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Posted: 24 May 2007 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was raised in the largest Methodist church in Dallas, Tx.  Our pastor was a man named Walker Railey.  Here is the first NY Times Link to his story.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9B0DE6DF123DF931A35756C0A961948260

That says it was a suicide attempt that landed his wife in a coma.  What really happened is he hired a couple of guys to put a “hit” on his wife and she did not die.  The plan was for her to die so he could escape to California with his mistress.  My mom’s friends would all tell her he was implicated but she stood strong by her pastor.  She would take casseroles and other food to their house after the incident to show her support.  She would always defend him to me, a 10 year old boy at the time, after we were no longer in the presence of her skeptical friends.

I had always felt out of place at church, and after seeing all that go down and how upset my mom was after all of that I began to seriously doubt a great many things that had been embedded in my mind.  While 99.9% of me always sided with empirical evidence, for the longest time I had an inner conflict that I am just now coming to terms with due to my up bringing in a church.  I do not resent my mother for making me go, she was only doing what she thought best.

I am almost thirty now, and about a year ago I was able to completely recoup that .1% and it seems that my life is now much more clear and I am much happier.

I guess I have a few questions.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar conflict?

and

How is the obvious so obvious to so few?  While secular numbers are rising, it is still the minority.  I say this with the utmost respect for everyone and their ideas, however I’m starting to believe that religion and/or theology are traits of a less evolved mind?  Is that wrong?  The evolution of information and our ability to exploit that information is the only real means of survival now.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I thought it said she was attacked and left for dead and he took a drug overdose a few weeks after she landed in the coma.  So they are both in trouble medically now.

Whatever the case, I got the feeling he tried to kill himself because he knew the police were on to him because he was the guilty party concerning his wife’s condition.  Whatever the case, the minister did it.

I’m starting to believe that religion and/or theology are traits of a less evolved mind?  Is that wrong?  The evolution of information and our ability to exploit that information is the only real means of survival now.

I highly recommend that your read Dr. Valerie Tarico’s (Ph. D. in Psychology) book called “The Dark Side:  How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth”.  It covers the primitave part of your question quite well.  In it she talks about the primitive man and the belief in a carniverous animal.  If you believe a wild animal is out there and is about to eat you and there isn’t one, well you have just lost a little sleep, but are still alive.  If you don’t believe, you could be eaten.

She continues with other things that explain all this primitive belief system as a means of survival, but basically, yes, it is the remains of early man’s survival.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar conflict?

My thing with religion is that people so often do harm to others and cause misery not happiness, which is sad.  They lie when they say, “If you turn your life over to Jesus/God, you’ll be so much happier.”  I have seen that so often and when people do, the church controls and dominates their lives.  So, many people are so miserable that they do shocking things in reaction to the depression and misery they feel.  Then the church says something dumb like, “Oh, they didn’t really turn their lives over to God.”  5.gif  Whatever…

The other thing is, I saw a lot of other mythical stories in the stories that are in the Bible.  Eventually I realized that they were all “evolved” myth.  Stories rewritten to fit the people, places, and times.  I did my research and found a lot of others thought the same thing.  Most recent people of course are Price and Acharya, along with a few other people.

So, the conflict people feel with religion varies, but the effects from the religious hang around- not necessary inside you, but in the world/society as a whole, BECAUSE they use that fear factor to keep you within the “flock” or “fold”.  They threaten you with eternal damnation, for example, if you do this or that, thus using psychological abuse to get you to stay.  Valerie Tarico addresses this too in her book.

Anyway, I highly recommend reading her book and it could answer some of your questions.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 24 May 2007 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Indeed,  It does say that, I mis-worded that.

I offered that story to show you how and why i first started to question.

I think I’ve been thinking about this because two days ago two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came by the house.  When I told them I was agnostic her tone became condescending.  This prompted my second question about the obvious being obvious to a select few.

I don’t understand how something that is blindingly obvious to me equates to my total ignorance in the eyes of another..and vice versa.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Oh the Mormons.  4.gif  You keep asking questions and researching them.  I truly believe you will find your answers eventually, but you probably won’t find them in some “holy” scripture.  The book I recommended is a good start.  They maybe other books out there too, like Dawkins’s “The God Delusion”.  I have not read that one yet, but I have a copy of it and it’s on my summer reading list.  I wish you the best of luck with your research.

I can tell you, the Mormons and the JWs are cult like in their tactics.  I’d avoid them, if you can.  The Mormons believe that if they don’t go door to door, their children will not make it through the “rapture”.  Evangelical Fundamentalist are just as bad with emotional abuse.  More often than not, these things cause more harm than good as well as cause a lot of misery.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 24 May 2007 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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When tiny children are inculcated with religion before they have learned to reason the information goes into what are called logic proof compartments.  These missionaries have been so thoroughly steeped in their mythology that they are incapable of even considering the possibility of other ideas.  They often think atheists and agnostics don’t REALLY believe that, but are just being contrary.  At best, they are sure we are misguided and just need to be shown the way.  As soon as they do that we will have a revelation and join them joyously.

I suggest you try to avoid such people whenever possible, that is, unless you’re quick, have your own strong convictions, and want to have a bit of nasty fun.  Then you can start pointing out the errors, contradictions and evils in the bible and asking them how they could believe such vile stuff. 

Occam

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Posted: 25 May 2007 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Occam - 24 May 2007 05:27 PM

Then you can start pointing out the errors, contradictions and evils in the bible and asking them how they could believe such vile stuff. 
Occam

Vile isn’t thw word I would use.  I mean, I think we can all agree the philosphy is sound, but the mythology is the part that is not.  In other words, I don’t commit muder because I respect life, not because I’m afraid of eternal damnatoin.

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Posted: 25 May 2007 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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200mg - 25 May 2007 03:40 PM

I don’t commit muder because I respect life, not because I’m afraid of eternal damnatoin.

You probably don’t commit murder because you don’t have the need to do so. My guess. The only life we truly respect (if the word “respect” has any valuable meaning at all) is our own. My guess again.

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Posted: 25 May 2007 10:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I don’t think I agree, George.  While you’re right that the basic drive of all organisms is survival, i.e., self-interest, as social animals we translate that immediate self-interest into long-term self-interest.  As such, we learn as small children the value of helping other and avoiding harming them.  Even if I knew I could be assured that I would never be punished in any way for it, I couldn’t bring myself to kill G.W. Bush, Pat Robertson, or a serial killer.  (I’d certainly grit my teeth, but I still wouldn’t do it.)

It isn’t because I believe they don’t deserve to be killed, but rather because my ethics don’t allow me to murder. 

Occam

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Posted: 25 May 2007 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I don’t agree entirely with either of you, George or Occam, though both of you are right to a point. I think there is a tendancy to have empathy and compassion because it is a necessary ingredient for living in social groups, as Occam points out, so reciprocal altruism and such do make evolutionary sense. But obviously we kill each other all the time. George is right that if we define a “need” or good reason to kill, we have no problem suspending the usual prohibitions against it. Our ethics tend to be tribal, with self at the center, though often replaced by offspring if they happen, and a series of concentric circles of membership and exclusion going outwards, top each of which a slightly different ethics is applied.

Personally, I probably wouldn’t kill the folks Occam refers to either, though more out of a pragmatic set of guidelines for behavior that I think minimize social violoence and chaos than out of any personal difficulty with the idea. If I knew for certain I could kill a leader and get away with it while being sure of preventing thousands of deaths in a stupid war, I’m enough of a utilitarian to be fine with doing so. Once again, a moral relativist rather than absolutist, I guess.

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Posted: 26 May 2007 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Nobody “deserves” to be killed, Occam. I don’t take antibiotics because the bacteria “deserves” to die. I kill the bacteria because I need, yes need!, to get better: if I get better, I can keep feeding my family, etc, etc. And I think I would treat all my “enemies” equally. Are Bush or the lunatic Robertson my enemies? Probably not. I don’t agree with their opinions, but I don’t believe they are a direct threat to me or to my family. Now, let’s pretend that Chris Hedges’s American Fascists one day do take over North America and become murdering all the atheists, with Robertson as their leader. In that case, if the right opportunity came up, I would have no problem killing Robertson.

[ Edited: 26 May 2007 08:43 PM by George ]
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Posted: 08 July 2007 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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200mg - 24 May 2007 11:12 AM

I was raised in the largest Methodist church in Dallas, Tx.  Our pastor was a man named Walker Railey.  Here is the first NY Times Link to his story.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9B0DE6DF123DF931A35756C0A961948260

That says it was a suicide attempt that landed his wife in a coma.  What really happened is he hired a couple of guys to put a “hit” on his wife and she did not die.  The plan was for her to die so he could escape to California with his mistress.  My mom’s friends would all tell her he was implicated but she stood strong by her pastor.  She would take casseroles and other food to their house after the incident to show her support.  She would always defend him to me, a 10 year old boy at the time, after we were no longer in the presence of her skeptical friends.

I had always felt out of place at church, and after seeing all that go down and how upset my mom was after all of that I began to seriously doubt a great many things that had been embedded in my mind.  While 99.9% of me always sided with empirical evidence, for the longest time I had an inner conflict that I am just now coming to terms with due to my up bringing in a church.  I do not resent my mother for making me go, she was only doing what she thought best.

I am almost thirty now, and about a year ago I was able to completely recoup that .1% and it seems that my life is now much more clear and I am much happier.

I guess I have a few questions.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar conflict?

and

How is the obvious so obvious to so few?  While secular numbers are rising, it is still the minority.  I say this with the utmost respect for everyone and their ideas, however I’m starting to believe that religion and/or theology are traits of a less evolved mind?  Is that wrong?  The evolution of information and our ability to exploit that information is the only real means of survival now.

It is a view which is at the very least polarizing. Conceiving of the religious as less evolved won’t help you any. It may be helpful for you if you wish to try and understand by looking at how religion affects not only individuals but how group participation in turn adds a new dynamic to the overall experience. Conversion stories abound and are indeed useful and enlightening, but they are by no means enough. Yes it is evil, but it is fascinating nonetheless and deserves to be properly understood (if that’s possible) as you say, for your and my very survival.

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Posted: 08 July 2007 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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This should clarify why seeing someone as less-evolved is mistaken.


http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/2007/1899517.htm

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Posted: 18 July 2007 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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200mg - 24 May 2007 11:12 AM

I had always felt out of place at church, and after seeing all that go down and how upset my mom was after all of that I began to seriously doubt a great many things that had been embedded in my mind.  While 99.9% of me always sided with empirical evidence, for the longest time I had an inner conflict that I am just now coming to terms with due to my up bringing in a church.  I do not resent my mother for making me go, she was only doing what she thought best.
I am almost thirty now, and about a year ago I was able to completely recoup that .1% and it seems that my life is now much more clear and I am much happier.
I guess I have a few questions.
Has anyone else dealt with a similar conflict?quote]

I would say that I feel similar.  Fear is a big factor and tugs at me every now and then to cause anxiety that I am wrong.  In the churches I’ve been involved with, I was told that there is worse punishment for those that were once of the faith that fall away because they ‘know better’.  Whereas God is more willing to have mercy on someone who has never heard of christ, than on someone who has known and then rejected him.  I find this cruel indeed.  This inner conflict I still deal with.  I am 25 and have been out of the church for almost 2 years.  I am hoping that with time I will be able to forget the hurtful things I was taught about how one must think about the world if one doesn’t want to be really really sorry later. 
I’m still having a hard time throwing the whole idea of God out.  Even if I don’t believe I have to worship anything supernatural, I still feel like I should be obeying something - like there is this entity and someone is watching.  It’s a very hard feeling to shake.  Like I’m going to have to answer for myself one day, and it’s not going to be pretty.  I’m hopeful to hear that you went through a similar inner struggle and are now through it.

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Posted: 21 July 2007 05:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I think it is difficult to comprehend the power of what I like to call brainsoiling.

Psychologists call it the socialization process.  It is as though little children’s brains are so plastic they can be programmed with almost anything.  But it seems there is always a small percentage that is resistant.  Some people can change their minds later.

But those of us THAT TRULY KNOW THE TRUTH know that you are going to get your just desserts.  Breyer’s coffee ice cream on German chocolate cake.  LOL

psikey

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Posted: 01 August 2007 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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It is called brainwashing and when you begin questioning it you are starting to come to your senses and break away from it which is a good sign. My father was a Mormon and so was I for awhile. I have been to Catholic churches, the Quakers, Penecostal, Baptist, Four-Square, Family of God, Nazarene, Episcopal, Unitarian, Coptic, Church of Christ and several community churches. I have even been to a mosque, a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, Hare Kristna, Witchcraft services, Church of Satan and several tribal religions ceremonies and they basically all have one goal in mind and that is to feel secure and have a crutch to lean on. And all religious leaders want to control your life. I have often times had doubts as to rather this religion or that was “right” or my questioning its dogma.

But when you start to think you are starting to break free which is good.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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George,

I have to side with Occam here. When you say

Now, let’s pretend that Chris Hedges’s American Fascists one day do take over North America and become murdering all the atheists, with Robertson as their leader.

It appears that you would be happy to…

if the right opportunity came up, I would have no problem killing Robertson.

This clearly implies that there would be circumstances where you are prepared to kill a person when they personally may not pose an immediate and direct physical threat to you or your family’s wellbeing -

By targeting a leader and not the people who are directly poses the threat you have jumped from self defence to a “justified” pre-emptive strike.

You are being inconsistent as by your admission, have moved the immediacy of threat.

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