Sunday, July 26, 2015

Authority, Love, and God.

I suspect that the "Presence within" is part of the deference to authority genetic basic moral imperative you argue for.  
As noted that starts with do what mama tells you as she is a "loving presence" and generalizes as we get older to family and mentors.  If indoctrination starts early enough "Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so." that loving presence may get confused with authority.  The secret of Christianity is that it confuses the loving, merciful Jesus with the misanthropist in the sky who is the authority figure, and things go downhill rapidly from there.  

If you can limit the authority figures to those have earned respect if not love the confusion with mama is less important.  This is where atheists have a major advantage over theists.  We are able to pick our mentors without the help of the vuvuzelas.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Meaningful Living

Whether or not there is a God, meaningful living is all there is to being human.  We all die, and return to the stardust from which we are made. Recycled in myriad ways, ideas, memes, genes, etc.  Perhaps promoting the God meme makes life meaningful for some.  But enjoy it while you can.  All available evidence shows that after death God does nothing for anybody. Atheist, theist, fundy, or Pope: all dead and recycled. 

Meaningful Living

There are many ways gays can have biological offspring if they want them.  Others may adopt which is just as beneficial for the species.  Others, heterosexuals as well as homosexuals may choose other ways to benefit the species, without contributing to the overpopulation problem by breeding.  Teaching of various kinds, Medicine, and even art and music to pass on the lore of the society are all meaningful choices for living.

Objective Evidence for God.

beliefnet ff.
God, god(s), and goddesses (henceforth referred to as God) is defined as an imaginary creation of a human mind or a group of human minds that has some powers over a defied group or tribe that persist essentially unchanged through several generations of the group or tribe.  These powers are mediated and interpreted by a group of specialized members of the group, priests, or infrequently priestesses (henceforth referred to as priests) who have been given the power by the group to determine from the tradition what it is that God wants for and from the group. 

God is endowed with powers, usually supernatural, to affect the lives of the defined group or tribe by enforcing moral precepts in this life or after death; protecting the tribe or group from "enemies" by granting exceptional skills or immunity to an individual or group of individuals in contact with the enemy; is normally in the form of an idealized human; is associated with certain rituals of worship which recognize the importance of God to the people; and is frequently identified as the creator of the group or of all humans.

Gods may be examined by scientific methods by observing the group rituals associated with group solidarity, moral teaching, and the protection of the group from predation, either natural, (unusual weather, e.g.) or other groups of humans.  If the rituals identify an imaginary being or group of beings that imaginary entity is by definition God.  The properties of God can be identified from the rituals defining the God. 

If the group rituals are naturally centered or human centered it can be determined by scientific observation that the group has no God.  

In short God is an imaginary entity, interpreted by priests from tradition, that determine the mores of and protects a defined group of humans. 
The objective existence of God for Catholics is rationally observed in the Mass, in particular the Credo.  The Credo describes what God is: One God, the omnipotent father, who created everything, and the Son who is one with God who came down from heaven and became a real person by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary.  (No hanky-panky by God, just magic and apparently a little help from Joseph and/or David, and/or God's eternal sperm bank.) 

It describes what he did: Was sacrificed to expiate the sins of all men and was resurrected to once again become one God.

It tells why: so all will be resurected to enjoy eternal life. 

Then comes the hook: God will judge all, and only those baptized for the forgiveness of sin will get the goodies. 

There is nothing imaginary or unreal in that for Catholics.  God is more important for them than Blü, J'Carlin, or any other person with the possible exception of the parish priest.
Jul 20, 2015 -- 1:01PM,  wrote:
The objective existence of God for Catholics is rationally observed in the Mass, in particular the Credo. J'Carlin

"objective existence" ... "for Catholics"
Do you even understand the meanings of words you use? Rev atheist

I speak English very well. (First place in Ohio English state scholarship tests, 800 verbal SAT.  A long time ago but I have practiced consistently since.)

A mental pattern may be objectively observed by noting consistent behavioral changes in those with the pattern.  If a chimpanzee shares food with a companion who is unfairly denied a food reward by the experimenter we can objectively observe empathy and social concern on the part of the sharing chimp.  We can also objectively observe that the experimenter is an asshole.  (Even a chimp can observe that.)  When this behavior is observed consistently among Chimps we can determine objectively that Chimps have the qualities of empathy and social concern. 

All believing Catholics when they enter a holy space, will genuflect to recognize the presence of God in the space, and once again when they enter the pew for worship recognizing the presence of God in that space as well.  How can an objective observer determine that God is not there to be recognized?  Do we like the experimenter above deny them respect by claiming that they do not experience the presence of God or that the presence is a delusion?  How do you objectively observe that?  I have recognized a vague "presence" when I genuflect with a believing Catholic when I join them in worship.   I cannot tell you what that "presence" was just like Dawkins couldn't identify the presence he recognized under the God Helmet experiment.  My friend said it is God.  I am not an asshole. 

A believing Catholic also recognizes the presence of God (Jesus aspect) tangibly in the communion service.  They also spend significant time confessing their sins, and doing appropriate penance so that the forgivness of sin promised in the Credo will take place and that the Judging personna of God Jesus aspect) will listen to His merciful mother and remit the sins of the believer.  Again objective evidence of the existence of God for a believing Catholic.  Please present your objective evidence that God does not exist for these fine people.  Remember I speak English very well "objective" means not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Give me the child until 7 ...

The cerebral cortex, that which makes humans sapient, isn't fully developed until two and is overdeveloped at that point until about 8yo.  It is extremely plastic in those years and much of what is necessary for social living is learned in those years.  The mores of the tribe via the family are essentially set by 8.  Or why the Jesuit's mantra is "Give me the boy until he is 7 and I will give you the man."
The "Whys" begin at two and the answers will largely determine the mold the brain of the child will conform to.  Authoritarian answers: "Because I said so," or "Because God says so," will condition the child to expect to be told what to do and not think for hermself.  Social conforming answers: "Because people expect you to do that,"  "Jesus will love you if you do that,"  "Our family or tribe does it that way" will condition the child to be aware of social cues to behavior but allow for some flexibility as social cues are seldom consistent.  Child centered answers: "Because you will be happier if you do it that way," "Because it is good for you," "You will have more friends if you do it that way" will condition the child to take responsibility for herm actions and consider the effects on self and others of behavior. 

These are but points on a continuum with lots of overlap generally centering on social conformance.  We are after all a social animal.  There are of course outliers on both ends, extreme self-dependence, and fundamentalism but most will be socially conforming. 

God of the Credo

Yes, gods don't have objective existence.
The objective existence of God for Catholics is rationally observed in the Mass, in particular the Credo.  The Credo describes what God is: One God, the omnipotent father, who created everything, and the Son who is one with God who came down from heaven and became a real person by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary.  (No hanky-panky by God, just magic and apparently a little help from Joseph and/or David, and/or God's eternal sperm bank.) 

It describes what he did: Was sacrificed to expiate the sins of all men and was resurrected to once again become one God.

It tells why: so all will be resurected to enjoy eternal life. 

Then comes the hook: God will judge all, and only those baptized for the forgiveness of sin will get the goodies. 

There is nothing imaginary or unreal in that for Catholics.  God is more important for them than Blü, J'Carlin, or any other person with the possible exception of the parish priest.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nyah Wynne on UBI

The biggest reason I support UBI(Universal Basic Income) has nothing to do with our possible automated future, as labor becomes less essential, or at least as we need much less of it, though that's a great reason to support it. It's not even about eliminating poverty or making the unemployment rate a non-issue, though those are very good reasons too.
The reason I want a UBI is to make work at least -technically- optional. I want this because so long as work is not optional, so long as it is mandatory, it is coercive. I want UBI so that every low wage worker whose boss screws them on hours, who reprimands them for taking sick days, who asks them to work too fast in unsafe conditions(see the current fast-food lawsuit), every young employee whose boss secretly grabs their ass while no one is looking, who's constantly making lewd comments, or racist comments, or any other sort of hateful bullshit... So that every employee who finds themselves trapped in the fiefdom of some petty little tyrant of a boss, which is actually The Majority Of Low End Workers, so that they can say:
So that they can really, truly, meaningfully walk the fuck away. And not have it mean they end up on the streets or their kids starve or they find themselves turning tricks to keep the water running and the lights on. Or for that matter just ending up in yet another job with a slightly different petty tyrant. And they can do this, deal with this, without having to deal with lawyers or Union Reps, who though are better than -not- having them it'd be nicer to just be able to do it ourselves. Because if -enough- of them(us) say 'NO' to this petty fucking bullshit, then firms will be forced to stop letting the petty bullshit happen(those who fail to will simply not get workers), and work in general will end up less awful for everyone.
Because the ability to say 'NO' to someone who's actively abusing you... that should be pretty high on the list of 'Liberties' worth defending. In my mind.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Religious CV

I do not need to defend my knowledge of religions of all cultures including the dominant ones of the cultures I have lived in.  My bookshelf, the opinion of Priests, Rabbi's, Ministers, and university scholars in many religions I have studied at that level give lie to your bigotry.  Not to mention several thousand posts here on beliefnet discussing religion. Including hosting (one of several experienced beliefnet forum hosts) a forum on Paul and Jesus in support of a Peter Jennings ABC documentary on the topic at the request of the beliefnet forum managers who knew I was host of the Atheism Debate board.

Atheism or Anti-Theism?

Perhaps we can get around to actually discussing atheism?
We are discussing atheism that is: why we are not a believer in the various gods, God or G-d that we are respectfully asked to learn more about, distainfully demanded to learn more about, proselytized to believe in, forced to believe in, or forced to pretend to believe in to avoid ostracism at best.  Historically, non-belief is punishable by torture and death. Whether that continues today is, shall we say, arguable.   

Torah Myth as Allegory

Which do you imagine are 'critical stories' in the Torah texts?

As you are well aware, JC, one of the Jewish principles of Biblical interpretation is that the farther back in time the narrative covers, the less 'historical' and the more allegorical the account is seen as being. JewOne
I am an atheist.  I see nothing in any fable religious or secular that is anything but allegorical or occasionally ironic.  Allegory must teach something of value that bears some relationship to the details of the story or it would not persist as a part of the lore of at least a tribe or subset of humanity.  It is not necessary to believe that the wolf in Little Red Riding hood was anything but allegorical to understand that young women should be wary of strangers.  Even strange women.  Female wolves are as predatory as the males. 

The critical stories in the Torah texts are the ones everybody remembers. Most were written by the Yahwist as hesh was by far the best storyteller in the Torah, and herm stories translate well as they deal with universal human issues in any language.  Whether they are translated by a Jew, an unknown Aramaic scholar, or various Roman and Christian translators.  They all say about the same thing.  Believe in and do what God tells you to do or else.  We can argue about the details of "what else" other than the fact that it isn't good.

Some of the later stories incorporate the mediators for God as authoritative interpreters of the Bb drone of "Believe in and do what God tells you to do or else."  

Reinterpreting Jesus as God

Jul 15, 2015 -- 9:50PM, Blü wrote:
Which brings us to this thread, where we consider a being who, the story says, lives in heaven but was incarnated on earth to proclaim the imminent Kingdom - yet knew nothing more about reality than his time and place did. The report (or tale, as the case may be) matches human tendencies perfectly.

Interesting thought.  Let me take it a bit further.  Imagine this multi-omni God created by men but somehow having some sort of numinous existence after a couple of thousand years watching the creators botch things up miserably, decides to go fix things. 

Hesh assumes a human male form and teaches that the priests are the ones botching things up, and shows a few people how to heal, feed the poor and the needy, love everybody even the Samaritans that had just refused hospitality on a hot day, preached that the meek and the poor in spirit (atheists?) would inherit the earth and the kingdom of heaven respectively. 

Pretty good morality. Depending what he taught about healing; maybe the difference between viral diseases and pathogens which needed to be healed differently, and He gets a few people on the right path.   What happens?  They kill him.  The priests and wanna be priests exterminate his cults, and bastardize his teachings to give every Tom, Dick, and Harry the Kingdom of Heaven if they only believe and do what the priests tell them to do. 

Three days after they kill him he goes back to Herm numinous existence to watch the priests and their money-bags continue to screw things up.  So instead of trying to do things single handedly Hesh picks out a few bright rational people teaches them science and humanism and lets the message spread itself, underground at first, but with a few nudges in the right direction to the right people occasionally.  In a couple of more thousand years as predicted and lot of nudges to a lot of people Hesh gets us on the right path to create the promised land on earth that the priests and the rich took away from those that were in it to begin with. 

Maybe the priests and their money-bags will defeat Herm again, they certainly are trying hard enough. But they seem to be losing ground rapidly around the world, winning a few battles here and there, but overall the rationalists, scientists, and humanists seem to be taking over. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Goo to Zoo to You Redux.

Again, I challenge you to take a look at just what the DNA Information coding and non-coding system is.  The signature of Yahweh is there in every single "jot and tittle" of that three dimensional CODE-SYSTEM.  Codes DON'T evolve!  You need to deal with that FACT! --YEC
Sorry, Yahweh, God or whoever that misanthropist was that Moses invented to control his people, was not around a few billion years ago when that first twisted strand of goo found a lipid bubble to live in and start the process of divide and conquer that resulted in the zoo, originally one celled replicating organisms that found out that cooperation beat fending alone in the difficult environment of the early earth.  Those cooperating organisms made their DNA better and more efficient at eating goo and replicating, until eventually Moses, Yahweh, Blü and I evolved. 

God probably doesn't even have or know about DNA, since Moses didn't know enough about it to invent it when he invented God. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Born Good Learn Bad

Social animals are born socially responsible at least within their species.  That is they are born good.  Socialization begins at birth and in general reinforces good social behavior.  Play well with others, share, be empathetic, respect authority, and don't hurt others.  The good and bad news is that the socialization is exclusively within the tribe.  Belief Systems (BS) are not generally important at this stage.  I place the break at about Kindergarten, where children begin to be exposed to those outside the tribe.  At that point BS about "them" enters the socialization process and depending on the BS reinforced in Religious Education, and BS group formation in school, bad habits and prejudice may come into play in the social conditioning process. 

Human Worth

If you have one, what is your standard for measuring human worth?

How well a person embraces the UU First Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Not every white male; not every Christian (almost an oxymoron, as Christian theology teaches all are sinners;) not every Buddhist; not every civilized person;  but every person.  

Note that this principle does not embrace bad behavior just that the bad behavior is not a result of being a bad person.  That rogue cop, or despot, or exploitive capitalist is not a bad person, hesh has just embraced a bad belief system that leads them to ignore the first principle.  If somehow one could change the belief system the inherent worth would emerge and the conscience (since this is OFS' thread) would repair the bad behavior. 

Changing belief systems is an extremely difficult task.  The brain builds blocks to information contrary to strongly held beliefs, so that contrary data is not even processed by the brain.  Not impossible, Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates come to mind as examples from the capitalist belief system.  Possibly, it is early yet, but some have even attacked their own belief systems to bring them more in line with the First Principle, Pope Francis and Bishop Spong come to mind

In order to embrace the first principle it is necessary to be aware of and resist the brain's inherent tendency to create beliefs about other people.  That is to generalize from behavior to the person.  Currently, all Muslims are terrorists is a common belief that leads to terms like Islamist which reinforces the belief system to make it for practical purposes unassailable.

Even atheists can fall victim to beliefs based on belief systems: All Christians are bigots.  Theists aren't reasonable. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hillel, Jesus and the Decalogue

christine3 wrote:
"These are our highest most honesty-keeping rules and should be considered sacred. If you follow these rules you will not be cut off, you will live in the world to come." For the Commandments were written with the foreknowledge that there was going to be a world to come.

Neither the Hebrew nor the OT Commandments were written with salvation or a world to come.  There was a hint of a world to come in Isaiah but the life after death, sin, and salvation were all invented by Paul. The Decalogue is simply a sacred rulebook as you note.  
I do find it interesting that in the Hebrew Decalogue the social rules are mashed into 2 verses.  In your version the 10 could be contained in 3.  1 through 8 condensed into ""These are our highest most honesty-keeping rules and should be considered sacred."  I can see where Hillel the Elder got his one foot Torah.  And Jesus found his Two Commandments: 1-8 condensed into Love the Lord thy God, and the rules condensed into Love thy neighbor as thyself.

I know why my Jewish friends liked to talk about Hillel the Elder.  I didn't really notice that God was missing from our discussions.  I have no doubt that God was assumed by Hillel and my friends as the originator of the social rules, but the overemphasis on worship and obedience to "I am the Lord Thy God" was clearly missing.  No wonder atheism is compatible with Judaism.  If the rules, all 613 of them were the result of a tradition that worked there is no reason to add God to the tradition except to establish a supernatural cop that would punish transgressors. Moses was for some reason having trouble governing his tribe, and perhaps thought that a supernatural supercop was just the thing he needed. It sure did work.  A few thousand years of working.