Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Pyromaniakal22 » Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:29 pm

Holy Buckets! I'm gone for a weekend, without internet contact, and this thread takes off; and with Nitrous, none the less! I'm actually glad that Alikat stepped up while i was gone, because she had a number of very good points (some of which i was going to make, but that's ok as i won't be stealing his/her thunder)
Anyways,
Alikat wrote:...Second, this is an open forum, so if you want a private conversation with Pyro then perhaps Private Messages would be the way to go...
I was kind of intending this to be an open topic, but if you care to send private messages, feel free. I usually prefer an open conversation though, simply because I honestly don't know everything (go figure, lol) and appreciate other people to show their opinions on things, and heck, correct me if i'm wrong. But, like Alikat said, if you don't want something getting out, send a private message. I'll respond either way (though it might take me some time, depending on circumnstance)

Anyways anyways, though i do agree with a lot of what Alikat said, I'm not sure if i believe all the same things s/he does (granted, i don't think that Any two people completely agree with each other entirely on a subject) and since as Draque mentioned:
draque wrote:The question was not originally directed towards you; I'm not demanding that you do anything at all. Your concept of a god seems to be different than Pyro's. Incidentally, I'm certainly not looking to promote a particular interpretation of a god that I don't believe in, so don't feel that I'm trying to get you to admit any god you worship is or is not described in any particular religious text.
i'm still going to be answering the questions posed.

So, on to it.

As for the whole Rocks and Burritos,
"could God make a rock so big He couldn't lift it? Could he make a burrito so hot he couldn't eat it? Can God win an arm wrestling match against himself?"

draque wrote:Ok, I think that you're looking at the question the wrong way. You should recognize that it's the paradox of self reference, and that there is no solution to it. To find a solution is to contradict the solution. It's the same problem you run into with statements like "This is a lie." You say that the god you worship is bound by reason, so I think it would be reasonable to say that the power you vest in this god is infinite only within the context of his creation. That context would be the universe. The moment context is broken (comparing him to himself, for example), the guarantee of omnipotence goes out of the window. Unless the god is free from the constraints of logic and reason, it clearly lacks omnipotence in an unqualified way, as this means that the paradox of self reference would be invoked.

Actually, that's a better way to put it than how i said it. However, as to the "bound by reason" bit, first off, i have to say that he is indeed not bound by any means, (that's pretty much what omnipotent means) but rather chooses to "play by the rules he put down" here (i mean, were that not the case there would be odd and interesting anomolies happening at every other turn, with absolutely no kind of explanation, just because he wanted to have fun, (or rather, if i were God, that would probably be the case, lol)) But i digress. Just because he chooses to follow the unwritten rules of this universe he created, does not mean that he is bound by them.

draque wrote:...If a god is unable to answer a question when I am able to, it is clearly not omnipotent. A question ...
You know, i also can make a buritto so big/hot that i can't eat it. The thing that i think you're missing still (that i pointed out in the last paragraph) is that, God can create a burrito so big/hot that he couldn't eat it (he has to be able to to be omnipotent) However, that said, he is also able to eat it. What is happening, is that you are limiting God to our restrictions. He is able to play outside those rules, (having created them) I suppose if you want to go by context, then the context would be his infinate power (rather than our universal limitations) As to the bible not saying "omnipotent" that does depend on your translation The King James does indeed use omnipotent, as do a few other translations (the bible i use most regularly, the NIV does not; but still, it depends on the translation used, and looking at the meaning behind what is being said)

As for Revelation, yes, there is a heck of a lot in there that i am simply not prepared to talk about right now, sorry, but i haven't read through and studied it properly to go in depth about it. I will say, that, yes, that is one of the places in the bible that has some of the mightest displays of power, and that most of them would require a finite amount of power,and that the disciples didn't know about neuclear physics and such, whatever. The thing to remember there, is that Revelation is a book of Prophesy; ergo, it shouldn't be taken entirely literal, nor does it say how each event is going to come about, nor whether or not the event will come about in exactly the way described. Again though, i'm leaving Revelation alone for now, just because i haven't looked into it enough to be able to talk about it (i'm still learning :) )

draque wrote: This actually brings up a question which you've probably seen is a bit delicate here... what are your thoughts on homosexuality?...

Ah yea, this always seems to be precarious ground, no matter where you stand; but, you've got to have an opion one way or the other, so, here's mine, and i'll try my best not to do any bashing here (please let me know if this turns out to be the case, and i'll apologize, and we can talk either publicy, or privately; your call) So, homosexuality. In a sentance? I am against it. I don't believe that it is meant to be; that it is a perversion, if you will, of what should be. Now on to vlarify, before i get jumped. If someone were to tell me that they were a homosexual, i would point out exactly what you stated before about its 'detestable'-ness and such in Romans, Leviticus, etc. But, that is because i believe that it is a sin, and were i to do somehting that was sinful, i would want someone to point it out to me so that i don't continue to do...whatever it was that was pointed out. Now also, i am of the mind of "hate the sin, not the sinner." I actually have a few homosexual friends and aquaintences, and though i completely disagree with what they are doing, and think it is wrong (they also know my thoughts on this) i also know that no one is perfect. I've done things wrong in my life too, and know just how hard it is to turn from something that you have been doing. I cannot and will not judge a homosexual person, and say something like "oh, you're going to hell cause you're gay!" That's just stupid, and ignorant of the fact that no one is perfect.
Also, it's just downright rude.
As for Leviticus, 90% (give or take) of the rules that are given there make sense enough (eg: "don't wear clothes woven out of two clothes" simple enough, cause different materials have different stretch and wear rates, an can tear easier when put under stress; or "don't eat meat with blood left in it", cause of potential disease, etc that can bring. etc, etc) ergo, i assume that (given that God is omnipotent/all knowing) then there must be something that he knows about the other rules he put down that we may not yet. As for the executions in biblical times due to homosexuality, i am honestly not sure how to approach it, seeing as i didn't live back then, and don't know the whole story. However, just looking at it at face value, i suppose i would say something along the lines of, that was the culture. If you do something wrong, you are either killed or exciled. (That there was a very broad and general statment, but it still holds fairly well) It appears that that's just what happens. I mean, it even states that "their blood is on their own hands." Basically, "these are the terms, these are the rules. You break 'em, you accept the concequences."

draque wrote:Fallible:
judges 1:19 wrote:The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots.


It's arguable that it was the failing of Judah that the iron chariots were not defeated... but that raises the question of why it would be their god that was responsible for their victory in the hill country. To share in victories is to share in defeats.
Well, as to iron chariots proving that God is fallible, i was going to argue that it was the Israelites that were the ones not holding up, then i read your response, lol. But anyway, as for sharing victory, sharing defeat, again, that's true on our level, however with a God that can simply snap his fingers and level a city, i think the reason he didn't allow an instant victory was so that the Israelites didn't simply become too reliant on the "snap the fingers and level a nation they don't like" approach. That, or he may have been teaching them a lesson (He's done that before) but, i can't really say any of that with a whole lot of proof or conviction, simply because i wasn't there, nor am i God. *shrugs*

draque wrote: This god purports to have killed babies. It was to punish the ruler of their parents. The argument can be made that the parents shared in the blame of persecuting the Israelites, but an infant has no concept of this. They were executed summarily for transgressions that they were not even able to understand. If this is not petty, I'm unsure of what is. Certainly many firstborns were adults, but many were infants, and there is no mention of a stay of execution for the young.

Ok, i think that the best way to go for this one, is that, i believe that the killing of the first born was more of God saying "Ok, fine. I turned your river to blood, sent flies, gnats, frogs and the like, I gave you boils and threw flaming rocks from the sky, I did all this crap and you STILL aren't listening? Wtf? Fine, maybe if i kill off your firstborn that might make you pay attention. Geeze." Or something of the like. After all, there were plenty of warnings before the killing started, and God was ignored. I'm not really sure i see that as petty.

So, i think that pretty much covers my thought (fairly well, i think) if that answers your questions there Draque. Again, if there are any others, feel free to ask. Also, i really didn't intend to spark off tensions between people here, so please don't let this deter you from posting, but, just please try and keep a civil tongue. Though i do also agree with Alikat that i think there may have been a bit more than just honest curiosity behind your post, it sounds like you were trying to trip me up (cause i do that on occasion), but again, i don't know you, i don't know how you act/think/etc so i'll give you the benefit of the doubt, and i appreciate that last comment you made there Draque:
draque wrote:What caught my attention with Pyro was his quotation of Hebrews 8:7-13. It was a point that I hadn't heard before. Between his clearly informed stance and his saying that he enjoys debating religion... I feel fairly justified in asking how he deals with some difficult issues. I'm willing to bet that he's come across the exact arguments I brought up and that he's answered them before. I don't assume that I'm bringing something new to the table for him, and I don't have any expectation of changing his world view. If nothing else, the two main points I brought up were ones that he specifically requested in his original post.


So, Engineer to Scientist, i hope it's been enlightening, and that we'll continue to talk.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby draque » Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Glad to see a reply from you Pyro, I was beginning to think I had soured the conversation and you didn't want to participate any more ^^().

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Just because he chooses to follow the unwritten rules of this universe he created, does not mean that he is bound by them.


Ok, this had thrown me before. When you said that he followed the laws of logic, I had assumed you meant he was bound by them, as opposed to following them only because he wants to. It makes me curious about something else that I'll bring up later down this post...

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:[Homosexuality...] As for Leviticus, 90% (give or take) of the rules that are given there make sense enough (eg: "don't wear clothes woven out of two clothes" simple enough, cause different materials have different stretch and wear rates, an can tear easier when put under stress; or "don't eat meat with blood left in it", cause of potential disease, etc that can bring. etc, etc) ergo, i assume that (given that God is omnipotent/all knowing) then there must be something that he knows about the other rules he put down that we may not yet. As for the executions in biblical times due to homosexuality, i am honestly not sure how to approach it, seeing as i didn't live back then, and don't know the whole story. However, just looking at it at face value, i suppose i would say something along the lines of, that was the culture. If you do something wrong, you are either killed or exciled. (That there was a very broad and general statment, but it still holds fairly well) It appears that that's just what happens. I mean, it even states that "their blood is on their own hands." Basically, "these are the terms, these are the rules. You break 'em, you accept the concequences."


*nods* I can see where you're coming from there. How would you handle a country that executed people for homosexuality in modern times, though? If the US were to pass laws requiring active homosexuals to be executed (obviously not going to happen, but just for the sake of conversation), would you support them? You mentioned that you have gay friends and that you wouldn't ever judge them, but this would be a situation where standing up for their right to live would be in opposition to laws supported by the Bible's writings and laws.

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Well, as to iron chariots proving that God is fallible, i was going to argue that it was the Israelites that were the ones not holding up, then i read your response, lol. But anyway, as for sharing victory, sharing defeat, again, that's true on our level, however with a God that can simply snap his fingers and level a city, i think the reason he didn't allow an instant victory was so that the Israelites didn't simply become too reliant on the "snap the fingers and level a nation they don't like" approach. That, or he may have been teaching them a lesson (He's done that before) but, i can't really say any of that with a whole lot of proof or conviction, simply because i wasn't there, nor am i God. *shrugs*


I can see something like that. The story was fairly sparse on details.

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Ok, i think that the best way to go for this one, is that, i believe that the killing of the first born was more of God saying "Ok, fine. I turned your river to blood, sent flies, gnats, frogs and the like, I gave you boils and threw flaming rocks from the sky, I did all this crap and you STILL aren't listening? Wtf? Fine, maybe if i kill off your firstborn that might make you pay attention. Geeze." Or something of the like. After all, there were plenty of warnings before the killing started, and God was ignored. I'm not really sure i see that as petty.


This is one that I really do have more trouble agreeing with. A modern parallel would be one man shooting the other's dog over a banking dispute. The dog has nothing to do with it and no idea that it's going on, but is punished regardless. The Bible is generally very clear on its god punishing people who defy his will and rewarding those who uphold it... but babies are completely out of the loop. They lack the will or understanding to do either. Whether or not he had the right to take their lives in the account, it just seems very contrary to most of the other teachings of the Bible, and very, well... petty to me.

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Though i do also agree with Alikat that i think there may have been a bit more than just honest curiosity behind your post, it sounds like you were trying to trip me up (cause i do that on occasion), but again, i don't know you, i don't know how you act/think/etc so i'll give you the benefit of the doubt, and i appreciate that last comment you made there Draque:


I try not to be, but I know that sometimes I can be... overly eager to debate Biblical stuff. In all honesty I suppose it's mostly due to my wishing I could make the arguments to religious authorities who had power over me when I was younger (and were considerably less civil than yourself). If that makes me sound abrasive at times, I apologize. It's something I'm aware of and try to minimize.

Anyhow, here's the question that I mentioned earlier. It's related to the age old question of whether God is the author of evil. Is the god you worship capable of evil? If he intended to, could he do something that by the standards he himself established was unarguably wrong? Many pastors and preachers that I've asked have responded that God is all powerful, but as a creature outside of time can't contradict his own nature, as he is unchanging. For the most part it seems like a satisfactory answer to me, but it does mean that they god they worship isn't quite all powerful. You've been very specific in that your god is all powerful in all ways. That would mean that he has the potential for evil, though.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Pyromaniakal22 » Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:12 am

Draque wrote:Glad to see a reply from you Pyro, I was beginning to think I had soured the conversation and you didn't want to participate any more ^^().

Nah, just because someone says something i don't agree with, doesn't mean i'm going to skip out and run. Standing up for what you believe in is so much more satisfying.

And on that note, On to it!

Draque wrote:How would you handle a country that executed people for homosexuality in modern times, though? If the US were to pass laws requiring active homosexuals to be executed (obviously not going to happen, but just for the sake of conversation), would you support them? You mentioned that you have gay friends and that you wouldn't ever judge them, but this would be a situation where standing up for their right to live would be in opposition to laws supported by the Bible's writings and laws.


How would i view a modern country that executes people simply because they are homosexual? I am against that completely. I think that there are certain things that warrant a death penalty, such as homicide, or other such things on a grander scale, but for something such as killing someone because of the way they choose to live their life, in a loving relationship? I'm against it. (Now, i don't agree with homosexuality; i believe that to be a sin in itself, but like i have mentioned in earlier posts, no one is perfect. Everyone sins, and i can't judge you based on that. Also, if you go to say that they are "two people who love each other very much and are just expressing it", well to that i say that i have a couple of very close male friends (i'm a guy) whom i love very much and would do anything for, however none of us are homosexual, (2 of the others are currently in relationships with girls, and one is planning on getting married soon) and yet, we still share an amazing love for one another.))

Anway, let's start at the foundation of Christianity (after God of course), the Ten Commandments which is basically the guidelines to live life by. Number six on there is You shall not murder. Now i know that that can be interpreted in different ways, but it can still hold here. Next though, the bible does say that you have to obey the governing authority put over you: Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13,14, Acts 5:29, etc. We have to obey all laws (unless those laws require us to sin), yet this does not mean that we should be passively accepting mistreatment of ourselves or others without recourse or that we never tell the rulers they are wrong. We are told to rebuke sin wherever it occurs (hence, not agreeing with homosexuality, but neither agreeing with the persecution of such people simply because they choose to live that way (I'll get to that in a bit, i think, but for now, i'm sticking with the govt. issue here)) including the government. This is not saying that i could honestly do something about a death penalty against homosexuals, but i am against it, would not participate in it, and would speak out against it. People do have their human rights, and i believe that that kind of a law is in complete violation of those, and the Ten Commandments. Peter and the Apostles put it nicely in Acts, and then there's this bit that i like from Ephesians (pay attention to Vs.12) So, yea, i think that covers my thoughts there; I'm against a death penalty for being gay. They have done nothing to harm another person in any way (at least in the sense of being homosexual) and are still a person.

Draque wrote:
Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Ok, i think that the best way to go for this one, is that, i believe that the killing of the first born was more of God saying "Ok, fine. I turned your river to blood, sent flies, gnats, frogs and the like, I gave you boils and threw flaming rocks from the sky, I did all this crap and you STILL aren't listening? Wtf? Fine, maybe if i kill off your firstborn that might make you pay attention. Geeze." Or something of the like. After all, there were plenty of warnings before the killing started, and God was ignored. I'm not really sure i see that as petty.


This is one that I really do have more trouble agreeing with. A modern parallel would be one man shooting the other's dog over a banking dispute. The dog has nothing to do with it and no idea that it's going on, but is punished regardless. The Bible is generally very clear on its god punishing people who defy his will and rewarding those who uphold it... but babies are completely out of the loop. They lack the will or understanding to do either. Whether or not he had the right to take their lives in the account, it just seems very contrary to most of the other teachings of the Bible, and very, well... petty to me.
I think Alikat had some very good points about this one,
Alikat wrote:YOU and *I* are afraid of death, so we see it as punitive when God takes a life, but that is obviously a misperception since God has killed everyone who ever existed except the one named Enoch and the people currently alive, all of whom will be dead within 120 or fewer years.

So I reject the entire premise that a God can be less than entirely moral for taking away life, if it was that God that gave said life int he first place. If I borrow your car and you take it back, does that make you immoral for taking "my" car? No, because I just BORROWED the car.
though i get what you're saying here.

Draque wrote:I try not to be, but I know that sometimes I can be... overly eager to debate Biblical stuff. In all honesty I suppose it's mostly due to my wishing I could make the arguments to religious authorities who had power over me when I was younger (and were considerably less civil than yourself). If that makes me sound abrasive at times, I apologize. It's something I'm aware of and try to minimize.
I'd like to hear the whole story here, out of curiosity, sometime, if you wouldn't be opposed. But for now, on to the last bit.

Draque wrote:Anyhow, here's the question that I mentioned earlier. It's related to the age old question of whether God is the author of evil. Is the god you worship capable of evil? If he intended to, could he do something that by the standards he himself established was unarguably wrong? Many pastors and preachers that I've asked have responded that God is all powerful, but as a creature outside of time can't contradict his own nature, as he is unchanging. For the most part it seems like a satisfactory answer to me, but it does mean that they god they worship isn't quite all powerful. You've been very specific in that your god is all powerful in all ways. That would mean that he has the potential for evil, though.

Ah, ok, i get what you're saying. Hopefully this'll answer satisfactorily for you. In what i have been taught, sin is simply the absence of God. Initially, everyone is with him through the Law he's written in your heart (aka: your conscience) Mostly everyone listens to it, and goes with what it's telling you. But it's the times that you turn away from your conscience (aka: turn away from God's will) and do something that can be a sin (evil). Ergo, God is not capable of evil, since that would mean He is capable of being without Himself (and that just goes back to that shaky ground of "well, if He can't be without Himself, then He's not all-powerful, now is he?" To which i say, if that is your only argument that you recurse back to that, then just stop arguing, lol, no offense) but anyways, no, God is not capable of evil since He would need to be in absence of Himself.

Again, any more questions? Keep em coming.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby draque » Mon Apr 28, 2008 9:40 pm

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:As for the executions in biblical times due to homosexuality, i am honestly not sure how to approach it, seeing as i didn't live back then, and don't know the whole story. However, just looking at it at face value, i suppose i would say something along the lines of, that was the culture. If you do something wrong, you are either killed or exciled. (That there was a very broad and general statment, but it still holds fairly well) It appears that that's just what happens. I mean, it even states that "their blood is on their own hands." Basically, "these are the terms, these are the rules. You break 'em, you accept the concequences."


Pyromaniakal22 wrote:How would i view a modern country that executes people simply because they are homosexual? I am against that completely. I think that there are certain things that warrant a death penalty, such as homicide, or other such things on a grander scale, but for something such as killing someone because of the way they choose to live their life, in a loving relationship? I'm against it
[. . .]
People do have their human rights, and i believe that that kind of a law is in complete violation of those, and the Ten Commandments. Peter and the Apostles put it nicely in Acts, and then there's this bit that i like from Ephesians (pay attention to Vs.12) So, yea, i think that covers my thoughts there; I'm against a death penalty for being gay. They have done nothing to harm another person in any way (at least in the sense of being homosexual) and are still a person.


In the first quote you pretty clearly think that execution for homosexuality was justified in Biblical times, but don't in modern times. Why was it right then and wrong now to make laws mandating it?

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Ah, ok, i get what you're saying. Hopefully this'll answer satisfactorily for you. In what i have been taught, sin is simply the absence of God. Initially, everyone is with him through the Law he's written in your heart (aka: your conscience) Mostly everyone listens to it, and goes with what it's telling you. But it's the times that you turn away from your conscience (aka: turn away from God's will) and do something that can be a sin (evil). Ergo, God is not capable of evil, since that would mean He is capable of being without Himself (and that just goes back to that shaky ground of "well, if He can't be without Himself, then He's not all-powerful, now is he?" To which i say, if that is your only argument that you recurse back to that, then just stop arguing, lol, no offense) but anyways, no, God is not capable of evil since He would need to be in absence of Himself.


Ok. The bit about recursion is actually exactly what I was talking about before. Infinite and contradictory recurse without solution is absurd. It's the point of its absurdity that I was trying to make. If you boil a concept down and find yourself left with it ("it" being the paradox of self reference), you can see that the concept needs revision before it can be made rational. This being said... you also mentioned that you didn't see your god as being constrained by the laws of reason. If this is the case, why would something like being without himself not be possible? In past conversations an answer that I've come across many times is "My god is beyond all reasoning." To me it seems like a cop out simply because the people who use it tend to reason that their god has all sorts of attributes, desires and stipulations.

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:I'd like to hear the whole story here, out of curiosity, sometime, if you wouldn't be opposed. But for now, on to the last bit.


I went to a Born Again Evangelical school through 12th grade. To give you a flavor of how weird it was, the principal of the school would regularly launch into tirades about how the Beatles were trying to indoctrinate youth with Buddhism. That would be a little bit nutty all on its own, but I graduated in the class of 2002, and my principal was in his teenage years when the Beatles were big. The faculty hung anti-Tiger Woods posters in the halls, supposedly because his support of the Nike phrase "Just Do It" was a reference to his rejection of God's authority. Seriously, like they were fooling anyone about their motives for their exclusive and excessive derision of the black golfer who is probably more skilled than any other person at the sport. They had a good math program, so I got to go to a college that taught science not based on the Bible. In chemistry we learned the Jack Chick fact that gluons aren't real and that therefore that atoms hold together is physical proof of God (see the Big Daddy tract for that one). It was their philosophy that the conclusion of an argument should be examined before the reasoning behind it, rejecting conclusions that contradicted the Bible, regardless of what reasoning might support them. It is this reason that when debating religion I am so focused on context. No argument in the world, no matter how well constructed or supported will challenge a person if the person's core philosophy relies first on faith in what they have been told and only second in their reasoning abilities unless it is made within the context of their faith. My bad experience there is obviously no kind of justification for an attitude against Christians as group, and I try not to have one. It is however where I learned what I know about the Bible and gained my interest in philosophic debate. If you're interested, here's their website.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Pyromaniakal22 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:15 am

draque wrote:
Pyromaniakal22 wrote:As for the executions in biblical times due to homosexuality, i am honestly not sure how to approach it, seeing as i didn't live back then, and don't know the whole story. However, just looking at it at face value, i suppose i would say something along the lines of, that was the culture. If you do something wrong, you are either killed or exciled. (That there was a very broad and general statment, but it still holds fairly well) It appears that that's just what happens. I mean, it even states that "their blood is on their own hands." Basically, "these are the terms, these are the rules. You break 'em, you accept the concequences."


Pyromaniakal22 wrote:How would i view a modern country that executes people simply because they are homosexual? I am against that completely. I think that there are certain things that warrant a death penalty, such as homicide, or other such things on a grander scale, but for something such as killing someone because of the way they choose to live their life, in a loving relationship? I'm against it
[. . .]
People do have their human rights, and i believe that that kind of a law is in complete violation of those, and the Ten Commandments. Peter and the Apostles put it nicely in Acts, and then there's this bit that i like from Ephesians (pay attention to Vs.12) So, yea, i think that covers my thoughts there; I'm against a death penalty for being gay. They have done nothing to harm another person in any way (at least in the sense of being homosexual) and are still a person.


In the first quote you pretty clearly think that execution for homosexuality was justified in Biblical times, but don't in modern times. Why was it right then and wrong now to make laws mandating it?


Let me put this out there right now; in both cases, i am against killing someone for being homosexual, as that seems to be what you are ultimately getting at with this. As for case 1 there, i was simply saying how i was viewing that time period. I don't agree with it, but that's apparently how it was. The same holds for case 2, in that, i wouldn't agree with it, but i'm not sure i'd be able to do anything about it. Why it was 'right' in biblical times, i guess i would once again point to the fact that that was the law laid down, and that now, that law has been re-written, what with the new covanent.
Pyromaniakal22 wrote:...looking at the O.T. in the bible, there are instances where God just up and condemns entire generations of people because of something that their parents, parents did. However, I'm not sure He still does this. In the N.T. (Hebrews 8:7-13 for anyone who cares to look into it) says that he basically threw all the old rules out the window, cause people weren't following them, and then instated new rules on how things were going to work.
I still don't agree with what happened, but that's what happened.

Draque wrote:Ok. The bit about recursion is actually exactly what I was talking about before. Infinite and contradictory recurse without solution is absurd. It's the point of its absurdity that I was trying to make. If you boil a concept down and find yourself left with it ("it" being the paradox of self reference), you can see that the concept needs revision before it can be made rational. This being said... you also mentioned that you didn't see your god as being constrained by the laws of reason. If this is the case, why would something like being without himself not be possible? In past conversations an answer that I've come across many times is "My god is beyond all reasoning." To me it seems like a cop out simply because the people who use it tend to reason that their god has all sorts of attributes, desires and stipulations.

I'm not sure i get what you're saying here; what is the recurve, and what is the point you are trying to make because of it (i think i might have gotten momentarily lost from all the cross posting here) so, for simplicity's sake, care to just put it out plain and simple what you're having a problem with currently (not trying to be mean here, just asking for a starting point) so i can try and work out what it is you are talking about exactly?

Until then though, thanks for sharing the background. It sounds like an....interesting...place. I don't think i would have really gotten along there. The web site didn't really tell me a whole lot though, but still, it's nice to know where you're coming from. So, thanks again.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:40 pm

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Seriously. You are debating the merits and validity of this?
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Pyromaniakal22 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:59 pm

Pretty much, yes. Though that's taking it quite literally, lol. I like it though, haven't seen that one before surprisingly.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby draque » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:33 pm

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:I'm not sure i get what you're saying here; what is the recurve, and what is the point you are trying to make because of it (i think i might have gotten momentarily lost from all the cross posting here) so, for simplicity's sake, care to just put it out plain and simple what you're having a problem with currently (not trying to be mean here, just asking for a starting point) so i can try and work out what it is you are talking about exactly?


Ok, I'm trying to think of a good way to explain it... There are certain paradoxes and problems that are unsolvable. The paradox of self reference is one that I mentioned before. Another is the halting problem (you can never make a program that successfully predicts for all other programs if they will halt ). They are a series of problems that are provably unsolvable and/or inherently irrational. This means that any larger concept that includes one of these problems or paradoxes within the reasoning inherent in it... is in some way logically flawed. If you create a program that somehow includes that assumption that the halting problem can be overcome, it will fail. If you create a concept that includes an instance of the paradox of self reference, the concept cannot rationally exist. If the concept is one outside the laws of reason... well, I don't suppose any rules at all would apply to it. What I'm saying is that the concept of a truly omnipotent being inherently includes an instance of the paradox of self reference. Because of this, it is an impossibility that it could exist within the realm of reason. If your god is outside the realm of reason (not subject to rules that he himself created, like you said earlier), then this wouldn't be an issue. The upshot of it is well... essentially anything and everything. Once you wander outside the realms of reason, there is no longer any kind of guarantee to anything. Your god could be utterly evil while still being blameless. He could send all believers to hell without breaking his promise to send them to heaven. For this reason the concept of a god who doesn't answer to the rules of logic is one that I find deeply disturbing (not in that I feel a person shouldn't think it, but in that if true, it has very ominous implications).

Anyhow, to sum up, I'm basically saying "Here are some provably impossible things. If you base reasoning on them, anything that you come up with is also impossible." Does that make sense?
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby draque » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:41 pm

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:Seriously. You are debating the merits and validity of this?


It's through the reflection of our reason that we can best examine it. Debating with people who disagree with you completely on a point helps you find errors in your own reasoning much more quickly than debate with people who agree.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:01 pm

draque wrote:
Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:Seriously. You are debating the merits and validity of this?


It's through the reflection of our reason that we can best examine it. Debating with people who disagree with you completely on a point helps you find errors in your own reasoning much more quickly than debate with people who agree.


Perhaps, I suggest, the debate should be centered on the issue of whether cosmic Jewish zombies making magical talking snakes is a reasonable basis for the contents of the bible, rather than debating the contradictory and arbitrary contents of the bible themselves.

The entire authority of those contents derives from an invisible cosmic zombie performing magic, and if this is unreasonable, if this is ridiculous, then the rest of the bible, derived from that, is not worth wasting time on. It become patently false and absurd, beneath any concern other than mockery.

Fussing over whether one passage means one thing, or another passage means another, over whether some rule or law in those passages has any authority demands that such authority be substantiated in the first place.

Before you debate the bible seriously, I really do submit that you should first debate whether or not the authority of the bible is in the least plausible in the first place. Otherwise, you are just arguing which Star Trek ship could beat which Star Wars ship, or which Marvel superhero could beat which DC superhero. Which is fine, I suppose, if you are a hardcore nerd about such matters. Ultimately, though, arguing about fantasy can have only a limited ability to train for serious debate; it is hard to make any point when the assumed details of an argument can be altered by the next issue of the comic - or the next chapter of the bible. Which commonly occurs. Debate requires something stable to actually argue about. Something consistent. The bible is less consistent than the Marvel story timeline. The editors of the bible were not worried about consistency. Or else they were just really bad at it.

But even this is academic, because ultimately, the argument must depend on whether it is even reasonable to assume the authority of an invisible, magical, self-fathering cosmic zombie man creating the entire universe in the first place, much less within seven days. And this does not even address the issue of whether the contractor who supposedly built the universe should have any authority over it in the first place - how can anyone be sure that he didn't just build it for someone else, and then chose to run off with it?

In short, before you debate the bible, perhaps the first debate should be about whether or not the whole subject matter is stupid, ridiculous, and utterly absurd before you even begin.

It's OK, if you want to debate ridiculous and silly stories - why Dr. Who and Trek fans have been doing that for ages. Make some Jesus/Paul slash fanfics if you want. Heck, how about Satan/God Yaoi? I'm OK with that. I don't want to see or read it, but, hey, whatever.

Just don't act as if what you are debating is anything more than nerds whinging about whether captain Kirk is better than captain Picard, until you answer the initial issue of whether the basic cosmology of Christianity is not actually inferior to the cosmology of Marvel comics. Which in my observation, it very arguably, what the hell, utterly, is.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby strange_person » Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:00 pm

That something is absurd does not necessarily mean that it is wrong.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Pyromaniakal22 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:05 pm

Actually, Jennifer, based on your statement there, i'm curious what religion (if any) you subscribe to? Out of simple curiosity. I read your back story on your site, and I understand you've had some bad run-ins with 'Christians' in the past, and how you were going to just give it all up; but, from there i got a bit lost. Please enlighten me there, if you wouldn't mind. (Feel free to use private messages or email me, AIM me, whatever. I'm just curious.)
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Pyromaniakal22 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:28 pm

draque wrote:Ok, I'm trying to think of a good way to explain it... There are certain paradoxes and problems that are unsolvable. The paradox of self reference is one that I mentioned before.
[...]
Once you wander outside the realms of reason, there is no longer any kind of guarantee to anything. Your god could be utterly evil while still being blameless. He could send all believers to hell without breaking his promise to send them to heaven. For this reason the concept of a god who doesn't answer to the rules of logic is one that I find deeply disturbing (not in that I feel a person shouldn't think it, but in that if true, it has very ominous implications).

Anyhow, to sum up, I'm basically saying "Here are some provably impossible things. If you base reasoning on them, anything that you come up with is also impossible." Does that make sense?


Yea, that last bit makes sense, at least in our...knowledge/understanding/etc (?) of things. I was kind of thinking that that's what you meant, but wasn't sure. And, in such instances as this, this is where faith comes in. Do i think that it is scientifically possible for a dead man to have risen from the grave after three days of rotting in a hole in the ground? No, i can't say that science has ever proven that possible. Or what about the fact that some all-knowing, all-powerful being created the entire universe? Can it be tested? Validated scientifically? No. Is it logically possible for a thing to exist and yet not exist both in the exact same time and place as one another, and yet be one and the same object/person? Again, that's a nope there. However, do i believe that it has happened? That it is possible (somehow)? Yup. I don't know how, i can't explain how, it can't be explained to me how; and that's faith. Some things just have to be taken on it. And this is one that i am going to be taking on faith, because i honestly don't have a logically scientific explanation for it, nor have i ever been given one. You may say that that is illogical in itself, but there is another bit of logic that i've been playing with, and looking into here: Say i'm wrong, say Christianity is a complete farce. Now, every other religion that i have looked into either has a way back into the system (via reincarnation or something similar) or making up for your short comings in the afterlife, or when you die it just doesn't matter and you're just gone. Woot. Christianity looks to be a one shot deal. God's like "Believe in me, or don't. Your call, your consequence." (again though, i can't say that everyone's going to hell, or everyone's going to heaven or whatever based on that, cause i don't know) But anyway; in that sense, i would rather stick with the one that apparently matters on the first try, rather than go with something that i could get back into and try again, or go with something that ends up not mattering. Christianity is giving me one shot at the gold, everywhere else gives either multiple shots, or there isn't any gold anyway and it doesn't matter. So, in that light, i'm sticking with the one that gives me only one shot, right or wrong, first.
That isn't my main reason for being a Christian in any means, but the reasoning still holds.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:50 pm

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Actually, Jennifer, based on your statement there, i'm curious what religion (if any) you subscribe to? Out of simple curiosity. I read your back story on your site, and I understand you've had some bad run-ins with 'Christians' in the past, and how you were going to just give it all up; but, from there i got a bit lost. Please enlighten me there, if you wouldn't mind. (Feel free to use private messages or email me, AIM me, whatever. I'm just curious.)


I belong to no religion. I am an agnostic, ultimately.

I do not rule out the possibility of the mystical, I do not rule out even the possibility of god-like entities, nor even of a spiritual and metaphysical side to reality. Neither do I believe in any of these things. I do not have any beliefs. I do not believe in anything.

I am a metaphysical pragmatist. If it works, I use it, for as long as it works, and if it stops working, then that is that. If I have a mystical, 'religious' experience - and arguably, I have had more than most people- I do not imagine that experiencing a miracle, no matter how powerful or compelling, is proof of any one worldview, or any one religion, or any particular thing at all. I do not assume that I am capable of deriving cosmic truth from fleeting glimpses of irreproducible events.

I have played with, done, all manner of magic, thaumaturgic and theurgic practice in my life. I have played with all kinds of mysticisms, and I have tried all manner of rituals and other performances of religion. I do not think it is reasonable to talk about such matters unless one has made an effort to try them out, especially since it is, overall, so easy to do so.

I have experienced powerful things that would seem to defy physics and the very nature of reality. I have felt the apparent touch of otherworldly entities both fair and foul. I regularly have, and make use of, things in my life that most people would consider mystical, magical thinking, or religion, but I do not believe them. I do not imagine that such experiences give me any handle on what the meaning of life is, or what is real, or what is not real. Again, pragmatism. If something seems to work, I use it.

I have things that are sacred to me. Friendship is holy and sacred. Love is holy and sacred. Trust is holy and sacred. Compassion, civility, and reason are holy and sacred to me. Not because of any mystical reason, but rather because I have worked out that they are valuable.

My ethics are my own, reasoned out over the course of my life. I do not have morality. I have ethics, rules of proper and correct behavior, a right and a wrong, based on rationality. My ethical code is holy and sacred to me.

I have a favorite mythology, all my own. It would be my fondest prayer that something like it be true and really-real. I do not have any faith that this is so. Sometimes I play with it, and sometimes I lean on it for strength, but I do not believe it. I can, however, suspend my disbelief, long enough to enjoy it, to enjoy other mythologies, to play with magick under a full moon, or do other incredibly silly, often incredibly powerful mystical-seeming things, from time to time.

I think it is good to be able to do that. I think it is good to be able to suspend disbelief long enough to experience all the weird wonders of the mystical, the magical, the religious, without getting sucked into actually believing any of it. To be able to walk between both worlds freely - the world of the rational and the nihilistic, and the mystical and the wondrous. To avoid being trapped by either, and to be courageous enough to face the fears inherent in both, and not give in. To be strong in the face of either oblivion, or eternity. To dare to be terribly silly in the pursuit of understanding.

This is my situation.

I operate from a place of reason that is not blind to possibility. I am not a passive agnostic, I am an active explorer.

I loath any pre-packaged, predigested, off-the-shelf religion product, designed for mass consumption and control. I am ever the enemy of organized religion - I have determined it to merely be yet another power structure, yet another government. An unneeded, and ultimately destructive one. I loath the inventory of commercial religion, the products, such as holy books. I call bullshit.

But I respect any earnest explorer of the mystical, the spiritual, who learns as they go, through experiment and personal effort. That is something I can value, and I like to hear what such a person may have learned, or experienced. That is real, in the sense that someone actually experienced something on their own, and observed it, and can report it. Is it 'really real'? I do not think there is any solid way to tell. Magic (all religion is magic) is a fickle thing, it comes and goes and cannot be pinned down, however compelling and powerful it may be in the moment. It defies the methodology of science. Mostly. There are some very notable exceptions.

What do I think is probably real that is mystical, magical?

I would give a 98% real to the phenomena surrounding telepathy, and clair sensing of various forms. I agree with the CIA report to the government on that one, as well as the various other studies. But mostly, such things have been a constant and dependable thing in my life, and from a pragmatic point of view, if it works, and it is dependable (more or less), then it is probably real. Probably.

I would give a 88% real to the phenomena of probability control in all of its various forms. For the same reasons. I just have personally had less dependable success with it. But I have seen incredible things involving it. I cannot deny that.

I would give a 98% real to the phenomena surrounding the experience of hauntings. Notice I did not say 'ghosts' or 'spirits' or 'souls'. I don't have a clue on earth what the phenomena is, or what causes it, but things that go bump in the night, tromping footsteps in the middle of the night with no apparent cause, slams and bangs and the sounds of doors, that I have experienced too much for my liking. I do not claim anything other than the experience. The cause is not mine to ascribe.

I would give a 100% real to the statement that there is something more about the world than conventional physics can currently explain. Of course, this is a no-brainer, of course there is physics yet to be discovered. It would be arrogant presumption to imagine that we have all the rules of the universe figured out now, worse, it would be patently absurd, since there is so very much we clearly do not even have a clue about. But I also mean this in the mystical sense. There must be some explanation for those events that seem to defy expectation and conventional understanding. Ultimately, the mystical is just physics we don't have an understanding of yet.

I would give a 100% to the reality of what are called 'UFO's, which is to say objects that seem to violate one or more physical laws as they maneuver about, usually in the sky, sometimes in the water or on the ground. There is no question folks see things, inexplicable things, regularly, and that they have throughout all of recorded history. What that means I cannot say. Space ships? Gods? Secret government projects? Telepathic mass shared hallucination? Whatever it is, it is not just hoaxes and misinterpretations. It is also remarkably consistent, even across time and culture - Alexander the Great's flying disks were no different than the ones reported today. A repeated phenomena exists, only the cause is in question.

I would give a 50% real to the question of the soul. It's the best I can do. I have reasons to consider the possibility of it existing, and rationality that says that it is utterly impossible. 50%. I personally hope, of course, that the rational argument is fatally flawed.

Beyond this, beyond my probabilities and my speculations and my personal experiences, I know that I know nothing. I understand that it is almost certain that I can never actually know the answer to any of this. And I am all too aware that the most rational answer is always nothing, oblivion, meaninglessness, nihilism.

That said, weird stuff keeps happening. I cannot deny that.

But I absolutely cannot just buy into some commonly held, easy, conformist, convenient delusion, and I do have disgust for anyone who does. I've seen this stuff, and it is not a mass-market thing. Whatever it is, it is pretty damn localized, personal, and diverse, be it delusion or actual phenomena.

That is what I think. More or less. Subject, always, to change.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby draque » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:56 pm

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Yea, that last bit makes sense, at least in our...knowledge/understanding/etc (?) of things. I was kind of thinking that that's what you meant, but wasn't sure. And, in such instances as this, this is where faith comes in. Do i think that it is scientifically possible for a dead man to have risen from the grave after three days of rotting in a hole in the ground? No, i can't say that science has ever proven that possible. Or what about the fact that some all-knowing, all-powerful being created the entire universe? Can it be tested? Validated scientifically? No. Is it logically possible for a thing to exist and yet not exist both in the exact same time and place as one another, and yet be one and the same object/person? Again, that's a nope there. However, do i believe that it has happened? That it is possible (somehow)? Yup. I don't know how, i can't explain how, it can't be explained to me how; and that's faith.


Yes... honestly I think we're at both an understanding and a standstill here. Faith is where the buck stops for reasoning, which is why I dislike it. A faith is not something that can be challenged, as it is by very definition present in either the lack of supporting evidence or in the face of contradictory evidence. You say here that you have faith in mutually contradictory things... which means that things like inconsistencies in faith and religious writings can exist, both be true and be mutually exclusive without any sort of cognitive dissonance.

Some things just have to be taken on it.


The single element of faith I allow myself is the faith that my senses do not conspire to deceive me. I'm not the first person to say that, but it's a philosophy that I hold to.

Say i'm wrong, say Christianity is a complete farce. Now, every other religion that i have looked into either has a way back into the system (via reincarnation or something similar) or making up for your short comings in the afterlife, or when you die it just doesn't matter and you're just gone. Woot. Christianity looks to be a one shot deal [. . .]Christianity is giving me one shot at the gold, everywhere else gives either multiple shots, or there isn't any gold anyway and it doesn't matter.


That's Pascal's Wager there. The problem with it is that there are many religions that are out there preaching an eternal torment if you fail to follow their teachings exclusively. Here is a good breakdown of world religions. Christianity is on top, but if you break it down further into groups that believe all other types of Christians are going to hell, it falls from the first rank pretty quickly. At that point, you're left with Islam (which splits into two main groups, the larger of which is easily bigger than the largest splinter of Christianity). If the argument of "this many people believe it, how can it be wrong?" is used, then Pascal seems to be pointing you to a mosc.

In addition, there have to be considered all the possible religions that are equally likely to Christianity that damn you without a heartfelt faith in their deities. Keep in mind that there's also the possibility of an arbitrary god that damns all people who believe what is correct. Although that would be very unfortunate, I don't think that's less likely than a god who is able to freely break the laws of reason.

I do realize that what you said earlier about faith still holds, and there's nothing internally inconsistent with your reasoning there... but I do think that it's externally inconsistent with what we can see about the universe. Technically I'm an agnostic, and I'll grant you the possibility that there is a god, possibly even the Christian God that's described in the Bible... but as I also think that it's equally likely that there is a god who damns all Christians and no one else, I don't see the point in believing one over the other. Moreover, I don't see evidence of either. If there's a god that punishes rationality, I think it's very curious that it gave us the minds that we have.

Anyhow, this is getting very focused on points that clearly weren't originally intended... do you have questions you want me to answer now that you've answered mine? :3
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby strange_person » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:08 pm

Pyromaniakal22 wrote:Do i think that it is scientifically possible for a dead man to have risen from the grave after three days of rotting in a hole in the ground? No, i can't say that science has ever proven that possible.

I dunno, most people seem to agree that that carpenter's son from Nazareth was a rather exceptional fellow, and exceptional people throughout history have been known to endure astonishingly horrific degrees of injury. By the time He got nailed to that tree, He'd already survived, iirc, hundreds of lashes from a type of whip that killed most people after about 20, plus quite a bit of miscellaneous battery and abuse. Of the actual crucifixion-related injuries, only one (spear wound to the abdomen, penetrating chest vitals) was independently lethal.

Assuming Longinus either screwed that last bit up somehow, or was an inside man (after all, he was already breaking from procedure by not breaking legs), Jesus, presumably in some kind of coma or death-like trance beyond the local centurions' ability to diagnose, was taken down, wrapped in a shroud (which would have helped quite a bit with the sunburn, not to mention concealing any further signs of life) and placed in a cool, dark, damp tomb: a nearly ideal location for covertly recovering from dehydration. Of course, more than just dripping condensation is necessary to recover from such severe injuries. After about three days, lack of food starts to become a threat in itself, so He sneaks out and calls in some favors from the local ex-leper community. The next recorded sighting is much later, and involves a face which initially is unrecognized even by close friends.

Altogether, the story is rather improbable, but not utterly beyond the bounds of human physiology, even assuming that it was reported accurately.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Alikat » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:09 pm

Strikes me as a little bit silly that we can accept the concept of splays and a Multiverse filled with various universes in hyperspace being manipulated by mysterious beings as a theoretical "what if," but the idea of a Creator who brings His Son back from the dead in order to make possible a magical ritual involving symbolic cannibalism raises eyebrows. :)
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:12 pm

Alikat wrote:Strikes me as a little bit silly that we can accept the concept of splays and a Multiverse filled with various universes in hyperspace being manipulated by mysterious beings as a theoretical "what if," but the idea of a Creator who brings His Son back from the dead in order to make possible a magical ritual involving symbolic cannibalism raises eyebrows. :)


Perhaps the fact that, unlike magical cannibalism rituals, Multiverse theory, even if bastardized by a very silly cartoonist, does, at its heart, do a damn fine job of reconciling wave-particle duality, quantum vs. large-scale reality, and has a basis in solid mathematics and benefits from increasing experimental proof.

Perhaps that is why stories about antics among parallel worlds are more acceptable, at least to the rational mind, than magic cannibal ritual stories.

The science thing.
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Alikat » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:08 am

Multiverse theory, even if bastardized by a very silly cartoonist, does, at its heart, do a damn fine job of reconciling wave-particle duality, quantum vs. large-scale reality, and has a basis in solid mathematics and benefits from increasing experimental proof.

Bah, neither one of us has the math to even begin to grasp even the simplest proofs for any of that, hell, I KNOW I've got better math skills than you and I might as well be a painted Celt staring at a space shuttle next to that kind of math. You just chose a different Priesthood to follow! :D

Also, I've read Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" twice from cover to cover, and nowhere in there did I see a refutation of the notion of Zombie Jesus. Hawking made specific reference to the concept of mixing cosmology with traditional religion. Hawking is VERY damned smart, SO smart that he actually realizes that he doesn't know everything. :P
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Re: CALL FOR ACTION

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:36 am

You talk, you all talk of god.

Let me tell you about dog.

Specifically a dog, that dog, somewhere out in the dark, beyond my back door railing, out beyond the trees on our land, in the cold.

It started screaming, when I was on the toilet. The screams were piercing and horrific, the screams of doggie agony and terror that only a large dog being horrifically harmed can make. On and on the screams went, ripping through the walls of the house, loud as any alarm, in the cold still night.

Eventually, I stood at my door, trying to see what was happening. Was it a coyote ripping the dog open, gutting it, tearing its throat? Had it suffered a doggie heart attack? I could not tell for the screaming finally stopped, replaced by low, soft whimpers that continue even now. It's been half an hour. If I go to the door, yet it still whimpers; occasionally it gives a single, plaintive yelp.

I think it belongs to the assholes who live on the lot two blocks away. Last year they bought a huge parcel of land covered with tall, ancient trees, and clear cut it to nothing but dirt. The entire plot. Then, with the ancient trees hauled off, the plopped a single small trailer house right in the middle of the now empty, dirt lot. Lately, they have taken to racing small, very noisy recreational vehicles illegally all weekend long, around and around their lot. The police have been called on them numerous times. They seem to have stopped, finally.

I think the screaming dog belongs to them. It normally barks night and day, driving my household to great annoyance. It is a very loud dog, and the owners make no effort to care for it as far as I can tell. It is always outdoors, always barking.

But tonight, it was screaming, and now it is whimpering, and I cannot see it, and I cannot be sure that it is on the lot I think it is, but it sounded like the same dog, as best as one can tell from screams and whimpers. The owners of the dog certainly did not rush out of their small trailer to help it.

You talk of god. When asked serious questions like 'why is there so much evil in the world if god is good?' the answers I hear are always that the reason is free will, or it is that god is mysterious, or that there is a reason we cannot see. But that is all bullshit, and you know it, and I know it, and I wish you would all just shut the fuck up, and stop lying to yourself, and to me.

Dogs scream in this world. So do people, and all manner of creatures. They scream and they whimper from fear and from pain. They writhe in unending agony, they gout streamers of blood and ichor, and they die slowly and horribly. Or they do not die, and they merely live on, in torment, in torture. This is common. It may very easily happen to you. Or to anyone you love. This is the way of this world.

This is the way of this universe, of this nature. This is the world of short life and slow death, of screaming and pain and miserable horror.

God can do anything, you say. God made the universe and the stars. God made man and all the animals. God made the rules and the laws.

Your god is filth. Your god is a monster. Your god made a world of torture, misery and pain. Evil is a tiny, insignificant matter, compared to that. Compared to the misery of the physical world, all the evils of human history are both petty, and trivial.

The dog is still whimpering. It barked, yelped really, and that yelp spoke misery and horror. And I can do nothing. I cannot help the dog. I cannot find the dog. I cannot see the dog, I can only hear it, out beyond the tall trees and the thick bushes, in the pitch dark, somewhere. I can guess it might be on a particular property, owned by scary, unpleasant griefer assholes, but I cannot be sure.

Your god did this. Your god made me impotent to help, and your god made a biology so fragile that suffering is common, death is common, horror and misery is common, and pain ubiquitous. Your god made a universe where the physical laws make us all short-lived, vulnerable meat, meat that suffers, meat that can be damaged horribly, meat that screams.

If your god were good, injury would be impossible, physics would not allow it. Sickness would not exist, death would be a null and impossible concept. If your god were kind, no creature would ever writhe in torturous pain, and no dog nor man would ever scream in terror and agony. If your god were nice, if he were worth even respecting at all, the physics of our universe would render these things impossible, they would not, could not be.

I pray tonight that there is no god. It is better that no god exists, at least no god as you imagine, no god with power enough to have made this universe from nothing.

Because if your god exists, he is a vile and cruel creature, evil and loathsome beyond imagining, a torturer and a sadist of the worst sort, a monster that made a universe where an innocent animal is allowed by the laws of nature to whimper in helpless, lonely agony.

I have tears for that dog tonight, and loathing for your god. I curse your god, I damn him, I spit on him.

A small child could invent a better universe than this one. They do, actually, in their heads, before they learn what kind of horror palace they are actually trapped in. I did. I once imagined, in my simplicity, that the world was kind, that the birds sang with joy, and that everyone just lived in harmony forever. All children think this. Until they find death and pain are real.

You talk of god. You pray to and fawn on this god of yours. You debate your scriptures and what they mean. You talk of moral good.

Yet you live in a universe designed by a heartless or uncaring monster, at best, and around you all life suffers, and cries, and screams in misery and fear and pain. And one day, all too soon, so very soon, that which you love will die, horribly, as all death is. And then you will die, but first you will know pain, and you will know fear. I guarantee it. It is the way of this world.

How dare you worship god! How dare you suffer even a kind thought to such a beast! I would ask if you are insane, if there is something deeply wrong with you that you cannot see this universe for what it is, and see that if a god did exist, he would be worse than any devil could ever be. He would be responsible for screaming dogs. And screaming men.

My tears are dry now. I don't want to go check the back door, to see if the dog still whimpers. I don't want to know, for there is nothing I can do. Not for the dog, not for the world, not for you, and ultimately, not even for me. Our fates are all sealed, damned already by the cruel physics of a heartless, mean universe where meat can scream and wonder why it must scream at all.

How can you not be 'down' on religion? Are you fools? Are you just so frightened by the monstrousness of god that you must suck up to him? Or are you just so deep in denial that you cannot admit how truly cruel reality actually is, and how cruel any creator of it must absolutely be?

God: Good night, and fuck you too.
Jennifer Diane Reitz
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Jennifer Diane Reitz
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