Jimmie Keyes
Posted: 22 April 2006 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  363
Joined  2006-02-23

[size=18:e13ba44c8e][color=blue:e13ba44c8e] I came to humanism late in life. Born in 1935, I was given a catholic education beginning with grade school, back then 8 grades, taught by the Daughters of Charity, an order of nuns associated with the Vincentian order of priests who were in charge of our parish. I was a small well built very good looking boy who of course was slated by the nuns to become a priest. When that didn’t happen (How is a whole ‘nother story) I went on to a boys academy run by the Benedictine order, monks pledged to observance of the Benedictine rule. From there it was on to to Notre Dame where I was enrolled in all of the theology courses available to an undergraduate in an advanced curriculum. I attended my first public school of any kind when I transferred to the University of Illinois to attend law school.

I graduated from the state university in the 60’s, married, passed the bar and went to work -

MY TRANSFORMATION
The next few paragraphs are interesting to theologians and catholic apostates - I’ve tried to make them understandable to all. They relate how I applied reason to theological dogma, it is here because it may be interesting to some. I do know as much about Roman Catholic religion as most priests and probably more than many.
My first doubts were caused by the mystery of the hypostatic union, the notion that god and matter could be joined in a single man’s body. We had been taught at Notre Dame that every principle of faith had to meet the test of reason. We learned a mystery of faith such as the hypostatic union had to be possible, though we mortals did not have to understand how. Tenet’s of Faith could not be impossible, a rock too large for god to lift, oxymorons.

Sheed defined matter as the essence of change, I still recall those words. All things material change, of that there is no doubt. Time is nothing more than the means to measure the duration of change. We were taught a that god was unchanging, immutable and eternal, meaning he/she/it exists unchanging in a state called eternity with but a single all encompassing thought1.

There was no doubt that Jesus body was material, like yours and mine. I concluded a human body could not - no matter how transfigured - be a repository for the essence of that god. I concluded an eternal god could not be material. Joining the two persons, god and man in a single material body is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, a rock too big for god to lift. That did it for me, it took some time and lots of "mind wringing" but once I was satisfied that the mystery of the hypostatic union was an oxymoron, religion was open to further examination.

Once the shackles of religion were off all debate about the ascendancy of supernatural law over natural law is over. Talk about a camel through the eye of a needle! - all the questions about natural law, whether it exists, what it dictates, went away. What was left was a fairly bright human being who cared about his fellow human beings and had an open mind. But I was very busy then with other things that didn’t leave much room for deep thoughts.

My conclusions about religion and the deity were reached long ago but I stood aside and let others have their ridiculous belief systems. I was an in the closet secular humanist; I took Skeptical Inquirer, in some years Free Inquiry as well but wasn’t an activist.

In early 2005 I bought a book, "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, now available in paperback, changed everything for me. I bought many copies and sent them to family and friends;  I urge all - buy the book, read it and pass it on.

Sam posits a world, twenty five to fifty years hence, in which terrorists will have easily transportable nuclear weapons, worse they’ll be able to poison food and water supplies and spread toxins of unimaginable potency. He thinks we will not be able to do much to prevent it. The world as we know it will end but not in the way writers about the Rapture and Return imagine. Those of us who are alive will be returned to the dark ages. Our only hope depends upon secular humanists organizing and working together in communities to expose irrational beliefs for what they are.

I’m working with CFI Transnational to try to do just that.

J

1 - Humans had immortal souls but since we think and our minds change there is no eternity for us -  only an aeviternity in which time passes as something that measures our changing thoughts.

[/color:e13ba44c8e][/size:e13ba44c8e]

 Signature 

Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 April 2006 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  363
Joined  2006-02-23

Jimmie Keyes

I came to humanism late in life. Born in 1935, I was given a catholic education beginning with grade school, back then 8 grades, taught by the Daughters of Charity, an order of nuns associated with the Vincentian order of priests who were in charge of our parish. I was a small well built very good looking boy who of course was slated by the nuns to become a priest. When that didn’t happen (How is a whole ‘nother story) I went on to a boys academy run by the Benedictine order, monks pledged to observance of the Benedictine rule. From there it was on to to Notre Dame where I was enrolled in all of the theology courses available to an undergraduate in an advanced curriculum. I attended my first public school of any kind when I transferred to the University of Illinois to attend law school.

I graduated from the state university in the 60’s, married, passed the bar and went to work -

MY TRANSFORMATION
The next few paragraphs are interesting to theologians and catholic apostates - I’ve tried to make them understandable to all. They relate how I applied reason to theological dogma, it is here because it may be interesting to some. I do know as much about Roman Catholic religion as most priests and probably more than many.
My first doubts were caused by the mystery of the hypostatic union, the notion that god and matter could be joined in a single man’s body. We had been taught at Notre Dame that every principle of faith had to meet the test of reason. We learned a mystery of faith such as the hypostatic union had to be possible, though we mortals did not have to understand how. Tenet’s of Faith could not be impossible, a rock too large for god to lift, oxymorons.

Sheed defined matter as the essence of change, I still recall those words. All things material change, of that there is no doubt. Time is nothing more than the means to measure the duration of change. We were taught a that god was unchanging, immutable and eternal, meaning he/she/it exists unchanging in a state called eternity with but a single all encompassing thought1.

There was no doubt that Jesus body was material, like yours and mine. I concluded a human body could not - no matter how transfigured - be a repository for the essence of that god. I concluded an eternal god could not be material. Joining the two persons, god and man in a single material body is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, a rock too big for god to lift. That did it for me, it took some time and lots of “mind wringing” but once I was satisfied that the mystery of the hypostatic union was an oxymoron, religion was open to further examination.

Once the shackles of religion were off all debate about the ascendancy of supernatural law over natural law is over. Talk about a camel through the eye of a needle! - all the questions about natural law, whether it exists, what it dictates, went away. What was left was a fairly bright human being who cared about his fellow human beings and had an open mind. But I was very busy then with other things that didn’t leave much room for deep thoughts.

My conclusions about religion and the deity were reached long ago but I stood aside and let others have their ridiculous belief systems. I was an in the closet secular humanist; I took Skeptical Inquirer, in some years Free Inquiry as well but wasn’t an activist.

In early 2005 I bought a book, “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris, now available in paperback, changed everything for me. I bought many copies and sent them to family and friends;  I urge all - buy the book, read it and pass it on.

Sam posits a world, twenty five to fifty years hence, in which terrorists will have easily transportable nuclear weapons, worse they’ll be able to poison food and water supplies and spread toxins of unimaginable potency. He thinks we will not be able to do much to prevent it. The world as we know it will end but not in the way writers about the Rapture and Return imagine. Those of us who are alive will be returned to the dark ages. Our only hope depends upon secular humanists organizing and working together in communities to expose irrational beliefs for what they are.

I’m working with CFI Transnational to try to do just that.

J

1 - Humans had immortal souls but since we think and our minds change there is no eternity for us -  only an aeviternity in which time passes as something that measures our changing thoughts.

 Signature 

Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2006 01:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  363
Joined  2006-02-23

The second half of the book isn’t nearly as good as the first. He suggests substitution of eastern spirituality for the churches’ present contribution to a human need for spirituality.

I think we can develop a system of groups that supply what’s missing when a churchgoer leaves the church. I don’t think it is spirituality. I think the churches supply a society with activities that in the best and biggest of them run the whole gamut of fun things to do.  And they supply priests to minister to the flock in time of need.

The AHA tries to do it with its celebrants but falls short because there is nothing that continues in the life of the person ministered to by a celebrant once the wedding, funeral whatever is over.

I don’t think Sam’s suggestion regarding meditation etc. will change a lot of fundamentalist christians from the easy road they think they are on to a life of crosslegged thought. We got to figure out how to supply the food needed for a spiritual life if there is one, I’m not sure of that but it looks like there is. (Stonehenge seems to support the theory that spirituality has a history going back to the dim past)

That’s my criticism of the book but it got me going and that is a good thing on balance. If you’d like to continue this lets do it in the Episodes section of the forums. I think it might be appropriate in the subdivision on the interview with Sam. More people will see it there.
Jim

 Signature 

Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2006 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

Very interesting story about your Catholic upbringing and conflict with its theology, Jimmie. I wasn’t raised religious but did have some exposure to theology in philosophy and religion classes, and certainly share your opinion that there is a lot of really bad philosophy done in the attempt to make sense of incoherent theological ideals. (E.g., the holy trinity, free will, etc.)

I liked Sam Harris’s book as well, but as you’ve already seen from our posts over in the Episodes section of the Forum, I also see the second half of his book as much less successful than the first ... and I’m someone who has done Zen meditation and enjoyed it immensely.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2006 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  363
Joined  2006-02-23

I read these discussions and see what I was told about members of the churches is true. That was: they know nothing of the history of the religion, the history of theology in the church, and truly know nothing period of the basis for their belief(s).

They have been taught to believe a simple set of tenets of faith, Jesus lived and died for them, if they believe in Jesus, really truly believe, they are saved. Once saved nothing they can do short of rejecting “The holy ghost” (believe that or not) will prevent their ascendance to heaven on death.

That is it pretty much - god is god, Jesus is his son, he died for their sins and they are saved when they accept him.

You are right the discussions don’t evidence much theological background. I’ll try to aid in that area.

Jim

 Signature 

Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2006 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14

Yes, I think the vast majority of believers don’t really know what it is they believe ... that is, they do so navely. They accept a bunch of propositions that were put before them by priests, mullahs, etc., simply on authority (or “faith”  :wink: ) without really thinking about it.

I also think that by looking anthropologically at religion you learn that really religion is more of a social and political creature than a philosophical one. That is, religion exists because of the social and political role it plays in cultures.

Many believers are so because going to church (mosque, temple, etc.) is a social occasion, one that gives them friends and makes them feel members of a special society.

And many powerful people like religion because it gives them access to political power.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2006 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  81
Joined  2006-04-08

I believe whatever Doug tells me to.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2006 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15305
Joined  2006-02-14
[quote author=“Jayhox”]I believe whatever Doug tells me to.

Ooooooh, I hope not!

:shock:  :shock:  :shock:

LOL

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 April 2006 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  248
Joined  2005-06-28

Hello! Welcome to CFI. 71-16=55 Wow I’m 55 yrs younger than you.  I read all the introduce yourself to find someone my age.  Well the average freethinker has been a theist for a longer time than I’ve been alive. :o But their also usually smarter than me, not sure on the wiser.  LOL  So you were raised Catholic. *interesting* I think I will have to find time in my busy high school life to read Harris’s book.

 Signature 

Fighting the evil belief that there is a god(s).

Profile