8/25/2002                                                                                       View Comments

Dear Believer

by Dan Barker

Dear Believer, — You asked me to consider Christianity as the answer for my life. I have done that. I consider it untrue, repugnant, and harmful.

You expect me to believe Jesus was born of a virgin impregnated by a ghost? Do you believe all the crazy tales of ancient religions? Julius Caesar was reportedly born of a virgin; Roman historian Seutonius said Augustus bodily rose to heaven when he died; and Buddha was supposedly born speaking. You don’t believe all that, do you? Why do you expect me to swallow the fables of Christianity?


I find it incredible that you ask me to believe that the earth was created in six literal days; women come from a man’s rib; a snake, a donkey, and a burning bush spoke human language; the entire world was flooded, covering the mountains to drown evil; all animal species, millions of them, rode on one boat; language variations stem from the tower of Babel; Moses had a magic wand; the Nile turned to blood; a stick turned into a snake; witches, wizards, and sorcerers really exist; food rained from the sky for 40 years; people were cured by the sight of a brass serpent; the sun stood still to help Joshua win a battle, and it went backward for King Hezekiah; men survived unaided in a fiery furnace; a detached hand floated in the air and wrote on a wall; men followed a star which directed them to a particular house; Jesus walked on water unaided; fish and bread magically multiplied to feed the hungry; water instantly turned into wine; mental illness is caused by demons; a “devil” with wings exists who causes evil; people were healed by stepping into a pool agitated by angels; disembodied voiced spoke from the sky; Jesus vanished and later materialized from thin air; people were healed by Peter’s shadow; angels broke people out of jail; a fiery lake of eternal torment awaits unbelievers under the earth ... while there is life-after-death in a city which is 1,500 miles cubed, with mansions and food, for Christians only.


If you believe these stories, then you are the one with the problem, not me. These myths violate natural law, contradict science, and fail to correspond with reality or logic. If you can’t see that, then you can’t separate truth from fantasy. It doesn’t matter how many people accept delusions inflicted by “holy” men; a widely held lie is still a lie. If you are so gullible, then you are like the child who believes the older brother who says there is a monster in the hallway. But there is nothing to be afraid of; go turn on the light and look for yourself.


If Christianity were simply untrue I would not be too concerned. Santa is untrue, but it is a harmless myth which people outgrow. But Christianity, besides being false, is also abhorrent. It amazes me that you claim to love the god of the bible, a hateful, arrogant, sexist, cruel being who can’t tolerate criticism. I would not want to live in the same neighborhood with such a creature!


The biblical god is a macho male warrior. Though he said “Thou shalt not kill,” he ordered death for all opposition, wholesale drowning and mass exterminations; punishes offspring to the fourth generation (Ex. 20:5); ordered pregnant women and children to be ripped up (Hos. 13:16); demands animal and human blood to appease his angry vanity; is partial to one race of people; judges women to be inferior to men; is a sadist who created a hell to torture unbelievers; created evil (Is. 45:7); discriminated against the handicapped (Lev. 21:18-23); ordered virgins to be kept as spoils of war (Num. 31:15-18, Deut. 21:11-14); spread dung on people’s faces (Mal. 2:3); sent bears to devour 42 children who teased a prophet (II Kings 2:23-24); punishes people with snakes, dogs, dragons, drunkenness, swords, arrows, axes, fire, famine, and infanticide; and said fathers should eat their sons (Ez. 5:10). Is that nice? Would you want to live next door to such a person?


And Jesus is a chip off the old block. He said, “I and my father are one,” and he upheld “every jot and tittle” of the Old Testament law. Mt. 5:18 He preached the same old judgment: vengeance and death, wrath and distress, hell and torture for all nonconformists. He believed in demons, angels and spirits. He never denounced the subjugation of slaves or women. Women were excluded as disciples and as guests at his heavenly table. Except for hell he introduced nothing new to ethics or philosophy. He was disrespectful of his mother and brothers; he said we should hate our parents and desert our families. Mt. 10:35-36, Lk. 14:26 (So much for “Christian family life.”) He denounced anger, but was often angry himself. Mt. 5:22, Mk. 3:5 He called people “fools” (Mt. 23:17,19), “serpents,” and “white sepulchers,” though he warned that such language puts you in danger of hellfire. Mt. 5:22 He said “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword." Mt. 10:34 (So much for “Peace on Earth.”) He irrationally cursed and withered a fig tree for being barren out of season. Mt. 21:19 He mandated burning unbelievers. Jn. 15:6 (The Church has complied with relish.) He stole a horse. Lk. 19:30-33 He told people to cut off hands, feet, eyes and sexual organs. Mt. 5:29-30, 19:12 You want me to accept Jesus, but I think I’ll pick my own friend, thank you.


One of Jesus’s many contradictions was saying good works should be seen, and not seen. Mt. 5:16, 6:1-4 One of his mistakes was saying that the mustard plant has the smallest seed. Mt. 13:31-32 The writers of Matthew and Luke could not even get his genealogy straight, contradicting the Old Testament, and giving Jesus two discrepant lines through Joseph, his non-father!


I also find Christianity to be morally repugnant. The concepts of original sin, depravity, substitutionary forgiveness, intolerance, eternal punishment, and humble worship are all beneath the dignity of intelligent human beings and conflict with the values of kindness and reason. They are barbaric ideas for primitive cultures cowering in fear and ignorance.


Finally, Christianity is harmful. More people have been killed in the name of a god than for any other reason. The Church has a shameful, bloody history of Crusades, Inquisitions, witch-burnings, heresy trials, American colonial intolerance, disrespect of indigenous traditions (such as American Indians), support of slavery, and oppression of women. Modern “fruits” of religion include the Jonestown massacre, the callous fraud of “faith healers,” recent wars and ethnic cleansing, and fighting in Northern Ireland. Religion also poses a danger to mental health, damaging self-respect, personal responsibility, and clarity of thought.


Do you see why I do not respect the biblical message? It is an insulting bag of nonsense. You have every right to torment yourself with such insanity — but leave me out of it. I have better things to do with my life.

481 comments:

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boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: From your offered middle ground and professed neutrality, we've slipped quickly through several very specific assertions which I'm sure I didn't make, but you attribute to me.

Oops. My bad. I hope that doesn't mean I "forfeit" my position of neutrality. No? yes? Nonetheless, what about the "very specific assertions" I made that are accurate? Buddy, here's what I'm asserting(for easy reference):

That....

1) Your personal belief/religious experience has no referant in objective reality until you provide objective/universal evidence that it does.

2) You have not.

3) If, hypothetically, 200 people are focused intently on a specific point, and 1% of the people sensed some-"thing" that 99% did not, then either the 1% were doing good drugs, thus, causing the 1% to experience a tandum hallucination...OR, the 1% "saw"(sensed) something not of the physical universe.

4) If one sensed something not of this physical universe, i.e.. meta-physical, then one MUST have "extra-sensory" capabilities.

5) If one has "extra-sensory" capabilities, until these "extra-sensory" capabilities can be methodically tested and verified, using the scientific method, and/or, made available universally, then the one claiming these capabilities cannot make universal claims based on those capabilities.

6) Christianity makes the claim that it is universally "True".

Buddy, if "A" = non-verifiable personal belief. And "Z" = objective/universal truth...where are " BCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY "...???

Bring me back a wHaLe...I'm having the inlaws for three days and three nights, and I need a guest room.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Webmaster,

Allow me to apologize and retract my complaint on the dual standard. Having re-read in the morning what I wrote last night, I find it uncharitable at best. It's the sort of commentary during which I would appreciate my wife tapping me on the shoulder and sweetly saying, "You're being an ass, dear."

You're correct, I shouldn't take it personally. Again, I apologize.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8 and Boomslang,

What enjoyable clarity. I find little cause to fault your reasoned considerations down to but perhaps not including the conclusory statements. At this point, we are faced with what we might do to further our understanding, if anything.

We have a reasonable person who has had an unreasonable experience to which he has ascribed an understanding consistent with his belief structure. OK so far, I hope.

Your listed concerns:
a) How might one or two see among the 1200 who, as far as we know, uniformly did not? I don’t know how it might be done, even with a special effects team; I haven’t a clue how it might be accomplished within the physical and physiological context we understand. And the overlooked point, how at the conclusion of the visible portion, might one hear a precise statement sitting next to someone who heard nothing of it? No idea.

b) Was the observed creature part of the physical realm? I don’t know that I understand where the boundary might be, from an observational point of view. It appeared to be physically located in time and space, connected to and participating in the physical context.
c) Does the observer (me) therefore have some extra-sensory perception in a fashion different from or denied to others. Dear God, I hope not. I have a hard enough time being an engineer in a family of artists and composers. I’ve been a skeptic for decades regarding most claimed supernatural events. From TV evangelists (whom I can’t bear to watch) to personal prophecy, I generally file that stuff away as too odd or too off-in-left-field for use.
d) D8, I stand corrected on the point of entry for bias in your conclusions. I’ll grant you the objectivity you describe so well and seem to enforce in your considerations.
e) Does this event qualify as a first event to establish the identity of a form/object? Must subsequent events conform? This was the first of two encounters; the two were dissimilar in most particulars. Does that add to or detract from the usefulness of the event’s description? I’m open on that question.

Enough for today. How DO you guys keep up with multiple threads? Makes my brain tired.

Buddy

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy,

I received no "gut wrench" at reading anything you've written. I've had these discussions hundreds of times over the last five years.

Guess what? It doesn't make any difference to me if you believe me or not. And, if you think I'm lying, no one is harmed, and no one is going to hell. However, whose story is the more likely to be true. The one that tells of a mentally ill person who hears voices, or the story of the man who sees supernatural -- apparently indescribable -- creatures from another dimension that only he and a friend sees.

Frankly, your story would make a better movie. Mine is realistically dull.
Buddy, if you're going to take it personally when people doubt unconfirmed, undocumented, un-detailed and unsubstantiated stories of magical events..., well, you are going to be frequently offended.

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy said, "I’ve been a skeptic for decades regarding most claimed supernatural events."

And you were a Christian while being skeptical of claimed supernatural events. Yet, you somehow expect admitted unbelievers and apostates to accept your story without any confirmation beyond your words? Isn't that a bit contradictory? Aren't you expecting more of us than you do of yourself? Isn't this inconsistent with the reasonable logic you portray as possessing?

Your experience, whatever it is, needs analysis, but that would be for you to seek out on your own. Your interpretation of your visions, mental aberrations, waking dreams, encounters with extra-terrestrials, religious hypnosis, or mystical ecstasy..., whatever you want to label it, is absolute confirmation of nothing, except your predisposition to frame everything withing the religious mindset and life-long beliefs into which you were born and have never strayed far.

.:webmaster:. said...

Buddy, I just now got down to reading your retraction and apology.

Accepted.

boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: We have a reasonable person who has had an unreasonable experience to which he has ascribed an understanding consistent with his belief structure. OK so far, I hope.

Buddy,

"OK" to what end?

I think it's crucial to point out, that the 'reasonable person' sub-scribed to his 'belief structure', prior to his 'unreasonable experience', which, "incidentally" happens to be a 'belief structure' that posits that unreasonable things are possible in the first place; that "meta-physical" events are a reality in a physical universe, and that such events were commonplace occurances only a few thousand years ago.

Those legendary fantastic stories would dwarf what we "see" in 2007 "AD". Why is that? Yes, I ask why---especially considering the population comparison---are such fantastic stories practically unheard of today, and the ones you DO hear of, are in third-world less technologically advanced countries? Why hasn't anyone from from New York, Washington D.C., or California ever witnessed a decaying 4 day-old dead body come back to life? Is it because people who populate those areas have the means to document/verify those types of events on the spot, so "God" doesn't let it happen there? I think it's a reasonable question.

BTW, I would think one of 200 people got video footage of this religious show, if not the production company, itself. 'Dollars to doughnuts, if such footage exists, there's nothing "extra-ordinary" about the footage; no guest appearance of an angelic creature gettin' it's groove on.

Your move Buddy.

Okay, a whale won't fit on your carry-on......how about a Hebrew speaking Cobra?

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "d) D8, I stand corrected on the point of entry for bias in your conclusions. I’ll grant you the objectivity you describe so well and seem to enforce in your considerations."

Well, no one is perfect, but I do make the attempt, nonetheless.

Buddy: "e) Does this event qualify as a first event to establish the identity of a form/object? Must subsequent events conform? This was the first of two encounters; the two were dissimilar in most particulars."

Again, the formula isn't that outrageous. You must "define" your terms, in order to understand your position. I will not make a positive claim towards your mental abstraction that "you" hold, only you know what you experienced.

However, if you are trying to convey your experience; I mean, that would be the reason you are giving the account, right?, we need your definition of the term "angel" and the "particulars" that are associated.

For instance, here are a few axioms that I seem to like...

--Our understanding of our Universe, can only be as great as our "knowledge" of "It".

Buddy, how do "you" build knowledge... you are an engineer, how do you build a building? From some structured foundation? And, what would that be in terms of building knowledge? What is that "foundation"?

You are a natural being, and therefore, all information you absorb and process into knowledge must in fact be natural products/by-products.

It's contradictory to suggest you experienced a supernatural being, which is "beyond" natural experience, while living in your "natural" body. All experiences you have, are natural, because "you" are the natural "interface" for all experiences in this "natural" Universe.

Buddy, I think we are getting to a point that is providing diminishing returns. Your objective, if it were to present an experience to others, is not adequate since others can not experience your event as you did.

As well, in order to communicate most effectively in order to bring about a more "common" platform for understanding, you must create a share point of knowledge, based on the axioms you have set forth - which have not been proferred so far.

Again, your experience is yours alone, and obviously not the same experience that others had sitting next to you, it would appear much more difficult to present your experience to others who were not on location; in time and space of the event.

The most I can do, is point out the conflict in your story, that's all. I can as well, point out a disparity between the natural universe and known facts, based on repeatable research experiment, and the literary and artistic expression of a persons' abstract thinking.

Knowledge is bound to an origin, if you process natural elements, and synthesize it in your mind to create a form of knowledge, to represent your experience, it may be reasonable to "you".

For me, and likely others, abstract thought, is only as cogent as its efficacy in concrete terms. And, the effect of a concrete term, becomes its identity, or at least... I would be open to such a view.

So, in order for you to establish an identity for your form/object, which must be stated in natural terms, based on your natural experience, there must be the expected "effect" that this form is to provide you... And, Buddy, what is the effect you expected from such an experience...

There is the effect that manifested the form/object in your mind, but then... there is the effect upon you.

Since, it is apparent that you are not capable of assigning "how" the form "angel" was manifested, you have to be at a loss as to how to explain it to others, who live by causal relationships.

That aside, and how an "angel" came to be, in cause-effect terms, there is "you", and the effect it brought "you". The most real part of your experience, is the effect it has/had upon you, to include personality changes, manner of thinking, etc.

I doubt, you will ever be able to "proffer" the causal relationship that manifested the form you believe you saw, therefore, it is abstract, not concrete to me... there is no way to examine the natural laws, or principles that would have caused it into being, there is no reproducibility of the even, lacking concrete terms... but isn't that what makes up mystery, the lack of understanding on a particular topic.

So, in essence, the best I can do, based on your lack of natural support is to say, your experience appears to be a mystery. A mystery, that can not be proven, or even explained beyond abstraction.

Now, let me cover by six (buttocks), because there are fields of study that thrive in the abstract... It is "no mystery", on how disciplines find themselves involved in the art and science of abstraction, no mystery whatsoever, unless some like toying with the Platonic field of dreams.

As well, I mean "mystery", not in the mystical term, but in the more modern term... as something that exists beyond current understanding... Yes, Buddy, I believe and conclude that your experience is as much a mystery to you as anyone else.

The thing about mysteries Buddy, the best you can do, is grammatically/syntactically express it logically... but in the end, we sit in a more defined state of mystery.

The closest truth you have Buddy, is the "effect" that your experience has had upon you as a being, that's it. Beyond mystery, there is "you". You may well describe the effects that this experience has had upon you, and even conclusively show empirical evidence at how your pattern of behavior has changed... and that would be "something". But, it may be more about your change of attitude, than the experience of a visual sighting.

A visual sighting, has no meaning Buddy, its just an "image"... what "you" assign to that image, in theory makes it more than it "Is", because you personified it.

You gave your mystery guest meaning, beyond its form. It's really all about you Buddy, and "why" you gave it certain meaning, and not other meaning. This form could as well be the devil in disguise, depending on how one wants to assign "meaning" to a form. There is mystery of the "form", which may never be known, but there is as well, the "mystery" of how you came to "assign" meaning to this form.

Buddy, do you agree, that the "form" can take on no more "meaning" than you "knew" at the time of your experience? Can you also agree, that you had to accept "new" information, and attribute it to your "form", to suggest you "know" of the event?

Logic doesn't suggest meaning, actually, in the most abstract, its devoid of meaning assignment. It's a mental tool that allows us to filter, collected information from our environment, in order to establish or test relational coherence, and Identity.

I nor you, have established an "Identity" to your form, with any type of rigor... yet, you have meaning.

Your unidentified form (unidentified by the other party/ies as well), holds meaning for you, therefore, you are the source of its relational context, and meaning.

Again, your mental abstraction is yours, I can not make positive claims about the existence of your experience, but I can suggest that you are the source that has given meaning to your experience, while holding no means to identify the objects within your experience.

With no "identity" Buddy, you can't possibly pass me, nor anyone else, something in concrete terms to relate to. We not only do not have a source, we have nothing to localize towards in our natural environment to inspect.

So, enjoy your mental abstraction, it's part of you, and something you need to explore. However, realize that without a proper "Identity" for your form, you have no way to make positive claims about it to yourself, nor to others... the best that you can suggest, is that you had a mysterious experience for which you have no ability to provide clear explanation - that would be the honest approach.

As well, you can extend that thought, with... but "I" feel, based on my personal belief (which doesn't require logical foundation) that it was an extraordinary experience that changed my life.

I would accept that, because I tend to assign Identity to forms by their effect(s), and that includes you and me.

Here's a topic for further discussion, if people in general assigned meaning without structure and logic in some form, can you predict their behavior as a person, or a group? People must take action based on some form of influence, when the influence holds no logical structure or framework, would you accept that such a person or group can be easily manipulated?

I think so... and if they are so easily manipulated, would you agree, that they are in essence a directed "effect", and "extension" thereof, the "source" of manipulation... Implication being a transferrence of some of their Identity from themselves towards a key source/leader.

Would you not agree, that the foundation of sanity, rests on the ability to understand Reality, based on Identity of objects/forms/combinations of the two, etc., etc...

If that is the case, then, could it be construed as mental abuse to train a child to "not" seek structured understanding through proper training because it conflicts with a belief, based on lets say... a nonidentifiable object and personafied meaning assignment.

Which, by the way, is just another form of transferrence from one who poses a need/desire/belief to another person without any direct support, other than themselves.

Yes, yes, Buddy, you have all the right in the world to enjoy your mental experience, and even give it personafied meaning... "BUT", the manner in which you attempt to persuade others as to the veracity of your claim, and the support you give towards such a manner of understanding reality, is the effect you bring to my reality.

I don't particularly like the "way" you have presented your case, and the vast potential you have to skew the spectacles of others, by championing an alternative manner by which to understand reality (if even indirectly based on your literary actions)...

I would prefer honesty, but here are a few moral thoughts I am having at the moment, and feel free to expound upon them...

--What is honesty?

--Can in insane person be honest?

--Is honesty just an ideal or is it an achievable state of a persons' reality?

--What does the statement; "To thine 'own' self be true", really mean?

--Do some people need to deceive in order to survive? Implication; is deception part of our human mechanism for survival, that is the great balancer between the haves and have nots in society?

--Is honesty always the "best" policy?

Such, great topical statements, which can be as applicable to our organic cellular structure with hidden or deceptive viral attacks, to our organic government...

Your modus operandi up to this point, and you have truly been civil, is to re-direct my questions back to me... And, in the most respectful way I can put this... it portrays your lack of knowledge or sincerity, to reach a common understanding which requires Identity.

Your stance has continued to be, "it's true because I say it's true", and that's that... if that is that, then there need be no further discussion. I believe we have all accepted your experience as being yours and only yours, and as real as you believe it to be.

Dave8

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8,

Perhaps we are approaching a central truth regarding the validity and usefulness of personal experience. I appreciate your concession to the existence of that which remains mystery.

An encounter such as I've described cannot be a foundational component in any systematic philosophy. Nor can a second hand description of such an event be particularly useful as a first tier element. It's utility, if any, is as an illustration of known truth. In the development of a personal belief system, one would be wise to file such an unusual event away, awaiting reason to discard of retrieve the event.

You have to admit, it's an interesting event. The second was less appealing; not something I sought or would want to repeat.

I offered the first account for it's more stimulating and controversial content. If I'd told the story of my friend preaching to a prairie dog, I'd get a laugh, but not a lot of thoughtful response.

Meanwhile, fella, how the heck to you produce so much verbiage in one day. Give me a while to figure out what you said; it isn't like I don't have anything else to do. Jim Arvo has me doing research so I can appreciate his position. I'm going to have to take a week off just so I can keep up with you guys.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Boomslang,

Honestly, it never occurred to me to ask about a video. The experience wasn't something that suggested we all stop for pictures when it happened, of course. I asked a question, I got an answer. It didn't occur to me to tell the story until I posted it here.


Only cobra available is mono-syllabic and has a bad lisp.

Buddy

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "In the development of a personal belief system, one would be wise to file such an unusual event away, awaiting reason to discard of retrieve the event."

"Intense sensory stimulation, such as dancing or chanting, also arouse the limbic system and assist in heightening ‘religious experience’. The deactivation of certain neuronal activity from reaching other areas of the brain by the hippocampus and extensive limbic stimulation can produce hallucinations. Newberg et al (2001, p42) describe such occurrence as “Hyperarousal with Quiescent Breakthrough” . Intense active stimulation can induce an “ecstatic rush of orgasmic-like energy”, assisting in the tagging of special significance to such action.

The concept of perception must also be regarded. Neuronal activity cannot always discriminate between real events and those one perceives to be real. Newberg suggest that although spiritual experience can be traced though neuronal activity, it does not necessarily mean that these experiences are due to “neurological illusion” alone (Ford 2002). There is little difference between how the brain processes the experiential, either real or supposed. The difference lies within how the individual perceives experience. It could be said that the only distinction between experiencing God and seeing a tree is that a tree is a tangible physical object we can all agree exists.

Does God exist? Newberg et al (2001 p37) believe yes, but only as a concept or ‘reality’ in the mind of the believer. Persinger expressed similar view, a position generated by the results of extensive work. Todd (1999) states, “there is no God separate from the believer.“"
http://www.clinicallypsyched.com/neurotheologywithgodinmind.htm

Buddy, neuroscience is speeding forward, it can reproduce the effect of "God", thus, the "Identity" of God is localized to space-time and physical matter located in the brain. When specific areas of the brain are stimulated, they produce euphoria and god encounters. I am inclined to believe that we are not born with a god door-bell, situated conveniently in our brain structure that is "externally" pressed when gods/angels/devils, etc, need to get our attention.

The trigger can be externally stimulated, but is typically the result of internal neural effects, biochemical releases, etc.

I only bring this up, because you suggest you are going to file away your experience. Still, eventually, at some point, you will have to give your experienced moment or form/object an Identity.

You aren't able to do it in the present, and as well, if you experience something in the future, and are capable of making an Identity, even if by a series of continuous "Identity States", or snapshots encoded in your memory, you will "still" not be able to take a current Identity and assign it to your past... without "some" attribute or common trait they share.

If your attachment of future unidentifiable objects will be lumped in with the others unidentified objects, well... you have a group of unidentifiable objects as their Identity. That may be the manner in which you cluster them mentally, but, they still have no identity beyond mystery.

What is the practicality or pragmatic utility of holding mysteries, if they aren't ever identified in a manner fit for "use"? Well, other than to assign personified meaning that is to unknowns :-)

If that be the case Buddy, I have a lot of unknowns you can add to your list, if mystery gives you a sense of peace :-) And, take your time with a response, no hurries here. I see you have been dog-legging around this site fervently :-) Peace.

Dave8

Dave8 said...

Buddy, I read again your post to me, regarding how you rationally analyzed your position, and why it meets certain rational criteria.

Of course, it appears, that analysis can always be more rigorous... So, in that effort, let me offer what experimental psychologists are always in tune with, during their research...

--"their" personal influence on the outcome of a study.

Now, since I have pointed to information on the topic of neurobiology, in a sense... it would be remiss if I didn't suggest a follow up criteria to be examined...

--Prove with some level of "rigor" that you were not the "causal" factor of your experience... either consciously or subconsciously...

Now, ruling yourself out of the scene, allows you to begin to seek an "Identity" for the form you experienced, but... I am quite confident that you are not going to easily rule yourself out as a causal factor for your experience with certainty, if you are capable of doing this, it would require unbiased (in theory) technology like a video-recording, etc, as boomSLANG mentioned...

And, your other buddy that had a similar experience... well, he would have to rule himself out as well... together you may have mutually influenced or enhanced the experiences as well... self-induced or generated visions/experiences aren't controlled by a quota system :-)

Dave8

Buddy Ferris said...

Dang, Dave8,

Should the several of us meet in Atlantic City for a round-table? or three? I'll buy lunch.


OK, again, science offers us a description of the physiological components involved. Physically, therefore, we are presumed to have a finite set of receptors and associated physiological responses; e.g. the hair on the back of your neck stands up during a scene from an awe-inspiring film. It does the same in the night when you hear something unidentifiable outside your window. It does the same in the perceived presence of a other-worldly creature.

What you describe is the mechanics of feeling, not the substance of cause. The fact that you can stimulate a portion of the brain and elicit a feeling of peace or joy doesn't negate the legitimacy of the source experience. It only connects the body's response to the legitimate external stimulus.

Brain poking with either electrical or chemical stimulus describes our response, and perhaps does so adequately. The fact that certain activity can generate those feelings is reasonable. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to say that the reason you enjoy your grandchild is limited to the mechanical description of your pleasure. Some do espouse such a simplistic view; man and his thoughts are non-existent, what remains are bio-computers executing pre-programmed functions. Austere, even for science.

Buddy

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "Should the several of us meet in Atlantic City for a round-table? or three? I'll buy lunch."

Sure, I am always up for a natural lunch :-)

Buddy: "OK, again, science offers us a description of the physiological components involved."

Actually, it's a little more involved than that. The pieces are linked together, like logic threads (albeit with orphans and fuzziness at times), so, science is not only involved with using a process to define and categorize pieces parts, it's also involved in some interdisciplinary areas, as linking these pieces together in order to gain a broader perspective of the whole... implication; meaning is assigned to Identified parts of the whole, but lacks to breadth of meaning in a holistic sense... with linking the pieces together, meaning becomes more encompassing.

I tend to not like categorization drills, or the like, I am more fluent at piecing together the links, as it’s how I naturally process information. Inherently, however, we must understand taxonomy, form theory, etc., in order to make accurate links… nothing seems totally “separated” in life… or the Universe that I am “aware” of ;-)

Buddy: "Physically, therefore, we are presumed to have a finite set of receptors and associated physiological responses; e.g. the hair on the back of your neck stands up during a scene from an awe-inspiring film."

Pieces parts, defined and categorized... hair sticking up on back of neck, reflexive based on stimulus.

Buddy: "It does the same in the night when you hear something unidentifiable outside your window. It does the same in the perceived presence of a other-worldly creature."

Natural stimulus responses, some more autonomic than others.

Buddy: "What you describe is the mechanics of feeling, not the substance of cause."

Ah, here we go; I asked you to suggest a method to remove yourself as the "causal" factor in such sympathetic or parasympathetic responses to biological reflex.

In other words; how do you defend yourself against the proposition that you can induce biological states, from the coarsest functions, even down to the finest autonomic functions, given the proper methods of conditioning.

The short answer; is that you can't totally rule out your own biological influence or environmental influence to suggest that you were not the "sole" cause for such a vision, or response.

Buddy: "The fact that you can stimulate a portion of the brain and elicit a feeling of peace or joy doesn't negate the legitimacy of the source experience. It only connects the body's response to the legitimate external stimulus."

Buddy, it is precisely the "source" of this experience that you can not suggest you understand, and can not rule yourself out as a causal factor.

Sure, a link is made and traces of energy are mapped through the biological channels, but the causal factor(s)... you have to accept that you were part of the experience.

Buddy: "Brain poking with either electrical or chemical stimulus describes our response, and perhaps does so adequately. The fact that certain activity can generate those feelings is reasonable. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to say that the reason you enjoy your grandchild is limited to the mechanical description of your pleasure."

Buddy, the "source" for pleasure assignment, is present inherently in the grandfather, who can as well choose to not have pleasure... they are both subject and object in the relationship of pleasure, your causal influence on your grandchild and how your grandchild responds to such influence will in-turn amplify or dampen your bond with them... but... you can not suggest you are not a "causal" factor that generates the emotion of pleasure, nor causes your relationship and environmental factors to morph around you.

You can elicit a demeanor that creates disharmony or harmony, giving you displeasure or pleasure... You can take the same action your grandchild invokes, and believe it to be a good memory or a bad memory, "you" causally assign meaning - "you" are in charge of meaning assignment. Further, the action a child takes may make you sad immediately following an event, but then... after time, and through experience you may come to accept the act as part of human nature, and appreciate them even more...

The central "source" for this entire discourse, is "you" Buddy. You can not remove yourself in the process of life, as being a "direct" causal factor to elicit changes... uh, that would be perception about how you dote on your grandchild, or about the perception of a peaceful moment while watching a religion band play.

Buddy: "Some do espouse such a simplistic view; man and his thoughts are non-existent, what remains are bio-computers executing pre-programmed functions. Austere, even for science."

I lean towards a complexity theory, that suggests humans are more than mere bio-computers, we have the ability to "self-program" because we have neural feedback loops, and the ability to introspectively assess ourselves, our Identity, and its relationship with our environment.

Computers are not complex enough to self-generate awareness at this time... per se. Computers are logically linked, and materially the sum of its parts, humans have growth potential; with a permutable base of knowledge and ability to create abstract bonds in terms of social, political, etc., schemas. In short, we have a shared Identity on some level that exceeds the bounds of mere material form.

However, we do grow from a base of sequenced logic transactions, DNA, RNA, etc., and in that respect we may have some kinship to all logic based "forms".

Oh, I'd like a ham on rye, hold the mayo.

Dave8

boomSLANG said...
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boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris to Dave8: Isn't it a bit of a stretch to say that the reason you enjoy your grandchild is limited to the mechanical description of your pleasure(?)

Pardon the intrusion...

Okay, I'm going to get "crazy" and suggest that a "grandparent" may derive "pleasure" from their "grandchild", for some of the same reason(s) that ANY human being might enjoy another. Further, I'm going to get even "crazier" and suggest that one may enjoy one human being over another, i.e..Grandparent to grandchild, as opposed to Grandparent to neighbor, because they are, uh, biased. Of course, that bias is rooted in evolution, as well as "emotion".(that's another discussion)

Back to the point, Human beings(Grandparents) are natural beings; they exist in a natural universe. The processes by which one natural being might derive "pleasure" from another natural being takes place by, again, natural processes, which take place in a natural brain.

If I'm understanding correctly, the implication of the grandparent/grandchild analogy seeks to suggest that because one natural human being(Grandparent) may not be able to articulate the why, how, or "mechanics" of the "pleasure" they derive from another human being(grandchild), then the conclusion is that there MUST be "supernatural" processes at work by which they relate to said individual; that the physical processes involved in "attachment love" are not limited to the natural brain; that these processes are meta-physical.

If this is the case, or somehwere thereabouts?.. I strongly disagree(imagine that). Allow me to explain by counter-analogy.

If the theist is claiming a duality---that there is a "physical self", and "non-physcial self"; that there is something "supernatural" about the way human beings relate to one another(grandparent to grandchild); that there is a part of the "self" that is NON-material/NON-physical.... then damn it, PHYSICAL defects in the PHYSCIAL brain, WOULD NOT hamper, affect, limit, influence the ability to derive "pleasure" from another human being.

Buddy?...'got any elderly folks with Alzheimers in your immediate family? Yes? No?

Either way, if your claim is that there is a non-physical/immaterial aspect to how a "grandparent" derives "pleasure" from a "grandchild", then you are essentially saying that the relationship between an elderly person who doesn't even know their own name; who can't remember when they were born; who can't remember their parents names; who can't remember how to take a poop, etc., etc--essentially, a person who has lost their "self"; their dignity, is NOT affected in the least bit when the grandchild shows up at his or her bedside. Yes, the patient with the defective brain derives ALL the same "pleasure" they did back when they had a healthy brain. Yeah, sure.

Buddy, I'd love your input on this. Can you put "dualism" into terms that make sense? Or wait, do I lack the special "understanding" tool to understand this?.. similar to how I "lack" the "extra-sensory" tool to detect angelic dancing-creatures? I bet I do lack it, don't I? Darn it.

Buh bye for now.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Boomslang & Dave8,

I'll grant you both for the moment that I am an integral part of my observations, conclusions, and recollections. I'll grant you that the structure of my system of thought imposes a polarization on that which I see and consider to the end that I am inclined toward conclusions consistent therewith.

I suspect you'll resist granting me the same regarding your own position.

Do you then claim impartiality, and freedom from presuppositional influence?

We began with a reasonable account of an unreasonable event. On the anecdotal evidence available, it's a bit of a mystery. Do you have reason to believe I was hallucinating or fantasizing? Does it seem I was incautious or inattentive enough to just be mistaken. Does our conversation so far suggest that I'm unreasonable or unstable?

We come near the heart of the matter. Reasonable people have walked these paths before; it's not new ground.

Buddy
Rye! How apropos!

P.S. Did I suggest a supernatural explanation or did you?

Dave8 said...

BoomSLANG, the underlying premise of a duality (dual reality), seems to be the conundrum for many.

Many people are conditioned to actually believe they are "separate" and "dissociated" from "reality", where there is a physically cold Universe, and the... more compassionate separated thread(s) that run through it.

Why is it so difficult for some to accept that there can be love and pleasure, and even euphoric moments without the need to carve their selves out of the Natural Universe ;-)

Dave8

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "On the anecdotal evidence available, it's a bit of a mystery."

Is that a natural mystery, or...

Yes, rye and toasted :-)

Dave8

Dave8 said...

Buddy, I have to shift to a new location, while I am refocusing myself, can you please explain to me why Aristotle was right or wrong with his axiom...

"Existence exists"

How pervasive is "Existence", and can we escape it? If not, then, is it homogenous?

Dave8

boomSLANG said...

Dave8: BoomSLANG, the underlying premise of a duality (dual reality), seems to be the conundrum for many.

Pretty much, yeah. And I think this underlying premise is avoided by the Theist/Dualist, because the notion of such a dual reality, itself, requires a dualistic, or "flexible", definition to be applicable in this reality. In other words, this "thing" called the "soul" is described as "physical" when it needs to be, and "non-physical" when it needs to be. In other words--it's "both".....similar to square circle. You're familiar with those, right? = )

Peace.

Dave8 said...

Square circles, yes, I've heard of such things, along with a many other oxymorons... :-)

Peace

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8,

... can you please explain to me why Aristotle was right or wrong with his axiom...

"Existence exists"


Nope. But thanks for asking.

Buddy

Dave8 said...

Buddy, well, thanks for making the attempt.

Just thought I'd attempt to see how aware you were of the very reality you live within, since it is that which houses all entites that you can become consciously aware of, including, and not limited to by any means - a mystery image.

We are at our core, sentient, if we can't come to grips with what that is, and what it entails, then everything in life becomes a vague collage of mystery elements.

Buddy, I will concede there is much mystery in life, even my own, but... I will never accept that I am totally detached from it, or that I don't have the ability to influence my environment. In each of these cases, it would do nothing, except remove my ability to discern "truth" and place me in a position of constant unknowing -
mental instability.

You can't deny that what you experienced "exists", because to deny it, suggests it exists in some form. So, it's a matter of understanding to what "extent" your experience existed.

It's interesting; if someone would have pulled a flashlight out a few thousand years ago, it would have been a mystery to the folks living at that time. However, today it is not a mystery. Mystery is a matter of knowledge and perspective. Buddy, you can gain knowledge from others and assign it properly to your reality, but... the perspective piece is all you.

Dave8

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8,
I appreciate your claim of sentience; to presume otherwise would indeed lead to unresolvable ambiguity and mental instability. You correctly conclude, at least from my point of view, that the large labor we face is discerning to what extent our experience exists within the impartial reality in which we live.

Mystery is a matter of knowledge and perspective, as you state so succinctly. We're left, then, with the very human circumstance of discerning how our experience and the experiences of others can be reconciled in a single reality.

Both you and I have relegated accounts of supposed supernatural experiences from literature and the media to one of several categories. There are those we discount as deliberate exaggerations, those we conclude are mental aberrations, those we write off to the power of suggestion or mass delusion, and so on. I share your skepticism regarding what appears to be no more than splashy showmanship or orchestrated display. From our conversation, it seems that you are satisfied that all such things are thereby explained and that the mysteries to which you refer are trivial enough to not require further inquiry. I on the other hand, am left with non-trivial events to which I can assign no no simple dismissal. Are we left without available grounds for discussion at that point?

I am somewhat uncomfortable with things that appear to occur from outside the realms of physical and mathematical description. Perhaps simple faith escapes me. Fortunately, science has provided descriptions of many processes formerly unknown. It eases my mind to see and to some degree understand how things work even down to the cellular or molecular level. My perception, as you will point out, is enlarged by knowledge and the mystery recedes. Yet still, there are mysteries whose simplest likely cause points to a design which cannot be achieved within this universe by random mutation and natural selection. Our sentience is on that list, from my point of view.

Buddy

freeman said...

Buddy, please explain, "here are mysteries whose simplest likely cause points to a design which cannot be achieved within this universe by random mutation and natural selection

As one who has a BS in Biology with emphasis in Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry, I fail to see your point! Nature is extremely lazy in its design and how it works. To form complex structures, nature evolved methods to ensure that the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle remained the norm so that it could remain extremely lazy.

Would love to here your mysteries which points to a design!

boomSLANG said...
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boomSLANG said...

Buddy Ferris: Yet still, there are mysteries whose simplest likely cause points to a design which cannot be achieved within this universe by random mutation and natural selection. [bold added]

Thunder and lightening used to be a "mystery" to primitive man. To them, the "likely cause" was an invisible man named "Thor". Of course, we now know they were deceived. Moreover, if these "mysteries" are "within this universe", then that rules out an explanation that is out of this universe.

continues: Our sentience is on that list, from my point of view.

From my natural point of view, the source from where "sentience" is generated is the human brain, which incidentally, is also "within this universe".

Additionally, I argue that a brain must be healthy and functioning properly in order to generate what's known as "sentience". If it is argued that said "sentience" can come from a disembodied mind; that it comes from some "mindful", yet, "brainless" super intelligence....then can any Theist---Christian, Muslim, or whatever---please explain to me why we, as sentient human beings, would need a "brain" in order to be "sentient" beings?(preferably, have it be consistantly logical)

boom'

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "You correctly conclude, at least from my point of view, that the large labor we face is discerning to what extent our experience exists within the impartial reality in which we live."

The Superset Universe and all that remains within is conclusively Objective. To the extent, there exists; true & false, experience, and an impartial reality, is a challenge of expression.

Further, even though we sense this reality differently, in terms of physicality, it doesn't mean that dissimilar individuals can't come to understand a common meaning of a single individual's specific event. After all, even the individual is removed to some extent from physical sense to interpretive thought.

Knowledge gives context to meaning. Since, you apparently don't understand basic philosophy, it is quite obvious that we will not reach the consilience of a common meaning, even if only in terms of knowledge.

As well, denial of the self-efficacy variant is tart. We all have the ability to induce myriad effects within our reality.

Buddy: "Mystery is a matter of knowledge and perspective, as you state so succinctly."

There is no Mystery in an Objective Reality. Your perceived mystery, is the result of a self-discovery that has not been made manifest in terms of a common base of knowledge, or a knowledge that is consistent within your own frame of reference and prior experience(s).

Therefore, your "meaning" assignment, is still suspended within that physical moment in time. Until you are capable of deconflicting all internal inconsistency in your knowledge base, you haven't earned the right to project it on others.

Further, to suggest you had a supernatural experience, mocks your very natural life and experience, and insults my intelligence. You have effectively, removed my ability to assign any aspect of my natural life to your occassion; either by deliberate cunning or imaginative ignorance.

Without a common experience to draw from, and to "deny" me the opportunity to recall and synthesize myriad experiences I've had in my life, in order to find a "common" meaning, you have presented a case that could be construed by many as narcistic, leaning heavily towards solipsism.

Buddy: "We're left, then, with the very human circumstance of discerning how our experience and the experiences of others can be reconciled in a single reality."

Why the requisite to reconcile experiece? Why not knowledge?

Buddy: "Both you and I have relegated accounts of supposed supernatural experiences from literature and the media to one of several categories."

I don't recall that relegation, or taxonomical assignment... Can you explain what "media" or a "medium" is? Is it something that stores energy in a particular form? If that is the case, can you provide something that is not capable of storing energy, or not being a medium for information retrieval?

Buddy: "There are those we discount as deliberate exaggerations, those we conclude are mental aberrations, those we write off to the power of suggestion or mass delusion, and so on."

I don't discount the Objectivity of Existence. However, I can't "I"dentify when confronted with inconsistent information, I can only make an assessment on the individual's stability. Those I can't find to be stable, linguistically, intellectually, etc., I refrain from giving a high reliability rating.

A lack of reliability, should be interpreted here as; lack of trust. That is not to suggest that there wasn't an Objective state of the Universe, it's not to suggest that the individual is deliberately lying; it's to suggest that their lack of reliability in expression, prompts immediate distrust for me.

A lack of "trust" is "normal", psychiatrically speaking, when logically warranted. A parent doesn't rationally trust their children or things they hold valuable to someone who is unreliable; why should a rational person be expected to? Who/what is it that rates such a demanding position; as to be beyond inquiry or doubt?

Buddy: "I share your skepticism regarding what appears to be no more than splashy showmanship or orchestrated display. From our conversation, it seems that you are satisfied that all such things are thereby explained and that the mysteries to which you refer are trivial enough to not require further inquiry."

No Buddy, I find a lot of explanation, with such little internal consistency. Should I need to inquire? Why can't you just figure out how to be consistent in your expression, and "tell" me, obviously your experience was diachronic, from a point-to-point in time.

Do I write you off, without so much as a wonder? No, but we know what the good book says about those whom may give us a wonder or show us a sign, right.

Buddy: "I on the other hand, am left with non-trivial events to which I can assign no no simple dismissal. Are we left without available grounds for discussion at that point?"

Buddy, you have had an experience, it may have been a most beautiful of experiences to you. Only you, should vote on its dismissal. Do you not allow others the opportunity to not vote to accept your experience, until it is consistent with one's knowledge?

I am compassionate enough to allow you or anyone else, their time to heal or make sense out of their reality, especially if they are in trauma or bewilderment. However, I am not an advocate of mental euthanasia, nor one who glees at the reinforcement of expressionistic chaos.

Buddy: "I am somewhat uncomfortable with things that appear to occur from outside the realms of physical and mathematical description."

On physical description, how would one "ever" declare an experience beyond physicality, without having that non-physical standard to measure by. There is no such thing as non-physical experience, only physical phenomena that has yet to find a manner by which to be adequately expressed.

Regarding mathematics, there are others who are likely more capable of answering any questions you may have on the subject and how it relates to expressionism.

However, if you aren't willing to engage the mild topic of Aristotle and Existence, then I am not sure as to your prowess on the foundations of mathematical knowledge. Even the most abstract and theoretical mathematics hold internal rigor without conflict.

Here is a simple expression; A=A. Reality holds no conflict, period. Therefore, Buddy, if you perceive conflict, its not the conflict of the external reality coming to meet your senses, its your senses and how they perceive and assign meaning to the external reality.

Your experience obviously precedes your knowledge, and the lack of knowledge precedes your inability to express yourself without conflict. There is no need to find those "perfect" words, you have all the time in your current form, to find them.

Buddy: "Perhaps simple faith escapes me. Fortunately, science has provided descriptions of many processes formerly unknown. It eases my mind to see and to some degree understand how things work even down to the cellular or molecular level. My perception, as you will point out, is enlarged by knowledge and the mystery recedes. Yet still, there are mysteries whose simplest likely cause points to a design which cannot be achieved within this universe by random mutation and natural selection. Our sentience is on that list, from my point of view."

There is nothing "random" unless you have something to back that up. Regarding design; and how design is not a phenomenon capable of being found within "this" Universe... do you have another Universe you would like to present as an alternate example?

Again, you speak beyond your knowledge and experience. Why is it so difficult for you to accept Nature and natural laws as being the source of all that you can possibly "know"? Does all "meaning" need to be "external" to the Universe, or... the self?

What are you looking for out there Buddy, that you can't seem to find within yourself?

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Dave8,
Perhaps you're correct; perhaps my participation in philosophical debate is limited by insight into the basics. The debate over the nature of existence is profitable for many but for me lacks utility beyond the foundational concerns. Does the chair on which I sit exist? Do I? Noting the lives of the great philosophers, we discover little profit in their pursuit. Beware those intellectuals whose words mask a purposeless life.

Nothing is random? Everything, therefore, is a process derivative? Are you sure, then that each physical manifestation follows a logical cause-effect sequence? It's an interesting but unsupportable premise.

My universe reference alluded to the emerging multi-universe discussions. It's been suggested there are either a finite number of universes or an infinite number, all beyond our own. The statistical possibilities which are limited within a single universe are therefore suggested to be available in the larger set of possible realms, each perhaps different in small or great detail from the one we know. The emerging theory fails the math test for the former and falls into a broken determinism for the latter.

Since it seems useful to you to disparage my abilities in math and philosophy, perhaps you'll be so kind as to tell me this; how many representatives of a single life-form through how many generations should it take, statistically speaking, to evolve a new biological machine such as, say for example, an ear?

Buddy

alanh said...

Buddy Ferris wrote:

...how many representatives of a single life-form through how many generations should it take, statistically speaking, to evolve a new biological machine such as, say for example, an ear?

Buddy, your question is a bit simplistic, it took millions of generations across many species for the mammalian ear, there is an interesting article here by David Watson that has some good information. Some examples of bacterial evolution here, typically adaptation occurs in hundreds or thousands of generations.

Dave8 said...

Buddy: "Perhaps you're correct; perhaps my participation in philosophical debate is limited by insight into the basics."

Then ontology, one of the basic fields of philosophy, would strike you as paramount in a discussion on multiverse theory, right?

Buddy: "The debate over the nature of existence is profitable for many but for me lacks utility beyond the foundational concerns. Does the chair on which I sit exist? Do I?"

Do multiple Universes? Same question, different noun... or perhaps that seems a little too foundational.

Buddy: "Noting the lives of the great philosophers, we discover little profit in their pursuit."

Is there such little profit in having a "love of wisdom" a.k.a. philosophy?

Buddy: "Beware those intellectuals whose words mask a purposeless life."

What does value mean? If you don't know, you can't assign purpose to action and your statement is sterile and unreliable.

Buddy: "Nothing is random? Everything, therefore, is a process derivative?"

I asked you to provide an example of something "not" process derivative, and you failed.

Change has been a constant, recognized and applied as a Universal variable in philosophic and applied research.

Process drives "Change", and change is pervasive, therefore, all that changes, is derivative of process.

Now, Buddy, if you want to proffer something that seems to evade change, I'm waiting for the Pulitzer draft example. If you fail to provide such an example; as you did this time, then... no surprise, your statement about my unsupportable claim is puerile, and again untenable and thus - unreliable.

But you would have known that, if you were educated in philosophy, in the most basic of principles.

Buddy: "Are you sure, then that each physical manifestation follows a logical cause-effect sequence? It's an interesting but unsupportable premise."

I'm only "sure" about my experiences in life that suport the claim of "change" and all derivative secondary effects. I'm "sure", because I have not found anything contrary to the notion of change. Lets just say, I'm as sure to the notion of process derivatives as I am to my very existence.

Buddy: "My universe reference alluded to the emerging multi-universe discussions. It's been suggested there are either a finite number of universes or an infinite number, all beyond our own."

Oh, and what would you get, if you had an "infinity" variable, to the exponential power (infinity * infinity)"? As well, can God commit suicide if he's omnipotent? How far ya' want to go with this Buddy? What is the point? To suggest that there are unanswerable questions?

How about, there are "baseless" questions, and the one about multiple universes is on my list.

Define Universe Buddy.

Buddy: "The statistical possibilities which are limited within a single universe are therefore suggested to be available in the larger set of possible realms, each perhaps different in small or great detail from the one we know."

...you know more than you know, and you know that for a fact? The mathematical possibility of amplified ignorance, is found by taking the variable "x", representing "ignorance", and exponentially magnifying it by the number of Universes added to the theoretical abstract. Further, this assumes that "what is known" of "this Universe", is commutable and relevant in all other combinations of multiple Universes.

Care to assign a metric or function to your "ignorance" so that it can be applied in this theoretic? I suppose, if you knew what you were ignorant of, you wouldn't really be all that "ignorant" then, or... so it would seem.

Buddy: "The emerging theory fails the math test for the former and falls into a broken determinism for the latter."

Yeah, please do tell, where this theory is emerging to... I seem to be ignorant as to its veracity beyond rhetoric.

Buddy: "Since it seems useful to you to disparage my abilities in math and philosophy, perhaps you'll be so kind as to tell me this; how many representatives of a single life-form through how many generations should it take, statistically speaking, to evolve a new biological machine such as, say for example, an ear?"

Statistics, well.. I suppose that requires context. If a 2 cup glass, is filled with one cup of water, then, statistically speaking, is the cup 50% empy, or 50% full?

You see Buddy, statistics are limited to sample size, other variables, and typically states the error rate. Check out analysis of variant (ANOVA) testing if you are interested. As well, even if you could give the "exact" statistic with all variables taken into account, per my example; the description of the result, is obviously based on the perspective of the one making their argument.

If I said the glass were half-empty, you would say it was half-full, if you thought it would somehow support your argument; validating a deeply held need you hold.

Anyway, if you want to discuss semiotics and what can be construed as effable within the broad actions of communication, between organic life forms, then... at least we would be headed in a positive direction. Until then, it appears we are at an empasse... enjoy your life Buddy.

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Alanh,
Both articles are appreciated; thanks. The ear article was one I hadn't seen.

Not addressed in either article is the interesting debate, and quite a heated one, which isn't along the lines of common descent, or speciation. The observed and examined evidence suggests that all life is related and probably derived from an unknown original source. Variation within species is generally understood and agreed upon. We force it routinely through selective breeding of livestock and domestic animals.

The weakest Darwinian argument suggests that random mutation and natural selection can account for significant changes in function. Cellular analysis reveals impressive machinery whose complexity is beginning to be understood in detail, including a map of the intervening steps between functional stages.

At the genetic level, random mutations occur frequently; most are inconsequential and are not natural selectable. Most consequential changes are destructive and are naturally de-selected. The remaining changes are available in the pool and may prove beneficial and subsequently selectable.

For the theory to be supported, it must not only be possible but reasonable. Our observation of genetic mutation leaves us with the statistical probability of one significant change to require on the order of 10^20 individual organism generations. Stepping through intermediate beneficial stages quickly raises the requirement to 10^40, or more individuals than there have been mammals (total, all) in the last 100 million years.

So, reasonably speaking, the randomness of change is suspect. If it cannot be shown that a change we observe might be expected in the sample set, or more to the point, that a long series of complex changes might be expected in the sample set, then we're stuck with non-random.

To indirectly answer my own question regarding how many generations a significant change might take, consider the single celled creature who becomes after mutation a multi-celled creature with different functionality in it's various parts. Number of generations required? One. Probability? Nearer zero than the likelihood of every person in New York hitting the powerball jackpot every year for 5 years. Then we have to deal with the likelihood of the multi-celled creature developing various organs through non-beneficial stages.

The fact that those changes occurred is generally accepted among the scientifically inclined. The reason for their occurrence is not, perhaps more for philosophical reasons than any other.

Buddy

freebird said...

O.k. So, because it's improbable a magical-superfantastical-ultra-being must have done it. Since you only accept one magical-superfantastical-ultra-being, It could only be yours.

boomSLANG said...

Freebird chimed in with: Since you[the Christian] only accept one magical-superfantastical-ultra-being, It could only be yours.

Excellent observation, Freebird.

Yes, the premise is that only the Christian theist has an understanding of "God" and it's "supernatural" trimmings. So it goes---because we currently have gaps in our scientific understanding of the theory, and fact, of Evolution, the Christian creationist comes waltzing in and attempts to fill in every one of those gaps by claiming to have a gap-less understanding of an intangible supernatural creator-god, who resides over an intangible supernatural realm. They posit a "meta-physical" entity that is "self-existing"; "timeless"; "omnipotent"; "omniscient"; "all-loving" and "just", who, before time even existed, "decided" to "think" 125 billion gallaxies into existence, and then put two Caucasian humanoids, whom it made out of mud, at the center of it all.

Mind you, none of which is scientifically supported as fact, or theory, which leaves it merely a hypothesis---one that is based partially on personal "experience"; partially on "faith". Then to compound this arrogance many times over, the Christian theist is fully ready to dismiss any supernatural "experience", "claim", "hypothesis", or "holy text" that disagrees with their religious "faith". The Christian theist has monopoly on "Truth".

Gawd, I'm glad I'm not that "smart" anymore.

alanh said...

Buddy

Although some of the biologists here would do a much better job, I'll try to respond. First of all, we're talking about the theory of evolution, "Darwinism" is a term used mainly by creationists to imply that the theory of evolution is an ideology or religion rather than a scientific theory. However Charles Darwin isn't worshiped and he didn't come down from a mountain with the Origin of Species inscribed on stone tablets. The theory of evolution does the best job of explaining the data, if it didn't it wouldn't have survived as long as it has.

Our observation of genetic mutation leaves us with the statistical probability of one significant change to require on the order of 10^20 individual organism generations.

I don't know where you got this, a cite would be helpful. You may be assuming that mutation happens consecutively, however multiple mutations can occur in parallel. Similarly, evolution does not occur in a straight line, but rather in a "tree" shape, with lineages diverging and starting new branches. We have seen bacteria mutate to consume nylon and naphthalene, which are pretty significant changes in function. We have also seen new species develop, for example the mosquito Culex molestus.

You also need to account for the fossil record, common structures across species, the presence of vestigial organs, "junk" DNA, various lab experiments that show evolution in action, and biogeography. One counterexample of unknown validity, especially something outside the field of biology, does not render the theory of evolution null and void. There is a massive body of literature that you will need to explain away. "God did it" could be a plausible hypothesis if there was some good evidence that this being actually exists. You might want to consider following the Catholic church's lead of grudgingly accepting the theory of evolution.

freeman said...

boom, I'm with you! I'd rather be stupid!

My son, who lives with his mother and evangelical family asked me what a Mormon was? I told him that they believe that jesus came to North America. He replied that they were stupid! My question to him then was, "Your god is all powerful, right?" He said, "Yes". I then asked, "With your god, all things are possible, right?" He said, "Yes". Then I asked, "Then it is completely within reason that your god visited North America, right?" He said nothing, but sat quietly! I then said, "maybe the Mormons are correct and you are wrong!"

Sooooo... Buddy, are you a Mormon?

freeman said...

Alanh,
You are correct. I'll say it again. Nature is extremely lazy and due to this fact, mistake are made quite often. To explain in detail is too much for the feeble minded. Unfortunately, christians are just as lazy as nature and it is so much easier to say "god did it". What is the point of learning for christians if they already have the answers? "GOD DID IT"!

I hate to use my son all the time, but he told me last year that he wanted to study astronomy. I asked why, because all those dots in the sky are holes in a black blanket with the light of heaven shinning through! Then I reminded him that the universe is only 6 thousand years old and therefore those "stars" are just an illusion!

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear freeman,
In order, then; (1) you may assign beliefs to me if you like; you err in doing so. The point on the floor for discussion is the reasonableness of expecting randomness (the statistical model applies) to account for the changes we see. Feel free to contribute.

(2) No. (3) Your world may be a few thousand years old and covered with a blanket; mine isn't. The young earth theories are neither particularly widespread nor well received among the folks I've met, although the discussion between some fundamentalist groups and their local school boards makes the news from time to time.

You're the very first to suggest that I'm lazy. Congratulations.

Buddy

Buddy Ferris said...

Dear Alanh,
On the probability of significant change (affecting perhaps 2 or 3 genes), the following citation applies;

White, N. J., 2004. Antimalarial drug resistance. J. Clin. Invest. 113:1084-92

Extracted segment: “Chloroquine resistance in P. falciparum may be multigenic and is initially conferred by mutations in a gene encoding a transporter (PfCRT) (13). In the presence of PfCRT mutations, mutations in a second transporter (PfMDR1) modulate the level of resistance in vitro, but the role of PfMDR1 mutations in determining the therapeutic response following chloroquine treatment remains unclear (13). At least one other as-yet unidentified gene is thought to be involved. Resistance to chloroquine in P. falciparum has arisen spontaneously less than ten times in the past fifty years (14). This suggests that the per-parasite probability of developing resistance de novo is on the order of 1 in 10^20 parasite multiplications. “

boomSLANG said...

1) Chloroquine resistance in P. falciparum may be multigenic and is initially conferred by mutations in a gene encoding a transporter (PfCRT) (13). In the presence of PfCRT mutations, mutations in a second transporter (PfMDR1) modulate the level of resistance in vitro, but the role of PfMDR1 mutations in determining the therapeutic response following chloroquine treatment remains unclear (13). At least one other as-yet unidentified gene is thought to be involved. Resistance to chloroquine in P. falciparum has arisen spontaneously less than ten times in the past fifty years (14). This suggests that the per-parasite probability of developing resistance de novo is on the order of 1 in 10^20 parasite multiplications.

2) Therefore, Jesus is REAL!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the letter, and I am an ex-pastor and seminarian.

The fact is most christians have no idea what the bible really says, we have our pastors to tell us that.

Oh, they know verses and can quote them. But they are clueless really about what they are really saying in the greater context.

The biggest mistake is the hell mistake, the hell of the churches is not even in the bible. It is a doctrine glued together with spit and bubble gum, created from myths and misinterpretations of various greek words.

But churches do not teach about there translation problems in the bibles they preach from sunday after sunday.

What is the message?

You are a sinner, God will KILL YOU IN FIRE

Unless you join our church and pay us a part of your income.

That is what HELL is all about, scaring people into paying a tithe.

Remember that was my job, sad to say.

I still believe in God, but not the HELL God I was lied about. A loving God who will have us ALL with him in the after life, becuase he is bigger then our churches and our idiot pastors.

Rb said...

It amazes me....how few people really get it.

All tof religon was symbolism and myth based on the sky and astronomical objects. Some of the famous messiahs/buddhas etc, were myth some actually were people, but the bottom line is that religion came from people eating visionary plants and having visionary/psychedelic experiences, while practising a yogic concentration.

So although, on the surface, institutional religion bacame ridiculous in terms of how it portrays dogma-content, there really is a particular experience, that it is based on. This experience basically shows people what their ture identity is.....and then alas...they have to try to explain their experience to others and then the warpage begins.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how Christian think that Jesus is "all loving". I used to be a Christian, I'm ashamed now to say that I believed in such nonsense. The problem most of christians hand the bible shoved in their mouths from an early age. They will be the first one to tell other religions are false, even though they don't know anything about them. I glad my life is not governed by the Jesus or the Devil. Finally is a shame that some Christian thinks that Katrina was send by God to punish New Orleans. Peace out!

Anonymous said...

I read the first posting and it always makes me gigle when a christian says "you dont understand the bible or what it is to be a christian"

Well, I do ... I know the bible very well and I was a christian, even a pastor for years. I know all the arguments made and made them myself.

What I would ask this Christian who says others dont know the bible, is how many times did God command the Isaeraltes to murder, plunder, rape and enslave other people?

And I would want an logical explaination as to how a God who so loved the world, is also the same one who killed at a whim.

Anonymous said...

Interesting site:I admire your "faith".
Dear Unbeliever
Re:Mythmaking
Dr Vij Sodera wrote "Look at the particle of dust on the table in front of you. Is it possible for such a particle...after existing for a few billion years... to aquire consciousness-to ultimately peer down on another dust particle and to contemplate its origins?...Yet inherant....is the assumption that not only is it possible, but that it actually happened". One small Speck, Vija Sodera Productions, Bognor Regis UK 2003

webmdave said...

I agree with your article, of course, but tonight I feel hopeless! I'm not sure we can convince people who believe in such stupidity! You see, if somebody believe in that crap in the first place it means they are not intellectually equipped to get too many things! Maybe I'm tired, but tonight I feel I'm waisting my time trying to talk to believers!

webmdave said...

Hey Kevin, I'm a Christan too, but i don't beleive that a perfict universe has to be unchanging. God could intend it to be that way.
(sorry to bring up a topic from so long a go)
I'd like to say our disagrement doesn't show christanity is false.
I beleive in the historical fact of jesus's resurection, everything else is extra detail, but useful for answering our friends' here's questions.
Christanty hinges on the resurection of Jesus. That is a varifiable fact. It can be tested and proved or disproved using historic method.
If jesus's life story is true, everything else about Christanity must be true for it to make sense.
Everything else is extra detail, and is baced on showing that the logic of it can work. Agreeing or disagreing is baced on if you belive God exists or not.
(sorry for any spelling mistakes)

webmdave said...

You do prove the saying, to the world the cross will seem to be utter foolishness.

webmdave said...

Too bad the God you speak of wasn't awesome enough to save the life of the songwriter that wrote that song (Rich Mullins; Awesome God) from an early death in a car crash.

webmdave said...

To the author of this post,

I am not imposing this question as a believer. Actually, I am an ex-Christian. However, I don't think you quite understand a lot of Jesus' teachings. For instance, he doesn't literally teach people to chop off their limbs, or to swear off otheir families and abandon them. Although it was hard for me to swallow the notion, the Christian teachings do offer deeper interpretations.
Not that you're really wrong about anything else you've elaborated in this post. But even today I don't consider Christian teachings complete and utter bull.

webmdave said...

Enid, it comes to my concern as if whether you really are a believer or not. If you are an ex-christian, then why do you not consider Xian teachings as completer and utter bull? Is it because you believe Jesus was just a man and only taught the right way of living?

Btw, I too am an ex-christian and I have left the 'Church' because I never really cared much about it, as well as thinking of Western Christianity having lost the plot.

webmdave said...

I do believe - if Jesus, the person, not Jesus, the "son of God", ever existed - he was a good man who taught just things. However, I recognize that he wasn't one of his kind throughout history. He certainly wasn't the only one thought to be of divine lineage, either. During my time as a Christian, I was interested not only in what Jesus had to offer in morality, but also his particular pedagogic method. Nevertheless, those weren't enough to convince me to devote my entire energy and desires to Christianity.

Mostly, I was just concerned with offering a different interpretation to the myriad of Jesus' gems. For instance, when the author mentions about "chopping limbs and hands" when you've sinned, it isn't literal; it talks about "cutting" off the sin and how, metaphorically, it would be better to lose the limb you've sinned with, than to let the sin "spread" to anywhere else in your form. Sin, or the temptation to do so, comes in the form of a disease in this saying.

I know this probably makes me sound like a Jesus-junkie or something, but I guess I'm trying to say not all Christians that I've encountered are bible-thumping zealots who take every word in the bible as it is.

webmdave said...

By reading some of these comments I see that many of you have little Biblical understanding or knowledge of Christ and what it truly means to be a Christian. Guess what? I used to be the same way. I discredited everything about God, the Bible, and Jesus, based on what I saw from the Church, from History, and from things I perceived to be true. I questioned everything and could not understand how people could live their lives based a book written by men. How eternally grateful I am to the Lord for not giving up on me and continuing to bring Christians into my life. The Lord opened my eyes and I finally have peace in my soul.

My goal is not to convince anyone that God is real. I am just a man and my words cannot reach into your soul. I applaude the webdesigner for giving people a place to share their views. I believe that these conversations on religion exist and will never go away because people have restless souls and are empty inside. To anyone who is honestly looking for a peace that passes all understanding, don't look for perfection from Christians, who by definition are admitted sinners, look at Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and offered himself for us that we may have life.

God Bless You

webmdave said...

anonymous: "My goal is not to convince anyone that God is real."

Thank Nature...

anonymous: "I am just a man and my words cannot reach into your soul."

Soul? What that?

anonymous: "I applaude the webdesigner for giving people a place to share their views."

Perhaps, more attuned to providing a place to present reality...

anonymous: "I believe that these conversations on religion exist and will never go away because people have restless souls and are empty inside."

I have an empty Soul? and it causes me to be restless? How so? If one can not define the Soul, how does it become empty and restless...

anonymous: "To anyone who is honestly looking for a peace that passes all understanding, don't look for perfection from Christians, who by definition are admitted sinners, look at Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and offered himself for us that we may have life."

i.e., don't look at this physical reality, to solve lonliness, and need, look to an historical icon labelled Jesus, who may or may not have existed, who knowingly Martyred himself (Death Cult), so that Others may receive a Benefit or Reward, i.e., everlasting life, etc... Oh, and "sin", what's that...

webmdave said...

Dave8,
I quote your quote by Mark Twain.

"What I really think, when I am told continuously that I must be out of my mind for not believing in the god of the bible..."

"You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say we are the ones that need help?"--Mark Twain

Take care...

I am always amazed at how these "giants" of literature and science like mark Twain, Galaleo, Ingersoll, Voltaire, Payne, Franklin, and many others are able to see things so clearly in one sentence or one paragraph, that others can't figure out in a lifetime of profundity in writing.

webmdave said...

Hey Kevin, I'm a Christan too, but i don't beleive that a perfict universe has to be unchanging. God could intend it to be that way.
(sorry to bring up a topic from so long a go)
I'd like to say our disagrement doesn't show christanity is false.
I beleive in the historical fact of jesus's resurection, everything else is extra detail, but useful for answering our friends' here's questions.
Christanty hinges on the resurection of Jesus. That is a varifiable fact. It can be tested and proved or disproved using historic method.
If jesus's life story is true, everything else about Christanity must be true for it to make sense.
Everything else is extra detail, and is baced on showing that the logic of it can work. Agreeing or disagreing is baced on if you belive God exists or not.
(sorry for any spelling mistakes)

webmdave said...

For your sake you'd better hope you're right...

webmdave said...

Aha. It's "“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates

Buddy

webmdave said...

This site is for the encouraging of Ex-Christians. Copying and pasting posts are deleted on site.

Sorry.

webmdave said...

I agree with your article, of course, but tonight I feel hopeless! I'm not sure we can convince people who believe in such stupidity! You see, if somebody believes in that nonsense in the first place it means they are not intellectually equipped to get too many things! Maybe I'm tired, but tonight I feel I'm waisting my time trying to talk to believers!

webmdave said...

Yes, Dan, I believe all that --- but not in the way you twisted it.

Resting faith in the power of God, not in the wisdom of men/women like Dan Barker, Oprah, etc. 1 Corinthians 2:5 --- Jesus the wisdom of Yahweh and the power of Yahweh (1 Cor. 1:24). http://Yahweh.webonsites.com/

webmdave said...

Dear Webmaster,

What was my motive? Thanks for asking. Just thought I'd point out that having met one objectionable person who claimed to be a representative Christian doesn't support a categorization of all Christians as being like the one. Or having met one group claiming..., and so on. I've met all kinds over the years. Christians old and young, idealistic and realistic, silly and wise. With the small percentage of chaotic thinkers and compulsive haranguers removed from the mix of those I've known, the remaining (and quite diverse) adherents are neither fearful of the changes in culture around them nor concerned over the fact that science causes regular upheaval in traditional interpretations of historical understanding. My observation, my analysis.

I personally enjoy the play of history against a backdrop of faith in God. As often as one discovery or theory threatens to undermine the faith of many, another discovery or theory reverses the process. I think there is genuine nobility and benefit in the pursuit of objective truth by scientists and philosophers; it causes me no particular distress, nor does it cause more than a ripple in the world of Christian belief. The exceptions are minor. Evolution, for example, is a wonderful subject for discussion, but poses no particular threat to the church in spite of all the publicity and knee-jerk confrontation. A non-emotional, multi-lateral inquiry is useful; a confrontational debate obscures the issue and is perceived as threatening by both sides. A generally useless activity.

No great rebuke intended in my comments beyond perhaps pointing out the fundamental attribution error* in the referenced post. It was intended to provoke thought rather than recrimination. The logical follow-on to my comments might be, "What if there is more to know than I know? What if my understanding of the 'church' is biased? What if my experience with Christians is off-center? What if my opinions, so strongly embedded in my mind, aren't as soundly formed as I think? What if I'm one of those emphatic but unwise younger minds who haven't quite seen the larger picture? What if the 'body of believers' isn't anything like I've thought?" Those sorts of things.

I'm aware that my experience isn't precisely the same as anyone else's. I'm aware that a bad experience in a given context can predispose a person's mind for decades. Sometimes it's helpful to point out that our contextual presuppositions should be challenged from time to time. Someone said to our benefit, "The unobserved life isn't worth living." Or something along that line.

For a more personal example, what if your 30 years in the church weren't very much like what God intended for you or for those with whom you fellowshipped? What if those years were well-intended human attempts to do what they thought they found in scripture?

So there you have my motive, at least as clearly as I'm aware of it. Thanks again for asking, pal.

Buddy
P.S. It's Sunday, and I'm off to be with some fine folks at church. Some are searching, most are strong-minded believers, every profession from test pilot to school-kid, all imperfect. You should visit someday. You'd be welcome.



* "In attribution theory, the fundamental attribution error (also known as correspondence bias or overattribution effect) is the tendency for an observer to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based, explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing situational explanations."

webmdave said...

We in 20th and 21th century have problem with understanding peoples from 1st century. For them it is not the question of reality or facts. In Gospels every story is designed to undertake one present authority. Cesar was authority, and mags and others.. Gospel writers tried to put them all away in the NAME of JESUS. If present peoples (some of them) believe that Cesar is born of virgin Gospels take that from Cesar and give that to Jesus etc. every detail is in that note. We mistakenly look for historical Jesus and facts, and there are non. It that times peoples understand truth to be something that is said by some Authority, like Cesar. Cesar was God for Romans and that is not in modern speech, they were no stupid to think that he is real God, some of them will eventually try to give him away; but they call HIS AUTHORITY to be God. In that way when Gospel tributes Jesus like Cesar it tells to peoples that there is and will be new Authority - Jesus. Thats way Romans kill them not because they worship some god Jahve or jesus. Christians make war against present authority. Jesus is born of virgin , Jesus is the top mag, Jesus is new Augustin ...Jesus is NAME above all others names ... in modern words: Jesus is boss of all bosses. Gospel use ways of speaking which pierce ears of readers. that is why Christianity is special. Buddha and others do not claim that, even Muhammad did not claim that for himself but he works for Allah. Jesus claims that HIS NAME IS THE NAME AND HIS AUTHORITY IS THE AUTHORITY.

webmdave said...

Gospel use ways of speaking which pierce ears of readers.

Seem like Gospel pierce hole through head. Uu, Uu.

webmdave said...

i hope you read something other than one book to form your idea of the world and existance. maybe read something else. eg : "being in dreaming" by Florinder Donner.

webmdave said...

This site is for the encouraging of Ex-Christians. Copying and pasting posts are deleted on site.

Sorry.

webmdave said...

Mr Jesus for make benifeit glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Borat says, Mr Jesus claims that HIS NAME IS THE NAME AND HIS AUTHORITY IS THE AUTHORITY.

--S.

webmdave said...

Hello one and all.. I've stumbled apon this site and read this letter.
I'd like to first say that in readin some of these things on here I have to say there seems to be a lack of "knowledge". You have to understand that the bible, when written is in a parabilic way (Parables, almost riddle like) to decipher the bible would mean to apply MORE than everyday knowledge, or just "commen sense"
When speaking of such things as "mauled children by bears" or "hating your parents"... these things are all written in a parable. the word na'ar (meaning child - anyone up to the age of 40) is a hebrew word and is poorly transulated for us, so one man of just commen knowledge would make the assumption that it should be taken for EXACTLY what it says. And the lord spoke of us to love him MORE than our parents, not to hate our parents... but it is written that way to show you on a scale, of the firstly love we should have for our lord. So on and so forth..... and I would challenge anyone who reads this to absolutly pick up a copy of "The Expositer's Study Bible" for it WILL explain EACH and EVERY one of those passages in the bible named in this letter... and you will truely understand what the bible is really saying. God bless you all.

webmdave said...

John,

Parables you say?

Could it possibly be then, that the whole jesus-son-of-god story was also nothing more than a mere parable to?

Yeah, I'm pretty darn SURE it was, or perhaps it was an intentional work (of fiction) by the authors to further control the population.

Try as you may, you can't make sense out of nonsense, my friend

ATF (Who never saw a 39 year old 'child' before)

webmdave said...

john,

Oh, John has it all figured out. You got the one and only, true, interpretation of scripture. That god of yours sure was clever, writing down his all-important, messages and commandments, in an ancient book, only to turn it into a puzzle, for people to decipher, causing christianity to splinter into 34,000 different sects and denominations, all with their idiosyncratic interpretation of scripture. What a brilliant undertaking, by the creator of the universe, delivering his all-important messages, in the form of vague texts, parables, poems, songs, dream imagery, switching from literal to non-literal, that could so easily be misinterpreted, perverted or interpreted, in so many different ways. You would think, the creator of the universe, could do a better job at getting his all-important, messages to everyone, unequivocally and universally, but seeing, that the other 70% of the world, is either another religion or the non-religious and they don't believe, in the bible, and the other 30% of christians have vast and differing interpretations of scripture -- I'd say god's doing a shitty job at conveying his all-important messages. I'll tell you what Johnny-Christian, when your god can deliver his all-important messages, to everyone, equally and unequivocally, you come on back and let us know -- I'll expect you in around -- NEVER.

--S.

webmdave said...

Yes, Dan, I believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God, minus your twisted portrayal. http://Yahweh.webonsites.com/
http://Spiritlessons.com/ There are no atheists in hell, only they are too late without a second chance.

webmdave said...

John,

Your use of na'ar is pretty selective, its literal meaning in Hebrew is that of child or young person. Na'ar may be used in reference to older person but usually in terms of behavior. It is used for Joseph and Joshua who are older but clear reference to the context is that they are behaving like children either in a negative way (immature) or positive way (obedient). It is also used to refer to servants and attendants but also this is revealed through context. It is the antonym of "ish" - which means man or maturity.

As usual - you have just chosen the most palatable interpretation for your own beliefs - you choose to ignore the literal translation which would fit perfectly in the context and choose an uneasy interpretation that fits with your own conscience. It does not change the fact that God sent bears to maul 42 young people (not stated they are 7 or 12 or 28) for teasing a guy for being bald. Unless you are saying the whole incident is a parable?

Jesus specifically says this in Matthew 10:35-36
35 For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household

Na'ar is not used at all - it sounds literal and specific enough.

Once again you are cherry picking for the sake of your own lack of courage in your convictions. You are also claiming that you have access to some special knowledge of the Bible. Paul says that even children can understand the Bible - unless you claim to have an exclusive interpretation, a special "knowledge" that you have gotten from merely reading a single book that merely papers over the glaring gaps.

The fact you cannot deny is that there are many interpretations of the Bible - either God is not omnipotent or omnipresent to keep his most important message straight (I am sure his divine will cannot be overturned by a couple of myopic scribes as is the common excuse), or that the collection of books was always only by human hands who did not proof read what the previous guy wrote very well. Your interpretation is just the latest attempt in thousands of years of church history to "fix" a human endeavor and present it as a divine one.

webmdave said...

you are my hero
i completely agree with you
i have never read anything more inspiring
thank you for posting this
as i do not understand how christians can believe in this bullshit
as i was raised in a christain family and forced into all th christian non sense
it is a mere religion of controling people through fear
rules rules rules if you dont do this if you do this bah bah your going to hell
i believe christain has starided off into something false and fictional
as the bible is not true as we know it suppose to teach you lessons
john of arc never happened its geographicaly proven
moses never parted the sea of reds he walked through a the sea of reids on a windy day when the tide was low
however i do believe in a great power and that we do have souls
but im a stronge believeer of recranation
just know that god may exist however he is not so merciful and loving as you think
i have gone through the bible and dedated many topics with preists
god is just not a very nice person
and jesus well sorry to burst ur bubble he wasnt the only messiah walkin around his time
come on people open your eyes
you can believe in god and satan but dont follow the church or the bible
they are completely misleading

webmdave said...

I happened upon this site a few minutes ago and I must say that it is pure genius.

In reference to the topic at hand: I personally believe in a supreme being, or God as generally referenced. I have, at points in my history, declared myself to be "christian", "wiccan", and "christo-wiccan". I do consider myself to be a Christ-follwer today, not to be confused with modern christianity. I believe there to be far too many egotistical, self-serving individuals in the "ministry" today, and that scripture is being twisted to fit the needs of most biased individuals who claim "the faith". I can see where each of you are coming from, and I must stress that personal belief should not be confused with "religion". Religion is nothing more than a repetitious pattern of actions, pre-observed cause and effect, that keeps individuals in their comfort zones. Much akin to driving to work via the same route on a daily basis, religion leaves you at a point where you go through the motions on auto-pilot, blacking out half of the journey. I may share my views, when asked, but I understand that each is entitled to his or own views and opinions. Any "christian" who would oppose that premise apparently does not understand the teachings of Christ or the concept of free will. I caution each of you to think of others before acting on instinct or emotion. Middle ground can not be achieved unless both sides are willing to appreciate and value the other's opinions and views. I could go on, but in the interest of saving space I'll stop here. anyone interested in further discussion, email me or find me on myspace (myspace.com/tainted_angel24).

blessed be!

webmdave said...

I happened upon this site a few minutes ago and I must say that it is pure genius.

In reference to the topic at hand: I personally believe in a supreme being, or God as generally referenced. I have, at points in my history, declared myself to be "christian", "wiccan", and "christo-wiccan". I do consider myself to be a Christ-follwer today, not to be confused with modern christianity. I believe there to be far too many egotistical, self-serving individuals in the "ministry" today, and that scripture is being twisted to fit the needs of most biased individuals who claim "the faith". I can see where each of you are coming from, and I must stress that personal belief should not be confused with "religion". Religion is nothing more than a repetitious pattern of actions, pre-observed cause and effect, that keeps individuals in their comfort zones. Much akin to driving to work via the same route on a daily basis, religion leaves you at a point where you go through the motions on auto-pilot, blacking out half of the journey. I may share my views, when asked, but I understand that each is entitled to his or own views and opinions. Any "christian" who would oppose that premise apparently does not understand the teachings of Christ or the concept of free will. I caution each of you to think of others before acting on instinct or emotion. Middle ground can not be achieved unless both sides are willing to appreciate and value the other's opinions and views. I could go on, but in the interest of saving space I'll stop here. anyone interested in further discussion, email me or find me on myspace (myspace.com/tainted_angel24).

blessed be!

webmdave said...

Ah yes, yet another christ-follower that refuses to see their belief system as a "religion".

Russ,

If you're following this christ character, then you are a xtian, and if you're a xtian, you belong to the xtian religion, even if your sect consist of exactly one person in your congregation....YOU.


ATF (Who just loves when they make a personal exception for themselves to be outside of "religion" and hence, obviously more special to this personal god)

webmdave said...

ATF: I love how you skipped over the majority of my comment and focused in on my choice to follow the teachings of Christ. If you had paid attention to ANY of what I said, youd have seen the clear separation of "religion" and "faith". The modern worldview of christianity is that of a slovenly, self-absorbed people who attribute to their "sacred text" whatever is necessary to "prove" a point and/or defend their half-assed motives. I want nothing to do with that. The TRUE base of Christ's teachings is that of a selfless, loving, non-judgemental heart and willingness to connect with and help others regardless of their beliefs, or their lack of belief. Whatever theological stance you claim, that is your business. I simply expressed my views and left it at that, as is ENCOURAGED by the webmaster of this site as far as I've read. I did not come here to instigate a war of words, my friend.

webmdave said...

wasn't even looking at your comment. I was writing to the fabricator of this website, hence the "Dear Dan Barker" at the beginning of my post, smarty pants.

webmdave said...

P.S. There's no such thing as Christo-Wiccan stupid. And there's no such thing as unicorns or dragons either. You sound like you need a reality check so I hope I helped.

webmdave said...

Going through a crisis of faith.

I grew up in a Christian family, though my parents are relatively open-minded and progressive. I was raised a Christian, being baptised as a child before i even had any comprehension of what i was getting into or capacity to consent. I know my parents meant well, but sometimes i can't help but feel violated at being "forced" (however inadvertently) into one belief system.

I used to be quite fervent, accepting all i'd heard in sunday school as *the Truth*. I even questioned my teacher in class when she started teaching us about evolution. If i could go back now, i'd give my old self a right smack across the head.

Things changed as i looked deeper. Questions kept cropping up. I couldn't answer them, and those who tried couldn't give me a satsfactory answer. I felt guilty for judging God, and some christians i talked to just made it worse.

It came to a head when i started studying history, and later on law. I thought to myself, what kind of sadistic God puts us through such suffering? If he's so all-powerful, why couldn't he just have ended things with adam and eve and started over? Why does God allow children to be afflicted with rubella and be born nearly brain-dead- putting the mother through such agony deciding whether to take the horrific step of abortion.

As things went on, it all made less and less sense.

So now, i'm practically a closet atheist. I'm angry and disillusioned, and increasingly agitated by the delusion i see all around me.

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