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The New Ten Commandments Options · View
DamonX
Posted: Saturday, September 11, 2010 9:07:35 PM

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I was going to post this in the God thread but I figured it deserved a seperate category.

I had a discussion with a catholic friend of mine about the inclusion/exclusion of the Ten commandments in government buildings. He made the argument that they were simply "A list of moral rules" that could be applied to any person regardless of religious affiliation. I had actually read the bible and found this argument absolutely ludicrous. I would point out such inaccuracies, but I thought this vid might states things a bit more eloquantly.

Pay particular attention to Mr. Hitchens' revision of the Ten, which I agree are much better ideals to live up to.







And now....drinkin time! Have a good weekend everyone. icon_smile
WellMadeMale
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2010 7:12:09 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,288
Location: Cakeland, United States
6

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Guest
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2010 11:45:32 AM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 534,624
Too much to go over again, but thanks for adding a new item to my reading list.

Oh, but where do I sign up to join the council of pharisees to crucify the cell phone sinners?
WellMadeMale
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 9:53:25 AM

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Joined: 9/30/2009
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Location: Cakeland, United States
All of Christopher's religious debating buddies are sending him prayers now that he's been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/511033-unanswerable-prayers

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Guest
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:04:28 PM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 534,624
Why him and not George Bush? oops...did I say that out loud?
aussiescribbler
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 10:25:51 PM

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Joined: 6/22/2010
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Location: Adelaide
He does an awesome job with that one. Most of his arguments are unassailable, but he does kind of go against his own principles when he talks about not even thinking about using others as your property. Like the coveting commandment, this would be a commandment against thought as much as deed. I for one like to fantasise about using people as my personal sex slaves and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Also, he neglects to mention that Jesus did his own alternative commandments. He got them down to two :

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.


The first is contentious in that we don't all believe in the same God or any God. But if we do believe in a God, then loving him, in and of itself, will do noone else any harm. If, however, we believe that he wants us to hurt others and our love leads us to act on such a belief, it could be problematic.

But I see nothing at all wrong with the second of his commandments. It makes no mention of God. And the wise have always realised that our neighbor IS ourself :

No man is an island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

John Donne


So I would be very happy for this commandment to be placed on all classroom walls, public buildings, etc. Let those who might object explain why they think it is bad or dangerous advice. (And it may be important to emphasise that he didn't say "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, as long as he isn't a Democrat, a homosexual or an athiest.")
Guest
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:28:12 PM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 534,624
Thou shalt not pass gas in the elevator.....gov cafateria food is just nasty working it's way out...Trust me, I've been in the Hoover Building on Nacho day. *shudder*
Other than that, what type of gov orgs are we talking about....some of them kill people on a regular basis, do you think they're going to pay attention to a sign in the lobby. Uh uhhh.

XX
BB
MrNudiePants
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 6:50:17 AM

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Joined: 8/10/2009
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I made it through a couple minutes. I thought I had managed to watch the whole thing, but it turns out I fell asleep. Hitchens badly needs to take some elocution lessons from Penn Gilette. Or maybe he just needs to take some uppers - I don't know.

I guess I'm just not sure what the reason is for even recording a piece like that. He's not going to sway any believers over to his side, and the people that agree with him already are on his side. I suppose there are scads of fence-sitters out there, and by recording such a piece he may end up making some converts, but in the end - what does he gain? What's the purpose? Why do atheists spend so much time and energy (not to mention money) proselytizing their own faith, which they then insist is not a faith at all, but an abhorrence of such? I guess every belief system needs a cheering section, even if it's a supposed non-belief. It's just sad, really.

DamonX
Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010 12:57:10 PM

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Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 795
MrNudiePants wrote:
I made it through a couple minutes. I thought I had managed to watch the whole thing, but it turns out I fell asleep. Hitchens badly needs to take some elocution lessons from Penn Gilette. Or maybe he just needs to take some uppers - I don't know.

I guess I'm just not sure what the reason is for even recording a piece like that. He's not going to sway any believers over to his side, and the people that agree with him already are on his side. I suppose there are scads of fence-sitters out there, and by recording such a piece he may end up making some converts, but in the end - what does he gain? What's the purpose? Why do atheists spend so much time and energy (not to mention money) proselytizing their own faith, which they then insist is not a faith at all, but an abhorrence of such? I guess every belief system needs a cheering section, even if it's a supposed non-belief. It's just sad, really.


Once again...great mediating skills.

I would address this foolishness, but its been covered ad nauseum in other threads already. If you can't grasp the difference between believing in something and not believing in something, then I guess you never will.

Well, I'm off to work. I'm going to "proselytize" somebody into "believing" that they need an ACL reconstruction.

aussiescribbler
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 3:02:32 AM

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Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
Once again...great mediating skills.

I would address this foolishness, but its been covered ad nauseum in other threads already. If you can't grasp the difference between believing in something and not believing in something, then I guess you never will.

Well, I'm off to work. I'm going to "proselytize" somebody into "believing" that they need an ACL reconstruction.


While atheism is not itself a faith, most atheists seem to have an irrational desire to deny the meaningfulness of religious concepts. No product of the imagination is meaningless, all express what lies beneath the surface of our psychological and social reality. Imaginary concepts which are embraced and treasured over hundreds of years by individuals who are prepared to die to preserve them clearly plumb the depths particularly deeply. That doesn't mean there may not be dross amidst the gold. Excavating the subconscious is not an exact art. And it doesn't mean that many, at least on a conscious level, may not completely miss the meaning of the words they embrace and act in total contradiction to them. But the meaning is still there for those who want to look for it. Christianity is a good example. The words of Jesus often go straight to the heart of what it is to be human and give good advice, if you ignore the supernatural concepts which were the only way to talk about these things in a pre-scientific era. But the Christian churches, while preserving those valuable words, have often acted totally contrary to them - torturing, murdering, condemning, oppressing. Very far from Jesus vision that an acknowledgement of our own imperfections and forgiveness of others could open up our ability to love one other.

Recently an atheist (should I say "fellow atheist" if I don't believe in a supernatural God) told me that he doesn't believe Jesus existed because there is no conventional historical evidence. To me this is madness. Not doubting that there was a Jesus, even though the idea of Peter and Paul making him up as a hoax seems like a rather far-fetched conspiracy theory. But to dismiss a profoundly meaningful part of our culture simply because you couldn't verify its source is like finding gold in the street and not keeping it because it has no bank marks.

Admit it or not, we all have our faiths. We all believe what we want to believe and ignore evidence if we don't like the conclusion to which it would lead us. What atheist wants to believe in God but is frustrated by the lack of evidence? Most atheist don't like the idea of a God and are happy there is no evidence. If we are lucky, our faith evolves throughout our life adjusting to new evidence when we can find an acceptable way of integrating it. Without care the breakdown of a faith can lead to suicidal despair. I've been there before. The more neurotic we are the more fundamentalistic the dogma to which we are liable to cling. Unfortunately fundamentalistic dogmas tend to increase our state of neurosis. But we are all intensely neurotic. Materialism, depression, anger, vanity...these are all symptoms of neurosis. There are two aspects to our neurosis : 1. Insecurity from childhood that leaves us obsessed with proving ourselves in some way worthy. 2. Fear of all the emotional urges we have had to repress to fit into society, mainly aggression and parts of our original polymorphously perverse sexuality. The answer might be to embrace the concept of our own worthlessness. This sounds perverse, but what better way to get off the self-justification merry-go-round than say, "I'm worthless. So what." And we need to make friends with our Id (all that repressed aggression and sexuality) through sick humour and other forms of unbounded taboo-free self expression. If we can do these two things I believe we can liberate our deep instinct to love each other unconditionally (no need to call it "God") and live in a state of ecstasy that we have only previously experienced during orgasm.

We all have our delusions. That's mine.
aussiescribbler
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 9:45:30 AM

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Joined: 6/22/2010
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Location: Adelaide
On further reflection, I need to correct myself. Atheism is a faith.

Atheism is not "not believing in God". That is agnosticism. Atheism is the positive belief that God doesn't exist. Since it is impossible to prove the non-existence of anything, any such belief is a form of faith, i.e. belief not supported by reference to evidence. If we say, "Fairies don't exist!", that is a statement of faith, because we can't actually provide evidence of the non-existence of fairies, only point to the lack of such evidence for their existence. To lump a belief in the non-existence of fairies in with belief in a supernatural deity may seem absurd, but clarity of thought requires precise and consistent definitions.

There are four possible positions on the existence of God, which can be divided into two broad categories :

1. Scientific (i.e. open-minded assessment of evidence or lack there of) :

a. Agnosticism - looking for evidence but finding none.

b. Gnosticism - looking for evidence and finding it - e.g. Carl Jung's studies of synchronicity and the collective unconscious.

2. Faith-based :

a. Faith in God.

b. Atheism - faith in the non-existence of God.

The concept of gnosticism is a controversial one. The gnostic claims to "know God exists". I'd probably have to put myself in that category as long as it is understood that the supernatural religious God is a delusional projection of the God I know warped beyond all recognition into some kind of grotesque bogeyman. To me God is a principle or process of nature that I see unfolding around me everyday. Energy has no need of matter. Yet some energy takes the orderly form we call matter. Matter can exist fine without being alive, yet some matter can move and consume and breed. Life doesn't need to be intelligent to survive, but some life can think and ask the questions I'm asking now. Living intelligent beings don't need to write poetry or paint beautiful pictures. We can live without those things, and yet some of us do create them. But what if it is the intrinsic nature of energy, when circumstances allow, to become ordered into something more complex than itself? And what if that potential flows on through matter, when circumstances allow, to become alive, and so on through each new level of creativity? This is like a seed which contains the intrinsic potential to be a flower, something which is realised when it is planted in the soil and watered. Within each of us the equivalent of this creative principle is the soul, that is our genetic orientation toward love and creativity. As William Blake and Oscar Wilde both pointed out - the soul is not separate from the body, it is the body. We don't understand the mechanisms of such an unfolding universe, but we can't deny that matter and life and intelligence and love exist and, presumably must be the outcome of some natural process, since we have no evidence of an external creator. Religious dogma says "God created the universe and life". Whatever this creative principle is is what did that. Religious dogma says, "God is Love". The creative principle in human society that binds us together into communities and makes it possible for us work together to find understanding of our world is love. So why would the direct evidence for such a process become invisible to us and our awareness of it mutate into a monstrous oppressive bogeyman? Because the battle to understand nature and ourselves has, over the centuries, led us to become severely insecure and neurotic - projecting our fear of the God we know inside us outward into a vision of a judgemental tyrant that wanted to punish us. The God we know inside us is quite simply our enthusiasm - that's what the word means - "God within". But this is a powerful force which can easily disturb and even destroy the frightened narrow ego within which we live. Now all of this probably just sounds delusional to those who have a more conservative view of the subject, whether atheist or believer, but it is worth pointing out that it is very hard to describe the colour blue to a blind person, and even atheists when their narrow-mindedness is compromised by LSD have been known to see God.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 9:54:12 AM

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Joined: 9/30/2009
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aussiescribbler wrote:
On further reflection, I need to correct myself. Atheism is a faith.


I like This Guy's definition of atheism. I don't know, and I don't care if his numbers he indicates are correct or not. They appear to be incorrect, but again...I don't care.

I am happily ignorant and apathetic to the point of saying, I could give a rat's ass.

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 1:51:55 PM

Rank: Alpha Blonde

Joined: 2/17/2010
Posts: 6,268
Location: West Coast
aussiescribbler wrote:

even atheists when their narrow-mindedness is compromised by LSD have been known to see God.


Can you expand on this point? Was there a study on LSD and atheists that was published that I'm totally missing? dontknow

I read your post, and it seems like you're tying the phenomenon of "creativity" to having been inspired by "God." Please correct me if I'm wrong thought... that's just how I interpreted it. When you speak of God being evidenced through our ability to be creative, to love, and to question/think, I just see them as evidence of being a higher order of species.

As you said, "living intelligent beings don't need to write poetry or paint beautiful pictures. We can live without those things, and yet some of us do create them". To me, creating and expressing something brings us pleasure, whether it's because of our own accomplishments or the reinforcement or approval of someone else. After all, most people produce poetry or paint pictures in order to share them with others, so to me, it's a form of social expression. A pleasure-induced release of dopamine is reinforcing of certain behaviours. I don't see it as anything tied to God, or evidence of a higher power compelling one to do this.

Many other species show evidence of creativity, high order intelligence or some pair-bonding (which can be seen as the animal version of what we call 'love'). I'll mention dolphins, primates, and some species of birds to name a few. I don't think God is influencing them either.

I do understand many of the reasons behind human beings wanting to believe in a higher power, but I don't see our complexity as a species as any evidence for this.

Although I'm interested in hearing more about the study on LSD and narrow-minded atheists. Although to be fair, I have no trouble with people attributing God to a hallucination. But just incase, I found this awesome t-shirt...








DamonX
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 7:17:54 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 795
Oh God! (oops..did I just say that?) Aussiescribbler, you have just piled on so much garbage I'm going to haveto spend the better part of my evening sifting through it all. So I'll cut to the chase and try and hit a few salient points.

Quote:
Most of his arguments are unassailable, but he does kind of go against his own principles when he talks about not even thinking about using others as your property.


No, he does not. He actually states the ridiculous nature of the ten commandments for proposing such an idea. He says that you should never be punished for your thoughts.


Quote:
There are four possible positions on the existence of God, which can be divided into two broad categories :


I actually prefer the seven point scale that I posted in the God thead. Check it out and get back to me. I think it should clear things up a bit. People have been using different definitions of atheism, agnosticism and so on...so lets just dispense with those terms since they will differ depending on which online dictionary you access. I could break down each word into its linguistic meaning, but that would be missing the point.

I would like to address this persistently claimed fallacy that atheism is a form of religion.

Atheism is an absence of religion. Claiming that it is a religion is like saying your favorite hair color is "bald."

I also find it funny that religious people tend to use that claim as some sort of insult. As if to say "See! You are just as stupid as we are!"

Atheism is not a religion. Not a club, organization, philosophy or team. It is the absence of belief in gods.

If anyone thinks that atheism is a religion, then please tell me what you think "religion" is.

And this idea that atheists are all aggressive and have an "irrational desire to prove others wrong" is false as well. The majority of the millions of the atheists in the world do no such thing. For most atheists, non-belief is not an overriding concern in their lives. They brush it off in the same way that you would brush off the idea of fairies or vampires. 65% of the population of Japan is atheist. I haven't seen any hostile atheistic literature from them. In fact, I have had to actually really search for prominent atheists that have taken some kind of stand. The few that do, tend to get a lot of publicity simply because of the fact that religion has always been seen as "immune" from intellectual scrutiny. People like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens write about it because they care about how religious beliefs impact the world.

I would apopologize for my "irrational hostility" but after all...god made me this way didn't he? icon_smile
aussiescribbler
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 10:16:05 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
Quote:
I would like to address this persistently claimed fallacy that atheism is a form of religion.

Atheism is an absence of religion. Claiming that it is a religion is like saying your favorite hair color is "bald."

I also find it funny that religious people tend to use that claim as some sort of insult. As if to say "See! You are just as stupid as we are!"

Atheism is not a religion. Not a club, organization, philosophy or team. It is the absence of belief in gods.

If anyone thinks that atheism is a religion, then please tell me what you think "religion" is.

And this idea that atheists are all aggressive and have an "irrational desire to prove others wrong" is false as well. The majority of the millions of the atheists in the world do no such thing. For most atheists, non-belief is not an overriding concern in their lives. They brush it off in the same way that you would brush off the idea of fairies or vampires. 65% of the population of Japan is atheist. I haven't seen any hostile atheistic literature from them. In fact, I have had to actually really search for prominent atheists that have taken some kind of stand. The few that do, tend to get a lot of publicity simply because of the fact that religion has always been seen as "immune" from intellectual scrutiny. People like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens write about it because they care about how religious beliefs impact the world.

I would apopologize for my "irrational hostility" but after all...god made me this way didn't he?


I agree with you. Atheism is not a religion. Personally, I've never said it is. It is, however, a faith. You could have faith that your football team is going to win the Super Bowl. That isn't a religion. Or maybe it is for some. But it is a belief unsupported by evidence.

And atheists are not all aggressive, true. There is an arrogance involved in claiming that, because we have never seen any evidence, therefore we never will. But I doubt if any of us are free of that kind of arrogance in some part of our belief system. And fixed beliefs, in and of themselves, needn't make us aggressive. It's the old problem, you never see the quiet drunks, only the ones who pick fights.

It is important for me to point out that I'm not a friend of religion. Quite the opposite. I argue heatedly with believers and non-believers alike. I may believe in God, but that doesn't mean I believe in religion. I believe that the principle enemy of religion is God. The purpose of religion is to try to place restraints on God. And it is God, not atheists, who will eventually destroy religion.

I like to debate these questions not because it matters to me what others believe, but so that I can test my own beliefs. If we get angry when our beliefs are challenged it is because we know that our beliefs are unfounded. I seek out any challenges that might release my anger so that I can further open my mind to a well-founded perception of reality.
DamonX
Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 10:35:59 PM

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Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 795
Again...look at the scale I posted in the God thread. I think it does a much better job of categorizing levels of religious belief. It eliminates the arguments concerning semantics. I think you are mislead by stating "There is an arrogance involved in claiming that, because we have never seen any evidence, therefore we never will."

The option is always there. The probability is very small, but if the evidence presents itself, I would easily change my stance. That is the different between science and religion.

If someone presents evidence that proves my beliefs incorrect, then I change my beliefs. But in religion, if someone presents evidence to prove religious ideas false...it is the evidence that is thrown out.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 12:15:54 AM

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Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,288
Location: Cakeland, United States
DamonX wrote:
If someone presents evidence that proves my beliefs incorrect, then I change my beliefs.


Ever done any further checking into the 'scientific' theory of panspermia yet? Or perhaps you've been too busy starting threads and arguments which rail against anyone who isn't a confirmed atheist? lol

There are no 10 commandments involved in Panspermia either, so I guess you could say there is no basis for that stuff within that theory. But there's also very little evolution involved, so it might not be your cup of tea either. geek

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
aussiescribbler
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 1:54:21 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
[quote]
Dancing_Doll wrote:
aussiescribbler wrote:

even atheists when their narrow-mindedness is compromised by LSD have been known to see God.


Can you expand on this point? Was there a study on LSD and atheists that was published that I'm totally missing? dontknow


For most orthodox Christians, the wisdom of using a drug to elicit deep religious insight may seem blasphemous. There is perhaps some comfort in hearing that atheists under LSD frequently report meaningful religious experiences. (In one LSD group, for example, of which less than 10 per cent of its members were "believers," terms such as God, the Divine, deep religious experience and a meeting with the infinite were used in over half the follow-up reports.) But on the other hand it is rather disconcerting to hear religious professionals report they have had their only profound revelations after using psychedelics. (An experiment conducted with 69 theologically trained individuals in religious locations indicated that over 75 per cent had what they considered moving spiritual insights under LSD, and over half—fully aware of the implications of what they were saying—declared that through the intercession of the drugs they had "the most important religious experience of their lives.")

The problem is that we live in a neurotic state which fractures our perception of the world. Only when our neurotic blinkers are removed by meditation, hallucinogens or psychosis do we get a glimpse of the whole picture. My own path has been through psychosis. I don't recommend it, but I had no choice. During a psychotic episode everything is jumbled up and rational judgement is not accessible to sort out what ideas are literally true and which are only symbolically true. Every psychotic idea is true in one of those ways, but taking symbolic truth for literal truth can lead to being locked up for taking one's clothes off in public. Only when reason returns can one begin the slow process of sorting out the symbolic truths and seeing what they are trying to tell us about ourselves and the world. It is also helpful to compare one's experiences with the writings of others who have explored this territory. But when it all gells and you become comfortable with it you can look at society like a clock-mender looks at a clock, knowing exactly how it works.

[quote]
Dancing_Doll wrote:
I read your post, and it seems like you're tying the phenomenon of "creativity" to having been inspired by "God." Please correct me if I'm wrong thought... that's just how I interpreted it. When you speak of God being evidenced through our ability to be creative, to love, and to question/think, I just see them as evidence of being a higher order of species.

As you said, "living intelligent beings don't need to write poetry or paint beautiful pictures. We can live without those things, and yet some of us do create them". To me, creating and expressing something brings us pleasure, whether it's because of our own accomplishments or the reinforcement or approval of someone else. After all, most people produce poetry or paint pictures in order to share them with others, so to me, it's a form of social expression. A pleasure-induced release of dopamine is reinforcing of certain behaviours. I don't see it as anything tied to God, or evidence of a higher power compelling one to do this.

Many other species show evidence of creativity, high order intelligence or some pair-bonding (which can be seen as the animal version of what we call 'love'). I'll mention dolphins, primates, and some species of birds to name a few. I don't think God is influencing them either.

I do understand many of the reasons behind human beings wanting to believe in a higher power, but I don't see our complexity as a species as any evidence for this.


My argument is not for the existence of a "higher power", but of a lower power. A seed growing into a flower is not following commands from a higher power but giving expression to the potential within. To me God is simply the idea that the universe is one indivisible entity. Therefore anything that happens is an expression of God blindly seeking to be more. George Bernard Shaw expressed a similar idea when he said : "To me God does not yet exist; but there is a creative force struggling to evolve an executive organ of godlike knowledge and power; that is, to achieve omnipotence and omniscience; and every man and woman born is a fresh attempt to achieve this object. We are here to help God, to do his work, to remedy his whole errors, to strive towards Godhead ourselves."

Creativity in other species is to be expected. They are also a part of God.

If all you want is to release dopamine you just have to eat chocolates or masturbate. You don't have to write Hamlet or paint the Mona Lisa. Painting Starry Starry Night didn't get Van Gogh paid or laid. We create because we have a drive within us to be more than we are now.
MrNudiePants
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 9:38:06 AM

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Joined: 8/10/2009
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I can't believe that one facet of this debate actually questions the difference between the phrases "I don't believe in God" and "I believe there is no God." That's obstructionism, just for the sake of being obstructionist.

WellMadeMale
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 10:04:58 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,288
Location: Cakeland, United States
MrNudiePants wrote:
I can't believe that one facet of this debate actually questions the difference between the phrases "I don't believe in God" and "I believe there is no God." That's obstructionism, just for the sake of being obstructionist.


Someone's obsessed with stirring up arguments with you religious nutcases. I'm attempting to deflect that person's mocking glare over toward a non-religious nutcase who also rejects the vast portion of Darwin's theory (large portions of which, even Darwin couldn't account for).

(*edit - not implying that you are a religious nutcase, Nudie...you're just a little unique is all...aren't we all?) geek

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 10:23:14 AM

Rank: Alpha Blonde

Joined: 2/17/2010
Posts: 6,268
Location: West Coast
aussiescribbler wrote:
[
For most orthodox Christians, the wisdom of using a drug to elicit deep religious insight may seem blasphemous. There is perhaps some comfort in hearing that atheists under LSD frequently report meaningful religious experiences. (In one LSD group, for example, of which less than 10 per cent of its members were "believers," terms such as God, the Divine, deep religious experience and a meeting with the infinite were used in over half the follow-up reports.) But on the other hand it is rather disconcerting to hear religious professionals report they have had their only profound revelations after using psychedelics. (An experiment conducted with 69 theologically trained individuals in religious locations indicated that over 75 per cent had what they considered moving spiritual insights under LSD, and over half—fully aware of the implications of what they were saying—declared that through the intercession of the drugs they had "the most important religious experience of their lives.")

The problem is that we live in a neurotic state which fractures our perception of the world. Only when our neurotic blinkers are removed by meditation, hallucinogens or psychosis do we get a glimpse of the whole picture. My own path has been through psychosis. I don't recommend it, but I had no choice. During a psychotic episode everything is jumbled up and rational judgement is not accessible to sort out what ideas are literally true and which are only symbolically true. Every psychotic idea is true in one of those ways, but taking symbolic truth for literal truth can lead to being locked up for taking one's clothes off in public. Only when reason returns can one begin the slow process of sorting out the symbolic truths and seeing what they are trying to tell us about ourselves and the world. It is also helpful to compare one's experiences with the writings of others who have explored this territory. But when it all gells and you become comfortable with it you can look at society like a clock-mender looks at a clock, knowing exactly how it works.


I think I may have needed to be on an LSD trip in order to fully understand all the ramblings from the website "The Psychedelic Library" that your quote came from. There is no doubt that when the human brain is brought into an altered state, there may be cognitive and perceptual phenomena that occur that people cannot explain because they have never experienced it before. So the easiest way to explain this is that it was a "spiritual" or "mystical" occurrence. Most people don't have the understanding of how a drug like LSD works on the serotonergic system in the brain to produce these kinds of hallucinations or feelings of euphoria. Having enjoyed certain recreational drugs myself, I can definitely attest to the 'wonder' that comes with being in such an altered state. For someone that wants to have a spiritual experience or is being placed in a "so called experiment" about drugs and mysticism, the likelihood of them interpreting these feelings as evidence of God is a lot higher. I would not however, take a study of 69 people as evidence that atheists experience God when they trip on LSD. I tried to locate the study methodology on that experiment, and I guess the people at the Psychedelic Institute didn't feel like it was relevant enough to provide. geek


aussiescribbler wrote:

My argument is not for the existence of a "higher power", but of a lower power. A seed growing into a flower is not following commands from a higher power but giving expression to the potential within. To me God is simply the idea that the universe is one indivisible entity. Therefore anything that happens is an expression of God blindly seeking to be more. George Bernard Shaw expressed a similar idea when he said : "To me God does not yet exist; but there is a creative force struggling to evolve an executive organ of godlike knowledge and power; that is, to achieve omnipotence and omniscience; and every man and woman born is a fresh attempt to achieve this object. We are here to help God, to do his work, to remedy his whole errors, to strive towards Godhead ourselves."

Creativity in other species is to be expected. They are also a part of God.

If all you want is to release dopamine you just have to eat chocolates or masturbate. You don't have to write Hamlet or paint the Mona Lisa. Painting Starry Starry Night didn't get Van Gogh paid or laid. We create because we have a drive within us to be more than we are now.


A lower order species will find their pleasure release in eating, masturbating or fucking. We can agree on that. But my point was that humans are a higher order complex species and therefore find their pleasure release in more complex activities, such as (to use your example) expressing and communicating through art. Many social species will interact with each other for pleasure's sake. To me, art is expression and communication, even stemming back to the hieroglyphics and cave paintings. Certain bird species will create elaborate nests that go beyond the requirements of basic functionality in order to advertise their talents to prospective mates. You can elevate all this and call it inspired by God... or you can see it as different levels of species complexities. In my opinion they are still aimed at similar basic life urges... finding a mate, procreation, social community and social expression, protection, and of course, eating, sleeping and fucking.

I see everything as more a matter of species survival and biology that provides the logic and drive behind our motives and desires, rather than a need to serve and be part of God. The latter is a symptom of being part of a higher-order species. We are more complex in the ways that we achieve our basic urges... but those core urges are still common to all living species.


aussiescribbler
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 3:40:14 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
Dancing_Doll : I wouldn't take the limited studies with LSD as solid proof of anything, merely evidence. It is very unfortunate that the prohibition on LSD in the United States in the late sixties ended research with a substance which appeared to hold so much promise for the exploration of the workings of the human mind and had the potential to bring about radical social evolution. But to understand the significance of the LSD research in context we have to recognise the limitations of the neurotic mind to perceive the holistic nature of reality. As R. D. Laing pointed out :

The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one's mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years - The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise (1990)

I know this to be true from my own experience. I've spent some of my life living in the mode of what our society deems to be sanity and I've spent some of my life in a diagnosed state of psychosis. By integrating the ability to function normally in society with the insights I reaped from my periods of psychosis I have gradually achieved something approaching wholeness as a human being. From such a perspective I realise that the state that society deems normality was one of blindness and sickness, only through the process of what society deems madness have I come to true sanity. And this is why I believe that those individuals saw more truthfully when on LSD than when they were not. LSD clearly breaks down temporarily those barriers in the mind which are the structure of our alienation, i.e. our insanity.

Quote:
A lower order species will find their pleasure release in eating, masturbating or fucking. We can agree on that. But my point was that humans are a higher order complex species and therefore find their pleasure release in more complex activities, such as (to use your example) expressing and communicating through art. Many social species will interact with each other for pleasure's sake. To me, art is expression and communication, even stemming back to the hieroglyphics and cave paintings. Certain bird species will create elaborate nests that go beyond the requirements of basic functionality in order to advertise their talents to prospective mates. You can elevate all this and call it inspired by God... or you can see it as different levels of species complexities. In my opinion they are still aimed at similar basic life urges... finding a mate, procreation, social community and social expression, protection, and of course, eating, sleeping and fucking.

I see everything as more a matter of species survival and biology that provides the logic and drive behind our motives and desires, rather than a need to serve and be part of God. The latter is a symptom of being part of a higher-order species. We are more complex in the ways that we achieve our basic urges... but those core urges are still common to all living species.


But why are there higher ordered more complex species? If the survival drive were all that were at work then there would be nothing more complex than an amoeba? Amoebas can survive very easily in most environments, why mutate into something more complex and thus more fragile?

As I understand it, conventional ideas on evolution hold that the mutations which led to variations in species which could either survive or not survive based on fitness to the environment, where random mutations. But to me the existence of randomness seems as ludicrous as the existence of a supernatural God. Look as hard as we might in nature we see no randomness, all we see is intrinsic nature in dialogue with environment. A tree does not grow randomly. The intrinsic nature (or program if you like) within the seed realises itself when circumstances allow and grows in a way which is determined by the interrelationship of its intrinsic program and the environment with which it is in a state of interrelationship. There is no such thing as randomness. It is a logical impossibility. Everything that happens happens because it is inevitable. Even if we look at our very symbol for randomness - the rolling of a dice - we see that if we knew everything about the dice, the hand that throws the dice and the environment into which the dice is thrown, we could predict with absolute certainty the number on which it would land. To believe otherwise is to believe that there are exceptions to the law of cause and effect. We know that mutations occur in nature, but they are a product of the interrelationship of the specimen with its environment. Mutation is one of the processes by which an organism responds to its environment. The chance that an amoeba would mutate into a human over the relatively short period of time that life has existed on earth - about a billion years - without some internal unfolding program similar to that contained in the seed that grows into a tree, seems extremely unlikely.

It seems obvious to me that order, meaning, purpose and creativity are the principle qualities of the universe. Nature is orderly rather than chaotic. That is why our body can function as a living system. If it were not orderly we might simply collapse into dust. And everything has purpose and meaning. Your heart has the purpose of keeping you alive by pumping blood around your body. Bees have the purpose of facilitating the pollination of flowers. The sun has the purpose of providing heat and energy to the living things that live on the planets that spin around it. And everywhere we see creativity. We see lesser things becoming greater things.

You need not call the order, meaningfulness, purpose and creativity of the universe God as I do, but for an orderly, meaning apprehending, purposeful and creative living system to look out at the universe that threw it into existence and deny that those qualities exist there seems to me to be the definition of insanity.
aussiescribbler
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 4:17:03 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
Getting back to Christopher Hitchens, I have serious problems with his second and fourth commandments :

2. Do not ever even think of using people as private property or as owned or as slaves.

Why doesn't he just say :

Don't use people as slaves.

Using people as private property, owning people and using people as slaves are all the same thing. This is worthless verbiage.

But most importantly he says Don't ever even think..., by which he is claiming that some forms of thought can be immoral. This is an idea he criticises in the original Ten Commandments and then hypocritically propounds himself. Unless one believes in an all-knowing God who thus can read our minds, no thought can be immoral. I might think about going down to the local kindergarten and slowly torturing to death all of the children I find there. If I do not act on this thought, or give it expression, then nobody other than me knows about it, it can have no adverse affect on them, therefore it cannot be immoral.

4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.

Why not simply, Don't harm children.

If somebody molests a child, the fact that they hide their face and weep afterwards is not going to do anything to undo the damage. Hitchens attitude seems to me to be virtually identical to that of the Pope - i.e. it is O.K. to molest a child as long as you repent (i.e. hide your face and weep) afterwards. Hitchens wording is so weak and watery that it is like replacing Thou shalt not kill with If you kill someone, make sure you say you're sorry.

If I were a cynical person reading Hitchens wording I might conclude that his interest lies with the humbling of the molesters (and, by implication, any institution that covers for them) and not at all with the welfare of children.
LadyX
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 8:01:19 AM

Rank: Artistic Tart

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,827
I'm sure Damon and others know this, but it turns out Hitchens is on sort of a mission to reduce the influence of religion in people's lives, which is I guess why he felt motivated to re-write the ten commandments. He was doing good until he brought up cell phones and the whole 'hide your face and weep' thing about kids. But he's probably been called a pompous ass so many times that he wears it like a badge of honor.

We don't need commandments for everyone, and those that actually do need them probably aren't going to be logging onto sites like Vanity Fair to watch some blowhard preach at them.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 9:52:23 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,288
Location: Cakeland, United States
aussiescribbler wrote:
Getting back to Christopher Hitchens, I have serious problems with his second and fourth commandments :

2. Do not ever even think of using people as private property or as owned or as slaves.

Why doesn't he just say :

Don't use people as slaves.

Using people as private property, owning people and using people as slaves are all the same thing. This is worthless verbiage.

But most importantly he says Don't ever even think..., by which he is claiming that some forms of thought can be immoral. This is an idea he criticises in the original Ten Commandments and then hypocritically propounds himself. Unless one believes in an all-knowing God who thus can read our minds, no thought can be immoral. I might think about going down to the local kindergarten and slowly torturing to death all of the children I find there. If I do not act on this thought, or give it expression, then nobody other than me knows about it, it can have no adverse affect on them, therefore it cannot be immoral.

4. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.

Why not simply, Don't harm children.

If somebody molests a child, the fact that they hide their face and weep afterwards is not going to do anything to undo the damage. Hitchens attitude seems to me to be virtually identical to that of the Pope - i.e. it is O.K. to molest a child as long as you repent (i.e. hide your face and weep) afterwards. Hitchens wording is so weak and watery that it is like replacing Thou shalt not kill with If you kill someone, make sure you say you're sorry.

If I were a cynical person reading Hitchens wording I might conclude that his interest lies with the humbling of the molesters (and, by implication, any institution that covers for them) and not at all with the welfare of children.


Mr. Hitchens talks a lot because he is in love with the sound of his own voice. I often do the same thing. I have an excellent voice with my own unique Midwestern twang (diction of American English).

You should recognize a bit of yourself, in his style, too...AS.

"Hi Mirror" geek

If ya can't beat 'em... pay someone to do it for you.
aussiescribbler
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 6:04:27 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
Quote:
Mr. Hitchens talks a lot because he is in love with the sound of his own voice. I often do the same thing. I have an excellent voice with my own unique Midwestern twang (diction of American English).

You should recognize a bit of yourself, in his style, too...AS.

"Hi Mirror"


Yes, I can sympathise with Hitchens. If I were in the public spotlight I might feel that expressing myself briefly was too much like premature ejaculation. laughing6

But as to my writing style, while I sometimes use extravagant terms or express ideas which probably seem obscure to many, I do feel I express myself concisely and directly. I don't feel I'm a waffler or prevaricator. But perhaps that is something for other's to judge. sleepy2
DamonX
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:50:05 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 795
LadyX wrote:
I'm sure Damon and others know this, but it turns out Hitchens is on sort of a mission to reduce the influence of religion in people's lives, which is I guess why he felt motivated to re-write the ten commandments. He was doing good until he brought up cell phones and the whole 'hide your face and weep' thing about kids. But he's probably been called a pompous ass so many times that he wears it like a badge of honor.

We don't need commandments for everyone, and those that actually do need them probably aren't going to be logging onto sites like Vanity Fair to watch some blowhard preach at them.


Really? I had no idea....laughing6

Mr. Hitchens actually writes about a number of topics, although his books on George Orwell and Thomas Jefferson unfortunately get a lot less attention.

I don't think this clip was overly altheistic, but merely an attempt at taking a bronze age list of rules commonly accepted by many people, and replacing it with something a little bit more relevant to our current age.

I actually just found it interesting. I never thought it would cause such debate. icon_smile
DamonX
Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010 7:06:36 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 795
Guest
Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2010 10:53:06 AM

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Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 534,624
I like Bill. Funny.
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