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What's Your Philosophy? > My Understanding of God

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message 1: by Sophia (last edited Mar 04, 2008 11:10PM) (new)

Sophia (PheePhyPhoPhum) | 176 comments Mod
OK, I don't have a religion, nor do I care to have one. But I do believe that a "god" exists... No, not the invisible man in the sky like George Carlin jests of, but a force or energy that did create our universe and everything in it.

My biggest qualm with polytheistic (catholic, lol) or philosophical religions is that they seem to either have loose definitions for their own gods and beliefs or they seem to make up saviors, scriptures and dogmas for questions they just don't know the answers to, yet. It's the same with religions like Christianity, and such, because when any of the religions finally get the real answers they were looking for, they stay so wrapped up in their fairy tales that they miss out on real truth. Another thing I don't get about monotheistic religions is why they act like they believe in one all powerful being when, without even looking at the trinity, they have this constant duality between good and evil (god v. devil). In actuality, good and evil are simply two sides of the exact same coin. God as I see it, would be the coin, not heads or tails u know? In fact, it wouldn't even be the coin, but the entity that conceptualized a coin and from this idea, the creative process for actually bringing that coin into existence was started.

After reading a lot and thinking about it a lot, it just makes sense to me that we are (for lack of a better word) the thought or vision of some inexplicable entity. OK, hear me out, lol...

What are our universe's two trademarks? Time and Change, right? Everything is cycling, ebbing, flowing, moving, growing, dying, and looking at science and physics, we all know that energy can't be destroyed or created, only transmuted. But that means then that energy has been around forever and will be around forever because nothing could have created or destroyed it, So how can this be true when we live in a world that consists of beginnings and endings by the very nature of the beast?

So here's how I figure....the only way to create something that you have nothing and everything to do with is to visualize it. Picture a flower in your mind. You've just created something without using any materials, energy, or anything save for a very low level of brain function and nerve electricity. You can visualize a big sequoia and still only fire the same observable areas without emitting more energy.

OK, so expand that concept by about infinity and it's plausible that there is a being not of time or change that could visualize our universe, which is malleable. That way, it's perfection is not sacrificed, but the finite amount of energy that our world operates on is allowed to have it's creation.

Is that weird?

Well, looking at it that way, I can honestly see the whole "God is perfect and timeless" and the "we are made in his image" arguments work more effectively, because we are here, we do exist as far as we can tell, and we do have a mind to formulate thoughts. As it stands, nothing perfect or outside of the realm of time is even within our minuscule threshold of understanding anyway, so therefore not only should we not ponder and guess and classify what god is, we should do more to study and research the world around us and the laws of the universe that can be known to us.


I think the difference between me and a religious person, though, is that I encourage myself to challenge this idea every day, I don't go looking for a doctrine that fits this. So far, this is what all scientific evidence, history (this is mostly a derivative of Egyptian and Hermetic concepts), and common sense leads me to believe and if some alternative piece of evidence is presented, I'll gladly research it, absorb it, see how it fits my current mental map, and change it accordingly. The only thing is, everything I read and study and am told to look at actually reinforces my belief so much more. Atheism does, Science does, Even the bible, lol.

So what is my overall belief?

Don't worry about what god is because even if you could know, your brain would explode. Deal with the life that you're given by trying to be as good as possible (light outshines the dark, always....you don't go in a room and turn on a 'dark' switch) to yourself, one another, and your home.

What do you think about this?

What do you believe, or disbelieve, and why?


message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) I sort of agree with you, on some points. But the concept of spirituality is a complicated one. I am a big believer in balance in the universe--yin and yang, to give a concrete example (though I don't think of it as such, but that's the most concrete illustrative point I can come up with to relay what I'm thinking).

The thing that makes me upset about organized religion is that I see so many folks using it as a scapegoat for their behavior. For example: I work with a woman who is EXTREMELY religious. Southern Baptist or something. But any and every conversation you have with her will eventually end with her thanking the Lord for being so blessed. And then I walk away. Now, this very same woman is the one who constantly steals shit from the office. Disposable plates and cups from the kitchen, boxes of pens and pencils from the supply closet, boxes of ibuprofen from the medicine cabinet. But in her mind, it's ok because she's taking this crap to church. WHAT???? Stealing is stealing! And good grief, I hate my job, but at least they do let us do personal things at work--copying, using a box of paperclips here and there. But this Jesus Freak steals hundreds of dollars worth of crap. Crazy.

Ok, now I forget where I was going with this--see what ranting will do for ya?!?!?! :)


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) PS, Sophia, you should post this on Athiests & Skeptics...


message 4: by Sophia (last edited Mar 05, 2008 09:12AM) (new)

Sophia (PheePhyPhoPhum) | 176 comments Mod
LOL, That is hilarious and absolutely true, I hate when people set up a double standard for their actions...did you see the "Does God Exist?" Debate? If not check it out here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc...
Part 2 is here:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc...

It is amazing!!! I was so proud, lol. I don't care who you are, you can see the Christian guy totally lies up there. I mean BOLD faced. The whole premise was to prove God's existence, by his OWN criteria, without using the bible, but he jumps right into it with both feet. Incredible!

OMG, Please watch these (at least part 1) when you get time and let me know what you guys think! I'll post a note on the media area too.


message 5: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) I'll definitely have to check it out. Maybe when I'm not at work! No time now. Bummer.

Speaking of, have any of you all seen "For the Bible Tells Me So" It's is sooo touching.


message 6: by Molly (new)

Molly (MollyHell) I don't know quite what you mean about polytheistic religions having loose definitions, Sophia. In my experience polytheistic religions have pretty firm definitions of what gods do and what they are in charge of. Could you give me an example?


message 7: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) To expand upon Sophie’s self described “weird” concept I offer this – nothing in the world touches anything. NOTHING.

Think on it and you’ll come to the same conclusion because it is absolutely proven, testable and even reasonable. Find a pen on your desk and pick it up. You’re touching it, right? Wrong! The outer most electrons of the atoms that comprise your skin are repelling the outmost electrons of the atoms that comprise the pen. The electrons never come into contact, the cells never touch. But you can feel it, right? That’s because the skin cells and their atoms are being pressed on by the nuclear force between the like-charged electrons.

In fact, nothing in this world is even solid. Picture a stone and realize that it is mostly empty space; it only appears solid because YOU are solid. If you were an electron you’d zip right through that stone without a thought or care.

Kant was correct that the main problem in understanding reality is perspective. Sure, it will always limit us, but equally sure that we can IMAGINE and empathize with what other creatures see as reality. Water, for example, is only the water we know and love to us, as humans. To an insect it is far more solid (because of its tensile strength and their light weight) and to bacteria it is chunky and almost sand-like.

I believe that questing for God is like driving up the road with no directions and knowing that wherever you get, that’s where God is. If you get to an outhouse (Christianity) then you’ve found god! If you arrive at a mansion (Buddhism) here is where god is!

Me? I’m driving and knowing that I’ll never get to my destination…but at least I’m further up the road than those freaks! LOL!



message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) Ah-ha. All about perspective. good call.


message 9: by Molly (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Actually things touch each other all the time, or we wouldn't be alive. If photons didn't touch the photosensors in chloroplasts, we couldn't live.

:)


message 10: by Sophia (last edited Mar 06, 2008 12:37AM) (new)

Sophia (PheePhyPhoPhum) | 176 comments Mod
Hey ya'll.

Thanks Amanda, I'll do that, but I'm claiming you made me do it, lol.

Molly, I was just babbling too fast. I had Catholicism in my head when I was writing that. My apologies for chunking the Buddhists and stuff in there. But by loose definition I mean more like there's no 'Why?' to their 'What?'.

They have a clarification for who is watching over or responsible for what, but it's as if someone said....'salesmen, who will watch over the salesmen?' And they come up with an answer. 'What about people who've been kidnapped?' It's just silly. Next thing you know, they're going to have a patron saint for paratroopers.

oh wait....

http://www.luckymojo.com/patronsaints...

I don't like it because there is such a lack of personal accountability because no matter what you do, there's someone or something co-signing. Or you can say a few Hail Mary's and it's all good.

Even in Christianity you can do ANYTHING except denounce Jesus, and all of your sins can just be prayed away. So all in all, I was speaking kind of hastily there, and I'm sorry. But the real reason I wanted to write this was not to harp on all of the things that I don't believe or agree with, because there's just not enough time in the world. I'm hoping that this opens a discussion for what does make sense from your perspective, and how we're all more similar than different really.

That's too cool Rob! You kinda summed up my entire post there, lol. You said it so nicely...we can't even fathom the destination, so stop wasting time and energy at these pit stops when life is all about the drive.

About the atom thing, what's funny is...I'm sure we were pleased when we realized that our nerves didn't touch, but shot electrical signals to each other. Then the more we looked, we discovered neurotransitters, or the chemicals that actually facilitated this. So while we may think nothing touches, we may find something later that explains just what the "space" between us all is. Some call it 'ether', I think? Do you guys know anything abou ether? But no matter what, like you said...it all goes back to perception. What is your definition of "touching"? and sure, the atom nucleus causes a field that makes the electrons spin around it, but just because we don't have a name for the medium the electrons are spinning through, doesn't mean there isn't one, right? :-) lol

Molly, correct me if I'm wrong, beacuse as far as I know, photons are 'packets' of light, right? Light behaves like particles sometimes, but what's actually hitting the photosensors is a wavelength of light energy. But clarify, please....it's been a while since I was in a science class, lol.

But no matter what, everything certainly is about perspective, and this was just my humble interjection to that regard. What about you all? Do you understand what I meant? Does it make sense scientifically? How does this conflict or support anyone's current beliefs or dis-beliefs?




message 11: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Molly in message 9,

Then we need to define the word "touch" because, as I understand it, touching is being physically connected and that is not compatible with my understanding of the atom. Once two atoms come close to one another their respective electron clouds begin to repel one another, thus, the atoms do not touch (come into physical contact).


message 12: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Sophie in Message 10:
Ya know I've heard of Ether before but it's been so long!

Dark Matter seems to be a good anaology for Ether:
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics...

Essetially Dark Matter is known to exist (based on our understanding of the amount of matter that should be in our universe) but no one knows where it actually is.

To quote:
For those who distrust the conventional Big Bang models, and don't want to rely upon fancy cosmology to derive the presence of dark matter, there are other more direct means. It has been observed in clusters of galaxies that the motion of galaxies within a cluster suggests that they are bound by a total gravitational force due to about 5-10 times as much matter as can be accounted for from luminous matter in said galaxies. And within an individual galaxy, you can measure the rate of rotation of the stars about the galactic center of rotation. The resultant "rotation curve" is simply related to the distribution of matter in the galaxy. The outer stars in galaxies seem to rotate too fast for the amount of matter that we see in the galaxy. Again, we need about 5 times more matter than we can see via electromagnetic radiation. These results can be explained by assuming that there is a "dark matter halo" surrounding every galaxy.

Has anyone else noticed an odd congruity in the universe? It seems like Atoms act a lot like solar systems and in a way, cells seem to act like atoms and galaxies. If this concept of dark matter existing at the edge of each galaxy fleshes out, then dark matter is a sort of "cell wall" so to speak. Just a thought!

Sophie:
So here's how I figure....the only way to create something that you have nothing and everything to do with is to visualize it. Picture a flower in your mind. You've just created something without using any materials, energy, or anything save for a very low level of brain function and nerve electricity.


Have you created something someone else can see? And, if all the energy is taken out of your brain, does the flower persist? I'd challenge back on those points. If energy cannot be created or destroyed, anything that is created comes from the pool of available energy and (and this is cool) prevents that energy from being used to create anything else (this phenomenon is known as oppurtunity cost).

So I visualize a flower and some things happen: electric current is converted into synaptic energy and some group of synapses is twisted in such a way that the visual portion of my neo-cortex sees a flower. Is that really creating something? And, and I think this is more pertinent, is that creation in anyone else's reality?

In a way yes (I can talk about it) and in a way no (they can't "see" the flower, only I can).

There's a theory out there that does postulate what you're saying, but I think it requires a three dimensional universe and string theory seems to indicate that we don't live in a three dimensional universe.

But, that's a whole different tangent.

Sorry if I just rambled!


message 13: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Amanda in message 2:
It's sad that organized religion doesn't seem to impart true decency to its members. If it did, this woman would have a serious conflict of interest and the cognitive dissonance would wake her from her trance to either A)renounce her faith or B)reform her actions. This is why I love science so much: its darwinism on ideas and behaviors.

If I were to enocounter a person like that I would love to know how the pastor/deacon/biship/head mumbo jumbo guy felt about the church receiving stolen property. Not in a "get people in trouble" kind of way, but just the behavior. I'd want to know how he felt about a sheep stealing on his church's behalf and, more importantly, what he thought he was morally obligated to do in response.


message 14: by Molly (last edited Mar 06, 2008 12:33PM) (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Sophia, you are right in that Catholicism is the MOST polytheistic religion ever for a supposed monotheistic one!! ROFL! It's because they realize they have to keep the controlled masses happy so they won't go off to another religion that helps them cope with their emotional needs better, so they couch what is actually minor gods or spirits as "saints". It's silly, but hey, gotta keep them on the farm somehow.


Rob, we can define touch as come into contact with, which is in most dictionary definitions. Atoms, molecules, and such most assuredly come into contact with each other, and touch each other, or life would be impossible. If you want to get psuedo-philosophical about it, then they touch sometimes using magnetic forces. Which is still coming into contact with, and touching.

Photons, which, yes, Sophia, are wavicles that are carriers of electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths, some of which we see as light, do, yes, actually touch photoreceptors on chloroplasts. The energy they impart is what sends electrons down the Electron Transport Chain, which is how we make ATP, which is the major molecule the body uses for energy, to do work. If this did not happen there would be no life on earth, or it would be very, very different. Some scientists claim cave dwelling ecosystems are not light-dependent, others disagree.

Anyway Rob to get back to your idea, you truly are touching things. yes, there is microscopic space between everything but what matters is not that, but the aggregate of matter. When you get into larger systems, the philosophical idea of this microscopic space doesn't hold for the same reason you can't define an ocean as a bunch of drops of water. When you reach a certain level of aggregation, things behave in a way that is completely different than a mere assemblage of individual atoms. An oceanful of individual drops would behave in a way much different than an ocean, which has ceased to be 839274563847568372456834 drops of water, and become one organism. Much like a cell membrane is no longer thousands of individual glycolipids.

If things never truly touched, even if only through electromagnetism, which IMO is still touching, then nothing would be here. And we wouldn't be enjoying GoodReads. :D

All this mention of touching has gotten me horny.


message 15: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Molly in Message 14:
Great closing line!

I guess, then touching is a matter of perspective; you're right that at a cetain level things most certainly touch and your anaology of an ocean not being trillions of drops of water was on point.

But on the other hand, an ocean IS comprised of trillions of drops of water and any particular part, if isolated, would respond as such. Perspective!

The particular viewpoint I prefer is that of the smallest possible definitions. It's a life focus of mine; understand the smallest piece of something and you can understand the entire thing, because the entire thing is made up of smaller pieces. I'm a minimalist both in my home decor and my perspective on the universe.

EM touching differs significantly from my previous understanding of touching but, you're right, it is is a form of physical contact and it begs, as Sophie highlighted, what's special about the "space" between the electrons which transfers energy.

Thanks for the perspective!


message 16: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Molly in Message 14:
So...is the sun "touching" the earth? It's force is certainly felt physically. Same with the moon on the oceans (tide). If my hand touching a pen is considered touching, isn't the moon "touching" the ocean? Or is that different?


message 17: by Molly (last edited Mar 06, 2008 03:14PM) (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Sparky answered so beautifully for me.

Rob, I think we would have to collectively define if gravity counts as touching. If electromagnetic forces count, I would think gravity probably does too. It exerts an effect that isn't indirect, so I guess it's touching.

Your minimalist viewpoint is very Greek, but unfortunately you can't understand all things by only looking at their smallest part, because when things aggregate they gain different qualities. For instance you can't understand wood by looking at one wood cell. And you can't understand a human by looking at one human cell. Both have complex systems that are more than just a sum of parts. You are to be commended for looking at the small stuff, though, so few do, and you can't understand the big stuff without the small stuff, either.

Here's to holistic viewpoints!!


message 18: by Sophia (last edited Mar 06, 2008 09:19PM) (new)

Sophia (PheePhyPhoPhum) | 176 comments Mod
Absolutely, you guys...there is no black and white with anything. Even with the "touching" business...in some ways, yes things touch, and in others, no they don't. When it comes to matter, light, electromagnetism, etc....it's all the same thing anyway:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:El...

When you get down to the atomic level of matter we see that even atoms break down to energy. So in some weird sort of way, we're all energy, therefore we are all connected (check out the transmutation for March) lol.

But wow, Molly...you really hit home with me on post 18...

***Well...on all of your posts. You break things down quite nicely. It is weird how simple words like 'touching' or even gorge, insert, invade, or even something stupid like pumpernickel, can put your mind in the gutter, lol ....or is that just me?. Zahira, I feel you on the curse word thing we talked about earlier too, lol.***

...Rob should understand that considering his very accurate assertions about perspective. And even with that topic, it's not cut and dry...to fully understand something you need to see what it's made out of AND see it as a whole in different environments (from different perspectives.)

I just saw this video:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc...

Which is kind of the human side of this argument. It talks about the difference between studying the psychology of an individual versus individuals in groups and in different situations. Fascinating stuff, ya'll.

It's neat to see us humans behave in the same manner that you were just describing the ocean and subatomic matter! Maybe because...say it with me, lol...EVERYTHING'S CONNECTED.

Yaayyyyy


message 19: by Molly (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Sophia said:
Maybe because...say it with me, lol...EVERYTHING'S CONNECTED.


You are so adorable, Soph.


message 20: by Sophia (new)

Sophia (PheePhyPhoPhum) | 176 comments Mod
I love you, too :-)


message 21: by Kristjan (last edited Mar 10, 2008 12:11PM) (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Sophia "My biggest qualm with polytheistic (catholic, lol) or philosophical religions is that they seem to either have loose definitions for their own gods and beliefs or they seem to make up saviors, scriptures and dogmas for questions they just don't know the answers to, yet. It's the same with religions like Christianity, and such, because when any of the religions finally get the real answers they were looking for, they stay so wrapped up in their fairy tales that they miss out on real truth."

I apologize for being a little late to this debate :)

Why do you believe that Catholicism is polytheistic? How and why are you differentiating it from Christianity?

"Another thing I don't get about monotheistic religions is why they act like they believe in one all powerful being when, without even looking at the trinity, they have this constant duality between good and evil (god v. devil). In actuality, good and evil are simply two sides of the exact same coin. God as I see it, would be the coin, not heads or tails u know? In fact, it wouldn't even be the coin, but the entity that conceptualized a coin and from this idea, the creative process for actually bringing that coin into existence was started."

I am not sure what your concept of the Trinity is; however, the way it is used within Christianity (at least those sects which believe in the Trinity), it is very specifically used to reference one deity with several aspects ... similar to the fact that I am only one person, yet I can be referred to by several identities based upon context (i.e. I am a son, father and teacher with different roles and responsibilities for each title).

The duality between good and evil is a common theme that many Christians have trouble with. The basic premise that good can’t exist without evil has such an inherent truth behind it that it has lead to several suppressed heresies with the history of Christianity, some of which are starting to see a resurgence of interest ... such as Gnosticism, where the nature of God is split into two separate deities, one flawed and therefore evil creator and the other perfect and therefore good oversoul. IMHO this is a result of misunderstanding the foundational myth of creation, which clearly states that good and evil were brought into the world by man ... and the duality of such remains within man and not within the nature of God. Simply put, God is neither good nor evil ... just like God is neither male nor female.

"After reading a lot and thinking about it a lot, it just makes sense to me that we are (for lack of a better word) the thought or vision of some inexplicable entity."

That may not be too far off ... one of my favorite cosmological theories is based upon viewing everything as information and postulating that it is actually information that is preserved, not energy. IIRC this is an offshoot of quantum mechanics, which admittedly still has a few flaws to be worked out. It would not be much of a stretch to conclude that all this information was contained within one super-consciousness as a thought, vision and/or dream.

"I think the difference between me and a religious person, though, is that I encourage myself to challenge this idea every day, I don't go looking for a doctrine that fits this."

There are many religious persons who approach enlightenment in a similar fashion ... I would like to think that I am one of them :)



message 22: by Kristjan (last edited Mar 10, 2008 06:41AM) (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Rob said: "It's sad that organized religion doesn't seem to impart true decency to its members. If it did, this woman would have a serious conflict of interest and the cognitive dissonance would wake her from her trance to either A)renounce her faith or B)reform her actions. This is why I love science so much: its darwinism on ideas and behaviors."

Not to be too trite with this; however, organized religion is merely a map. The path is there for all to follow, yet many are lost along the way. Is that a problem with the map or the map reader?

"If I were to enocounter a person like that I would love to know how the pastor/deacon/biship/head mumbo jumbo guy felt about the church receiving stolen property. Not in a "get people in trouble" kind of way, but just the behavior. I'd want to know how he felt about a sheep stealing on his church's behalf and, more importantly, what he thought he was morally obligated to do in response."

While I am not sure about this particular pastor (they are obviously human too), I can state that the expected response would be to refuse to receive such property and to coach the errant parishioner more closely on how Christ expects us to behave ... this is his moral obligation. Depending upon how and/or why he learned of such activities (outside confessional), he may have a legal obligation as well.



message 23: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) I think the problem is the map. Map readers have come to said map to seek guidance.

Besides, I don't think organized religion OUGHT to be a map anyway. Why should there be a step-by-step, one way and one way only to god? That disallows free will, and even very straightlaced organized religions believe in free will (or at least they say they do). Map readers fail to have a complete relationship with god--instead, they have a relationship with a map. Kind of a waste if you ask me...


message 24: by Kristjan (last edited Mar 10, 2008 12:12PM) (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Amanda said: "I think the problem is the map. Map readers have come to said map to seek guidance."

And the fact that some don not know how to read the map correctly means that the problem is with the map? Or should map readers not seek guidance? If I am lost ... it is pretty difficult to suddenly find my way without some sort of guidance. Am I not entitled to that?

When faced with a difficult journey/task, I think that it is human nature to search for short-cuts. It is also human nature to follow the guy you think has found such a short-cut without thinking about it that much until the whole group is lost ... when people ignore the map, how is the map to blame?

"Besides, I don't think organized religion OUGHT to be a map anyway. Why should there be a step-by-step, one way and one way only to god? That disallows free will, and even very straightlaced organized religions believe in free will (or at least they say they do). Map readers fail to have a complete relationship with god--instead, they have a relationship with a map. Kind of a waste if you ask me..."

What should organized religion be then? I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of a map. There are many ways to God and each person is free to pick their own path. Some paths will be harder then others; however, the last part of each journey must be the same if you are each trying to arrive at the same destination. Of course, you are also free to choose a different destination or even a different map ... that does not mean that I must follow your choice any more then it means that you must follow mine.

I would have to disagree that map readers have any relationship with a map outside of it being a tool to accomplish some goal; however, you will have a relationship with the journey itself ... and I am not sure how that is a bad thing. Unfortunately, the journey is not complete until life is at an end. If that doesn’t bring a more complete relationship with our creator, then I am not sure what will.



message 25: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Not to be too trite with this; however, organized religion is merely a map. The path is there for all to follow, yet many are lost along the way. Is that a problem with the map or the map reader?

Perhaps, but it is a map to a landscape some 2 millenia old. A map which claims to have providence over decent behavior but, instead, it seems that decent behavior can exist with or without the map so, why have it?

If I, as an atheist, can plainly see that stealing from your job and bringing your stolen bounty to work is immoral, why doesn't "the map" result in fewer "lost souls".

In fact, statistical evidence supports me in that atheists are under-represented in prison.

So, I do not accept that this "map" is either relevant or even useful, as it serves the just and the unjust to whatever means they desire, based on the "REAL" map of their desires.




message 26: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) What should organized religion be then?

Non-existant.

A thing of the past?

Something we used to do but realized the error of and abandoned. Kinda like slavery.

I would have to disagree that map readers have any relationship with a map outside of it being a tool to accomplish some goal

We used to use coal for energy, then, when everything was covered in soot, we realized that we needed a better way.

Personal responsibility seems like a great way to replace religion.

If all religion is is a map, then organized religion is a fosilized map, incapable of dealing with any time other thant he exact moment it was created.

How would you do with a map of your community that was 2000 year old?


message 27: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Why do you believe that Catholicism is polytheistic?
Probably because it is rife with demigods and uses an amazing twist of logic and language to say that the three are one, but are still three.



Why stop at three then, other than convienience? Why not mass murderer if you're the wrong faith? Isn't that just as accurate and plausible?

That may not be too far off ... one of my favorite cosmological theories is based upon viewing everything as information and postulating that it is actually information that is preserved, not energy. IIRC this is an offshoot of quantum mechanics, which admittedly still has a few flaws to be worked out. It would not be much of a stretch to conclude that all this information was contained within one super-consciousness as a thought, vision and/or dream
I prefer the multiple dimensions theory which says that humanity exists in a fourth physical dimension and we are only aware of three. If we are just imaginary beings in some super computer or "god's brain" then I'm SO gonna be pissed off when I die!


message 28: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) Sorry Kristjan, let me clarify. I believe that the Map, or the Map Makers--pastors and religious leaders--have a RESPONSIBILITY to set out good guidance. You are absolutely entitled to good guidance. I just wish there weren't so may map makers out there who are deliberately offering bad guidance. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc, etc. I believe they have abused power in one of the worst ways possible.

As far as being able to freely choose which map I follow--Well, yes, I certainly think that is true, but once I choose a map, I sincerely hope it is a reliable one.


message 29: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (randymandy) I cross-posted with Rob--yes. Personal Responsibility should be used more often as the primary way we make decisions/observations/actions in and around our world. The reason I have a problem with organized religion (and NOT with personal spiritiality) is because organized religions have too many blind followers. Blindly following religious leaders and not really knowing WHY or what is at the root of the organization.


message 30: by Kristjan (last edited Mar 10, 2008 01:10PM) (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Amanda said: “Sorry Kristjan, let me clarify. I believe that the Map, or the Map Makers--pastors and religious leaders--have a RESPONSIBILITY to set out good guidance. You are absolutely entitled to good guidance. I just wish there weren't so may map makers out there who are deliberately offering bad guidance. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc, etc. I believe they have abused power in one of the worst ways possible ... As far as being able to freely choose which map I follow--Well, yes, I certainly think that is true, but once I choose a map, I sincerely hope it is a reliable one.”

Sure ... I can agree with all of that :) Unfortunately all the map makers I know of are human, with all the flaws inherent in that condition. One reason why I like to compare maps every now and then.


message 31: by Kristjan (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Rob said: Probably because it is rife with demigods and uses an amazing twist of logic and language to say that the three are one, but are still three.

Really? Name one catholic demigod?

"Why stop at three then, other than convienience? Why not mass murderer if you're the wrong faith? Isn't that just as accurate and plausible?"

We stop there because those are the only aspects that have been revealed to us. I am not sure where the 'mass murderer' statement comes from; please elaborate.



message 32: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Really? Name one catholic demigod?

Mary

I am not sure where the 'mass murderer' statement comes from; please elaborate.

Anyone on the receiving end of his "justice". How about we start with the good people who were not Noah and his family and work from there.


message 33: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Sure ... I can agree with all of that :) Unfortunately all the map makers I know of are human, with all the flaws inherent in that condition. One reason why I like to compare maps every now and then.

And you are wise and dutiful to do so; but when you decide away from one map is it because you've seen it as not valid for you, or not valid at all?

How often hav eyou compared maps and come up wanting? How many times have you changed religions?

Through all that; have you been a good person?

Through all that, have you divested yourself of the supositions of the previous faiths such as original sin or monotheism?


message 34: by Kristjan (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Rob said: Personal responsibility seems like a great way to replace religion.

Could you not say the same thing about government? If personal responsibility actually worked by itself, why should we suffer from such imperfect governance?


message 35: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Could you not say the same thing about government? If personal responsibility actually worked by itself, why should we suffer from such imperfect governance?

To answer: Because we need someone to organize the effort. The efficiency gained is huge and we are still held responsible for paying taxation for the service provided. Providing the government this authority does not relieve us of our duty to pay for the service and use it responsibly.


message 36: by Kristjan (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Rob said: [Really? Name one catholic demigod?] "Mary"

Mary does not meet the definition of a demigod ... she was born of mortal parents. She does not meet the definition of a god either in that she is not worshipped. She is venerated as an example and is shown respect, but that is no different then showing repect to anybody you happen to admire.

[I am not sure where the 'mass murderer' statement comes from; please elaborate.]

"Anyone on the receiving end of his "justice". How about we start with the good people who were not Noah and his family and work from there."

They were killed because they weren't of the right religion? Where did you find this concept?



message 37: by Kristjan (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Rob said: “And you are wise and dutiful to do so; but when you decide away from one map is it because you've seen it as not valid for you, or not valid at all?”

A little of both actually; however, it is mostly because it is not valid for me.

“How often hav eyou compared maps and come up wanting? How many times have you changed religions?”

Well ... so far I have done so in depth approximately 10 times ... if I am allowed to include significantly different sects within the more global category. Even more if you include my comparative mythology interests. I have found ALL of them lacking in some form or another; likewise I have found many concepts that ring true to me in all of them as well. Again ... if I am allowed to include sects, I have changed my religion exactly once.

“Through all that; have you been a good person?”

Completely? Of course not. I don’t know of anybody who has. Still, I try to be the best person that I can be and toward that end, I seek the best information I can find.

“Through all that, have you divested yourself of the supositions of the previous faiths such as original sin or monotheism?”

Some ... since many are shared; there was no need to divest myself of all such beliefs. :)



message 38: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) They were killed because they weren't of the right religion? Where did you find this concept?

Genesis 6-9


message 39: by Rob (new)

Rob (Merovigan) Completely? Of course not. I don’t know of anybody who has.

I didn't mean "perfect" I meant "good." Good is enough ;-) Good is all we can ever possibly be.


message 40: by Molly (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Kristjan said:
Amanda said: "I think the problem is the map. Map readers have come to said map to seek guidance."

And the fact that some don not know how to read the map correctly means that the problem is with the map? Or should map readers not seek guidance? If I am lost ... it is pretty difficult to suddenly find my way without some sort of guidance. Am I not entitled to that?
==========================================

The problem here is people depend on maps to tell them where to go, not somewhere other than where the map says it is going to go to.

Religion does not show the way to god. It never did. Religions began to answer questions like "What is that thing!?" "Where did I come from?" "Why do bad things happen?"

In their original form religions form bonds through social interaction among groups of people so they can function as a group and feel related, and want to try to get along. it tells you you are a special group, related by the fact you came from the same place (mythically) and have the same god(s). Religion gives you dos and don'ts, designed to control group activity so as to maximize harmony and cooperation so the group can survive. It also answers why things go wrong, succinctly (you made a deity angry), or not so much (it's all in his plan, he is perfect and unknowable).

But a way to god it isn't. Especially as you get more complicated civilizations. Religion is a way to control the populace by way of controlling human actions. No more no less. If there is a god or many, there is no proof of him/her/it, and absolutely no proof that any of the current belief systems are the way to him/her/it.

But they are excellent crowd control.


message 41: by Molly (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Rob said: [Really? Name one catholic demigod?] "Mary"

Kristjan said:
Mary does not meet the definition of a demigod ... she was born of mortal parents. She does not meet the definition of a god either in that she is not worshipped. She is venerated as an example and is shown respect, but that is no different then showing repect to anybody you happen to admire.
=====================================================

demi·god
Pronunciation: \ˈde-mē-ˌgäd\
Function: noun
Date: 1530
1 : a mythological being with more power than a mortal but less than a god
2 : a person so outstanding as to seem to approach the divine

She is absolutely a demigod. And people pray to her, ask her for actions, make statues to her, kneel in front of her, if that isn't worship, I don't know what is. :)


message 42: by Tim (new)

Tim | 21 comments *with a wee wink he come out from watching from the sidelines*

God, in my experience, is a meaning. Dare i say a constructed meaning.

In simplest terms, humans demand a meaning to Life and to their lives. God (in the many forms that we have come to knowledge of, via religions or even a self styled God) is perhaps the most self convincing meaning - in one swoop giving answer to everything.

To each their own, i don't mind; as long as no harm is done. If however someone preaches to the harm of someone else, that gets my goat.

I have come to the conclusion, (for now ;P) after years of hard searching, that there doesn't appear to be "ultimate" meaning. That being the case is very difficult to accept, especially if one had previously had a God to fill the "gap". However meaning is still required - so i reckon create your own meaning, whatever it is that gives you heart and you can find more smiles and laughter than tears and sorrow.

ps im lovin this group cheers, sure beats listening to people talking crap about the latest shite on tv ;p




message 43: by Sophia (last edited Mar 10, 2008 03:42PM) (new)

Sophia (PheePhyPhoPhum) | 176 comments Mod
Wow! This thing blew up! I can't wait to read everybody's comments when I get done working.

Welcome, Kristjan and thanks for contributing!


message 44: by Kristjan (last edited Mar 10, 2008 06:56PM) (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Molly said: She is absolutely a demigod. And people pray to her, ask her for actions, make statues to her, kneel in front of her, if that isn't worship, I don't know what is. :)

Not really …

Wikipedia on the etymology of the term:

The term "demigod", meaning "half-god," is a modern distinction, often misapplied in Greek mythology. "Demigod" is meant to identify a person whose one parent was a god and whose other parent was human.

Or to answer the broader definitions you cited:

1 : a mythological being with more power than a mortal but less than a god
She is arguably not mythical and she has no more power then ANY mortal.

2 : a person so outstanding as to seem to approach the divine
As indicated before … Mary is no more divine then any other mortal soul.

Prayer is not worship in and of itself … it is a method of communicating or communing with any spirit or soul. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable to pray to my dead grandmother … that does not make her a god. It is perfectly acceptable to ask any of the faithful to pray for us … even if they are no longer living. It is possible to ask any of the faithful to intercede for us … asking Mary to ask God for something is quite different then asking Mary to directly do anything on her own … the later of which is completely rejecting by Catholic doctrine.

We make statues of dead presidents and even demand a gesture of respect to a piece of cloth (national flag) … these actions do not equate to worship. It is what we as a society do to honor someone’s memory or example or belief. Mary is venerated or honored as an example of complete submission to God … nothing more. To do otherwise in the case of Mary would be strictly prohibited by the dogma of the church.

I am sure you could find many different definitions of worship; however, Christians generally define such as a giving of oneself (sacrifice) to God. There are two words used in the new Testament Greek for worship … one (proskuneo) meaning to kiss toward or bow to … which Catholics are only supposed do toward God. The second word (latreuo) means pay homage, as in honor toward a superior, which … though she may be a superior example of holiness, is nothing more. This is also supported by the etymology of the term worship itself, coming from the Anglo-Saxon word weorthscipe which means to ascribe a superior worth or supreme value.



message 45: by Kristjan (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Rob said: Genesis 6-9

Your version must be different then mine. Mine doesn't say anything about what religion they practiced, only that they were doing wicked things.



message 46: by Kristjan (last edited Mar 10, 2008 06:55PM) (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Molly said: "The problem here is people depend on maps to tell them where to go, not somewhere other than where the map says it is going to go to."

I don’t … I already know where I want to go. I use maps to tell me how to get there.

'Religion does not show the way to god. It never did. Religions began to answer questions like "What is that thing!?" "Where did I come from?" "Why do bad things happen?"'

That of course is completely subjective. The origin and purpose of religion has never been well established and is hotly debated even today. What you are ascribing to religion is in fact something that happens within any group and is a social mechanic, not an artifact of religion. IMHO religion, ritual, mythology, etc. is all about finding a state of being that transcends our normally mundane existence … or as Dr. Campbell liked to say … getting in touch with your bliss by creating sacred spaces. Humans seem to instinctively need this experience.

"If there is a god or many, there is no proof of him/her/it, and absolutely no proof that any of the current belief systems are the way to him/her/it."

A proof is a scientific concept … and science doesn’t not have the tools to prove anything which can’t be observed. That is the whole basis of the scientific method.



message 47: by Molly (last edited Mar 10, 2008 07:57PM) (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Kristjan, even if you already know where you want to go, a map that goes to another place won't help you. now I know why people refuse to ask directions.

Also I don't use Wikipedia to define my terminology. A demigod, if we use the dictionary term, defines Mary. You can say what the catholics think of her, but what people in power say people do and what people actually do is often very different.

Mary doesn't have powers? She cures people. She appears magically and tells people prophecies. She appears on toast. If you can even do one of these things email me so we can make a fortune. I'll be the brains, you'll be the brawn. Mary was also sinless, and carried up into heaven directly. Doesn't remind me of anyone I know.

Saints are also demigods. Their relics have special powers. In fact to become a saint you have to appear after death and perform miracles. Absolutely not a quality of your average bear. but of a demigod, yes.

Also your last part of the posting after Mary definition #2 is pretty much proof of church being an excellent mind control device, my dear new friend. You sound like a paid representative. ;D

The views I stated about religion are not actually mine. They are the views of many, many philosophers, Anthropologists, sociologists, and appear in books in forms close to my loose paraphrasing since the 1800's and possibly even before.

In fact your Dr. Campbell idea is discussed too.

As for your discussion of how we make obeisance to the flag and Presidents yet don't worship them... well many people, experts, think that we do indeed have a civil religion which worships the United States and they have a very convincing argument for it.


message 48: by Molly (new)

Molly (MollyHell) Kristjan said:

A proof is a scientific concept … and science doesn’t not have the tools to prove anything which can’t be observed. That is the whole basis of the scientific method.
===============================================

Well I'll let the flawed definition of scientific proof stand, but I didn't totally mean scientific proof. Not all proofs are scientific. But you can't prove god exists in any way. You can only have faith.


message 49: by Sophia (last edited Mar 11, 2008 09:05AM) (new)

Sophia (PheePhyPhoPhum) | 176 comments Mod
Kristjan...The first post you put was "I apologize for being a little late to this debate :)" But there's really nothing to debate. It happens, we do it, but that's not necessarily the intention.

To debate means that you're picking a side and sticking to it in order to argue or prove it, so it seems that you think you're on the Blue side and others are on the Red side. In actuality, you're holding firm to Blue (even though you admit it may vary from carolina to navy at times), and the other 'side' isn't red at all, they just don't believe in blue. And honestly, the truth behind everything is probably some shade of purple.

I think the entire point everyone's trying to make is that instead of changing maps 10 times...try just not using one for a while and see if the world collapses around you or not, lol. Besides, why read a map if no one can confirm whether or not you're headed to the right location?

You obviously see something wrong with it all...so just try it for a day or two. Turn the broken GPS off and I'll bet money you won't go and kill someone.

About Mary:
-Wikipedia is not real, you can write anything you want in it. I agree, the dictinoary should suffice and all of the definitions I could find define Mary and the saints as demigods.
-She is mythical....she's based on Imhotep's mother ***EDIT: OSIRIS, not Imhotep. I'm reading a book about him and had him on the dome I guess :-p ***Mary who was also mythical. But even if she wasn't, giving birth to a baby without ever having sex are things that no average mortal is capable of doing. Unless you have a little drainage problem somewhere...or if you asexually produced somehow (in which case the baby would have been a 'clone' of Mary) And you have to be pretty divine for an angel to choose you to deliver the son of God, lol.


message 50: by Kristjan (last edited Mar 11, 2008 06:26AM) (new)

Kristjan (BookTroll) Molly said: Kristjan, even if you already know where you want to go, a map that goes to another place won't help you. now I know why people refuse to ask directions.

Why would you pick a map that doesn’t go where you want to go? That doesn’t really make much sense. You will be more successful if you decide where you want to got, and then look for a map to help you get there.

I thought the refusal to ask for directions was genetically linked to the Y chromosome :)

“Also I don't use Wikipedia to define my terminology. A demigod, if we use the dictionary term, defines Mary. You can say what the catholics think of her, but what people in power say people do and what people actually do is often very different.

Fair enough ... how about this one then?
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?s...

The faithful are not immune to error ... says so right there in the Big Book.

“Mary doesn't have powers? She cures people. She appears magically and tells people prophecies. She appears on toast. If you can even do one of these things email me so we can make a fortune. I'll be the brains, you'll be the brawn. Mary was also sinless, and carried up into heaven directly. Doesn't remind me of anyone I know.”

Except for appearing on toast, these are all things that mortals have claimed to have done by invoking God’s name. None have claimed to be able to do any of these things on their own, not even Mary.

“Saints are also demigods. Their relics have special powers. In fact to become a saint you have to appear after death and perform miracles. Absolutely not a quality of your average bear. but of a demigod, yes.”

Not exactly ... all of the faithful (living and dead) are saints within what is called the Communion of Saints. What you are referring to is the Canonization of a Saint who has been raised up by the church as an example to follow. As proof of God’s blessing upon such an exemplary life, the church has indicated that 2 miracles be attributed to their intercession ... in other words, you ask the saint to ask God for a miracle and it happens.

“Also your last part of the posting after Mary definition #2 is pretty much proof of church being an excellent mind control device, my dear new friend. You sound like a paid representative. ;D”

I don’t deny that organized religion can be (and even has been) used to such purposes. I just don’t see it as any different from other social grouping mechanisms. Organized religion has power, and as such it frequently appeals to the more disreputable members of our society ... those who desire power. In fact, I have had my share of conflict with the powers that be ... which makes it more amusing that I have been accused of being a ‘fundy’ when I have also been accused by a fellow Christian of being a sorcerer (admittedly that was awhile ago). I make my own way thank you very much :)

“The views I stated about religion are not actually mine. They are the views of many, many philosophers, Anthropologists, sociologists, and appear in books in forms close to my loose paraphrasing since the 1800's and possibly even before. In fact your Dr. Campbell idea is discussed too.”

Sure they are; however, you are implying a general agreement which doesn’t yet exist. These are all ideas that are being widely debated.

“As for your discussion of how we make obeisance to the flag and Presidents yet don't worship them... well many people, experts, think that we do indeed have a civil religion which worships the United States and they have a very convincing argument for it.”

If that is how you wish to define worship ... then you would be correct. I prefer to allow the specific individual (or group) to define it for themselves.



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