11/02/2007                                                                                       View Comments

What's with all the Whining about Truth?

By Valerie Tarico

My book, The Dark Side, has an in-your-face subtitle: “How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth.” It’s in your face and so, not surprisingly it triggers push-back. One of the questions I get is a wearisome post-modern “What is truth, anyways? What is all this whining about Christian dogmas violating truth like you have some higher standard? (Implied: As if any perspective could lay any more valid claim to truth than any other.)”

Whenever this question comes up, I have to fight the urge to say: Go put your left ankle on a train track and come ask me again after a long freighter goes by.

Why do I have this urge? Because at one level, it’s a dumb dope-smoking question. People who are being tortured or dying of cancer or, I would assume, getting their feet crushed by locomotives don’t spend a whole lot of time speculating about whether the experience is real.

Why do I resist? Because at another level the question is valid. And so I try to answer it –for the questioner, but mostly for me.

Being a psychologist and citizen rather than a philosopher or theologian, my interest in truth is practical–even utilitarian. I don’t really care whether the world that I (or my clients or elected representatives) live in real in some absolute sense. I don’t care if it is “merely” phenomenology or a dream or an ancestor simulation. Those questions are fascinating, but not important. If it’s a dream, I’m in it till I wake up. If it’s a simulation, I have no way of knowing what’s on the outside.

Whether my self-conscious existence is the product of a god or a big computer, I’m inside the game. And inside the game, some kinds of phenomenology are different than others. No matter how well a Buddhist monk has transcended hunger, if he doesn’t eat, he dies. If someone puts a gun to his head while he’s meditating and pulls the trigger, he doesn’t meditate any more. To insist that it is “all in our heads” denies the reliable, predictable and useful distinction between a monk meditating and a monk without a brain. That’s how it is, inside the game. And to date everybody who claims to know what is on the outside makes those claims using faulty inside-the-game evidence.

So, the definition of truth I care about is this: Within the game, what are the rules? What are the cause and effect contingencies that affect the things I value – like my left foot. As soon as we acknowledge that we care about anything, even something so basic as preferring existence to non-existence, then a whole set of outcomes (and by implication, cause-effect relationships) become important. This is where the freight train response is actually on target. It brings into sharp relief the fact that few dope smokers or philosophers if dragged to the track would consider the ankle and locomotive in the same category as their dreams or academic speculations. Being human means, by definition, we have some things we care about, because people who don’t aren’t around long.

My insult to the fields of philosophy and theology is conscious. Both fields have sneered down their elegant noses at empiricism for literally thousands of years. In consequence, neither ultimately has been more generative than masturbation. This is not to say that masturbation, or philosophy, is useless. But let’s do say what’s real. Neither produces new life. Introspection, unencumbered by data, failed to generate a coherent understanding of human mental processes, let alone a vaccine or a solar panel. So did theology, that vast web of semi-logic that brilliant humans built on top of ancient ritual and oral tradition. Theology utterly failed to heal disease (despite millennia of prayers, exorcisms, and sacrifices) and never even considered a green revolution or a sky scraper. By claiming knowledge of what lay outside of the game, theology failed to discern what lay within.

The rules of the game itself began emerging only when a few early monks and philosophers stuck their soft clean fingertips in the dirt. That’s when knowledge began to accumulate. It’s when we humans started gaining shared power to predict and control the contingencies we care about. The scientific method of inquiry has been called, quite simply, “What we know about how not to fool ourselves.” That’s all it is. Very basic. To make things worse, it’s not perfect, and in fact, has been subject to continuous refinement for hundreds of years. But accountable, empirical—in other words, scientific-- inquiry has made the difference between horse carts and space travel.

This is what I’m talking about when I accuse Christianity of violating its own proclaimed value on truth. It puts forward a set of ideals that have to do with health, prosperity, freedom and social harmony as well as love and joy. What does Yahweh give his people? A land flowing with milk and honey. How does Jesus minister? He heals. What does Paul promise? Love, joy and peace. What is heaven? Riches, health, and eternal bliss.

Christianity espouses these values and then it gets the in-the-game contingencies wrong. It articulates a psychology, a biology, a physiology, a geography, a physics, a political science, and a moral contract each of which is –should this surprise us?—as primitive as our bronze age ancestors who plagiarized the Torah, and our iron age ancestor who laid down that hallucinatory classic, the book of Revelation. In addition, it violates the most elementary principles of “what we know about how not to fool ourselves.” This means that it is inevitably procedurally prone to stagnant self-deception.

So, truth. My truth.

We can spend our time taking philosophy and theology courses, either refraining from any assertion of truth, or asserting absolute Truth and then dying in tangential superiority. Or we can roll up our sleeves and ask ourselves, What do I care about and what power do I have to make it happen? And not just what do I care about but what do we care about together? What are the core shared dreams of my people, and what truths do we need to discover to make them real?

I’m a woman with a life mission that focuses on the well-being of the web of life that gave me birth and my fellow human beings within that web. Within the priorities set by this mission, there are enough real-world contingencies to be explored that I suspect they’ll keep me busy for the rest of my life. And if I’m wrong, if I run out, I imagine I can figure out where to get some good dope.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and the author of The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth .

30 comments:

trumpeter said...

Valerie, you are attacking many people, even buddhist monks, ha ha.

So for you, your nose picking finger is the truth, because you can feel it with your nose.

But, alas, there are so many things that your nose can not feel.

I hope that you, someday, find there are a lot bigger world than your nostril.

And remember there is a good proverb for you: a baby dog does not fear tiger.

trumpeter said...

A baby dog is not feared by tiger.

I guess above is more correct. Sorry English is not my main language.

Jim Arvo said...

"By claiming knowledge of what lay outside of the game, theology failed to discern what lay within."

Beautifully stated, and precisely so. On a daily basis we observe people here who somehow think that they know what's going on outside "the game" (as you put it). They prattle on endlessly telling us what assorted inhabitants of this alternate reality think and feel, and how different everything would be in THIS world were it not for their involvement. I am endlessly fascinated by such beliefs, as they are usually espoused with unswerving confidence. How can believers in such things not wonder whether they have it right? Isn't it abundantly clear that as soon as we humans cease to verify our ideas, we begin to weave tall tales? Isn't it abundantly clear that we humans invent, propagate, embellish, and *believe* all manner of idiotic stories? And isn't that precisely what religions traffic in?

Yet, try asking a religionist how they know with such certainty what's outside the box, and the last thing you will get is a thoughtful answer. Instead, you will likely get more of the same; more emphatic descriptions of what is out there, and how dreadful life would be if it were any other way. Why? Why is that question so totally imponderable to the religionist? Is it a defense mechanism? If is the lack of some inference mechanism that saddled them with such beliefs in the first place? Any insights?

To trumpeter: Come on back and try again once you've sobered up.

Astreja said...

"Within the game, what are the rules?"

That's the kind of 'truth' we need: The kind that actually works in the world we know. Well said, Valerie, and great article.

resonate11 said...

Amen, Valerie. I love your your passion for your life mission.

Trumpeter appears to have missed your point entirely.
"[Christianity] violates the most elementary principles of 'what we know about how not to fool ourselves.' This means that it is inevitably procedurally prone to stagnant self-deception." Or, perhaps he posted to illustrate your point!

Valerie Tarico said...

Trumpeter -
It isn't my intention to attack buddhist monks; only to suggest the tangible, physical limitations of their spiritual practice.

And I liked the proverb the way you said it first--a more subtle reproof about the naivete of the dog. :)

Those of us who have lived in one imaginary world are understandibly cautious when others tell us of the big magical worlds we are missing--if only we could once again suspend critical, accountable thought. But Jim said it better than i am:

Isn't it abundantly clear that as soon as we humans cease to verify our ideas, we begin to weave tall tales?

Peace.

stronger now said...

Valerie,

Well put. I also like to think in "where the rubber meets the road" kind of terms.

But try not to judge pot-heads too harshly. Sometimes it's the only affordable medicine that works.

Telmi said...

Valerie,

Excellent comments. Logical and forceful arguments.

After this post I am going to request my National Library to ensure that at least three to four of their branches are stocked up with your book "The Dark Side.." if they haven't already got it.

For sure, the Dark Side will be my next reading material. Should I wish to quote from your book [with full attribution], is this OK with you?

Rgds

trumpeter said...

My surprise to Jim Arvo!! You really got me that i was drunk last night, which might made me ramble here. great, ha ha ...

My respect to Valerie. I expected I would see some symptoms of mad cow desease when you read it. But it was not, to my disappointment.

Anyway, strangely, I feel some connections with you guys, although i don't know it's good or bad...maybe bad...ha ha...

fjell said...

Valerie wrote: "We can spend our time taking philosophy and theology courses, either refraining from any assertion of truth, or asserting absolute Truth and then dying in tangential superiority. Or we can roll up our sleeves and ask ourselves, What do I care about and what power do I have to make it happen? And not just what do I care about but what do we care about together? What are the core shared dreams of my people, and what truths do we need to discover to make them real?"

Here it is exquisitely distilled - the quantum difference in the priorities of those focused on the inside and those focused on (what they claim must be) the outside the game.

Kudos to you, Valerie Tarico.

fjell

Richard M said...

Valerie-

Im not a professional philosopher, either, but I am an amateur one, and I have been fscinated to see a convergence of thought about these sorts of matters among various philosophic disciplines. In a word, pragmatism has become one of the main, if not the main, contender. The basic idea is that our theories are not "mirrors of nature" (to borrow from the title of one of Richard Rorty's books), they are tools, handles for getting around the world.

There are too many possible theories, too many ways of trying to hook them up to the empirical world, and no Gods-eye perpective for knowing when we get it right, to take seriously any longer the idea that we can reasonably aim for Absolute Truth. Christians generally recoil from this idea, since it undermines their whole set of axioms. Postmodernists, on the other hand, took this idea and ran with it, to the point of absurdity, claiming that any metanarrative is as good as any other.

Which is silly. The question for us is, does it work? James said somewhere that "truth" is a compliment you pay to an idea that works for you. It works for me not to stick my ankle on a railroad track. It works for me not to believe every g**damn thing I think, do, or say is sin, perversion, and corruption, that I need to be rescued from.

Very well put!
Richard

Richard M said...

One more thought- part of the problem, I think, is that most fundamentalists, consistent with their dichotomous view of the world, are unable to imagine any vision of truth that is not either absolutism or the dumbest, most self-refuting postmodern relativism. You are either a believer in God-given Absolute Truth, or you are a licentious heathen mushy-headed liberal relativist, grasping at any theory that allows you to continue wallowing in sin. Other "truth theories" -- e.g., pragmatism, fallibilism -- just dont occur to them.

Optimalist Thinker said...

The interesting thing about this is that it is an engineering point of view, rather than a scientific one.

Science would tell us that we could look at the game, ask a few questions, examine a few things, etc. until we know how the game works. Once we know how the game works, we can know the outcome given an input.

An engineer looks at this game and tries to come up with model outcomes. After modeling the outcome, he would try to adjust the input as necessary to get the outcome that he wants. In other words, the game is just a "black box" where we manipulate the outcome.

I do not know which view is better. Should we WANT to know how the game works? Most philosophers at least try to. I guess all that matters is just learning how to get a certain outcome out of the game, but if we do not understand the game, we have a hard time explaining unexpected outcomes. Either way, this was an interesting post that makes an excellent point about religion.

Valerie Tarico said...

Telmi -
Thank you for the compliment. You are welcome to quote anything that is of use to you.

-several of the book chapters are available in the archive here at www.exchristian.net

Anonymous said...

Yes, please refrain from unwarranted attacks on the marijuana-smoking community. Likening "dope-smokers" (sounds like a bit of reefer-madness propaganda) to armchair philosophers is both inaccurate and offensive. In some cases it might be the case that it is actually too kind. Either way, no broad generalities plz!

Valerie Tarico said...

Lol. What a funny community this is. I make rude generalizations about philosophers and theologians, among others and what I get called on are my generalizations about dope smokers. I'll confess publicly that two of my peak life experiences involved mind altering substances. But have any of you ever watched footage of you or friends after the fact? Except possibly for Mark at the Church of Reality, I've not known smart or pragmatic to be apt descriptors.
Cheers :)

Telmi said...

Valerie,

Tks for the feedback. Appreciate.

Dave8 said...

Valerie,

Thanks for the thought inspiring post. I admire the ground truth concept, working from empirical knowns to theoretical possibilities.

It appears to me, that when this concept is reversed; when theory is entertained as its own reality and assumed to be removed from empirical foundations, we get all kinds of "imaginative" results that quite frankly cause me to mentally revolt.

As a not so proud member of public education, and even in university studies, it is the reversal of those concepts that caused me much grief. Getting the theoretical and abstract concepts given, as if they had a life of their own, and without any "tie" to our concrete reality.

I wanted empirical grounding, and utility as well - what else would I "care" about a theory if I couldn't identify its source for validity, or its practical function in life.

Our imaginations are powerful, and can be a valuable adaptive resource, to project outwards and seek out the limits of possibility within Aristotle's "pure potential" Universe, or projected inwards for introspection, escapism, rejection of outward reality, etc.

As I deal with others in the web of life, I typically attempt to gauge which way they are mentally projecting their energy. When I find someone who suggests they can't prove they exist, based on some "theoretic", or creative "rhetoric", I have to resist the temptation to pull out the brass-knuckles and test the theory of what is intrinsically provable and what isn't.

I didn't go on to degree in counseling, because I see that as the clean-up end of a failed process, and although much good can be done one-on-one, there needs to be focus on the root of the problem.

I wanted to get your perspective regarding academics in general, since you hold a PhD.

Those who withdraw from reality, due to abuse, etc., seek validation for their "subjectively" created reality they "accept" as "externally" real, and actually "present" their views linguistically to others, as such.

Do you find that those areas of academics, that promote such areas as Platonic idealism, are actually "feeding" into such dysfunction?

Just want to be clear about Plato's rationalist (non-empiricist) stance...

"Platonic idealism is the theory that the substantive reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth. That truth, Plato argued, is the abstraction. He believed that ideas were more real than things. He developed a vision of two worlds: a world of unchanging ideas and a world of changing physical objects:"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_idealism

A basic thread of idealism (philosophy), is that "particular" entities exist independently of the human mind, in a "different" reality, such as a Platonic Reality of Universal Absolutes (Perfect Forms, Objects, Symbols, etc.) This only makes sense, if one accepts dualism as a working philosophy, e.g., the mind/conscience is a separate entity from the material realm.

On the surface, it appears that such idealism, "feeds", "supports", and "validates" the concept of religious transcendence (Christianity's concept of God).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendence_%28religion%29

How does a psychologist determine who is the more delusional, when presented with two individuals, each mentally holding their own personal imaginary, yet ontologically "real", transcendent box of goodies?

How would an argument, ever conclude between two individuals, such as these... I mean, is the degree of "certainty" on whether or not the transcendent "objects" really exist, the "most critical" factor; or... do you suspect that the more fundamental issue, is that someone has to at least "some degree" bought into the delusion of a "transcendental immaterial reality"?

Again, just wanted to get an honest assessment on the issue. Thanks for any feedback, and take care.

Lance said...

Thanks for the great post Valerie! It has inspired one of the best comment threads I've seen here in awhile. I'm definitely going to buy your book.

Optimal Thinker made the comment about your pragmatic approach matching up with the engineering method rather than the scientific. I agree completely.

As an electronics engineer who has studied semiconductor physics and can work through the math on Schrodinger's wave equation, I have to tell you that I have no freak'n clue about what an electron actually is. And honestly I don't really care.

All I care about is that if you put a bunch of these little buggers together, I can tell you what they are going to do. I can even tell them what to do; to make them move through wires and wiggle the little speakers in your Ipod's headphones for instance.

I don't need to pretend that I understand the magic behind the scenes. And I can say the same for all the other stuff on the outside of the box.

Truth is what really is. And as far as I am concerned, that involves the inside of the box.

I could pretend that reality is something else, or that my holy book does a better job of explaining an electron's behavior, but if it does not match the way an electron really acts, then I'm going to get zapped. Not by some capricious deity, but by reality.

Thanks again for the post.

-Lance

stronger now said...

Excuse me. What I wrote was mostly for the humor, but also in defense some cancer and MS patients.

Didn't mean to offend, upset, or confuse.

(Sheesh! You'd have thought I was defending christanity or something)

Valerie Tarico said...

Dave8 -

I'm totally outside any expertise here, but as they say, fools tread . . .

I think of Plato's idealism as conjecture about what lay "outside the game" to return to the phrase I've been using. Again, it's interesting, but his idealism in some ways seems unimportant, in that even if all we experience is reflections, the reflections behave in predictable ways, and the only world that ultimately has power over us (and we over it) is the world of reflections.

It is curious to me that we treat the writings of someone like Plato as if they should weighed and accepted or discarded as intact entities. Plato was a teacher, an iconoclast. I can't help but think he would find this approach disappointing. Though personally brilliant, he was confined to the sorts of speculation allowed in his intellectual context which hadn't yet learned to fuse logic (even mathematical logic) with empiricism. But we, who are privileged to inherit his mental labor and that of thousands who came after, shouldn't we do better?

Now that we have access to this fusion, we understand that in many ways he was right-- none of us can experience the world outside our bodies save as a series of electrical impulses inside our brains. And we now understand that when these electro-chemical processes go awry, they cease to correspond to a set of cause effect contingencies that we also experience through the same channels.

This seems to me the relevant distinction. Do our thoughts/emotions and senses behave in ways that predictably correspond to the world as it exists in our collective constructed reality? If not, then individuals and groups make choices that don't get them where they are trying to go.

Regarding how a psychologist can choose between the two ontological boxes, in the end, it comes down to pragmatism. What are the within-the-game consequences of one or the other - social, physical, emotional, etc.? Psychology is interested in understanding what is real as I've defined it because we have good reason to suspect that reality orientation relates to well-being.

Psychosis and religion, though they have very different causes, both throw people off in this regard. The reason I care about both is that they are most often harmful. The list that Hitchens recites to back up his refrain, "Religion ruins everything" is stunning, on a macro scale every bit as dark and twisted as the creations of a single psychotic mind.

whateverlolawants said...

At first I was disappointed by your dismissal of philosophy. The sort of philosophy to which I have been exposed is not really a masturbatory exercise. It is more practical and life-changing. (I suppose I'm referring more to ethical philosophy- concerning the reasons to donate to the poor or become vegetarian, for example.) However, I imagine that's not what you are referring to; I imagine that you're referring to Hume and his ilk, with their deep skepticism about the human ability to find truth. To them I say, who cares? I think we're probably on the same page with that. :)

Nice post!

Dave8 said...

Valerie,

Your post was simply brilliant, thanks for that clear and candid response. It really set my mind at ease.

Valerie: "Again, it's interesting, but his idealism in some ways seems unimportant, in that even if all we experience is reflections, the reflections behave in predictable ways, and the only world that ultimately has power over us (and we over it) is the world of reflections."

I totally agree. I am somewhat bitter at those institutions that seem to insinuate that the individual can not really "ever" gain control of their life - due to absolute "uncertainty". Uncertainty, leads one to accept the "unknowable" as a legitimate premise to best "understand" life.

What is proffered from one institution is the premise of God as the "unknowable", efficiently neutering any challenge that could ever be levied against a religious leader(s) (past and present). It opens the door(s) for revelation and charismatic persuasion to become tools of control.

What is proffered from another institution is the premise of intellectual uncertainty as well. This is achieved, by outright rejection of The Inside Game/Box. In terms of perpetuating endless research grants, this is lucrative; but such antics attack the truth of The Game... and as well, leave a child/student mentally neutered as well.

In either case, we have a perpetual mental masturbation going on. I have no problem with ambiguity, I live in it daily.

What I find troubling, is the notion that either institution fertilizes the ground for the Teflon dogmatist - dancing to the tune of "Can't Touch This" - ever - absolutely - as they proceed to proffer their absolutely authoritative position(s).

A "unified" reality, forces all mental experiences and connections that we are ever going to make to be absorbed in The Game - no matter where one may conjecture the origin of a connection.

Such a theory, prevents the "fictional" premise of non-existence, or multiple/hyper-existence(s) (dual realities, etc.), which can cause the insipid concept of mental paralysis by over and endless "analysis" - uncertainty.

By delimiting what is actually non-fictional, one becomes more cognitively able to focus their mind and find correspondence.

Valerie: "It is curious to me that we treat the writings of someone like Plato as if they should weighed and accepted or discarded as intact entities. Plato was a teacher, an iconoclast. I can't help but think he would find this approach disappointing."

I agree, the pre-Socratics and early philosophers were enamored with the concept of Universals, or those elements that were the "key" building blocks of the Universe. To understand those blocks, one could understand how to piece together and predict reality effortlessly.

Such thought, seeped into all Western Philosophy, hence, why there are more "nouns" in our language and a favor for reductionism - albeit, there has been an acknowledgement of this as a failed precept in the last century.

Plato may well have been disappointed that his theory of perfect forms in transcendence was molested by follow-on philosophers after his time - who stuck God in the transcendent mix. However, as you said, they were all influenced by their epochal zeitgeist...

Valerie: "Though personally brilliant, he was confined to the sorts of speculation allowed in his intellectual context which hadn't yet learned to fuse logic (even mathematical logic) with empiricism. But we, who are privileged to inherit his mental labor and that of thousands who came after, shouldn't we do better?"

The synthesis of information/knowledge does seem to be where we gain the clearest correspondence of our reality. Albeit, we are somewhat naturally compart-mentalized via our hard-wiring, there should be the collaborative efforts of many diverse minded people to bring together a more lucid understanding of The Game.

Mathematical logic to me is something of a developed cognitive tool, and is no less revisable than other knowledge, as we gain new insights of The Game. I hope that we can do better, despite how some academicians continue to "move the goalposts" by redefining what is real, existence, knowledge, etc.

Valerie: "Now that we have access to this fusion, we understand that in many ways he was right-- none of us can experience the world outside our bodies save as a series of electrical impulses inside our brains. And we now understand that when these electro-chemical processes go awry, they cease to correspond to a set of cause effect contingencies that we also experience through the same channels."

I think its natural we try to instinctively synthesize our knowledge such that we gain a lucid correspondence, but when we are given competing values, something gets repressed, and the result of synthesis at this point, renders an uncertain reality, that may "require" mystic explanations, as an only solution to cognitive dissonance.

Valerie: "This seems to me the relevant distinction. Do our thoughts/emotions and senses behave in ways that predictably correspond to the world as it exists in our collective constructed reality? If not, then individuals and groups make choices that don't get them where they are trying to go."

:-) And, if we are to achieve success, we have to be able to plan based on reliable and valid knowledge.

Valerie: "Regarding how a psychologist can choose between the two ontological boxes, in the end, it comes down to pragmatism. What are the within-the-game consequences of one or the other - social, physical, emotional, etc.? Psychology is interested in understanding what is real as I've defined it because we have good reason to suspect that reality orientation relates to well-being."

Well put.

Valerie: "Psychosis and religion, though they have very different causes, both throw people off in this regard. The reason I care about both is that they are most often harmful. The list that Hitchens recites to back up his refrain, "Religion ruins everything" is stunning, on a macro scale every bit as dark and twisted as the creations of a single psychotic mind."

I agree. Thanks so much for your insights. Best Regards. Dave8

jfraysse said...

Valerie: I like your approach. Empirical truth is just about all we can or should rely on. Laws, both scientific and social, help us correlate and interpret “truths” (facts really) and, by extension, allow us to predict a “future”. This permits us to plan and build and preemptively avoid calamity. While these prospects may seem diminutive to some, for me they are powerful and a reason for sustained optimism! Thanks for posting!

Dave8 said...

:-) Need to clarify previous post.

My concern is that in "any" endeavor, when someone "rejects" or creatively "manipulates" the facts of reality, no matter what their "intentions" (religion/research) - the results are empirically distorted, pragmatically sterile/ambiguous, and fodder for mental confusion.

I have a lot of respect for those who continue to pile research upon research together, in order to fuse/synthesize a non-conflicted panorama of Reality.

goprairie said...

My friend the fundamentalist tells me that God talks to him and gives him prophecy and when I complain that God sounds like him, a conservative male fundamentalist, and that God seems to be commenting a lot on politics, well, his next prophecy sound different. It is more reassuring and my friend talks upfront about the purpose of God's prophesy being to comfort us. Yet he is not williing to admit that he is making it all up in his mind and he does nto see that the change in direction was probably a subconcious admission that my critique was correct and an explanation for the change in God's 'words' to him. And when in a discussion, we prove something he says to be wrong using the laws of physics, he delves into some article on string theory about waves and claims that the article proves God exists and finds peices of Revelation that seemingly are consistent with the things in this wave theory. Yet, how could that wave God talk in human voices? Inconsistencies such as this do not bother him and because that sweet Bible is so full of vague and contradictory things, he can find a quote to support ANYTHING he wants to support and when I find a contradictory quote from it, he says I just don't understand what THAT one means and an using it out of context. He claims the greater hold on 'truth'. Why do I bother with him? He votes in my state, so I try to keep a handle on him and his kind because they are the ones that got a moment of silence into my kids' school day. A moment of silence that has nothing to do with education and everythiing to do with religion or spirituality however you cut it. No scientific evidence that such a moment of silence will help educate my kid, so why is it there? How many people had to suspend 'truth' to vote such a thing into law?

Valerie Tarico said...

Goprarie -
Kudos to you for maintaining the friendship. Even within the confines of fundamentalism, a softer more affirming voice is better than a strident one. It's better to have people putting God's name on their more noble impulses than on their tribalism or greed or power-thirst.

goprairie said...

oh, it's all very self-serving for me, for if god is really talking to him, and god modified his tone and content based on my critique of his prophecies, then i have influenced god!

Mandy said...

Dear Goprairie,

What you said in your first post is exactly how the bible was written.

These same people who came up with the words that later on became the book known as "The Bible" are the same ones who claim that they were inspired by God, and that God talks to them, when it is their own subconcious thinking about who and what God is supposed to be.

It's sad that there are still people who are alive today that are stupid enough to believe crap like that.

Christians are probably the most naive people who ever lived.

Dave8 said...

Valerie, just a little psyche humor...

Rita Mae Brown: "Normal is the average of deviance."

Psychologists seek to determine behavioral tendencies within a cultural framework, using tests; ANOVA, Chi-square, T-Test, etc. Who in the U.S. is responsible for creating/mandating cultural standards/values?