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The entire thing, some call it Gaia, is God’s child.
Posted: 21 December 2008 10:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Heya folks.
I’d like to share the last 200 words of a 700+ word essay that I’ve sent into the Four Corners Free Press for next months issue.
You know, in the past I used the term God with abandon.  These days I really need to wrestle with it*, such as in the following.  So, I’m curious what do you think? I could not think of another way to try to bridge communication for people to whom God is a certitude to one degree or other.
*In large part thanks to our past discussions.

text revised 12-22-8 to reflect final draft.

..............
Society is at a crossroads.  Insatiable consumption - “having the most toys,” “bigger is better” - have held paramount sway in our collective imaginations.  If we cling to that conviction the days ahead will be harsh indeed, because Earth simply cannot support it any longer.  Any sort of semi healthy future for our kids and their kids depends on our collective ability to understand and adopt a sustainability mindset.

The first step should be focusing on getting to know the magnificent Earth you’re part of.  It would also help to realize it is not us with our God.  It’s God with its Earth and ALL its creatures.  Earth is the only planet that has nurtured life into this fantastic interdependent panorama and humanity is but one self-centered speck in God’s reality.  The entire thing, some call it Gaia, is God’s child.  When will we start nurturing it with intelligence, respect, perhaps even affection? 

BBC, recently produced an excellent five part series titled “THE EARTH: A BIOGRAPHY… the story of our world.”  It is a non-political examination of our planet, it’s development and its many interwoven interdependencies.  Check it out, you will be impressed.

Only by removing our focus from outdated dogmas and refocusing on the here & now, our Earth and how to nurture it, rather than plundering it, can we hope for brighter days in the future. 

http://www.citizenschallenge.blogspot.com

[ Edited: 22 December 2008 11:40 PM by citizenschallenge ]
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Posted: 21 December 2008 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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My first impression is that pantheism has pretty much been done before.  While some liberal theologians and hippies will nod their heads, mainline Christians will not see this as a bridge.  On environmental ethics, unless you can tie your child-of-God-pantheism to Biblical passages, then you are stuck with interpreting Genesis (i.e., stewardship and dominion).

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Posted: 21 December 2008 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Humm,
pantheism isn’t really the goal here.

I guess I’m trying to get believers to expand their conception of who, what God is.
Just trying to bat God out of their imaginations isn’t going to work either.

‘environmental ethics’ wasn’t what my essay was about.  It had to do with today’s economic upheaval.
  Here’s another couple paragraphs
............................

Look at our planet today, humanity has encircled it and closed in on itself.  Resources have been consumed with reckless ravenous intensity.  There is no more new frontier on this planet, and vast swaths of land and water have been seriously plundered and damaged.  Yet, the business world still thinks as though Earth remains the cornucopia it once was.  Obviously the lesson of the sun is lost on our movers & doers: The larger the sun, the faster it burns itself up.  We exist on this planet because our sun was of modest size, therefore consuming its fuel at a moderate rate.  But, our economic, political brain trust never thought beyond burning the flame as hot as possible. 

A century of corporate contempt has left us a battered, aged before her day, Earth.  The environment that so many continue to dismiss is actually our biosphere, the life support system that all of humanity depends upon.  Why doesn’t the media report on that in realistic detail?

http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com

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Posted: 22 December 2008 03:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Earth as a place that could no longer sustain humanity as a species doesn’t frighten most christians I know, they just see it as a welcome beginning to armageddon when Jesus will return and take them all to their heavenly reward. Earth as a big garbage dump doesn’t bother them in the least!

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 22 December 2008 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The environmental argument and related irresponsibility of the Christian churches does not hold in most cases.

Generally my observations are that they went green a long time ago, in some cases even before it was fashionably.

http://www.europe.anglican.org/news/newsItems/2008/08_nov_02.html

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Posted: 22 December 2008 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes we have huge environmental and economic problems. However too many of us are forced to devote time to prevent regressions and diversions from antiquated, archaic religious believers that add more artificial and harmful problems to the mix. Religion is like masturbation, it should be practised in private. If that were the case, then we could all get on focusing on the real problems that we all have to face in this world.

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Posted: 22 December 2008 11:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Incidentally, I revised my original posting to reflect the final draft. 12-22-8

diogenes99 - 21 December 2008 10:50 PM

My first impression is that pantheism has pretty much been done before.  .

I’ve been chewing on your post and I just don’t get your casual dismissal of pantheism.
I’m no pantheist, but for discussion sake:

Science has always been great at compartmentalizing and isolating.
It seems to me the entire history of science these past centuries reveals a story that shatters such mechanistic simplicity.

When, I for one, view our earth it’s unfathomable interconnections and dependencies, or it’s incredible history ~
as revealed by sober science, it is nothing less than overwhelming and there is plenty of room for a spirit in there.

Pantheism seems to me the one philosophical/religious label that is not real-world oblivious. 
Now that doesn’t mean some of the actions & people who proclaim it, might not be a little crazy.

I’m not one, nor am I any other one.
I’m very inwardly focused, and work out from my own experiences when it comes to matter of the spirit.
I’ll admit all religions I’ve observed closely do have an unreal daydream feel.  Still, I can’t escape the sense that their is something deep down under there.  It’s like a fog you can’t capture or measure, still it’s there.

As for what I write, remember I’m talking outside the halls of science so some romanticizing doesn’t destroy the basic message, story ~ as it would a scientific experiment.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

And I guess the more I think about it,
the more I’m wanting to say directly to the religious:
No, you are wrong about your God as Lord. 
But, I can’t see telling them, it’s all crap. 
What I do feel good about saying is that the God you seek is beyond that self-created Lord image. 
And you can only get close to that God by understanding its Creation -
that is our Universe and most particularly this incredible gem of a planet we have been blessed with.
Here is where serious science comes in with a descriptive story and lots of teaching.

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Posted: 22 December 2008 11:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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faithlessgod - 22 December 2008 06:10 AM

Religion is like masturbation, it should be practiced in private.

I love it !
sh t, the best I ever came up with was: practice religion with humility and humor.

However,
“However too many of us are forced to devote time to prevent regressions and diversions from antiquated, archaic religious believers that add more artificial and harmful problems to the mix.”

Left me feeling hopeless.
Not that that’s uncommon. 

In fact, during the course of my conversations with CFI folks, I’ve added a new image to my gallery: That of the musicians who kept playing as the Titanic went down… you gotta do something worthwhile with your time, even if it is hopeless wink

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Posted: 23 December 2008 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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citizenschallenge - 22 December 2008 11:32 PM

Science has always been great at compartmentalizing and isolating.
It seems to me the entire history of science these past centuries reveals a story that shatters such mechanistic simplicity.

What do you mean? Where is the “mechanistic simplicity” of science “shattered”? By which experimental evidence? To take one obvious example, the mechanics of Quantum Mechanics are somewhat odder and more complex than those of Newton, but they remain mechanistic, thus the name.

citizenschallenge - 22 December 2008 11:32 PM

When, I for one, view our earth it’s unfathomable interconnections and dependencies, or it’s incredible history ~
as revealed by sober science, it is nothing less than overwhelming and there is plenty of room for a spirit in there.

Where? What does this even mean? By the same token one could say that there’s room for gnomes in there, or fairies, Bugs Bunny or God. The question is not whether one can conceive of a teapot in orbit around Mars, the question is whether there is any reason we have to believe such a thing exists.

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-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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Posted: 23 December 2008 06:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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citizenschallenge - 22 December 2008 11:32 PM

It seems to me the entire history of science these past centuries reveals a story that shatters such mechanistic simplicity.

When, I for one, view our earth it’s unfathomable interconnections and dependencies, or it’s incredible history ~
as revealed by sober science, it is nothing less than overwhelming and there is plenty of room for a spirit in there.

Pantheism seems to me the one philosophical/religious label that is not real-world oblivious. 

The argument I see you making is the same made for intelligent design: 

X (the origin of life, complexity of life, whatever) is unfathomable.
What is unfathomable is explained by the existence of God.
Therefore, God exists.

The first premise is false.  There are things that are unfathomed and unexplained.  However, that does not make them unfathomable.  Nor does adding God help, since you are just adding in something supernatural.

Now if what you mean by God is “the natural world” then you have not made any progress.  All you are doing is adding a label.

If what you want to say is that we should hold nature in high regard and protect it, then I agree.  You don’t need to say any more.  Throwing God in is just muddying the waters, since it is unwarranted or untrue.

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Posted: 23 December 2008 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Well said, Diogenes99.  It is irrational to posit explanations or concepts that don’t add to the solution of the problem, especially if there is no physical evidence for them.

Occam

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Posted: 23 December 2008 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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citizenschallenge - 22 December 2008 11:56 PM
faithlessgod - 22 December 2008 06:10 AM

Religion is like masturbation, it should be practiced in private.

I love it !
sh t, the best I ever came up with was: practice religion with humility and humor.

Well some friends remembered me coming up with that in a talk I gave but I had forgotten. We were going to print it on a T-shirt when the incitement to relgious hared bill was going through. We never did and the bill was neutered anyway.

citizenschallenge - 22 December 2008 11:56 PM

However,
“However too many of us are forced to devote time to prevent regressions and diversions from antiquated, archaic religious believers that add more artificial and harmful problems to the mix.”

Left me feeling hopeless.
Not that that’s uncommon. 

Nah just recovering from a cold and feeling sorry for myself grin It is not hopeless we need to be diligent to prevent regressions in society, there will always be a need for that, whether the cause of regressions are religious or other ideologies (e.g communism or fascism).

citizenschallenge - 22 December 2008 11:56 PM

In fact, during the course of my conversations with CFI folks, I’ve added a new image to my gallery: That of the musicians who kept playing as the Titanic went down… you gotta do something worthwhile with your time, even if it is hopeless wink

Hopefully that is not true (or is this wishful thinking on my part?). Religion as a supposedly unsinkable ship, and when it sinks it takes us all down with it? Well we did get rid of catholic controlled Europe although not without huge pain and bloodshed. If nothing else we owe it to those who paved the way for the freedoms we enjoy, to defend those freedoms?

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Posted: 24 December 2008 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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dougsmith - 23 December 2008 05:06 AM

What do you mean? Where is the “mechanistic simplicity” of science “shattered”? By which experimental evidence? To take one obvious example, the mechanics of Quantum Mechanics are somewhat odder and more complex than those of Newton, but they remain mechanistic, thus the name.

I mean, science has a grand history of making oversimplified assumptions, and with time unimagined multiple layers of complexity and interactions are only grudgingly admitted.  Medicine and the realization that emotions, and outside interactions, often effect illness development as much as pathogens.  Heck, even getting medicine to admit that nutrition holds many keys.  The grand classic academic brawls of Paleontology, where egos reigned over science and today’s infinitely richer picture of evolution.  The long rejected jumping genes.  The continuing development of atmospheric science, with its steady stream of novel unanticipated interactions.

dougsmith - 23 December 2008 05:06 AM

Where? What does this even mean?
blaa blaa….
the question is whether there is any reason we have to believe such a thing exists.


It means that there are layers of complexity beyond what we feel certain about today.

———————-
Spirit is that energy thing coursing through my body. 
Spirit, soul is that something inside that’s watching, and talking at me while I go through my day.
The flesh and the spirit.  The flesh… worldly needs, functions, desires, impulses ~ spirit the thing that drives me to be better than I am. 
Spirit is that thing that drags me up from the floor when the utter hopelessness overwhelms.
Spirit is that thing love resides in (science can’t quantity that one either wink )
Spirit is that thing good music latches into when it takes me to a flight through the universe.

So, what is God for me?
Rather why do I feel so comfortable with the “God” word?
Maybe it just seems a battle not worth fighting
(mind you “Lord god” is something definitely worth fighting against).
No, there’s more to it for me.

I go back to experiences of connection with our earth in a visceral manner.
Appreciating the glory in being here, and being healthy, and being intelligent, and aware of the fantastic infinitely around me along with my connection to it.  And the gratitude I feel.  The unbidded impulse to give thanks. 

Maybe God is the vessel for my gratitude and appreciation to flow into.
Don’t know for sure, its like trying to focus on one of the floaties in my field of vision.
What I do know is that I can’t dismiss God out of hand.

=================================

[ Edited: 27 December 2008 09:01 AM by citizenschallenge ]
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Posted: 24 December 2008 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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diogenes99 - 23 December 2008 06:06 AM

All you are doing is adding a label.


When I consider how little intelligence has percolated down to the masses and politicians and business leaders, it makes me thing all anyone has been doing is adding labels and keeping it superficial.

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Posted: 24 December 2008 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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faithlessgod - 23 December 2008 11:56 AM
citizenschallenge - 22 December 2008 11:56 PM

In fact, during the course of my conversations with CFI folks, I’ve added a new image to my gallery: That of the musicians who kept playing as the Titanic went down… you gotta do something worthwhile with your time, even if it is hopeless wink

Hopefully that is not true (or is this wishful thinking on my part?). Religion as a supposedly unsinkable ship, and when it sinks it takes us all down with it? Well we did get rid of catholic controlled Europe although not without huge pain and bloodshed. If nothing else we owe it to those who paved the way for the freedoms we enjoy, to defend those freedoms?

Actually, I was thinking of our society as the sinking ship.
It would be nice if it took religion with it.


ps
you should go ahead with those T shirts, I’ll take one.
........
here’s my latest Tshirt inspiration. 
It was a late night, yes beer influenced, profundity inspired by the excellent music of some friends & their band.

Want Religion, Find Music

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Posted: 27 December 2008 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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dougsmith - 23 December 2008 05:06 AM

What do you mean?
Where?
What does this even mean?


Come on guys don’t let me hanging wink

your quick to jump my ass when you think I’m full of it.
(as it should be grin )

What conclusions am I to gather from your silence toward my above posts?

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