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Let’s Have a Dialog—ie., a Conversation, not a debate—About the god-hypothesis
Posted: 16 February 2012 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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God not only plays dice, He also sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen.
Stephen Hawking


Don’t know about that quote Traveler, but found this one. Does this mean that the big “g” cheats at craps???? smile


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Posted: 16 February 2012 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 16 February 2012 08:10 AM

Linds, I enjoy reading your posts and it sounds as if you will be an interesting contributor here.

Really, Jack? I find everything Linds has written so far no more than a deepity. (And I think I am being generous here.) Panentheism, unitheism? Gimme a break. Linds is too intelligent to realize that God doesn’t exist, but for some reason unwilling to except things for what they are. What difference does it make if people believe that God is a burning bush, has six arms or (viz., panentheism) think that “the cosmos exists within God” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). Pretty words, the same old nonsense.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 16 February 2012 08:17 AM

God not only plays dice, He also sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen.
Stephen Hawking
Don’t know about that quote Traveler, but found this one. Does this mean that the big “g” cheats at craps???? smile

Cap’t Jack

That’s quite different from a quote stating a spirit. “God” can mean “nature” to some.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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George - 16 February 2012 08:34 AM
Thevillageatheist - 16 February 2012 08:10 AM

Linds, I enjoy reading your posts and it sounds as if you will be an interesting contributor here.

Really, Jack? I find everything Linds has written so far no more than a deepity. (And I think I am being generous here.) Panentheism, unitheism? Gimme a break. Linds is too intelligent to realize that God doesn’t exist, but for some reason unwilling to except things for what they are. What difference does it make if people believe that God is a burning bush, has six arms or (viz., panentheism) think that “the cosmos exists within God” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). Pretty words, the same old nonsense.

smile

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Posted: 16 February 2012 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Back when I was exploring Deism, I considered the idea that god might be just a natural being so advanced that he/she/it is actually outside the realm of what we consider the natural world. From our perspective, such a being would indeed be a god, if not THE god.

Then it gets scary. Why would such a being necessarily be “good”. There is no reason to suppose that it would be. It could me ambivalent, or even malevolent. In other words, what if god is a son of a bitch? (Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty fair description of Yahweh according to the Hebrew scriptures.)

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Posted: 16 February 2012 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Sure, FIK, fairy tales can be scary. Maybe our universe is a computer program created by some alien geek who will one day get tired of playing the game and turn off his computer. Or maybe the universe was created after God farted and will evaporate into nothingness two months from now. Should I go on?  grin

Deism, shmeism.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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While I appreciate the civil tone of Linds’ posts, I have to agree with George.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I guess that my point was that he is being civil. Of course I don’t agree with him, just his tone. It’s refreshing in light of the last diatriber we had posting here. BTW I had never even heard of panentheism (showing my ignorance here). At first it looked like pantheism until I googled it. I’m an atheist, what the hell! Learning about these philosophies is interesting to say the least. Even if I don’t agree with them. At the least it’s food for debate. I really miss Santa Claus though. Being an atheist feels like being out of the Matrix if you follow the movie reference. You can never go back because you see the reality behind the falsehoods. But then again ,I like the reality better. It’s more challenging, but I digress… again.  zipper


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Posted: 16 February 2012 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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FreeInKy - 16 February 2012 09:22 AM

Back when I was exploring Deism, I considered the idea that god might be just a natural being so advanced that he/she/it is actually outside the realm of what we consider the natural world. From our perspective, such a being would indeed be a god, if not THE god.

Then it gets scary. Why would such a being necessarily be “good”. There is no reason to suppose that it would be. It could me ambivalent, or even malevolent. In other words, what if god is a son of a bitch? (Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty fair description of Yahweh according to the Hebrew scriptures.)

This is why i qualified my statement about potential as “neutral”, neither good nor bad, but working as it “must” by the inherent cosmological constants.
IMO, to associate this “process” with the word God (regardless of how you spell it), always implies a form of intent or intelligence (as we know it).
In Bohm’s theory, i also question the term “zero point insight” as it also implies someone (or something) experiencing some form of thought.
i prefer the term “zero point singularity”, regardless of size.

[ Edited: 16 February 2012 03:33 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 16 February 2012 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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George - 14 February 2012 05:39 AM

Linds, I imagine your god is the same one as Tom Harpur’s, right?

Like Tom, I usually do my best to think progressively and with an open mind. Check out the Canadian Center For Progressive Christianity of which I am a supporter   http://progressivechristianity.ca/prc/

When Tom was Religion Editor of the Toronto Star, he, like the editor before him, did a major article on a non dogmatic program—a series of lectures and demonstrations, which I gave at the time. Over the years, Tom and I have chatted every now and then.

Allen Spraggett—we became close friends—the religion editor of the Star before Harpur, did quite a number of articles on the things which went on at the two churches I served in the Toronto area. I even got to give the series in the USA and in England. Quite an experience.

This series was open to anyone—and many hundreds came from all over the area. Anyone who wanted to come, regardless of race, religion, creed or no creed was welcome. I started giving the series in the winter of 1964. I gave them, regularly, over the years until the year I retired, 1994. I used the general title, PNEUMATOLOGY—The Study of the Human Spirit.

Interestingly, later I discovered that before psychology was called psychology, it was actually called pneumatology—the great classic scholar, Phillip Melanchton, who assisted Martin Luther translate the Hebrew and Greek Bible into German, helped coin both words. This helped unify the German language. The King James version of the Bible did the same for the English language.

A medical researcher—his wife and daughter—at the University of Toronto came, regularly. He made a point of inviting me to some of the events at the U of T. David Bohm was one of the speakers I heard there. I also heard Dr. Herbert Benson, from Harvard.

I got doctors, and others in the healing arts, including nutritionists, yoga teachers and the like, actively involved. It was great fun. Based on my personal studies in the major psychologies—Freud, Jung, William James, Adler and others—I demonstrated what I called pneumatherapy—how to use self-hypnosis, that is, hypnosis without the hocus pocus, and how to apply it to having holistic—physical (soma), mental (psyche) and spiritual (pneuma)—health. You mention

If so, you know you’re only a step away from losing your faith…

Faith? There is more than one kind of faith. Some are not worth saving!  oh oh  I am thankful that I have never been plagued by what I think of as a dogmatic, doctrinaire, blind and ideological faith: “Believe this, or else. Take this blind leap into the darkness.” For me, such a faith is not worth having. Instead of a blind leap, I like to take a slow walk in the light that we can all have. You ask

Is this why you don’t want to engage in a debate?

Go ahead, have a go and let me have it! What do you have in mind? Just don’t hit me too hard, at first, eh?  LOL

[ Edited: 16 February 2012 11:01 PM by RevLGKing ]
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Posted: 17 February 2012 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Remaining conversational.. smile

Personally I don’t feel we are that far apart in the recognition of a special human moral responsibility to our environment. We are the only species that can purposefully alter our environment and our recognition of such power places a certain responsibility to act wisely. After all, even as we can alter our environment, ultimately we are still subject to it.

Thus I welcome any philosophy which advocates such responsibility. The problem I have is with assigning a mystical (spiritual) name to this responsibility, other than “secular humanism”. Moreover to advocate a form of divine human connectedness with the rest of the universe is IMO useless and actually a waste of time. It is a symbolic and metaphorical concept that hopefully furthers our sense of moral responsibilities. The reality is that we are an insignficant part of the universe. There is nothing to prevent another insignificant universal object, like an asteroid, to wipe out all life on earth.

IMO, our human morals “should” come from observing our physical impact on all life and trying to minimize that impact. In that respect we are all failing miserably, with the exception of a few individuals who basically have withdrawn from society altogether. Any attempt to attain an inner peace fails me in the face of watching one of the few remaining whales being sliced and diced, or seeing thousands of oil drenched ocean fish and birds wash up on THEIR beaches, because we were greedy and careless wih a finite resource that took billions of years to form from the natural symbiotic life cycle of flora and fauna. IMO, the simple bee is a far better example of living in harmony with its environment than any symbolic presentation of human connectedness with a metaphysical Unity.

Until we actually start conducting ourselves in accordance with our proper place in the scheme of things, any amount of mystical or spiritual justification for our actions remains hollow. Let’s try to become human first before we try to become divine.

[ Edited: 17 February 2012 12:28 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 17 February 2012 05:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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No, Linds, you are not worth debating: just like Harpur, you are probably too much of a nice guy to get me going and although I may disagree with your position (if similar to Harpur’s of which I have some knowledge), I find it harmless and too abstract to see where I may in fact feel that you’re wrong. If all religious people were “religious teddy bears” like you and Harpur, the world would be a much nicer place to live in. No debate.  grin And welcome to our forum.

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Posted: 17 February 2012 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Linds:

Here is my position (short version).

All religions and all gods are human creations.  As a human tool that is a major contributor to organizing societies, we need to hold the various humans who are using it responsible for the actions they take under religion’s mantle.  Religion, any religion, can be a positive contributor, such as the story of JHWH stopping Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac at a time when child sacrifice was a fairly common act (and often a matter of “birth control”).  This religious myth did much to end this practice.  It can be also be a cause of extremely negative actions such as when JHWH evolved in the thinking of a group of Bedouins and escaped Egyptian slaves as justifying their invasion of Canaan by killing off the previous inhabitants, who worshipped Baal.

I am using these examples because they are two of the oldest stories in Western Civilization and therefore easily recognizable to those of us in Western society.  (In itself this shows how religion is a human tool.)

This is the view that is the main reason I am an atheist.  Any belief that is not based in observable fact and reality has at its base a weakness that will be rightfully exploited by those opposing its actions and manipulated by those who use it for their own purposes.
I do understand that all societies require myth to exist due to the fact that no one individual can master the entire body of knowledge that exists.  IMO the myths that allow modern society to function are the belief that humans are rational; freedom of the individual to make their own choices and live their own life in a dignified manner; and the competing myths of have equality of opportunity; or all humans having the right to a secure existence both physically and economically.  (This list may not be all inclusive; I’m keeping my options open. grin )  Now as with all myths, whether they are regarded as religious or secular, these are ideals to be achieved, standards to be measured against, they are not necessarily the facts on the ground.

These ideals also have their own weakness as they underestimate the value of community to the welfare of humans.  Humans evolved as a cooperative species and today’s often overwhelming individualism seems to me contrary at times to the best interest of our species.  What kind of people are we becoming when we send our children out of the family to “preschool” when they are two to three years old, then to school until they are in their mid-twenties constantly moving them from one place to another as we pursue our jobs and “economic intrests and advancement” all over the world as individuals, this and the constant coupling and separation of adults ensures that few of us establish long term friendships and relationships.  This continues on until we reach an age where we are no longer are able to care for ourselves and the children we have “raised” and are now following their own carrers as independent adults and who really don’t know us, warehouse us in “retirement communities” with strangers who like us are waiting only for death.


I do worry at times we atheists are giving up the use of a tool that can be extremely useful to society even if like most tools it can be used for evil and well as good purposes.

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Posted: 17 February 2012 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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RevLGKing - 16 February 2012 10:33 PM
George - 14 February 2012 05:39 AM

Linds, I imagine your god is the same one as Tom Harpur’s, right?

Like Tom, I usually do my best to think progressively and with an open mind. Check out the Canadian Center For Progressive Christianity of which I am a supporter   http://progressivechristianity.ca/prc/

When Tom was Religion Editor of the Toronto Star, he, like the editor before him, did a major article on a non dogmatic program—a series of lectures and demonstrations, which I gave at the time. Over the years, Tom and I have chatted every now and then.

Allen Spraggett—we became close friends—the religion editor of the Star before Harpur, did quite a number of articles on the things which went on at the two churches I served in the Toronto area. I even got to give the series in the USA and in England. Quite an experience.

This series was open to anyone—and many hundreds came from all over the area. Anyone who wanted to come, regardless of race, religion, creed or no creed was welcome. I started giving the series in the winter of 1964. I gave them, regularly, over the years until the year I retired, 1994. I used the general title, PNEUMATOLOGY—The Study of the Human Spirit.

Interestingly, later I discovered that before psychology was called psychology, it was actually called pneumatology—the great classic scholar, Phillip Melanchton, who assisted Martin Luther translate the Hebrew and Greek Bible into German, helped coin both words. This helped unify the German language. The King James version of the Bible did the same for the English language.

A medical researcher—his wife and daughter—at the University of Toronto came, regularly. He made a point of inviting me to some of the events at the U of T. David Bohm was one of the speakers I heard there. I also heard Dr. Herbert Benson, from Harvard.

I got doctors, and others in the healing arts, including nutritionists, yoga teachers and the like, actively involved. It was great fun. Based on my personal studies in the major psychologies—Freud, Jung, William James, Adler and others—I demonstrated what I called pneumatherapy—how to use self-hypnosis, that is, hypnosis without the hocus pocus, and how to apply it to having holistic—physical (soma), mental (psyche) and spiritual (pneuma)—health. You mention

If so, you know you’re only a step away from losing your faith…

Faith? There is more than one kind of faith. Some are not worth saving!  oh oh  I am thankful that I have never been plagued by what I think of as a dogmatic, doctrinaire, blind and ideological faith: “Believe this, or else. Take this blind leap into the darkness.” For me, such a faith is not worth having. Instead of a blind leap, I like to take a slow walk in the light that we can all have. You ask

Is this why you don’t want to engage in a debate?

Go ahead, have a go and let me have it! What do you have in mind? Just don’t hit me too hard, at first, eh?  LOL

Sounds like you’re basically a people person.

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Posted: 17 February 2012 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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RevLGKing - 13 February 2012 04:38 PM

Is there a doctor in the house? I mean a doctor of divinity   grin 

But seriously, I will admit that I was born in January, 1930—one year after Martin Luther King—and that, over the years, I have done some serious reading in the literature of philosophy of religion. That is, I have read some philosophy, pneumatology, psychology, theology—especially the panentheism/unitheism of Alfred North Whitehead,  and the like.

I have also read what some atheists—past and present—including the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the like have had to say. I always try to read with an open mind filled with lots of questions and respect for all sincerely held opinions. I also try to converse with the same from of mind. With this bit of background, let’s have a dialog about what I call G-0-D.

It is damned hard to have a discussion on God without debate but if you have an interest, I am rather a unique case.

I call myself a Gnostic Christian naturalist who happened to push for and reach apotheosis.

Let me give you my quick story and you can decide if there are any questions you would like to ask.

  The Godhead I know in a nutshell.
I was a skeptic till the age of 39.
I then had an apotheosis and later branded myself a Gnostic Christian naturalist.
Gnostic Christian because I exemplify this quote from William Blake.

“Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.”

This refers to how Gnostics tend to reverse, for moral reasons, what Christians see in the Bible. We tend to recognize the evil ways of O T God where literal Christians will see God’s killing as good. Christians are sheeple where Gnostic Christians are goats.
This perhaps why we see the use of a Jesus scapegoat as immoral, while theists like to make Jesus their beast of burden. An immoral position.

During my apotheosis, something that only lasted 5 or 6 seconds, the only things of note to happen was that my paradigm of reality was confirmed and I was chastised to think more demographically. What I found was what I call a cosmic consciousness. Not a new term but one that is a close but not exact fit.

I recognize that I have no proof. That is always the way with apotheosis.
This is also why I prefer to stick to issues of morality because no one has yet been able to prove that God is real and I have no more proof than they for the cosmic consciousness.

The cosmic consciousness is not a miracle working God. He does not interfere with us save when one of us finds it. Not a common thing from what I can see. It is a part of nature and our next evolutionary step.

I tend to have more in common with atheists who ignore what they see as my delusion because our morals are basically identical. Theist tend not to like me much as I have no respect for literalists and fundamentals and think that most Christians have tribal mentalities and poor morals.

I am rather between a rock and a hard place but this I cannot help.

I am happy to be questioned on what I believe but whether or not God exists is basically irrelevant to this world for all that he does not do, and I prefer to thrash out moral issues that can actually find an end point. The search for God is never ending when you are of the Gnostic persuasion. My apotheosis basically says that I am to discard whatever God I found, God as a set of rules that is, not idol worship, it but instead, raise my bar and seek further.

My apotheosis also showed me that God has no need for love, adoration or obedience. He has no needs. Man has dominion here on earth and is to be and is the supreme being.

Regards
DL

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