Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Science as a Bridge to God

The blue roads of thinking: The Human Condition:
To restore to science as a whole, for mathematics as well as psychology and sociology, the sense of its origin and veritable destiny as a bridge leading toward God---not by diminishing, but by increasing precision in demonstration, verification and supposition---that would indeed be a task worth accomplishing.
Simone Weil

Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification. I have to be an atheist with that part of myself which is not made for God. Among those in whom the supernatural part of themselves has not been awakened, the atheists are right and the believers wrong.
- Simone Weil, Faiths of Meditation; Contemplation of the divine
the Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas (David McKay Co. NY 1977) p 417

J'C: So we come full circle. To restore to science its destiny as a bridge leading toward God it must be purged of that religious view of humans as God's failure to create, at the very least, a species with no need for a re-birth mediated by religion but fully capable of themselves awakening the supernatural connection to God. All scientists I know who have made this connection, and they are many as I tend to live in a science dominated world, see their mission in science not as saving their souls, but to discover the world God has created with themselves as an integral part of it along with all other humans. They have purged themselves of the need for consolation or salvation of their religion and have made that direct empowering connection to God. Most Christian scientists have done this by a return to the Synoptics and the empowering first Commandment "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." [Emphasis mine.] There is no room in that commandment for consolation or salvation.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Purpose of Life

The blue roads of thinking: Is atheism compatible with God?: Comments: December 28, 2009 5:17 PM

J'C; ...Plus 5 for Fulghum, and 5 more for All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
I haven't found a God that can help any more than that.

EI: The 'points' should be yours; yours is the brilliant mind that recognized the value of Fulgham's ideas and pointed me toward him; I was just following your lead.

Thank You,

J'C: Fulghum is one of those rare people who speak profoundly in words we all can understand, and even get a chuckle out of if we can restrain ourselves from ROFL.

I get no points for having been introduced to his work, or introducing others. It is simply a necessity in the purpose of my life.

The Human Condition

The blue roads of thinking: Is atheism compatible with God?:
The human condition is such that we are incapable without the help of grace of coming to objectively experience the human condition in order to reconcile it. Our defense mechanisms are too strong.
Nick A
J'C: Perhaps a good Apologetic, but certainly not a general statement about the human condition. Many humans think of the East Asians as an example do very will objectively experiencing the human condition without Grace. Some use various forms of meditation as a way to focus on the human condition, and rid themselves of the defense mechanisms but it is done without external help. Many well educated westerners particularly those without a strong indoctrination for dependence on God are able to experience the human condition, objectively, subjectively, or spiritually without the need for grace from God or other. I am well studied in the human condition, not because grace showed me the way, but because I was indoctrinated to be aware of it from my earliest conscious moments.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Each religion is alone true.

The blue roads of thinking: Materialism and God:
Each religion is alone true, that is to say, that at the moment we are thinking of it we must bring as much attention to bear on it as if there were nothing else...A 'synthesis' of religion implies a lower quality of attention.
Simone Weil

C'J: In a long lifetime of studying, and learning from religions, it is necessary to suspend disbelief to this extent to get anything from them. When I am singing a Mass it it impossible to do it right or learn from the experience if there are any reservations about God or the belief set you are singing about.
One of the reasons I do not attempt to build a coherent whole from what I learn is that not only are they alone true, they are also alone false. I suspect that if any had been true in the sense of having a true connection to God, I would have by now found God. Unlike Simone, the fact that all religions are alone false led me not to God but to a cosmopolitan understanding of morality, meaning and purpose in life.

Friday, December 25, 2009

What is Science?

If science is based on process and obscured with unfamiliar words, it nonetheless grew out of a fundamentally human, childlike curiosity. What makes the sky blue, why does ice float, what is "blood," how does the mind work? What child fails to ask those questions? What child fails to draw what she sees, or sing what he knows.
Jon Franklin, The Wolf in the Parlor, 2009. p.3.

In fifty-eight words he has explained to everyone what scientists have been trying to tell as long as scientists have been doing science, and everybody else has been asking WTF are you guys doing? Just brilliant.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Is atheism compatible with God?

The blue roads of thinking: Materialism and God:
Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification. I have to be an atheist with that part of myself which is not made for God. Among those in whom the supernatural part of themselves has not been awakened, the atheists are right and the believers wrong.
- Simone Weil, Faiths of Meditation; Contemplation of the divine
the Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas (David McKay Co. NY 1977) p 417

Nick A.: This is far easier for me to accept since I've experienced a bit of this transition. Yet I am interested how you and other atheists would react to her observation.

Is it difficult for an atheist to be open to the possibility that something has not opened in them as of yet to experience the real meaning of the essence of religion? Does it seem too elitist to consider? Yet IMO the atheist is quite right to react to the imagination of those who call themselves religious. Atheism then is a necessary purification."

J'C: Perhaps the purification Weil is talking about is the purification from the religious intercession between believers and God. A major cause of atheism is really paying attention to the religious teachings of the major religions and then committing the mortal sin of thinking about them. At that point the only thing left for those needing God is a direct personal relationship with God unmediated by religion. I think this is what Weil is talking about.

There are many people who are overwhelmed by the challenges of life and find the need for God either directly as the mystics strive for, or mediated by religions. Others of us see the challenges as just that, obstacles to overcome. Including the huge challenge of inevitable death. If an individual is unable to cope, that yearning for God gives an escape. I suspect most atheists are past that. I know I have examined many of the religious avenues of escape and found none including direct relationship with God that worked for me. This is not a rejection of religion. I have learned much about living and dying from religion. It is just a celebration of my human yearning for interdependence only with other humans. There is no part of my life that I feel a need to cede to God.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Is atheism a belief system? - Beliefnet
I have no beliefs. Belief gets in the way of learning.
Lazarus Long: Time Enough For Love, Robert A Heinlein, 1973 p20.

J'C "This policy has served me well since I adopted it shortly after the book came out."
MANY People of VARIOUS 'Faith' Communities
endorse/embrace one or more
'Sacred Texts' ...

J'C: "I will readily admit I have learned more about living from avowedly fictional texts 'This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to actual persons or places is purely coincidental' usually by atheist authors than I have ever learned from 'Sacred Texts' or Liturgies or Creeds which I have studied extensively. The quote itself makes the thought of Time Enough For Love or any other fiction as something to believe in an oxymoron."

J'C: I think the difference is, from another of my fictional reread texts East of Eden, Steinbeck, is that Sacred Texts say "Thou Must" and the fiction says "Thou Mayest." Steinbeck was wrestling with the story of Cain and God's command "Timshel" usually translated as Thou Shalt (triumph over sin,) occasionally as "Thou must." "Timshel" take control over your behavior, take responsibility for your actions, especially your sins, and you may become a better person because of the learning experience and triumph over the mistakes you have made.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Materialism and God

God and Consciousness - Beliefnet
Reality is anchored by a principle known as The Primacy of Existence; “Something that has objective existence in Reality exists independent of any observation.” This is quite obviously a materialistic notion and I also believe this idea is the key to most objections to Materialism. The wish that things having subjective existence could somehow be or become things having objective existence is one of the mantras of the “A-Materialist.”
J'C: "The only problem I have with materialism and the Primacy of Existence is, as I told Blü on a different thread, that it is boring. I have no interest at all in the subjective having an objective existence. I am quite happy with it being subjective. Art, music, fiction, myths, gods, and rituals all mean exactly nothing to the materialist since they admittedly exist only in the minds of those that can understand them. Each understanding of the subjective entity is subtly or grossly different, but people can agree on some of the important features of the entity. God may be supernatural, natural, imaginary, or a delusion in rare cases, but it is at the very least something that someone, lets call them a believer, finds to be important in their lives. One can argue all night that God has no material existence. (Not with me. I stipulate it in the first few seconds and everybody gets pissed. The materialists go off and rub the belly of the material Buddha, and the Buddhists go off in another corner to discuss the issue of non-material suffering. I go read a novel.) I find it much more interesting to find out why an intelligent, rational person can and does find God to be important in their lives."

A tree falls in the forest. Who cares whether or not the compression waves in the atmosphere qualify as noise or not. It just doesn't matter. I think this was ultimately my problem with Chemistry which was my boyhood choice of a career that lasted through my Sophomore year in college. I just couldn't get worked up about how a rocket went up. It was much more fun to deal with the absolutely subjective and political issues of getting someone to buy it so it could go up. If a car salesman thinks hesh is selling a material object, hesh had better find a job in a factory building cars. What heah is selling is prestige, practicality, social status, or political correctness. They all work to move the iron. Some of the worst salespeople are materialists, they try to sell the technology, the intercooler, and the V4. They might as well try to sell the frame. It does not work.

The Creation of Eve

The birth of Eve - Beliefnet:

"Agnostic wrote:

You're absolutely right. Clearly Eve was a divine creation, separate from Adam. Eve was created in the divine image of God Herself. In contrast, Adam evolved from primates with lower intelligence. It should be obvious that women are innately superior to males.

The Bible shows this. The very name for 'the Lord' is Yahvah. Eve in Hebrew is Chavah. If you look at the original Hebrew letters, they are even more nearly identical.

Each time a female is born, it is another divine creation. Males, on the other hand, bear far too much similarity to apes of lesser intelligence. It should be obvious.

The Genesis story shows God leading the animals and beasts to Adam for a potential mate, because Adam was just an animal. Adam almost chose a dog for a mate. But God, in Her infinite wisdom, realized Adam was not capable of living without divine help, so God gave a replica of Herself to watch over Adam.

This is clear from the Hebrew word, usually translated as 'help mate' It is 'Ezer,' a word which does mean help. But in the Bible, it only appears as a term for God Herself, or for Eve. David says, 'God is my Help (Ezer)' Eve, the Woman, was Adam's Help (Ezer). It was Adam who needed help, divine assistance. Eve was provided. She did not evolve. She had a separate divine creation.

Scientists generally are correct. Adam evolved. But religion is also correct, Eve was a Divine Creation. All the violence is the world is caused by men, who have barely evolved past their lower primate origins. Even with divine assistance from women, they often are unable to advance beyond their atavistic nature."

J'C: In light of Harold Bloom's theory that "J" was a woman, the irony in Genesis 2 is, with this post, beautifully explained.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Procreative vs recreational sex

Gender roles, family, God and Atheism - Beliefnet
Do you think there might be a biological advantage to having two parents that actually 'make love'? As opposed a family where the woman gets raped on a weekly basis? [...]I have six children. And we would have had more if I were up to it. [...] This happened because I sacrificed my life for my family and children.
Now does it bother me that they [atheists] much prefer recreational sex to procreational sex. [...]
J'C: "It would seem that parents that make love is almost a evolutionary necessity for a stable family and properly nurtured children. Which is why I object to the common religious edict that sex should not be making love it should be making children. The number of children resulting from that lovemaking should be a choice not chance, as you point out. You sacrificed your life for your family, which is a reasonable choice that I respect if your wife agreed with sacrificing her non-family contribution to society, I assume she did not work other than at home and family, and your sacrifice was the entire material support for the family.

Others may make a different choice, considering the overpopulation of the planet, that would be to combine recreational sex (I certainly hope you didn't deprive your wife of that when conception was not intended) with reproductive sex only for replacement levels. 2.3 kids, usually 2 to make up for those who choose more and both parents contribute to the economic and nurturing health of the family. I sacrificed my career several times to the needs of the family and my wife's career, and we shared the home duties equally with both doing more than our share so that the children would get the support and socialization that they needed. It worked out for the children which is most important."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Believe in yourself.

The Value of a God Belief - Beliefnet
Believe in yourself, then you die.
J'C: "I am OK with that. But it makes it all the more important that I not only have confidence in my capabilities to affect the society I choose to live in but also to do what I can to make a difference before I die. I have no hope of anything at all after death, whether it is Pie in the sky or or a lake of fire. Both are cons to sell belief."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are all trustworthy?

The Value of a God Belief - Beliefnet

We teach our children to know better than 'believe Humans are trustworthy,' so I don't think it can mean that.

J'C: "Fortunately this primarily a religious teaching tied to Original Sin. As your friend (I hope) Jesus taught us give everybody two smites before you decide hesh is not trustworthy.

Many of us subscribe to the UU concept of radical respect for all people. That is assume all people are worthy of respect until they prove differently. Do not assume that just because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, their skin tone, their eye shape or color of their dress that they are suspect."

This of course does not mean all are trustworthy. But tit for two tats seems to be the most effective game theory strategy in almost all scenarios. I suspect that past history with a believer group, Nazis come to mind, might justify a more conservative strategy, but lacking evidence of clear and present danger, tit for two tats seems wise.

Gay humor.

A bit of gay humor, not intended to offend any more than any other limerick,
but I use the last line frequently and people have asked for the limerick.

A gay man who lived in Khartoum
Took a lesbian up to his room.
They argued all night
Over who had the right
To do what, and with which, and to whom.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is there value in God beliefs?

Is there any value in belief in God? - Beliefnet


"What is the value of a belief in God?

The most obvious values concerning a belief in God include conformity to social mores, strengthening of a sense of community, psychological benefits including the sense of personal power, and increased satisfaction from the internal perception of the expansion of knowledge.

What needs does the belief in God address?

Within Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, Safety Needs are addressed directly and indirectly by belief in God. God is identified as the Protector and Guardian of his flock, the unstoppable foe of enemies, source for miracles of all kinds, etc. Love/Belonging/Social Needs are also addressed directly and indirectly by belief in God. God’s grouping of humans is characterized as a “Church;” membership is claimed to earn one God’s love; etc.

How does belief benefit/improve a person?

Belief can be a bridge out of the quagmire of low self-esteem. The belief that one has the benefit of an infallible Guide can instill the confidence to act rather than remain immobilized due to fear of failure or misfortune. Belief “socializes” a person and helps connect them to a support group outside their immediate family.

God is not required to objectively exist to provide benefit to the believers

The idea of God is more powerful than an actual existence of a being: the non-existent God is not required to conform to reality; supernatural qualities, reports of miracles and anecdotes of His supposed exploits are beyond the reach of falsification; His supposed revelations need only happen to His representatives to earn authority: He is not required to meet anyone’s expectations and is not required to conform to any moral code, not even His own."

J'C: This deserves to be rescued from the train wreck don't bother with the link. Please note the critical fact in the last paragraph. The existence of God supernatural, natural, or at all is irrelevant to the benefits of God to believers and non-believers alike. If God makes my neighbor a happier, better integrated, more productive and better socialized person, I am still looking for the downside, for my neighbor and for me.

I do not live in a vacuum, I am dependent on my neighbors at the very least to keep the street a safe and welcoming place for visitors and my children as they walk to school. They produce goods and services that I need, and if they were in that quagmire of low self esteem either because of low capabilities, or incorrectly evaluating those capabilities they would be unable to produce for society. They consume goods and services that support my society providing the critical mass of consumption that makes the goods and services I need affordable. Many of them provide social, artistic, and intellectual support for me through my contacts with them at work, in the stores, in leisure activities, and even in their church if I can wrangle an invitation as a respectful guest.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

God, Humans and Nothing

Inferring gods' character from nature - Beliefnet:

Regardless of whether you believe a personal being is responsible for it or if nature is, you are wholly dependent on someone or something else for your existence and the continuation of it, and for every thought and action that you take. Without something or someone else, you are nothing. We all are nothing on our own. Yes we can do things, we can make a difference by our wills, but ultimately we can take credit for nothing. If we reach out and touch people, we do it with the hands that we did not make.

J'C: "I have no problem with being interdependent with all in my chosen society present and past. My parents, from a long line of sapient beings, and an even longer line of successful living creatures, taught me to speak and think, and the moral precepts to take my place in that society. I affect my society and in turn am affected by it. But neither my society nor myself is nothing, and we can take credit for all the wonderful things that society past and present gives us. When we reach out and touch people it is an acknowledgment that we are humans and responsible for not only those we touch but those they touch and have touched."

And a God that stimulates the quote is worth less than nothing.

Art and Nature

Inferring gods' character from nature - Beliefnet:

A beautiful painting is worth just as much if it was painted from existing materials or if it was poofed into existence by magic.

J'C: "As much as I enjoy APOD and the wonders they publish daily to give me my spiritual fix or at least one of them, Van Gogh's Starry Night speaks volumes more than any of them. He shows me how to see the stars and the galaxies and the wonders of our universe as a human must. Maybe they are infinite, but we can capture them all in less than a square yard of canvas if, of course, we are a genius."

I think that APOD recognized this. As I remember Starry Night was one of their offerings. Twice!

Friday, December 4, 2009

To know where I stand, please go here.

To know where I stand, please go here. Beliefnet Community:
"Here is where I stand.

I live and love, that requires breathing,eating and pooping and sex.

I did not require a book to figure all that out.

Didn't need Jesus either, he was not available...usually isn't, he does not pay bills, holds no personal responsibility at all because he was out of the real picture a couple thousand years ago.

Why worry about what happens after death? Uh, you are dead. no more bills no worries, no pain, you are reduced to the simplest in the food chain. Every bug squished has its delicious Karmic return.

For Christians, that means do what you want done to you, now. Don't worry about death, that is inevitable, we all die. Looking forward to death is a bit????

Try taking responsibility while still breathing. Don't give it to god or Jesus or some other god.

Try living now and being.

Heaven and hell are human concepts,never proven

If one is actually looking up how to love in a book, they ain't lovin' anybody. Love happened before written language. Sex before then.

If going biblical anyway, the OT COMMANDS a man please his wife at LEAST once a week on the sabbath. Also commands against meat and dairy and a few extras,rules on food and clothing...

Please wife/wives, treat all equally. Anything less was

grounds for divorce. Or worse!

The NT teaches celibacy and female degradation and male bonding. LOL.

Kind of interesting. What comes around... Except the worse comes after death. That does not count, imo.

Do me a favor, take responsibility for own crap. Jesus nor God will pay for anyone's transgressions.

They do not show up for trial here and no one has lived to tell about what happens there... ever!

So if someone says 'You will find wonder in heaven' ask for proof. don't kill yourself trying because no one will ever know!


Get busy!"

J'C: Other than my usual exclusion of the Synoptics from the NT Dar speaks eloquently for me.

Thank you Dar.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Religion in Current Events.

Intelligence=atheism? - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community
It is BECAUSE of religion that the teaching of science and in general the quality of the education given to the American population has lagged behind in recent generations. We are steadily becoming more stupid, more docile and more religious as a society.

"It is really hard to find the real horse pulling this cart. Are the dittoheads all religious? Is Rush really religious? Were Bush/Cheney/Rove religious? Were any of the above motivated by their religion or did they just cite it because it added to their power? Religion has been blamed for many atrocities in history, perhaps properly so in some cases, but 'unbiased' historians frequently find other blameworthy influences.

It is my considered opinion that the historical aversion of religion to secular knowledge has made religious people too uneducated to have any meaningful influence on events in the world. However, those smart and venial enough to count believers can certainly figure out ways to use them."

Determinism, Randomness, and the Mind

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will
It seems to me that if brain-function is random, then its product, reason, cannot be relied upon at all.
J'C: "Random with sophisticated feedback can produce quite meaningful results. Think random error in gene duplication with the feedback of selection and one gets a meaningful result of a new successful species, or a meaningful result of a lethal mutation.

I think cause and effect have very little to do with mind/brain function. Essentially the sensory stimulus is random or at least so voluminous that the first cut by the mind can be thought of as eliminating data points that do not conform to an existing pattern in the nerve cells feeding data to the brain, in other words eliminating worthless random stimuli. Apparently the first cut in the retina is an edge. The first feedback loop is that an edge might be useful and the brain 'requests' data from around the edge. If the data around the edge form the capital 'I' the mind says 'Pay attention this is critical data!' Another feedback loop may say forget it it is just a bridge girder, and the mind moves on, and the cause bridge girder resembling an 'I' has no lasting effect.

The important functions of the brain/mind are these feedback loops that correlate fresh input with existing data to reinforce or weaken the data points. Trying to identify cause and effect is an endless chase through the feedback loops unless one reasonably shortstops the process as the mind does and says this stimulus reproducibly is associated with this response and is a cause and effect relationship."