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Here because of comments by Kevin Smith that seemed off.
Posted: 04 May 2012 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello;
I was reading an article about how to approach the bible as relates to literal, figurative, etc and was amazed at what Mr Smith had stated.  In a world where the problematic Christians seem to be the ones that demand a literal acceptance of the bible Mr Smith seemed to be saying that thinking about what one will or will not accept was a bad thing.
“These moderate Christians realize their religion is no longer an accurate account of the world but their need to believe forces them to re-interpret it”
Re-interpret it?  Genesis is myth.  We know that evolution happened/happens; that there was no global flood, that bats aren’t birds.  What’s to reinterpret?  Absolutely nothing.  Moderate Christianity should be celebrated by someone on the board of a center calling itself “Center for Inquiry” as we think about our faith.
Perhaps they caught Mr Smith off-guard that day.  Anyways, reading some of the other posts here I do expect this will be a positive and thoughtful environment.
If anyone wants a link to the story and the quotes just ask.  I look forward to feedback.

Dave

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Posted: 05 May 2012 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Good points, Dave. What we’re left with, though, are the supposed miracles of the NT, which are in their way just as unbelievable as the notion that there was a global flood. (Yes, the flood would have left more evidence, but both involve miracles of one sort or another that could have allowed divine manipulation).

If your view as a moderate Christian is that the NT miracles as well are simply metaphors or ways of speaking, inspirational stories perhaps, then I have no real problem with that. I personally am not inspired by them, but then there are all kinds of supposed great art that doesn’t move me, either. To each his own.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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canuckzap - 04 May 2012 10:41 PM

Hello;
I was reading an article about how to approach the bible as relates to literal, figurative, etc and was amazed at what Mr Smith had stated.  In a world where the problematic Christians seem to be the ones that demand a literal acceptance of the bible Mr Smith seemed to be saying that thinking about what one will or will not accept was a bad thing.
“These moderate Christians realize their religion is no longer an accurate account of the world but their need to believe forces them to re-interpret it”
Re-interpret it?  Genesis is myth.  We know that evolution happened/happens; that there was no global flood, that bats aren’t birds.  What’s to reinterpret?  Absolutely nothing.  Moderate Christianity should be celebrated by someone on the board of a center calling itself “Center for Inquiry” as we think about our faith.
Perhaps they caught Mr Smith off-guard that day.  Anyways, reading some of the other posts here I do expect this will be a positive and thoughtful environment.
If anyone wants a link to the story and the quotes just ask.  I look forward to feedback.

Dave

  I’m not sure exactly what interview with Kevin Smith you’re referring to, but I can’t see what the problem is.  Smith seems to be a spiritual but not religious type, judging from his interviews.  That won’t win him much accord with non theists, but that’s fine.  We are used to that nonsense - he’s a believer, no matter how he tries to dress it.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for the responses.  I couldn’t help but notice the assumption in the frirst as relates to my thoughts on the miracles, and the “we’re used to that kind of nonsense” comment in the 2nd.
I debate with atheists daily in voice chat format and when one steps up with a comment about even spirituality being “nonsense” I simply ask for validation.  If they have no way to validate that it is, indeed, nonsense I point out that the statement was nonsense.

As such, to the gentleman who made that comment I now ask you to validate in some measure that spirituality, which is also an aspect of religion, is nonsense.  Barring the ability to show this valid in some way, we’ll just recognize it as a statement of personal bias, completely unconnected to logic, ration or reason.

As to the first post.  I am forced, by your comments to assume that you are unfamiliar with the contents of either the OT or NT.  There is a lot more there.  There is history, poetry, mythology, and theology in both sections.  As to how I view the miracles: I don’t try to explain them away, nor do I claim them as fact.  I understand 1) how stories can grow but 2) as a believer in a God I can’t deny that if Jesus was indeed directly connected to God then with that power would come extraordinary capabilities.

Again thanks for the responses.  BTW Kevin Smith didn’t come off as spiritual in any measure in the article.  It was one that gave a number of different responses from different sources to the question of what to take literally in the bible.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FWIW I am quite familiar with both OT and NT, though more O than N. And I certainly agree there is a lot there, as there are with nearly all religious texts from nearly all traditions. Each has history, poetry, mythology and miracle-making.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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canuckzap - 05 May 2012 10:53 AM

...as a believer in a God I can’t deny that if Jesus was indeed directly connected to God then with that power would come extraordinary capabilities.

It is possible that Jesus had the mental energy and know-how to directly access the dark energy forces of the universe. Sure, the religions call it God but there is proof that the universe can produce “extraordinary capabilities.” Take for example, UFO’s. I believe that the E.T.s that fly around in them use one of those dark energy forces, anti-gravity. Jesus’ ability to walk on water may have been his ability to direct anti-gravity on his body. It seems like nonsense to atheists but anti-gravity is being more accepted in the scientific community as a possibility.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Quoting TenFold:

It seems like nonsense

  It certainly does.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 05 May 2012 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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canuckzap - 05 May 2012 10:53 AM

Thanks for the responses.  I couldn’t help but notice the assumption in the frirst as relates to my thoughts on the miracles, and the “we’re used to that kind of nonsense” comment in the 2nd.
I debate with atheists daily in voice chat format and when one steps up with a comment about even spirituality being “nonsense” I simply ask for validation.  If they have no way to validate that it is, indeed, nonsense I point out that the statement was nonsense.

As such, to the gentleman who made that comment I now ask you to validate in some measure that spirituality, which is also an aspect of religion, is nonsense.  Barring the ability to show this valid in some way, we’ll just recognize it as a statement of personal bias, completely unconnected to logic, ration or reason.

As to the first post.  I am forced, by your comments to assume that you are unfamiliar with the contents of either the OT or NT.  There is a lot more there.  There is history, poetry, mythology, and theology in both sections.  As to how I view the miracles: I don’t try to explain them away, nor do I claim them as fact.  I understand 1) how stories can grow but 2) as a believer in a God I can’t deny that if Jesus was indeed directly connected to God then with that power would come extraordinary capabilities.

Again thanks for the responses.  BTW Kevin Smith didn’t come off as spiritual in any measure in the article.  It was one that gave a number of different responses from different sources to the question of what to take literally in the bible.

Dave - I need a catchy quote as a signature

Spirituality is not valid, because spirituality does not exist.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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mid atlantic - 05 May 2012 02:21 PM

Spirituality is not valid, because spirituality does not exist.

Depends what one means by the term. If one means something supernatural, then you’re right. But there are contemporary folks who take a Carl Saganian approach to spirituality. (We’ve discussed this several times in the past on the Forum). That is, a spiritual approach to nature is one that sees its majesty and our smallness in comparison.

Some people like the term, others don’t. It’s perhaps a matter of taste.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 11:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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dougsmith - 05 May 2012 05:42 PM
mid atlantic - 05 May 2012 02:21 PM

Spirituality is not valid, because spirituality does not exist.

Depends what one means by the term. If one means something supernatural, then you’re right. But there are contemporary folks who take a Carl Saganian approach to spirituality. (We’ve discussed this several times in the past on the Forum). That is, a spiritual approach to nature is one that sees its majesty and our smallness in comparison.

Some people like the term, others don’t. It’s perhaps a matter of taste.

Agreed.  Spirituality as a transcendental experience is what I took the O.P. to mean.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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While some try to broaden the meaning of spirituality, I see it as just a way of getting to use a metaphysical word in general conversation.  It’s sort of like a Universalist minister who used the word “god” in sermons and when some of us objected, said, “When I say god, just think ‘love’.”  I responded, “Fine, then whenever you write a sermon with the word, god, in it, just cross that word out and substitute, love.  That way, no one would have to worry about it.”

I feel the same about spiritual.  If one wants to use it in a non-metaphysical sense, use a non-metaphysical word instead.

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Posted: 06 May 2012 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Occam. - 05 May 2012 11:22 PM

While some try to broaden the meaning of spirituality, I see it as just a way of getting to use a metaphysical word in general conversation.  It’s sort of like a Universalist minister who used the word “god” in sermons and when some of us objected, said, “When I say god, just think ‘love’.”  I responded, “Fine, then whenever you write a sermon with the word, god, in it, just cross that word out and substitute, love.  That way, no one would have to worry about it.”

I feel the same about spiritual.  If one wants to use it in a non-metaphysical sense, use a non-metaphysical word instead.

I hear you, and I know the word doesn’t work for everyone. Basically we’ll be arguing for a subtle change-in-meaning that captures most all of what someone means when they use the word, only without the supernaturalist hogwash. I think that move is less convincing, e.g., when Einstein used it with the word ‘God’, because God has more baggage; God has a very precise definition within mainstream theology. It’s a person (as opposed perhaps to the ‘Deity’ of Deism), and I’d wager most believers actually take the word as a personal name. OTOH ‘spirituality’ to begin with is a more fuzzy concept, at least in the context we’re talking about here. Fuzzier concepts have more room for play.

(One quibble: I wouldn’t use the term “metaphysical” as a derogative. Every system has its metaphysics, including every system of naturalism).

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Posted: 06 May 2012 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I hear you, and I know the word doesn’t work for everyone. Basically we’ll be arguing for a subtle change-in-meaning that captures most all of what someone means when they use the word, only without the supernaturalist hogwash. I think that move is less convincing, e.g., when Einstein used it with the word ‘God’, because God has more baggage; God has a very precise definition within mainstream theology. It’s a person (as opposed perhaps to the ‘Deity’ of Deism), and I’d wager most believers actually take the word as a personal name. OTOH ‘spirituality’ to begin with is a more fuzzy concept, at least in the context we’re talking about here. Fuzzier concepts have more room for play.

(One quibble: I wouldn’t use the term “metaphysical” as a derogative. Every system has its metaphysics, including every system of naturalism).

In this case it’s a matter of the context you use. To many of us, spirituality smacks of theism and we generally avoid it but it could be used to describe our place in the universe; how we fit into the greater scheme of things. And metaphysics is generally used in the cause and effect sense if I’m not mistaken. Correct me if I’m wrong Doug as this is your field. What I’m alluding to is it is semantics. Atheists don’t have to shy away from terminology that had been previously thought to be attached exclusively to theism. You can “feel” spiritual looking at a sunset or a color picture of our galaxy without having to relate to religious dogma to explain the feeling.


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Posted: 06 May 2012 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 06 May 2012 05:23 AM

And metaphysics is generally used in the cause and effect sense if I’m not mistaken.

One’s metaphysics is the basic structure of the theory one provides about the universe. In short, that involves (1) the sorts of things one claims to exist, and (2) the way they interrelate with each other. So the metaphysics of current physics includes the basic materials and forces one would find in quantum mechanics, for example. A theistic metaphysics might include God, souls, angels and supernatural energies or powers.

There is a secondary sense of “metaphysics”, that I think Occam is referring to, which is the section of the bookstore with all the woo. Needless to say, that usage of the term rankles people with a philosophical background. I would prefer to term those books “supernatural”. (Or if it were solely up to me, “woo”).

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Posted: 06 May 2012 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yes, I thought that the misuse of the term led people to believe that metaphysics had a supernatural quality.  Thank for clearing that up Doug.


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Posted: 06 May 2012 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I do agree that supernatural is a good descriptive word.  I may be too much of a pragmatist, but I sort of limit myself to the physical world so metaphysical seems to be describing fairytales.  Since I took a few philosophy courses for the fun of it, I enjoyed the ethics ones, but I avoided metaphysics just because of its name. smile

When I see a beautiful sunset, the scene across the valley of Yosemite, listen to great music, I’m filled with AWE.  I don’t need or want “spiritual.”

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