is a fundamentally flawed argument. Take a union of those who consider themselves bisexual and the potential targets an opportunities for child abuse in the sexual realm doubles. Open up a societal endorsement of homosexual behavior and the number of available victims opens up also. So your redefining would both not get rid of the key factor of proximmity and familiarity YET would increase the pool of victims available to the crimes humans commit regardless their societal arrangement.

To say nothing of the added societal ills that familial convolution would also multiply.

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By archeon, September 21, 2006 at 8:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So H-R how do you feel about Islam and the current controversy with the pope?

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By HiveRadical, September 21, 2006 at 12:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

so H-R you don’t beleive in the seperation of church and state?

I just don’t believe in your view of what constitutes such.

You believe forcing your god given views on those who don’t believe as you do?

Wrong again. I just don’t believe in you forcing your oddball views of what constitutes the forcing of religion.

Yes I agree that secular society, atheists, and other non believers have been guilty of excesses, crimes, injustice, and inequity.  They fortunately did not have the claimed “authority” of god to justify their actions.

Certainly they claimed to be in the right, even if it was an arbitrary and undefinable delusion or construct of such—-What difference does it make in terms of the ultimate outcomes of their horrible crimes? Whether someone thought they were killing in the name of God or the name of reason doesn’t change the fact that they killed.

...the main line christians saw Mormonism as an apostate religion, evil, etc and saw the Mormons as godless christless demon worshipers - so you make my point for me.  The mormons where not attacked by an army or atheists or other non believers, they were attacked by fellow christians, sent to them by fellow christians. This is a perfect example of “religionists” within a state/government/court taken control of and defining an agenda against an opposing religious group.  Again this makes my point of the dangers of allowing the distance between religion and state to narrow.

Well if we can’t believe the soviets in their claim to a non-religious rule then how can I believe your claims to attaining such. I mean if one’s admission to dogmatic and/or erroneous logic is not a requisite for us to consider them to be following such then how can I be sure you’re not simply another incarnation of some evil ‘non-religion’ in name only promoter? How can we be assured that you have the bona fide secularism or socialism or what have you?

Again, if end result matters at all why does the distinction between those who claim religion and those who don’t matter?

I don’t understand why you see my view as a threat to your right to hold yours.

Because inherently in it you hold your view as superior to mine without being able to demonstrably prove it is. In such claimed condition you seek to secure the right to determine what is and isn’t worthy of governmental support.

I believe it is your right to worship as you see fit, to teach your children in your church and home what you wish.

Where does the “nor prohibit the free exercise thereof” mention sole relegation to home and church? Is there any logical reason for the ‘gap pride parades’? If it’s merely some ritual they practice, and you think the constitution only protects such in their home, then why would you defend their right to march through the street and relegate us to our houses? And if freedom of speech or expression is your choice of the day then what is to exclude my praying (expressing) from those same public forums you demand for your friends?

Up to the recent past the female has been the weaker power in this union.  Until quite recently she was actually see as property of the male.  It was through marriage that she went from being the property of her father to that of her husband.  Children too were seen as the property of thier father.  So I see why H-R is so attached to the “traditional” idea of marriage, even his church is patriarchcal.

We’re so patriarchal one of the first things we did when we got to Utah was to put women into government. That’s why the oldest and largest single continuously run women’s organization in the world of which I’m aware was one who’s initial leader was the first wife of Joseph Smith.

On this topic of giving someone such as property I’m curious as to your views on the legitimacy of prostitution, I mean it being such an old profession and tied inherently to the ancient pagan rituals in their temples. Wouldn’t a separation, as you seem to define it, inherently keep any prostitution out of the public venue, seeing as it’s simply an old holdover from the times when pagan theologies were dominant?

Regarding this ‘ownership’ claim—I’d always seen it as a wife giving herself to her husband and then the father, who’d had care and responsibility to care for the daughter, as giving a blessing to such as the last vestige of primal responsibility for the care of the daughter.

I’m curious as to whether or not you’d see a matriarchal order as being less infringing on ‘rights’ or the ‘separation of church and state’?

They are still upset they can’t beat and murder their wives.  I can still remember up to seventies when religious and church leaders were claiming that it was a husbands god given right to “discipline” his wife and children.  Meaning of course that they had a right to beat them.

You can be so sick in your perceptions. If you had any idea how contrary your insinuation of our beliefs are to the true history and view of our faith. Of all the admonitions from the man that I hold as the prophet of God today I can’t think of any he’s been more persistent and emphatic on that his strong admonition and command that we hold women as the highest of God’s creation. I will give you the following to demonstrate the unequivocal nature of his comments in this regard–

...so Eve became God’s final creation, the grand summation of all of the marvelous work that had gone before.

Notwithstanding this preeminence given the creation of woman, she has so frequently through the ages been relegated to a secondary position. She has been put down. She has been denigrated. She has been enslaved. She has been abused. And yet some few of the greatest characters of scripture have been women of integrity, accomplishment, and faith.

We have Esther, Naomi, and Ruth of the Old Testament. We have Sariah of the Book of Mormon. We have Mary, the very mother of the Redeemer of the world. We have her as the chosen of God, described by Nephi as “a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins” (1 Ne. 11:15).

She it was who carried the child Jesus into Egypt to save His life from the wrath of Herod. She it was who nurtured Him in His boyhood and young manhood. She stood before Him when His pain-wracked body hung upon the cross on Calvary’s hill. In His suffering He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son!” And to His disciple in a plea that he care for her, He said, “Behold thy mother!” (John 19:26–27).

Crossing through His life we have Mary and Martha, and Mary of Magdala. She it was who came to the tomb that first Easter morning. And to her, a woman, He first appeared as the resurrected Lord. Why is it that even though Jesus placed woman in a position of preeminence, so many men who profess His name fail to do so?

In His grand design, when God first created man, He created a duality of the sexes. The ennobling expression of that duality is found in marriage. One individual is complementary to the other. As Paul stated, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:11).

There is no other arrangement that meets the divine purposes of the Almighty. Man and woman are His creations. Their duality is His design. Their complementary relationships and functions are fundamental to His purposes. One is incomplete without the other.

I recognize that we have many wonderful women among us who do not have the opportunity of marriage. But they, too, make such a tremendous contribution. They serve the Church faithfully and ably. They teach in the organizations. They stand as officers.

I witnessed a very interesting thing the other day. The General Authorities were in a meeting, and the presidency of the Relief Society were there with us. These able women stood in our council room and shared with us principles of welfare and of helping those who are in distress. Our stature as officers of this Church was not diminished by what they did. Our capacities to serve were increased.

There are some men who, in a spirit of arrogance, think they are superior to women. They do not seem to realize that they would not exist but for the mother who gave them birth. When they assert their superiority they demean her. It has been said, “Man can not degrade woman without himself falling into degradation; he can not elevate her without at the same time elevating himself” (Alexander Walker, in Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap Book [1923], 204).

How very true that is. We see the bitter fruit of that degradation all about us. Divorce is one of its results. This evil runs rampant through our society. It is the outcome of disrespect for one’s marriage partner. It manifests itself in neglect, in criticism, in abuse, in abandonment. We in the Church are not immune from it.

Jesus declared, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

The word man is used in the generic sense, but the fact is that it is predominantly men who bring about the conditions that lead to divorce.

After dealing with hundreds of divorce situations through the years, I am satisfied that the application of a single practice would do more than all else to solve this grievous problem.

If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.

There was a popular song we sang many years ago, the lyrics of which said:

I want to be happy,
But I won’t be happy
Till I make you happy, too.
(Irving Caesar, “I Want to Be Happy” [1924])

How true this is.

Every woman is a daughter of God. You cannot offend her without offending Him. I plead with the men of this Church to look for and nurture the divinity that lies within their companions. To the degree that happens, there will be harmony, peace, enrichment of family life, nurturing love.

—President Gorden B. Hinckley from his talk The Women in our Lives

From an Apostle of our Church also-

[Adam] became the first man. But, in spite of the power and glory of creation to that point, the final link in the chain of creation was still missing. <u>All the purposes of the world and all that was in the world would be brought to naught without woman</u>—a keystone in the priesthood arch of creation.

—Elder Russell M. Nelson

While we are at it.  I have a great deal of trouble with one particular part of the bible, where abraham is directed to scacrifice his son - as a test of his faith and love of god.  Fortunatley god causes a ram to appear that can be sacrificed in his stead.  The whole thing has always struck me as very cruel.

Do you have any other suggested test for discerning the integrity of a human being so they don’t have to just take God’s word that they are or are not committed individuals? He knows, he was allowing Abraham to find out. Can you think of a better way to allow Abraham to find out what kind of person he was?

Another thing, where did all the other people come from who where not Israelites?

Uhhh… the way your presenting this is making one question the degree to which you are conversant in the Bible. The Israelites didn’t come into existence until some time after the fall of Adam and after the flood. There were lots of people who pre-dated the Israelites.

  Who did Adam and Eve’s children marry/breed with?

With each other.

Where exactly is heaven? or Hell?

Somewhere close to here on earth, likely all around us.

Faith, religion, and the atendant theologies, cosmologies, practices, traditions are more dangerouse than those base on the acceptance that phylosopy, justice, equity, freedom, liberty, democracy, community, etc are HUMAN intelectual constructs developed out of the need for humans - who are social creatures - to live harmoniously in groups.  This is because religion derives it’s authority from a being/entity/law giver (ie - god) who is not of this “realm” or who is no longe directly accessable (ie dead - Marx, Mao, Christ, Mohammed), and as such the the driving and founding principles of a particular religion cannot be questioned or ammended.

All of those concerns of disconnect are resolved in having a modern day, presently living, Prophet of God. Last I saw on a logical and rational view having present and ongoing access to a literal omniscient being is far better than basing actions on an admitted delusion and construct of the human imagination.

  It also creates in the minds of the believers an acceptance that these rules of the religion come from somewhere “purer”, or “truer” than that which we here as humans could come up with because the “founder” was/is perfect.

With continuing contact with the divine it would be truer and purer.

Accepting that the laws, traditions, even cultur are purely human constucts, formulated in the human mind based on our observations of and interactions with our families, neighbours, community members, fellow citizens, allows these to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of the people, allows change.

This is all superseded by the ongoing connection to an omnipotent and benevolent God. He’s the master of knowing when where why and how to change present constructs, views, and actions to meet head on the challenges of a dynamic and fluid environment.

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By HiveRadical, September 20, 2006 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mary,

How does logic not demonstrate to one’s mind the obvious fact that having a male and a female readily available to a child as it’s actual parents, all things being equal otherwise, the most ideal situation? If I grew up with just two ‘fathers’ or just two ‘mothers’ I have a hard time seeing a vast number of situations and memories I have had with each parental role helping me through unique instances and circumstances. I’ve seen siblings of friend’s parents try to compensate for the advent of the loss of the parent of the other gender, I’ve seen their involvement be very deep in the life of the kid(s), despite that I’ve yet to see a situation in which the lacking of a definitive, present, and available parental figure from each of the genders has been advantageous or helpful to a child. Two committed guys (or two committed ladies) claiming parenthood over one child cannot offer the versatility in interaction, in help, in anything, that can be offered by a comparable committed heterosexual pair.

You may say, “Well what of placing a child in a more orderly committed homosexual arrangement as opposed to a less orderly traditional marriage?”

That would come down to principle in my view. If I had to chose between a benevolent authoritarian to rule a country and bungling representative democracy I’d take the latter. Not because I doubt the capacity of a benevolent and enlightened dictator to do well and in circumstances possibly do a better job in terms of things like raw efficiency and more exacting and orderly execution of the law. But on terms of principle I’d take the messy and semi-dysfunctional system over the efficient and, at the present, seemingly more just and orderly and enlightened ruler. Not saying that I see homosexual people as authoritarian, just simply presenting a case in which I choose principle over capacity, and not inherently for some religious faith, rather as an extension of logic and reason as I perceive it, independent from the dogma of my faith.

Please show me the proof that homosexuals are bad for family values.

That’s not the issue. That’s like saying “show me where technocrats are bad for the administration of justice.” I don’t care in my rational defense on that issue. And besides, if you side with archeon on the definition of family values and the actual non-existence of constructs as anything defined or set then it’s rather easy to say “Please show me proof that F(X) is not equal to an unknown, non-definitive and arbitrary number that can’t be revealed.”

  Please show me the proof that they are any worse than heterosexuals in committing crimes of any nature.

If this hypothetical were available to testing I can assure you from the application of deductive logic what the outcome would be

Take two groups of individuals where all things are equal in terms of health, resources, social skills, total population, male to female ration, with regard to all ethics outside of those touching sexual orientation etc. The only thing differentiating these two groups is that one is entirely populated with people of strictly heterosexual tendency and the other with strictly homosexual tendencies. Allow them to build up two different societies in complete isolation of each other and the rest of humanity. Come back in five generations and compare the strength and solvency. Have say five or ten test cases and I can assure you that the general tendency and average result will leave you with the groups starting out with heterosexual tendencies will have stronger, larger, and more capable communities.

Sex is a biological drive.  Like breathing.

So to is defecation, aggression, and so on. That doesn’t mean that legislation limiting their extent and their influence on our society or institutions constitutes an inherent breach of separation of the church and state.

  This is something that priests “don’t do,” and get lots of press for doing-as pediphiles!

Actually that is not a given. I don’t know of any individual in my faith that’s considered a High Priest who has in any way given up sex. In fact to forbid lawful and sanctioned procreation is what is considered a sin in my faith.

Sure, that can be a loaded topic, but here we see the media tainting the religious image (That claims to be a moral authority).  The answer from Catholics is not to look deeper into what they are asking of men (which I believe to be inhumane), but to “rehabilitate” and play the shell game with priests by shuffling them around from diocese to diocese.  If you can only imagine back in the day of tribal peoples—the extent to which superstition could taint the image of anyone.  Salem witch trials….

I don’t find committal to such absolute and indefinite aims for abstinence among men to be godly, but I’m not going to say they can’t try, just as I’m not going to try and outlaw something like tea or coffee simply because I see it as being simply another form of self-inflicted abuse and subjugation to chemicals unnecessary for the continuance of human life processes.

I don’t think that homosexuals have more sex because they are homosexuals, for instance—but perhaps because they are men, and all men would have sex a lot—if they have the option.  That doesn’t mean that they are child molesters, though.  All men would be potential child molesters if that was the case. 

What is viewed as acceptable seems to be what gets propagated. If one attempts to diversify attraction beyond biologically advantageous bounds then appetite and variety of objects central to that can become anything. All chrystal meth does on a chemical level is to mimic dopamine biological triggers in such extreme degrees so as to land the user essentially ‘sexually’ attracted to the substance. If you seek to multiply and diverge objects of sexual desire doesn’t it stand to reason that behavior and appetites counter to the dictates of natural selection and societal cohesion will be more likely to occur? If someone is permitted to hold the idea of attraction to the same gender is okay and they cross over to pedophillia doesn’t it stand to reason that their opportunities and societal availability will more than double?

This is a religious taboo that is not based on facts.

Not exclusively. I’ve presented, and can think of other, reasons, logical constructs, under the which societal endorsement of the behavior would prove disastrous for the society in general, regardless the orientation concerning secular and theistic spectrum placement.

C’mon, how many homosexuals throughout history do you think there have been?  Just because they are not always open doesn’t mean they “Aren’t.”

The relevance of that doesn’t present itself readily to me.

I find it completely ridiculous that homosexuals seek the conventional approval of religions at all.

With the tradition I claim it does seem a bit odd to me.

A long time ago (in the ‘80’s), I knew a lesbian who thought it completely radical that I would dance alone to music.  (I know, how “Goth” of me, right?  I had no such opinions about that at the time—wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would have me—ha!) “But you’re a lesbian,” I would say, “that goes against who you are intrinsically to say that!” There’s no accounting for what some people hold as bold behaviour.  I have never understood the value in compartmentalizing people.  That’s just me, I guess.  I certainly don’t want to compartmentalize you, either.

I can see your point with completely boxing people in within our own prejudices. But I have a hard time seeing anyone being able to comprehend anything without constructs, and thus, compartments. Not that I don’t see your point regarding prejudice and an non-pliable view, I just want to make it clear that we can’t pretend we are ever free of some sort of setup of compartments. I mean we learn by connections, associations with things we’ve already seen and experienced.

The gay/straight thing is just that really:  compartmentalization.  In its meaner form.  Even so, I, personally, could never go the rest of my life without men.  To each his/er own, so long as I remain true to who I am.  So long as I don’t feel the pressures of society to conform for reasons that have no legitimacy.  Everyone deserves to live a truthful life without fear.  It is a right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Amen, even if we have different views as to what constitutes such rights.

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By archeon, September 20, 2006 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What exactly is the “traditional family”?
Which cultures idea of “family” are we looking at?  Oh yes that’s right a completly ethno-centric family view, based on judeo-christian “values” is what they are really talking about.  They don’t mean “traditional” they mean “christian”.

As for abortion being murder.  It might be.  It might not.  I am happy to accept that for those for whom it is murder that they should not have abortions.  They are free to make that choice.  For those for who it is a viable choice, they should be free to have abortions.

If the traditional family is so good why is it the most dangerous place for children?  It is where sexual, physical, and emotional abuse is most likely to happen, and least likely to be noticed, prevented, treated etc.  The fact of the matter is that we are in greater danger from fellow family memebers than we are from strangers.  More people are murdered, raped, and abused by those who love them, than by strangers.

On a different note:

I was getting a good laugh out of the current troubles with the pope.  He quotes an old text where an old byzantine emperor says islam is cruel, violent, and inhumane.  Muslims feel insulted, and treaten violence and cruelty and rationalize it as justified by their faith.  Thereby making the point that the old emperor was talking about.  It realy is like a Monty Python skit, and would be trully funny if it wasn’t so FUCKING scary.

Now we have a situation where non muslims are afraid to question Islam because of the threats of violence by muslims when Islam is questioned.  There are calls for the pope to appologize, not because the words may not have been true, but because of fears of violent attacks against churches and christians.  So we have Muslims planning and carrying out attacks agains western targets - 911 being just one (where there any christians or atheists among the 911 terrorists?)- thousands of people die and in the end almost no attacks against muslims living here, almost no attacks against mosques.  In fact the government, the state, the media, the churches, etc all call for tolerance, for understanding that these were carried out by a fringe element and not “true” muslims.  But of course the true nature of Islam cannot be debated because if it is, violence and death are treatened.  Yet simple cartoons, and words quoted today are enough to threaten a plague of terrors upon the “secular” west.  Let’s not make any mistake about it, Muslims do not see any other religion but Islam as legitimate.  Islam is the be-all and end-all, all other views are evil, apostate, wrong, illegitimate, and doomed.  Under Islam seperation of church and state is impossible, such a concept is anathema to Islam.  Simply allowing the legitimacy of another non-Islam view is in itself an act of heresy.  But granted the Islamic view is not monolithic, the Shias see the Sunnis as apostates, and Sunnis see the Shias in the same way.

What does this tell us about religion? about faith? about god?

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By Mary Wallman, September 20, 2006 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

H-R
Please show me the proof that homosexuals are bad for family values.  Please show me the proof that they are any worse than heterosexuals in committing crimes of any nature.  Is there a study that you can point to for instance that claims homosexuals populate prisons over every other persuasion?  And having a huge hoard of men clamored together Isn’t going to promote homosexuality?  Sex is a biological drive.  Like breathing.  This is something that priests “don’t do,” and get lots of press for doing-as pediphiles!  Sure, that can be a loaded topic, but here we see the media tainting the religious image (That claims to be a moral authority).  The answer from Catholics is not to look deeper into what they are asking of men (which I believe to be inhumane), but to “rehabilitate” and play the shell game with priests by shuffling them around from diocese to diocese.  If you can only imagine back in the day of tribal peoples—the extent to which superstition could taint the image of anyone.  Salem witch trials….

I don’t think that homosexuals have more sex because they are homosexuals, for instance—but perhaps because they are men, and all men would have sex a lot—if they have the option.  That doesn’t mean that they are child molesters, though.  All men would be potential child molesters if that was the case. 

This is a religious taboo that is not based on facts.  C’mon, how many homosexuals throughout history do you think there have been?  Just because they are not always open doesn’t mean they “Aren’t.”  I find it completely ridiculous that homosexuals seek the conventional approval of religions at all.

A long time ago (in the ‘80’s), I knew a lesbian who thought it completely radical that I would dance alone to music.  (I know, how “Goth” of me, right?  I had no such opinions about that at the time—wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would have me—ha!)  “But you’re a lesbian,” I would say, “that goes against who you are intrinsically to say that!”  There’s no accounting for what some people hold as bold behaviour.  I have never understood the value in compartmentalizing people.  That’s just me, I guess.  I certainly don’t want to compartmentalize you, either.

The gay/straight thing is just that really:  compartmentalization.  In its meaner form.  Even so, I, personally, could never go the rest of my life without men.  To each his/er own, so long as I remain true to who I am.  So long as I don’t feel the pressures of society to conform for reasons that have no legitimacy.  Everyone deserves to live a truthful life without fear.  It is a right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

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By archeon, September 20, 2006 at 7:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

so H-R you don’t beleive in the seperation of church and state?

You believe forcing your god given views on those who don’t believe as you do?

Yes I agree that secular society, atheists, and other non believers have been guilty of excesses, crimes, injustice, and inequity.  They fortunately did not have the claimed “authority” of god to justify their actions.

The abuses of the Mormons by the US government was instigated by other religionists (christians), and had a religious basis - the main line christians saw Mormonism as an apostate religion, evil, etc and saw the Mormons as godless christless demon worshipers - so you make my point for me.  The mormons where not attacked by an army or atheists or other non believers, they were attacked by fellow christians, sent to them by fellow christians. This is a perfect example of “religionists” within a state/government/court taken control of and defining an agenda against an opposing religious group.  Again this makes my point of the dangers of allowing the distance between religion and state to narrow.  Of allowing religion to creep into all those things that need to remain in the non-religious realm. Let me list a few for you:

Marriage
Inheritance
Police
Prison
Legislation
Taxation
Elections
Political parties
Freedom of speach
Freedom of assembly
Freedom of movement
Business
Labour unions
Government
etc


I don’t understand why you see my view as a threat to your right to hold yours.  I believe it is your right to worship as you see fit, to teach your children in your church and home what you wish. If you want marry a man - fine. If you want to marry a woman - fine. If you want marry several of each fine.  If you don’t want a abortion - fine.  If you don’t want to marry - fine.

Marriage as defined by church or state is now and always has been a political and economic institution.  Up to the recent past the female has been the weaker power in this union.  Until quite recently she was actually see as property of the male.  It was through marriage that she went from being the property of her father to that of her husband.  Children too were seen as the property of thier father.  So I see why H-R is so attached to the “traditional” idea of marriage, even his church is patriarchcal.  They are still upset they can’t beat and murder their wives.  I can still remember up to seventies when religious and church leaders were claiming that it was a husbands god given right to “discipline” his wife and children.  Meaning of course that they had a right to beat them.

Maybe we should bring that back too.  Or slavery. Or a host of other biblical practices that god had directed his people to follow.

While we are at it.  I have a great deal of trouble with one particular part of the bible, where abraham is directed to scacrifice his son - as a test of his faith and love of god.  Fortunatley god causes a ram to appear that can be sacrificed in his stead.  The whole thing has always struck me as very cruel.

Another thing, where did all the other people come from who where not Israelites?  Who did Adam and Eve’s children marry/breed with?  How did god flood the whole earth - it would be impossible to “sink” it as it is round and surrounded by nothing, maybe it was flat then and floated on the “universal ocean” (Joke).  Where exactly is heaven? or Hell?

Faith, religion, and the atendant theologies, cosmologies, practices, traditions are more dangerouse than those base on the acceptance that phylosopy, justice, equity, freedom, liberty, democracy, community, etc are HUMAN intelectual constructs developed out of the need for humans - who are social creatures - to live harmoniously in groups.  This is because religion derives it’s authority from a being/entity/law giver (ie - god) who is not of this “realm” or who is no longe directly accessable (ie dead - Marx, Mao, Christ, Mohammed), and as such the the driving and founding principles of a particular religion cannot be questioned or ammended.  It also creates in the minds of the believers an acceptance that these rules of the religion come from somewhere “purer”, or “truer” than that which we here as humans could come up with because the “founder” was/is perfect.  Accepting that the laws, traditions, even cultur are purely human constucts, formulated in the human mind based on our observations of and interactions with our families, neighbours, community members, fellow citizens, allows these to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of the people, allows change.  It also doesn’t allow the transgressions and excesses of war, personal, and national conduct to be justified or blessed by god.  Who if you are fighting on his side for his cause will absolve all sins, and lead you to paradise.  Do you really believe that only the muslims believe in Jihad?  The christians have practiced it quite well for at leat 1000 years.

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By HiveRadical, September 19, 2006 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

archeon,

Support of the traditional family is not a breaching the seperation of church and state. Maintaining the rights of developing human beings is not an infringment of rights of the woman NOR is it a breaching of the seperation of church and state. Distinguishing between the genders and the value of cerain relationships to the solvency and strength of society and it’s continuence is not something unique to religious concern. None of this gets into a seperation of church and state issue.

We are not seeking the states affirmation, we are simply fighting the concept that the state is ‘holy’.

“Something has gone radically wrong with secularism. The problem has more than its share of irony, for secularism, in the end, has converted itself into a kind of religion ....

“... Now the transition is complete: the state has become the church.”

—Peter Marin

You demonstate this well in your delusion that it is our hold to something’s literal existance that makes us dangerous and you ‘right’.

What kind of faith is that to base the foundational measurements on some subjective determination, an admited delusion? How is that sanity or rationality?

The insanity of thinking the ACLU has some greater grasp on socially stabelizing and anti-coruption elements than any church is the height of inanity. I mean the ACLU, sceaming at the president for his surveilance and chastising the military reqruiters for building a database of potential recruits is ITSELF engaged in datamining IT’S OWN FRIGGEN FINANCIAL DONORS! And you think THEY are more privy to societal constructs of ‘fairness’ or ‘equallity’ or ‘justice’ to place them in position of governmental tax exemption!

Your whole system of justification fights itself. You think you can have a democracy AND have everybody get everything they feel should be their ‘right’. This is so twisted. We’ve got people thinking they have a right to have food handed to them, to have free wireless internet, to think they can take any institution they want and modify it so they can get a tax break and economic consolidation. Do you feel a tax credit for having children is breaking the seperation of church and state? I mean having children is the first commandment those of the Abrahamic tradition received at the hand of God. Does that mean you are going to start pulling out any state support or legislation regarding the raising or educating of children since their existance is ‘obviously’ a religious act and aim.

This insistance that you are right in determining what is and isn’t a right and what is and isn’t a ‘seperation of church and state’ is wholey untenable and entirely based on your dogmatic view of what is and isn’t constituted in the past.

Touching on the construct of the state and it’s ‘salvation’ of my faith is a bit of a farse. The irony is that the very justification used by those in Missouri to try and irradicate us is that they determined that we, in their view, didn’t have enough of a seperation of church and state—that was part of the justification of Govenor Boggs when he issued the extermination order in which he set a ‘secular’ government to work at ‘punishing’ a group who happened to vote as a block (but still voted, still had offices, still had obtained charters, still sought to obey the law and appeal to the law for redress). And when we (Joseph Smith litterally went to the President of the United States) took our case to the then President of the United States his words were “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you”

There are the words of your more ideal past “secular government”. He admitted, contrary to the urges of the majority, that justice was on our side, yet he claimed impotence.

I would hope you would see more my view on this in light that it was the very appeals to this ‘seperation’ on which both our persecution and on which the government’s unwillingness to interceed were based.

Once we were in what would become Utah it was the US Government, again in the name of seperation of church and state, that overturned our elections, that overturned the right of women in Utah to vote, that sent the single largest land army in the entire history of the US (even to this day, even including all assemblages of armies in the Civil war) to confront us in Utah. All of this in the name of their view of what consisted of seperation of church and state.

Can you wrap your mind around that. The US Government, IN THE NAME OF SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, REVOKED THE RIGHT OF THE WOMEN OF UTAH TO VOTE Because women were a party to the church so allowing women to vote was hurting the seperation of church and state. It was okay for the government, in the name of the seperation of church and state, to send a man to rule over a populace which were not of his faith, along with his mistress, to replace a duly elected man who actually commited to and married the women he sired children with rather than just keeping a woman around for self-gratification or in a merely economic/services exchange (sex for money).

This claim that the majority cannot infringe on the rights of the minority only has meaning if the societal construct and definitions of justice and equality have some literal nature and permenance in meaning. For to define what is and isn’t a right, to insure such rights have continuance from their original designation and a tendancy to more exactly fit that initial aim rather than to forever diverege from it there must be set, firm, constructs. Yet you imagine a society free to change the most fundamental of concepts wholesale so long as they, at the time of change, agree (or at least their ‘intellectuals’ agree, that their view is appropriate and what should be applied. Your faith is in something with out structure and without form. Like an edifice that’s foundation is fluid or insolvent or non-existant or imaginary, it cannot and will not stand. You can’t remove the footings and have the structure remain sound OR standing. You can’t build on something forever shifting and expect the edifice to last long. Yet that is exactly what you seek to do. You seek an institution without anything that has ever given institutions their solvency and existance.

If you can redifine and reshape and hold as being ‘just a fluid human construct’ your definitions then you soon land in incongruency. You end up doing things akin to taking away the rights of a group to vote simply for their tie to someone’s view of moral construct as being more than just some delusion in the human mind.

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By archeon, September 19, 2006 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I will fight for your right to believe what you want, but on the political end I will fight any unfair classifying of religion or any treatment of religion by government that is not equally applied. If you want to cut out tax breaks for churchs, as archeon advocates, that’s fine and dandy as long as the tax breaks for every other group go out the window too. If you need proof that someone is backing someone’s view of ‘justice’ or ‘equality’ and those views are admitadly undefinable and non-existant outside the constructs of the human mind then I don’t trust any human (because we’re all subjective—even those who cling most fervently to the visage or reason) to correctly discern between what entity is and what entity ISN’T ‘sucking’ on society in like manner to what archeon is woried about church’s sucking on society. So feel free to take away tax breaks SO LONG AS IT IS DONE ACROSS THE BOARD, do it the ACLU, do it to planned parenthood, do it to any and every entity that currently has a non-exempt status tax wise. Because all of these entities are prone to have some arbitrary and subjective human ‘construct’ at the core of their beliefs and as much as you and archeon don’t trust any of our views of ‘god’ neither do I trust anyone’s ‘construct’ or ‘concept’ of ‘justice’ or ‘equality’ or ‘social justice’. Since they are as imaginary and as unquantifiable and as unprovable as anything our views are founded upon I don’t want those ambiguous and fundamentally irrationally based institutions siphoning off resources that are not fundamentally theirs.”

Lovely.  But here is how I see it.  I am perfectly willing, to let you live your life as you see fit, to let you believe what you want.  If you want to marry someone of the opposite sex, fine.  If you want to believe god speaks directly to you, fine.  If you want to believe the world is only 5500 years old, fine.  If you don’t want to have an abortion, fine.  If you want to go to church and pray to a god, fine.  Just don’t expect the “state” law and structure to favour those things over others you don’t agree with.  I think that H-R does show that he, like others of his faith, and of the “right” christianity wise cannot see that the “state”, and religion/church are seperate and trying to blend the two gets us into very very dangerous territory.  This is exactly the same view that the Islamist movement wants the world to follow that the state/society/culture/religion are one.  This is of course ignoring 5000 years of human history that shows that when the are (one) it does no one any good.  Why do the religious always need the state to validate thier faith and religion?  It seems that personal faith, conviction, belief is never enough, they always seem to need for the state to say: “your views are valid”.  In many ways negating thier claims of faith.  This is of course fall in line with the fetish of “authority” that the faithful and religious are always guilty of.  When a so called “authority” figure says: “this is the way”, or “your views have merit”, or “god said so” it is always more valuable and powerful than “this is my view”.  And that is why religions have preisthoods, the chosen few, given gods grace and blessing and vested with the cloak of authority to pass judgement and to grant absolution to the faithful and non-believer alike.

BTW - I am not afraid of “justice” and “equity” because they are human constructs, and most people know and understand they are constructs. “God” scares me though I know it is a human intellectual construct yet that is not what the faithful believe.  Even you H-R don’t think of “god” as a human construct, he/it/she is to you much more like “tree”, or “door”.  You believe that “god” can speak to you, in other words “god” is capable of independant action quite seperate from your construct of him.  “justice, liberty, and equity” can’t talk to me, they are not capable of independant action seperate from my conception of them.  Unless I imagine them to be like “gods”, but then I would be confusing the historical allegorical figures of these three with a literal interpretation, in much the same way the faithful tend to do with “god”.

Liberty, justice, and equality are human constructs, and currently we as a society have chosen to define them according to law (human, secular law - not gods law), and have elected humans as legislators to define, protect, expand, constrict what these constructs mean.  We have appointed and elected judges to interpret these laws according to precedent, custom, history, and current conditions/views/feelings.  In the western liberal democracies we have as a group and a whole decided that in the main, the religious feelings of a particular judge, legislator, or executive should play less of a role than the will of the people.  Historicaly the particular “religious” convictions of a candidate for public office has been less of an issue than his or hers personal “ethics” and “morals” which may or may not have had a relgious background or foundation.  How ever in the recent past, this has begun to change, with an ever increasing emphasis on “representing” the “constituents” that elected a particual candidate or paid for his/her election, forgetting entirely the old idea that once elected a candidate is expected and required to represent ALL of the people not just those who voted for him or her.  Those organizations that are “secular” deserve continued support from the state in the form of tax breaks because they are not promoting a religious view, the ACLU being one, and Planned Parenthood another.  The Catholic Church is not one, and neither is the LDS church,  and while they continue to suckle at the teat of state, they are obligated to adhere to the standards of conduct governing “public” institutions.  If they pay the taxes due “Ceasar” then they are free to give god that which they see is his - their faith, their life, their vitriol.

H-R here, like most of the religionists on the “right”, have a fundamental missunderstanding and ignorance of the value and neccessity of the seperation of church and state, that ultimately this is the only guarantee of religious freedom and tolerance.  In the end it is the only way to ensure the continued value and practice of freespeech.  That this came about in the new world because of religious intolerance abroad, and to some extent here convienently forgotten when talk of “tradition family” values starts.  H-R you also forget that your faith exists today not because other “christians” decided to be tolerant based on their faith, but rather because the law and the state and the attendant constitution and legislation affirmed your right to hold the your views and practice your faith as you see fit.  To the main line christians of the day the Mormons where as dangerous and whacky as the homosexuals who want same sex marriage, and athiests who want prayer out of schools today.  Hell there was even a time in America when Catholics were looked at with suspicion by the evangelicals, oh right that’s still the case today. 

It is funny watching the two right wing religious movements in the US get cosy over abortion and right to life movements.  Just as funny watching the evangelicals support Israel in the hope of hastening THE end time.  It would be like watching a Monty Python absurdity exercise if it wasn’s all so fucking scary!  Seems like they all believe “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” all the while forgeting that chosing between the lesser of two evils is still chosing evil.

Tolerance? No! You can’t get married. You can’t have an abortion.  Your life is sin.  You will go to hell.  Bla bla bla bla bla.

Just look at the current issue with the pope.  Are those who are not muslims wanting him to retract and appoligize because what he said is wrong?  Do they genuinely feel that he insulted Islam the prophet and ultimately god? No that’s not why, it is because of fear of what the muslims will do.  I don’t care if the religious sensitivities of the faithfull are hurt.  I don’t give a fucking rats ass that they feel insulted.  Get over it. If anyone attacks anyone, burns any building or church, threatens violence, riots, because of this they should be sent back to where ever if not yet citizens, and should be jail and imprisoned here for a very long time if they are.  I wonder which side god is on?

We can only hope that the clash between Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent, and Communism and Islam in China will shortly distract Islam from the west.  Then we will be able to sell weapons, supplies, technology to bothsides and become wealthy and powerfull in return.  Ah yes, Europeans will once again be able to do what we do best, play enemies off against each other, letting them destroy themselves thier cultures, societies, and religions for us.  Isn’t it great that we have the three major non-european civilizations - china, india, muslim arabian/persia - so close to each other, they won’t even need to use the sees to fight each other, it will be the classic “land war in asia”.  The good times are about to begin.

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By HiveRadical, September 18, 2006 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment
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I appreciate that you are living and letting live—at least in a sentimental way.  What I wonder is…at the end of the day, is your civility going to end when it comes to voting for Christian right issues—even though the reason/truth you align with is Not representing everyone who has a voice.  Can you separate church and state when it comes to being fair to the common good without feeling the need to “correct and school” or demand change from those who don’t agree with you.

As I perceive such, certainly. I will not knowingly infringe on anyone’s rights. But that’s not to say I inherently accept these definitions that, in my view, are fabricated and not in line with the foundational reason for societal support of the traditional family. It’s not mutual love between adults nor is it just political or social advantage that are the reasons for marriage, it goes to the very well being and health of the overall society for the maintainance of traditional marriage and it’s correlating privliges granted by society.

I wont legislate what consenting adults can or can’t do together as long as it doesn’t affect society, but I cannot support any old arangement as receiving equal societal benefits from society because no other arangement is as ideal (all other things being equal) as a heterosexual commited relationship. It’s not simply in agreement with my faith but with my view of reason and logic, and that is not a circular based, self referencing thing.

If I share an idea with religious constituents, I am not going to vote against said idea just to separate myself from said constituents, for instance-not if it is reasonable.  I am not saying that there is no redeeming qualities contained in organized religion, I am just saying that it needs to stay separate because religion Is the opiate of the masses (and apparently war, now—but to a lesser degree although complimentary) and the danger of abuse of power is always there because we are not Jesus, or Gandhi (who existed for sure), or Mohammed, or any other idea of perfection on paper—ad nauseam.  I just hope that while we all are in this adolescent stage with our drugs and bombs, we make it to graduation before we kill ourselves.

I will fight for your right to believe what you want, but on the political end I will fight any unfair classifying of religion or any treatment of religion by government that is not equally applied. If you want to cut out tax breaks for churchs, as archeon advocates, that’s fine and dandy as long as the tax breaks for every other group go out the window too. If you need proof that someone is backing someone’s view of ‘justice’ or ‘equality’ and those views are admitadly undefinable and non-existant outside the constructs of the human mind then I don’t trust any human (because we’re all subjective—even those who cling most fervently to the visage or reason) to correctly discern between what entity is and what entity ISN’T ‘sucking’ on society in like manner to what archeon is woried about church’s sucking on society. So feel free to take away tax breaks SO LONG AS IT IS DONE ACROSS THE BOARD, do it the ACLU, do it to planned parenthood, do it to any and every entity that currently has a non-exempt status tax wise. Because all of these entities are prone to have some arbitrary and subjective human ‘construct’ at the core of their beliefs and as much as you and archeon don’t trust any of our views of ‘god’ neither do I trust anyone’s ‘construct’ or ‘concept’ of ‘justice’ or ‘equality’ or ‘social justice’. Since they are as imaginary and as unquantifiable and as unprovable as anything our views are founded upon I don’t want those ambiguous and fundamentally irrationally based institutions siphoning off resources that are not fundamentally theirs.

I say none of this in emnity. I state it simply as the logical extension of many of the comments given by archeon. If you’re going to start trying to be judge and arbiter of what is and isn’t promoting something that you admit doesn’t exist beyond the bounds of human subjective constructs then apply it accross the board. Isn’t that what logic and reason would dictate?

Know what I mean? (extends olive branch)

I feel I do. As well as I can. I hope you see what I mean. I would be all for an elimination of subjectively based realocation or forced subsidizing if you can insure that it’s done across the board. Non of this attempting to be Libertarian when it suits your ideology then switching over to Socialist when that seems convenient.

That’s one of the more ironic things I find about the demands of archeon. The very system of government he sees as being an ideal is one that’s subject to the very same problems he sees in religion. I cannot fathom sociallism, and I see no example or proof of plausibility, to be a system that is viable under any human guided, human construct based administration.

I hope that does something for communicating.

I hope we can both gain sufficient knowledge and capacity to make that olive branch acheive the intended end of it’s symbolism. I truly would fight for you rights (literally) to be free. But I cannot simply leave that definition fluid. I cannot simply accept any concoction of what is claimed to be ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’.

Especially with the admission that those rights and freedoms are discerned with fluid, fundamentally perceived as non-existant, ‘values’ that are whatever human construct a group arbitrarily decides is what society needs.

There’s nothing in that to go beyond the hijacking capacity you all fear in religious and dogmatic circles. There’s nothing fundamentally seperating their capacity to devolve, no matter how good the intentions, no matter how commited the administrators and constructors of such a system.

It’s the darker side of our natures that’s the danger. Not primarily the ideology or methodology we possess at the moment.

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By archeon, September 18, 2006 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
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The trouble is we are all just like Mohammed - small minded, vengeful, greedy, etc.  Though I have said “religion” is dangerous, and I do believe that, I think that Islam is the current “religion” that presents the greatest danger to the western world.  To democracy. To tolerance.  To justice. To equity. And yes even to the other religions, including christianity, LDS, and the rest.

Islam presents such a danger because, the faithful claim, that the words written in the koran are the direct literal words from god.  We have the hadith, a “interpretation” of the words by Mohammed according to how he saw the words.  The words in both texts are seen as “perfect”, unchangable, unquestionable, etc.  We living in western liberal democracies are a challenge and an affront to Islam, the prophet, god, and the faith of the blievers, because we question and feel that everyone should be free to whorship or not as their mind, heart, soul directs them.  We see the state seperate from church/religion - that it is the framework that allows us all to think, speak, believe, and live together in relative harmony.

The negative qualities we see in Islam today, are not unique to that religion, these are the dangers that all view points inherently have, when their followers start to believe that any particular view, religion, political party, phylosophy, theology hold the ultimate truth.  We either create gods in whom we vest the authority to direct us, or we make the founders of a particular view into prophets and ultimately embue them with godlyness that in turn allows us to vest in them the authority to direct us.  And thus we see that individualism is a direct challenge to religious authority, or political authority, or any other authority.  This in turn may explain that of late “individualism” has almost become a dirty word.  Now we speak of “community”, or “neighbourhood”, or “nation” sounding each day more like some facist monologue and tribal.  Each day we see individual rights lessened or threatened by group/ethnic/religious rights.

Gotta stop for now, have to head out on the lake to pick up my wife coming home from work.  She is afraid to drive the boat in the dark - I have been doing it all my life it seems. We live in the bush of northern ontario.  will continue this later, good night for now.

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By Mary Wallman, September 18, 2006 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
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I appreciate that you are living and letting live—at least in a sentimental way.  What I wonder is…at the end of the day, is your civility going to end when it comes to voting for Christian right issues—even though the reason/truth you align with is Not representing everyone who has a voice.  Can you separate church and state when it comes to being fair to the common good without feeling the need to “correct and school”  or demand change from those who don’t agree with you.

If I share an idea with religious constituents, I am not going to vote against said idea just to separate myself from said constituents, for instance-not if it is reasonable.  I am not saying that there is no redeeming qualities contained in organized religion, I am just saying that it needs to stay separate because religion Is the opiate of the masses (and apparently war, now—but to a lesser degree although complimentary) and the danger of abuse of power is always there because we are not Jesus, or Gandhi (who existed for sure), or Mohammed, or any other idea of perfection on paper—ad nauseam.  I just hope that while we all are in this adolescent stage with our drugs and bombs, we make it to graduation before we kill ourselves.

Know what I mean? (extends olive branch)

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By HiveRadical, September 17, 2006 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment
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So if you’re afraid of the construct of ‘god’, why are you less afraid of the construct of ‘justice’ or ‘equality’?

Touching on the doctor quack thing. What I’m trying to get at is that you are trying to class my faith in with the seventy you claim to have found to be quacks when you never actually have analyzed my faith to any substantial or conclusive degree. You lump it in without knowing what it really is, what it claims, and how your claims that you claim against the proverbial 70 do not apply to my faith. You point to the corpses of dead birds on the ground and say ‘See your faith is dead!’ I point to a bird flying high in the sky and say ‘My faith is up there! And it’s far from dead!’ Since you can’t get off your insistance that you know what my faith is and what it consists of and your predetermined mindset that it’s not right even if the ‘it’ you are investigating or pointing to is not the real animal.

If you wish to respond no more, or even if you do, I wish you the best in life. For the most part it’s been a civil conversation. And though we’ve seemingly not reached any concensus I hope we both can take something usefull away from this.

Mary and Val also. I hope the best for you all, even if we think the opposing side is as lost as can be to reason or ‘truth’ as we see it.

I may continue to repsond. But I felt to at least give those words, for I do feel them and hope the best for you all.

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By HiveRadical, September 17, 2006 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
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Again you avoid confronting the facts of religions danger, especially when confronted with the Islamic faiths proof in action of those dangers.  Or the proof found in the actions of the Spanish Iquisition.  Or the proof found in the actions of the Salem Witch hunts.  Or the proof found in the excesses of the break away LDS groups vis-a-vis plural marriage, the treatment of women/girls/children and young men by the leaders of those groups.  One might even say that the excesses of religious groups here in Canada vis-a-vis aborignal children in residential schools and the resulting physical/emotional/sexual/cutural abuse are directly attributable to the founding principles of those faiths.

I’m not avoiding those. I’m demonstrating that since faith is the root of ALL action that it’s not the faith that’s causing these problems, rather it’s the fact that we are all humans. I can just as easily list of a bunch of egregious things done in the name of logic, or reason, or science, or secularism, or what have you. Simply because I can do that doesn’t mean their common ideological thread, their common faith or afaith thread is to blame, rather it falls on something different, on the fact that we are all humans. It’s like you want to blame all bruised apples on gravity, because without gravity, as you want to see it, we wouldn’t have bruised apples. Your attributing blame to the wrong culprit and in so doing are creating an inane system of blame, an utterly illogical construct of ‘cause’ and ‘effect’.

  Currently the religious ideologies and dogmas of “fundamentalist” christian groups and individuals is hindering the prevention and treatment of AIDS in Africa because of their insistance on the promotion of abstinence rather than the use of condoms, this too is an example of “religion” getting in the way of “life”.

I can take that the other way and demonstrate that your advocacy of condoms is ultimately enabling aids. Your dogmatic hold that abstinence advocacy couldn’t ultimately rid the world of AIDS is a self fulfilling prophecy and not one based on any truly all encompasing take on science, rather your view only takes some small snapshot, illogically claims this snapshot ‘conclusively’ proves the hypothesis you set out to prove, then claim all others who look outside your tiny scope of data to be wrong or anti-science.

Here’s an idea using the same logic as the ABC combination you advocate in Africa applied to stoping nuclear war. We ask crazy countries to abstain from building nuclear weapons, we encourage them to be faithfull to commitments they made to not build them or to attack or threaten neighbors with the prospect of such weapons, and finally we tell them that since we know some of them are going to go against the first two points anyway we’ll set up a system in which we’ll send them, on our dime, professionals that can insure that they’ll develope such nuclear systems with greatest of accuracy and with as little environmental fallout as possible so they don’t have to endure the environmental problems the nuclear programs brought upon the US and russia and so that we’re certain that they’ll strike and take out their intended target the first time so they can be fully ‘safe’ in their nuclear warfare.

Don’t you see that even though your claims have all the fantastic facts and figures of scientific studies behind them that they utterly defy logic and reason? You may try and dismiss my analogy as to extreem in it’s chosen paralelles, regardless the logic works out. In one case the only thing that will ultimately spread and enable the advance of the problem is the very thing which is expected and provided for. Only in both cases you give the appearance of having canceled out the obvious demands of natural law. The condom aspect assumes the best outcome for condom use and ignores the fact that it refutes the existance of any faith for success in the first two scenarios. It’s like saying to the potential Diabetic, eat right and exercise, but if you don’t do those it’s okay, we got drugs that can pretty much compensate. I mean if that approach has us at the present position with Diabetes then can you in any real and meaningful honesty and comprehensive view on AIDS pretend that this is a viable option? You’re basically setting up systems in which the assumed capacity to produce the ‘magical pill’ (whether it’s diabetic treatments or sufficient condoms for all when and where they want and need them) and the assumed universality of it will ultimately be a sure thing when it in no way will not be. Instead of really focusing on apeteits that are the prime facilitators, you give abstinence and faithfullness lipservice and instead put your real faith in something that only tries to forever satiate appeteit.

  Shall I list other excesses of religion?  But you will say, secularists too are guilty of excesses in their treatment of fellow humans.  I agree.  I agree it is wrong.  But again religion has the extra special danger of justifying such behaviours as part of a directive from a “law giver” “rule maker” supernatural being who/that/what can withhold eternal salvation and grace from those who fail to follow his/her/its directives and prophecies.

This is not different from those ‘select few’ in some small niche in science that can make fantastic claims of doodm and gloom etc. if we do not follow their demands or see danger where they see it. It’s not exclusive to religion. Science can claim relative sufficiency and thereby also lay claim to being the ultimate aribiter of ‘what really matters’. And anyone who doesn’t have a special piece of paper or so many papers published or a massive following of constituents in their theoretical line is marginalized and treated as a fringe element anywhere will be unless and untill the majority either die off, retire from realms of influence or untill they hit such unexplicable facts that they’re forced finally to the fringe element’s proposals.

  Religion has extra special dangers because this “being” unable or unwilling to directly act in the real world must employ a chosen few to bring his/her/its revelations to the masses.

Science has this same issue. Your views and claims are only as valid and relevant as the number of peers and nacient scientists you can bring to your side, otherwise all the study and appologetics gets dumped for years into some other theory, regardless the end conclusion.

Science falls to these same human limits. These are NOT specifically religious problems, the are part of the human condition.

These “prophets” are human, and their motives and drives must be questioned.

Scientists are as suceptable and in need of this test as the claiming prophets are.

  As such accepting their claims at face value as the truth, is dangerous and suspect because we can not ever know what the true motives of these self proclaimed prophets are.

Amen. Which is why I don’t do such a thing. Rather I sought to know for myself. I received inspiration from God for myself. No one has to take my word for what I say because they too can gain the certainty I’ve gained for themselves. It’s not an empirical or quantifiable or inter-human communicable proof, but it’s a proof for myself. And for me that’s what counts. I’m not dependent on anyone else for my convictions. I’m not trusting a human scientist or a human prophet, instead I have a connection to the divine, a personal connection. That’s my proof. I can’t share it, but others can obtain it.

I though that my views on this would be clear and self evident from what I said.  I would not try to determine if “unions” are platonic or not.  If a father/daughter want to get married and share the special benefits and obligations or state sanctioned marriage fine.  If two brothers, or three, or four then the same applies.  As I stated “marriage” has always been an economic/political “union”, and has never really had anything to do with “sex”.  The raising of children and breeding in the context of marriage was also purely political and economic - to regulate inheritance and consolidate political power.  This has always been very important in patriarchal societies where proving lineage from father to son to son’s sons was important.  Like I said, I don’t care who marries, or how many marry.  Marriage as sanctioned by the state, has a special legal framework, that confers special rights and obligations to the partners in the union.  It is a simple matter for the state to extend legal state marriage to all who may seek it, and for the churches, faiths, religions, or other groups to extend or deny their blessing according to the dictates of their particular belief system.

We don’t share the same view of the purpose as marriage. If you want to see it as purely a means of economic or political advantage obtainment that’s your perogative, that doesn’t mean that’s in reality why the institution was formed. I believe it’s in existance because it’s the most solid and reliable form of ensuring societies continuance and strength. If you decide it doesn’t matter what kind of combinations you put together in the nucleous of a cell then you’re able to try. But to think that any old mixing and matching and rearanging of fundamental components is better in terms of societal solvency you, and those aberations you make, will perish because they will fail under the sheer weight of their imbalance and tenuous natures.

Furthermore, I don’t actually care what you do within the confines of your faith.  I do care when I am forced to support your faith ideas through the state structure.  And the state’s opposition to same sex, plural, platonic, what ever marriage is just one example of this.

You are forced to do no such thing. Unless you want to see the interactive social setup of cause and effect as inevitably forcing something on someone, in which case your decisions with regard to having or not having children affects me and my friends, and can do so adversely, does that mean it’s in my right to regulate your decisions with regard to children? Simply because things we do effect each other doesn’t give us the license to simply take those portions that are advantageous to us and have a disconect from the rest. Someone can live the law their whole life to a ‘T’ and still end up at the end having been more of a bane on the net outcome of society.

For example, on a micro-economic level it makes sense to either fore go or drasticly limit the children one has. Your capacity to produce raw wealth remains the same and the drain is limited to only what you and a potential partner consume. Yet society will fall apart if the majority of people tend perpetually toward that. So a whole society can be law abiding.

In the ultimate net view of things you are not being shorted anything. If anything I’d dare say you were to a large degree free loading. That may sting as I’m certain you have a job and may feel your contributions to society are significant. But people can subsidize others through a clear governmental favoring of certain programs and STILL be dependent on the ultimate product of those they, on the ledger, are subsidizing. This isn’t all just a dollar and cent thing. Just because you may pump more of your dollars away doesn’t mean you aren’t receiving as much or more in compesation in other ways not generally, or not condusive, to the measurements of the fiscal world.

I don’t advocate a “no holds barred” approach to marriage.  Marriage confers special rights and obligations to those who are married.  It is a contract between the partners in the union and the state.  Religions/churches are free to grant or withhold thier blessings as thier faith allows.

I appreciate that view. I just hope you don’t persist that those who fail to confirm with your views of marriage and marriage rights as inherently sucking you dry without you receiving, however unaware of such you may be, compensation for their sometimes behind the scenes support of the solvency of the society you depend on for the enjoyment of those things you are privilged to enjoy.

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By archeon, September 17, 2006 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment
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I think that from my previous post it would be clear that I do believe god exists, as a phylosophical construct, in the minds of men, a product of human imagination.  And this is why “god” and the coresponding religions are dangerous, they are created by men to fulfill needs, wants, lusts, and desires of men.  God does not exist as a real quantifiable physical being or thing.  He does not exist outside our minds.

We made god, that is why he shares all the same failings as us.  This why the god of the texts seems so familiar too us, for he is us.

As for the quacks in the room.  What I said was: if i had only encountered the 70 quacks, I would know the 70 are quacks, but could not make a judgement about the other 30.  But I would know that the 70 were quacks, and could dismiss them.

I am losing interest in discussing H-Rs personal faith.  But am interested in discussing the continued troubles with Islam and the west.  Funny how a religion that it’s followers claim “means” peace, or love always has followers who instantly want to kill any critics of their prophet, god, or text.  I guess they just want to love us to death.  And again they make the point of the dangers of religion and god.

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By Val, September 17, 2006 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
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Here’s where it gets.

“On Friday’s Real Time on HBO, Maher explained that CBS approached him to do a ‘freeSpeech’ segment on the new Evening News. He asked if he could talk about religion but was rejected and told that he would be provided with a list of ‘approved’ topics,” an e-mailer says. A second e-mailer asks: “Was he ‘free’ to express his views as long as he did not touch religion?...”

It’s okay in America’s theocracy for “religion” to denigrate whomever it wishes (women, gays, lesbians, atheists, liberals, Democrats).

But just try getting the “balanced” viewpoint across on the MSM.

It’s not that we’re “approaching” fascism, kids.

We’re already there.

Jews? Well, you’re sort of okay.

Gays and lesbians? Get out them pink stars and put ‘em on.

Sieg Heil!

We’re gunnin’ for ya!

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By Val, September 16, 2006 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment
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Still more “Feel the Love.”

Per Islamic death threats against Pope Benedict and western civilization anent the Pope’s statement:

The spiritual leader of Lebanon’s Sunnis, the Grand Mufti Sheik Mohammed Rashid Kabbani, said: 

“Reason is the substance of Islam and its teachings ... Islam prohibited violence in human life. Anyone who wants the truth (about Islam) must take it from Islam’s holy book, the Koran, rather than from a dialogue or excerpts,” he said.

Sound familiar?

Right. Ignore your own mind and your ability to read the phony “Holy Books’” teachings. Rely instead on us “authorities.” Sacrifice your own intelligence, centuries of scientific research and insight.

We’ve gotcher truth rat cheer.

Forget that we ourselves use “excerpts” to demean, demonize, exclude and kill women, gays and lesbians, Infidels and non-believers.

Pay no attention to that Mullah (Priest, Minister or Rabbi) behind the curtain.

Just because we’re developing nuclear weapons and threatened as recently as last week to “eliminate Israel (substitute your favorite Infidel country here) from the map,” we’re really peaceful and loving.

All we have, gang, to combat the malignancy of religion is Truth.

Keep spreading Truth wherever and whenever you can.

“But I’ll lose friends if I do!”

Yeah. Like losing Jeffrey Dahmer as a chum because you were afraid to call him a cannibal for fear of hurting his feelings.

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By Mary Wallman, September 16, 2006 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just came across this interesting tidbit about June Campbell, and her experience as told in her book on Tibetan Buddhism.  This is an interview between Ms. Campbell and Tricycle magazine—which gives her background if you wish to read it.  This makes yet another case for my ever increasing feelings of intolerance toward religious ideas that are designed to control people for various agendas:

http://www.anandainfo.com/tantric_robes.html

I have yet to find a Faitheism that is not steeped in quackery or subjugation of individuals in the name of some kinda “holiness.”

Really, what is that?

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By Val, September 16, 2006 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here we go again.

Never thought I’d agree with Pope Benedict on anything, but what does he get for telling the truth?

The threat of religious conflagration and a renewed “clash of civilizations.”

It’s always amazing to hear religionists (all of them, whatever stripe) defend their “beliefs” as “peaceful” and “loving.”

All one need do is read the source materials (the Bible, the Koran, the equally phony Golden Tablets and the Book of Mormon, whatever) to realize how militantly hateful and bloodthirsty they are regarding “non-believers.”

Point out the truth and they start denying, screaming, threatening.

No, Islam is not about “peace.” Yes, it advocates the sword against Infidels. So does Christianity. Judaism? Ditto. Buddhism? Not so much. Scientology? Are you kidding? (Lawsuit city. Or Google Lisa McPherson.)

So now the Pope has beefed up his security against Islamic threats.

Gee? What’s he afraid of? Religions are all so “peaceful,” after all.

Is he afraid of Death? Why? That’s what religionists LIVE for, for God’s sake.

Perhaps the inmates in the asylum can enlighten me as to what I’m missing in this “loving” insanity.

Thanks.

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By HiveRadical, September 16, 2006 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
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“discerned”? by proof/evidence/etc or by divine revelation? The former would prove that the 70 are quacks.  I would not claim anything about the other 30.  If I had not encountered the 1 doctor then I would have no basis to know or claim that any of the 100 are in fact doctors.  OR should I assume that as I approach the 100 mark that the “probability” that one of the remaining one being a real doctor increases?

You are categrically lumping all who profess faith as having to answer the weakknesses of all other faiths RATHER than treating them individually you are taking the failings of the 70 quacks you’ve found in that room and projecting such on to the whole of the people in the room, simply because they are in the room.

This was probably one of the most intellectually weak analogies yet.

With your demonstrable lack of discernment, actual or relative, that claim is not a threat to my ego.

Just remember your faith is based on revealed prophecies from god, the truth of which you cannot prove.  The fact remains, that anyone claiming to recieve “truth” and “messages” from a disembodied “being” out of the ether is insane, lying, or self deluding.

I don’t believe he’s diembodied or coming out of the ‘ether’ in fact I don’t believe in the concept of ether. Thus your statement doesn’t apply to me. Furthermore I’ve NEVER CLAIMED EMPIRICAL OR QUANTIFIABLE PROOF! Stop acting like I have. I’m simply demonstrating that my faith is not implausible. That you claims of it being logically impossible are not true because you are using a faulty setup of logic.

  You are wrong, because your faith, and the faith of all those who claim to follow the god of abraham is based on logical impossibilities. This is not dogma or faith on my part, this is a fact. You can not provide any proof what so ever, nothing, nada, zip, zero.

Which logical impossibilities? Enumerate so I can demonstrate that they are not applicable to my faith, so I can show that your generalizations and unwarrented extrapolations accross the whole of faith are unfounded and untenable.

“equity, justice, and liberty” do not need proving, they exist - as phylosophical constructs.  Their meaning, is determined by consensue reality.  We give them meaning, by passing “earthly laws” and creating societal rules that embodie these concepts and constructs.  They do not exist in the same way a “dog”, or “tree” exists.

Then in this format you’d conceed the existance of ‘god’? If you can claim the existance, and foundational merits, of things that are mere phylosphical constructs then why the issue with ‘god’? I mean if you are ready to base the foundational principles of your world view on things admtedly non-existant then what’s your big tizzy about?

“equity, justice, and liberty” exist precisely in the same realm where “god” exists, in the minds of men.  So what is your point?

You have no issue making them foundational to your value judgements, why the hypocrisy in condemning those who, in your eyes, do the same thing you are doing?

I’ll respond to the rest later.

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By archeon, September 16, 2006 at 10:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“If you’ve a room of 99 Quacks and one Bona Fide doctor, does the fact that you’ve discerned 70% in the room to be quacks make the one doctor less of a doctor? “

“discerned”? by proof/evidence/etc or by divine revelation? The former would prove that the 70 are quacks.  I would not claim anything about the other 30.  If I had not encountered the 1 doctor then I would have no basis to know or claim that any of the 100 are in fact doctors.  OR should I assume that as I approach the 100 mark that the “probability” that one of the remaining one being a real doctor increases?

This was probably one of the most intellectually weak analogies yet.

Just remember your faith is based on revealed prophecies from god, the truth of which you cannot prove.  The fact remains, that anyone claiming to recieve “truth” and “messages” from a disembodied “being” out of the ether is insane, lying, or self deluding.  You are wrong, because your faith, and the faith of all those who claim to follow the god of abraham is based on logical impossibilities. This is not dogma or faith on my part, this is a fact. You can not provide any proof what so ever, nothing, nada, zip, zero.

“equity, justice, and liberty” do not need proving, they exist - as phylosophical constructs.  Their meaning, is determined by consensue reality.  We give them meaning, by passing “earthly laws” and creating societal rules that embodie these concepts and constructs.  They do not exist in the same way a “dog”, or “tree” exists. 

“equity, justice, and liberty” exist precisely in the same realm where “god” exists, in the minds of men.  So what is your point?

Again you avoid confronting the facts of religions danger, especially when confronted with the Islamic faiths proof in action of those dangers.  Or the proof found in the actions of the Spanish Iquisition.  Or the proof found in the actions of the Salem Witch hunts.  Or the proof found in the excesses of the break away LDS groups vis-a-vis plural marriage, the treatment of women/girls/children and young men by the leaders of those groups.  One might even say that the excesses of religious groups here in Canada vis-a-vis aborignal children in residential schools and the resulting physical/emotional/sexual/cutural abuse are directly attributable to the founding principles of those faiths.  Currently the religious ideologies and dogmas of “fundamentalist” christian groups and individuals is hindering the prevention and treatment of AIDS in Africa because of their insistance on the promotion of abstinence rather than the use of condoms, this too is an example of “religion” getting in the way of “life”.  Shall I list other excesses of religion?  But you will say, secularists too are guilty of excesses in their treatment of fellow humans.  I agree.  I agree it is wrong.  But again religion has the extra special danger of justifying such behaviours as part of a directive from a “law giver” “rule maker” supernatural being who/that/what can withhold eternal salvation and grace from those who fail to follow his/her/its directives and prophecies.  Religion has extra special dangers because this “being” unable or unwilling to directly act in the real world must employ a chosen few to bring his/her/its revelations to the masses.  These “prophets” are human, and their motives and drives must be questioned.  As such accepting their claims at face value as the truth, is dangerous and suspect because we can not ever know what the true motives of these self proclaimed prophets are.

“So you take a no bars hold approach to ‘marriage’? What if platonic relatives want the joint commitment and shared benefits of marriage? Do we let a daughter and father get married so that the one can in all ways support the other and gain tax breaks? Or are you going to make sure that no platonic unions are included? If so how are you going to verify?”

I though that my views on this would be clear and self evident from what I said.  I would not try to determine if “unions” are platonic or not.  If a father/daughter want to get married and share the special benefits and obligations or state sanctioned marriage fine.  If two brothers, or three, or four then the same applies.  As I stated “marriage” has always been an economic/political “union”, and has never really had anything to do with “sex”.  The raising of children and breeding in the context of marriage was also purely political and economic - to regulate inheritance and consolidate political power.  This has always been very important in patriarchal societies where proving lineage from father to son to son’s sons was important.  Like I said, I don’t care who marries, or how many marry.  Marriage as sanctioned by the state, has a special legal framework, that confers special rights and obligations to the partners in the union.  It is a simple matter for the state to extend legal state marriage to all who may seek it, and for the churches, faiths, religions, or other groups to extend or deny their blessing according to the dictates of their particular belief system.

Furthermore, I don’t actually care what you do within the confines of your faith.  I do care when I am forced to support your faith ideas through the state structure.  And the state’s opposition to same sex, plural, platonic, what ever marriage is just one example of this.

I don’t advocate a “no holds barred” approach to marriage.  Marriage confers special rights and obligations to those who are married.  It is a contract between the partners in the union and the state.  Religions/churches are free to grant or withhold thier blessings as thier faith allows.

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By Mary Wallman, September 15, 2006 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Archeon…thankyou for stating the obvious to those in denial.

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By HiveRadical, September 15, 2006 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And still, the faithies refuse to admit the dangers and pitfalls of faith.

Blind faith I openly admit to seeing danger in. The blind faith you have in your dogmatic belief that all who have faith have blind faith, or that all who have faith share the same horrible traits to the same damning degrees, is a blind faith that is detrimental because it warps your whole view and renders any of your partial attempts to apply logic as being impotent in bringing about any true results.

You are a prime example of the dangers of blind faith.

No accounting for the excesses of faith.

Would you apply the excesses of some who claim your ideology to condemn the whole of it? Your faith in this generalization, and it’s subsequent logical lapse, are disturbing.

No acknowledgment that faith with ignorance is a most dangerours mix.

I acknowledge it can be. But you can’t acknowledge that such is a trait you share with others.

No truth about the coercive powers of churches, preists, and other religious “authority” figures.

I see no evidence of abuses of men inherently rendering the whole of a faith as obsolete. If the excesses of men in the higher up refutes the whole system then science would be just as screwed, as well as every other secular movement. Or do you pretend any organization of any kind is free of any such occurances.

No truth about the lies, falsehoods, contradictions, and imposiblilities within the texts, prophecies, and doctrine.

If you’ve a room of 99 Quacks and one Bona Fide doctor, does the fact that you’ve discerned 70% in the room to be quacks make the one doctor less of a doctor?

No truth about religious history.

Is there any history that’s perfect? Isn’t all one can do in the study of history is to try and get as close to the verifiable truth as possible?

No truth about religiuos intolerance.

No truth about religious injustice.

No truth about religious inequity.

Aside from your lack of being able to prove your view of such to be the right one—-since when do the actions of a group of humans determine the truth of what the preach? Is the scientist who discovers the pathogenes in the water supply, and then formulates a program to boil water before consumption to stop a plague, is this scientist any less correct in his proclamations if, in a moment of carelessness consumes a cup of unboiled water, catches the illness and dies? Simply defying the truth that’s proclaimed doesn’t make that truth inherently untrue.

It’s amazing how dependent on logical fallacies all your points are. Does your disregard for the dictates of logic make logic any less relevant?

Well my freind H-R please explain to me the religious excesses, the fervour that caused the Danish cartoon controversy?  Why did this upset the muslims so much?  Why did property have to be destroyed?  Why did people have to die?  Because of tolerance?  Because of love?  Because of jusctice?  I think we all know the answer.  Can you in all honesty claim that this is not the danger that all religions have the potential to pose to a free and democratic society?

With religion or without a free and democratic society would have such horrors. The reason is that it’s popultated by humans that make mistakes. Humans that CAN’T ever gain perfect omniscience and thus CAN’T perfectly apply logic and reason to the salvation or compensation for human error and weakness. I know secular individuals who knowingly suck on chemicals that do them no good, have been proven to cause premature death, yet these individuals have none of the ‘nonsense’ of faith. Some I’ve met had very similar views to you. Some may concoct apologetics for their deadly habits, some don’t. Some accept the fact that as humans they do stupid illogical things even when they know better.

An example of such. The de facto ban on DDT caused by the mindless abolishment of this demonized chemical. over two million children die a year that would not die if the chemical were advocated to be used in a measured way. But the countries of Sweden don’t have to watch the mostly young victims of Malaria in Africa and Asia so they advocate ever stronger and definative worldwide bans on the only known chemical that could have saved the lives of over 60 million people over the last three decades if it had been allowed to be used at levels that were nowhere near what they were at the peak of pre-Silent Spring levels were. Here you have entire, largely secular, nations, ones you hold up as the gold standard, that, despite their long ability to access the statistics of what their advocated actions were doing were either to apathetic or to heartless to alter compromize and push through a limited implimentation of something that could save millions a year from death and hundreds of millions a year from loosing valuable time to a several week long debilitating illness.

I think that state sanctioned marriage should have no religious overtones.  It should simply be a civil union that confers upon the two (or more, I don’t really care if people want to be poligamous fine with me) partners obligations, rights, and privileges that those who chose to simply co-habitate do not have.  Among these are:

1- inheritance rights
2- medical decision rights
3- pension rights
4- health benefit rights
5- custodial rights regarding children
6- child care/support obligations
7- spousal support obligations
8- property rights/distribution in divorce
9- tax benefits

This list is not conclusive there are other rights/obligations.

Marriage has always been economic/political.  If it were only about love, then simple cohabitation would be sufficient.  But it is not.

Marriage in the state/civil sense should not discriminate.  And those churches and religions who do not suckle on the teat of state tax breaks - where I who do not support them am forced to subsidize the religiousness of the faithfull - should be free to deny religious marriage to anyone they like.  But those who do take advantage of these tax breaks should follow the will of the people and the state.  Churches and religions are not the warm and fuzzy charitable organizations they would like us all to believe, they are big business, with the upper management wallowing in money like pigs in shit.

So you take a no bars hold approach to ‘marriage’? What if platonic relatives want the joint commitment and shared benefits of marriage? Do we let a daughter and father get married so that the one can in all ways support the other and gain tax breaks? Or are you going to make sure that no platonic unions are included? If so how are you going to verify?

As to your demonization and generalization as to the habits of those in the upper ranks of religion you speak out of ignorance and an afinity for untenable generalizations and a seeming infusion of raw, irrational, hatred.

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By HiveRadical, September 15, 2006 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
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archeon,


You said—

H-R just like the other self professed religionists here have offered not one iota of evidence that their way is the “right” way, or the “better” way, other than their highly biased and self referential books.  Or the continued “prophecies” to a select chosen few.

To which I responded

That’s incorrect. The evidence is there, the prophecies, for all who will seek them out. Personal prophecy is the evidence, but like evidence for the plethora of physics universal nuances it takes more than a passing glance at the subject.

…from which you responded—

So how am I incorrect?  Your prophecies are not proof!  Your texts are not proof!  You can point to nothing here in the physical real empirical world that supports anything you say about your faiths claim of access to the truth.

Here you claim that something must be in the “physical real empirical world” to be used in our values judgment of your world view vs. mine and which one is more legitimate and correct. Yet I’ve definitively pointed out that all of your references to “justice”, “equality” etc. are also lacking any such qualities or any such means of verification. I cannot physically and empirically test those aspects (justice etc.) from your claims to verify their existence NOR can I physically and empirically test the validity of your assertions as to what they are made of and where they proceed from. Yet they are the foundation of your argument that your worldview is superior to mine. Why is it okay for the foundation of your claims to be non-provable (in terms of physical, empirical, quantifiable and communicable traits)
But mine being such is a fatal error? <u>Why the double standard?</u>

Notice that I’ve never claimed to be able to prove my points in terms of the empirical, quantifiable and communicable on an inter-human level. You imply that I do that simply because I say there is a way to receive proof. That proof is individual proof via personal communication with God. I

You then ask—

“But H-R please answer my question:  How do you feel about homosexuals? Christians? Blacks? Jews? Atheists? Catholics? Budhists? Muslims?  I know you pity them, but are they living “wrong” lives?””

I respond—

If those who have tendencies to homosexual attraction/behavior never act on it then that attraction is not in and of itself a sin, just as I’m attracted to a wide range of women and have the innate desire for multiple partners. Having the desire doesn’t make me evil or wrong. Acting on it makes me wrong. In terms of Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, other Christians, and Religious Jews, I see them as having in their tradition very good and very bad people that claim their faith, just as one would find in mine. Yes I believe the ultimate obtainment of the highest blessings God wants to give us is only available through abiding the precepts of our faith, but I also believe all will be given a fair chance, now or latter (even after their physical deaths) to accept or reject the fullness of our faith and it’s blessings.


I would think it would be obvious that I see aspects of their lives as wrong, my answer is obvious—even if not explicit. But how is that any different from what you are saying about me? You claim that my view constitutes a wrong view, and by extension, a wrong life to some degree. And that determination is founded entirely on concepts you cannot prove exist and definitions and origins of such that you provide but cannot empirically substantiate or prove in terms of validity.

  My question regarding the nature of your feelings about those who do not follow your faiths teachings/propaganda/lies was not about individuals or how you felt about them as people, you know full well that I wanted to know what you though and felt about their faith/belief/world view.  Are they wrong?  What is the ultimate result of them continuing to hold those views?

I answered regarding that. When someone says that another’s view is insufficient that is to say that it is not whole, not complete, not adequate. I answered the question. You simply failed to comprehend the fact that I did answer it.

As for Judas, if as the texts tell us it was neccesary for him to “betray” jesus so that what had been fortold about jesus to come true - the cross, resurection, redemption of our sins, etc - then how can we say he was a vile man?  Was he not simply doing what had to be done so that all of us may have access to gods grace, salvation, and everlasting life?  If he had no choice because it had been preordained, then how can we hold him to account for his actions?  If he acted so that the prophecy would come true through a chosen action so that our sins may be redeemed - is he not in fact a hero?

If he acted without any knowledge that he was aiding the fulfillment of prophecy, if his knowledge and intent and purpose was to defy God, defy the law, then his fulfilling prophecy was not done out of intention or merit, nor does it mean that the prophecy didn’t have some other contingency path if he was righteous and didn’t sin. It simply demonstrates the omniscience and omnipotence of God to take the vilest and evilest of acts and turn them ultimately on their head while still keeping the perpetrator of them, and their evil intents and desires of such, condemned. That Judas’s actions were turned to effecting prophecy doesn’t mean they were valiant or noble or right, it just means God had factored in any conceivable choice. Judas didn’t have to betray Jesus for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Yes offences must come, but that doesn’t mean that the offenders don’t make the choice to offend with the sole intent of offending.

Again I did enjoy the way you H-R avoided adding anything new to this debate, just vomitting up the same crap.  You did not answer any of the questions.  I am trying to keep this from becoming personal, but you insist on framing everything from your personal view, and thus this must become personal.

I’m simply not approaching this in the format which you had formulated and prepared your attack and defense around. I present a set of unplanned for scenarios and I stick to them and because you have no viable, tenable response ready, and cannot readily create one, you insist that I must ‘reset’ the scenario and defend the preconceived problems you were ready to take apart. For sticking to, and demanding a response to, the points I continue to maintain you resort to referencing such as ‘crap’.

I answered all pertinent and relevant questions, whether you can perceive such or not. You are the one with the unanswered discrepancies. You are the one that cannot answer my critiques of your points.

Are you claiming that religion does not pose a danger to life, democracy, liberty, justice, and equity?</blockqutoe>

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
 
Yes. I am.

<blockquote>Yes I do admit that within secular society there are dangers too, and we must be very carefull to avoid those too.  Yet religion has special dangers, because of the truth claim, and that this truth comes from a higher power beyond this earthly realm, a power that can with hold eternal salvation, and ensure eternal damnation to those who fail/chose not to access this self proclaimed truth.  It deals in absolutes.  and death.

And you think a relative view of equity, justice, and liberty, a view that you can not prove to be correct touching on principles you cannot prove to, in fact, exist, is more sane? That so long as something keeps a society solvent that it’s ‘moral’, or ‘just’, or ‘equitable’.

How is your reference to some societal consensus of what’s ultimately taken, as you put it ‘imaginary,’ standards (justice, equity, liberty etc.) and pretending that that’s less deadly or more logical?

I’ll take my chance with the person who bases their equations on constants that may not be figured out through all through eternity in all their decimal places. Someone who uses sig. figs and does the best with the information they have over someone who admittedly basis their view on things they term justice and ‘believe’ in on the preconception that they are ‘imaginary’ constructs relative to the society they are found in. I’m sorry but the foundation of one’s world view cannot be based on something that can forever be altered to fit their subjective whims and be eternally viewed as an imaginary construct, and still claim any ultimate logical, rational or reasonable superiority to my faith. If anything it’s firmly against the dictates of logic. Something arbitrarily and subjectively chosen, something perpetually determined to be always an illusion, only existing as a construct, by definition cannot produce logical conclusions. It cannot produce ANY world view with ANY viable claims to superiority over my overall and foundational views of life, existence and all in the realm we generally term as our universe.

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By archeon, September 15, 2006 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And still, the faithies refuse to admit the dangers and pitfalls of faith.

No accounting for the excesses of faith.

No acknowledgment that faith with ignorance is a most dangerours mix.

No truth about the coercive powers of churches, preists, and other religious “authority” figures.

No truth about the lies, falsehoods, contradictions, and imposiblilities within the texts, prophecies, and doctrine.

No truth about religious history.

No truth about religiuos intolerance.

No truth about religious injustice.

No truth about religious inequity.

Well my freind H-R please explain to me the religious excesses, the fervour that caused the Danish cartoon controversy?  Why did this upset the muslims so much?  Why did property have to be destroyed?  Why did people have to die?  Because of tolerance?  Because of love?  Because of jusctice?  I think we all know the answer.  Can you in all honesty claim that this is not the danger that all religions have the potential to pose to a free and democratic society?

I think that state sanctioned marriage should have no religious overtones.  It should simply be a civil union that confers upon the two (or more, I don’t really care if people want to be poligamous fine with me) partners obligations, rights, and privileges that those who chose to simply co-habitate do not have.  Among these are:

1- inheritance rights
2- medical decision rights
3- pension rights
4- health benefit rights
5- custodial rights regarding children
6- child care/support obligations
7- spousal support obligations
8- property rights/distribution in divorce
9- tax benefits

This list is not conclusive there are other rights/obligations.

Marriage has always been economic/political.  If it were only about love, then simple cohabitation would be sufficient.  But it is not.

Marriage in the state/civil sense should not discriminate.  And those churches and religions who do not suckle on the teat of state tax breaks - where I who do not support them am forced to subsidize the religiousness of the faithfull - should be free to deny religious marriage to anyone they like.  But those who do take advantage of these tax breaks should follow the will of the people and the state.  Churches and religions are not the warm and fuzzy charitable organizations they would like us all to believe, they are big business, with the upper management wallowing in money like pigs in shit.

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By archeon, September 15, 2006 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“archeon, this is certainly a lesson in the degree to which an individual can be utterly unaware of the discrepancies they have in their belief system.

““H-R just like the other self professed religionists here have offered not one iota of evidence that their way is the “right” way, or the “better” way, other than their highly biased and self referential books.  Or the continued “prophecies” to a select chosen few.”“

That’s incorrect. The evidence is there, the prophecies, for all who will seek them out. Personal prophecy is the evidence, but like evidence for the plethora of physics universal nuances it takes more than a passing glance at the subject.

““But H-R please answer my question:  How do you feel about homosexuals? Christians? Blacks? Jews? Atheists? Catholics? Budhists? Muslims?  I know you pity them, but are they living “wrong” lives?””

If those who have tendancies to homosexual attraction/behaviour never act on it then that attraction is not in and of itself a sin, just as I’m attracted to a wide range of women and have the inate desire for multiple partners. Having the desire doesn’t make me evil or wrong. Acting on it makes me wrong. In terms of Christians, Atheists, Budhists, other Christians, and Religious Jews, I see them as having in their tradition very good and very bad people that claim their faith, just as one would find in mine. Yes I believe the ultimate obtainment of the highest blessings God wants to give us is only available through abiding the precepts of our faith, but I also believe all will be given a fair chance, now or latter (even after their physical deaths) to accept or reject the fullness of our faith and it’s blessings.”

So how am I incorrect?  Your prophecies are not proof!  Your texts are not proof!  You can point to nothing here in the physical real empirical world that supports anything you say about your faiths claim of access to the truth.

My question regarding the nature of your feelings about those who do not follow your faiths teachings/propaganda/lies was not about individuals or how you felt about them as people, you know full well that I wanted to know what you though and felt about their faith/belief/world view.  Are they wrong?  What is the ultimate result of them continuing to hold those views?

As for Judas, if as the texts tell us it was neccesary for him to “betray” jesus so that what had been fortold about jesus to come true - the cross, resurection, redemption of our sins, etc - then how can we say he was a vile man?  Was he not simply doing what had to be done so that all of us may have access to gods grace, salvation, and everlasting life?  If he had no choice because it had been preordained, then how can we hold him to account for his actions?  If he acted so that the prophecy would come true through a chosen action so that our sins may be redeemed - is he not in fact a hero?

Again I did enjoy the way you H-R avoided adding anything new to this debate, just vomitting up the same crap.  You did not answer any of the questions.  I am trying to keep this from becoming personal, but you insist on framing everything from your personal view, and thus this must become personal.

Are you claiming that religion does not pose a danger to life, democracy, liberty, justice, and equity?  Yes I do admit that within secular society there are dangers too, and we must be very carefull to avoid those too.  Yet religion has special dangers, because of the truth claim, and that this truth comes from a higher power beyond this earthly realm, a power that can with hold eternal salvation, and ensure eternal damnation to those who fail/chose not to access this self proclaimed truth.  It deals in absolutes.  and death.

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By HiveRadical, September 15, 2006 at 2:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

H-R:

Still waxing semantically, I see.

It’s hard to communciate without semantics. I try to be adequate in my language and exacting so as to be misunderstood as little as possible.

You simply must admit that according to your faith, homosexuals will not be admitted into the ultimate club: heaven.

No. Because that is not my faith’s doctrines on heaven.

All will receive some degree of glory, some level of salvation.

If someone with homosexual urges and tendancies doesn’t act on them, or has and then has sufficiently repented of such they can make it to the highest levels of heaven if they desire and seek such.

If I or they do not control our ‘natural’ desires and tendancies sexually NEITHER ONE OF US will make it there.

  They will not be accorded the same rights in heaven, let alone here on earth if all you faithies get your way.

Not true at all. If this ‘faithy’ gets his way we would all enjoy the same rights.

Again do not imagine that it’s a right for consenting adults to get married to each other just because they love each other. That’s never been a right. The right all have, regardless sexual tendancies or desires. Is to marry a consenting adult member of the gender opposite of the one defined in their DNA. We all have that right regardless the desires we have, be they for many partners or one, partners of the other or the same. Our desires and who we love have never been things considered in our rights to marriage. To act like such has is to deny the very definition and origin of marriage and the primary purposes society has for endorsing it—namely it’s the arrangement most likely to produce the best of environment for the future generations of that society.

This makes me evaluate the economic reasons for equality:  healthcare for spouses.  This is a right given to hetero-spouses of which gay spouses do Not get the benefit.  Funny that!  “No, you gays do not deserve to offer your lifelong companions ANY protections in the event of your illness or death.  You do not deserve Anything from 20 years of devotion to one another.  Your time is meaningless because you are sinners, however, heterosexuals who stay/pray together yet give eachother herpes get all the gravy.”

Those benefits can be arranged in relationships outside of marriage. They are not facilitated or endorsed by the government because, in terms of ideal conditions for the raising (notice I said raising NOT creating) of children—all other factors being equal.

Much in the same way that laws prevent lower class people to marry—because they will Lose their health benefits afforded them by Human Services sometimes, gays aren’t even eligible for that.
How is that equal? (Even though they comprise a great majority of the middle-upper class.)—where this argument applies—please.

Not seeing exactly what you’re getting at here. If you could try to restate it. Sorry.

Which brings me to another point:  If republican fundamentalists are so For LESS government, why is it okay to go proselytizing your belief systems into other’s bedrooms and countries & such under the banner of government regulation?

What are you referencing? Is this tying into US subsidies of third world AIDS monies? If so I think it’s entirely in the realm of a government that gives out aid to democratically determine, via the officials elected democratically, what stipulations will and will not be tied to the distribution of that money. There’s no basis in any conservative governmental theory for abandoning the funds proceeding from the decisions of a majority in a democracy into the hands of some unchosen self apointed intelligencia claiming scientific or any other authority. Conservative thought on democratic and representative government holds that the decision of the majority determines the spending decisions and all attatched corrolaries to such decisions.

That’s why such policies are ‘conservative’ unless you think that we should abandon democratic processies in favor of an unelected group of elites being given sole discretion over the wealth of a state rather than the populace at large via elected representatives discerning such. Then we wouldn’t have a representative democracy. Would you advocate that if it were the means of seeing the monies spent as you wish them to be?

IF you want to get ultra conservative then the government giving money to the populace for such purposes would not even occure seeing as true non-interference by the government would never have taxes collected for anything beyond the needs of barebone societal cohesion and military survival internationally.

  Less government EXCEPT for women’s vaginas and homosexual penises and anuses, and lesbian vaginas, and public schools and prayer/darwinism arguments, and stem-cell research desperately needed for the ill (some of which are heterosexual), and the beat goes on…

Less government means no spending on things but the basics. I don’t see us legislating against consenting adults doing what they feel in private. I have no plan to advocate such. The early leaders of my faith thought that the government was oversteping their bounds when they tried to dictate to us what we could and couldn’t have in our private bedrooms. Where is any of the stuff above prohibited today or has government interference? Stem cell research is not prohibited, unless you have some odd view that massive government funding of something is prohibiting it. In that case the government is prohibiting me from getting a nice sports car. Otherwise last I checked all those items were not restricted by the government other than in terms of the government not spending money on some things itself (like embryonic stem cell research on new lines) or in terms of public decency laws that apply to hetero as well as homo relationships.

Are you catching the hypocritical drift of this religious (missionary) position?

No I’m not. And the rhetorical tie in to historic tendancies of Spanish Catholic priests amongst Native American women is noted. Though the relevancy beyond trying to be clever is passing me by.

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By HiveRadical, September 14, 2006 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In passing I found this after posting my last post.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_4338390

Thought it might be seen as usefull.

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By HiveRadical, September 14, 2006 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

archeon, this is certainly a lesson in the degree to which an individual can be utterly unaware of the discrepancies they have in their belief system.

H-R just like the other self professed religionists here have offered not one iota of evidence that their way is the “right” way, or the “better” way, other than their highly biased and self referential books.  Or the continued “prophecies” to a select chosen few.

That’s incorrect. The evidence is there, the prophecies, for all who will seek them out. Personal prophecy is the evidence, but like evidence for the plethora of physics universal nuances it takes more than a passing glance at the subject.

But H-R please answer my question:  How do you feel about homosexuals? Christians? Blacks? Jews? Atheists? Catholics? Budhists? Muslims?  I know you pity them, but are they living “wrong” lives?

If those who have tendancies to homosexual attraction/behaviour never act on it then that attraction is not in and of itself a sin, just as I’m attracted to a wide range of women and have the inate desire for multiple partners. Having the desire doesn’t make me evil or wrong. Acting on it makes me wrong. In terms of Christians, Atheists, Budhists, other Christians, and Religious Jews, I see them as having in their tradition very good and very bad people that claim their faith, just as one would find in mine. Yes I believe the ultimate obtainment of the highest blessings God wants to give us is only available through abiding the precepts of our faith, but I also believe all will be given a fair chance, now or latter (even after their physical deaths) to accept or reject the fullness of our faith and it’s blessings.

In short I believe all people will be saved by God except for those who consciously choose not to receive such (such individuals will have a clear and certain knowledge of their choice and will have to exercise considerable effort to attain such). That’s not to say all will receive the same glory or blessings, but all will receive salvation and all who want it (the vast vast majority of individuals—regardless their faith or lack thereof in this life) after the demands of justice have been answered. Then they will receive a state of salvation and will be freed from any torment or suffering incurred for their sins.

In terms of Blacks and Ethnic Jews I see them as brothers and equals. In fact, you will likely laugh at such, I believe I’m an Ephraimite—that I’m a litteral descendant of Israel.

Are their beliefs, faiths, and outlooks “wrong”?  Will god allow them into heaven?

As I said. All who have any desire to will receive some degree of glory and salvation. All will be redeemed from hell unless they knowingly make the decision not to be (again not a decision you can make ignorantly, there’s no way to get there simply from accidentally doing something) Aspects of their faiths are right and some are wrong. God will judge their acts here based on the knowledge they had, not some standard they never had a knowledge of. So you may have those who crossed against certain laws in ignorance but are covered by mercy and will have the same chance at what I will before any final decision is made.

  Who will get into heaven?

All who want to and demonstrate such through their thoughts, intents, actions etc.. God knows everything. Some woman from some other part of the world may have grown up under a system in which prostitution was the norm and in which horrible things were seen as normal, if she did better with the knowledge she was granted then I do with what I have been granted then her life in the next world will be better than mine will. Just look at the fact that God had Israel’s spies saved by a harlot. Because of that harlots adherence to the truth she had she and her family were spared the destruction God inflicted on Jericho by Israel and his power. A truely omniscient, omnipotent and eternally just God will deal justly for all regardless their seeming condition here. That’s why widows mite was highly regarded. I trust in a God that will do things, allow us all eventually to see all that he’s done with regard to judgement, and we will all declare that what he did with all of us was just. And we will do so not from any complussion, but because we will all realize that what he does IS just AND mercifull for ALL of us. I don’t think anyone will be shortchanged. Anyone who got the raw deal here will be compensated justly.

  How must I live my life to get into heaven?

Depends on the degree of glory you want. There are many kingdoms. Whatever degree you attain to here will be the equivilant blessing you receive afterwards. If you’re cool with just spending eternity stuck at one lesser level then that’s what you’ll get. If you want what Christ has then you need to do all you can here to follow his example and daily seek forgiveness.

  How do you personally feel about them is what I want to know.

I genuinely love them and care for them. I hope the best for them, but I will not force anything on them, I let them make choices in their life and I try my best (being human it’s not always easy to do) to withhold judgement on my end and to help out when and where I can and to graciously accept their help when they are more advanced than I in some area.

  When some one says to you: “Homosexual” what comes to mind?  I bet you immediately think of some guy with a cock in his ass, or a very manly woman.  Because my theory is this, most men (who claim to be hetero) react so viserally against gay men, because they fear anal penetration.

May I ask you what is suppose to come to someone’s mind when the only classification being used is soley tied to their sexual practices? What happens in your mind when I say “Mormon”???

I find it funny, and kind of sad, that you are so set in your preconceptions as to what my preconceptions are. I try not to define someone based soley on their sexual desires. Heaven only knows what my name would be if my sexual desires were all I was called by.

The truth of the matter is that we have terms in which we generalize a whole populace based soley on their alliance with one desire or action they are linked to. When I say ‘theif’ what comes to your mind? Naturally someone who steals, nevermind that within that category are the range from Jean Valjean (sp?) and Judas Iscariot. One I see as very noble the other as one of the most vile of men. Yet either way I revolt at the idea of taking something that is not the property of the individual taking it. So why are you trying to condemn a person for the images a word brings to one’s head when just about every generalizing classification we have for men in every language of humanity of which I’m aware contains characters who’s goodness vs. badness runs the full length of the spectrum?

To me it seems a bit unfair to take your certain view of a persons imediate allied thoughts of a word to their overall view and collective judgement of those falling under that classification. I don’t care much for polititians generally, and the word evokes initial things that are rather revolting to myself, but I’ve learned to quickly follow that with the realization (as I’ve learned to do, and do always currently with words regarding sexual tendancies) that we are all human. That we all have issues we strugle with.

You and I may not find it tempting to lie for the rush of it, but there are those who do. I’m going to try and do all I can to give people the benefit of the doubt. That doesn’t mean I condone their actions, nor that I don’t want them to fight such in their own life, but I don’t put myself above them because tomarrow I may be in a situation I never thought I’d be in and I might not be as strong as I’d like to think I am. For the realization of my humanity I try to have patience with my fellow man. However imperfect my application of that patience may be, I’m trying to get there. I plead for you to do the same with those who you don’t understand and may despise or pity.

  But H-R why is your church opposed to same sex marriages?

Why do some individuals oppose a free for all in genetic alteration of living organisms? A good portion of Europe, last I heard, has a grand mistrust (not entirely unfounded) in simply casting the fate to the wind and mixing and matching genetic code then just letting such creations out into the world. Their issue is the idea, even though such fears have not been confirmed conclusively in an utterly horrible trend to the mass destruction of life on this planet thus far, that tinkering with the foundation of life in a careless manner has the potential to undo or significantly harm the present collective state of life on the planet.

We see things in a similar vein with what we term the ‘traditional’ family. We see it as foundational, as fundamental, to societies progress and stability as many in the world see genetics as being foundational to the currently accepted view on what constitutes life and biology on earth.

  Can homosexuals be members of the Mormon Church?

Those with such desires and tendancies can be, are, and are encouraged to be members, they just must abstain from acting on such urges. Like manner with myself. I may have certain sexual desires that conflict with the church, those only become an issue if I allow them to affect my actions, to affect the things I do to the point of going against the commandments of God.

In many ways this does become the acid test of love, tolerance, acceptance, brotherhood, humanity.  Yet I venture to say, that all the christian, jewish, and islamic faiths, sects, cults, movement fail this one.

The whole of humanity, in general, is, to one degree or the other failing the tests of love, tolerance, acceptance, brotherhood and true humanity. I dare say you and I are not innocent of infringments against such things. What is important is that we do our best each and every day to change our problems, to change our misconceptions, then do as much as we can to promote such through word, example and keeping the faith that it is a worthy fight, that it’s worth working for and staying with. Not allowing our foggy perceptions of each other to get in the way. It’s not easy. But I’m trying. I think many of us are, however different our respective progress and vision of such may be at this point.

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By Mary Wallman, September 14, 2006 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment
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H-R:

Still waxing semantically, I see.
You simply must admit that according to your faith, homosexuals will not be admitted into the ultimate club: heaven.  They will not be accorded the same rights in heaven, let alone here on earth if all you faithies get your way. 

This makes me evaluate the economic reasons for equality:  healthcare for spouses.  This is a right given to hetero-spouses of which gay spouses do Not get the benefit.  Funny that!  “No, you gays do not deserve to offer your lifelong companions ANY protections in the event of your illness or death.  You do not deserve Anything from 20 years of devotion to one another.  Your time is meaningless because you are sinners, however, heterosexuals who stay/pray together yet give eachother herpes get all the gravy.”

Much in the same way that laws prevent lower class people to marry—because they will Lose their health benefits afforded them by Human Services sometimes, gays aren’t even eligible for that.
How is that equal? (Even though they comprise a great majority of the middle-upper class.) —where this argument applies—please.

Which brings me to another point:  If republican fundamentalists are so For LESS government, why is it okay to go proselytizing your belief systems into other’s bedrooms and countries & such under the banner of government regulation?  Less government EXCEPT for women’s vaginas and homosexual penises and anuses, and lesbian vaginas, and public schools and prayer/darwinism arguments, and stem-cell research desperately needed for the ill (some of which are heterosexual),  and the beat goes on…

Are you catching the hypocritical drift of this religious (missionary) position?

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By archeon, September 14, 2006 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
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Why do the religious never give a direct answer to a direct question?

If the opposition to same sex marriages is not based on religion then why do the Mormons, Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, ect constantly refer to the bible, gods will, religious tradition when defining their opposition too it?  Now, H-R even if you do not hold this view yourself, can you at least be honest enought to admit that elements within your faith, and within christianity do?  Can you admit that the accepted orthodox theology of the establisment churches (this includes the JVs the LDS, the SDAs) opposses same sex marriages, and homosexuality in general on religious grounds?

But sadly, when marriage which is seen in the greater society as a public declaration of love, fidelity, and commitment, is denied to a segment of our society it is discrimination.  Simply saying homosexual men “are free to marry women as am I therefore it is not discrimination”, is stupid.  When marriage confers upon the partners int he union special rights and obligations, and this is denied to people who do not want to or cannot access these based on thier sexual “orientation” (what a stupid term btw) alone is discrimination, cruel, wrong, and yes ultimately evil.  The very same arguments used in the current same sex debate has been used to prevent and discourage marriages between social classes, races, etc in the past.  What shameless crap!

H-R when you claim that the opposition to same sex marriage is not based on religion you are wrong.  You simply have to look at who is opposing, and which organizations are opposing it.  The laws and constitutions of nations can only be interpreted in the context of NOW.  We cannot know what the intent was of people now long dead.  We can only know what it means NOW.  Man’s laws are not forever fixed, they must and do change or they risk becoming irrelevant and unjust.

H-R please answer this simple question: Is homosexuality a condition (like a disease or mental illness) that needs treatment? is it a natural state of being (like being short, or dark skinned, or blue eyed) that we should simply accept in others?  is it a choice (like being a democrat, or republican, or atheist)?  Please no pseudo intellectual religious drivel - just simply your personal thoughts and feelings, from the heart so to speak.

I would prefer if this thread returned to the wider debate on the relative merits and dangers of religion to a free and democratic society.  Rather than the continued focus of H-R and his need to defend his personal faith, because he sees any discussion of the “dangers” of faith as a personal attack.  Constantly and unendingly he claims “but science is just as bad” or “socialism is worse” or some other bullshit.  In some other thread we may discuss the dangers and failings of science and phylosophy, but here in the context of the cartoon (yes remember those silly scribles) riots and the call from “faithful” and “devout” muslims to curtail hard won freedoms and rights to prevent non (yes non believers) to refrain from “insulting” and “mocking” the prophet and alla, we are discussing the merits and dangers of religion to freedom, democracy, and yes even religious freedoms.

Islam is today merely illustrating the dangers all religions and theologies present to personal liberty, and freedom of thought, expression, and life.

So religion and faith don’t involve claiming to know the truth?  Then why the books and the prophets, and the messages from god?  If god says to one group this is how I want you to live, does this not mean that other who don’t live that way are wrong, and going against gods will? Or do different groups get different and equally “right” messages and laws that apply only to them?  Is every one right then?  I think my brain is about to explode.

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By HiveRadical, September 13, 2006 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment
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Val, the following is telling of your failure to understand your own stance—

“Better,” of course, meaning our “Truth” is better than theirs, if “they” (all Others) will only accept and conform to it.

That’s how theocracies are built and run.

If ANYONE claims to have a better view than someone else, to be closer to the truth then they are en route to building and running a theocracy? What kind of silly claim is that? We all position our claims in the assumption that we are correct, that our view is the truth or closer to it than others. That’s why we phrase things as statements rather than as inquieries, isn’t it? Following your claim even YOU are pursuing a course that is akin to the edification and operation of a theocratic system.

Everyone is granted equal civil rights in this country – atheists, Jews, Blacks, Christians – EXCEPT homosexuals. That group alone are denied some 1,100 civil laws simply because we won’t grant them equal civil rights to marry whom they love and raise their families, if any. Not to mention all the other discriminatory laws they face in jobs, housing, health care, etc., both overt and covert.

The rights granted by the law were never intended to give one the right to marry whomever it was they loved. That is not a ‘right’. That’s the core of your misconception. A man professing to be a homosexual has all the same rights I do. I can marry a female and he can. You see we all have a right to eat, not inherently what we love to eat. If a man or woman loves to eat a species that is protected by the law from any killing, harvesting or consumption that man or woman is not discriminated against.

This is an illusion of a false offense.

Why is this one group of some 30 million Americans denied equality?

They are not denied equality. You create the illusion of such by defining a right as something it has never been.

There are no rational or scientific reasons. The sole reason is “Religion.”

Aside from the fact that this is not a real infringment on a real right Religion is not the sole reason. There’s significant reason that are rational and logical, the science side hasn’t proven one side or the other as of yet.

The question is not how one “thinks” or “feels” about same-sex civil equality. The question is, “Do you believe same-sex Americans are fully deserving of equal civil rights to everybody else? If not, why?”

They deserve all the civil rights I have. They don’t deserve to reasign civil rights as constituting something they never did. That is what is being attempted. There are no rights denied. There was never a right to marry simply because of love of another individual.

When the only basis for discrimination is “Religion,” the underlying motive becomes clear. “Because we want America to be a theocracy.”

That’s on the false assumption that it is the only motive. I believe that on a logical and rational basis that societal endorsement of heterosexual relationship is a course of action that is condusive to the continuation of society in the best possible manner, independent of religion considerations. I believe that, all things being equal, it’s better for a child to have a mom and a dad then to have two of such and none of the other. I would think your value of diversity would demonstrably lead you to the same conclusion.

This to say nothing of the redefining of marriage as only requiring consent between adults claiming love between each other. That inherently must go beyond the mere granting of societal endorsement to same-sex couples. It would have to if we were to stick to your line of logic and reasoning.

That’s why you won’t get simple clear answers on this question.

I gave one. Your lack of capacity to discern such doesn’t mean I haven’t given a clear answer. However hard that may be to swallow.

The last thing religionists will admit is the Truth. They, all of them, believe their cult possesses the Truth and everybody else is wrong.

You believe the above is ‘Truth’ and that anyone who says otherwise is wrong. How are you fundamentally different?

Sadly, or perhaps inevitably, they have winnowed their obsession with the Evil Other down to same-sex people – upon whom virtually all “Religions” seem to agree (no matter how mistranslated or misunderstood their “ancient teachings”).

“We all hate gays, thank God! We can’t stone adulterers any more, or there’d be nobody left in Congress. We can’t prohibit eating shellfish any more, or wearing garments woven from two different threads, because we’d sound too ridiculous. But, by God, we can still hate gays! As long as we say we ‘love the sinner and hate the sin.’”

This is some screwy logic and a misproportioned view of our view and a great many other things.

Or, in H-R’s words, “I love and care about them.” That’s dandy. Now. How, H-R, would you vote and encourage other Americans to vote on granting this remaining group of us fully equal civil rights? In a coherent answer, say, less than 600 obfuscatory words?

You have ever right I have. There’s not a single one I have that you lack. The difference is not in rights but in our perception as to what constitutes such. You think, for some reason I’m not aware of, that we all have the civil right, or should, to marry based soley on love and the fact that the other individual is a consenting adult to the arrangement. That’s a screwy view of rights and would have to, in the context of the logic you are applying, extend to include a vast number of relationships beyond those of simply the LGBT community.

Incidentally, a gay male friend recently said to me, calmly and quietly, “How do you think it feels to live your life every day knowing all your friends – even your lifelong ones – except maybe for you – don’t think I’m an equal human being?”

Are you trying to extend this view he perceives or receives from his friends as being a view I hold? If you are it’s incorrect. I’ve an uncle who lives with his male partner. I don’t see either of them as being less than I am, not less of a human not less of a person not less men. This insidious implication that because I don’t advocate your view that I hold a segment of the population as being sub-human is insulting. It would be like me insinuating that you hold all ‘Mormons’ as sub-human simply because you’ve expressed views against those of relgious persuasion. I do hope that this isn’t what you were trying to apply or extend to me or even to those of us who seek a heterosexual definition of the word ‘marriage’.

Because if it is it would have little to differentiate it from other efforts, in and out of traditions of faith, throughout human kind, to ‘demonize’ the opposition. A tactic that would be ironic seeing you don’t seem to have any belief in literal demons.

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By archeon, September 13, 2006 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment
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Val your last comment neatly put H-R and his stock crap in context.  I did not expect anything different from him(her?) or any one else coming from the abrahamic religious tradition.

I am reminded of when I told a close freind of mine who attended an evangelical church that my brother, who was very very dear to me, was gay and had died of AIDS.  Can anyone guess what my “loving” “christian” “freind” said to me next?

Did he say, “Oh I am so sorry for you and your loss”?

OR: “Aids is a horrible disease, I hope he did not suffer much”?

OR: “He is now in heaven, blessed at the side of god”?

NO, NO, NO, NO—- he said: “I think AIDS is gods way of punishing homosexuals”.

It was almost too much of an evangelical cliche, I had heard stories like this from other people, but never believed that anyone - much less a self professed “christian” could utter such pure unadulterated crap and vile hatred.  Now H-R will say “that’s not how I feel”, but deep in his heart he will know the truth of his faith, which is to hate homosexuals, as it is the truth for all of the abrahamic tradition religions, and some others too.  The sole exeception is Budihism, which may not even be a “religion” for it is all (ALL) about seeking truth within ourselves without regard to and for reward from a supreme being who niggardly doles out salvation, redemption, and grace.  Now again H-R will say that budhist phylosopy and teaching is also dogma, but I say better that than the hateful and stupid crap that the christian churches have doled out for 2000 years, and the jews for 5000 years before that, and the muslims for the last 1400 years.  Give me the Budha over that garbage.

H-R just like the other self professed religionists here have offered not one iota of evidence that their way is the “right” way, or the “better” way, other than their highly biased and self referential books.  Or the continued “prophecies” to a select chosen few.

But H-R please answer my question:  How do you feel about homosexuals? Christians? Blacks? Jews? Atheists? Catholics? Budhists? Muslims?  I know you pity them, but are they living “wrong” lives?  Are their beliefs, faiths, and outlooks “wrong”?  Will god allow them into heaven?  Who will get into heaven?  How must I live my life to get into heaven?  How do you personally feel about them is what I want to know.  When some one says to you: “Homosexual” what comes to mind?  I bet you immediately think of some guy with a cock in his ass, or a very manly woman.  Because my theory is this, most men (who claim to be hetero) react so viserally against gay men, because they fear anal penetration.  But H-R why is your church opposed to same sex marriages?  Can homosexuals be members of the Mormon Church?  In many ways this does become the acid test of love, tolerance, acceptance, brotherhood, humanity.  Yet I venture to say, that all the christian, jewish, and islamic faiths, sects, cults, movement fail this one.

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By Val, September 13, 2006 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
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We are still waiting for a direct coherent answer – or ANY answer, for that matter – to the simple question now repeatedly posed here: “how do you, and your faith think about atheists? Homosexuals? Blacks? christians? Jews? How do the evanglelicals think about them? How do the Muslims think about them?  How do the catholics think about them?”

“I love and care about them,” comes the stock answer. “I admire those principles and individuals in each group that do much good. We invite them to take the truth they’ve obtained and obtain more, to go from being good people to better people.”

“Better,” of course, meaning our “Truth” is better than theirs, if “they” (all Others) will only accept and conform to it.

That’s how theocracies are built and run.

The charged emotional question raging in America and elsewhere about “gay marriage” is “dangerous” precisely because it so baldly reveals the tenuous thread holding our historically democratic republic together and preventing it from unraveling into a theocracy.

Everyone is granted equal civil rights in this country – atheists, Jews, Blacks, Christians – EXCEPT homosexuals. That group alone are denied some 1,100 civil laws simply because we won’t grant them equal civil rights to marry whom they love and raise their families, if any. Not to mention all the other discriminatory laws they face in jobs, housing, health care, etc., both overt and covert.

Why is this one group of some 30 million Americans denied equality?

There are no rational or scientific reasons. The sole reason is “Religion.”

The question is not how one “thinks” or “feels” about same-sex civil equality. The question is, “Do you believe same-sex Americans are fully deserving of equal civil rights to everybody else? If not, why?”

When the only basis for discrimination is “Religion,” the underlying motive becomes clear. “Because we want America to be a theocracy.”

That’s why you won’t get simple clear answers on this question. The last thing religionists will admit is the Truth. They, all of them, believe their cult possesses the Truth and everybody else is wrong. Sadly, or perhaps inevitably, they have winnowed their obsession with the Evil Other down to same-sex people – upon whom virtually all “Religions” seem to agree (no matter how mistranslated or misunderstood their “ancient teachings”).

“We all hate gays, thank God! We can’t stone adulterers any more, or there’d be nobody left in Congress. We can’t prohibit eating shellfish any more, or wearing garments woven from two different threads, because we’d sound too ridiculous. But, by God, we can still hate gays! As long as we say we ‘love the sinner and hate the sin.’”

Or, in H-R’s words, “I love and care about them.” That’s dandy. Now. How, H-R, would you vote and encourage other Americans to vote on granting this remaining group of us fully equal civil rights? In a coherent answer, say, less than 600 obfuscatory words?

Incidentally, a gay male friend recently said to me, calmly and quietly, “How do you think it feels to live your life every day knowing all your friends – even your lifelong ones – except maybe for you – don’t think I’m an equal human being?”

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By HiveRadical, September 12, 2006 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well then…
Tell me H-R, are you a Democrat or Republican?

I hope this isn’t some attempt to box me in as though I follow my party like I follow my faith. I’m a registered Republican, though I have several close friends who are both faithful members of my faith, and either registered Democrats or have admitedly voted recently for democrats. We have interesting discussions. I have a hard time seeing certain aspects of their choices, but they, in many ways have better grasps on things than I do. I try not to judge intentions or merits soley on outward actions. Too many do that in my home state of Utah.

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By Mary Wallman, September 11, 2006 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well then…
Tell me H-R, are you a Democrat or Republican?

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By HiveRadical, September 11, 2006 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

But tell me H-R how do you, and your faith think about atheists? Homosexuals? Blacks? christians? Jews?

archeon,

I love and care about them, I admire those principles and individuals in each group that do much good. We invite them to take the truth they’ve obtained and obtain more, to go from being good people to better people. Simply seeking to share one’s beliefs is not represion. Your insistance that ‘oppression’ is inherent whenever two individuals agree on principles, combined with a desire to eliminate what you view as ‘oppression’, is the inherent antithesis to any kind of social order of any kind, socialism or what have you.

Your insistance that this not be applied to the frame of my faith, that it rather take some all encompasing application, a sort of all or nothing, up or down vote compared to religion in general reminds me of individuals testing the structural integrity of their products only from angles they were used to testing, I mean it made it so much easier to know the situation in which the integrity of your product was going to be tested because you could focus your efforts in that one caveat and acheive success rather easily, but for some reason the public doesn’t like the idea that their containers for transporting the likes of spent nuclear fuel are only tested to withstand the most “likely” of collisions, with no thought to withstanding the 10-20% possible angles of collision, and hence structural compromize. You’ve found something you have that makes you feel safe with about 90% of the religious traditions you encounter so you want to keep the application limited to that, I understand that for the sake of the ease of answering that you’d take that approach, but I’d gotten the general view that intellectual integrity wasn’t about what percentage of alternate phillosophies you could defend against, rather I thought it was about the capacity to demonstrate ultimate superiority of one’s view OR if such is not available, to alter and adapt one’s views so that they get ever closer to such.

1-Being without beginning or end; existing outside of time.

2-Continuing without interruption; perpetual.
Forever true or changeless.

3-Seemingly endless.Something timeless, uninterrupted, or endless.

nothing there inherently limiting the term ‘eternal damnation’ to just a view of time. Eternal is a name of God, thus ‘Eternal punishment’ is God’s punishment, thus describing the unchanging nature BUT NOT inherently proclaiming something as endless in terms of time, simply as consistant and not changing.

The big bang is only one of many plausible universe origin theories.

Could you point out other ones? I haven’t seen any others get anywhere near the acceptance and press as the big bang, in fact no others come to mind, in school and in media and in all I’ve read the big bang has been assumed as being the best and reigning theory at this point.


Mary,


I can assure you that your perceptions are incorrect regarding the reasons for my reply and the position I am in.

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By Mary Wallman, September 10, 2006 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HR - I see you arguing semantics passionately, but surely ideas here distress you enough to keep you coming back to defend your faith.  I hope it depresses you, that would be a good sign.  Having the holes in your theory of faith pointed out to you without fail is a good exercise in investigating those ideas you maybe haven’t ever questioned.  I believe you are approaching an existential crisis.

I have faith in that.

When constructs fall away from a compression of facts that press upon them, it is disappointing.  This is okay.  Pressure makes diamonds.  Life continues without our sweet permission—until it doesn’t.  Carpe Diem, my friend, carpe diem.

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By archeon, September 10, 2006 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eternal:

1-Being without beginning or end; existing outside of time.

2-Continuing without interruption; perpetual.
Forever true or changeless.

3-Seemingly endless.Something timeless, uninterrupted, or endless.

The big bang is only one of many plausible universe origin theories.

I really enjoy hearing about the angle Moroni - one wonders why they aren’t called Morons?  And the text “The book of Morons”?  Just thinking outloud here….LOL

So you are saying that Martin Luther King’s politics came from his religion, and not from the fact that his people had been enslaved, abused, tortured, lynched, raped, sold, kidnapped, degraded by god fearing american christians?  As for Newton, his theories on mathematics and the nature of the world came not because of the church and his faith but rather inspite of it. 

And what about the fake egyptian hieroglyphic tables that Joe Smith claimed to have found in upstate New York.  And what about the racist drivel from the mouth of Bringham Young?

Yet we return again to how do I know the truth and I am directed to the Bible and the Book or Mormon.  The classic circular fall back of the faithful.

But H-R I am not attacking you, or your faith in particular.  I am sure that if we met in person a lively and interesting debate and dicussion would take place.  Please stop framing all my points in the context of your faith alone.  The crux of my argument is that religions have an inherent danger, and present a ongoing threat to the liberty, life, prosperity of unbelievers ,non-believers, and other-beleivers.  All religions find their source in homogenious communities with limited diversity and only a small divergence of theology, phylosophy, and world view.  Often and possibly always these communities were under threat of destruction from other similarly homogenious communities, and thus the faiths tend to have an underlying context of a struggle for survival that mirrored the struggle between good and evil in the theology.  This is why the various religions see those who believe differently, or not at all as a threat.  This is why the various religions see those living a different life (I do not use “style” because it is meaninglesss and silly) as a threat.  Inevitably those living outside one of these religions found either by determined action of a messianic founder, or by association with others of like mind a religion/world view/theology/cosmology/phylosophy.  And thus we return as we always must to the foundation of religions, people searching for ways to find and justify meaning of themselves in this world now.  In the end the factuality of the religions details are not important, but rather weather or not these (the details, assumptions, rituals, theology) allow us to live in harmony and brotherhood with those who believe something other.

Lets teach science in the schools, religion in the churches and homes, and lets please let the political debates center on how we can better life for all of our citizens.  But there again we encounter danger, because religions tell us which is the correct and proper life to lead.  And I don’t want to live that life, I want to lead my life.  But I, like Mark Twain or maybe it was Groucho Marx, wouldn’t be a member of any club that whould have me. When ever two or more people get together and agree on a set of truths the oppression of all others begins.

Religions are dangerous because they claim to know the truth. This means that seen from any religions particular point of view all those who believe other wise are wrong.  Now the details vary from religion to religion but generally the way of dealing with those wrong believers is convert them to the faith, or send them to their god.  Attempts at conversion may simply involve debate or may involve subtle threats - but generally involve the threat of eternal (endless in time and intensity) damnation and death.  But the final and religiously justified solution is the destruction of those communities that believe something other.

But tell me H-R how do you, and your faith think about atheists? Homosexuals? Blacks? christians? Jews?  How do the evanglelicals think about them? How do the Muslims think about them?  How do the catholics think about them?

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By HiveRadical, September 10, 2006 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have a problem. To me it seems simple. Black and white. Either something is true or it’s not. My problem has to do with Lies. Particularly problematic for me? Lies that are so easily exposed, yet continue to be promulgated as “truths.”

Case in point? A welcome member of this thread who states he or she is a Christian “through and through” and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In point of fact, most “Christians” (and certainly not Evangelicals) do not consider Mormons to be Christians at all. They are, instead, likened to a “cult.”

Does it matter what other groups classify us as? Look at the definition of a Christian. I assure you that I fit it.

Typical of the internecine squabbling among all religionists over who posses the “real” truth.

Here, some facts.

Joseph Smith in 1827, led by the “Angel Moroni” (his personal inner vision, in other words) “discovered” ancient golden tablets hidden lo these many ages in, uh, upstate New York. That’s right. Upstate New York. That’s where “they” hid them! These supposed revelations were later proved to be fake “Egyptian” hieroglyphs. They’re not much talked about any more, because the episode is so embarrassing. Yet they remain the foundation of the Mormon “faith.”

That’s patently false. The Book of Mormon, as inscribed on thee original Gold plates, was in a language termed ‘reformed Egyptian’. I’m not sure if you’re privy to much of Egyptology. I would recommend a gander into it (especially before embarasing yourself) but the various forms of egyptian can have such disperate differences between each other and across the board that in general an Egyptologist that specializes in the writtings of one era and/or classification will be lost in the writtings and symbols from another. I wish I could scan in and demonstrate to you the variations in the word “Ammon” through the ages and styles of Heiroglyphic writting. You would see three symbols of varying complexity that had no discernable similarities YET indicated the very same name, simply being expressed in three different forms of Heiroglyphic writting.

Faith in forgery, in other words.

It is a claim you cannot substantiate. It is wrong and I defy you to demonstrate such.

Then Brigham Young, namesake of Brigham Young University, declared:

“You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind…and the Lord has put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and the black skin.” (Journal of Discourses, vol.7pp.290-91)

Until 1978, anyone with Negro blood was not allowed to hold the Mormon priesthood. Indeed, Mormon missionaries were instructed to avoid proselytizing black people.

Lifting the ban in 1978 does nothing for the status of black people in Mormon historical theology. The ban has been lifted as a matter of political expediency. The curse remains as a matter of fundamental doctrine.

You speak out of ignorance. Here’s a presentation and a reference to a book that sheds more light on the subject—

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

http://www.sonofham.com/

The Mormon Church simply had a convenient revelation that gives the impression of leaving racism behind while leaving it enshrined in their scriptures and their most fundamental doctrines of God and man. Black skin is still explained in Mormon scripture as a mark of rebellion and unfaithfulness.

The skin is not the curse. The curse has been lifted.

The Top Secret “Temple Ceremony” – now widely available on the internet thanks to disillusioned Mormons – was finally revised in 1990, when even Mormons found portions too offensive.

One reason? Until 1990, Christian Ministers appeared in a derogatory role, as paid servants of Lucifer.

That’s right: Christian ministers are paid servants of Satan.

Mormons see a panoramic view of man’s “progress” from a pre-mortal existence with God, through a mortal probation, to an eternity determined by the individual’s obedience to the Mormon gospel.

Once one has reached the stage of being “ready” to be invited to partake of the “Temple Ceremony” (i.e. sufficiently tested to make sure they’ll obey and tithe no matter WHAT they’re taught), they’re given a set of “Holy Underwear.”

That’s right: Holy Undergarments.

One could go on. One won’t.

A question arises that if they are secret how is it you claim to know them? Why are they available in full context to anyone who wants to join and fullfill the requirements for such? Why are we trying to get everyone we can to witness these themselves in the full context of being prepared for such?

They’ll yell, “But you’re taking it out of context!”

If you are is that not a legitimate claim? Do you live a life where any portion of it could be presented by itself to an uninformed group and have it present the true you? If you have such a life you’d be the first individual I’ve ever come upon to have such.

Always the fall-back statement of those caught in falsehoods.

Is it logical to take a trait shared by those who lie and those who tell the truth and claim that since your perception has been one way that ALL claiming that trait are inherently the liars? If so I don’t envy your life and the relationships that such an attitude would engender.

Or, second favorite knee-jerk reaction: “How DARE you mock my religion?” As if telling the truth were mockery, instead of lies mocking the truth.

If you are intentionally mocking my religion I’d question the logical and rational basis for such. As I’ve seen with various aspects of science, logic, other peoples closely held beliefs, and other religions in general it’s generally pretty easy to reach some point of discovery or perceived discovery and think to one’s self “who on earth would believe such a thing?” But often I realize these reactions are, in my limited experience, born of ignorance on the observers part.

In what context, exactly, is it all right to demonize people with dark skin as “deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind?”

Do you have any knowledge of that day and time? Even the great emancipator shared such views. A prophet is not someone that’s perfect or right in absolutely every thing they ever say, it’s not someone free from mistakes—look at the account of Moses, he claimed at one point that he was the one that was responsible for the sustaining miracles Israel had in the wilderness and, as a result, never entered the Promised Land himself, that doesn’t mean he was rejected as a prophet. Then there’s also the fact that assumptions are made on both sides. To pretend to know exactly what was said and meant by such is beyond pretentious. If we were so stringent and literal, as I’ve mentioned before, the intircacies of quantum level mechanics would clash with previously accepted claims learned early on in Physics and Science courses.

In what context, exactly, is it okay to claim that knowingly forged “Golden Tablets” are God’s revelation?

In what context is it okay to claim something as certain (such as a forgery) when you cannot substantiate such claims?

Of course, one is free to “believe” and have “faith” in anything.

Something you make patently obvious in your erroneous and unsupportable claim of forgery. A claim I again defy you to defend.

Here’s my problem. I’m asked to “respect” the intelligence and “beliefs” of somebody whose foundation for their “beliefs” is conformity to teachings about forged “Golden Tablets,” misogyny, racism and continuing lies.

And I’m asked to listen to and seriously consider a person who’s claims about MY faith, a faith this person has demonstrably little working knowledge of, are patently wrong and/or unsubstantiable and I’m suppose to take that persons words and determinations on the absolute nature of their erroneous views and wrong-headed generalizations and respond to them.

I’m asked to respect people who have no respect for anybody outside their “belief” system, in other words.

How is it you come to the conclusion that I have no respect for anyone outside my belief system? It’s an arrogant and false claim. It’s founded on your misconceptions and rash judgements as to what constitutes my faith.

I’m asked to pass laws – even amend the United States Constitution – in accordance with their “beliefs.”

I’ve never asked you to do such simply because of my beliefs. I ask you to do such for the welfare of society based on simple principles of logic and reason. There are plenty of such outside the doctrines of my faith to advocate and pass the proposed amendment on the definition of marriage.

My problem is presuming intelligence on the part of such people.

It’s becoming somewhat evident that just about all you are doing is presuming to know things about me and my faith rather than trying to in reality know things or learn that such presumptions of our faith are possibly in error. You are so determined in what you wish to see that your presumptions are showing themselves to be more than mere presumptions.

I like sheep as much as the next person. Herd ‘em, if you will.

I suppose the backwardness and anti-intellectual items of my faith are what have led to the creation of the television by one of our adherents, the Eyring equation in chemical kinetics, from your presumptions, is just a fluke of luck to have eminated from a man that would raise up one of his sons to be one of the leaders of our Faith today. We are such sheep like that all we do is follow the crowd, that’s why we had an extermination order placed on our people by the Govenor of Missouri, that’s why the university sponsered by our church is among the top three authorities in the world on ancient manuscripts, that’s why BYU prophesors are helping to utilize imaging technology to read previously undecipherable texts from places like pompeii. We’re such sheep that our Church is building a library that will be open to the public in which our archives will be available to anyone who wants to walk in and study such. We’re such ‘sheeple’ that the friends I went to school with are going into everything from bio-medical engineering, to pharmasuticals, to medical school, to being mathmatitians, to becoming linguists, to electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, english majors and all these coming out of schools deemed ‘at risk’ for their low-income neighborhood drawing pool. If that’s what constitutes ‘sheeple’, if joining in with the cutting edge of science, philosophy, sociology is being sheeple then I’d dare say most participants on this site share that title. All the mind numbing of institutions, so few of them actually institutions of religion. If you really look at it the nature of society in general is turning us into some form or another, to some principle, institution, ideology or another into some kind of conformist.

The ‘individuality’ you seek and implicitly claim to profess, if it’s something lost in aligning with and ideology or institution, then I’m certain you are not as much an ‘individual’ as you would like to imagine yourself.

I’m not willing to be led to the slaughterhouse of Intelligence and become their veal.

If you don’t even know you’re walking into it then your desires are rather moot points. Those who think they are free of any such bias entaglements are those who’ve bought one of the most egregious of all bill of goods available.

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By Val, September 10, 2006 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have a problem. To me it seems simple. Black and white. Either something is true or it’s not. My problem has to do with Lies. Particularly problematic for me? Lies that are so easily exposed, yet continue to be promulgated as “truths.”

Case in point? A welcome member of this thread who states he or she is a Christian “through and through” and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In point of fact, most “Christians” (and certainly not Evangelicals) do not consider Mormons to be Christians at all. They are, instead, likened to a “cult.”

Typical of the internecine squabbling among all religionists over who posses the “real” truth.

Here, some facts.

Joseph Smith in 1827, led by the “Angel Moroni” (his personal inner vision, in other words) “discovered” ancient golden tablets hidden lo these many ages in, uh, upstate New York. That’s right. Upstate New York. That’s where “they” hid them! These supposed revelations were later proved to be fake “Egyptian” hieroglyphs. They’re not much talked about any more, because the episode is so embarrassing. Yet they remain the foundation of the Mormon “faith.”

Faith in forgery, in other words.

Then Brigham Young, namesake of Brigham Young University, declared:

“You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind…and the Lord has put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and the black skin.” (Journal of Discourses, vol.7pp.290-91)

Until 1978, anyone with Negro blood was not allowed to hold the Mormon priesthood. Indeed, Mormon missionaries were instructed to avoid proselytizing black people.

Lifting the ban in 1978 does nothing for the status of black people in Mormon historical theology. The ban has been lifted as a matter of political expediency. The curse remains as a matter of fundamental doctrine.

The Mormon Church simply had a convenient revelation that gives the impression of leaving racism behind while leaving it enshrined in their scriptures and their most fundamental doctrines of God and man. Black skin is still explained in Mormon scripture as a mark of rebellion and unfaithfulness.

The Top Secret “Temple Ceremony” – now widely available on the internet thanks to disillusioned Mormons – was finally revised in 1990, when even Mormons found portions too offensive.

One reason? Until 1990, Christian Ministers appeared in a derogatory role, as paid servants of Lucifer.

That’s right: Christian ministers are paid servants of Satan.

Mormons see a panoramic view of man’s “progress” from a pre-mortal existence with God, through a mortal probation, to an eternity determined by the individual’s obedience to the Mormon gospel.

Once one has reached the stage of being “ready” to be invited to partake of the “Temple Ceremony” (i.e. sufficiently tested to make sure they’ll obey and tithe no matter WHAT they’re taught), they’re given a set of “Holy Underwear.”

That’s right: Holy Undergarments.

One could go on. One won’t.

They’ll yell, “But you’re taking it out of context!”

Always the fall-back statement of those caught in falsehoods.

Or, second favorite knee-jerk reaction: “How DARE you mock my religion?” As if telling the truth were mockery, instead of lies mocking the truth.

In what context, exactly, is it all right to demonize people with dark skin as “deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind?”

In what context, exactly, is it okay to claim that knowingly forged “Golden Tablets” are God’s revelation?

Of course, one is free to “believe” and have “faith” in anything.

Here’s my problem. I’m asked to “respect” the intelligence and “beliefs” of somebody whose foundation for their “beliefs” is conformity to teachings about forged “Golden Tablets,” misogyny, racism and continuing lies.

I’m asked to respect people who have no respect for anybody outside their “belief” system, in other words.

I’m asked to pass laws – even amend the United States Constitution – in accordance with their “beliefs.”

My problem is presuming intelligence on the part of such people.

I like sheep as much as the next person. Herd ‘em, if you will.

I’m not willing to be led to the slaughterhouse of Intelligence and become their veal.

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By HiveRadical, September 10, 2006 at 2:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thankyou Val, very good.  And Mary also.  As for HiveRadical, you consitentely go back to the same point, that articles of faith are fact.  They are not.  The creation story of your faith, or christians, of any faith are from the beginnig to the end based on faith, and lack any type of factual basis.

You confuse fact and conclusivness. I’ve never claimed sufficient evidence or fact for a conclusive empirically shareable demonstration of my views and faith. If that existed I wouldn’t call it my ‘faith’. Your fundamental misunderstanding of what constitutes fact vs. conclusive proof is the issue.

The following is a classic example of a false assumption on your part regarding my faith—

God cannot be both all loving and at the same time condem some of us to eternal damnation and prepetual pain.

“eternal” is not a descriptor of time, it’s a descriptor of intensity and severity. Everyone at some point will be saved from pain and suffering as presently known.

You see the issues you run into with your assumptions. The above point, like all others I’ve seen you present, isn’t accurate of my view and does nothing to further your point when I compare it to my faith. This isn’t a reworking of my faith when I do this, it’s simply a demonstration of all of your egregious and illogical generalizations about the intrinsic nature of faith in the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

The bible cannot be both allegorical and literal, it can, but we would be unable to tell which part is which, thus a perfect god would have created an imperfect text

Unless it was consistantly both OR unless God made spritual discernment available to all who sought it and didn’t judge people beyond the light they had. And never intended for one medium to be the sole medium of communication and guidance.

You seem to present an endless supply of these error saturated assumptions

As for your faith being a restoration of the true faith of god going back to adam, assumes that the existance of adam is a fact.

All physics assumes the big bang is a fact, despite the current revevlation that the microwave shadowing predicted by the theory is not occuring in sufficient instances and to sufficient degrees to support at all any present view holding to the big bang. Does that mean you abandon the big bang because you can’t prove it happened? Do you disregard all the other evidence pointing to such and the fact that no other presented theory got as far as the big bang has DESPITE the present issues? I think you generally, following the tendancy of science logic and reason as practiced by man over time, take it in stride and don’t utterly dump something just because the present conseption of such is refuted by known evidence. You relook at what you know and you try to find what you’re assuming and what you think you know, but you don’t, and then, as often occures, you find where you had a mistaken assumption, fix it, and all of the sudden that original hypothesis again looks as plausible as it did before. If you do it with the Big Bang, something you cannot conclusively prove, then what’s the issue with doing it with an account of creation shared by many ancient texts? Certainly they have variations, but no other theme is as consistant.

  This is even less factual than the claim that Jesus existed, yet both are articles of faith not fact.

Then over 90 percent of history currently accepted must share that categorization as ‘articles of faith’ as none of it is as scientifically verifiable in like manner as you demand of the simple assertion of the existance of a man by the name of Jesus who had a following.

If he didn’t exist then could you provide us a more plausible explanation for all that is presently available?

  Or are we to assume that “adam” is an allegorical figure?  Was eve created from one of adam’s ribs? Or is this too somesort of allegory?

It could be both. One needs but look at the existance of Chimera and twins and such things to have both be true. Not only may Eve be symbolically neither below adam, nor above him but nigh to his heart, but her acutal physical constituence may have, in one way or another, had a physical tie to a rib of his in conception. I know what headaches this creates for your view. I have to come along and say that it might either be consistantly both allegorical OR simply a component in God’s tie to his Children here, either way it undermines your claims to God’s perfections because if sufficiency is found in his total system than your claims of inperfection are mute because they are founded on the assumption that a mere component of God’s plan must have sufficiency after you’ve removed if from context. Like ripping out an eye, proving the eye on the table can’t see, then proclaiming triumph for demonstrating the insufficiency of the eye in performing it’s task.

And as for defining what “exists” means, maybe you and bill clinton have a lot in common.  Language is based on assuming common definitions of words and the underlying concepts that those words are placeholders for.

Are you saying that Justice may not be just a construct of the human mind? I mean the whole thing that’s stressed in liberating the sciences is to realize that the constructs we create, the names we give and the borders and delineations we draw up are simply labels we give to different perceptions and orderings in our own minds. To imply that I’m lying simply for asking for you to prove the existance of things you simply assert the existance of and so place me as doing a clintonesque job of ignoring the definitions of words certainly smells of an implicit ad hom.. If I go on talking about things like ‘Jesus’ or ‘God’ you question their facutality, why should other concepts tied to metaphysics be held to a different standard? Why do you get to bring up concepts with no questions asked but if I do it I’m lying like Clinton did by ignoring definitions? How sad, irrational and illogical.

“Not so. A restoration view has us tied, in human terms, back to Adam, and in ontological terms to eternal co-existance with God through all previous states and times BEFORE the present state.”

Now there is an all encompassing statement and explantion of your theology, yet still assumes that “Adam” is a fact - he is not, he is an article of abrahamic faith.

And how many scientific statements go on faith that the theories they reference are true? Is it illogical then to pursue something simply because it makes assumptions about the system in which it is claimed to be opperating? If so I can’t think of a single claim in science itself that’s not dependent on such.

  I do not accept the existance of an Adam, because real world biological facts, the evidence of evolution, and geological history speak against it.

Presently available data about the universe speaks against the Big Bang, yet I’m not going to abandon IT as an event. You take apparent contradictions and assume that they, in the current limited, finite, assumption grounded context, are completely and for all time shown to be sufficiently wrong for you to not accept any of the evidence available. If any real scientist did this they’d throw out the big bang theory today rather than wade through the presently seeming contradictory data to find the issues possible in their views and perceptions RATHER than to simply assume that their present views and perceptions are sufficient and, as the saying goes, “throw the baby out with the bath water.”

H-R I am sorry to say your theology is an intellectual and spiritual dead end.  Why do you insist on questioning the existance of justice and equity?

I’m not questioning their existence. If you think I’m doing that then you’re misunderstanding entirely. What I’m questioning is your capacity to prove their existance. And with such I’m
demonstrating the discrepancy in your overall view in rejecting something simply because there’s no rational or logical conclusive proof for it.

Yet you promote “freedom” as something to hold high and valuable?  Maybe freedom is also and illusion?

Exactly my point. You demand the kind of proof for one element of metaphysics it would only be logical to answer them all. The fact that you don’t do it demonstrates the illogical nature of your application of thought to the whole of your understanding.

I take things on faith. You have also, you just haven’t acknowledged such in all areas of your life.

  Truth be though that neither of these exist - because they are not things, they are concepts, created by humans to allow us to live in communities and societies in relative peace and harmony.

Ahh… so you are consistant. Now it’s okay to talk about things that don’t really exist so long as they allow us to live in communities and societies in ‘relative peace and harmony’—the issue now being that even peace and harmony have the same issues of existance.

Relativity and the ‘genious’ of a world certain of the non-existance’ of the very things it rests upon in an attempt to fight entropy.

  They did not come from god, we created them because they are neccessary so that communities, cultures, and societies can be.  You know quite well what they mean, and what they are.

With your ‘relative’ view, how can I be sure?

But as always we move from the crux of this thread.  That religious fanatics, whipped up into a frenzy by other fanatics, threatened western liberal democractic ideals that our forfathers(mothers) died for.  That these are for the moment Muslims is beside the point, for they merely exhibit the undelying danger of religion.  Religion is dangerous to freeedom, democracy, justice, and equity because it does not answer to us, to the people, to mankind, but rather to a disembodied god/messiah/founder etc.

How is that any different than claiming to base the relative adhesion of your society to things you consider to be imaginary and fabricated concepts for the human mind to advance some reasonless need to fight entropy? You claim to work towards something you admit doesn’t exist at all but to simply hold society together in a way that’s just relatively more ‘peaceful’ or ‘harmonious’. Nature, with all it’s carnage can be rather harmonious in terms of supporting a diversity of life, the desolate areas of space certainly speak a form of peace in terms of no action or noise or perceivable anything. If everything’s relative, and it’s all rooted in the imagination then why should I not see your claims that I worship an imaginary being in my bid to see what I perceive as peace and harmony as being triumphant if you admitadly are doing the EXACT SAME THING??? Only you are pretending that your pretending is superior to my ‘pretending’. So if this is all pretending as you see it what differentiates the value applied to pretended goals? Is yours simply better because it’s one you thought of and one that brings us nigh to your ‘peace’ and your ‘harmony’?

  Religion, and especially those founded on the abrahamic tradition are dangerous because they worship death and fail to celebrate life.

You think the promise of posterity that would rival the number of stars in the heavens or sands of the earth in number is a FAILURE to celebrate life????????????? How is the promotion of giving birth to as many children as possible and giving them the best and happiest upbringing possible a worshipping of death? You have some screwy views.

  The religious are DANGEROUS because they, as do you, believe god is on their side, that they know god’s will, that they know truth.

And those who admit that they believe in things that are imaginary constructs of society intended to further yet other imaginary constructs of society AND claim that every one pretends but THEIR pretending is the supperior one are MORE SAFE?

Escuz meh?

I offer as evidence against religion, that is has never been a force for liberation, for justice, for equity, for change.

The Reverend Martin Luther King was all for suppression then? What about old Sir Isaac Newton. Wrote more about his faith in the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob than he did about the laws of physics and STILL managed to liberate the world by providing them with one of the most revolutionary views of physics the known world had seen up to that point.

  It has always (ALWAYS) been an instrument of repression, of control, of injustice, of hate, of bigotry, of racism, of mysogony.

That’s why the largest and oldest known continuously present women’s organization in the world is the Relief Society. An organization of women formed by Joseph Smith and his wife Emma in the first half of the 18th Century.

There are at least 10000 religions in the world today, so why is the one based on adam the correct one?  How do I know this is the one?

You have to want to know to the degree of sacrifice. Just as no one will know if the present information on microwave shadows will disprove the Big Bang or validate it untill someone makes a leap of faith and continues to sacrifice what they need to untill they discover some alternate explanation and revision to bring the evidence in line with a revised theory.

If you aren’t in your heart and mind ready to respond to God, and in theory he’s aware of such, why would he force himself upon you? Where’s the mercy and justice and chance for self validation in that? If we are good only because God forces us to be then we aren’t really good. So you have to really want an answer. Then you have to seek it like you would seek an answer to the likes of the presented issue with the big bang.

Isn’t it far more likely that if 9999 are wrong that the last one is also wrong?

If right and wrong were certain based on probability it wouldn’t be called probability. Don’t throw the good out with the dross, unless you don’t want any of it, in which case you will get, or not get, according to your desires.

  What do you offer me as proof of the validity of this one relgious tradition?

The Book of Mormon and the promise of God found therein.

  How do I know that the religion of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc is the one?

Take test God offers in the book. Test God.

Yes all people lie.  Some of us don’t even know we are lying.  We lie to others, but most of all we lie to ourselves.

We are all hypocrites too. Some of us in areas we are not necesarily ourselves aware of.

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By HiveRadical, September 10, 2006 at 1:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just for starters I get the impression that Mary and Val think more peacable and possibly isolationist paths would be better against the Islamists? Things like withdrawing from the middle East and distancing ourselves from Israel? archeon seems more dead set, though he may want us out of Iraq and the mid-East and isolated from Israel in general I get the feel that he has a definative millitant edge in his views above and beyond Mary and Val. Am I incorrect in this analysis? It’s what I feel I’ve distilled from the content and tone of your posts.

On to answering Val==

And so we return, as we must, to the once and future link between religion and politics.

Certainly they are never entirely seperable.

Today (9/8/06) is interesting, since the just-released bi-partisan 9/11 Commission’s 400 page report unequivocally states there was no link whatsoever between Sadaam and Al Quaida or between Iraq and 9/11. Yet some 40% of Americans still believe there was, thanks to right wing propaganda.

Physical link no. Elemental link yes. That’s the link that concerns me.

In the Arab world there’s a saying ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend (an old Syrian friend of my Father would relate that to us).

Sadam didn’t need to have litteral ties to al Quaida. The tie of the element of terror and it’s advocacy against the west was enough. Whether they worked together is irrelevant if they exercised the same method of attack against the same targets. Sadaam paid the families of Terrorists and vocally called for attacks on america. I may think this is distracting all the more from the principle root this thread/article seeks to address it needs answering.

What has this to do with this thread?

Plenty.

Upwards of 3,000 American troops (so far) have been killed, another 10,000 or so permanently maimed, and another 100,000 or so Iraqis slaughtered because of lies told by America’s “faith-based” religious right administration. Lies that, incredibly and despite documented facts, are still believed by the “faithful.”

I can buy claims of incompetency. But the harpy-esque cry of LIE! is disingenuous to me as I’ve looked at these things, I’d dare say, at least as closely as you have. With the measuring stick you are using I don’t think a war to date fought by this country couldn’t be shown to be founded on as many and as egregious of lies as you

Also today, we are privy to the behind-the-scenes machinations of one of America’s largest and most powerful MSM (ABC / Disney) to produce right wing TV propaganda and indoctrinate our nation’s teachers and students (through “study guides”) with lies purporting to be the truth, in “The Path to 9/11.”

‘right wing’ ‘propaganda’? The of this did a movie in 02 called 10,000 Blackmen Named George—here’s a link with explanations on the movie, hardly what I’d see you painting as some ‘fascistic’ or ‘right wing’ propeganda.

Columnist Max Blumenthal documents it thoroughly, today. One snip:

“In fact, ‘The Path to 9/11’ is produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias. This is the network within the ABC network. Its godfather is far right activist David Horowitz, who has worked for more than a decade to establish a right-wing presence in Hollywood and to discredit mainstream film and TV production. On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11’s director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to ‘transform Hollywood’ in line with its messianic vision.”

Read his full column here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/discover- the-secret-right_b_29015.html

Note the phrase, “secretive evangelical religious” group.

Why secretive? Because their beliefs and lust for power are well in the minority. They cannot be open or honest lest their dogma and fascism be exposed.

“Why secretive?” What do you mean? They stated that they wanted to change hollywood to be more in line with their values. That’s the goals of every person that goes to hollywood to make more than money? The only inclination towards secretive is a label applied by your side to try and make it look insidious or scary. I’ve always thought myself and those in my political and social persuasion have been rather open and forthright about how we’d like to change the media in general to better match our views of propriety, that’s what the left’s been doing with ‘political correctness’ for so many years. What kind of inane attempt at scaremongering is this, this conflict is not secretive and has been going on for along time with people from both sides trying to silence some voices and raise up others. Generally we’re rather open about it.

Who are the religious right? Certainly not most Christians or Jews. They are, rather, the estimated (Pew and Gallup polls) 23% of America’s 80% who say they are religious. They are fundamentalists who call themselves Evangelicals. When you include the 20% of Americans who are non-religious, the religious right represents less than 20% of America. But they are determined to use any means necessary to force their narrow minority religious views on the other 80% of us.

Where are they forcing minority religious views in giving an accurate docudrama portrayal of what got us 9/11???

They are exclusively Republicans. They are determined to control this country, indeed the world, and you.

What BS. Certainly world domination was fortold by Christ—“The meek shall inherit the earth” the irony however is that such is not acheived by forcing anyone to do anything, that’s not what meek people do. Putting a docudrama on the air is not forcing you to believe anything.

They will stop at nothing.

Why?

Because, like all religionists, they’ve been trained and conditioned for millennia to accept lies as truths and fight to the death to protect their “Honor.”

What “honor?” Lies? Deceit? Dishonesty?

This is all founded on a false view of what it is to be a ‘religionist’. How do you define such? Anyone that has a religion? Do you feel I’m a religionist?

If one has even a modicum of respect for the “Ten Commandments” (which predate the fictional existence of “Moses” and whose origins are lost in antiquity, though generally attributed to the “Code of Hamurabi”) one must honor the commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

Tough to follow, when one’s very religion is based on nothing BUT false witness.

Demonstrate that my faith is based on ‘false witness.’

Where religions once were allegorical cultures pointing to valid personal inner discoveries,

The very history of the first evidence of writting known to us at present doesn’t present such a history of religion. Writting itself is termed to be holy and religion is first evidenced as fully developed and taken as litteral as the rituals were they performed..

they’ve long since become cultures of lies devoted to group-think and the creation of “sheeple” blindly following all-powerful shepherds in more or less colorful robes, in more or less palatial stables.

The word “re-ligion” meant “to know again.” The allegories guided one toward that.

Here’s an allegory for you—

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/jacob/5

But today the question is, “Do you believe in God?” Not, “Do you know God?”

I think it’s both.

The difference is between believing in Santa Claus and knowing the spirit of giving; between believing the sun rises and sets and knowing the earth rotates on its axis as it orbits our life-giving star.

Compared to “knowing,” “believing” is childish.

believing<having faith<knowing

Your view is full of assumptions taken. Things you don’t know. Things you merely believe you don’t necesarily act upon, things you believe and act upon you place faith in (such as your ability to discern the status of faith and religion in general) things beyond that you know. Your problem is that you take things you merely have faith in and elevate them to the status of knowledge, by this you claim that both things I have faith in and things I know are not plausible, yet your whole judgement and argument pivots on the assumptions you’ve made, not the construct you run them through. So I question the validity of your claims and you are ready to call me anti-reason or anti-ration or anti-science. I’m not against any of those as processes. i’m simply pointing out the failures in your assumptions and the misatributions in your final analysis.

Which, of course, is precisely where religions would have you: not “knowing” on your own but “believing” in their false witness and dogma.

Not all religions. Certainly some claiming religion would keep down people. But your secular ideology seeks to have you claiming to know when you really don’t. To claim sufficiency in your analysis and disregard your terribly limited scope and the terrible consequences of your broad and sweeping assumptions, generalizations etc.

And supporting, by your “belief” and your tithes, their infinitely insidious attempts to propagandize (with lies and threats) and control the world.

One has only to look at today’s revelations about ABC’s fascistic attempt to indoctrinate American voters and its youth with “false witness” – or the 9/11 Commission’s conclusions – to know the truth of how dangerously far America has fallen, and continues to plummet, under “faith based” psychoses.

I find it funny that an individual that claims so staunchly to be adverse to dogma is so bold in proclaiming the contents and makeup of a docudrama that she, in all likelyhood, has not seen. What a ‘believer’ she is in the claims of the likes of clintons lawyers.

I can’t think of a single docudrama that couldn’t have the same claims of untruthfullness made against it. Docudramas take artistic liscense and combine it with facts. The result is never meant to be unadulterated truth, rather a representation of the rough image of such. The scenes so disputed certainly didn’t happen, but they are based and formulated to be resemblances and attempts to explain a multitude of incidents that DID happen and ARE verifiable facts. Mr. Sandy and Clinton and cry at the top of their lungs that the show is false and they are completely right on a technical level. But if you want to take that angle then science text books lie to children when they show them the Bohr atomic model. The thing I hope we all eventually learn is that “docudrama” and “model” are words that inherently imply a certain level of deviant liscense. They are used to represent situations that are not privy and will not be made privy to us BUT because of surrounding certifiable evidences we can conclude that FOR THE INTENDED PURPOSE they sufficiently portray some semblance of a likely scenario that would produce the evidence and facts that are certifiable.

So claim lies and such. If that’s your definition of a lie then I’d dare say most of the science you learned in school, history you learn or hear or read presently could be shown to in like manner be a lie. The truth of the matter is that we communicate is symbols and with modus operandis that are not exacting and perfect all the time. If you want to take such and blame it for all the problems and call it all a lie then go ahead and do so. But in so doing you are being unreasonable and revealing a degree of ignorance about how humans communicate.

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By Mary Wallman, September 9, 2006 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Atoms are readilly available for direct testing, the men and women of the days of the Bible, with their constituent physical possessions are not as readilly accessable.” - HR.

—This is exactly why we shouldn’t depend upon the religious texts.  They spring from the primitive ideas of primitive people & times.  If David Blaine could travel back in time, there may have been a book written for him, describing him as a god.  No offense, but really!  There is no comparison to the sophistication of our societies.

“The math to the ‘common logic’ of the masses makes no sense, yet the more and more of it you learn and discover the more and more that appears to be the truth yet defies the conventions of the common logic.”—what is that?  How does one pay bills with this kind of thinking?

History repeats itself, gets re-written and now with the new tool of the internet and trusty TV propaganda, the coffers of candidates are lined with special interest money that gives them access to a think tank that can create their designer platforms to sway swing voters—as we saw happen in the south as the southern belles abandoned John Kerry for Dubbya.  At least this isn’t a static system like Catholicism.  There is no law, for instance, against a woman becoming president.

If there Are no absolutes in math and science HR, how can there BE an absolute, ominscient, omnipresent god?  We wouldn’t be able to grasp it—it being so far out of our frame of processing and interpretation.  Even if an absolute god slapped us in the face, we would probably (dis)miss it,  it’s like explaining a Tet Offensive to a frog.  Oh, perhaps we can achieve glimpses of the higher dimensions, but the more I learn about physiology, chemistry and psychology, the more I understand how easy it would be for ignorant, displaced and/or poor people to seek outside of themselves Something to deliver them from their plight in life.  That is a natural inclination, but sooner or later we must grow up and accept our lot in life: “I am 5ft. tall, I will never be a pro-basketball player.”

People hold grudges and resentments against—and adorations and admirations FOR their own family members for years based on misunderstandings.  Sometimes we take those misconceptions to the grave with us.  Missed opportunities.  It is easy to satisfy yourself and make yourself right for a lifetime if you choose to stay stagnant and static in your views.  That is not the path I have chosen, and I have found myself; finally, by taking religion out of the equation.  What years I have wasted looking and waiting for something to materialize before for me that doesn’t respect or appreciate those years I have tithed enough to even say “Hi…I’m here.” 

Guess what, I am here.  That is all that matters now.  If I live a life that raises the bar somehow for future generations, I have done my job.  That is my standard.  Shall none of my good deeds go unpunished just because I failed to “see the light?”  Hardly seems fair…

I’m all good with that.  I cannot prevent anything from happening after I die, not even the desecration of my dead body by grave robbers—but I can do something today, while I am living, breathing and becoming the expression that will culminate into finally: a death.  Perhaps we have both arrived at the same place by different paths?  So you get to live forever in heaven and I don’t get membership?  Charles Manson gets in so long as he believes?  That just doesn’t make sense to me.

“I can’t go interview Moses any more than I can interview any greek philosopher. Does this inability prove that one or the other didn’t exist or that their claims are inherntly untrue? I mean if someone can fake the Bible then what’s to say an ancient greek philosopher wasn’t merely a grand conspiracy by a bunch of ‘thrill’ seeking geniouses in a secret society?”

—Respectfully Sir, not near as many people are worshipping or tithing what little monies they have to Greek gods these days, are they?  If they are, they are called “students,” and they don’t admonish anyone for worshipping the god of Abraham.  Well,  they tithe their money to books that ask intelligent questions and teach them valuable lessons.  However, this does not include persecuting those others who have not the good fortune & benefit of their educational experience by strapping bombs to their bodies and detonating them at high noon in the village cafe where young, innocent children not of their persuasion die, for instance.  That is the difference as I see it.  Do They make up the population that sees killing doctors who perform abortions as okay.  Doubtful.  Sure, we can take valuable lessons from religious texts as well, but why do they have to include murdering all others who don’t subscribe to their views?  That is purely a control issue in its extremist form, the cherry on top of most religions’ “Misery Sundaes(days!—pun intended).”  This feature of a faith can be distilled to: control of the ignorant many by the elite few based on casuistically designed mythology—aka “dogma.”

There is no one coming to save you.  That is YOUR job—-NOW!
You can save you.  No one else can.  So SAVE your money and put it toward a life experience you enjoy.  There are no guarantees, but the chances of success in life are great if you work for them, focused-with all resources aimed at your goals.  Many sit in prayer to god for deliverance when they should be getting off their asses to create their destiny.

After we die, we live on in the minds of those who we tithed our time and friendship to—and eventually all fades-even their memories.  I can only hope to become the fertilizer for some new tree. Recycle me.  I don’t even want a pine box—that would defeat the purpose!  I don’t want a headstone.  Living well is the best revenge….as “they” say.  I really appreciate this opportunity to put into words all the reasons why I will never be religious.

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By archeon, September 9, 2006 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thankyou Val, very good.  And Mary also.  As for HiveRadical, you consitentely go back to the same point, that articles of faith are fact.  They are not.  The creation story of your faith, or christians, of any faith are from the beginnig to the end based on faith, and lack any type of factual basis.

God cannot be both all loving and at the same time condem some of us to eternal damnation and prepetual pain. The bible cannot be both allegorical and literal, it can, but we would be unable to tell which part is which, thus a perfect god would have created an imperfect text - this an even more important issue for the muslims, as their text is claimed to be a direct dictation word for word from god.

As for your faith being a restoration of the true faith of god going back to adam, assumes that the existance of adam is a fact.  This is even less factual than the claim that Jesus existed, yet both are articles of faith not fact.  Or are we to assume that “adam” is an allegorical figure?  Was eve created from one of adam’s ribs? Or is this too somesort of allegory?

And as for defining what “exists” means, maybe you and bill clinton have a lot in common.  Language is based on assuming common definitions of words and the underlying concepts that those words are placeholders for.

“Not so. A restoration view has us tied, in human terms, back to Adam, and in ontological terms to eternal co-existance with God through all previous states and times BEFORE the present state.”

Now there is an all encompassing statement and explantion of your theology, yet still assumes that “Adam” is a fact - he is not, he is an article of abrahamic faith.  I do not accept the existance of an Adam, because real world biological facts, the evidence of evolution, and geological history speak against it.

H-R I am sorry to say your theology is an intellectual and spiritual dead end.  Why do you insist on questioning the existance of justice and equity? Yet you promote “freedom” as something to hold high and valuable?  Maybe freedom is also and illusion?  Truth be though that neither of these exist - because they are not things, they are concepts, created by humans to allow us to live in communities and societies in relative peace and harmony.  They did not come from god, we created them because they are neccessary so that communities, cultures, and societies can be.  You know quite well what they mean, and what they are.

But as always we move from the crux of this thread.  That religious fanatics, whipped up into a frenzy by other fanatics, threatened western liberal democractic ideals that our forfathers(mothers) died for.  That these are for the moment Muslims is beside the point, for they merely exhibit the undelying danger of religion.  Religion is dangerous to freeedom, democracy, justice, and equity because it does not answer to us, to the people, to mankind, but rather to a disembodied god/messiah/founder etc.  Religion, and especially those founded on the abrahamic tradition are dangerous because they worship death and fail to celebrate life.  The religious are DANGEROUS because they, as do you, believe god is on their side, that they know god’s will, that they know truth.

I offer as evidence against religion, that is has never been a force for liberation, for justice, for equity, for change.  It has always (ALWAYS) been an instrument of repression, of control, of injustice, of hate, of bigotry, of racism, of mysogony.

There are at least 10000 religions in the world today, so why is the one based on adam the correct one?  How do I know this is the one? Isn’t it far more likely that if 9999 are wrong that the last one is also wrong?  What do you offer me as proof of the validity of this one relgious tradition?  How do I know that the religion of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc is the one?

Yes all people lie.  Some of us don’t even know we are lying.  We lie to others, but most of all we lie to ourselves.

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By HiveRadical, September 9, 2006 at 1:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I find it funny that the religious need their texts to be “historical” documents.  Providing proof of claimed historical events, and thus prove the veri-similitude of the claimed revelations and prophecies.  Faith validates the history in the religious texts used to prove the validity of the Faith.  Am I the only one who finds this funny?  But why does god need ever more prophets to correct on the previous prophets inabiltiy provide guidance for an everchanging world.  It’s kind of like that psychic that doesn’t know who is calling her.  Makes you wonder about their claims of truth and ability.” - Archeon

This alone makes the case for me that all religious texts are false documents masquerading as truth by employing the occasional facts, of course to justify their claims—claims that are faith-based, never science-based).

The fact that you accept the same flawed assumptions, that the reason for God sending prophets is to correct things that he didn’t forsee, that all religions inherently are tied to the circular reasoning of accepting God and the Bible in “American pie” (song/not movie) fashion—

“And do you have faith in God above, If the Bible tells you so?”

The fact that you take those assumptions and base your analysis of the whole of the Abrahamic claiming faiths as ALL fitting that demonstrates the illogical and fundamentally human lack of ration in your ‘certainties’ as pertaining to religion.

HR - I’m confused—are you, or are you not a Christian?

I am very much a Christian through and through.

What exactly is your faith?

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Often known as ‘Mormons’ (given in atempt by early ‘critics’ to be deragatory).

  Oh, and I don’t see Archeon’s arguments such as it being a fact that water runs downhill as being an inference that only 100% scientifically proven ideas are acceptable.  I don’t think that’s what he’s saying at all.

He keeps refering to ration, reason, logic, science, justice etc. etc. like they were atainable and sufficiently applicable for humans if we just tried hard enough. He’s so commited to this view that he is sufficiently rational that he’s ignoring the assumptions that are utterly throwing his conclusions.

For instance, you have heard of atoms, correct?  Have you actually seen one with your naked eye?  Not ...Probable.  However, much of science (possibly all?) is based on this system.  It is taught in schools and respected by the scientific community.  There doesn’t seem to be any jury out on basic physics.  Considering this to be true, why wouldn’t a book such as the bible—that has been around for hundred of years—have been proven correct in its stories—such as the recent attempt to prove the story of Noah’s Ark?

Atoms are readilly available for direct testing, the men and women of the days of the Bible, with their constituent physical possessions are not as readilly accessable.

Anyone who’s studied history sufficiently I would hope would recognize where Napoleon Bonapart got the basis for his assertion that—

History is a set of lies agreed upon.

It’s easy to see in history that discrepancies, seeming conflicts in accounts, conflicts and seeming conflicts with apparent physical remnants, the seeming inherent human tendancy to corrupt and alter transmission, intentionally and unintentionally, with the passage of time. All lead to the seemingly universal problem of history, nothing ever really lines up. You have to look for recuring themes and then determine plausibility and probability.

  But time and time again, when we look for the evidence where it should be, it NEVER materializes. —unlike water’s behavior to roll downhill ALWAYS, for instance….I’m jus’ sayin’......ALWAYS.

Again, you can almost always take a glass of water outside and pour it out to check. But no matter how hard our scientists and historians try we can’t seem to get a one on one interview with people who’ve died. And such seems even more improbable when those people’s remains are not present or certainly known. So this “why can’t the bible gain the same certainty as physics mechanics?” is both simplistic, an erroneous comparison, and a demonstration of a lack of respect or knowledge for the complications of both finding, dating, discerning and exacting relevancy of the generally inanimate nature of the evidence. I can’t go interview Moses any more than I can interview any greek philosopher. Does this inability prove that one or the other didn’t exist or that their claims are inherntly untrue? I mean if someone can fake the Bible then what’s to say an ancient greek philosopher wasn’t merely a grand conspiracy by a bunch of ‘thrill’ seeking geniouses in a secret society?

  Science doesn’t always rpove everything, but there are established laws of physics that we can go by as a ruler even if nothing else, to say:  “That’s impossible.  It’s probably just an analogy.”

But it’s not the science I take issue with, it’s the assumptions that you have to use to fill in the gaps to make any claims to impossibility certain. Don’t you see that the physics as witnessed by an average highschool physics student doesn’t seem consistant when you show him predicted occurances and common occurances on a quantum level? The false assumptions and image of sufficiency in the equations of the high schooler would make things like the passage of an electron from one side of a nucleous to another seem non-sensical if they but looked at a diagram of the orbital fields on each side coming to a point at the nucleus and then hearing that an electron goes from one orbital on one side to the one on the other side, with the possible paths dropping down to zero as you aproach the nucleus yet the electron goes from one side to the other WITHOUT passing through OR around the nucleous. That makes no sense to most of the population. It’s the equivilant of going from one point on a line to another without passing through a point on the same line, between the two points, all the while remaining on the line. It makes no sense to the simpletons of the general populace, yet ask any theoretical physicist or chemistry or physics prophessor with a Ph.D and they will not be able to deny that thats what all the workable equations demand happens.

The math to the ‘common logic’ of the masses makes no sense, yet the more and more of it you learn and discover the more and more that appears to be the truth yet defies the conventions of the common logic.

I say essentially the same with your view of theology, you, archeon, val and others make an array of assumptions that ultimately shape your overall view of what is and isn’t fitting in the confines of logic, ration and reason. Like the Highschool student your paradigm, in the context of everything you can easily access and test proves the validity of your current world view. All the answers line up. Then you here someone like me tell me your assumptions are incorrect and that these things you assume about the whole of religion, even the whole of the abrahamic tradition, are not as certain as you think and you immediately question my hold and claim to christianity and understaning of it. If we lived in a culture of people more prone to question those with degrees you’d have alot of students get to some point in chemistry and physics and say “uhh… prophessor? did you REALLY get a degree in this? Cause that last assertion you made is totally illogical. Yet haply for the most part many students seriously into the field can, for a time, take on faith such assertions of their professors. I had a prophesor in Chemistry who was a doctorate and well into research on chemical kineetics and he made a very profound statement in one of his lectures. He essentially said that ‘the more I learn about the universe the more weirded out I become’. Here a man among those at the cutting edge of science professing openly (he was not an overtly, or to my limited knowledge, any kind, of a man of any religious faith) that science was constantly defying his previous constructs and preconfigured senses of ration, logic, reason etc.. And this man was humble, and I don’t mean to step on toes here too much, but the attitude and form of assertions and the seeming total or wanton obliviousness to the masses of assumptions made, taken and needed in your accusations against faith in generals plausibility when you yourselves don’t have anything near an indepth knowledge of the very items you are asserting to be implausible, I would hope you could see how it comes across as arrogant.

—when it comes to “miracles” or other assertations of religious text.  Some religions claim that people can levitate during meditation.  There so far is no documentation on film or photograph of this claim either.  Sad for Christians—who want to believe that Jesus walked on water.

Historians claim that the Empire of the Huns was among the greatest horse weilding and dependent people in history, yet not a single remnant of a horse has been found that can be dated to and placed in the location of the Hun empire.

Does this absence of any actual horse remnant mean that a people who’s name conjures up almost instantly mounted warriors and horse mobilized cities really likely didn’t have horses since the only thing to indicate such is written documents passed down through the ages?

One should approach any religion with a healthy skepticism, and also a firm foundation in physics.

Couldn’t agree with you more.

  It is our personal responsibility to be skeptical as I see it.  Rarely do I hear of Christian—or any other religions calling for rational examination of their own holy books. Why is that?  Do missionaries educate indigenous people in physics?

Ours have and do. Not as a general rule. But we have sent many indigenous people to study and research in physics at our church run university or we enable them to advance their education at a nearby institution of learning

http://www.physics.byu.edu/

http://lds.org/ldsfoundation/pef/interest/0,16752,3404-1-10,00.html

We also push for education in general—

http://www.besmart.com/compare.html

  They rather consider their texts as the manual for living (seen on a billboard:  “BIBLE: Basic Instruction Before Life Ends”)and don’t see a need for it. And also…how would they answer to that old chestnut of Jesus walking on water?  They simply don’t, because it’s Faith.

The more I learn about science the more plausible and open my beliefs, like that ‘chestnut’, to demonstrate a portion of a transcript from the Nova “Elegant Universe” series describing the demands of string theory on our views of probability—

WALTER H.G. LEWIN: If there are a thousand possibilities, and quantum mechanics cannot, with certainty, say which of the thousand it will be, then all thousand will happen. Yeah, you can laugh at it and say, “Well, that has to be wrong.” But there are so many other things in physics which—at the time that people came up with—had to be wrong, but it wasn’t. Have to be a little careful, I think, before you say this is clearly wrong.

BRIAN GREENE: And even in our own universe, quantum mechanics says there’s a chance that things we’d ordinarily think of as impossible can actually happen. For example there’s a chance that particles can pass right through walls or barriers that seem impenetrable to you or me. There’s even a chance that I could pass through something solid, like a wall. Now, quantum calculations do show that the probability for this to happen in the everyday world is so small that I’d need to continue walking into the wall for nearly an eternity before having a reasonable chance of succeeding. But here, these kinds of things happen all the time.

EDWARD FARHI (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): You have to learn to abandon those assumptions that you have about the world in order to understand quantum mechanics. In my gut, in my belly, do I feel like I have a deep intuitive understanding of quantum mechanics? No.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3012_elegant.html

You see science is not so dogmatic as you seem to imagine. thus the Bible’s not so implausible as you’ve posited. Maybe not probable in your view, but you cannot honestly and intelligently insist that it’s implausible. Improbable in your view, certainly, impossible would require you believe a dogma.

If fundamentalists do not take the responsibillity of correcting their flawed systems, they eventually incite a war.  Problem is, there are always economic implications behind it.  Look at America and Iraq.  He who cast the first stone did Not come from Iraq.  What makes us think that anyone in the middle east wants our unsolicited advice on how to have a country?  Who is this George Bush that thinks he can just go over there and school this society—which is way older than ours? There must be some other payoff….hmmmm, what could it be?

Ohh wow. that’s getting into another subject entirely.

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By Val, September 8, 2006 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And so we return, as we must, to the once and future link between religion and politics.

Today (9/8/06) is interesting, since the just-released bi-partisan 9/11 Commission’s 400 page report unequivocally states there was no link whatsoever between Sadaam and Al Quaida or between Iraq and 9/11. Yet some 40% of Americans still believe there was, thanks to right wing propaganda.

What has this to do with this thread?

Plenty.

Upwards of 3,000 American troops (so far) have been killed, another 10,000 or so permanently maimed, and another 100,000 or so Iraqis slaughtered because of lies told by America’s “faith-based” religious right administration. Lies that, incredibly and despite documented facts, are still believed by the “faithful.”

Also today, we are privy to the behind-the-scenes machinations of one of America’s largest and most powerful MSM (ABC / Disney) to produce right wing TV propaganda and indoctrinate our nation’s teachers and students (through “study guides”) with lies purporting to be the truth, in “The Path to 9/11.”

Columnist Max Blumenthal documents it thoroughly, today. One snip:

“In fact, ‘The Path to 9/11’ is produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias. This is the network within the ABC network. Its godfather is far right activist David Horowitz, who has worked for more than a decade to establish a right-wing presence in Hollywood and to discredit mainstream film and TV production. On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11’s director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to ‘transform Hollywood’ in line with its messianic vision.”

Read his full column here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/discover-the-secret-right_b_29015.html

Note the phrase, “secretive evangelical religious” group.

Why secretive? Because their beliefs and lust for power are well in the minority. They cannot be open or honest lest their dogma and fascism be exposed.

Who are the religious right? Certainly not most Christians or Jews. They are, rather, the estimated (Pew and Gallup polls) 23% of America’s 80% who say they are religious. They are fundamentalists who call themselves Evangelicals. When you include the 20% of Americans who are non-religious, the religious right represents less than 20% of America. But they are determined to use any means necessary to force their narrow minority religious views on the other 80% of us.

They are exclusively Republicans. They are determined to control this country, indeed the world, and you.

They will stop at nothing.

Why?

Because, like all religionists, they’ve been trained and conditioned for millennia to accept lies as truths and fight to the death to protect their “Honor.”

What “honor?” Lies? Deceit? Dishonesty?

If one has even a modicum of respect for the “Ten Commandments” (which predate the fictional existence of “Moses” and whose origins are lost in antiquity, though generally attributed to the “Code of Hamurabi”) one must honor the commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

Tough to follow, when one’s very religion is based on nothing BUT false witness.

Where religions once were allegorical cultures pointing to valid personal inner discoveries, they’ve long since become cultures of lies devoted to group-think and the creation of “sheeple” blindly following all-powerful shepherds in more or less colorful robes, in more or less palatial stables.

The word “re-ligion” meant “to know again.” The allegories guided one toward that.

But today the question is, “Do you believe in God?” Not, “Do you know God?”

The difference is between believing in Santa Claus and knowing the spirit of giving; between believing the sun rises and sets and knowing the earth rotates on its axis as it orbits our life-giving star.

Compared to “knowing,” “believing” is childish.

Which, of course, is precisely where religions would have you: not “knowing” on your own but “believing” in their false witness and dogma.

And supporting, by your “belief” and your tithes, their infinitely insidious attempts to propagandize (with lies and threats) and control the world.

One has only to look at today’s revelations about ABC’s fascistic attempt to indoctrinate American voters and its youth with “false witness” – or the 9/11 Commission’s conclusions – to know the truth of how dangerously far America has fallen, and continues to plummet, under “faith based” psychoses.

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By Mary Wallman, September 8, 2006 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I find it funny that the religious need their texts to be “historical” documents.  Providing proof of claimed historical events, and thus prove the veri-similitude of the claimed revelations and prophecies.  Faith validates the history in the religious texts used to prove the validity of the Faith.  Am I the only one who finds this funny?  But why does god need ever more prophets to correct on the previous prophets inabiltiy provide guidance for an everchanging world.  It’s kind of like that psychic that doesn’t know who is calling her.  Makes you wonder about their claims of truth and ability.” - Archeon

This alone makes the case for me that all religious texts are false documents masquerading as truth by employing the occasional facts, of course to justify their claims—claims that are faith-based, never science-based).

HR - I’m confused—are you, or are you not a Christian?  What exactly is your faith?  Oh, and I don’t see Archeon’s arguments such as it being a fact that water runs downhill as being an inference that only 100% scientifically proven ideas are acceptable.  I don’t think that’s what he’s saying at all.

For instance, you have heard of atoms, correct?  Have you actually seen one with your naked eye?  Not ...Probable.  However, much of science (possibly all?) is based on this system.  It is taught in schools and respected by the scientific community.  There doesn’t seem to be any jury out on basic physics.  Considering this to be true, why wouldn’t a book such as the bible—that has been around for hundred of years—have been proven correct in its stories—such as the recent attempt to prove the story of Noah’s Ark?  But time and time again, when we look for the evidence where it should be, it NEVER materializes. —unlike water’s behavior to roll downhill ALWAYS, for instance….I’m jus’ sayin’......ALWAYS.  Science doesn’t always rpove everything, but there are established laws of physics that we can go by as a ruler even if nothing else, to say:  “That’s impossible.  It’s probably just an analogy.”—when it comes to “miracles”  or other assertations of religious text.  Some religions claim that people can levitate during meditation.  There so far is no documentation on film or photograph of this claim either.  Sad for Christians—who want to believe that Jesus walked on water.

One should approach any religion with a healthy skepticism, and also a firm foundation in physics.  It is our personal responsibility to be skeptical as I see it.  Rarely do I hear of Christian—or any other religions calling for rational examination of their own holy books. Why is that?  Do missionaries educate indigenous people in physics?  They rather consider their texts as the manual for living (seen on a billboard:  “BIBLE: Basic Instruction Before Life Ends”)and don’t see a need for it. And also…how would they answer to that old chestnut of Jesus walking on water?  They simply don’t, because it’s Faith. 

If fundamentalists do not take the responsibillity of correcting their flawed systems, they eventually incite a war.  Problem is, there are always economic implications behind it.  Look at America and Iraq.  He who cast the first stone did Not come from Iraq.  What makes us think that anyone in the middle east wants our unsolicited advice on how to have a country?  Who is this George Bush that thinks he can just go over there and school this society—which is way older than ours? There must be some other payoff….hmmmm, what could it be?

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By HiveRadical, September 8, 2006 at 2:14 am Link to this comment
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Having a hard time determining if it’s intentional or unintentional failures to see what I’m saying.

Canada and Sweden. So these, in relative terms, are paradigm governments and economies?

What proof do you have of justice, it’s existance, certainty in your proper discernment of such? The sun and water flowing is all fine and dandy, but you speak of justice and morality and ethics with the same aire of certainty. Where is your proof?

Sorry again to point out that your faith is based on a world view that is both illogical and inconsistent with obeservable and testable facts and conditions.

Yet you’ve been unable to produce any such incongruencies that are tenable. Not one you’ve mentioned thus far doesn’t have some horendous assumption you’ve made that doesn’t apply to my situation.

  It relies on accepting as truth the prophecies as revealed to a select few.

After having received personal prophecies regarding who belongs to the ‘select few’. Thats beyond the point because where, praytell, does a delegation of leadership and guidance position place a whole faith system in peril of loosing logical or rational muster? What’s illogical in God having order and a system to revealing the proper way for us?

  You accept that these people are telling the truth when you know that all people lie, misrepresent, in order to show themselves in a good light or to obtain power/money/glory/salvation…...

That assumption, that dogma that all people inherently lie OR that God would not be able to control or cut off such and individual if they deviated demonstrates quite the opposite of your claim. Here YOU are the one presenting a dogma and a logical fallacy as the basis for a ‘rational’ proof of your intended point.

Further more your faith does have it’s roots in the early history of the christian church, and futher back in the pre history of Judiasim.

Not so. A restoration view has us tied, in human terms, back to Adam, and in ontological terms to eternal co-existance with God through all previous states and times BEFORE the present state.

I argue that the god of abraham as set out from the very begining of the abrahamic tradition, cannot exist because the condition of the world precludes him, the very existance of evil, hate, want, and all the other human miserys and sufferings precludes the existance of a ever/all loving, all powerfull, all seeing god.

Here your logical fallacy is the assumption of knowing what is and isn’t the nature and status and best and right choice of an all loving omnipotent omniscient being. You assume that the mere existance of adversity precludes any all powerfull all good and all knowing entity. Yet your assumptions do not even touch on the nature of existance, the necesity of opposition in all things, the fact that existance void of opposition is meaningless and not genuinely existance.

  The fact that HE has never been able to predict human action, and thus continuously needs prophets to appear before us to correct the failings of preceding prophecies indicates that humans are correcting/adapting human created scripture and theology in a process of theological evolution.  If HE is perfect then he must have created us imperfectly on purpose, which again puts his perfection into question.

So many false assumptions about the state of things past present future and divine. No wonder you believe as you do, you are essentially locked into set tracks of thinking, your box is defined to the exclusion of all of reality.

You assume God uses prophets to compensate for a lack of foreknowledge, they do no such thing and that was never their role. Your incistance on that point as being the truth demonstrates the weakness of your position and the horrible and illogical assumptions you are consitantly in the habit of making and maintaining.

Your faith is a reinterpretation, or correction of historical falacies as determined by Joe Smith.  Because you have no way of determining if indeed those errors where errors, or if the corrections themselves were errors your faith is based completely on subjective acceptance of claimed facts of prophecy.

It’s based in no such thing. It’s based on my conviction that God has spoken to me and can, will does speak to any who properly aproach him.

You hate socialism because like most christians, you don’t really care about your fellow man, but rather are consumed with ensuring your own entry into heaven.  And all the while have forgotten the teachings of your messiah.

To the contrary. I hate it because it destroys man. Look at Sweeden. A children per woman birth rate average of 1.6—replacement demands 2.1.

However wonderfull you may think socialism is (stunted birth rates is certainly not the only issue, though a key one) it’s killing Sweden. No nation that’s not at least ABOVE replacement can have a snowballs chance in hell of surviving as a relevant force in the world, or even an equivilant one, for any longer than a few generations. You cry and belly ache over Islam and religion taking over the world when raw scientific fact demonstrates that your zenith example of socialist grandure has staying power that has the staying power of only a few generations. Where is the progress in that? How is an ideology like yours to survive when it’s not even following the basic laws of natural selection? Reproduction failures can only be offset so much by recruitments. Or have you the faith in your system to see a grand mass conversion to your peculiar (but you incist definite and sufficient) view of “ration” and “reason”?

I never claimed that science, logic, reason, and rationality is free of subjectivity.  I would be a fool if I did that.  Humans are subjective creatures, we tend to interpret the world around us using what we already know as the basis for this interpretation - subjectivity.  Objectivity is something we need to work at it involves allowing into our minds concepts and ideas that conflict with what we precieve as the true nature of a thing.  It involves sitting quietly, and just asking a simple question: why do I feel/think this that or the other thing.

You ever ask why you feel the desire to ask why you feel/think this that or the other thing? How much subjectivity does it take to throw someone off? Can objectivity be reached? Can objectivities existance be proven? If so can it be proven relevant and beneficial to humans? How do you know when you’ve gotten closer to objectivity? Are your claims to know justice based largely or completely in subjectivity? Can one BE objective when thinking, approaching, or discussing concepts like justice?

I assume and correct me if I am wrong that you were born into an LDS or like family and community.

Over half of the adherents of my faith were not.

I was. That doesn’t mean it’s the foundation for my convictions, for it isn’t. I’d turn away on a dime if my convictions led me to.

  I can understand that it may be hard and frightening to accept that the basis of your faith may be wrong.

The same can be said for your view of things. Surely you have some sort of support group or community that shares many of the same views overall that you hold. How is it logical to bring up the hypothetical on my end and not on yours?

Your claims of religion fearing change are based on your false assumptions on what constitutes all religion. It doesn’t apply here.

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By archeon, September 7, 2006 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, H-R but you did confuse socialism and marxist/lennist/communism.

Canada is a socialist state/country, China is not, north Korea is not, they are communist/fascist states, so was the old USSR, Poland, DDR, Hungary etc. Sweden is also a socialist state.

Sorry again but I can observe the sun rising and setting, I can observe water flowing down hill.  My acceptance of these facts does not involve faith, it is a product of direct observation and interaction with the REAL word.

Sorry again to point out that your faith is based on a world view that is both illogical and inconsistent with obeservable and testable facts and conditions.  It relies on accepting as truth the prophecies as revealed to a select few.  You accept that these people are telling the truth when you know that all people lie, misrepresent, in order to show themselves in a good light or to obtain power/money/glory/salvation…...
Further more your faith does have it’s roots in the early history of the christian church, and futher back in the pre history of Judiasim.  I argue that the god of abraham as set out from the very begining of the abrahamic tradition, cannot exist because the condition of the world precludes him, the very existance of evil, hate, want, and all the other human miserys and sufferings precludes the existance of a ever/all loving, all powerfull, all seeing god.  The fact that HE has never been able to predict human action, and thus continuously needs prophets to appear before us to correct the failings of preceding prophecies indicates that humans are correcting/adapting human created scripture and theology in a process of theological evolution.  If HE is perfect then he must have created us imperfectly on purpose, which again puts his perfection into question.

Your faith is a reinterpretation, or correction of historical falacies as determined by Joe Smith.  Because you have no way of determining if indeed those errors where errors, or if the corrections themselves were errors your faith is based completely on subjective acceptance of claimed facts of prophecy.

You hate socialism because like most christians, you don’t really care about your fellow man, but rather are consumed with ensuring your own entry into heaven.  And all the while have forgotten the teachings of your messiah.

I never claimed that science, logic, reason, and rationality is free of subjectivity.  I would be a fool if I did that.  Humans are subjective creatures, we tend to interpret the world around us using what we already know as the basis for this interpretation - subjectivity.  Objectivity is something we need to work at it involves allowing into our minds concepts and ideas that conflict with what we precieve as the true nature of a thing.  It involves sitting quietly, and just asking a simple question: why do I feel/think this that or the other thing.

I assume and correct me if I am wrong that you were born into an LDS or like family and community.  I can understand that it may be hard and frightening to accept that the basis of your faith may be wrong.  It is the fear of this doubt that actually seperates science from religion.  By and large science is not afraid of change, or new information, indeed as a whole this is science.  Religion on the other hand is afraid of change and evolution of thought, because it’s ideas come from one “perfect” source, God (or Marx).  Once the questions begin, the whole thing simply collapses and disintegrates under the weight of the internal contradictions and inconsistencies.

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By HiveRadical, September 7, 2006 at 10:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

archeon,

You would like it if I was confusing socialism and communism and marxism. I am not. This again is a tactic of trying to paint me in with some group that you can collectively hang out to dry. You try to do the same again by repeating the old claim that God as described by Judaism, Islam and Christianity cannot exist, conveniently ignoring in the process that the attributes they give to God do not quite match up with those held by my theology. The irony is that you are claiming that I’m doing to your modus operandi for ‘dogmaless ethical and moral acheivement’ precisely what YOU are doing in trying to refute and put down MY faith.

I still am flabberghasted by this notion you have that a system can be 100% founded on logic and/or reason and/or ration and/or science, and be executable/obtainable by the human mind (either on an individual or collective basis), and remain utterly free of any subjective influence so as to render it free of anything aproaching dogma or ‘faith’. Your attribution of the title of ‘religion’ to communism demonstrates that you understand that merely expressing secular aims and desires is not sufficient to avoiding dogma, yet you seem to have this faith that your specific concept of ‘socialism’ can obtain perfectly and/or sufficiently to the concepts you call morallity, justice and ethics.

So as I’ve asked before can you demonstrate conclusively that these elements exist? If you can then can you demonstrate that your view of such is the correct one? And can you do all that by providing proof akin to what you attribute to be ‘fact’? Can you provide a conclusive and exhaustive proof that you can present to anyone and prove to them to the degree of certainty of the sun rising and water flowing via gravity’s pull that they both certainly exist and that you certainly have the means of obtaining and discerning such absolutely/sufficiently??? Because from the way things appear here you run in to the very same issues REGARDLESS your ‘correct’ view OR my ‘incorrect’ view of socialism and the grand ‘justice’ and ‘morality’ and ‘ethical’ natures you both assert without factual support for their existance, without the capacity to logically, rationally or scientifically prove or prove that such, as discerned by you, constitutes reality to the degree of veracity we find when we see the sun rise.

Can you prove that the concept of the existance and potency and validity and reality of “secular legal frameworks” is/are as certain, definable, constant and as determinable as the rotation of the earth and rising of the sun and stars in their predictable seasons? Is there some proof/equation/process that everyone can run and come to the same conclusion by producing the same results as in a verifiable mathematical equation or scientific process/investigation? Because if the communists, in claiming to have a secular legal framework, actually had a religion instead then how are we to be certain that such exists? How can I know that such can exists or that such isn’t anything more than a name you’ve applied to some fairy tale of a construct contained uniquely in your mind?

What process of logic or proof of reason can I apply and arrive at the very same conclusions on the existance and constituent parts and outgrowths of justice and morality and ethics as you so readily reference items with said names and apply to such the position of ultimate goals for society.

Further how can I know, via facts and proofs, that your claims are what you say they are and will acheive what you say they will acheive. I mean if they are so certain and potent, clear and definable (as you shun all that demands any degree of subjective/relative and/or dogmatic judgement) then why is there no clearly evident implimentation of such a force and certainty? Why is there no certain equation we can plug all our dillemas into to discover the ‘right’ answer according to this image of justice you’ve painted for us with such certainty in it’s superior and fool proof nature?

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By archeon, September 6, 2006 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
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H-R which indicates that he is unable to distinguish between socialism and marxist/lennenist/communism, and thus demonstrates true ignorace.  He falls victim to a classic religious-right (yes the catholics are allso on the religious right)error.  Christians should embrace socialism yet they tend to fear and pathalogically resist it, especially in poorer lands with browner people.  The confiscation of money and property from those who obtained them through abuse of labour, the general population, etc is entirely justified and proper.  When opressive governments are overthrown, it is just and right that land and property is taken away from those who supported the oppresive system and benifited from it by increase in land and wealth.  Wealth and power is determined by access to and control of resources. Land is one, and labour is another, this is why the power class has always resisted labour unions - because then the workers control labour and the price payed for it.

Again let me say this - the forced confiscation (btw confiscation is always forced) and reallocation of goods, wealth, and property when those where obtained imoraly, unethicaly, unjustly, and illegally is not wrong, it is indeed the right thing to do.  Socialism and Liberalism are both about justice, equity, freedom, and tolerance.  But H-R, the LDS, and the right wing religious zealots of all faiths really hate both those politically ideologies - because as I have stated before they threaten to eliminate the need for religion namely: man made misery and disatistfaction.

Sorry H-R the claim that christ lived is not a fact. It is an article of faith for christians.  The new testatment is not a historical document, it is a relgious theological text - and it is best to approach those which a good dose of scepticism and doubt.  Nothing about christ, his family, disciples is fact. NOT ONE THING!  That the sun rises in the east and sets in the west that is a fact. That water flows downhill is a fact.  That a day is composed of 24 hours is a fact (unless it is a “creation” day in which case it may be a million or a billion of todays years).  Saying:“Jesus lived” is not stating fact it is stating religious conviction and faith.  The claims of christians about the nature, life, and history of christ are religious assertions and articles of the faith not facts.  Your claim that Joe Smith was a prophet is an article of faith not fact.  Your claim of continued revelation of gods word and will is an article of faith not fact.

As for Inbal - you too confuse Socialism and Marxist/Leninist/Communism the two are very very different.  The former is a political ideology, and the latter is a religious theology just like Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the rest.  Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol-Pot and the rest were more like self proclaimed prophets than political leaders.  To be a Marxist Leninist which what all so called communists are, is to hold as true the writings of Marx and Engles on communism, is means to have faith in them.  Thus it is a religion not a political ideology or social framework.

Communism is a religion.  Christianity is a religion.  Judaism is a religion.  Islam is a religion.  All religions if left unchecked by secular legal frameworks will resort to forced conversion. All religions are repressive and coercive.  All religions claim to know the truth, usually by claiming direct access to some supreme law/truth giver.  Thus communism is a religion.

This especially for H-R, the bible and the new testament and the book of mormon are not historical documents.  They have some historically correct elements, but by and large they are religious texts.  And I ask you again, how do you know when someone is a prophet?  I also never said that the god of abraham could not exist. I said that he cannot exist as the texts, theology, dogma, doctrine, etc of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam claim.  And that as such their claims of access to the truth of this world and the nature of god are baseless and false.

I find it funny that the religious need their texts to be “historical” documents.  Providing proof of claimed historical events, and thus prove the veri-similitude of the claimed revelations and prophecies.  Faith validates the history in the religious texts used to prove the validity of the Faith.  Am I the only one who finds this funny?  But why does god need ever more prophets to correct on the previous prophets inabiltiy provide guidance for an everchanging world.  It’s kind of like that psychic that doesn’t know who is calling her.  Makes you wonder about their claims of truth and ability.

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By Mary Wallman, September 6, 2006 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
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Wow, I just made an error in interpreting HR’s quote of Archeon as his own (HR’s) admission of being “a”—and also having been accused of it (being “a”) myself.  This is a great example of how the bible could have been completely misunderstood as fact vs. fiction….

-I’m just sayin’.......

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By Mary Wallman, September 6, 2006 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
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HR-just so you know, “a” is not me…I have not been hiding under any other pseudonyms.  Even though Mary is not what I have been called all my life, I do respond to that and my nickname.

But—I will offer that most lay people do not acknowlege an feminine aspect of Abraham’s God.  Even children are encoded with the patriarchal understanding of God and “His” this or that.  Is there a “Her” (that is—capitalized?) in the bible?  I haven’t looked at scripture in a long time concerning Mary, mother of Jesus, or other matriarchal figures.  I don’t recall “her” EVER being capitialized and the feminine given the equality of the masculine.  Whether or not this is true, I would find it interesting to know considering that I went to a religiously affiliated private Christian school.  I take away from that experience—many years having passed—that I don’t believe that I was ever taught equal importance of women in religion—except for the occasional tossing of a scrap from the master’s table to us women-with regards to our importance…  Oh sure, it can be said that the body of a woman was chosen to bring god into the world, but beyond that old chestnut, Mary (holy mother) doesn’t seem to have many significant pearls of wisdom falling from her mouth—at least not near as many as the 95% (I am low-balling that figure) male offerings in the King James version of the bible.  It would seem that she was nothing more than a vessel for the male superior.  Why?  And then what about the whole circumcision thing coming out of a reactionary woman’s response.  Can’t remember her name—but she was pissed when she did it—to save her son or something.  That story is just crazy and inhumane.  Mutilation is medically unnessary.

I wonder how the Torah and Koran compare to the bible in this respect…

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By HiveRadical, September 6, 2006 at 1:20 am Link to this comment
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Sorry “a” was me, i was just typing too fast and failed to correctly spell out my name…..opps…..a classic example of passion triumphing over reason.

what does this mean?————

“Yet they can’t get rid of the fact that Christ taught things after his resurection for which there’s no accounting and no record, does that mean that Christ didn’t teach secret things during his tenure, no.”

I offer the following:

a: if there is no record or accounting for the secret things he said after his death or during his life how do we know he said them?

b: if christ was ultra divine, why would it be neccessary for him to reveal secrect truths to a chosen few?  If he came with a message directly from god why only offer some of the truth to a select few?  Was god playing favorites?

c: it means that claims that he revealed unrecorded truths are pure conjecture, or worse fabrications and lies.

The issue with Christ’s return is that if nothing is done there then why come back for 40 days? If they claim his work was done and sufficient then why come back for 40 days? If the gospel is sufficient as given before he came back then why come back? If nothing secret was given then who came up with the idea of the Gnossis? How would revealing things to a select few that had demonstrated faithfullness be showing favoritism? Was telling those he healed to not tell such to others a favoratism? If he had found those that were to have higher obligations in doing his work is it unreasonable that there may have been either pearls or meat that they could only share once they’d discovered individuals changed and sufficiently ready to obtain and handle such? Why this incistance that secrecy inherently is tide to privlige and conspiracy? The founding fathers met at times behind closed door, did that make their work fail or make them rich? Secrets are not inherently bad, often the capacity to maintain such can demonstrate the integrity of an individual.

I hope i am not the only one who sees the glaring and obviously self evident logical contradictions in the above quote.

Any such are assumption and conjecture based. Not verifiable, tenable, or inherent. They all demand massive assumptions be made about the surrounding events and circumstances and the very nature of secrecy and other things.

Further more it is not fact that Christ taught anything to anyone, it is not fact that he even existed, it is not fact that he was divine if he existed.

Generally when one judges something the judge it based on it’s claims. Currently I don’t think you can offer a more tenable and reasonable and less convoluted and less improbable scenario in which Jesus didn’t ever exist. Certainly there are many things that are not verifiable, but to really question alot in history you need more than just the lack of super conclusive proof, you need a more likely explanation than the one given by accounts claiming to be historical, if it’s a conspiracy then you need to find at least some incling of direct evidence for such. Simply drawing parallels between ancient myth and the account of Christ isn’t sufficient for providing a MORE tenable explanation. So this denying the entire existance is rather sillly even on a logical and rational level. I’ll give your the assertions of divinity etc. run into immediate lacks of immediate empirical and quantifiable verification, but I’m really simply focusing on maintaining an environ of plausibility, not proving the base tenents of my faith to be certainly true, if I could do that then ‘faith’ wouldn’t be the correct word.

So again I’m not here to dispute your claims that I can’t prove my faith, I’m here to demonstrate that your claims that my faith is intrinsically illogical, irrational or unplausible to be pattently wrong and themselves dependent on either a dogma or belief equivilant, whatever name one may give such.

  So claiming that what his followers claim he said or did as fact is a false claim.

No it’s not. Simply being not verifiable at present doesn’t constitute inherent falsehood. To assume all that is not as confirmable as the dailly meetings the president of the US has with the press corp is inherently false is wrong wrong wrong.

  Nothing about christ, his life, his family, his disciples, his teachings, his words is a fact - they are all articles of faith.  There is no scientific, anthropological, archeological, historical evidence for christ.  We only have the new testament. A religious text.

All text of that age is historical and to some degree anthropological. Your issue is an insufficiency for peer review/scientific level proof NOT an inherently false set of claims.

Inbal thank you for that link in comment 21838.  I think this article does reinforce some of my ideas of why religion is dangerous.  We would all do well to remember that christians too once forced members of other to convert or face death.  Don’t be fooled that with a less strong secular society that the stronger christian sects/cults wouldn’t happily do this today.

This claim could as easily be applied using identical faulty logical constructs to assume that since some secularists reached the levels of Stalin that all would unless there was some strong inherently anti-secular government. Don’t you see that? I don’t want a government that oppresses anyone for their ideas or beliefs unless such materialize into anti-societal acts (aka crimes). What I wish you could see archeon is that in the advocacy of a strong secular government crushing what it considers ‘irrational’ you are setting up a system just as prone to abuse as the priestcraft weilding nut jobs who thought the likes of the inquisition or the protestant wars were a good idea. You yourself, in all good intentions you may have and with all the capacity to reason and think have demonstrated tendancies to improperly group individuals of faith, to misatribute attributes accross the board to all who hold allegience to a faith. So even if you were a great person and secular what is to make you think, even if joined in some great secular council of the greatest secular minds of the world that you all would entirely avoid the missteps made by those claiming some theology as their backing? Just as the other side can falsely claim God all they want to justify their horrible actions what makes you so certain that human beings, either in grand councils of secularists or with single or small groups of such, can and would utterly avoid the same kinds of atrocious mistakes and oversteppings of power? I mean even the greatest minds of humanity couldn’t exhaustively muster ration, reason and logic to govern with any kind of assurity of avoiding genocide or supresion of free thought and expression. You see even with my view that many in the world among secularists(I do have some very very deep respect and admiration for some secular humanists and many of the good things many of them promote) and religiously inclined, are really good people, I don’t think even the best of them would be able to give us government much better than we currently have whether or not they were absolute or combined in some grand council or what have you. And ANY attempt to execute ANY law upon a populace simply for them thinking in a different way or a way perceived of as being illogical to someone else is a bad thing. Whether it came from a theological government or a secular one. There must be equality and a level of tollerance or else you’re just re-aranging the furniture on the Titanic. That’s why we must only act against individuals when they openly come out with clear actions bent on destroying or genuinely harming society. Otherwise we only confront individuals through expression as we do here in dialog and debate. I would hope you would never wish to harm me simply for me coming to your door in the role of a missionary, just as I would never harm you simply for talking to me or my friend about your views on the world. I would hope you would never legislate against my freedom to what you consider irrational thought, just as I will not legislate against your right to freely express yourself and do all you wish so long as it doesn’t infringe on other’s rights or the solvency of society.

  We tend to forget that our western ideas of religious/intellectual/pylosophical freedom are not based on the idea to let you practice your religion, but rather so that I may have the freedom to practice mine in peace without danger from you and yours.

I’m very very aware of the onesidedness many often take. I’ve ancestors that died because those western ideas on freedom were not extended to them by those who’d sworn to do so on entering office and the neglegence of those who were suppose to be receivers AND givers of such freedom. I would openly support the right of a Satanist or Pagan to pray just as I would a member of my own faith. I’d also grant a Human Secularist or whoever the same chance to do something, if they have such, of a similar nature.

” I have heard Joseph Smith say that if he were emperor of the whole world, holding the destinies of all men in his hands, he would defend the religious rights of every man, whether his religion was right or wrong. And especially ought this to be the case in this American nation, the constitution of which guarantees to all people the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. This is the broad platform upon which our government has been founded. I have looked upon the Constitution of the United States as one of the best instruments ever devised by man for the government of the inhabitants of the earth.”

—Wilford Woodruff (an apostle and prophet and close aquaintance of Joseph Smith Jr.) (Journal of Discourses 24:237)

Yet I would venture to say this, that it would be far better if our countries would stop supporting represive dictators, and if instead of giving them arms with which to enslave torture and impoverish the local populations, we would support populist (let’s use the dreaded word: socialist) movements.  Every time land and social reform is put forward in one of these places, the moneyed and wealthy enslavers of thier own people cry fowl, and make a appeal to the “power” classes of our own societies to resist the evil “socialists”.  Religion hates socialism, because it is a direct threat to the power base of religion - man made misery, poverty, and class.

I will not argue that I and my faith are anti-socialism. But we are not against principles of a true commune. In fact we are suppose to live so as to be ready to enter a communal order. The problem with socialism as it’s been proffered and implimented up to this point is that it is something inherently tied to depriving the rights of individuals to the very things that natural law provides them. It takes the law and rather than using it to protect the rights and freedoms the law becomes the tool for taking those freedoms. There is no socialist system that involves the forced confiscation and reallocation of goods that can ever be said to put freedom and personal rights first. Such a system inherently smashes the rights of some for the envisioned ‘rights’ of others. The only way communal organizations can ever work and maintain the rights of those involved is if all involved CHOOSE to become involved and CHOOSE to dedicate themselves to the cause of the community. Otherwise it’s merely the legislation of one groups perception of equality on to another to the extent of denying vital personal freedoms to some. Such systems are not sustainable because unless the individuals involved are all centered on the common good—a condition not acheivable via force or the removal of freedoms—the system is inherently going to fail.

We need a society that is striving for equality, but the thought that such can be forced, legislated, or enforced WITHOUT inherently driving society down the path of net entropy gains, down a path that only increases equality by lowering gross freedoms, incentive and production.

It’s so frustrating because I believe you and most on your side have the best of intentions, I just believe you are missing the boat on a few vital points that make your views of cures look like certain death when I consider them. Unless you can demonstrate such as being ultimately unfounded or unessential points.

The claims made by any of the followers of the abrahmic god tradition, that god is both male and female cannot be supported by the texts, or history, or current and past dogma, or current and past doctrine.  In this tradition god is male. Sorry but you just can’t wish this away.

I’m not denying it or wishing it away. What I’m saying is that making such to be something intrinsically misogynistic or to make it out as an untenable argument against a patriarchal society is not an absolutely certain or even tenable position.

  Just because certain LDS, JW, SDA followers don’t subscribe to all the elements of the christian creed as set by the catholic and traditional protestant denominations doesn’t mean you can just will away 2000 years of christian theology.  This is your baggage, this is the foundation of your faith. If the foundation is false, it does tend to draw the validity of all that is built on it in to question.

When you claim that total apostacy occured you sure can. Christ was rather ready to utterly dismiss certain things the Jews thought to be set in stone. When apostacy occures and several centuries of attrocities result to blame those on the restoration of the original is like blaming the Hellenistic Renaisance for the chaos of the dark ages simply because they had remnants of Hellenistic society in certain aspects of their lives.

Who are these prophets anyways?  How do we know if they are telling us the truth?

To know if they’re telling us the truth you have to leave open the possibility that there is a god, despite previous misgivings, that if he exists and possesses the traits one would expect from an all knowing all powerfull and just and merciful being that he can answer a sinceer and properly made and properly intentioned petition and will answer such if he exists. Then that person has to be ready and willing to do whatever an affirmation would demand, even to the degree of abandoning previous conceptions of the world, appetites they may have, essentially be ready to change whatever might be necesary, whether or not such computes in their mind initially. If an individual is in such a state then God, since he knows one’s true desires and true willingness to submit to a response, will respond appropriately if he knows that such is truely sought out to the proper degree. I can send an e-mail off to a profesor at some college demanding that if his assetions are correct that he’d be able to find me and do this and that, but if I don’t have the faith to check the e-mail account in the future or if my demands demonstrate an inherent unwillingness to change my mind on the professors view regardless his response or the effort he makes to contact me would I be wise or silly to expect a response?

But once one knows an individual is God’s prophet then they can work from there, they don’t need the empirical peer review analysis of every single assertion or history or prophecy related by the prophet. Not that they are not to study it out and analyze it, it’s just they are not to treat it the way they would treat the words of some stranger off the street.

As to who they are today—they are those who are presently in the heirarchy of the Church of Christ that Joseph Smith established and Brigham Young guided to the western US.

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By Inbal, September 6, 2006 at 12:40 am Link to this comment
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Mary,

I think we should learn more about Europ’s history at the time of Enlightenment. How did it come to pass that out of the Dark Ages, of endless religious wars, forced conversion and repression, all of a sudden Renaissance swept all over Europe? Fact is that 200 years ago people were more secular than today. How did it happen? What caused that philosophy of reason and freedom to spread and prosper and this world of ours to regress and go crazy again?

Arch,

1. Socialism is a kind of religion too. Common traits are: repression, belief in one god (Stalin, Mao Tzetung, etc.), telling people lies and whoever-doesn’t-agree-with-party is deemed infidel/traitor.

2. You’re right that forced conversion was practiced by Christianity too. But this was long ago. How come that so many Muslims are stuck with Medieval Practices and Medieval Mentality even today?

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By archeon, September 5, 2006 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
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Sorry “a” was me, i was just typing too fast and failed to correctly spell out my name…..opps…..a classic example of passion triumphing over reason.

what does this mean?————

“Yet they can’t get rid of the fact that Christ taught things after his resurection for which there’s no accounting and no record, does that mean that Christ didn’t teach secret things during his tenure, no.”

I offer the following:

a: if there is no record or accounting for the secret things he said after his death or during his life how do we know he said them?

b: if christ was ultra divine, why would it be neccessary for him to reveal secrect truths to a chosen few?  If he came with a message directly from god why only offer some of the truth to a select few?  Was god playing favorites?

c: it means that claims that he revealed unrecorded truths are pure conjecture, or worse fabrications and lies.

I hope i am not the only one who sees the glaring and obviously self evident logical contradictions in the above quote.

Further more it is not fact that Christ taught anything to anyone, it is not fact that he even existed, it is not fact that he was divine if he existed.  So claiming that what his followers claim he said or did as fact is a false claim.  Nothing about christ, his life, his family, his disciples, his teachings, his words is a fact - they are all articles of faith.  There is no scientific, anthropological, archeological, historical evidence for christ.  We only have the new testament. A religious text.

Inbal thank you for that link in comment 21838.  I think this article does reinforce some of my ideas of why religion is dangerous.  We would all do well to remember that christians too once forced members of other to convert or face death.  Don’t be fooled that with a less strong secular society that the stronger christian sects/cults wouldn’t happily do this today.  We tend to forget that our western ideas of religious/intellectual/pylosophical freedom are not based on the idea to let you practice your religion, but rather so that I may have the freedom to practice mine in peace without danger from you and yours.

Thankyou for the links to the LDS humanitarian site, very interesting.  Yet I would venture to say this, that it would be far better if our countries would stop supporting represive dictators, and if instead of giving them arms with which to enslave torture and impoverish the local populations, we would support populist (let’s use the dreaded word: socialist) movements.  Every time land and social reform is put forward in one of these places, the moneyed and wealthy enslavers of thier own people cry fowl, and make a appeal to the “power” classes of our own societies to resist the evil “socialists”.  Religion hates socialism, because it is a direct threat to the power base of religion - man made misery, poverty, and class.

The claims made by any of the followers of the abrahmic god tradition, that god is both male and female cannot be supported by the texts, or history, or current and past dogma, or current and past doctrine.  In this tradition god is male. Sorry but you just can’t wish this away.  Just because certain LDS, JW, SDA followers don’t subscribe to all the elements of the christian creed as set by the catholic and traditional protestant denominations doesn’t mean you can just will away 2000 years of christian theology.  This is your baggage, this is the foundation of your faith. If the foundation is false, it does tend to draw the validity of all that is built on it in to question.

Science allows for the discovery of new information coming from observation of the real world, Religion creates new knowledge spontaneously through “revelation” from the great beyond (or the insane ramblings of prophets).

Who are these prophets anyways?  How do we know if they are telling us the truth?

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By HiveRadical, September 5, 2006 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment
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68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.

D&C 45: 68

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By HiveRadical, September 5, 2006 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
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Val and Mary (assuming the ‘a’ is Mary,

The science examples were aimed at what I believe were statements by archeon as to the infinite span in science relative to science. I was never claiming God was an imediately provable scenario at all with science, but neither is string theory.

Mary touching your points on the nature of God you are using views of the divine that are not universal. I don’t hold most of those views. So while I don’t hold a view of God that’s imediately available to scientific inquirey (again even string theory lacks that status and may well beyond the extent of our lives and possibly hold such as long as the the question of the divine will) I certainly hold to a version of God that’s not inherently anti-reason, I don’t hold to the traditional christian creeds. So this continued lumping of all religiously minded together to facilitate more facil refutation is simply not a tenable take following any kind of tenable view of ration and logic.

And your claim about the lack of support for a female personage tied to God is utterly lacking in tenability. Under that same fallacy the present predominant ‘traditional’ christian traditions try to disown the Gnostic remnants. Yet they can’t get rid of the fact that Christ taught things after his resurection for which there’s no accounting and no record, does that mean that Christ didn’t teach secret things during his tenure, no. So to sumarilly dismiss the idea that the true God of the Abrahamic tradition doesn’t have a divine wife simply because YOU do not see such is also an untenable assertion.

Finally in terms of the good religion has done the television and and the foundations of chemical kinetics were things immediately tied to the advent of my faith.

As far as immediate temporal aid to society here are contributions of my faith, but don’t forget what the christian and islamic traditions have done at times and places to preserve the scientific and rational advances of societies like the hellenists protecting such from the implosions those societies experienced at the peak of their secularization.

http://lds.org/ldsfoundation/welfare/welcome/0,7133,1325-1-9,00.html

http://lds.org/ldsfoundation/pef/welcome/0,7133,3403-1-10,00.html

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By Mary Wallman, September 5, 2006 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
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Inbal:  I read said article.  I am depressed.  I feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode, only this is real life.  This is exactly why the founding fathers came from England.  Little did they know that one day there would be an internet to unite every continent—psychos included.  There is no where left in which to retreat.

We are face to face with ourselves.  How can we kepp the peace when there are those intent on war?  I wish for more solutions to these problems.

Maybe we should all be talking about how we can live together in peace, not about how “I’m right and you’re wrong.”  When I was a teenager I always wanted to be right about my father.  Most of the time I was right.  That didn’t give me a loving relationship with my father—which is really all I was after.  Instead, what I received was self-satisfaction.  As I became older, I saw how my arrogance had taken away my relationship to my Dad.  That’s not what I wanted.  I’m not saying that there aren’t fundamentalists out there who just prefer to wipe everyone else off the face of the earth (“More room for ME!”) as if they live in a vacuum.  That is the misperception—that they live in a vacuum.

I don’t want to be right.  I want to be respected—regardless of my religious persuasion.  I don’t want to live in fear of others’ wrath because of my belief system.  I just want a rational life, without the intrusion of ideas that can’t be supported with facts. I don’t believe that people will fall apart at the seams without faith.  I haven’t.  I am not being punished for it by some old guy in the sky either. I feel healthier and more sane now than at any other time in my life when I chose to seek out a faith.  What I found was my self, and the humanity in which I am included.

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By Inbal, September 5, 2006 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
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a, I liked your post and learned reasoning very much. Congratulations!

But then I experienced another Big Bang, which brought me back to our earthly dismal problems. The link which follows is called “A Conversion (to Islam) You Can’t Refuse”.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/651hkpos.asp

Arch, Mary, Val, a, for god’s sake, have a look at that.

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By Val, September 4, 2006 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice to see the discussion continue. Interesting to read comments misunderstanding “science.”

Unlike religion, science never claims to be more than the best possible latest answer to a question, implying that with more research, more knowledge, better answers will emerge.

Among most of the lay public (that includes me), the misunderstanding seems to be that science has finally and irrevocably arrived at “answers” (that does NOT include me).

That’s why they’re called theories. They are living and open to further research and advances of knowledge. All of them.

Religions are not open to further knowledge, no matter their claims to the contrary. Their “power” depends upon fixed dogma, irrefutably “correct” because “god given,” to be followed “faithfully” by unthinking sheep—or else.

Sciences exert no such threats over the “unorthodox.” Indeed, sciences welcome questioning. It is their foundation.

Religions belie themselves when they denigrate questioning and threaten contradictory historical facts with persecution. They are anything but “living.”

They are, to the degree they are dogmatic, about death. Fixity. Permanence.

And rot.

Besieged, historically, by questioning non-believers, religions have consistently resorted to bullying and murder to maintain power.

Truths, historically, don’t require intimidation for their ultimate acceptance. They are, as Lincoln (and others) said, “self evident.”

The Internet Age presents religions’ greatest challenge. Truth has never been so readily available: exposure never so immediate.

Within minutes of religious sects’ slaughters of each other in Iraq, for instance, the world is aware.

At least, that portion of the world with unimpeded access to the internet.

Tragically, and increasingly, those countries most under sway of political and religious fascism have least access to information over the internet.

When one is desperate to feed and shelter one’s family, one hasn’t time to spend hours online informing oneself in one’s cozy den.

When one’s life is at stake for speaking truth and sharing information, “science” goes out the window, except among those who are fortunte enough or wealthy enough to live in countries where freedom of thought and expression are still attainable.

Who cares about String Theory when today’s job is burying your family who was slaughtered yesterday in the name of God?

Those, I’m afraid, are the two camps into which our planet is dividing.

The “faith-based” and the “reality-based.”

Both are now armed with WMDs.

The “faith-based” are, on the evidence, the most desperate and willing to use them—as witness the low-level name-calling and ad hominem attacks in forums like this one.

Or the situation wherever theocracies exist around the world, where neighbors who don’t conform to the prevailing religion are threatened with extermination. See Iran’s latest threat to wipe Israel off the map, once it gets nuclear capabilities.

Secular science has never claimed to have “the” answers. Only religionists make such statements.

All science claims is to have the “best” (i.e., most factually grounded) answers so far.

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By Mary Wallman, September 4, 2006 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment
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HR—I own the Elegant Universe and am quite acquainted with the reasons the jury is out on this.  However, I keep it for entertainment’s sake. 

I know about China’s baby clothes, one of my good friends from China has already told me these things. 

What woman alive in America hasn’t been at a disadvantage due to the partriarchal system that keeps trying to insist on our second class status?  This is something that by virtue of your birthright as a male (I am assuming) you cannot speak to—but exists for many members of society be they women or minorities.  Marriage is based on this idea—the woman takes the man’s identity traditionally because she is seen now as his property, or chattel.  Do polygamists give this same option to men (taking the woman’s last name)?  It’s probably not traditional is it?  Ask why…If polygamists are so fair to women, then women should be allowed to marry other men while married to the one guy.  Why not if she has enough money?  Do all Mormon men really want children?  If there is a reason that doesn’t include a man Not being responsible for his own emotions and reactions, please tell me.  And don’t say the women don’t want this right.  You can’t tell me that they don’t have resentments—especially when married young and they don’t have a sense of their own selves yet.  You can’t tell me that some 50 year old man who marries an 18 year old—legally—isn’t gonna have problems as she ages and meets with other men her age.  Unless she never leaves the house… that would make her IGNORANT, not having found out who she is in relation to the whole world—vs. her polygamist family.  Why would a grown man desire some one like her?  What do they have in common besides faith? We certainly don’t need to go forth and multiply these days.  There are many problems in the world that are due to lack of restraint of propagation.  This leads me to another question:  what if the woman is/becomes barren.  What are her rights, then?  Or is she discarded by the man because she can’t give him children. How is that handled with compassion toward the woman—or is the deal just off, then?

As far as studying another language HR, yes I have.  I have also studied the interpretation of English literature as concerns our times past via classes in practical criticism.  I am pretty acquainted also with the Aramaic interpretations of scripture and their myriad meanings.  For this reason also I am not sold on scripture.  Science incorporates Mathematics, whose meaning is not so available to misinterpretation.  Of course, there is no perfect science because it, too, is man-made, but the probability of phenomena that have been studied is more likely to realize a scientific prediction than say the Rapture claim of born again pie-eyes.

—I’m just sayin’....

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By a, September 4, 2006 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
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“Is the Big Bang not, in the incapacity of science to discover preceeding items, a begining? If the universe fizzling out after accellerating away and apart is not a de facto end then what is?”

We don’t know for sure if the big bang is the way the universe as we see it began, it is one among many ideas.  Granted it does seem to explain best what we see now, except the problem of dark matter, which if proven would upset the mass/energy equations that the age/velocity/expansion of the universe are based on.

The idea of how the universe began, or even if it began at some certain point in the past, has changed over the past 200 years, and this shows that science is willing to adapt as new better evidence comes forward.

In my previous posts I did say that I saw within religion the same tendencies toward change and evolution as we see in all aspects of human life.  While religion has allways adapted to the needs of the followers, this has always been resisted by religious leaders who wanted to keep thier power and might.  This resistance has always been based on one simple ideology: “God has set the world this way, and any deviation from his will is sin”.

I will grant that within the scientific community there is also resistance too new/wacky ideas, but those who propose them are not threatened with death/eternal damnation/shunning/etc.  Most importantly when the obsevational, experimentional, and reproducable evidence affirms an idea, it is generally accepted.

As for the evidence of “nanobacteria” using the calcified samples stored in a drawer and the fact that they grew larger (apperently) as proof raises some questions. The first is this, with out the input of energy and nutrient material how would they have grown? Did they spontaneously create mass, out of nothing? Or is their apperent increase in size due to measurement errors/corrections?  I might point out that the nanobaterium debate is still very very much rooted in the “speculative” phase.  What we have up to this day is unusual crystals/structures whose “replication” and “growth” is interesting, but new ideas of how this is occuring do leave many questions unanswered and conflict with current theories.  Though this is an example of the scientific methode and scientific inquiry at work, and shows that it is possible to introduce new ideas and theories, which are then open to debate and must be subjected to the rigors of experimentation and observation.

The idea of god having both a male and female aspect is simply not supported by the the theology, texts, and sources of the abrahamic tradition.  The idea that there is a “MRS. GOD” is also not supported.  That we have spiritual parents in heaven is also not supported.  The LDS faith is not based on fact but rather on the insane rantings of a self proclaimed prophet.

The existance of god cannot be proved because the nature of god keeps changing as scientific and observable facts show that the earlier assumptions of god were false.  When the early astronomers could not find heaven above us, the churches claimed that heaven was not a physical place located within this “real” but one that was located outside it where we can’t “see” it.  Further more, the nature of god is framed is such a way as to preclude our ability to measure it, ie: he is everywhere and nowhere, he simltaneously encompasses the past, the present, and the future, he sees everthing and all things, he is all powerfull - he can do anything, even change the pysical laws etc.  The god paradigm is set up in such a way as to preclude proof, that no mater what he will always be outside this real world.  What I am saying is this - religion, the religious, the faithfull always change the framework of the debate so that god will remain unprovable.  They move from a literal - as it is written - model to an interpretive - what he ment by it - model with out regard to history or fact.  Then on top of that they argue for continued “revelation” personally from god to chosen few on the nature of the world, the universe, and god himself.  This is the nature of all religions.  Justification of their existance by changing the rules.  There is never the possiblity that the religion is wrong, false, or without basis.  I wonder what would happen if other forms of life are found out there somewhere.  What will the religious say then, where in the bible (or other holy text, revelation, doctrine, dogam) will they find the literal or subjective truth for that then?

What good had religion ever brought?

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By HiveRadical, September 4, 2006 at 3:16 am Link to this comment
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One more thing Mary on the “you cannot have it both ways” I say certainly I can if the way I claim is independent of the two options you’ve left open and claim to be mutually exclusive. The ‘days’ argument rather shows the simplistic hold you have on the issue. Have you ever studied another language? Are you aware of the issues tied to translating into another language? Do you see the added complications of doing so several times over and landing that translation in a day and age that’s about as seperate from the culture and language of the originating source? Again do you have any awareness of dualism? what it is? and what it can potentially entail? Why would my claim to seeing it as literal in multiple senses of the words be conflicting with reason?

I’m reminded of the relation of the evolution of string theory in Nova’s episodes on the theory entitled “Elegant Universe” (available free and streaming on pbs’s nova website—I very much recomend viewing all three episodes if you can) it talks about a meeting of many string theorists that had all been calculating their own mathematical conceptions. The problem was that this great flowering had produced a vast array of different versions of this supposed ‘grand unifying theory’. As they got to looking at it a man there realized that though each aproach was different in many ways and yeilded different results that they were akin to different mathematical expressions/reflections of the same theory. Here you had six or seven different mathematical routes each seemingly significantly different from the other yet all proved to be tied to each other. What is to exclude your perceptions of discrepancies in beliefs as not being like misconceptions? How can you be so dogmatically set on your feeling that I’m clinging to mutually exclusive ideas?

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By HiveRadical, September 4, 2006 at 2:19 am Link to this comment
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Mary,

would I be incorrect to assume that you’ve witnessed some egregious patriarchal abuses of power in your personal life? Not meaning to touch on such lightly, it’s simply been my experience tha those ready to blame so much on patriarchaly centric culture generally have had personal experiences that tend to rather color such views and slant them in the direction they are found to be in.

You go off on the topic of masterbation. You site the common myth often presented touching on blindness and you advocate the fact that it’s normal as a reason for not instituting strict cultural or religious restrictions and disaproval of such. You act like such is more detrimental than constructive as it lessens the perceived self worth or brings on what you view as unconstructive or counter constructive shame.

What of children deficating wherever and whenever? In provences in many areas in china children’s clothing is designed with the means to facilitate releif without soiling of any clothing, this leads to the effects similar to what is found with people who take their dogs on walks, you have the occasional inconvenience or accident but you avoid costly diapers and rid yourself of all that time, then you don’t have to worry about the shame associated with changind soiled clothing and the transition to adulthood is easier, infact in some eastern areas public deffication is entirely acceptable and you will see the likes of women dressed in a modern looking outfit with a skirt simply squate down for a few moments and then get up and continue about her daily business after leaving her natural biproduct in a location similar to those chosen by domesticated animals here in the US. And their culture is so accepting of it, people just learn to watch where they step and you don’t have the issues of public shame because it’s just an accepted norm.

You may find such an example distastefull or improper in it’s application, if that’s the case then we’ll move on to another institution. It’s rather common knowledge and verifiable in scientific studies that men are generally very keen on multiple sexual partners, in fact judging from the usually encountered male sexual drive it seems to be rather conclusive that a wide array of sexual partners is, at the very least, seen as at least normal as a physical drive. Would you then advocate society formulating policy and public education around such drives and tendencies? Or would that be out of the question as the male vs. female sexual drives would tend toward a male dominated society in which things like polygamy dominated.

You may find it interesting, if you were not already aware of it, that polgamist women in Utah were among the first to gain access to both voting rights and political positions in the world precisely because polygamy permited them to be more involved in other pursuits as they had a built in support community that enabled Utah to acheive the status of having far and away the highest per capita ranking of educated women. Women could have a career and a family. A woman could leave children with one of the wives and go back east and gain training as a doctor or lawyer and then return to Utah with an education and degree and continue on to providing the best medical care the medical community of the time could offer OR representing their constituencies in the State Legislature, all while still having a family. And I have a hard time seeing such a community, with education and career and family so feasable for the women, as ever being a community where patriarchy could dominate against the will or intellect or without the sanction of such incredibly educated women in their communal groups that enabled such advancement. Though for some reason feminists of that day and of this day tend to simply relegate such incredible women to the classification of brainwashed. I’m glad Susan B. Anthony saw the reality through her aquaintance with—

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmeline_B._Wells

I’m also glad for

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Hughes_Cannon

Both incredible women forgotten by so many simply because they held to polygamy AND women’s rights.

Anywho. Those are somethings I’d be curious to see your take on. Is something that’s normal inherently acceptable to society? I can think of many more tendancies in society among most humans I know that, if they utterly lost their stigma, society would fall apart entirely. The simple act of sustaining civilization fights many intrinsic and natural human inclinations. Would you deny that? Or do you hold society and civilization could remain solvent if we simply removed any negative stigma from anti-social actions?

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By Mary Wallman, September 3, 2006 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment
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HR - I appreciate that you come from a more logical place than your first postings would suggest.  I think that if you would look into scripture, you may find the sources of the many reasons rational people aren’t buying into them any longer.  This idea of “God’s spouse” or “Mrs. God” really smacks of insensitivity toward the feminine identity and supplies yet another second class position for “her.”  Why is there a male hierarchy?  Afterall, the male hierarchy has gotten so much right (no pun intended) regarding America’s involvement in Iraq’s affairs—this from our born-again President, Mr. Dubbya, who claims to get messages from big G (Not as in George Sr., although Dubbya has admitted to discussing foreign policy with him as well).

Funny, so does Nasrallah feel divine righteousness in his position—but they can’t both be right.  Not according to them.  I say, they are BOTH w-r-o-n-g about their religiosities (is that a word?  No? Okay then I coin one) and hold many “sacred ideas” that religiously and rigidly keep them in a holding pattern of murder and mayhem.  At least, that’s the rub they give the press.

In the science communities where grants and studies are driven by egos and lust for power and recognition, all hierarchies (male or female -including religion’s-) that are man-made delay progress.  The difference for me is that in thousands of years, the “documents” of highly regarded significance (i.e. the bible, koran, torah, etc…) do not just delay progress; they prevent it.  Mutations will always evolve, but fundamentalists will always claim to know the “true” meaning of something—especially when queried with “How long is ONE of the days that it took to create the universe.”  Then, all of a sudden,  there is a non-literal meaning proffered and the bible has become prose instead of literal in its translation.  I say:  “You cannot have it both ways.” 

Whereas, in the scientific community, old misconceptions will eventually be discarded through the scientific method despite the egos and hierarchies that obstruct the shedding of real light.  These new findings are then published for all to see—even for those in the hierarchy of science who once refuted them.  They have the option to produce ideas that negate the new findings, and the volley goes on indefinitely—making it a living, breathing source of truth—not a static old instrument that caters to the common man of its time, excluding the diverse peoples and sexes of the world and not recognizing all that they have to offer the earth.  Because of this scientific method and common sense, we know certain things like: Masterbation will not make you go blind. It has been proven in and out of the laboratory.
Even knowing these things, there are always a few adolescents that may fall prey to the mercilous myths and incur much self-loathing while masterbating due to the myth, though masterbation is completely natural. 

Morality, religion, guilt and fear of god’s wrath and judgment do not deter them from continuing to masterbate.  But I believe that this is a snapshot of the unhealthy effects of dogma on the development of young minds.  When our kids are in school, they should not have to contend with the implanting of unproven belief systems that blackmail you into belonging to an idea that offers relief of life’s suffering after death.  They should be embracing information and finding out who they are in relation to the world.  They should be free to investigate and connect with new ideas even if they are frowned upon in religious communities—without feeling the social pressure of dissuasion from leaving all stones unturned.  I’m talking about the religious ideas that seek to separate us instead of uniting us.  There’s already so much pressure for the garden variety adolescent to “look good”—then add religion to the mix and how is that helpful?  (Don’t give me “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods (or SUV and liposuction)”)

I am not saying that there is nothing right that religions have gotten.  With conflicts in the psycho-social arena of religious hierarchy (and its literature), plus the lack of evidence where one should find it—and the patriarchal structure that feeds on keeping people opiated with dogma and in an arrested stage of development, I don’t think they need to be injecting their ideas into my life.  I haven’t seen the proof of their claims of making us all better.  When someone “finds” religion, and becomes more rational—its a shaky foundation.  Eventually, they will make bad decisions again because they have not changed for themselves—but for fear of consequences on high.  You have to see the value in fairness for what it is.  Immediate gratification, like masterbation will not make you blind—but you will have nothing to show for your actions and a temporary fix on your mood.  Always on a Sunday.

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By HiveRadical, September 3, 2006 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
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Val, archeon, and Mary. First off I appreciate this debate, occasionally some of the vocab used by archeon is not what I see as the most condusive but generally I respect all three of you for your continued dialog, especially with the feeling of frustration I feel I can rather safely assume you have for my continuance. Wish I could talk to you each one on one or even have the time to point by point respond to your words. The time is appreciated even though I think both myself and each of you likely think the opposing view is rather missing our points and misreading what we are saying in our respective positions.

I’m going to address some overall and some specifics, as I’ll be pulling the specifics and trying to answer without taking forever I will not attribute specifically the segments to an individual and will trust in the capacity of those reading this to hunt down the quote if they wish to see the source or original context. I hope this doesn’t cause any issues with any of you.

First off—

“If is say “the existance of god cannot be proven or one way or the other” that is not dogma - it is a fact of logic.  It is a rational conclusion based on the evidence found within the debate.  Claiming one or the other condition of the being of god is to make claims as to the validity of assumptions on the nature of god or the world that cannot be proven.”

Please notice that you here admit the context. This is the kind of issolation I remember given in the physics mechanics tests I took, corolaries to such would go “assume that this system is issolated from the universe” or some such claim. You see the bold letters, you yourself admit that this is only certain if we assume the evidence in the debate is the only thing acting on the system. That belief is something that can not be proven or substantiated in anyway. That’s my issue. I have no issue with logic, reason, ration or science. They should be used to the utmost. But each of your claims that place this above your perceptions of religion are just like the claim that you can issolate the system being judged to only those conditions and states of and in the universe/existance which you are privy to.

For example a recent discovery—

For a great period of time in modern medicine the occurance surounding a great number of problems, everything from heart attack to stroke to kidney failure on and on and on their was found in autopsies and investigations calcium buildups around the problem sites. The medical community tested this phenomena with everything it could throw at it, anti-biotics, radiation, whathave you, nothing affected this so it was concluded by the medical community that it was just an occurance produced by the body whose cause was uncertain, the idea that it was caused by a living being or pathogene seemed soundly refuted as nothing, absolutely nothing, in controlled expirimentation had ever effected it’s presence. So the only logical and rational position available was that A) they didn’t know what caused it and B) it wasn’t caused by any pathogene and was simply some occurance that had to be an outgrowth of these conditions and possibly the bodies response to it because everything they could possibly think of to effect the condition did absolutely nothing to it.

Within the box they were given to opperate they had come to the ‘right’ conclusion following the finite box and aplicability of logic, science and reason. Yet some odd coincidence in a lab made someone question and wonder at the previous assumptions. Some of these calcium build up remnants had been kept in a certain lab environment for more than a decade, not as part of any expriment, just out of hapenstance. One of the individuals going back over these specimins realized that they had multiplied in the time they’d been kept. There were just some issues with that, you see these little bits of calcium were far too small to match up at all with what the contemporary bio-molecular science considered the absolute minimum size for self replication. Yet here were tiny specs of this calcium buildup that had, outside of a body, multiplied. Albeit it had taken the greater part of a decade to simply double in number they had none-the-less done so.

Well to shorten the story it was discovered that something they would now term ‘nano-bacteria’ (not really a bacteria in any sense) would go on, and is at present involved in, turning the whole of bio-molecular sciences previous assumptions on their head. Also this discovery doesn’t seem to have really yet sunk into the medical establishment, it may yet prove to be like h-pylori, an ailment that for it’s traits of both disrupting medical belief and practice is not directly treated in the mainstream for quites some time AFTER it’s discovery.

So here’s an item that would have, without hapenstance discoveries that were not any real part of any real investigation, something that could have evaded the perception of science reason and logic for who knows how long. And it would do such NOT because anything is wrong with those methods, rather because there are significant problems with the assumptions made by the individuals applying those methods.

The following will reveal one of the false assumptions just made by an individual on this board—

“The “debate” here is illusory. Science deals in measurable, replicable facts. The theory of Relativity is one. The theory of Gravity is another. Thermonuclear dynamics, another. String theory, another. Evolution, another.”

The mention of string theory here is falsely attributed to science. String theory, up to present, has proven neither provable nor disprovable. It, in that way, is still in the land where you place the question of the Divine. Namely the land of that which is neither, at present, provable or disprovable. But, demonstrating my claim of the preeminence of assumption in our applications of ration, reason and logic, which ever one of you who decided to include string theory in their litany of areas in which it was demonstrable through measurable replicable facts did so on the assumption that if half of the theoretical physicist’s entering the field were studying it that it must be science. But up to this point it is not. So there’s another demonstration of the fallability of our application of ration reason and logic. Because we are dependent on assumptions, like the apparent assumption that a field that took the majority of nacient theoretical physicists must be ‘science’, it doesn’t matter ‘how much’ we lean on reason ration and logic because our assumptions are as prone to screw arround with the answers we will produce in such applications as can and does occure in the blatantly dogmaticaly based ideologies.

On to some other clames with false assumptions behind them—

“Even religion slowly changes, this we see in the myriad forms of christianity, judaism, and islam that exist today.  We don’t know if judaism came form one source or if it was a synthesis of prehistoric beliefs. The remnant “godess” worship within judaism (ie that jewishness is carried through the maternal line, interestingly christianity with the birth to a woman of god has elements of this too) that conflicts with the male god image is one thing that would indicate that it is a synthesis.”

One thing that COULD indicate.

You have the same thing in the worship of Neith by ancient Egyptians, there you have a latter patriarchal leadership taking it’s authority from matriarchal authority tied to the same construct found in bee cults that would continue to show their presence. You see this and archeon’s comments are completely void in their presumptions from any of the intricacies of the theology I pertain to. I hold God is married, has a litteral divine spouse, we hold to have not only a Father in heaven but a Mother also. And with our ties into both genders, to the idea of the woman and the man becoming one flesh we have matriarchal AND patriarchal elements. We worship the Father in the name of the Son, but since God would be as he wishes us to be, that is, of “one flesh” then both the male and female component are found in our worship. The duality and interplay between the genders, both in our theology, divine ontology, and personal worship and practice, is vital and important. Salvation itself is tied to dependancy, each gender upon the other, for salvation. Eternal Life, as we see it, is impossible with only a single gender. As I hold this to be that which was taught from the begining it’s easy to see how any antipathetic force centered on disrupting and distorting the original message would try such through either over emphasis on a gender or through a confusing of gender OR through a doing away of gender, thus creating any number of aberations of the originally presented true reflection of God and God’s nature.

This is one of the points I see and it just is rather disheartening to see this issue being so apparently detrimental to your acceptance of the God of Abraham. It’s a view which is based on your assumption of the majority of those claiming ties to Abraham and his God as being and stating the truth and a true refection of what and who the God of Abraham really is. “create man and woman in OUR image and after OUR likeness” God and his spouse are ONE. They are two beings that are one in purpose. One is male the other is female. It’s not one being that’s just male, it’s not one being that’s just female. It’s not a male pretending at times to play the female part nor is it vica versa. It’s not a non-gender being nor and androgynous single being. It’s a male and a female that are one in purpose.

“It is in fact religion that is consumed with the question of a beginning.  Within scientific theories it is not a question of a beginning, because there is no begining - it is infinite.  Religion claims to access the infinite by putting finite limitations on the world.  Science is far more willing to talk about the infinite nature of the universe, and the infinite possiblities of being and thinking, than religion.”

Is the Big Bang not, in the incapacity of science to discover preceeding items, a begining? If the universe fizzling out after accellerating away and apart is not a de facto end then what is? If you conceed there is no begining then you must assert things previous to the Big Bang.

Your claims do not apply to my theology. I believe I’ve always existed. I believe matter/energy is as infinite and eternal as God is and I am. My theology is tied to the eternal, to the infinite. It’s one of the reasons I find the sciences and mathematicaly based string theory so amazing. They make the claims of my faith on an infinite level so much more viable and potentially in line with math theory, and potentially, with science. A belief in a God who is a material being, in spirits who are themselves made of some yet unperceivable matter coincide, rather than clash, with science and theory to this point.

  Within the scientific “paradigm” conjecture is not proof, but it may well be a source of inspiration for experimentation and observation.

With the ultimate source of conjecture in science being unverifiable science itself only moves forward on the basis of occurances and determination to test such that defy ration and logic and reason to reveal the sources of such. Thus the door is left wide open for all advances attributed to science being essentially founded in the unexplainable, as of yet, source of intuition/inspiration—the source and basis for any novel conjecture.

”  Ideas for which no evidence through observation and experimentation is found are never “dis-proven” but rather “not-proven”,

Which is precisely why I say that your claim that the God of Abraham cannot exist is not disproven, rather “not-proven” it is in the same category with string theory.

there is a great difference.  Religion on the other hand does give dogmatic and doctrinare answers to those questions, because it does claim to have direct access to the provider of truth - GOD.  It always comes down to this: the world is as god made it, therefore if I don’t understand the world it is because my finite being simply cannot grasp HIS infinite will and nature, but his infinite grace has seen fit to send “revelations” to a chosen few, his prophets, who will interpret his will for us, either by directy speaking to us or by writing down in texts what god said.  Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed, Joe Smith, et-al…..Yet the prophecies always seem wholy inadequate in predicting the future and the future state of knowledge, science, etc, thus continued revelation seems neccessary to deal with the distinctly unprophetic nature of the previous prophecies.

Here is made bare your misconceptions about the nature and reasons behind prophecy. Prophecy and intuition have the same source and similar intents. They are not meant to give us comprehensive answer sheets so that we can ace the test by virtue of our having obtained the teacher’s edition, rather they are placed to give us just enough so that, if we really want and are willing to work for it, we can obtain the desired end. They are far more akin to study aids than they are to exhaustive spoilers. The journey’s purpose is not just to get us to the end of it, but to better us through having transveresed it and having had to adapt and use all available resources to do the best we can with them. Revelations are not to prove to us all in an indisputable way and thus force us into God’s compliance, rather they are left open enough for us to tempt and to try us to see what our true desires are. If you could see your employer constantly funnelling money into your bank account and increasing it when you did what was correct and decreasing it when you didn’t it wouldn’t take a mentality and character beyond that of the common chimp to learn the ins and outs of carrot and stick motivation, but if a significant portion of things are kept from view THAT is when we see for ourselves where our values lie. Like the theorist that spends a life time on somthing like string theory never to see that theory validated scientifically in their life time God wants to see if we can find truth and hold to it without allowing us to see the whole picture. If you know exactly what will and wont do when and where then the stock market is not a challenge or a test of principles or a partial science in trading it’s simply an execution with nothing gained by the executer in the process of execution beyond obedience to principles of immediate reward and gain. Life is meant to be a perfecting of people’s capacities, not merely a trial to see who respond to the apparent carrots and sticks of life.

“I truely believe based on historical evidence, that all dogmatic, doctrinare, heirarchical regilions - judaism, christianity, and islam in particular - will at various times in hisory and time develope into reactionary movements intent on crushing all those who oppose or who do not accept their world and cosmological view.  They will, unless kept in control by logic, reason, and rationality justify the subjugation, imprisonment, murder, etc of non/un-believers via their reveal phophecies, religious texts, and religious history.  Every one should be keenly aware that the attack on logic, reason, and rationality is because these limit the possible actions that extremist forces with each church/religion can exercise.  It is logic, reason, and rationality that again and again reveal the internal failings ,conundrums, contradictions, and inconsistencies within the various religions.

In a like spirit one such as myself could respond—“all claims to sufficiency in logic, reason and rationality will at some time through history or in the future, unless kept in check by those sources who have true ties (however non-empirically quantafiable) to genuine and fundamental elements of pure ration, pure reason and pure logic founded in and seen through omniscient sources will form and devolve into reactionary movements bent on crushing any other movement that does not ascribe to their perceived notions of what does and doesn’t constitute rationality, reasonability, and logic as put forth in the context of their finite analysis of what constitutes those methodologies and their correlating ties to the perceived world. In short those under the delusion that they know what reason rational and logic ‘certainly’ or ‘absolutely’ dictates to man are just as dangerous, if not more so, than those pretending to know in exactness what God would have them impose on others. It matters not whether you have the delusion that what you are forcing on others is of God or is based in ‘true’ rationality, logic and/or reason the truth of the matter is that you are not capable in either spot.

So in this attempt to cover three different individuals responses without answering the same thing three different times I hope I’ve not missed an item mentioned by one or all (or two) that is still seen as vital and as something that I’m terribly flawed for having left out.

I hope you can see that I’m not against everyone maintaining their rights to believe as they wish and for all to do so without compelling others to believe as they do. I’m all for freedom, for fighting any side that wishes to forcefully impose beliefs or misuse government to do so. I’ve everything in my soul to advocate the virutes of ration and reason and logic, I simply do not see them as all encompasing and I fear people grasping on to illusions of such rather than the reality. I fear such will find themselves like the individuals who thinks there’s another step on the stair case when there is not and finds their locamotive instincts fooled to the sad consequence of a face plant. Just as it’s wrong to assume to know what God is saying and to assume such must be imposed on all so too is it fataly wrong to assume that a person has a mode of rational or reason or logic sufficient to the degree of likewise forcing such a delusion on others. May none of us force any kind of belief on each other but continue on in civil dialog trying to, where we can, share and grow and perhaps all learn together of the fallacies and errors we all (myself included) without a doubt still have engrained in our preconceptions of the world, of our beliefs, of other’s beliefs, and of the nature of God, ration, reason, logic, and our capacity to apply such.

Hope your weekend had gone well and that whatever you do tomarrow that you are safe and have as good a time as you can.

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By archeon, September 2, 2006 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment
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I an in complete agreement with Val’s last comment.  And this does take us the the beginning of this thread, that some muslims saw the cartoons published in Denmark depicting Mohamed as blasphemous, insulting, degrading, etc and expected the rest of the world to accept thier interpretation of them.  They were indeed believers who’s faith expected of them that they FORCE others who do not believe as they do, to follow their (the muslim faithful) faiths rules.  This unfortunately a direct result of them (the muslim faithful) seeing thier faith as the one true faith, whose concepts and prophets may not be question, ridiculed, or insluted.  They press thier claim by threatening violence, death, and destruction on all who oppose them, and in this case those who support western liberal democratic ideas of free-speech and indeed freedom of and from religion.

I truely believe based on historical evidence, that all dogmatic, doctrinare, heirarchical regilions - judaism, christianity, and islam in particular - will at various times in hisory and time develope into reactionary movements intent on crushing all those who oppose or who do not accept their world and cosmological view.  They will, unless kept in control by logic, reason, and rationality justify the subjugation, imprisonment, murder, etc of non/un-believers via their reveal phophecies, religious texts, and religious history.  Every one should be keenly aware that the attack on logic, reason, and rationality is because these limit the possible actions that extremist forces with each church/religion can exercise.  It is logic, reason, and rationality that again and again reveal the internal failings ,conundrums, contradictions, and inconsistencies within the various religions.

God is dead! May religion soon draw it’s last breath, and it’s texts forever be relegated to myth and literature.  My problem is not just with christianity, which I actually see as the lesser of two evils when compared to islam, but they are both just opposing faces of the same coin.  They are both the cause of untold misery, pain, and death, they both have probably never truelly helped any one any where get to heaven, and have probably failed miserably at keeping anyone out of hell.

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By Val, September 2, 2006 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
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In the immortal words of good old Al, that smarty-pants:


“Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that is there.”

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By archeon, September 2, 2006 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
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Unfortunately for the pie-eyed faithys science explains the real world in a simple and all encompassing way - that never compromises logic or reason.  The laws of physics can never be contradicted.  A good example is the sun centered verses earth centered universe.  The early church taught that the earth was flat, a fact they claimed based on the texts.  The early church after science/reason/exploration had proven this faith based assumption wrong, then claimed that the stars ect revolved around the earth, even though early indications from science indicated that this too was wrong.  Even then the church refused to accept the infinite size of the universe, and each time we dig a deeper hole or send a probe higher we find neither hell nor heaven were religion claimed they are.  We see evolution happening right now as a on going process in the world.  We see species slowly changing, we see the climate slowly change, we see the land scape slowly change.  Societies change, this too is a form of evolution.

Even religion slowly changes, this we see in the myriad forms of christianity, judaism, and islam that exist today.  We don’t know if judaism came form one source or if it was a synthesis of prehistoric beliefs. The remnant “godess” worship within judaism (ie that jewishness is carried through the maternal line, interestingly christianity with the birth to a woman of god has elements of this too) that conflicts with the male god image is one thing that would indicate that it is a synthesis.  Christianity came from one source (or so it is claimed) namely Christ, which immediately begs the question why right from the beginning were there many forms of christianity?  Why were these diverse christian groups in immediate conflict with each other?  Why did they immediately see each other as apostates and heretics?  Islam too came from one source, namely Mahamed.  Yet here too almost immediately after his death the theology was torn into pieces with various schools of thought, now there are probably hundreds of different muslim sects who are in a constant state of opposition to each other, and seeing the other groups as apostates and heretics.  Why? Because everything in the world and universe is in a constant process of evolution.  In a constant process of change and adaptation.

Interestingly even within the religious traditions that have split from the main ones, change and adaptation of the interpretation and practise of the “revealed” divine truth continues.  IE a process of evolution, in reaction to the truth of the world and the needs of the people (usually the needs of the preisthood within).  I see that even within the LDS faith the continued appearance of “living” prophets as an evolutionary process.

The faithfull and the religious are often and usually ignorant of science.  They usually make assumptions about science that are not based in fact, but rather come from the dogma of thier respective religious theologies and traditions.

BTW - Einstein believed in god, and thus was unable to concieve of a universe without one.  Thus he rejected Quantum theory because of the “probability” factor.  This may have come from a misunderstanding of what the original proponents of quantum theory claimed.  Basically that we cannot know both the speed and location of any subatomic particle at the same time.  If we know how fast something is going, we don’t know where it is - if we know where it is we don’t know it’s speed (velocity). The proponents of Quatum theory did not claim this as proof of the non being of god, but rather that they could not say with absolute certainty exactly where the electrons surrounding an atoms nucleus would be.  From this developed other ideas about uncertainty, probability, and how the observer affects the observed.  As the years have passed the seperations of Einsteins theories and Quantum theory have diminished and science has used the theories of one to prove the theories of the other.  Einstein was a man, and like all men was very much attached to his theories, and at first the quatum model seemed to be in opposition to his, but as the years have passed this has proven not to be the case, in many ways they are complimentary.

It is in fact religion that is consumed with the question of a beginning.  Within scientific theories it is not a question of a beginning, because there is no begining - it is infinite.  Religion claims to access the infinite by putting finite limitations on the world.  Science is far more willing to talk about the infinite nature of the universe, and the infinite possiblities of being and thinking, than religion.  Within the scientific “paradigm” conjecture is not proof, but it may well be a source of inspiration for experimentation and observation.  Ideas for which no evidence through observation and experimentation is found are never “dis-proven” but rather “not-proven”, there is a great difference.  Religion on the other hand does give dogmatic and doctrinare answers to those questions, because it does claim to have direct access to the provider of truth - GOD.  It always comes down to this: the world is as god made it, therefore if I don’t understand the world it is because my finite being simply cannot grasp HIS infinite will and nature, but his infinite grace has seen fit to send “revelations” to a chosen few, his prophets, who will interpret his will for us, either by directy speaking to us or by writing down in texts what god said.  Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed, Joe Smith, et-al…..Yet the prophecies always seem wholy inadequate in predicting the future and the future state of knowledge, science, etc, thus continued revelation seems neccessary to deal with the distinctly unprophetic nature of the previous prophecies.


Science does not make exsistance any less fantastic. On the contrary it is even more precious and wonderfull and exciting because of science.

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By Val, September 2, 2006 at 3:57 am Link to this comment
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From today’s NYT, in an article about evolution and the current Pope: “an issue perched on the ever more contentious front between science and belief.”

Pretty much sums it up.

The “debate” here is illusory. Science deals in measurable, replicable facts. The theory of Relativity is one. The theory of Gravity is another. Thermonuclear dynamics, another. String theory, another. Evolution, another.

Belief, however, can be anything you want it to be, factual or not.

Individuals (at least in free societies) are entitled to believe what they like. So are groups of similarly-minded individuals.

What they are NOT entitled to do (at least in free societies) is force their “beliefs” on populations as a whole through civil legislation.

My own “spiritual” reality is and has been quite “real” and rich for over 40 years. It has nothing to do with white males in the sky, nor blood lust on crosses, nor persecution of racial or sexual minorities, nor 5,000 year old myths, nor unquestioning obedience of “authorities.”

It is entirely personal. For me it is as real as each day’s sunrise and sunset, and equally miraculous and meaningful.

Yes, there are writings thousands of years old that describe various techniques for experiencing it. I didn’t know about them until I first encountered the experience by accident many years ago. Since then, I do.

“It” is as Thomas Paine describes it: a “revelation” to me personally. For me to attempt to depict it to you or others is exactly that: “hearsay” which you may choose to accept or not.

For me to force you to accept it, and legislate civil laws based upon it, is fascism.

There is no “debate” for me about what I experience. It is my experience. It may not be yours. And because it can only be gained “inwardly,” it is not subject to external objective verification.

Nor is it subject to external application to all others through force.

It is, finally, “in-sanity.”

For me or a group of like-minded individuals to force our inward experiences of transcendence on the world through theocratic political states and WMDs results in . . . well, precisely the situation in which humanity now finds itself.

The existential problem is not whether “god” exists or not, according to whatever definition.

It is the insistence that everybody else “believe” in and follow what is, ultimately, an entirely personal experience.

Unlike universally verifiable scientfic facts.

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By Mary Wallman, September 1, 2006 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment
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The thread is dead….long live the thread!....
What I have against the “Pie-eyes” is their bigotry and separatism, bull-headed resistance to science that helps humanity, and opiate fortified existence..
That is all.

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By archeon, September 1, 2006 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment
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I did not mean to imply that I was not interested in this debate any longer, merely that the debate is not moving forward.  The religiuous simply keep on asserting the “divine” infalibility of thier faith and religion - it is a position that cannot be debated.  All the questions to which an answer rooted in reality, rationality, logic, and imperical proof is lacking is again and again refered to “revealed truth” from a supreme being.  Every time someone points out the flaws and falsehoods within the theology, the explaination is that the traslation was flawed, that I am reading it out of context, that I am too literal, not literal enough, that my finite mind is incapable of understanding the infinite nature of the divine.  Every time flaws in logic within the texts - bible, torah, koran, book or mormon, etc - are demonstrated they are explained away by “continued revalation” from god personaly to living prophets now.

I am willing to state that I believe that anyone who claims to have recieved a direct “revelation” from god is either lying or insane.  Why? Because it is impossible, even according to the internal logic of the mainstream religions.  Because all religions are self referential systems of belief, in which revelation from the “dogmatic” idea of who or what god is, is accepted as true, yet those that are out side that “paradigm” are rejected as false, evil, apostacy, heresy, or worse - but without any proof or evidence to support that claim.

Religion, Cosmology, Theology are the only dogmas.  Applying the term to science, rationality, or logic is false and abusing the word.

If is say “the existance of god cannot be proven or one way or the other” that is not dogma - it is a fact of logic.  It is a rational conclusion based on the evidence found within the debate.  Claiming one or the other condition of the being of god is to make claims as to the validity of assumptions on the nature of god or the world that cannot be proven.

I am not claiming that god is or is not - I claim that the god as the christian, jews, and muslims worship him (note that the god in those religions is MALE) is a fiction and creation of male based social structures that see the world primarly as a hierarchy in which male is seen as the “naturally” dominant sex because god is male.  Any one who claims that the god of abraham is not male, is wrong.  The theology based on this MALE god also justifies racism, slavery, bondage, torture, war, murder, rape, theft, lying, cheating, and a host of other “evils”.  These evils are of course what happens within every (yes every) society, as a natural condition of the drives and needs of the people within them.  Because they are the kinds of behaviours and actions that drive cultures, communities, and societies to pieces, religion codifies this behaviour in away that justifies it, as long as it is being perpetuated on those who believe deferently.

I don’t care about the existance of god.  What I do care about is that HE has been and continues to be used as a reason and justification for the continuance of the previously outlined evils.

I do care that I am paying for religion and religious institutions through my tax dollars.  I care that ideologies I find objectionable and preverse are funded by my labour.  I care that every day I have to be subjected to religion.  I care that every day religion abuses my “life style”, my beliefs, my personal being, and that I am paying for it.  I want schools to teach atheism as a “choice” that has merit and is valid.  In fact I want religion out of schools completely.  When they do touch on religion, schools should teach it as myth, conjecture, and assumption.  Leave claims of fact for religion to the churches and the insane.

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By HiveRadical, September 1, 2006 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
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Why do people still cling to these ideas?</blockkquote>

How many people have sought, or claimed to seek, a better world through the advance of science and reason without getting us any where near utopia in so many centuries? Your blind faith in the virtues of the finite holds on reason and science humanity is seemingly perpetually bound to constitutes a rather odd faith.

Why do we as humans cling to any ideas as worthy to guide our existance? Why do you see it as so illogical to seek to those that at least claim to attempt an answer to the only meaningfull questions in life. Everyone’s world view is centric in some assumption or feeling they build all their constructs around.

I ask then what makes you so certain your world view will advance you or humanity any more than mine will, especially in light of the fact that you and so many others here seem terribly ignorant as to what my world view consists of simply because I happen to give heed to witnesses I’ve personally gained that don’t fall into a neat quantifiable and conveyable proof text for publishing in the oh so ‘holy’ peer review journals on which so many thing to think the salvation of man hinges on.


<blockquote>  Does the bible or the Book of Mormon classify as non-fiction?  NO…like all “good books” it is a religious text.  It cannot be claimed as fact.

That is an assertion that you cannot prove. It’s a dogma.

  You have the freedom to believe as long as you obey the laws of America.  I reserve my right to disagree.  I reserve my right to have my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness remain in tact to the letter of the law, without any slipping in of the religious insurance policies that I do not subscribe to.

Amen.

  That is all.  It would seem to be a simple request, and yet, milliions of people go all pie-eyed at their center of worship at least once a week.

Wake from this dream of separateness… We can mostly all agree that red is red, blue is blue, yellow is yellow, etc.  And those who cannot see the difference will simply paint a different picture.  They won’t be designing any traffic signs, though.

Do you have something against people going “pie-eyed” once a week at worship?

On the terms of seeing things as they really are an attempt at ‘purely’ rational and scientific views of the world is as or more naive an endeavor for mere humans than seeking truth soley through scriptures would be.

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By HiveRadical, August 31, 2006 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment
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Dead to archeon perhaps. I’m still willing to respond even if archeon’s given up.

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By Mary Wallman, August 31, 2006 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment
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I don’t get from your previous postings that you are at all interested in learning about reality.  You pin every opinion, every fact, and every posit out-of-context to your “faith.”  Faith is not based on reality—it is a position one hopes for.  It is an idea one hopes will prove to be true—and therefore does not exist incarnate presently.  Many religious ideas that have been written have as of yet—in hundreds/thousands of years—to be proven (Jesus’ ascension into heaven after the crucifixion for example), and therefore are not based in reality.  Why do people still cling to these ideas?  Does the bible or the Book of Mormon classify as non-fiction?  NO…like all “good books” it is a religious text.  It cannot be claimed as fact.  You have the freedom to believe as long as you obey the laws of America.  I reserve my right to disagree.  I reserve my right to have my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness remain in tact to the letter of the law, without any slipping in of the religious insurance policies that I do not subscribe to.  That is all.  It would seem to be a simple request, and yet, milliions of people go all pie-eyed at their center of worship at least once a week. 

Wake from this dream of separateness… We can mostly all agree that red is red, blue is blue, yellow is yellow, etc.  And those who cannot see the difference will simply paint a different picture.  They won’t be designing any traffic signs, though.

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By archeon, August 31, 2006 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment
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I am sorry this thread is dead.

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By HiveRadical, August 31, 2006 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
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Say what you will about science, you wouldn’t be enjoying this lovely discourse on theology via COMPUTER without it!

Say what you will about religion, you wouldn’t have science advanced to the point it is to permit the creation of things like the computer without it. It’s no coincidence that the western tradition grew up along side the Abrahamic tradition.

Book of (this explains a lot to me, now) Mormon?  You should read “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Krakauer—or can ya dig up some “trut” (4/5 of the truth) on him, too?

The ‘trut’is what Krakauer gives in that book on the LDS history and tradition. He tries to paint anyone with the slightest connection in one point of historic similarity as all inherently having these violent motives akin to the islamo-fascist terrorist. It would be like me saying that since you and Stalin share similar views on religion’s legitimacy and God’s reality that you too would share the same genocidal and dictatorial tendancies as Stalin.

  Do you weep at poor Jeffs’ capture?  He’s a pimp.  You can’t skin that cat many other ways.

He’s not moromon, not lds, he’s an apostate who should feel the full weight of all the laws he’s transgressed. The fact that you tie him to my faith and myself demonstrates the efficacy and degree to which you allowed Krakaure’s foray out of his usual genre to massively jade your understanding.

Ancient warriors used to believe that eating the brains of their conquests magically transferred all of their knowledge about war into their bodies.  Whatever their reasons, they were still just as much a cannibal that Jeffs’ is a pedophile pimp.  I love America, it is a nation of LAWS.  Laws that the majority makes without finite results.  Religious freedom and freedom from religion are both contained in our constitution.  Another good read.

May I posit the idea of seeking information concerning a group from the acual group rather than from disconected sources that may or may not have an ideological axe to grind. I hope you’ll notice that I’ve come to board largely populated by secularists to better understand their views. I would hope you could see the value in doing the same with regard to us. Otherwise you will be prone to following the terribly simplistic and rather detrimental human constructs that are prefabricated for those unwilling to think things through and make decisions for themselves in light of the true facts rather than some summarial lumping together of all creatures simply because they reside in the same region. I have less a connection to jeffs than you do to the most horrendous secularist slaughter-mongers of this era.

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By Mary Wallman, August 31, 2006 at 6:15 am Link to this comment
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If there weren’t so many truthdig alerts in my inbox, HR, you wouldn’t be hearing from me.

Say what you will about science, you wouldn’t be enjoying this lovely discourse on theology via COMPUTER without it!

Book of (this explains a lot to me, now) Mormon?  You should read “Under the Banner of Heaven”  by Krakauer—or can ya dig up some “trut” (4/5 of the truth) on him, too?  Do you weep at poor Jeffs’ capture?  He’s a pimp.  You can’t skin that cat many other ways.

Ancient warriors used to believe that eating the brains of their conquests magically transferred all of their knowledge about war into their bodies.  Whatever their reasons, they were still just as much a cannibal that Jeffs’ is a pedophile pimp.  I love America, it is a nation of LAWS.  Laws that the majority makes without finite results.  Religious freedom and freedom from religion are both contained in our constitution.  Another good read.

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By HiveRadical, August 31, 2006 at 12:50 am Link to this comment
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First off I likely take Biblical accounts far more litterally than most would from the abrahamic tradition. I believe we are all ontologically linked to God, we are literally his offspring. Now on to the next part of your last post—

The bible is true because we don’t understand the terms used in it?  Because the terms may “imply” other none literaly meanings?  So in one part we apply literal meanings, and in another we will say “day” means millenia? millions of years? billions of years?  Look if we say day in genisis means billions of years we get close to the science defiened age of the earth about 6 billion years.

My view of theism doesn’t really disconnect material and spriritual as we hold spirit to ultimately be litteral matter. One of the points you seem ignorant of is what’s called dualism. I hold that many things in the scriptures are not mutually exclusive in the application, this especially goes for prophecy.

Also, have you much experience in any other languages?

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By HiveRadical, August 31, 2006 at 12:21 am Link to this comment
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H-R how do you know he is the prophet?  How do you know Joe Smith was a prophet? Because they said so?  Because god told you, via a voice in your head/vision/feeling?  Please please help me to understand my poor finite mind wants answers.

Because God told me so via a feeling.

Will you answer me if I ask you how you know there is such a thing as justice? equality? morality?

What about the possiblilty of existance without god?

I’m not trying to prove the existance of God to you. But how would one go about trying to prove the existance of quarks and other such things to one who was unwilling to accept any premise of the very methodology that discovered and proved such? If one is unwilling to follow the path that leads to certain understanding then nothing in that avenue can be shown that person and proved to that person. You seem to have the notion that since theology doesn’t follow empirical, quantifiable and directly communciable proofs that it’s not something that you can ever look at with any seriousness. Since that’s what you’ve determined that’s how it will be for you. Your exclusion of a proffered path to truth both makes you inable to discern the viability of such and utterly disconnected from any demonstrations it may have to offer.

By the way your play/science analogy is just a silly as some of the other ones people have been offering here as proof of the divine.

Again you act as though I was trying to prove God to you.

Also the usual course of action I’ve seen when someone tries to discredit an analogy is to actually demonstrate why it fails rather than to just claim it’s ‘silly.’

Science is in fact a very good predictor of the past and the future.  Now granted, anthropology, history, and such are not truly “sciences”, for much within them does rely on conjecture, etc.  But mathematics, chemistry, astro-physics, physics, biology, are.  Almost everything within them can be subjected to the “scientific method”.

While those certainly are massive swaths of existance and in some respects there have been theoretical attempts to look back I think you’ll find even those exacting sciences attempts to look back seem to open up far more complications than they can answer. The potential for dark matter and dark energy, the now accepted fact that the universe isn’t just flying apart, it’s accellerating in it’s expansion. The attempt to unify relativity with quantum mechanics through string theory has us looking down the barel of at least 11 dimensions, contemplating sparticles and other things that just a few decades back would’ve been laughed to scorn. So while it’s very true that science can see very far backward the collective scope is terribly limited and the answers seem to ever more allow us to see how little we can see in comparison with what’s to be had.

  What you seem to forget is this - science is not concerned about the existance or not of god.  It is realy not important to “science”.  The fact that no “scientific” proof of god, the divine, heaven, hell, the soul, the after life is to be found seems to really only be important to the religious.

That’s backwards and wrong. Science is concerned with making hypothesis and testing them. The reality of science is far beyond the common perception held by you or anyone. God is the ultimate scientist.

  Religion is only important to me in as much that the religious always want to subject me to their dogmas, their moralities, their ethics, while never taking any note of mine, unless it is to point out that I am living in sin, will fry in hell forever, or that “someday I too will see the light”.  It is only important to me because I subsidize religion through the tax breaks the clergy, church property, church charities and other “state” benefits religious institutions and leaders get.  What do I as an atheist/agnostic/ant-religionist get for my money?

You have an odd view of the whole picture. As if the fullness of wealth and society could be placed in to burecratic policies and ascribed monetary equivilancies, as if money equaled anything, anything at all. If one of my friends was to take your view they would also have plenty of reason to complain. This friend has lived a life at a substantially low relative wealth to both the common member of Western society and to what he could have had if he’d lived the average lifestyle of a secular individual. In fact this extends to my friend’s wife. They’ve both essentially given up their lives to raise almost ten children with all of them, despite relative financial destitution (living all their lives below what’s considered the poverty line-only using social support from the government when their healthcare program bailed out of the state and essentially dumped them after paying insurance payments for nigh two decades and there were rather standard medical expenses for a few of the children) they’ve brought up these children who’ve performed at the tops of their classes and at the tops of their areas of interest academically. Yet despite all this investment in their children the one’s that will primarily benefit financially in society will end up being those who draw on social security as the program dies yet they themselves either had no kids or too few to carry the weight they as individuals will put on the system. All of these people who think they’ve planned their lives well and properly saved for retirement don’t realize that their retirement money will mean nothing if there’s not a sufficient (in size, capacity and willingness) workforce to redeem those stuffed away green backs then they will not have the umph that they’d planned on.

You see all this moaning about financial injustice belies the reality that you are benefiting in a vast number of ways from the actions of all those you despise for ideological reasons.

Germany, as an example of what’s happening to secular Europe, will be an Islamic state within the next 50 years. Not because of any armed conflict or terrorist fanatical muslim terrorism based blackmail of the state, just due to simple demographics, natural laws. You see secularist utopia europe (sue) has the cut rose syndrome. Upon initially cutting a rose, touching it up and placing it in a properly formulated scientific blend and keeping it at an optimum temperature it’s bloom will last longer than normal and will be rather stunning while it remains, the issue, however, arrives when the life of the cut rose starts serious decline. It’s detatchment from it’s roots makes it’s potential for future viability rather close to nihl, yes it may have looked prettier for longer than it’s constituence on the original bush, but it’s constituence on the bush are far more likely to have their hips develope and constituent seeds spread to create offspring and a continuance. But the secular ‘rational’ world is too smart for that, to smart to participate sufficiently to replace themselves. I mean they were so good for society that they don’t need anyone to carry on what they did because what they did was enough. If you don’t agree with that then do inform me as to how any ideology can expect continuance if they blatantly disregard or diminish the importance of the very principles one of their vanguards established. Natural selection seems to back fire on those too smart to produce a relative equivilant set of offspring to carry on their work.

So yeah. You don’t get the advantages of marriage if you don’t marry. You lack the tax advantages if you don’t form and participate in a non-profit institution (they don’t have to be religious to get tax exemptions or grants, just look at the current university system and it’s federal and state supports)

  Absolutely fuck all. Nothing, except the screaming heads of the religious right and thier repubulican lapdogs everynight on Fox, CNN, MSNBC.

It would be more funny if your delusion and pitty party wasn’t so sad and perceived as justified to you.

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By Jerub-baal, August 30, 2006 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment
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Forgive for my name calling or maybe don’t forgive me.

“he resorts to the usual name-calling (Joseph Campbell “fell out of a tree”?) 

You guys really would have hated Elijah on top of Mount Carmel

To be honest with you I don’t care about Josephus or Tacitus because the elements within the Old and New Testament that have convinced me they are from God and not man are the unmasking quality of the biblical characters themselves.  I will still hold that I believe Josephus and Tacitus are valid outside evidence of a historic Jesus.  If you want to BELIEVE a differing opinion I would want you to at least accept that you are relying on someone elses thinking to come to that conclusion.  When I rely on someone elses thinking I’m absolutely brainwashed in your opinions of me - When you rely on someone elses opinion you portray it as solid evidence and accuse me of ad noseum, ad homina, and probably of bagging the day.

As to the syncretists with the budha and muslim and egyptian stories the Jews and Christians all plagerized - I want to investigate it.  Point me to some, not one but some good sources.  Oh and they can’t be internet sources unless they have book references and author credentials.  Just because Campbell says it doesn’t make it true - not unles he is your David Koresh.

This one element I do know in the conversations I’ve had with Muslims, Budhists, and Bah’ai syncretists - not a single one of them come close to representing the gospel of Christ. 

This is the reason I reject LDS beliefs as they ask if I would like to hear the “gospel of Christ.”  You mean the gospel where Jesus Christ is only a part of what makes you right with God and the other part is church membership, baptism, and restored this or that - basically the gospel of the LDS church is really - Jesus is not sufficient to put you in right standing with God and you need to do all this man made crap as well - but at least we got it from joseph s. who after all had a jesus visit which goes against the very teachings of Christ in Matthew 24:23-25

If that wasn’t enough the LDS don’t heed the teaching of Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5.

And the reason they don’t believe the New Testament? 

It was corrupted by the Catholic church, again, when we have manuscripts that pre-date the Catholic corruption and our more modern translations rely on the older manuscripts, we must be convinced that what we have in front of us is very close to what was written in the original autographs. 

The better LDS question might be if the book of Mormon was divenly inspired, why 3,913 changes since 1830?  Why does the Bible have more archeological backing and better evidence? 

Baptism of the Dead based on 1 Corinthians 15:29 in context the entire chapter of 1 cor 15 is about resurrection - what if we baptize someone who doesn’t believe in the resurrection?  It’s answered in 1 Cor. 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

If I was to truly perform baptism (symbolic picture of spritual rebirth by identifying with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection) the one who does not believe in the resurrection would simply be held under water, gurgling and suffocating - why baptize people who don’t believe in new life and resurrection?  Now does 1 Cor. 15:29 make sense, if your LDS it doesn’t and probably never will.  Yet they use it to confirm baptism of dead people by proxy - talk about misadventures of missing the point. 

This is why I call myself Jerub-baal or Gideon because Gideon tore down his father’s asherah pole and baal altar because they did not represent the true God - Jesus did the same thing in Matthew 23.

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By archeon, August 30, 2006 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment
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H-R how do you know he is the prophet?  How do you know Joe Smith was a prophet? Because they said so?  Because god told you, via a voice in your head/vision/feeling?  Please please help me to understand my poor finite mind wants answers.

What about the possiblilty of existance without god?

By the way your play/science analogy is just a silly as some of the other ones people have been offering here as proof of the divine.

Science is in fact a very good predictor of the past and the future.  Now granted, anthropology, history, and such are not truly “sciences”, for much within them does rely on conjecture, etc.  But mathematics, chemistry, astro-physics, physics, biology, are.  Almost everything within them can be subjected to the “scientific method”.  What you seem to forget is this - science is not concerned about the existance or not of god.  It is realy not important to “science”.  The fact that no “scientific” proof of god, the divine, heaven, hell, the soul, the after life is to be found seems to really only be important to the religious.  Religion is only important to me in as much that the religious always want to subject me to their dogmas, their moralities, their ethics, while never taking any note of mine, unless it is to point out that I am living in sin, will fry in hell forever, or that “someday I too will see the light”.  It is only important to me because I subsidize religion through the tax breaks the clergy, church property, church charities and other “state” benefits religious institutions and leaders get.  What do I as an atheist/agnostic/ant-religionist get for my money?  Absolutely fuck all. Nothing, except the screaming heads of the religious right and thier repubulican lapdogs everynight on Fox, CNN, MSNBC.

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By HiveRadical, August 30, 2006 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
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archeon is rather missing what I was doing, the following demonstrates such

“I quote: (via revelation coming personally from God to myself).

Enough said.  Seeing visions and hearing voices are the hallmark of insanity.

I was never engaged in proving my faith to you. If you think I was then that demonstrates yet one more false assumption you’ve made. All I’m doing is demonstrating that my view and your view have no significant differences with respect to the influence, and consequent fallibility of, subjective judgements. You claim items like justice and equality etc. then you claim to be able to properly discern such abstractions without providing any proof text to rationally or logically or scientifically demonstrate such. Any assessment you’ve made regarding ethics, morality, or any of those abstractions have demanded that you rely on something beyond the reach of rationality, reason, logic or science. This or these ‘something(s)’ are as foundationally tied to subjective human experience as my claims to personal revelation. Even the likes of Asimov concured that his stance on God’s non-existance was emotionally based and that he reached the point where he held to such as the foundation of his belief—

“Kurtz: Isaac, how would you describe your own position? Agnostic, atheist, rationalist, humanist?

Asimov: I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

Kurtz: But the burden of proof is on the person who claims God exists. You don’t believe in Santa Claus, but you can’t disprove his existence. The burden of proof is upon those who maintain the claim.

Asimov: Yes. In any case, I am an atheist.”

Here a man of the highest of intellectual prowes of contemporary thinkers (and far closer to your standing on things theistic) flately says that even if the “santa clause” defense failed, or any other logical construct failed to defend his position he was set “emotionally” despite the fact that for a large part of his life he thought such to be “intellectually unrespectable.”

That has been my key thrust as of late. At it’s substantive supporting center your world view is no more defensable in terms of logic, ration, reason or science than is mine. You hold no high ground. This rational superiority assertion is nothing, it lacks any substance or potency of any kind. No I cannot prove to you my beliefs, but you are impotent to hold any position on things of this magnitude and scale and claim the upper hand in terms of reason so long as you are a human and you are dependant on assumption to form any substantive world views. Science and Reason, even taken together, lack the comprehensive coverage (due to our finite capacity to perceive, measure, discern etc.) to free us entirely from any subjective base that can and does completely color our perception of the world.

Most importantly, if that is the basis of your faith, and it that is the proof you accept for the validity of the existance of god, there is no point in continuining this debate with you.

I’m not here to convince you of my faith, I’m here to demonstrate to any following along that your assertions to an inherently better position in terms of intellectual integrity or superiority are patently false. You, as Asimov finally came to openly admit himself, are as human as any of us and your world view is no more free in essential components from human assumption and emotion than mine is.

  It is utterly impossible for you to convince me that your “revelation” is nothing more than invention on the part of an “imperfect” and “finite” mind.  Conversely you will never accept the potential invalidity of the god hypothesis.

Here you just proved my point by patently affirming, without knowing what may in the future be presented to you, those things which you’ve concluded WITHOUT having reached a full knowledge or certainty. The above assertion by yourself demonstrates my whole point that you are as subjected to subjectivity, assumptions and emotional dogma as I am. Thank you for providing yet more proof of my position. The aboves are stated in certainty, yet lack conclusive proof, they follow the very parameters of a dogma.

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By archeon, August 30, 2006 at 4:43 am Link to this comment
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I quote: (via revelation coming personally from God to myself).

Enough said.  Seeing visions and hearing voices are the hallmark of insanity.

Most importantly, if that is the basis of your faith, and it that is the proof you accept for the validity of the existance of god, there is no point in continuining this debate with you.  It is utterly impossible for you to convince me that your “revelation” is nothing more than invention on the part of an “imperfect” and “finite” mind.  Conversely you will never accept the potential invalidity of the god hypothesis.

The bible is true because we don’t understand the terms used in it?  Because the terms may “imply” other none literaly meanings?  So in one part we apply literal meanings, and in another we will say “day” means millenia? millions of years? billions of years?  Look if we say day in genisis means billions of years we get close to the science defiened age of the earth about 6 billion years.

Hmmmm, I am convinced.  I accept god.

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By HiveRadical, August 30, 2006 at 12:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here, perhaps, is the Golden Standard for obfuscation, from a recent Hive posting:

“It is a dogma, one you seem to hold, that anyone can effectively and sufficiently be rationally based while still remaining a being bound in finite reaches and the necesitites of making assumptions in order to make sense of whatever percentage of empirical and quantifiable and rational data they can build into their paradigm.”

When one parses the intellectual and linguistic pretension of that sentence, it boils down to “Science is hooey.”

That’s an incorrect attempt at a distillation of what the sentence was saying. If there’s any obfuscation it’s not intentional on my end.

What I was saying in that instance, I’ll try to be a bit more understandable and simplistic for you, is that science is good at the small stuff but doesn’t do so great when you get to the big stuff.

If existance were a play science would be excellent at informing us as to the details of the stage’s set up. It could inform us of things like the details of the back drop or the temperature increase created by the lights shinning on the actors. The things science (and in a similar fashion finite applications of reason and logic) is not particularly suited to are judgements touching on what happened in the previous acts and what is going to happen in the final scenes. Yet despite these problems with science, ration and logic those such as yourself try and to act as though your hold to ration and logic tells you more of the play’s history and future than it actually does. That’s my issue. It is not with science, it is with the pretentious grabbing of science and logic and reason, ignoring their limited reach due to our finite abilities to apply them, and then claiming the high ground morally ethically and intellectually. It’s simply wrong-headed.

The thing that’s rather funny with your derision of me is that right after rebuking what you claim to be an ad-hominen you quickly go to implying that I’m intentionally trying to confuse via obfuscation and then you proceed to, without asking for clarification or taking the time to actually understand what I was saying, you simply try and pass what I’m saying off as a showy way of dissing science wholesale.

The very tendancy for individuals to do what you attempted to do with my statement is precisely why I’ve found the need to resort to an exacting, albeit often laborious, language. If you don’t cover everything the way a lawyer does then you get people constantly trying to squeeze through whatever rhetorical loop-hole they think they can find in what you’ve said. Though it seems if you use language that they don’t understand or are not wanting to use a dictionary to learn then they say what they think you are saying and attempt to pass it off as a legitimate ‘translation’.

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By HiveRadical, August 29, 2006 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Versions of what? And what are they abandoning?  How can they abandon something that hasn’t existed yet?  Who is claimed as a living prophet—if you dare to name her.  Oh, let me guess—it’s a him—again.  BULLOCKS.”

Versions of the gospel, God’s plan for humanity, apostacies from the truth, and break aways from those breakaways are what gave the Babylonians and such the similarities to the Gospel that the likes of Moses, Christ, John the Baptist etc. brought again in their respective tenures on earth.

The present living prophet is Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet who restored the gospel in these days was Joseph Smith Jr.. For clarity here’s the present day Gordon B. Hinckley sharing some words on his peer Joseph Smith.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy260wsS9mw

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By HiveRadical, August 29, 2006 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“If you see that there are errors in the bible, and “don’t get with those” like bible thumpers do, then can you not see that perhaps there could be other discrepancies in the bible?”

Certainly. My faith holds to the Bible inasmuch as it is translated correctly.

Any good meme has been thought out enough to circumvent heretics who may take it down.  If there was an Adam and Eve in a garden of Eden…how come there is no record?  And yet, there are hieroglyphs and writings of Greek mythology pre-dating Christ’s supposed time—that are completely unaware of Adam & Eve.  How is that?  Maybe:  they came first?

When has the absence of an account been proof that it was not true or the original? The absence of such in some accountings would be perfectly in accordance with my beliefs.

Also why this obssession with the thought that discrepancies automatically prove all relations of some theme or event as being false. Most historical documents contradict each other in someways. If Historians faced history the way you seem to advocate even 9-11’s occurance would be in question regardless your take on a possible cause.

You mean to say that hundreds of years later, some guys—barely educated—coincidentally made up fantastic stories about Jesus that mirrored myths and geological history already in existence?  Wow!  What a miracle!

I have in my theological tradition a man in the 1930’s giving scriptural accounts tied to abraham that would prove to be terribly similar to accounts not available in the Bible NOR accessable to the western world untill after this man’s death. Yet this man was about as uneducated as they come.

Ever notice how many stories are re-writes lately (Davinci Code, anyone?—there are loads of believers in that now!) Is there a literary correlation to this behavior within humanity’s history?  I think so.  We love drama, conspiracy, and magical thinking.  It cannot be escaped—except on the advent of new technology—and then only in details, not plot.

The bible is the ultimate hallmark card of man-made, bed-time stories.

You seem to think the facts point to one volume of scriptures being fabricated. Would you be willing to discuss the viability of a more recently revealed volume of scripture, one that doesn’t have the distinction of being subjected to the effects of apostacy? Perhaps The Book of Mormon?

If you hold all faith as irrational (at least more irrational than the views you hold as presently constituted and founded on your own assumptions) then would you care to demonstrate such in terms of my theology? Because presently all the attempts at refuting the whole of faith via the presentation of discrepancies in major and dominant religious traditions doesn’t seem to cross over to me and my faith.

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By Mary Wallman, August 29, 2006 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#20406:

I believe (no pun intended) that you mean to address me regarding “Val’s” comment which is actually mine…

“My faith is strengthened the more I learn of ancient cultural practices, and not because they necesarily practiced the correct faith, rather because all the apostate versions have so many clear connections to a grand range of doctrines, beliefs, ordinances etc. that I find in my faith, the most recent of dispensations of truth to man through living prophets.”

Versions of what? And what are they abandoning?  How can they abandon something that hasn’t existed yet?  Who is claimed as a living prophet—if you dare to name her.  Oh, let me guess—it’s a him—again.  BULLOCKS.

I must leave this amusing discourse my good fellows, and return to my academic studies.  I will not comment again until my studies provide time for it.  I bid Archeon and Val adieu and to all the believers—please consider that you may be wrong.  I believe that all of us are disillusioned at some point in our lives.  The trick is to find your own way without interfering with the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of other people already born.  If ya made it that far (out of the womb), then you have a right to be here.  So many things can go wrong without the enforcement of religious ideas. Get back to the basics—as in everything you need to learn you learned in kindergarten.

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By HiveRadical, August 29, 2006 at 12:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Assumption is not rational.”

—archeon

Is any comprehensive assessment of the overall morality of a system obtainable without a finite mind using assumptions?

Can you demonstrate your beliefs and views to be entirely independent of any assumptions whatsoever? Have you arrived at omniscience?

Believers:  Please answer to the bible’s (and the others as well) documented similarities to ancient myths in existence centuries before Yeshua.  Does god not have any original ideas?  Do you mean to tell me that god is a plagiarist?

—Val

God revealed to prophets the details of the gospel (things such as promised lands and future saviours (and the ultimate arche-type Saviour Christ) from the time of Adam and restored such knowledge to humans many times and intervals through human history. The fact that they all appear to have similarities would be an expected conclusion with such doctrine. My faith is strengthened the more I learn of ancient cultural practices, and not because they necesarily practiced the correct faith, rather because all the apostate versions have so many clear connections to a grand range of doctrines, beliefs, ordinances etc. that I find in my faith, the most recent of dispensations of truth to man through living prophets.

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By Mary Wallman, August 28, 2006 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment
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HR -

If you see that there are errors in the bible, and “don’t get with those” like bible thumpers do, then can you not see that perhaps there could be other discrepancies in the bible?  Any good meme has been thought out enough to circumvent heretics who may take it down.  If there was an Adam and Eve in a garden of Eden…how come there is no record?  And yet, there are hieroglyphs and writings of Greek mythology pre-dating Christ’s supposed time—that are completely unaware of Adam & Eve.  How is that?  Maybe:  they came first?

You mean to say that hundreds of years later, some guys—barely educated—coincidentally made up fantastic stories about Jesus that mirrored myths and geological history already in existence?  Wow!  What a miracle!

Ever notice how many stories are re-writes lately (Davinci Code, anyone?—there are loads of believers in that now!)  Is there a literary correlation to this behavior within humanity’s history?  I think so.  We love drama, conspiracy, and magical thinking.  It cannot be escaped—except on the advent of new technology—and then only in details, not plot.

The bible is the ultimate hallmark card of man-made, bed-time stories.

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By HiveRadical, August 28, 2006 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment
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archeon,

To start with I’ll answer your most recent post. The point in demonstrating that your view is fundamentally tied to a dogma or equivilant was never meant to be any kind of proof for mine, rather it was meant to be simply a refutation of the validity of your objections, for if your system has the same damning components then YOU are not in YOUR claims providing any answers nor are YOU proving anything either. It’s simply leveling the field, demonstrating that you have not provided any answers and that your assertions are baseless due to the very fact that they, at there core, are subjectively based and unverifiable at their core, the very constituent parts for which you fault theistic dogma.

On to your previous post—

The trouble with religion and it’s minions is this: an absolute refusal to concede that the basis of the belief may be any and all of the following:

1 - insanity
2 - lies
3 - misinterpretation of empirical data (observations)
4 - lies
5 - half truths
6 - lies
7 - ignorace

Your position is just as liable, if not more so, than ours is to the plausibility of having these items at their core for you too are as limited in your humanity as we are. Your conclusions on the makeup and conceivability and comprehencibleness of the uni/pluri-verse are just as likely to be tied to any of those seven points for you are dependent at some point on assumptions for your macro views and determinations.

To concede that the basis of the faith and belief may be rooted in falshoods denies the absolute infalibilty of the godhead.  If even one thing of the faith based system is questioned then the whole system collapses because like a house of cards, it is built on shaky foundations.

Einstein regected much of Quantum Mechanics on the same premise. He couldn’t stand the idea that such discrepancies on one quantum level would produce such order on the other.

There are vast considerations one must take on in trying to discern things eternal. Discrepancies in our view may very well be no such thing if we were made privy to the status and makeup of the whole system.

If Einstein could look at string theory today he may not be so dogmatic in his view that led him to the popular phrase “God does not play dice with the universe” He may have seen that the apparent die throws were not really such and that there was order on a quantum level—even if that order is beyond the comprehension of finite human minds.

For example:

If god did not create the world in 6 days, and in fact the evolution of the earth took 4 billion years then the whold story of creation is thrown into doubt.

Unless the term ‘day’ is not an equivilant to such as is the common use for the term today. Then that whole claimed discrepancy is either thrown out or made vastly more complex than you’ve set it up as.

If Jesus was not the literal and actual son of god, then the claims made on his behalf vis-a-vis his authority to grant redemption here and in the after life for earthly sins is false.

I certainly believe he was biologically, spiritually and potentially the Son of God in other ways. Granted I take the statement ‘ye are gods’ from Jesus’ mouth a little more litterally than many of my fellow Christian believers. Needless to say I’m not a creedal Christian.

It is important to note that for the christians it is important that Jesus was born to a virgin, because sex is sin, and the son of God could not have been the product of a sinful union.  At the same time the idea of a woman and a god producing a man who is embued with extra-ordinary powers is not new.  It harkens back to Greek, Roman, Egyptian myth and theology.

While I don’t know the intricacies of the conception of Christ I do believe half his litteral genome came from God the Father.

The fact that a divine-human union goes back to earlier ages merely reinforces my theological view that Adam taught of Christ to his offspring and that the Gospel was taught and dispensed several times (and also distorted by men many times) thus the fact that such occures is far more a validation of my faith than it is any kind of disruption to it.

One possible proof of the invalidity of the Abrahamic traditions is that within them are to be found remnants of far older myths and theologies.  That the mono-theistic hebrew based religion is in fact a synthesis of older poly-theistic cosmologies would indicate that the guiding text (the old testament) is wrong.  It would show that the Jewish claim to Israel/Palestine is not based on religious fact (that is the land promised by god to them), but on a tribal myth.

Or it would show that LDS belief that the intricacies of God, Christ, and their relationship with mankind, were revealed to man at the time of Adam and on down through the ages. It’s presence in apostate branches and the fact that there were similarities and the appearance of synthesis through common themes doesn’t prove your view in anyway and doesn’t discredit mine in any way. If it was all present to begin with, and if it was at times renewed or dispensed again, that combined with human inclinations and entropy would have just about every faith tradition having some semblence to any future dispensations and true revelations.

I claim that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be proven false, by examining the texts that are claimed to be the foundation of the faiths.  We don’t have to debate whether god can or cannot exist in an emprical way. The proof of gods non existance will not be found in the “real” world, it will be demonstrated by the contradictions, inconsitencies, and falsehoods found with in the religions.  One step on this path is to find within each of those religious traditions, elements that come from the polytheistic prehistory of man.

Demonstrating traditional views of those religions will not disprove my faith for I hold the ‘traditional’ views of them as being prone to the effects of either apostacy or of simply being derivatives of earlier apostacies. Thus disproving them is something I do not need to be shown for I already have the implicit disproof in my personaly gained (via revelation coming personally from God to myself) proof, for my own self, of the validity and truthfullness of my faith and it’s tenants.

Within classic Jewish theology one finds elements that can be traced to Sumerian and Babylonian prehistory.  Christian theology and myth has been shaped by pre existing myths and cosmologies of its converts, Mexico and Latin america are good examples of pagan elements remaining in stanchly catholic societies.  Islam was shaped by the pagan beliefs of the Arabic tribes that were it’s first converts.<blockquote>

You are essentially saying that by proving that the current adherents claiming buddhism is not true that you are also refuting the points and assertions and beliefs of Buddah himself. It simply defies logic and reason. The validity of the claims of the patriarchs does not rise or fall on the shadows of such found among the concensus of the majority of three major branches claiming roots in such individuals, they rise and fall on the truthfullness of what they originally were. All you can do in demonstrating inconcistancies is disprove the distorted and entropy afflicted shadows of such. A task I can easily do.

<blockquote>One final and indesputable fact remains.  The proponents of one religion, by necessity feel that those of another are “less”.  That they are further from god, and closer to evil.  This one thing alone is what has given rise to all the evils of religion, for it is the thing that allows for and justifies - racism, woman-hating, classism, slavery, injustice, inequity, and hate.  It is what justifies seeing those who do not believe as “other” and less than human, as less deserving of gods grace, and possibly devoid of it.

Religion and democracy are incompatible.  Religion is not democractic.  Faith is not rational.  Belief is not proof.

I do not hold myself as more or others as less based on belief. I do not pretend that I have any position or advantage over others based primarily on my own merit. I’ve nothing of my own merit that puts me above any man and I’m as able and capable of falling and being damned as any man. Claiming that God both is no respecter of persons but yet has an order and paradigm to administering his salvation that involves rich and poor, intelligent and simple, blessed and cursed, is not an inherent dichotomy. afaith is not rational either. Proof is relative and dependent on the assumptions taken by the individual who’s examining. All systems capable of an attempt to discern values inherently use subjective assumptions. You’re position has no more merit, nor any less subjectivity at it’s criticacl points than mine does.

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By archeon, August 28, 2006 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
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Val my dear thankyou.  I am constantly amazed that when religion is questioned on the logical falacies and contraditions within it, the faithful never, NEVER, deal with it.  When HISTORICAL facts are proven, and religious myth is proven false it is ignored.

I really like that no one ever talks to the text.  The faithful always avoid dealing with the myths.

I also love that all of religions falacies, contradictions, inconsitencies, and falsehoods are explained away by god’s continued revelation of the truth.  Why not give the whole truth at once and spare us all millenia of misery and death.

Lets just toss out meaningless words like “liberal” (naturaly implies lose sexual morals), “dogma” (implies rigidly held beliefs based on faith - oops religion already has a monopoly on that!).

It is worthly to note that the faithful never answer any of my questions about the basic nature of the abrahamic religious tradition.  This is of course because all of my assertions are based on the “facts” within the bible - which is the accepted historical truth, and phylosophical basis of the three abrahamic religions by the faithful.

You cannot will away that before Moses was granted the land of Israel on behalf of the Jews by God, that some other people lived there.  That god had granted it to them made it morally, ethically, and religiously acceptable to kill and enslave the original inhabitants.  You can not will away that if Adam and Eve were the first two humans - any further reproduction had to involve incest.  If on the other hand Adam and Eve were only the first two “Jews”, then the whole creation myth falls apart, for who created the other people with which to breed - “go forth, be fruitful and multiply”.  Now we can go on and on picking the text apart but it is just too easy.  You can never get away from the fact that the text does not hold together in any logical rational intellegent way.  The problem is even more glaring for the Muslims, Mohamed writes one thing in the Koran, and an other it the Hadith.  Of course as a muslim questioning either is heresy and makes you immediately a target of death.  In fact it is the god given duty of every devote muslim to kill you.

If religion is so wonderful why are all relgious states backward shit holes?  Why have all religious states always been backward shitholes?  Spain under the Inquistion, Italy under the popes, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Tibet, Soviet Union, East Germany?  Take the USA, the most religious communities are also the least intellecutally curious, the least educated, the least socially progressive, have the lowest incomes, vote predominatly republican, believe that Iraq was responcible for the 911 attacks,etc etc.  You get my point.

I am sorry, but religion is silly. Faith is ignorance.  Belief is conjecture.  Assumption is not rational.

I know that I am often repeating myself, but the faithful never seem to speak to my questions of their faith.

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By Val, August 28, 2006 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While on the subject of words, religionists and lies, in addition to ad hominem attacks there is the technique of supposedly smearing an entire group with a broad brush.

My favorite of the last twenty or so years is “lifestyle.” As in the “gay lifestyle.” Though the phrase is immediately understood by those who use and thoughtlessly accept it, in fact it says absolutely nothing.

Flipped to its corollary, try “straight lifestyle.” Utterly meaningless. Are you talking about Mother Teresa? Ted Bundy? Laura Bush? Osama bin Laden?

But to the ignorant and incurious, “lifestyle” is another pretentious coinage supposedly packed with meaning but in fact not. It assumes the group that’s the target of derision, in this case gays, are all identical.

Like all bigots, its use reveals more about the speaker than it does the subject.

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By Val, August 28, 2006 at 4:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Archeon, that’s the whole point, with J-B. With nothing of substance, he resorts to the usual name-calling (Joseph Campbell “fell out of a tree”?) and cites Josephus, for instance, apparently without realizing that the three paragraphs in Josephus which supposedly talk about an “historical” Jesus were long, long ago proved to be forgeries inserted well after the writings.

And he says he’s a teacher. Like every religionist I’ve ever known, sadly, he’s passing off lies as facts and when he can’t refute the truth he starts in with ad hominem insults.

Same with Hive, who attempts “intellectualism” by tossing out tired cliches (“paradigm” is still in use, I guess, by the same people who love the words “envision” and “empower”), and when coherence fails, again resorts to insults—“kool aid” drinkers, for instance.

Here, perhaps, is the Golden Standard for obfuscation, from a recent Hive posting:

“It is a dogma, one you seem to hold, that anyone can effectively and sufficiently be rationally based while still remaining a being bound in finite reaches and the necesitites of making assumptions in order to make sense of whatever percentage of empirical and quantifiable and rational data they can build into their paradigm.”

When one parses the intellectual and linguistic pretension of that sentence, it boils down to “Science is hooey.”

Another attempted gratuitous insult instead of factual reference, and typical of defenders of the religious mentality.

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By Mary Wallman, August 27, 2006 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yay Archeon!

Believers:  Please answer to the bible’s (and the others as well) documented similarities to ancient myths in existence centuries before Yeshua.  Does god not have any original ideas?  Do you mean to tell me that god is a plagiarist?

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