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5/17/2006                                                                                       View Comments

Testimony post script: Five Questions

Ex-Christians,

I submitted a testimony on Aug. 7-05.

I read every day on this site and have been amazed by the superior thinking ability of some of you. I never have been able to concentrate for long periods of time on academic pursuits, but some of the regular posters here mesmerize me to the extent that when I see their names, I can't turn the computer off till I have scrutinized every word of their posts.

I have a couple of questions for you. You are probably already familiar with my philosophy, but I would like to find out whether those as smart as some of you are, agrees or disagrees with my basic assumptions about life. I have already done the natural selection thing here many times, the natural process that brings us to the top of the food chain and made us the smartest species on, at least this planet.

These are the questions:

1. If a mother sacrifices her life for her children, is that love?

2. If a man finds a mate who has all of the physical and intellectual characteristics that he desires, is that love?

3. Since we as humans have obeyed nature and multiplied to the extent that we are poisoning this planet in an effort to try to feed everybody and give them a Ford or Toyota, isn't it enough for me in my retirement years, and with my limited income, to just trust that the problems of starvation, diseases, warfare, pollution, will take care of themselves, just like they always have, by millions of people dying, and becoming fertilizer?

4. As I have become totally convinced that all religions are manmade (And pretty silly and ridiculous at that), is there something wrong with me for not having a "God Hole" in my psyche anymore, and for feeling more normal, and less apprehensive than I have ever felt since childhood?

5. Is there something wrong with me because I don't want to hurt anyone, steal anything, or lie about anything, and for me to just want to be as happy here on earth as I can possibly be, using whatever talents I possess, as long as I, obey the law, don't jeopardize the health and welfare of anyone else on purpose?

Any one! Please feel free to make any comment you like. I will not be offended, just entertained, and enlightened!

Dan (Who says no to all five questions)

14 comments:

Leonard said...

1) If a mother sacrifices herself for her children, yes, I think it is love. That terrible, merciless love that would motivate her to murder anyone who would harm her children with the same utter lack of hesitation as with she would sacrifice herself for them. A mother´s love, in its purest form, is a terrible thing, feral and primal, like an animal instinct. It is glorious and wondrous and frightening. In this sense, there is no real difference between a human woman and a female polar bear.

Not that this love is a given. But of the woman who does feel it, beware.

2) No.

3) The form of your question alone suggests that yes, for you, it is enough.

But things have changed. We just might be a in a position to exert just that much influence that we do something that the planet can´t fix in time to save the life on its surface.

4) I´d say no. But that´s just me. There are billions of people who would beg to differ.

5) Again, I´d have to say no.

Ian said...

Hi Dan, let me see if I can answer your questions.

1. If it's to save the child's life, then I suppose so, yes.

2. It could be. If the man loves the woman for the total sum of who she is, including personality, talents, likes and dislikes, then it could be. Love is an interesting topic and i'm still working at it.

3. Grim, but yes. It never hurts however, to go out and do whatever you can to help others.

4. No.

5. Of course not!

infidel666 said...

1) That really depends on your personal definition of "what is love". And does the mother's sacrifice result in her death.

2) No

3) No

4) No

5) No, and your one of the few

Jess said...

1.) That's an iffy one. (But notice you said "mother," not indicating species. I think you'll be able to tell many responses just based on whoever assumes you're referring to a human mother.) I think because we're humans and therefore superior it gets called love when the exact same reaction in animals is called instinct. But then I've seen some arguments that this is love in animals, too. I dunno. I can definitely see the argument for both sides, and they both make equal sense to me. But seeing as I'm a hopeless Romantic (and a pagan), I tend to believe that everything has a soul and therefore it is love. But that could be part of instinct in order for the species to survive. Maybe the two are intertwined? I don't know. I don't think it's really important, as long as it does what it's supposed to do.

2.) I think this question deserves the same response as the first. But you know, every time I think I know exactly what I look for in a guy, when one comes along I'm interested in, he often doesn't fit any of those qualities. That being said, I think it would be next to impossible to find exactly what you're looking for embodied in a single person. And if it does happen, it makes the person shallow. But either way, the only real reason we fall in love is to procreate.

3.)NO! (Sorry, hit a nerve. :) ) We may be doing what Nature intended by procreating, but we as beings with opposable thumbs and advanced cerebral development also have the responsibility to fix the messes we've created. These problems will NOT fix themselves. People will continue to multiply, and so will the problems. (History dork moment: On the continuum of human existance, depicted by an exponentially-rising graph, the Black Plague created only a tiny indent. Thus disease, warfare, pollution, etc. will NOT destroy us, given not only our exponentially rising population. The Earth is also far less polluted than it was a hundred years ago.)

3.) Again, I can totally see both sides. I feel that a lot of religions were created just to give people power. If one person claims to control the elements, and not following said person will anger the gods, no one can prove him wrong and are also afraid of angering these elements they cannot explain. Furthermore, most religions speak of someone/thing ascending from the sky...could this be aliens?! I often see religion as a tool for frightening people into submission, thus I don't see anything wrong with you losing your "God Hole." I for one, however, found peace in spirituality, which requires no religious hierarchy, no obscene rules, and no element of fear. I do believe in God (Goddess!), just not as most other people would describe him (Her!). For me, it's an undeniable feeling of Someone higher than me. But that's just ME. I can absolutely understand the idea of atheism. Sometimes the idea of gods is far too Romantic to be feasible, and seems an elaborate hoax. But to me...I dunno. I can't ignore what I've felt since I've become pagan.

I hope these entertain and enlighten you. ;)

Anonymous said...

j"is there something wrong with me for not having a "God Hole" in my psyche anymore?"


I think religion is a magnet for all kinds of diseased-ridden foulness. Religion is a whore with all kinds of diseases.

tigg13 said...

1. No its not love. Sacrifice is born of the instinctive need to preserve the community at the expense of one's self; to put the welfare of others above your your own. Would a fireman have to love a person in a burning building before he would run in to save them?

2. No. In fact, often the best relationships happen between people who have nothing in common and are totally unexpected. Love doesn't happen on cue.

3. Yes. The Earth was here millions of years before we showed up and it will still be here long after we've all gone. Death is going happen whether we worry about it or not and if humanity wants to hurry it along by investing in polution, violence and apathy then so be it. The real shame of it all is that there are so many other species that are going to down with us.

4. (Ah ha! Trick question!) One would have to buy into a belief system in order to make an objective determination about something being "Wrong". So it all depends upon which subject view point you are coming from. Personally, I think you're OK!

%. Again, right and wrong are subjective view points. But how how could there be anything wrong with having the characteristics that you've described.

Rhiannon said...

Hi Jess, my post is in response to your post in particular. Im keen on knowing how your spirituality works for you, as I believe fully that a person should figure out what is specific to them.I have been a pagan all my life, with the exeption of a stage where certain people insisted that I cannot go on like this....that I am lost. This resulted into a short but horrific foray into fundamentalist madness that I got out of in a hurry, but it was a learning experience all the same. Now at least I can say I stood at the edge of the abyss, had a look inside and ran like their beelzabub himself was after me!!!
As a pagan, I believe, as u do that everthing has a soul. That what we believe in must be tangible. For me the fact that we live on Mother Earth alone is substantial enough reason to be spiritual.
As a pagan I feel the Divine Feminine as a guiding force. This is also not to be construed as a "feminist" thing, which it certianly isnt. Patriarchy has been detrimental and destuctive to both genders. Just look at the Bush/Blair war partnership,& the generations of warlike men b4 them.
"War is a result of patriarchal religion." No argument!!
We remember the Earth as a better place when MOTHER NATURE was held in high esteem. Things will only get better once we get back to our roots!
Bright Blessings to all.

love2all said...

1. If a mother sacrifices her life for her children, is that love?

It COULD be but not necessarily. Obviously, it depends on the situation and what exactly you mean by sacrifice. Sacrifice her physical life, as in, martyrdom? Or as in forgoing her education and career for her children? Either way, I’d put myself in my children’s frame of mind first before making any kind of decision. I’d see what they would want and what would make them happiest overall and how they might feel as adults regarding the decision I made. Then I’d make a decision. But if you mean not having a career, again, that depends. But I would go so far to say that a mother who works full time does NOT love her children less than one that stays home. I am one of those women and I am TIRED of those Stay At Home Mothers who make comments about how I should not be working. I love my children very very much.

2. If a man finds a mate who has all of the physical and intellectual characteristics that he desires, is that love?

Those qualities alone does not equal love. Love is chemistry and we don’t know the formula. Sometimes we have no control. Not to be a nerd (even though I am) but I shall take a quote from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series: “Love isn't brains, children, it's blood...blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.” Hey, it’s true.

3. Since we as humans have obeyed nature and multiplied to the extent that we are poisoning this planet in an effort to try to feed everybody and give them a Ford or Toyota, isn't it enough for me in my retirement years, and with my limited income, to just trust that the problems of starvation, diseases, warfare, pollution, will take care of themselves, just like they always have, by millions of people dying, and becoming fertilizer?

No. I’m not saying you should rise up and go on marches every day, attend protests, and spend most of your day trying to save the world from mankind but I think we all have a social responsibility that we shouldn’t sweep under the rug. Everyone SHOULD (doesn’t mean WILL) do what they should to help. If you’re a Richie-Rich, donate your money. If you’re eloquent, write letters and articles. If you’re able-bodied, volunteer a few hours a week. I don’t think that’s taxing for anyone and absolutely necessary. Sure, there are exceptions but if you CAN, you should.

4. As I have become totally convinced that all religions are manmade (And pretty silly and ridiculous at that), is there something wrong with me for not having a "God Hole" in my psyche anymore, and for feeling more normal, and less apprehensive than I have ever felt since childhood?

There’s nothing wrong with you. I feel the same way; liberated, free, much more at ease with life. Perhaps this is how we were meant to feel until someone had the “grand” idea to invent religion. Actually, I don’t want to say that I’m a true atheist, I’m not. I think there COULD be something out there but does that mean we need religion? I don’t think so. I don’t think we’re meant to figure it out.. what happens after death and all the innerworkings of the world. Most of the world religions have done far more harm than good and IF there is a god out there, I wouldn’t think he/she/it would think that’s a good thing; all the wars and atrocities committed in the name of god.

5. Is there something wrong with me because I don't want to hurt anyone, steal anything, or lie about anything, and for me to just want to be as happy here on earth as I can possibly be, using whatever talents I possess, as long as I, obey the law, don't jeopardize the health and welfare of anyone else on purpose?

Nope. We need more people like you. This is exactly what we need to achieve, to create a Utopian society. Unfortunately it will probably never happen.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Hi Dave,

Good questions!

1. If a mother sacrifices her life for her children, is that love?

Strictly speaking (in the absence of further information) this could be defined as altruistic behavior, which doesn't necessarily imply love as most of us understand it.

See here for a definition of altruism.

You are no doubt aware of this sort of behavior in certain animal species, examples of which can be seen in this Wikipedia article here. Since animals are usually regarded as lacking the capacity for love as such, altruistic behavior is usually considered to be part of the evolutionary process, where kin selection and reciprocity rule.

That said, for animals capable of making conscious decisions (humans) I personally think the process is more complex than simply a biological impulse, although that is certainly part of our make-up. This is because I feel that love as we know it requires a certain degree of conscious behavior and reasoning ability.

For example, we've all heard of mothers who will abandon their children because they are inconvenient. If it were a matter of a mere biological impulse to survive and propagate, this likely wouldn't happen. Conversely, we've all heard of mothers who will stand by (and sacrifice their incomes or wish to take their place) defective, anti-social, murderous, or otherwise counter-productive children. If it were merely a biological impulse based on species survival, it would be more effective from a natural selection standpoint to dispose of the defective progeny and start over rather than continue clinging to their offspring.

In short, in humans I believe this is usually motivated by love rather than biological altruism.

2. If a man finds a mate who has all of the physical and intellectual characteristics that he desires, is that love?

No, because there is more to love than attraction.

My cousin is a case-in-point. His soon-to-be ex-wife has all the characteristics he finds attractive, acquiesces to every sexual desire he has, is highly intelligent, and yet he's not happy or "in love" with her at this point in their relationship and has left her.

3. Since we as humans have obeyed nature and multiplied to the extent that we are poisoning this planet in an effort to try to feed everybody and give them a Ford or Toyota, isn't it enough for me in my retirement years, and with my limited income, to just trust that the problems of starvation, diseases, warfare, pollution, will take care of themselves, just like they always have, by millions of people dying, and becoming fertilizer?

Frankly, I think you could do just that and the rest of humanity would continue as it has for millenia. In a brutal, naturalistic sense this is the way these kinds of things have always taken care of themselves, just as you say.

However, if you are motivated by compassion and would like to help your fellow human beings to find a more productive solution then of course you have to do something. If nothing else, you can die knowing you did something to leave the place in better shape than it was when you took up occupancy.

Incidentally, you already know you don't need a huge income to influence minds.

4. As I have become totally convinced that all religions are manmade (And pretty silly and ridiculous at that), is there something wrong with me for not having a "God Hole" in my psyche anymore, and for feeling more normal, and less apprehensive than I have ever felt since childhood?

Absolutely not. I think this is a sign of good mental health.

5. Is there something wrong with me because I don't want to hurt anyone, steal anything, or lie about anything, and for me to just want to be as happy here on earth as I can possibly be, using whatever talents I possess, as long as I, obey the law, don't jeopardize the health and welfare of anyone else on purpose?

Again, absolutely not. If the world had more folks like you running around, I imagine it would be a much better place.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Oops, that last was meant to be Dan not Dave. Doh!

Deamond said...

The following answers are just what I think. it may even be wrong. But anyway;


1. If a mother sacrifices her life for her children, is that love?

If therer was absolutely no other choice,if she chose her oun life over jher oun child, then yes. However, if she did it to "prove" her live for her child unnecesarially, then no, that's insanity. Childrten need at least one parent, preferably a happy, healthy one. I suspecrt some women don't spen enough time taking care of their oun needs as they chould. Of course I'm just an uncle.

2. If a man finds a mate who has all of the physical and intellectual characteristics that he desires, is that love?

pass

3. Since we as humans have obeyed nature and multiplied to the extent that we are poisoning this planet in an effort to try to feed everybody and give them a Ford or Toyota, isn't it enough for me in my retirement years, and with my limited income, to just trust that the problems of starvation, diseases, warfare, pollution, will take care of themselves, just like they always have, by millions of people dying, and becoming fertilizer?

Well, that's certainly the easier option. But what else can you do? I say just vote for the lesser of two asholes and try to help a bit.

4. As I have become totally convinced that all religions are manmade (And pretty silly and ridiculous at that), is there something wrong with me for not having a "God Hole" in my psyche anymore, and for feeling more normal, and less apprehensive than I have ever felt since childhood?

no.

5. Is there something wrong with me because I don't want to hurt anyone, steal anything, or lie about anything, and for me to just want to be as happy here on earth as I can possibly be, using whatever talents I possess, as long as I, obey the law, don't jeopardize the health and welfare of anyone else on purpose?

Sounds fine.

Dano said...

Thanks,
Leonard, Ian, infidel666, Jess, Anonymous, tigg13, Rhiannon, love2all, UberGeek (Don't worry I've been called worse than "Dave"), and Deamond.

I guess what I'm trying to address is the problem of "When we cannot believe in fairy tales anymore, what's a person to do?" How are we to think? What is normal? Indeed is it even possible to go through life not having faith in something? Should all of our faith be in ourselves? Should we assume that God lives in us? That we all are part of God? That God is Everything?

I do know that when I was a kid I pretty much felt that "everything" happened for the good, and left it at that, and felt good about it.

To put it another way, when I was a child I just felt that whatever created us, knew what it was doing, and now that I realize all religions are made up by men who, just pretended, to know the answers to the great puzzling questions, about where we came from? And what created us? and How should we live our lives, I am back to that same kind of childish faith in my creator.

I don't worry about the big questions as much, because I now know, that NO ONE, has the answers, and NEVER did.

God, whatever God is, is going to do whatever God want's to do and I don't think it wants us to spend our whole lives worrying about it!

I put the "Love" questions first, because we tend to try to replace a belief in a mystical being with a sort of "Mooshy" faith, in the impossible to define, quality of love.

Dan (Who is damn well gonna live till I die)

Riley J. said...

The questions bring a philosophy I have on Love. Love is an emotion that we try to make tangable in order to survive as the human race. Love is what you make it, therefore it's different for everyone. Because it's different, unattainable, conditional, and always changing, it is not real. Anything that is real would have to be defined clearly. It would have to be the same all the time.
Then comes the illusion perpatrated by the pushers of love. They try to say it's the same for all. Christainity trys to use the few Greek words they know and say there are different loves. Christianity denies love to anyone who does not do it their way. That is why there is no such thing as love. Love is a word we use to describe not killing each other.

1. If a mother sacrifices her life for her children, is that love?

It may be defined as love by her. If she did not do it, it would not mean she did not love her child. Again, love is whimsical.

2. If a man finds a mate who has all of the physical and intellectual characteristics that he desires, is that love?

To him it is love.

3. Since we as humans have obeyed nature and multiplied to the extent that we are poisoning this planet in an effort to try to feed everybody and give them a Ford or Toyota, isn't it enough for me in my retirement years, and with my limited income, to just trust that the problems of starvation, diseases, warfare, pollution, will take care of themselves, just like they always have, by millions of people dying, and becoming fertilizer?

I must be insensitive because I could only laugh.

4. As I have become totally convinced that all religions are manmade (And pretty silly and ridiculous at that), is there something wrong with me for not having a "God Hole" in my psyche anymore, and for feeling more normal, and less apprehensive than I have ever felt since childhood?

It's not wrong in my eyes, but other would disagree.

5. Is there something wrong with me because I don't want to hurt anyone, steal anything, or lie about anything, and for me to just want to be as happy here on earth as I can possibly be, using whatever talents I possess, as long as I, obey the law, don't jeopardize the health and welfare of anyone else on purpose?

I think that is noble. I would like to do the same. But...I don't believe in god, therefore, I am a moral relativist. Hurting people is what we all do indirectly (that is a long story). There may be times in life where someone needs a red nose.

Jess said...

Re Rhiannon: I'm sorry to hear about your deviation to fundamentalism...that happened to me too for awhile. I think (for me it was like this, at least) that when we realize something is going to change, we cling to it even harder and try to shout above the voices that are trying to tell us about the change. In a word, denial. But I'm very glad everything worked out for you.

I totally agree that people are drawn to different forms of religious/spiritual expression. It is crucial for that to exist; each god/thought process/belief brings us closer to truly understanding the Universe. I'm not knocking atheism though! Your "god," if you will, is yourself. (If that makes any inkling of sense. XD) In short, everyone needs someone/thing to believe in. Me, there's too much - I can't say proof, because that implies experiment - to deny the existance of deity. I cannot deny Their influence in my life. I know They have guided me, even if I didn't understand enough to listen. Maybe I have a sixth sense; maybe I'm making it up. But when I work magic, I can feel Them so strongly. I feel extremely soothed when shuffling my Tarot cards and cradled when I listen to music. (I am sorry if this sounds a little "my-way-is-right-and-yours-isn't," I'm just very passionate. :) ) I feel that I have tapped into an amazing, hidden trove of jewels. Alas, there's no such thing as pagan evangelists, and no way am I going to be the one to start it! (I think that would be an extremely frightening phenomenon. XD)

Anyway, I don't see paganism or Mother Earth reverence as a huge feminism thing either. It's just a natural kind of representation. Our mothers raise and protect and provide for us, just like the Earth. Ancient peoples were commonly matriarchal, including Native Americans. I also think that balance is imperative, which is why I am duotheistic. One cannot exist without the other. But yes, if women were in charge there wouldn't be as much war! XD "Getting back to our roots" as you said will also help calm people. There are simpler, more important things in life. But oh well.

I'm etoileterre on the main forum, by the way. :)

Blessed be!