1/24/2010                                                                                       View Comments

Worshipping Convictions

By Carl S

A co-worker used to watch Saturday morning cartoons with his grandson, and would repeat some of the incidents on them to me. One of his favorites was of an older dog teaching a pup “dog traditions.” The adult dog says, “We fetch sticks, chase cats, and bury bones. I don’t know WHY we do it, but we do.” I think many believers are that way. For example, they keep praying as if prayers actually worked. Reminds me of that old joke about the man waving a blanket around on Times Square, to “Keep the elephants away.” When informed that there weren’t any elephants for hundreds of miles around, he said, “See, its working!” These things are funny and harmless, but how do people get into them in the first place?

The topic herein is addressed to not only those who are ex’es, but all humans visiting this site. (Churchgoers, does your pastor know you are here? Wouldn’t he tell you it’s a no—no? After all, one of the regular contributors here was carrying on a discussion with a believer on a Christian web site, and was censored out of it.) This is not about the Christian faith, nor Islam, or faiths per se. It is about something stronger, deeper, unmovable. This site exists, for one thing, because we have all “been there,” recognizing that we are up against what we cannot much affect, though it is not a mighty fortress, but a fabrication of the imagination, a very powerful fabrication.

In the realm of ideological thinking, especially from the pulpit, feeling and faith trump fact, and passion replaces fidelity to the empirical and painstaking logical demonstration. No, I am referring to something much greater, for which even now, humans are exploding themselves and other humans going about their everyday business. I am speaking of Absolute Convictions. The reason you can’t get through to a suicide bomber, Taliban fighter, cult member, Christian Righteous member, and other believers is because that believer is absolutely convinced with absolute conviction. No amount of logic, of pointing out the obvious, will move the believer. The person will say, quite casually, that he or she knows “in my heart,” as personal testimony, while at the same time listening only to those persons and information which reinforces those convictions. To be honest, I see it as not so much God, gods, or the supernatural which are worshipped, but their convictions.

How many find comfort, even joy, in their convictions, and camaraderie with their leaders and like-minded reinforcers? The convictions rejecting doubt by necessity, as if it were a blast—furnace one would be thrown into, or a near—miss automobile accident! What are the costs to keep doubt away, both to the individual and others? On the major level, the Holocaust, present day witch-killings of young children in Africa, the Inquisition, etc. On the personal level, I offer the example of a young woman whose husband I worked with, who died at 44 years-old of a heart attack. The woman phoned me to ask if her husband was in hell because he was not a church goer. Then there was the local Vietnam vet who was very agitated because he thought his pastor said that smoking is a sin.

How is it that intelligent, normal people, become convinced absolutely by a Pope, religious spokesman, a Jim Jones, Hitler, Bin Laden, Lenin, the Taliban, to the point that they will blow themselves up, slaughter Jews by the millions, torture and burn to death non—believers, and still consider themselves MORAL?

Who are the ”convincers,” and why? Their influence is their power, and why is it entrusted to them, except for the fact of believing in absolute certitudes? How is it that the members of every single religion know “in their heart” individually, with absolute conviction (including ancient, extinct religions) that they are in possession of the one TRUE one? (Maybe one reason lies in the hope that the opponents will get “what’s coming to them”, and that misery JUST HAS to be rewarded in some future life.)

Let us say that these charismatic “convincers” are so convincing because they actually believe what they are saying (Or give that appearance, but that’s another matter). They are calm, serene, at peace, offering assurances of a hidden possession of answers, wisdom, of being able to give “meaning” to their follower’s lives. They have the courage of their convictions, and articulate them with authority invested in them by their listeners. Theirs is a very appealing seduction. They entice the common and natural sympathy and empathy humans have for one another, their prejudices, fears, paranoia, towards those outside their power. Their influence is Alpha power, the power of a “superior” race, the bestowing of authority via conviction, of the secrets of life and death, to die for, to kill for.

Indoctrination has made them absolutely convinced; they themselves have been trained, and train, to interpret reality through a religious or political (or mixed) construct, with unquestioning loyalty. To merely question is in itself a betrayal of these absolute convictions, for to possess the “truth” is to be indifferent to truth itself. (What seems to be true, though, is that they who are absolutely convinced spend millions of dollars and hours in attempts to convince others!)

It is no wonder then, that such a simple thing as science should be an enemy to absolute conviction since, in nature, no such thing as absolute good and evil exists, including human nature, and the only truth is that which can be verified, no matter if it is comforting or disturbing. Has not the mere discovery of DNA convicted some of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, and on the other hand, freed others condemned to life prison terms, even execution? How many innocents were put there by eyewitnesses, convinced they did it?(Sorry, I digress.) Shouldn’t we be trusting those who are capable of admitting they may be mistaken, rather than those who say they cannot be? Should anyone be so absolutely certain to the extent of depriving others of civil rights and life itself?

We have all been victims due to our trusting too much, have all been scammed to some degree. (The divorce rate is sometimes an indicator.) Wouldn’t it be telling the truth to admit that those who “trust in God” really trust in their local or national spokesman for God? Those current spokesmen are their representatives in Iran, Bin Laden, the Dalai Lama, cult leaders, Mormon leaders, etc., etc. We like to think that others will learn by their mistakes, but find it’s impossible to convince those with absolute convictions otherwise, for we aren’t dealing with the Wright Brothers type convictions that a flying machine can succeed despite failures, but beliefs that such a machine can be constructed of bricks and still fly because some ”authority” tells us a higher power has said this is so, that nature lies because it is contrary to scriptures, no matter what one’s religion is.

Because this is the thinking site, any believer willing to make it this far must be furious. Good. Maybe something will get through, and I say this with hope for all of us. I have come here not to preach, but to open up this topic for discussion, since it is of such breadth and depth beyond what I have said. I conclude with the words of Professor Charles Johnson: “In the realm of ideological thinking, especially from the pulpit, feeling and faith trump fact, and passion (as well as beliefs based on scripture) replaces fidelity to the empirical and painstaking logical demonstration.”

45 comments:

webmdave said...

Re the reference to old dogs teaching younger ones the 'dog traditions', A friend told me a story about a neighbor's dog. The dog would 'fetch the stick' when thrown. When the dog got tired of the game, he would hide the stick, instead of returning it. (true story) In a cosmic sense, we ExChristians could be considered dogs who no longer want to play the game. :-)

webmdave said...

It's the classic "Certainty Principle." Anytime a believer tells you that they're NOT sheep, it IS rational and they really DID make up their own mind about the divinity of Christ, just ask what evidence would convince them otherwise. Naturally, they'll say "Nothing! my Lord reigns eternally in my heart!" or some such nonsense, at which time you can simply point out that open-minded and rationally-derived positions are ALWAYS - by definition - subject to upset by new evidence. Only subjective and baseless claims are invulnerable to reason and evidence.

webmdave said...

Carl said, "To be honest, I see it as not so much God, gods, or the supernatural which are worshipped, but their convictions."

Carl, you are certainly correct because there is no OBJECT to worship in God. The NAME "God" is as meaningless as "?" so exactly how would one worship this objectless God anyway? What must be actually worshiped might well be truly called "convictions" which obviously would vary from individual to individual.

The religious leaders (as well as some leaders of political ideologies) spin the story and spout the dogma, which are so called "truths" that demand no evidence but instead rest solely on the authority of the leader, tradition and the holy books. The present leader, the holy books, the community of like believers, the communal prayers, hypnotic repetitious singing, the "religion colored glasses" that are placed on the devotees' minds, and the hard lines drawn lines between the orthodox and the heretical sects and between the religion and those outside all like a web all combine to form the "conviction". It is an entire lifestyle and worldview view within an enclosed mental bubble.

Each post point in this “ conviction web” brings reinforcement to all the other post points and if one of the elements is challenged by logic, reason, experience which would result in doubt the other post points carry the weight so that “faith” remains in tact. It is no one thing but a combination of many things that knit together to form the "convictions". If someone escapes from this mental web it is because not just one or two but all of the key elements that hold it together have fallen in collapse in the face of fact, reason, logic, and experience.

Each element from the leader through the holy books along with the like faith community all resist fact and embrace faith. Faith does not transcend reason as they teach, rather it goes firmly in the opposite direction altogether. To embrace reason is the death of faith but to break the web of faith reason must destroy many key posts that hold the web together and that has been rare. It is my opinion that as “non-religious web” information is shared because of the Internet and the information age this conviction web is under attack as never before. Its leaders and its communities are feeling the threat today more than ever because they can no longer easily control the flow of the challenging “outside” information filtering into the minds of those under the spell inside of their web of “convictions”.

This opinion is expressed much better here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Evid3nc3#p/c/A0C3C1D163BE880A/6/qgLBLJE3P-c

webmdave said...

Thanks Carl S for this thoughtful article.

Perhaps those of us who become freethinkers tend to be more skeptical of those you refer to as "convincers" than the general population. Demanding proof of a potential leader's qualifications and soundness of concepts seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it seems most would rather follow a charismatic personality than think for themselves, despite the numerous warnings from history.

The fact that we analytical folks make up a minority is sad indeed. Reality comes with no fanfare or false promises, thus is unappealing to most. We need a conciousness shift in the worst way if we wish avoid the attrocities of the past.

webmdave said...

Carl, as Prof. Johnson said, "In the realm of ideological thinking, especially from the pulpit, feeling and faith trump fact..." and all the rest is commentary. Great quotation.

webmdave said...

My old dog got tired of playing fetch the stick once, but kept going after it because it was being thrown by my foster grandson, and he would do anything for the boy. But finally he had had enough, and fetched it back to the boy--just out of his reach--and then peed on the stick and went into the shade to lie down.

I don't believe you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

I would hope that some christians would read this post, pee on religion, and walk away.

webmdave said...

But, would they understand that? Sounds like blasphemy.

webmdave said...

So, tell how this dog thing doesn't apply to all of life. Humans go along doing what everyone else does, and has done, not too many question the why of anything. Why we allow advertising to rule our lives, why we can't be acceptable unless we have plastic boobs, why we need a large house and car to prove we are worth something. Its not just about faith systems, its about EVERYTHING we are as humans.

Why is it okay to teach our kids to lie to themselves and others practically from birth? Why is it okay to be a heartless asshole because other people are? Why is it okay to be ego driven even when it causes so many problems in our relationships.

As far as i can tell we will never be much of a success in any arena until we learn to peel off the layers of the onion and get to the actual truth of every matter in the same way it is suggested christianity should be questioned. Why stop with belief systems? So many assumptions rule our lives every day and we just roll with them because the media or the man down the street tells us so.

Think people. It doesn't hurt. Well only for a short time until you get good at it.

webmdave said...

Ah well,

Maybe we don't all do the things you suggest we do.

I raised my kids to care about others, take their turn, do their own work, etc. None of us has had plastic surgery or wanted it. I don't even wear make up. We wear clothes and shoes that we are comfortable wearing and that are practical for what we are doing. We do all have adequate homes and cars that will get us where we are going. We just never have felt the need to be phony.

We all got good educations-paid for by the previous generation (my kids will pass it on to their kids rather than paying it back.) We have never been into TV, and so missed out on all the ads.

I really think the people you are describing are not the people on this site.

webmdave said...

Do you think it is an IQ thing or what? Why do some find their way out of the labyrinth and others wander forever?

webmdave said...

That's great, Lisa.More proof that some dogs are at LEAST as intelligent as some people. Hell, we have enough 'stand-up comedy material' here to fill in on a Jeff Foxworthy stint.

webmdave said...

Great read Carl I enjoyed it alot.
I like how you refer to the website as a thinking site. It really is. Anything that induces a little critical thinking is important.

I just read an article in the National Post and the headline is
Taliban may be descended from Jews.
Geneticist studies link between Pashtuns and Israeli tribes.

Now how mind boggling would it be after genetic testing it turns out the Taliban are one of the 10 "Lost tribes of Isreal"?
Wouldn't surprise me one bit because they sort of behave what I'd imagine Moses would have acted like, destroying historical artifacts and art and not to mention the foul treatment of women. Wow! I THINK if there was a medal for somebody that takes the OT the most seriously here on earth then Osama and company take the cake!
But wait?
Isn't jesus the king of JEWS? Hold on a second.
This makes me think....REALLY think! I'm thinking so hard that I'm so confused. (and thankful for this website)
If these people are descendents of Jews why don't we, instead of waging an ongoing war against them like the russians already did. Simply just give them safe passage on over to Isreal so they can reconnect with their jewish ROOTS.
Maybe they would be happier living in a ghetto walled city instead of holed up in a dirty cave smoking the finest kush strain of cannabis from the hindu range and sharing pipeloads with their hero Osama?
(THINKING with BONG BUBBLING)
On second thought they'd would probably prefer the caves....you could put up like...cool rugs and stuff and beads man, lots of beads.

So I sit up here in Canada, a country who even has god in its national anthem and freedom to practice any faith safely and who sends her own flesh over to get killed to stop these evil talibans, who may be descendents from the people who brought us the greatest story ever told?
PPppppffffffttttt!!!!
I THINK religion doesn't make sense, it doesnt make sense because it is bogus and it doesn't make sense because we keep on killing eachother over what essentially is the same old bullshit.
Someone suggested that I take a course on religious history if I want to be so vocal about it....
BUT I THINK if millions of uneducated/educated people can base their own faith by THINKING there is a god and THINKING they are a christian all without going to college, Then I can warmly form my OWN thoughts about the absurdity of religion based on the things I see and read in the world around me and I can do that all without having to study a course on religion.
And in very truth I tell you(sorry bad joke I know)
I THINK having an evangical parent(s) for social observation is study enough.
Yes I THINK I can and will form my own opinion on religion because I THINK I can read between the lines and the thick cloud of pot smoke (purple kush if you must know) glowing in front of my computer screen.

If 1 in 12 kids can leave their parents faith (as mentioned in Richard Dawkins The god delusion) , then brother I think I am proud to say I survived the trench warfare of the childhood indoctrination of my mind.
At least temporarily anyway.

Now its time to dust myself off and pick up the pieces of my fractured mind and run full tilt into the middle of the battlefield of militant atheism.
Even if my thinking is skewered and not 100% right. If each one of us can get one person thinking or laughing at their beliefs it's a battle worth fighting. (ahem unlike prohibition)

Here I am now, in the midst of battle as I type.
Whats a matter you can't see me??
Here let us draw a nice big red target on my forehead cuz that's where they are gonna have to but the bullet to stop the way I THINK.

webmdave said...

whoa!
sorry I didnt mean to go on such a huge long rant but gawdf*&ING DAMMIT that felt good.
This website is heaven

webmdave said...

Thanks for the good analysis of conviction. It holds plenty of merit.

I find it ironic, though, that you include the Dalai Lama in the same category as Bin Laden, Mormon leaders, etc. He is a very scientifically minded man who claims no specialness as he repeatedly says he is only a monk. The Dalai Lama insists that blind faith is unwise and that anyone who wants to follow the Buddhist path should examine it carefully. In fact, it is traditional that a student should examine any potential Buddhist teacher for a period of at least 12-years. A more prominant advocate of thoughtful skepticism is not likely to be found among world thinkers.

Just this month the Dalai Lama said that he doesn't think that Buddhism is the best path for everyone. He certainly is not in favor of proselytizing. The only cause he advocates is that of the creation of a zone of autonomous governance witht the Peoples' Republic of China. He's a very successful advocate of that cause by enlisting celebrities and people from many walks of life to that effort.

swabby

webmdave said...

True, the Dalai Lama is no Bin laden, but he was raised in a theocracy and it is my understanding that, if Tibet were to gain independence, then he would be ruler of a theocracy. Religious leaders give me the creeps. All of them.

webmdave said...

Personally, not sure. I know of some very intelligent people that are very religious. I think it may be a fear thing or maybe they prefer the company of the group in which they have grown up. For me it was the disconnect between the encouragement/challenge to test/pursue/ensure the “truth” in all matters in life but when it came to religion that encouragement/challenge to test/pursue/ensure the “truth” was never present! It was more of an unspoken “don’t ask questions” environment. (In fact, questions resulting from same were met with no response. Quite revealing if you ask me!) It left me to wonder why. Can’t your message stand up to the slightest scrutiny? Even from the standpoint of fairness…why subject one/all other area(s) of life to scrutiny but not religion? It seems the same people that were responsible for my religious indoctrination were at the same time unwittingly responsible for arming me with the questioning “tool” to unwind/quit believing in bible god. My free comments…and worth every penny.

webmdave said...

My dad was a very intelligent person. A pharmacist. Read anything he could get his hands on. Very into science and history. But, also very committed to his church.

I think if he were born a generation later, he would have gotten free of it much sooner than he did (right before he died). I think it was his whole environment, family, upbringing, town, and era that kept him in the church. I think he was a doubter for a long time, but he was also a business owner and family man in a small religious town. Who would he have talked to about it?

webmdave said...

I am sorry for your loss of your father. My heart goes out to those in such a position...then (generations/centuries past) and now. As someone in this article/thread and/or other places said, I think the information age/internet could very well spell the downfall of organized religion. Certainly its next morphed incarnation. I am kind of anxiously awaiting to see what organized dogma will morph into next. Even now I cannot see it as anything more than a social club.

webmdave said...

"The fact that we analytical folks make up a minority is sad indeed."

Growing up, I used to feel so alone and isolated because I dared think about the deeper things/implications of/in life. I cannot count how many times I wondered if my mindset or me as a person were normal or, rather, abnormal. I could never understand how I could be instructed to seek the truth (in a religious context) and yet everyone in my world just went about their daily lives as if seeking the truth didn't really matter.

webmdave said...

Thank you. Yeah, it was tough for me to get out of religion. I did it all by myself, talking to no one, reading no books (they weren't available 30 years ago), and it was a scary, lonely process. I am very glad to have the Internet now to confirm all those conclusions I came to on my own--to know that there are many others who think it's all a crock. I do have hope for the youngest generations.

webmdave said...

"and all the rest is commentary"

Perhaps somewhat similar, IMO, EVERYTHING boils down to money and power. ALL ELSE, including religion, is just entertainment.

webmdave said...

As my Grandma would say: Ein Gut Frage. (Good Question)

webmdave said...

I don't think it's an IQ thing. I have a niece with an IQ of 165 who is a real Xianut-Catholic variety.

webmdave said...

As my Grandma would say: Ein Gut Frage. (Good Question)

webmdave said...

"and all the rest is commentary"

Perhaps somewhat similar, IMO, EVERYTHING boils down to money and power. ALL ELSE, including religion, is just entertainment.

webmdave said...

Thank you. Yeah, it was tough for me to get out of religion. I did it all by myself, talking to no one, reading no books (they weren't available 30 years ago), and it was a scary, lonely process. I am very glad to have the Internet now to confirm all those conclusions I came to on my own--to know that there are many others who think it's all a crock. I do have hope for the youngest generations.

webmdave said...

"The fact that we analytical folks make up a minority is sad indeed."

Growing up, I used to feel so alone and isolated because I dared think about the deeper things/implications of/in life. I cannot count how many times I wondered if my mindset or me as a person were normal or, rather, abnormal. I could never understand how I could be instructed to seek the truth (in a religious context) and yet everyone in my world just went about their daily lives as if seeking the truth didn't really matter.

webmdave said...

I am sorry for your loss of your father. My heart goes out to those in such a position...then (generations/centuries past) and now. As someone in this article/thread and/or other places said, I think the information age/internet could very well spell the downfall of organized religion. Certainly its next morphed incarnation. I am kind of anxiously awaiting to see what organized dogma will morph into next. Even now I cannot see it as anything more than a social club.

webmdave said...

My dad was a very intelligent person. A pharmacist. Read anything he could get his hands on. Very into science and history. But, also very committed to his church.

I think if he were born a generation later, he would have gotten free of it much sooner than he did (right before he died). I think it was his whole environment, family, upbringing, town, and era that kept him in the church. I think he was a doubter for a long time, but he was also a business owner and family man in a small religious town. Who would he have talked to about it?

webmdave said...

Personally, not sure. I know of some very intelligent people that are very religious. I think it may be a fear thing or maybe they prefer the company of the group in which they have grown up. For me it was the disconnect between the encouragement/challenge to test/pursue/ensure the “truth” in all matters in life but when it came to religion that encouragement/challenge to test/pursue/ensure the “truth” was never present! It was more of an unspoken “don’t ask questions” environment. (In fact, questions resulting from same were met with no response. Quite revealing if you ask me!) It left me to wonder why. Can’t your message stand up to the slightest scrutiny? Even from the standpoint of fairness…why subject one/all other area(s) of life to scrutiny but not religion? It seems the same people that were responsible for my religious indoctrination were at the same time unwittingly responsible for arming me with the questioning “tool” to unwind/quit believing in bible god. My free comments…and worth every penny.

webmdave said...

True, the Dalai Lama is no Bin laden, but he was raised in a theocracy and it is my understanding that, if Tibet were to gain independence, then he would be ruler of a theocracy. Religious leaders give me the creeps. All of them.

webmdave said...

Thanks for the good analysis of conviction. It holds plenty of merit.

I find it ironic, though, that you include the Dalai Lama in the same category as Bin Laden, Mormon leaders, etc. He is a very scientifically minded man who claims no specialness as he repeatedly says he is only a monk. The Dalai Lama insists that blind faith is unwise and that anyone who wants to follow the Buddhist path should examine it carefully. In fact, it is traditional that a student should examine any potential Buddhist teacher for a period of at least 12-years. A more prominant advocate of thoughtful skepticism is not likely to be found among world thinkers.

Just this month the Dalai Lama said that he doesn't think that Buddhism is the best path for everyone. He certainly is not in favor of proselytizing. The only cause he advocates is that of the creation of a zone of autonomous governance witht the Peoples' Republic of China. He's a very successful advocate of that cause by enlisting celebrities and people from many walks of life to that effort.

swabby

webmdave said...

whoa!
sorry I didnt mean to go on such a huge long rant but gawdf*&ING DAMMIT that felt good.
This website is heaven

webmdave said...

Great read Carl I enjoyed it alot.
I like how you refer to the website as a thinking site. It really is. Anything that induces a little critical thinking is important.

I just read an article in the National Post and the headline is
Taliban may be descended from Jews.
Geneticist studies link between Pashtuns and Israeli tribes.

Now how mind boggling would it be after genetic testing it turns out the Taliban are one of the 10 "Lost tribes of Isreal"?
Wouldn't surprise me one bit because they sort of behave what I'd imagine Moses would have acted like, destroying historical artifacts and art and not to mention the foul treatment of women. Wow! I THINK if there was a medal for somebody that takes the OT the most seriously here on earth then Osama and company take the cake!
But wait?
Isn't jesus the king of JEWS? Hold on a second.
This makes me think....REALLY think! I'm thinking so hard that I'm so confused. (and thankful for this website)
If these people are descendents of Jews why don't we, instead of waging an ongoing war against them like the russians already did. Simply just give them safe passage on over to Isreal so they can reconnect with their jewish ROOTS.
Maybe they would be happier living in a ghetto walled city instead of holed up in a dirty cave smoking the finest kush strain of cannabis from the hindu range and sharing pipeloads with their hero Osama?
(THINKING with BONG BUBBLING)
On second thought they'd would probably prefer the caves....you could put up like...cool rugs and stuff and beads man, lots of beads.

So I sit up here in Canada, a country who even has god in its national anthem and freedom to practice any faith safely and who sends her own flesh over to get killed to stop these evil talibans, who may be descendents from the people who brought us the greatest story ever told?
PPppppffffffttttt!!!!
I THINK religion doesn't make sense, it doesnt make sense because it is bogus and it doesn't make sense because we keep on killing eachother over what essentially is the same old bullshit.
Someone suggested that I take a course on religious history if I want to be so vocal about it....
BUT I THINK if millions of uneducated/educated people can base their own faith by THINKING there is a god and THINKING they are a christian all without going to college, Then I can warmly form my OWN thoughts about the absurdity of religion based on the things I see and read in the world around me and I can do that all without having to study a course on religion.
And in very truth I tell you(sorry bad joke I know)
I THINK having an evangical parent(s) for social observation is study enough.
Yes I THINK I can and will form my own opinion on religion because I THINK I can read between the lines and the thick cloud of pot smoke (purple kush if you must know) glowing in front of my computer screen.

If 1 in 12 kids can leave their parents faith (as mentioned in Richard Dawkins The god delusion) , then brother I think I am proud to say I survived the trench warfare of the childhood indoctrination of my mind.
At least temporarily anyway.

Now its time to dust myself off and pick up the pieces of my fractured mind and run full tilt into the middle of the battlefield of militant atheism.
Even if my thinking is skewered and not 100% right. If each one of us can get one person thinking or laughing at their beliefs it's a battle worth fighting. (ahem unlike prohibition)

Here I am now, in the midst of battle as I type.
Whats a matter you can't see me??
Here let us draw a nice big red target on my forehead cuz that's where they are gonna have to but the bullet to stop the way I THINK.

webmdave said...

That's great, Lisa.More proof that some dogs are at LEAST as intelligent as some people. Hell, we have enough 'stand-up comedy material' here to fill in on a Jeff Foxworthy stint.

webmdave said...

Do you think it is an IQ thing or what? Why do some find their way out of the labyrinth and others wander forever?

webmdave said...

My old dog got tired of playing fetch the stick once, but kept going after it because it was being thrown by my foster grandson, and he would do anything for the boy. But finally he had had enough, and fetched it back to the boy--just out of his reach--and then peed on the stick and went into the shade to lie down.

I don't believe you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

I would hope that some christians would read this post, pee on religion, and walk away.

webmdave said...

Ah well,

Maybe we don't all do the things you suggest we do.

I raised my kids to care about others, take their turn, do their own work, etc. None of us has had plastic surgery or wanted it. I don't even wear make up. We wear clothes and shoes that we are comfortable wearing and that are practical for what we are doing. We do all have adequate homes and cars that will get us where we are going. We just never have felt the need to be phony.

We all got good educations-paid for by the previous generation (my kids will pass it on to their kids rather than paying it back.) We have never been into TV, and so missed out on all the ads.

I really think the people you are describing are not the people on this site.

webmdave said...

So, tell how this dog thing doesn't apply to all of life. Humans go along doing what everyone else does, and has done, not too many question the why of anything. Why we allow advertising to rule our lives, why we can't be acceptable unless we have plastic boobs, why we need a large house and car to prove we are worth something. Its not just about faith systems, its about EVERYTHING we are as humans.

Why is it okay to teach our kids to lie to themselves and others practically from birth? Why is it okay to be a heartless asshole because other people are? Why is it okay to be ego driven even when it causes so many problems in our relationships.

As far as i can tell we will never be much of a success in any arena until we learn to peel off the layers of the onion and get to the actual truth of every matter in the same way it is suggested christianity should be questioned. Why stop with belief systems? So many assumptions rule our lives every day and we just roll with them because the media or the man down the street tells us so.

Think people. It doesn't hurt. Well only for a short time until you get good at it.

webmdave said...

But, would they understand that? Sounds like blasphemy.

webmdave said...

Carl, as Prof. Johnson said, "In the realm of ideological thinking, especially from the pulpit, feeling and faith trump fact..." and all the rest is commentary. Great quotation.

webmdave said...

Thanks Carl S for this thoughtful article.

Perhaps those of us who become freethinkers tend to be more skeptical of those you refer to as "convincers" than the general population. Demanding proof of a potential leader's qualifications and soundness of concepts seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it seems most would rather follow a charismatic personality than think for themselves, despite the numerous warnings from history.

The fact that we analytical folks make up a minority is sad indeed. Reality comes with no fanfare or false promises, thus is unappealing to most. We need a conciousness shift in the worst way if we wish avoid the attrocities of the past.

webmdave said...

Carl said, "To be honest, I see it as not so much God, gods, or the supernatural which are worshipped, but their convictions."

Carl, you are certainly correct because there is no OBJECT to worship in God. The NAME "God" is as meaningless as "?" so exactly how would one worship this objectless God anyway? What must be actually worshiped might well be truly called "convictions" which obviously would vary from individual to individual.

The religious leaders (as well as some leaders of political ideologies) spin the story and spout the dogma, which are so called "truths" that demand no evidence but instead rest solely on the authority of the leader, tradition and the holy books. The present leader, the holy books, the community of like believers, the communal prayers, hypnotic repetitious singing, the "religion colored glasses" that are placed on the devotees' minds, and the hard lines drawn lines between the orthodox and the heretical sects and between the religion and those outside all like a web all combine to form the "conviction". It is an entire lifestyle and worldview view within an enclosed mental bubble.

Each post point in this “ conviction web” brings reinforcement to all the other post points and if one of the elements is challenged by logic, reason, experience which would result in doubt the other post points carry the weight so that “faith” remains in tact. It is no one thing but a combination of many things that knit together to form the "convictions". If someone escapes from this mental web it is because not just one or two but all of the key elements that hold it together have fallen in collapse in the face of fact, reason, logic, and experience.

Each element from the leader through the holy books along with the like faith community all resist fact and embrace faith. Faith does not transcend reason as they teach, rather it goes firmly in the opposite direction altogether. To embrace reason is the death of faith but to break the web of faith reason must destroy many key posts that hold the web together and that has been rare. It is my opinion that as “non-religious web” information is shared because of the Internet and the information age this conviction web is under attack as never before. Its leaders and its communities are feeling the threat today more than ever because they can no longer easily control the flow of the challenging “outside” information filtering into the minds of those under the spell inside of their web of “convictions”.

This opinion is expressed much better here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Evid3nc3#p/c/A0C3C1D163BE880A/6/qgLBLJE3P-c

webmdave said...

It's the classic "Certainty Principle." Anytime a believer tells you that they're NOT sheep, it IS rational and they really DID make up their own mind about the divinity of Christ, just ask what evidence would convince them otherwise. Naturally, they'll say "Nothing! my Lord reigns eternally in my heart!" or some such nonsense, at which time you can simply point out that open-minded and rationally-derived positions are ALWAYS - by definition - subject to upset by new evidence. Only subjective and baseless claims are invulnerable to reason and evidence.

webmdave said...

Re the reference to old dogs teaching younger ones the 'dog traditions', A friend told me a story about a neighbor's dog. The dog would 'fetch the stick' when thrown. When the dog got tired of the game, he would hide the stick, instead of returning it. (true story) In a cosmic sense, we ExChristians could be considered dogs who no longer want to play the game. :-)