Thursday, April 29, 2010

Atheism Ridicule - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community

Atheism Ridicule - Beliefnet

I guess the question is what qualifies Abner to judge kodiacman? If we are equal then our authority is equal and we have no basis for calling one action evil or good.

While you are equal, the societies to which you belong are different. Abner will judge kodiacman by the standards of the educated atheist society of which he is a part. Kodiacman may very well say that God does not approve of the educated atheist society, or at least the atheist part, and in effect say 'Throw Abner to the wolves.' Abner will probably like Brer Rabbit say 'Don't throw me into that briar patch full of atheist chemists.' And you both will walk away feeling virtuous and filled with righteousness for making the correct moral judgment."

Atheism Ridicule - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community

Atheism Ridicule - Beliefnet

By calling Godman 'evil' you are presuming a supreme moral authority...either yourself, society, or God. The first two are arbitrary, and if you can't see that, maybe he's right.

No, he is assuming a moral authority. The moral authority is always a segment of the society of which the person is a part. Or depending on your definition of society, it may be the local society, the church, the community, or a self chosen community of peers. None of which have supreme authority, not even the church or God.

By calling another 'evil' a person is basically saying that the behavior is unacceptable for membership in the relevant society. In effect saying that if the behavior continues we, the society, will 'throw you to the wolves' and give no protection or benefits from belonging to the society. The outsider may find a society that tolerates the evil behavior, and may even encourage it, in which case there may be a clash of societies up to and including warfare if the evil is deemed onerous enough. Please note that the 'evil' society probably does not view itself as evil, and may in fact consider all other societies evil. It may even base this on a particular God belief, but even that is not absolute.

As an example many societies consider treating women as property and subjugating them to some relevant male to be evil. There are other societies that say this is requirement of God. I would challenge anyone to show either view is a supreme moral edict."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Common Elements.

Atheism Ridicule - Beliefnet: "“The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” ~Harlan Ellison"
Noted by Kodiakman

Palin Doll Tea Party

Doonesbury Comic Strip on "Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau * April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Celebrating the Miracle of Birth

The Biblical Self-Destruct Clause - Beliefnet

So by the power of myth, what Truth is conveyed by Matthew I & II???

I have always liked the allegorical interpretation of the nativity passages as referring to the miracle of the live birth of every child. Sure, none of us get novas, and wise men and gifts, and hosannas sung by angels and shepherds, but we all deserve them don't we. After all, countless generations of survivors all coming together in the birth of a new human is certainly a miracle. The a priori odds are ridiculous."

Mythology and Fiction

The Biblical Self-Destruct Clause - Beliefnet

And where did you get all this information about Jesus which you consider true? By any chance did it come from some ancient fictional story of mythology??

WTFGAS. I have already mentioned that this was a myth that was important enough to Q and Matthew to dress it up a bit. Whether or not there was a man resembling Jesus preaching in the Middle East around 33 CE affects the myth not at all. It was important enough that a few literate people attributed an oral tradition, a myth, to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, a different version to John, and for a charlatan to base a whole religion on. Not too shabby for a ancient fictional story, eh?

All of the above speaks loudly and clearly to me of the truth of the overall myth even though some of the details may be fictional. By the way fictional does mean false, it simply means that the story has been distorted enough to avoid defamation lawsuits, or in earlier times to make it easier to remember."

Owning Your Own Shadow - Science & Religion - Beliefnet Community

Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

As I was reading the posts, I began equating the 'shadow' with the human spirit / our human nature. If this is true, I wondered if you recognize a human nature / spirit entity within your being?

Yes, there is such a thing as human nature and a human spirit, although not a spirit entity separate from the human. I suspect I also define spirit quite differently from you. Human nature as I see it is a highly evolved social nature that is altruistic and puts the welfare of the family and the tribe however that is defined above all else including self except as self contributes to the welfare of family and tribe.

This is both the good news and the bad news. If the welfare of the tribe is corrupted by a powerful leader or mediator for God, Hell awaits the whole tribe. This is not the fault of a sinful human nature, it it the result of the failure of the leaders to accept the responsibility for their actions on behalf of the tribe. Please note this is a failure of the leader to comply with herm human nature, not the human nature driving the failure.

The human spirit is the reward mechanism built into the mind/brain to provide the incentive to do more than our share for ourselves, our family, and our tribe, using tribe in the larger sense of those that are important to us in the world. In a modern world the tribe may be distributed over a whole country or even the whole world. It may contain members we will never meet, but whose activities contribute to our own spiritual development and whom we may perchance affect with our own activities for the welfare of the tribe."

Owning Your Own Shadow - Science & Religion - Beliefnet Community

Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

You posted that you are well acquainted with The Bible and Theology, because of your study of The Bible and Theology books.

One common undercurrent in all of the above was Catholic and traditional Protestant Christianity. Upper Midwest educated middle class with some overlap in both directions basically eliminated fundamentalist Christianity from my world. As this was largely unconscious in the believers, I needed to study their religion to understand it so I could respond appropriately. They were the big dogs in the morality department, largely because it was unconscious for them.

Very early I was puzzled by the fact that so many of my friends 'wasted' so much time and energy on their religion. My church was a social group, duh, but the religion was do it yourself, and optional. I read the bible straight through at an early age, and found very little to work with. I learned much more studying the mass and religious music, as these sources were condensed versions of what made the faithful work. Requiems in particular gave an incredible look inside the Christian religion. Certainly my study helped me interpret the music, but it was just as important to me to solve that intellectual puzzle of belief systems.

I never did find one that worked for me. But I gradually came to understand why they worked for many friends."


Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

It seems from your posts, that you have been very meticulous in maintaining your achieved righteousness / no shadow. I ask, 'Why have you done so?' What is your motivation for doing so? At what age did you become cognizant of your decision to do so? Was it a continuation of your home environment?
iamachildofhis [iama is apparently a Dispensationalist, a literalist fundamental Christian]

"The society in which I was brought up acceptance and participation in the society was determined not by a belief system, but by how one treated the others who were a part of it. There were many religions represented, mainly Christians, but some Jews and some of no discernible religion. The earliest moral lessons I remember were lessons on stealing and fair value exchange issues. Starting at about 5 or 6. It was not a matter of bad or good, but one of trust. One had to build a trustworthy reputation and it was easy to destroy it. Examples of untrustworthy people were all around and were not considered one of 'us' whoever 'us' was.

It is important that there never was a 'them.' The rest of the world was simply not 'Our kind of people.' The different strokes for different folks was the attitude that was basic to my upbringing. The next door neighbors were Catholic in everything they did. It was clear that they were not one of 'us.' They were good people, nice neighbors, the kids were acceptable playmates, but they didn't share the values that defined 'us.' The first time I heard the second great commandment I knew that Jesus was talking not about my next door neighbor but all of my neighbors.

My motivation was complex, I moved in a variety of groups, each with different values and it was important to be aware of those values and at least know why I violated some of them. In general because they conflicted with other values that I considered more important. As an example many of the groups I participated in due to athletics had a rather crude sexual morality. I was brought up to consider sexuality was a relationship first issue. The love 'em and leave 'em of the athletic and cheer leading world was of no interest to me.

But in all cases I was intensely aware of the fact that there was only one person in the world that was responsible for any hurt feelings or worse that I caused, and that was me. No confession booth, no cross to nail things to, just me. I couldn't even blame my parents, they would just laugh at me and say you got yourself into this, lets see how you get yourself out. This does not mean they were not supportive or helpful, but it was my problem not theirs.

In high school and college I played with the big dogs in a bunch of packs, moving smoothly between them as necessary. The mores of each pack were different. The team sports had one, the individual sport group had another. The choral groups another. The science geeks a different one. The UU youth was wildly different. In college the philosophy and religion group yet another but basically a continuation of the UU youth. The social and party group, there was only one I could afford to play with, was again quite different.

: Did you feel like a chameleon?

Not at all. Just like religions all groups had things that contributed to my character development. Those that were useful I adopted, but I never felt the need to "buy into the group package." At my college, the student football cheering section was a mandatory Saturday afternoon social function. I was not particularly interested in spectator sports, and the team sucked. But drinking the frozen orange drink, and socializing with friends, many of which shared my distaste for the game and the team was worth my time and energy. The football enthusiasts who cheered each half way decent play, and booed the refs, were part of the group, but I did not share their enthusiasm, just their company.

In order to work well in all these groups I had to be aware of the mores and how I would respond to them. No subconscious responses allowed, they would bite me on the rear cheek every time.

After living through / with your school, college, university "groups," did you ever wonder who you really were?

Not at all. I like to think that I integrated the best of all those groups into a coherent self image. The lessons from all those groups have served me well as a productive adult responsible for my own life. I have totally changed the direction of my life three times, each time moving into a completely different work and life style. It was very useful to be able to join a group as an observer and know how to spot the important things for being a part of the group.

Golf was very instructive for me in the mores department. Very early I was a competent golfer thanks to an ex pro instructor in my father. It is ridiculously easy to cheat in golf. But choosing to do so even in a practice round will very quickly insure that you will never get a money round. There is no way to repair the damage to the reputation of a golfer that cheats. Further it is assumed that a golfer that cheats in golf will cheat whenever hesh thinks hesh can get away with it. Politicians always cheat in golf."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goldman Sachs or Boobies?

BusinessWorld Online: :

"AMSTERDAM/BOSTON -- Did you hear that Goldman Sachs made the Iceland volcano erupt? It did pretty well shorting airlines."

This is much more believable than the Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi Boobquake theory.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

You are perfect.

I don't agree. But I frequently thank those, mostly dead now, that brought me up without a shadow and taught me how not to internalize shadow making criticism. I thank them not for them, but for me. I can still put names to those who taught critical lessons in responsibility. If someone tells me I screwed up, I have two choices, I can say yes, I did, and do what I can to repair the damage, or I can 'consider the source' and say no it is your problem, I don't need to even consider it, and I certainly don't need to make it my problem."

I actually strive to achieve perfection in my ethical behavior and my moral relationships. It is not really that hard as all moral and ethical behavior is considered, and misjudging another's reaction is technically their problem not mine, although perfection would be taking that into consideration.

Are You Wrong?

Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

Are you ever wrong?

"You will have to define wrong: Morally, socially, intellectually?

Since I have neither a shadow nor a God to blame for any transgressions, and the arrow of responsibility always points back to me, I try not to be willfully wrong in any situation. I do not always succeed sometimes due to a social misunderstanding, sometimes a simple screw up. But in any case I am the damage repair crew. That does make thinking about what one is doing a lot more important."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is Free Will?

Belief of No Free Will... - Beliefnet

the question of whether free will exists -- and, in particular, whether people believe it exists -- has some solid real-world repercussions.

Consider, for example, the following 2008 social psychology experiment. Researchers Kathleen Vohs, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota, and Jonathan Schooler, professor of psychology at University of California-Santa Babara, put subjects in front of a computer and asked them to read either a neutral passage or else a passage arguing that free will does not exist and claiming that most scientists agree.

"The problem I have with the experiment in the OP and this thread in general is that free will is ultimately a religious concept in the sense that free will must come from something, presumably God. The concept is that God provides a bunch of rules and constraints on behavior, then 'Gives' free will to obey or disobey those constraints. One may choose to obey a directive or not in the larger sense but the directive is assumed to be absolute.

A much more useful way of looking at things is the source of the constraints on behavior that we choose to accept. This assumes that unconstrained choice is the natural state of human cognition, and it is the constraints on acting out the choices which are the important considerations.

This changes the whole picture. Free will is not a gift or an option it is the natural state of the human mind. We can and do think about all sorts of behaviors that might be expressed. However, as a part of being socialized as a child and to a lesser extent as an adult member of a society, and perhaps partly instinctual as a social animal, there are certain behaviors that may not be expressed. Once internalized as a constraint, we have no 'free will' to express the behavior. At the very least our self-image as a moral and ethical member of our society will prevent the expression of the thought as behavior. Of course fear of Hell or jail may reinforce the decision. but ultimately it is the internalization of the constraint which determines the control of the behavior. Free will has nothing at all to do with it."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spiritual Bullying.

Bully Believers - Beliefnet

Intellectual capacity and sophisticated concepts have little to do with spiritual discernment. One may be able to penetrate deeply into spiritual realities but lack the means to adequately express interpret it. This is attacked by critics of religion as an “unreasoned basis for belief.” Such critics are indeed 'bullies.'

"Intellectual capacity and conceptual reasoning can be as important to spiritual discernment as any other input including God and religion. Spiritual discernment is necessarily personal, and paraphrasing Heinlein: one person's spirituality is another person's belly laugh. Neither the laughter or the spiritualist are bullying. If the spiritually is not strong enough to stand up to the belly laugh, maybe there is something wrong with the spirituality. The belly laugh is not bullying, but claiming that the spirituality is protected because it is 'Religion' is."

This is the asymmetry of the religious in the public sphere. They can knock on my door to peddle their God, but if I ridicule it or even suggest there are other ways of looking at the issue, I am being a bully and trashing their sacred concepts. Somehow because God is involved I am supposed to roll over say "that is nice," take a tract and say have a nice day. Not likely. I would just as soon have an pusher knock on my door and say "Want a hit?" At least hesh wouldn't be offended if I said "no, and the next time I call the cops." Why does God give Herm pushers special protection in the real world? Hesh doesn't of course but the pushers think they have it. The First Amendment gives them the right to push their shit, and it also gives me the right to call what they are pushing shit.

Understand the Universe.

Critique of Christian morality - Beliefnet

Unless a person can somehow break out of his/her limited frame of reference they cannot know what the elephant is supposed to look like.They will be forever trapped with a leg, ear, trunk, tusk, tail, ect. and they will never come to see the big picture.

It is my contention that religion is the vehicle that God(s) use to convey the big picture of what the elephant is supposed to look like.

"With the Hubble and other instruments I can see, and with a little help from my friends, understand the workings and even the very beginnings of the universe. With an electron microscope, and some help from my friends I can see and understand the fundamental workings of the cell. As a human, with some help from my friends I can see and understand anything I want to. I can look at those parts that are interesting and meaningful to me and let my friends worry about those things that aren't.

God(s) are limited to what they could see 2-3000 years ago, through the eyes of people that generally never left their village. According to all accounts the elephant looked a lot like a sheep.

Why should I exchange my ability to look wherever I want to in the universe and all that is contained within it, at any scale I care to, for a God that can't see beyond the Middle Eastern desert?"

Synoptic Problem?

Expelled! - Beliefnet

According to this theory, different Gospel authors relied on different lists to weave their stories--Mark used Peter's, the author of Matthew used Matthew's, and so on, giving rise to the 'Synoptic Problem.'

"As I never believed anything in in the Bible or ascribed any special significance to it I could use logic to solve the 'Synoptic Problem:'

Jesus as a normal 30+ male of his time probably had a female companion who was with him during his ministry. Illiterate as nearly all women of the time she created an adoring oral history embellished as all oral histories are for mnemonic as well as story telling reasons. This oral history was picked up by the disciples who as tradespeople of the time were probably also illiterate. At some point literate followers of the cults generated by Jesus were induced to write down the various oral histories, three of which were canonized along with John's commentary. The rest were destroyed, lost, or in the case of the Gnostics buried for posterity.

I have no problem extrapolating the Synoptics back to the original oral history and stripping the mnemonics and worship to get to the radical theistic humanism of Jesus. It is no wonder his ministry was repudiated by Paul and the local authorities, and the true followers of Jesus persecuted to extinction."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Trouble with the Catholic Church

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. - Beliefnet

Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers

"Is there any more that can be said?

And After the Ashes?

Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

What is the 'real' earth? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, this is what becomes of us, our bodies return to the earth, after that no one knows, but some suspect it is a very big cosmos, inner and outer.

"It is a tradition in our family to distribute the ashes at the Celebration of Life ceremony to those present to be spread to significant places for the deceased. My sister's ashes are in the Mississippi River with her parents, on a beach in Hawaii frequented by her still living best friend, on Chopin's grave (shhh, don't tell the caretakers), on several pianos of those who loved her playing, in the well used and fondly remembered by all fire pit in her back yard spilled intentionally during the distribution, and many other places of significance to those who think of her often.

As to what happens after, like you, my sister is ready and eager to accept each new challenge as it comes, to crawl under the ropes around the piano in the mall and draw a crowd. If it was God who put the ropes around the piano, Hesh will smile and say 'They are for everybody but you, Janet, please continue.' Chopin will be leading the ovation."

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Significance of Humans

Atheism is life-affirming - Beliefnet

If with respect to the human race, then the importance and value of what I do in my life are insignificant unless the human race is somehow significant.

"The human race is the result of countless generations of living organisms that succeeded in staying alive long enough to reproduce. The human race is the currently most successful step in that process. After 3+ billion years or so I would suggest that the step is not insignificant.

If in some small or big way in my life I can contribute to helping my fellow humans not only stay alive but want to do so and enjoy the process while they are alive, then I share in the significance of that step in the process. In a real sense I am a significant step in that 3+BY process. Probably a very small one, but a step nonetheless.

I don't need to inflate my ego by thinking some infinite God gives a shit about me. Available evidence indicates that in the unlikely event that God exists, Hesh is as blind, pitiless and indifferent to me as is the universe. This bothers me not a whit. If I have made a difference in someone's life and been a good role model in doing so I am content. I have done my part to make my tiny step useful."

Infinite Ripples

Atheism is life-affirming - Beliefnet

If with respect to me, and my death is extinction, then the importance and value vanish with my death.

"If you have interacted with another human favorably in the course of your life, that is made that person's life on this earth a little more comfortable or pleasant, and that person 'Pays it Forward' in Heinlein's words, the ripple is potentially infinite. I would rather bet on that infinity than some God rescuing some part of me to endure in some wonderful place somewhen if I have said the right prayers and chosen the right God.

Jesus while he was human said 'Love your neighbor [the Samaritan] as yourself.' His disciples and perhaps even the scribe that asked the question paid it forward and today one could argue that it makes Jesus immortal whether or not you believe the God myth.

Not all of us can have that big an impact, but if we can make the world just a little better for those around us, I think we have paid our dues for being alive and our importance and value will survive."


The Bright Line - Beliefnet

hopefully I will never, ever attend a atheist funeral... and there hear someone speak words to those who mourn without hope...

"I have been to many atheist 'Celebrations of the Life Of .....' There is no mourning. Death is the bookend that says the person's active contribution is over, but those who knew and loved herm remember and celebrate all of the contributions the deceased has made to their lives and celebrate the Legacy of the deceased.

I have been to many Christian funerals, where mourners sing sad songs and hope against hope that somehow their prayers will help the dead avoid Hellfire and damnation. And also secretly hope that when they die they will also avoid Hellfire and damnation.

The 'High point' in a Requiem Mass is always the Dies Irae. The day of wrath and anger when the trumpets will sound and the dead will be judged. It is always scary music: Pay attention sinners! Get right with God or Hell awaits! Kind of fun to sing, but I wouldn't want to be a believer in that wrathful God. I particularly like the Tuba Mirum from the Berlioz Requiem The brass blares from the four corners of the hall "You are Damned" the chorus responds musically "I have hope?" The horns repeat, louder. "NO WAY." The chorus tries again. Again the horns deny. Finally the chorus gives up and joins the horns in the damning chord.

It is for this that we gather at the death of a friend? No, thank you! I much prefer the celebration of a friend's Legacy. To contemplate all those volumes on the bookshelf that we can remember at will and share with others when appropriate or necessary."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Theist vs Atheist

Can a cohesive community become our higher self? - Beliefnet

You speak as if God existed He would have to be contained within religion ...

It is my understanding that God created creation and put in place all of the laws, both physical and spiritual, for His creation to operate ...

"A concise explanation of the fundamental and irreconcilable difference between a theist and an atheist view of God."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sexual Morality.

Science can answer moral questions - Beliefnet

It seems there is a fairly clear, bright line here. Lieing to your wife and adultury are wrong.

"Substantive lying to anybody is wrong. It injures the other and is a disaster for self image. One can't hurt self or society much more grievously.

Adultery is a different issue. There are many workable forms of parenting. And to a greater extent marriage without the intent of children. Consensual open marriages. Open mistresses and concubines with the knowledge if not the blessing of the wife isn't even a biblical sin. About the only moral issue is the ability and willingness to provide proper support to the mother of any resulting children.

Adultery without spousal consent is certainly a moral issue, but with contraception and STD prevention it is probably one of the most common moral failings around. Religious or secular. And if you factor in serial monogamy as a moral failing, which I do especially with children involved, statistics are ugly for religious and secular alike, something like 30% for religious couples and 20% secular."

Pair bonded parents provide the most stable platform for child raising, particularly when both parents are committed to the child raising process. The dad provider, mom caregiver paradigm is a holdover from the patriarchal religious past, and provides an unbalanced role image for the children. Far better is two parents sharing the providing and the nurturing.

Morals from society

Science can answer moral questions - Beliefnet

"The problem that is being ignored by all is that morals are neither personal nor universal. Morals are derived from the local society that one considers herm own, and reflect values that benefit that society from the individual working out and therefore from the society back to the individual. If the society is God based then morals will come from God as interpreted by that little tinhorn in the fancy dress in the overdecorated balcony that speaks for God. If the society is not God based, say a typical University community, the morals are no less stringent and are probably more strictly enforced as there is no get out of Hell jail free card, or plagiarism is OK if you don't get caught by the prof card.

Compared to a high level university the typical religion is a group of moral slackers even if they get their morals direct from God. The GOOHF card of the Cross can excuse a lot of sin."

God's morality?

Can a cohesive community become our higher self? - Beliefnet

That's not to say Atheist haven't found a degree of peace and contentment for they abide by the same rules ...

"True they abide by the same rules, but the rules are fundamental not God. In other words God has no choice but promote rules that are good for the society of believers, and by and large those rules would be good for any society. Do not lie, cheat, steal, kill, respect authority beginning with parents and going on from there, to God if religious, to other authorities worthy of respect if not."

The big differences of course are in the "control morality." That morality that is use to control the sheeple. Paul found the efficacy of sexual morality for paternalistic control, and Christianity has gone downhill from there. A rational sexual morality is necessarily based on the welfare of the family whatever form that takes. The pair bond seems nearly universal in nature and seems to be the most workable sexual morality in humans. That is morality that strengthens and preserves the pair bond seems best for all social groupings.

Community or God?

Can a cohesive community become our higher self? - Beliefnet

Can a cohesive community and a sense of belonging become our higher self? And be a substitute for a belief in God?

"It depends on what you mean by a cohesive community. If you mean the village, either global or local I don't think it would be possible.

As a self chosen community among like minded friends and friends of friends I think it is the only way to replace the community of God believers. My chosen community has a similar set or mores, a similar rational approach to problem solving and a similar view that the only important activities are those that affect our community. Ourselves certainly, but the effects on the community reflect back on us. I am reminded of the famous image of the drop of water on a still water surface. Certainly the ripples radiate outward, but the reflection inward is the dominant effect of the action.

I don't really need a substitute for God. I never had one to substitute for, and all the meaning and purpose I need comes from and is directed toward that community that will carry on my legacy after I no longer can."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seeking God

Near Death Experiences - Beliefnet

Seeking God with all my might might have meant something different to me than to you.

I was not seeking God. I am an atheist and always have been. I have no interest in making the leap of faith to find God. But for a large variety of reasons I have studied religions extensively, and have been open to God experiences. It is impossible to sing an Ave Maria, or a Mass without believing in the Virgin or the Trinity at least for the duration of the work. Not understand it, but believe it. But if there were a traditional God who was just itching to show His face (in the case of the Mass) or Herm face in other situations, there was ample opportunity to do so. Net result: Nothing.

In all my studies I have found nothing that would want me to make that leap of faith. Most gods have the characteristics of a spoiled teen age male [insert your own crude adjective here.] The ones that don't, don't even pretend to be gods, although followers may try to make them one. The Buddha and Jesus come to mind. Jesus not Paul's Christ. As for religions a few might be attractive, but the prevailing theism gets in the way. I can and do ignore it, but none make enough sense to belong.

I have found my society, which satisfies all my social needs. It doesn't need a church, although Facebook is an incredible enabler for it. But before Facebook there were other networking tools that worked well enough. Promotional airfares are cheap and one can always find a couch to crash on if not a comfortable guest suite."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Human Rights stop at the Church Door?

Secular public, religious private - Beliefnet

I'd be delighted to see the EU Court order the Vatican to end its discrimination and ordain men and women regardless of whether they were in a sexual relationship and regardless of whether they openly straight or homosexual.

That is a tough one. I find that radical respect for human rights says that 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' And 'What happens in church stays in church.' While it is true that this permits abuse, according to standards of the larger society, as long as it stays in church, the support systems in the church must deal with it. The only larger society options are education and support for apostates. I think the media especially the internet is the only solution. If those within the church can discover alternatives to abuse, and can find the support groups outside the church to leave, they have the choice to do so. The fact that many will not choose to do so is not the concern of the larger society."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

God as Tinkerer

QWERTY - Beliefnet
Maybe God isn't so much of a Designer as He is a Hobbyist Tinkerer. Instead of buying a new computer, He just uses scraps of electronics from around the house and rigs one.

You might have got me thinking about a designer for the first time. It at least fits all the data."

Human Design extreme makeovers

QWERTY - Beliefnet

I'm not sold on the idea it's proof there is no Designer. I AM sold on the idea that it's apparently not worth the trouble to start over from scratch.

According to mythologies Hesh has done that a few times already and it hasn't worked out too well. It is fun to see how in so many mythologies the designer has been pissed and started over. Maybe one of these times he will forget about the thinking thing in Herm own image and quit with the dog."

QWERTY, living and religion

QWERTY - Beliefnet

"I suspect the Dvorak is more common than one might expect in that all computers give a choice of keboards. But the real problem is that one doesn't just have to retrain finger strokes one must reprogram the brain, in the basic area of muscle memory. Most efficient typists type words not letters, so it is not just a matter of learning a few new letters but new words. It isn't going to happen. However, a new keyboard student would probably be advised to create the muscle memory on Dvorak, as it is universally available on computers and one never looks at the keys when touch typing anyway.

In the larger sense, much of what we do involves large areas of the brain, not simply muscle memory but all of the rest of the specialized and general memory functions. So retraining is not simply deciding not to cut the ends off the meatloaf, we almost have go back to how to make a meat loaf all over again.

Similarly with livelong beliefs. One almost has to go back to 'Now I lay me down to sleep'"

Probably the greatest blessing of a belief free and largely shadow free upbringing. I don't have to unlearn anything, I can just find out what I want to learn and do so.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Spirituality - Beliefnet

I work in the most beautiful place in the world [Yosemite]. I feel a connection whenever I'm there, which is daily. It's a feeling that I am where I belong. I'm home.

If you quoted that to a random sample of English speaking people, and asked them to describe the feeling in a single word, the word would be spiritual in most cases regardless of religious preference or lack thereof.

Trying to eliminate 'Spiritual' from their speech and damning its use as a purely religious word is a stupid and losing battle by atheist fundamentalists. Even for religious people spiritual will frequently be used in a secular context. Words acquire meaning by usage not by what Humpty-Dumpty wants them to mean."

I certainly agree with his assessment of Yosemite, if not his fundamentalism about it. However, it is a place where you can hardly ever turn around without encountering a spiritual moment. It is my nomination for Forrest Church's Cathedral of the World. There is something there for everybody.

Owning Your Own Shadow - Science & Religion - Beliefnet Community

Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

genetics and neuroscience are compellingly identifying that we have a dark side that cannot always be blamed on parents and society.

Sorry. The dark side, the yang, the masculine, are all socially imposed on the natural instinctual behaviors that must be controlled to fit properly into a specific society. Many societies reinforce natural behaviors in ways that another society might consider dysfunctional, but within the society they are controlled expressions of natural behavior. The difference between a benevolent pastoral leader and an exploiter of herm followers is not that one is responding to a genetic instinct to lead benevolently, and the other to an exploitation gene. The both are responding to a natural genetic drive to alpha status for those who can and follower stats for those who can't. The only difference is that both leaders have different control of their alpha instinctual behavior. Historically this control has been mediated by religious beliefs, a powerful social control force, both for good and for evil, at least by my society's standards, but as Heinlein noted, 'Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes...' and generally not in the eyes of his local society. I am quite sure that Torquemada and his fellow priests were filled with satisfaction for doing God's will indeed they gave themselves the title of 'Protector of the Faith' which has persisted to the present day. One wonders sometimes however, just what faith it is that the protector is protecting?"

Good and Evil

Owning Your Own Shadow - Beliefnet

Why is there evil in the world? Why is there good in the world? These mysteries are impossible to separate. The mystery of 'goodness' IMO, is even more than the mystery of evil.

"Good and evil are socially defined concepts. Generally what supports and protects the social unit is good, and that which disturbs it is evil. I find evil much more of a problem than good, as scientific studies of social animals find almost no evidence of willful disturbance of the group. Even among social predators, while the prey may find them evil, within the group they are extremely careful of each other, even the lower status members of the group. The low status members may get the tough and dangerous jobs in the hunt but if they are hurt they will be supported by the group.

As I have mentioned before it takes a religious leader to create the 'us vs. them' that permits evil in a social animal. Other humans learned from the religious leaders, so the evil is spread."

God, Lust and the Mating Dance

First Muslim Sex Shop Opens For Business - Beliefnet

As I've often said, if covering women's bodies is to protect them from men's lust, it would be much better to blindfold men and let us women get on with our lives!

"Uncontrollable lust in men is as religiously conditioned as the cover-up solutions. Men as well as women continually survey the 'marketplace' for potential mates, and may in fact feel sexual desire for one that meets standards for attractiveness, and social compliance. This is called mammalian biology. It takes God to call this sin. However, sexual desire is only the first step in the mammalian mating dance. The males have to display their prowess in an acceptable manner, (dinner and an entertainment is a good start for a human male) the female must indicate acceptance in an appropriate manner, and the dance continues."

Surprisingly, Family Time Has Grown - Well Blog -

Surprisingly, Family Time Has Grown - Well Blog - "That may reflect a rise in what Dr. Stevenson calls the “hedonic marriage,” in which couples share home and work responsibilities so they can spend more time together.

By contrast, couples from earlier generations typically had “specialized” roles that tended to keep them apart — the husband working at a job to support the family, the wife staying home to raise the children."

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Creedalness - Beliefnet

You chose not to believe and that constrains your life.

"Quite the contrary. I am one of the people here that chooses not to believe, not only in God but in anything. It has released all constraints on my life, as beliefs are by definition constraints. I choose to accept constraints that I have found to be useful for living in a modern society. Some of which are similar to belief constraints, largely because some belief constraints are based on natural requirements for social living. The difference is that the constraints I have accepted are based on the realities of the modern world rather than the realities of a bunch of bronze age desert marauders. You may keep your bronze age belief constraints, in particular the belief of women as property. They don't work for me."