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The Slavery Problem
Posted: 06 February 2007 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]  
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God is the premise of 1000 exceptions.

God is omnipotent, except for….
God is omniscient, except for…

ad infinitum

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Posted: 06 February 2007 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]No, burt. The trick is to avoid making a fetish of a frigging book.

[quote author=“burt”]Sorry if that is what you think I am doing.  All that shows to me is that you have not understood what I have posted.  As far as I can tell, all that you are doing is making a fetish of opposition to a frigging book.  (By the way, I haven’t read a bible in years other than to check up on the details of some story or other for research purposes.)

Actually, I don’t think that fetishizing is what you (specifically) are doing. But millions of people all across this lonely little planet of ours are doing so, and by so doing, are placing this cruddy little planet at the center of some sort of anthropocentric universe.

What you are doing is engaging in some sort of defense of the bible, but it is beyond me what your motivation for this could actually be. On the face of it, you are defending it as “wisdom”. As others have pointed out above, and I have done elsewhere, you can’t make a very good case for “sole sourcing” (no pun) out of the bible, nor are you trying to. Just what sort of wisdom are we talking about here? You have been vague so far, and refer to some “hermeneutics” of “who and what we are as people”. Sorry, burt, that doesn’t cut it for me, or for several others who are responding to you, as literature abounds with opportunities to develop those ideas sans the transcendentalist baggage of the works you seem to be stressing.

Point of order: It is, in fact, impossible to make a fetish out of a concept (since fetishism is the worship of a material object as the embodiment of a concept). I am dedicated, rather, to opposing the people who do make a fetish of it, mainly by calling out the more clever enablers of their fetishism (such as you appear to be).

The unconcern with which people go on making the story “all about them” is taking us, among other things, down the path to ecological catastrophe, if sectarian violence does not finish us off first. This “all about us” crap is what I am specifically and persistently debunking here.

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INVEST in cynicism!

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Posted: 07 February 2007 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]No, burt. The trick is to avoid making a fetish of a frigging book.

[quote author=“burt”]Sorry if that is what you think I am doing.  All that shows to me is that you have not understood what I have posted.  As far as I can tell, all that you are doing is making a fetish of opposition to a frigging book.  (By the way, I haven’t read a bible in years other than to check up on the details of some story or other for research purposes.)

Actually, I don’t think that fetishizing is what you (specifically) are doing. But millions of people all across this lonely little planet of ours are doing so, and by so doing, are placing this cruddy little planet at the center of some sort of anthropocentric universe.

What you are doing is engaging in some sort of defense of the bible, but it is beyond me what your motivation for this could actually be. On the face of it, you are defending it as “wisdom”. As others have pointed out above, and I have done elsewhere, you can’t make a very good case for “sole sourcing” (no pun) out of the bible, nor are you trying to. Just what sort of wisdom are we talking about here? You have been vague so far, and refer to some “hermeneutics” of “who and what we are as people”. Sorry, burt, that doesn’t cut it for me, or for several others who are responding to you, as literature abounds with opportunities to develop those ideas sans the transcendentalist baggage of the works you seem to be stressing.

I’m pointing out fallacies in arguments and suggesting that blind belief, or automatic blind reaction to belief are equally poor as ways of thought.  As for defending the bible (or torah, or koran), while you may not find wisdom there and while some believers use these texts to support fanaticism, there are also millions of believers who draw spiritual strength from them and are not fanatics about it.  I have cousins who are _good_ Christians, meaning that they practice the moral precepts of Christianity, do not try to convert others, do what they can to help environmental programs, and so on.  As I see it, the problem is not the books themselves, it is a matter of education.  Religion, when held personally and not fanatically, is something that some people need.  You seem to be saying that everybody who is in any way religious or spiritual is seriously deluded and needs to be corrected.

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Posted: 07 February 2007 07:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]I have cousins who are _good_ Christians, meaning that they practice the moral precepts of Christianity, do not try to convert others, do what they can to help environmental programs, and so on.  As I see it, the problem is not the books themselves, it is a matter of education.  Religion, when held personally and not fanatically, is something that some people need.  You seem to be saying that everybody who is in any way religious or spiritual is seriously deluded and needs to be corrected.

We all know good Christians. That’s not what this is about. You mention education, and I agree that if all Christians bothered to educate themselves about religion (Higher bible criticism and all) then the world would be a much better place. However, when faith is a virtue, then critical questions become less of a virtue.
When faith trumps critique, then religion is dumbing people down.

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Posted: 07 February 2007 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]  Religion, when held personally and not fanatically, is something that some people need.  You seem to be saying that everybody who is in any way religious or spiritual is seriously deluded and needs to be corrected.


I agree that (unfortunately) many people do seem to need a spiritual/religious aspect to give meaning or framework to their lives. However, this is argument from necessity: I believe in Jesus because it makes my life better, not because I really think it’s the most satisfactory explanation of the phenomenae.

This reasoning has nothing to do with the beliefs being true or even sensible. The problem is that, in order not to feel silly, people need to think (or at least to act as if) their beliefs are true. No one wants to admit (to themselves or anyone else) that they believe a bunch of nonsense because it makes them feel good - even though this is indisputably the case.

If humans do need a religion in order to operate properly (a propostiton I hope isn’t true) then why not construct something which maximises the feelgood factor and minimises counter-intuitive idiocy? I abhor religion - as much for the insult to my intelligence as anything else - but if we must have one, can we not design something a little less absurd than the cruel fossils we have now?

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All Christians should be sent to heaven immediately.

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Posted: 08 February 2007 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]  
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[quote author=“Occam’s Razor”][quote author=“burt”]  Religion, when held personally and not fanatically, is something that some people need.  You seem to be saying that everybody who is in any way religious or spiritual is seriously deluded and needs to be corrected.


I agree that (unfortunately) many people do seem to need a spiritual/religious aspect to give meaning or framework to their lives. However, this is argument from necessity: I believe in Jesus because it makes my life better, not because I really think it’s the most satisfactory explanation of the phenomenae.

This reasoning has nothing to do with the beliefs being true or even sensible. The problem is that, in order not to feel silly, people need to think (or at least to act as if) their beliefs are true. No one wants to admit (to themselves or anyone else) that they believe a bunch of nonsense because it makes them feel good - even though this is indisputably the case.

If humans do need a religion in order to operate properly (a propostiton I hope isn’t true) then why not construct something which maximises the feelgood factor and minimises counter-intuitive idiocy? I abhor religion - as much for the insult to my intelligence as anything else - but if we must have one, can we not design something a little less absurd than the cruel fossils we have now?

This is a very complex issue, relating to how the human brain and mind are genetically set up to function.  We automatically tend to latch onto beliefs.  And this is not something newly recognized.  The 12th century Islamic theologian al Ghazali wrote that there were three kinds of people: those who needed dogmatic religion, those who needed theorizing and critique, and those who went with direct experience.  He went on to emphasize that each of these three sorts needed to respect the others and recognize the necessity of diversity.  A similar observation is reported in a book by the early 20th century explorer of Tibet, Alexendra David-Neel when she quotes a Tibetian lama, and I’ve run across equivalent comments that indicate to me that this is cross-cultural “ancient wisdom.”  The difference today is that we may be able to get a scientific (cognitive, neurological) theory.

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