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Let’s Have a Dialog—ie., a Conversation, not a debate—About the god-hypothesis
Posted: 17 February 2012 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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I agreed with everything in both of George’s last posts except for the word, “deepity”.  I even looked up in two dictionaries but couldn’t find it.  But it kept bothering me.  I finally found it in Wikipedia.  Great new word, George, and it just shows that I’m an antique, out of date, old fud.  smile

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Posted: 17 February 2012 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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All the Gods and all religions are created by humans ...

I agree! Now, with this obvious piece of truth out of the way, may I ask atheists and agnostics the following—and I do not intend to ask snide, loaded, the gotcha-kind, or rhetorical—questions: If no god created and brought us to this point, what did? Evolution? If so, where can we hope, or want, to evolve from here? Is it best practice to let evolution take it course? Or, now that it seems that we do have a level self-awareness, is it possible to exercise our WILLpower and, from here on, do a better job?

IS WILLPOWER THE ROOT OF ALL GOOD? AND ALL ELSE?
http://www.ideafit.com/library/how-to-strengthen-willpower-part-1
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/28/roy-baumeister-on-new-book-willpower-and-to-how-to-improve-self-control.html 
====================
The following is strictly my opinion.

ORTHOPRAXY
Jesus, in my opinion, was not the Messiah—certainly not the one expected by Orthodox Judaism.

He was simply a charismatic Jewish leader and reformer, of noble lineage, who was an advocate of prosperity, justice and peace for all people, regardless of race, creed or class, including the Gentiles. He consciously chose to go up against the powerful few, at Jerusalem, who selected themselves to be prosperous and powerful. He was more interested in orthopraxy (true actions)  than in orthodoxy (true doctrines).

ORTHODOXY AND CATHOLICISM CAME MUCH LATER

Orthodoxy and Catholicism both evolved out of what happened after the first “Christian” emperor, Constantine, took control of the Christian movement in Rome.

The Orthodox (one true church, not subject to Roman Catholic rule) movement broke away in 1054 and set out to control the east. Out of Rome, the Catholic (universally-true) church, the one with the keys of heaven and hell, set out to control all of Europe and whatever else was discovered by the explorers who came after Columbus.

THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION—13th to the 16th century. Quite a story!

“Protest”. The first Protestants were Catholics willing to witness for truths in which they believed and would benefit all. In every period there are alway a few such Protestants (Huss, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, etc.), Catholics (numerous saints, like St. Francis) and other faiths (Gandhi)—who are willing to risk their lives as witnesses for justice, prosperity and peace for all.

THE NEXT REFORMATION?—IT IS THE ONE NEEDED IN THE 21st CENTURY

I predict that this will require THE INTEGRATION OF THE SECULAR (body and mind)  AND THE SACRED (spirit) VALUES.
Whether or not we think in sacred (spiritual), or in secular (body and mind) terms, we all love to make our gods in our own image. But will the new image include prosperity, justice and peace for all? That is the question.

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Posted: 17 February 2012 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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DL: ...What I found was what I call a cosmic consciousness…

Is that related to “morphic resonation”?  Or how did you “find” it? Or what lead you to believe in such a thing?

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Posted: 17 February 2012 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Quoting RLGK:

If no god created and brought us to this point, what did? Evolution? If so, where can we hope, or want, to evolve from here? Is it best practice to let evolution take it course?

  Second question is the answer to the first.  Third question: I doubt that natural evolution among humans will have much chance “to take it’s own course” from now on because we are almost at the point of modifying our own genetics as we desire.  That means we’ll be changing the species in a wide variety of ways, some useful and some probably destructive in the long run.  I can imagine many scenarios, some good, some bad, but I certainly can’t predict which will occur.

I do believe that religion, spirituallity, and everything linked to it is on its last legs and will exist only to be studied in college history classes within a hundred to two hundred years from now.

Occam

[ Edited: 17 February 2012 05:09 PM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 17 February 2012 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Quoting RLGK:

If no god created and brought us to this point, what did? Evolution? If so, where can we hope, or want, to evolve from here? Is it best practice to let evolution take it course?

 

Evolution brought us to this point.  I think we are already interfering with what would be the natural process of evolution, though we are not doing so with any clear concerted plan or intention. It is difficult to say whether we should try to do so.  (I did not understand your point in citing links to articles on self control and will power.)

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Posted: 17 February 2012 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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TimB - 17 February 2012 05:06 PM

DL: ...What I found was what I call a cosmic consciousness…

Is that related to “morphic resonation”?

I would say no.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_consciousness

I do not agree completely with this description but it is close enough.

Or how did you “find” it? Or what lead you to believe in such a thing?

I had to find it before I could believe in it.

Apotheosis is basically telepathic communication.
I have only been able to do this twice in my long life. The first time was with my wife and the second with the Godhead.
If I did not have my wife to confirm the reality of telepathy, I would not likely give any veracity to my contact with the Godhead.
I would have discarded the experience as some kind of mind burp and moved on with my lack of belief in anything unseen.

Regards
DL

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Posted: 17 February 2012 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Occam. - 17 February 2012 05:07 PM

Quoting RLGK:

If no god created and brought us to this point, what did? Evolution? If so, where can we hope, or want, to evolve from here? Is it best practice to let evolution take it course?

Second question is the answer to the first.  Third question: I doubt that natural evolution among humans will have much chance “to take it’s own course” from now on because we are almost at the point of modifying our own genetics as we desire.  That means we’ll be changing the species in a wide variety of ways, some useful and some probably destructive in the long run.  I can imagine many scenarios, some good, some bad, but I certainly can’t predict which will occur.

I do believe that religion, spirituallity, and everything linked to it is on its last legs and will exist only to be studied in college history classes within a hundred to two hundred years from now.
Occam

If I may presume to add.
Evolution in its broadest sense is based on the universal constant of Cause and Effect. One might make a philosophical argument that God is the initial causality, but that does not negate the scientific concensus that the universe started with the big bang and everything thereafter was an evolutionary process, from basic elements formed during the chaotic beginning, combining to form molecules with ever increasing complexity, eventually resulting in the emergence of life and ultimately humans. This process of almost infinite trial and error and natural selection is the very definition of evolution. It is inescapable.
But that basic concept holds for man as well, regardless how adept we become at manipulation of our genes. Ultimately the laws of cause and effect (evolution by natural selection) will determine who or what we become.

IMO, this principle also holds for morality. Those who cannot conform (adapt to their environment) will go the way of the untold trials in nature which failed.
Our only advantage is that the we have the ability to recognize and learn from our mistakes.  So far we have not done a great job of that, regardless of any kind of spiritual directive.

[ Edited: 17 February 2012 06:35 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 17 February 2012 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Greatest I am
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.

Does man really have dominion?  What about the insect?  These are the only two species (aside from bacteria and viruses) which are on the increase. The first because he can manipulate the environment, the second because it can adapt to everything man can do to the environment.
Remember DDT to control insect infestation?  Turned out that through the food chain we ended up poisoning ourselves (and everything else in that food chain), while the insects that DDT was trying to eliminate, actually ended up being immune to that poison. Then in our wisdom we outlawed DDT in the US, but (in our greed) we continued to sell DDT to Argentina, where it ended up in their food chain and the beef which was then sold to the US.

The assumption that we are “destined” to be the dominant species may well be an egocentric self delusion. The biblical admonition against greed and vanity was valid moral advice.

[ Edited: 17 February 2012 07:32 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 17 February 2012 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Write4U - 17 February 2012 07:00 PM

Greatest I am
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.

Does man really have dominion?  What about the insect?  These are the only two species (aside from bacteria and viruses) which are on the increase. The first because he can manipulate the environment, the second because it can adapt to everything man can do to the environment.
Remember DDT to control insect infestation?  Turned out that through the food chain we ended up poisoning ourselves (and everything else in that food chain), while the insects that DDT was trying to eliminate, actually ended up being immune to that poison. Then in our wisdom we outlawed DDT in the US, but (in our greed) we continued to sell DDT to Argentina, where it ended up in their food chain and the beef which was then sold to the US.

The assumption that we are “destined” to be the dominant species may well be an egocentric self delusion. The biblical admonition against greed and vanity was valid moral advice.

Good advice that came from greedy and vane religions who wanted more of the spoils.

There are areas where man’s influence on the earth is under attack for sure but to say we do not have dominion at present would be untrue.
We tell the rains where to fall, what crops where to grow and where the rivers are to flow. That is dominion.

Most species that have ever lived have gone extinct. It is too early for us to tell if we will beat the odds.

As to overall biblical moral advice. There is some wisdom in the bible, but as a book of morals, it is a dismal failure.

Regards
DL

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Posted: 17 February 2012 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Greatest I am - 17 February 2012 04:23 PM
RevLGKing - 13 February 2012 04:38 PM

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

DL, I recognize your experience for what it is: Your experience.
Yes, if I understand what you mean, I agree that G-0-D is not a being with needs. Rather, I think of G-0-D, rooted in agape-love, as the full supply of all needs.

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Posted: 17 February 2012 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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RevLGKing - 17 February 2012 08:27 PM
Greatest I am - 17 February 2012 04:23 PM
RevLGKing - 13 February 2012 04:38 PM

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

DL, I recognize your experience for what it is: Your experience.
Yes, if I understand what you mean, I agree that G-0-D is not a being with needs. Rather, I think of G-0-D, rooted in agape-love, as the full supply of all needs.

That is a need is it not?

Well, if mythical creator God knows anything at all about love then he will know that love without deeds and works is just as dead as faith is.

If he loved us and us him then we would be trading works and deeds.

I do not see any expression of God’s love but I do see about 6 million of the ones he supposedly loves starving to death each and every year.

I do not see how Christianity has gotten away with it’s double standards for so long.
They preach against equality and inclusion of Gays without just cause, while all the while spouting off about how we are all to love each other.

Love from an absentee God is wasted and cannot be true because we cannot show it with deeds and the necessary reciprocity can never happen. Without reciprocity, true love is dead.

Regards
DL

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Posted: 17 February 2012 10:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Greatest I am - 17 February 2012 08:08 PM
Write4U - 17 February 2012 07:00 PM

Greatest I am
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.

Does man really have dominion?  What about the insect?  These are the only two species (aside from bacteria and viruses) which are on the increase. The first because he can manipulate the environment, the second because it can adapt to everything man can do to the environment.
Remember DDT to control insect infestation?  Turned out that through the food chain we ended up poisoning ourselves (and everything else in that food chain), while the insects that DDT was trying to eliminate, actually ended up being immune to that poison. Then in our wisdom we outlawed DDT in the US, but (in our greed) we continued to sell DDT to Argentina, where it ended up in their food chain and the beef which was then sold to the US.

The assumption that we are “destined” to be the dominant species may well be an egocentric self delusion. The biblical admonition against greed and vanity was valid moral advice.

Good advice that came from greedy and vane religions who wanted more of the spoils.

First, let me assure you that I firmly believe the bible to be a hodgepodge of mythical oral stories. However there are some (not many) sound philosophical warnings and concepts contained in all scriptures. The writers were not stupid, just either ill informed or purposefully deceptive.

There are areas where man’s influence on the earth is under attack for sure but to say we do not have dominion at present would be untrue.
We tell the rains where to fall, what crops where to grow and where the rivers are to flow. That is dominion.

We can look at this from several viewpoints.
As I indicated before, IMO all things are ultimately “subject” to natural law in general and the planetary laws of the earth and it’s biosphere in specific. We may be able to redirect rivers or build dams. But that may well result in the extinction of other species on which we depend for food. We may be able to cut down forests in order to plant crops, but thereby also diminishing the earth’s capacity to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, which is critical to our existence. I completely disagree with your example of man being able to control weather patterns. So far all we have done is disturb them, at cost of life, both human and animal, and treasure, both natural and economic.
Except for some species facing extinction (mainly due to human domination or intervention) our numbers are insignificant to the biomass of other single species. Yet our impact on the earth has been outrageously disproportionate to our numbers.

It is not humans who are under attack, it is humans who are attacking earth and its biosphere.

One of the definitions of Dominance:

4. ecology: preponderant in community or period: relating to a single plant or animal species that is preponderant within a specific community or over a specific period of time.

Most species that have ever lived have gone extinct. It is too early for us to tell if we will beat the odds.

As to our apparent success in spite of our numbers, when a species is viral and/or parasitic it may dominate its host, until the host itself dies and no longer provides sustenance. As our host is the earth (and it’s biosphere) itself, it needs not die, but only alter its properties slightly, which could make human life intolerable. Then the smaller, more adaptable insect will surely become the dominant species, as it only takes what is necessary to sustain its life. This is why the insect (as a species) has been successful for much longer than humans.

As to overall biblical moral advice. There is some wisdom in the bible, but as a book of morals, it is a dismal failure. Regards DL

I agree, it appears that even fear is no deterrent to our folly. I view biblical love and fear as akin to the sexual (kinky) extasy of D/s and even BDSM.

[ Edited: 17 February 2012 10:46 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 18 February 2012 02:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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RevLGKing - 17 February 2012 04:58 PM

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans ...

I agree! Now, with this obvious piece of truth out of the way, may I ask atheists and agnostics the following—and I do not intend to ask snide, loaded, the gotcha-kind, or rhetorical—questions: If no god created and brought us to this point, what did? Evolution? If so, where can we hope, or want, to evolve from here? Is it best practice to let evolution take it course? Or, now that it seems that we do have a level self-awareness, is it possible to exercise our WILLpower and, from here on, do a better job?

IS WILLPOWER THE ROOT OF ALL GOOD? AND ALL ELSE?
http://www.ideafit.com/library/how-to-strengthen-willpower-part-1
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/28/roy-baumeister-on-new-book-willpower-and-to-how-to-improve-self-control.html 
====================
The following is strictly my opinion.

ORTHOPRAXY
Jesus, in my opinion, was not the Messiah—certainly not the one expected by Orthodox Judaism.

He was simply a charismatic Jewish leader and reformer, of noble lineage, who was an advocate of prosperity, justice and peace for all people, regardless of race, creed or class, including the Gentiles. He consciously chose to go up against the powerful few, at Jerusalem, who selected themselves to be prosperous and powerful. He was more interested in orthopraxy (true actions)  than in orthodoxy (true doctrines).

ORTHODOXY AND CATHOLICISM CAME MUCH LATER

Orthodoxy and Catholicism both evolved out of what happened after the first “Christian” emperor, Constantine, took control of the Christian movement in Rome.

The Orthodox (one true church, not subject to Roman Catholic rule) movement broke away in 1054 and set out to control the east. Out of Rome, the Catholic (universally-true) church, the one with the keys of heaven and hell, set out to control all of Europe and whatever else was discovered by the explorers who came after Columbus.

THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION—13th to the 16th century. Quite a story!

“Protest”. The first Protestants were Catholics willing to witness for truths in which they believed and would benefit all. In every period there are alway a few such Protestants (Huss, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, etc.), Catholics (numerous saints, like St. Francis) and other faiths (Gandhi)—who are willing to risk their lives as witnesses for justice, prosperity and peace for all.

THE NEXT REFORMATION?—IT IS THE ONE NEEDED IN THE 21st CENTURY

I predict that this will require THE INTEGRATION OF THE SECULAR (body and mind)  AND THE SACRED (spirit) VALUES.
Whether or not we think in sacred (spiritual), or in secular (body and mind) terms, we all love to make our gods in our own image. But will the new image include prosperity, justice and peace for all? That is the question.

This is hopeless.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Write4U - 17 February 2012 10:17 PM

[
I agree, it appears that even fear is no deterrent to our folly. I view biblical love and fear as akin to the sexual (kinky) extasy of D/s and even BDSM.

Smile.

The main piece of folly that we engage in is not recognizing that we do live in the one ecology and all have impact on each other.

In a world divided the way the earth is, with everyone and all countries doing their own thing, things will not likely improve much.

One world needs one government and man, unless there is emergency or war, will not elect one. Too many chiefs with their little thiefdoms.

The U N is a good start but it is not working well.

Regards
DL

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Posted: 18 February 2012 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I hope that it is true that we are evolving culturally so that, as we understand how “god” (particularly the long-standing human proclivity to create “person” gods) may be an external construct (a projection) of thought processes and feelings that are actually internal, we may be able to abandon the need to describe our insights and moral choices as deriving from an external (i.e. “god”) source and instead focus on teaching each other how to maximize our own, internal ability to think about and make moral choices. Meanwhile, I am curious to continue to learn more about the “PROFOUND, MYSTERIOUS AND SPIRITUAL UNITY OF LIFE, WHICH LINKS US ALL” (wherever the quote comes from).  I am not ready to say that that “mystery” absolutely, positively does not exist – which is what I feel is necessary to declare oneself an atheist.  I am interested in exploring ways of describing it.  I’d love to hear more from others – who don’t need to “believe” anything about “god”— about it.

This conversation is useful, from my perspective, in considering the trajectory from agnosticism to atheism.  I have not believed in a “personal god” since approximately kindergarten (over 50 years ago).  I have a great deal of difficulty referring to god as “he” (or “she”) and, as a 94-year-old Christian friend of mine likes to say, “God isn’t a person or a being. God is about living in right relationship with others.” Hence, the god being thrown at the world by the American religious right is very offensive to me – and has been offensive since well before I (recently) left church.  Theology, however, and the study of how people have tried to understand what shapes humans’ ability to conceive of right and wrong, has long interested me.  Despite the many negative concepts and uses of various religious texts, there are also positive and constructive teachings to be found in those same texts and it is possible to find both scholarship and religious reflection on those texts that chooses to advance change (including changing understanding of the texts themselves), growth and a better world (a world that I think even atheists would agree is better and morally sound).  All that to say, I suppose, that I think there can be a religious importance for god (such as the god of Spinoza and Einstein) – a non-personal god, referenced in communal ritual and moral reflection that leads to decisions about communal actions such as advocacy for human rights. The reasonable and progressive religious voices teaching that kind of understanding of god, which had been growing, seem to be drowned out right now by a backlash of fundamentalism.

For me, leaving religion has been mostly about leaving behind ritual and the need to spend time and resources on those rituals. I do not suffer in any way from “loss of faith” because my “faith” wasn’t like that in the first place. Sadly, what I have also left behind is a community whose purpose was/is to make the world a better place – not try to get others to “think correctly” about “god.”  I, personally, found the ritual to be the least appealing aspect of church. (Well, I should admit that the final straw that propelled me out of church was a pastor, since removed, who was trying to force antiquated theology and associated ritual on the congregation. Once propelled, I find myself extremely reluctant to go back and prefer to keep looking for local, freethinking community – and enjoying Sundays off.)  I wish I had discovered sooner others who wish to converse about our world and human choices for good and evil, without relying upon “god.” I hope, however, that people will continue to consider the great religious thinkers’ contributions to ethics – and I’m fine with that being an academic, rather than religious, pursuit.

I am glad, BTW, that several of you are willing and able to quote sources, philosophers, theologians.  Part of me is too lazy, I think, but another part feels that we need to trust our own ability to converse and reason about these issues without needing “proof-sources.”  And, we do need more voices to counter the many evil threats posed by religious fundamentalism.

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