Saturday, June 26, 2010

On Proselytizing

UGH! - Beliefnet

From a decent thread on the subject.

I, and I suspect most atheists, have no interest in converting anyone. I have nothing to convert them to.

** Knock, Knock, Knock** "Hi! I'm J'Carlin! Do you have a minute to find out about the nothing I want you to believe in? Just study this tract. It just looks like a plain piece of paper, but if you read it carefully you will find out all there is to know about nothing. I am sure you will convert when you learn you don't have to get out of bed on Sunday morning.


Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

"Tell all the Truth but tell it slant" - Beliefnet
This is why I think people like the one I quoted like proselytizing, but remember I am speaking in general about people who proselytize.

It takes no courage to come here and attack atheists. All it takes is an arrogance that is sadly unearned. Proselytizing for your evangelical God is not an act of love for God. It is not even an act of love for your fellow man. It is an act of self love. It is the sin of pride. That puffed up feeling of thinking you are the voice of God. It has nothing to do with God and everything to do with an inability to accept reality. The reality is that you are an animal. An animal that can not deal with the reality of life so you have to make up a God .It is a God that suspiciously looks like you. You embrace this God with everything you have because you have nothing else. You are not educated so you lack the ability to understand complicated themes. This God tells you that is good. You don’t really have real personal relationships because women scare you to death. You have a bad job where everyone makes you feel like you are nothing. But this puffed up feeling of being a warrior for Christ sooths your deflated ego. Hey if you can’t have real self worth why not grab onto this. It will only cost a few dollars a week and it makes you feel like you are a real man. Soon you are so addicted to feeling superior without the necessity of any proof of that superiority that you forget why you started in the first place.

But wait nothing but your little cult is validating this. Moreover it is hard, very hard, to hold on to this lie. What can you do to hold onto it? It scares the hell out of you when you think you may lose this. Face it is the only thing between you and a rifle on a tower.

This fear eats at you. They hear that nagging voice in the middle of the night- asking their self-am I correct. The fear is always there eating at them. The only way to put it at arms length is to convert someone else. When this happens they can rest because someone else believes as they do. But this peace does not last long. It does not last because they know in their heart that God does not exist. They call this “crises in faith” but it is reason raising its ugly head. It is a reasoning that can not be denied no matter how hard they push it away. They have never seen this imaginary God. The earth has been proven to be older then the bible claims. It has a virgin birth that makes no sense. It has a God, and son and Holy Spirit that is the same being. It goes on and on and they see no sign of Him loving them without the hardest stretch.

Maybe this awful fear would go away if everyone believed like them. That’s the ticket. They become masters at lying to their self to the point that they believe their own lies. They will proselytize because everyone should know the word of God. They forget it is their fear of reality and truth. The self –inflated ego has now become a reality. The source of this puffed up pride is forgotten. The roots of fear, self loathing, and failure are wrapped up into a shinny God package that is unbelievable bright and independent of their making. Even better they can not even open the package until they are dead. It is perfect. It shows the true beauty of the human mind to cope with life when otherwise it would completely self destruct.


As usual Shirley nails it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Changes

Fox has sold beliefnet to ????. It can't be much worse. The Fox life support in community has been excruciating. Maybe it can be cured, if not. Oh well,

Is is is?

Valid Criticism or Projection? - Beliefnet

I have no problem at all with existence. It needs no modifier, it needs no definition, it is observable wherever we look, or touch, or listen, or use any of the other senses, augmented as necessary by scientific tools to experience it. I have no problem experiencing the awe, wonder, and even transcendence that existence provides free and uninterpreted to anyone not blinded by God beliefs. If you [a theist] wish to interpolate a necessary something between you and existence, again be my guest. Since you can't even begin to describe this "necessary" something it seems to me like you are simply placing an opacity between you and existence that requires that little tinhorn in the fancy dress in the overdecorated balcony to tell you when you can experience existence. Thank you. I can do without herm and herm God, and go direct to the source.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Truth in Fiction

A comment on this post from Rationally Speaking

J'C: "Humans are story telling creatures. We learn about living in our society "Around the campfire" from fables and stories all of which are fictional. A powerful fictional story works not because of the characters or what happens to them but because the social structures they are embedded in provide meaningful social information whether we agree with it or not. Several of the novels mentioned above, "Gone With the Wind," "Grapes of Wrath," "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," among many others all provided depictions of a social ethic which whether we agreed with it or not, was part of the social fabric in which we live or could live.

Probably the best philosophy course I took was entitled "Philosophy from Literature." Starting with Homer, and stopping off every few hundred years until we reached James Joyce's Ulysses. The basic premise of the course was what can you learn about your society from the literature of various past societies?"

Fiction allows the author or anonymous authors of most of the fiction and fables from which we derive our mores to explore those mores in ways that direct exposition cannot. The characters can and do react in "unacceptable" ways that people can learn from. Note I am not excluding the religious fictions which guide religious mores.

I have learned almost everything I know about social mores from fiction. I read almost nothing else. I would much rather read a very smart person telling a good story embedded in a well thought out social structure than an equally smart sociologist trying to figure out a social structure from observation of reality. The sociologist is extremely limited by having to describe and reason from existing social structures, and trying to guess why some are dysfunctional, and some seem to work. The very smart novelist, playwright or poet simply plops his characters into a social structure that is close enough to a real structure to be recognizable, and show how the fictional characters react to it. The writer is not limited to reality but can explore variations on reality to see how the fictional characters might respond to the challenges presented by that variation.

June 19, 2010 12:20 AM

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Coming Population Crash

The Reproductive Revolution: How Women Are Changing the Planet's Future: Scientific American

But more than 60 countries—containing approaching half of the world's population—already have fertility rates at or below the rate needed to maintain their populations long-term. The club now includes most of the Caribbean islands, Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey, Vietnam, Brazil, Algeria, Kazakhstan and Tunisia. Within 20 years, demographic giants like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mexico and India will in all probability also have below-replacement fertility.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Source of Morality.

MORAL LAW... - Beliefnet
Humans are social animals and the behavioral imperatives or moral structures ultimately come from the local society(s) of which we are a part. Typically this is a religious society, and while the morals claim to be from God, each local parish or congregation has its own take on God's moral edicts. And woe be it to the member that violates any of these moral edicts, expressed or implied. While God's moral "absolutes" are theoretically universal, and applicable to all, in practice one congregation hates fags, one hates evolutionists, one hates all sex, etc. Even within God's realm one can pick and choose almost any moral structure one likes, just by looking at churches to belong to based on morality. Of course no one does. The milk church morality is the absolute morality of God.

Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra.

As one moves beyond ones church or village, it becomes necessary to choose among the society values including the morals of the various societies one comes in contact with. One's job will have one set, ones, church another, ones school still another set particularly if it is a public school (in the US.)

As one moves into the complex intertwined societies of the modern world it becomes necessary to be aware of the local moral structure so you don't violate it inadvertently. One may violate it intentionally or ignore it, but one must know why and how to cover up if necessary. From there it is an easy step for a thoughtful person to choose common moral structures "Love thy neighbor..." "Do unto others..." and less common ones that may be necessary for one's self respect.

Ultimately the people one chooses as herm society, people of compatible morality from work, church, school, and neighborhood, will determine the tribe from which morality is constructed. Note that the morality is the commonality from which one builds a society. But for reasonable people it is clear that morality is neither absolute nor universally applicable. That does not mean that for the individual it is not rigidly enforced. In the modern world one cannot afford to lose one's chosen social support structure, whatever that is, by compromising its mores.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Modern teen sexuality

How do atheists deal with sexual morality - Beliefnet
Abstinence education has been a total failure even among the most fervent believers not only because of peer pressure and cultural conformity, which are powerful drivers for sex. But in prehistory and until recently marriage was defined as having sex, and for women it normally happened shortly after puberty, for men a little later, probably because they had to compete with all of the successful men in the community for the available young women. But when you add breeding instinct to peer and social pressure, the only moral response is to teach responsible, contraceptive and prophylactic sex however you want to define responsible sex. Forget abstinence it is not responsible sex it is unnatural, anti-social, and anti-peer.

Responsible sex by my definition is informed consent by both partners, radical respect for the health, emotional needs and wishes of any sexual partner, (if you have sowed any wild oats, that means prophylactic sex until medically proven to be STD free six months after last oating) and an intent to form a pair bond leading to marriage and children at an appropriate time. It does not mean waiting for the appropriate time to have sex, it means contraceptive sex until then.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sexual morality for Churches.

How do atheists deal with sexual moral(s) - Beliefnet

"I think the message from all churches should change from no sex until marriage, to no children until marriage. The fact of the matter is that kids have sex and no church or God will change that. You might remember that God's instruction was "Be fruitful and multiply." Hesh didn't say when or how. But then it wasn't until recently that anyone had any control over the when and how."

"It is interesting to me that kids with the proper training in the benefits and responsibility of sexual activity as well as the knowledge and means to prevent pregnancy and STDs are down right prudish about casual sex." They know that when they find the right partner that sex will be wonderful, safe, loving and bonding. Most important it will allow them to pair bond as nature intended, at the age when pair bonding is most effective and defer children as desired for educational needs or simply getting established in a career before taking on the added responsibility of parenting. They chose their partner for first sex very carefully with the full intention of establishing a strong pair bond for future children.

"However, they are well aware of the emotional bonding of sexual activity, and generally don't want to risk bonding with a jerk. A roll in the hay with an anonymous stranger or even a classmate loses all allure, as it is not forbidden, just stupid. I know a few sexually active kids well enough to talk about it, and to hear them talk about their friends having casual sex will blister the paint on the room they are in."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Transcendence and the Mind


"Transcendence differs from ordinary conscious states for me by simply focusing all of the mind's resources on whatever it is that is stimulating the transcendence. That focus by the way does not shut off the analytical functions but focuses them on the transcendent experience." Which is why meditation at least of the Buddhist tradition does not work for me. I can focus the minds resources on nothing, but why? It is just a cartoon with an empty balloon. A rainbow works just as well and is much prettier than nothing.

"It doesn't interfere with the reproducible transcendence of Bach's Ricercare (preferably by Marie-Claire Alain) to understand the way the melodies and the harmonies interact to produce the transcendence." Just as it doesn't interfere with the reproducible transcendence of a rainbow to understand the physics of why I am always at the focus.