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Posted: 21 June 2008 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Although I don’t believe that an all knowing, all powerfull “God” is involved in the day to day lives of human beings (what incredible ego must accompany that belief), I do see the possiblility that some kind of energy does at times intervene in people’s lives.  That energy is not all knowing or all powerfull, hence the explanation for human suffering.  I think again that ego has allowed us to believe that we are the only ones that are important on this planet and in this universe.  I also think that if there is an intelligent force that has incredible power in this universe and is somehow responsible for our existence (God?), that force not having a body would not be saddled with the burden of feelings (love, hate etc.) That force may have a plan that somehow involves the existence of humans to accomplish that plan and I think that plan may involve humans as a group mind.  I say this because I find that humans have a longing to connect with something bigger than their individual selves (religions, family groupings, gangs, societies, etc.)  People are never more content than when they feel this connection.

I believe that if there is a “God” we as individual humans fall below God’s radar but it may be that the human race may have some importance. I don’t think of “God” as some spiritual being but rather as a being of vastly more intelligence than any human who for some unknowable reason has a purpose for humanity.  We don’t have to love or worship this being.

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Posted: 21 June 2008 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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stillasking - 21 June 2008 05:04 PM

I also think that if there is an intelligent force that has incredible power in this universe and is somehow responsible for our existence (God?), that force not having a body would not be saddled with the burden of feelings (love, hate etc.) That force may have a plan that somehow involves the existence of humans to accomplish that plan and I think that plan may involve humans as a group mind.  I say this because I find that humans have a longing to connect with something bigger than their individual selves (religions, family groupings, gangs, societies, etc.)  People are never more content than when they feel this connection.

When debating with my friends, the majority of whom are secular apologists, this is the argument that frequently rears it’s head.  In their case, they usually use it as a way of arguing the “why” of belief without specifically endorsing a particular set of beliefs.

But this argument is not suggestive of a supernatural force in the universe - there is an excellent biological explanation for the need for humans to belong to groups.  It’s advantageous for us to do so - advantageous in a natural selection kind of way.  We are more likely to survive and prosper in groups, so those of us that possessed the psychological draw to group survived and had kids, the lone wolves croaked and their genetic line ended.

I can’t remember where I read it, but I once heard a good piece of advice about evidence of “god” - don’t confuse evidence that is compatible with god with evidence that is suggestive of god.

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Posted: 21 June 2008 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I often ponder the points brought up by stillasking. I consider myself a biblical atheist and god agnostic. Why I’m not a god atheist is for those very reasons—why are we here and what gave us our instincts, consciousness, and desire for survival? True that we evolved over time, and I do subscribe to evolution, but I can’t help think that there is a higher intelligence at work in all living things. I also subscribe to Carl Jung’s theory of a Universal Unconscious:

How do archetypes operate? Jung found the archetypal patterns and images in every culture and in every time period of human history. They behaved according to the same laws in all cases. He postulated the Universal Unconscious to account for this fact. We humans do not have separate, personal unconscious minds. We share a single Universal Unconscious. Mind is rooted in the Unconscious just as a tree is rooted in the ground. Imagine the Universal Unconscious as a cosmic computer. Our minds are subdirectories of the root directory. If we look in our personal “work areas,” we find much material that is unique to our historical experience—could only have happened to us—but it is shaped according to universal patterns. If we humans have the courage to seek the source to which our “account” belongs, we begin to discover ever more impersonal and universal patterns.

http://www.iloveulove.com/psychology/jung/jungarchetypes.htm

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Posted: 21 June 2008 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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stillasking - 21 June 2008 05:04 PM

I say this because I find that humans have a longing to connect with something bigger than their individual selves (religions, family groupings, gangs, societies, etc.) People are never more content than when they feel this connection.

And thats your answer right there. While ideas like these make great poems and good fantasy novels. You are just illustrating your own point in a slightly different way than you are intending.

The lure of invisible pathfinders, universal forces or unified consciousness is all just this, buying into that urge for something “bigger” than ourselves.

I chose to write bigger in quotation marks because to me, there are lots of things bigger than ourselves in the proven physical universe without the need to extrapolate entities.

It seems like that people are looking for is not at all something bigger than themselves, but something illusive to themselves.

Just because we are content when we feel a spiritual connection, and because we constantly seem to look for one. Does not in any way suggest its there. Almost the countrary, if we are eagerly looking for such a connection, we ought to be even more suspicious when we think we found one.

The phenomenal thing however is that when you completely let go of that urge to find that connection to the mysterious. You will find yourself just as content as when you think you’ve find such a connection.

The best thing that ever happened to me in terms of peace of mind, was not when I contemplated about the meaning of life, but when I acknowledge that there is none, beyond whatever I might choose to set for myself.

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Posted: 23 June 2008 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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stillasking:  “I also think that if there is an intelligent force that has incredible power in this universe and is somehow responsible for our existence (God?), that force not having a body would not be saddled with the burden of feelings (love, hate etc.)”

and

“a being of vastly more intelligence than any human who for some unknowable reason has a purpose for humanity.”

Maybe it’s the disembodied Vulcan Spock inside a “2001: A SPace Odyssey” Monolith! shock

You really need to lay off the sci-fi S.A.

That said, S.A., it’s okay to have your own useful delusion… just don’t expect anyone else to buy into it. One question though: Are you sure you want your concocted universal force for humanity to have no emotions?

Then again, maybe the last Mandalorian, Boba has something to do with it! What say ‘The Mandalorian’? How did you escape the jedi and land here? (welcome to the forum btw)
“Compatible with”, “suggestive of” ... you might wanna lay of the bad sci -fi AND the relatively meaningless semantics.  rolleyes  “Secular apologists”? Care to ‘splain?

rab,
I love ya, but c’mon mon, the Universal (or Collective) Unconscious? Jung was high when he came up with that one (at least I hope he was) ... it doesn’t even make sense. To be unconscious is to have NO CONSCIOUSNESS, rendering his notion meaningless. Maybe you should lay off the bad psychology.  tongue wink

Thank the “invisible-but -not-spirit, unconscious, intelligent force” for unbeliever for coming to the rescue! A conscious, intelligent, rational response sans the smart asseries I can’t resist.  cheese

Big Camus fan are ye, unbe?
For those not familiar with Camus, he argued that it is the awareness that existence is essentially absurd and meaningless which leads individuals to either give up and commit suicide or recover.

Here’s to and cheers to every one’s individual recovery.

stillasking: “People are never more content than when they feel this connection [to something “bigger” than themselves].”

I would argue that individuals are “never more content” than when they experience orgasm and the flood of oxytocin temporarily suspends all fears.

[ Edited: 23 June 2008 05:25 PM by isocratic infidel]
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Posted: 23 June 2008 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 23 June 2008 08:02 PM


Then again, maybe the last Mandalorian, Boba has something to do with it! What say ‘The Mandalorian’? How did you escape the jedi and land here? (welcome to the forum btw)
“Compatible with”, “suggestive of” ... you might wanna lay of the bad sci -fi AND the relatively meaningless semantics.  rolleyes  “Secular apologists”? Care to ‘splain?

 

I could probably post a long answer to this one (“bad sci-fi”?) but “secular apologists” is a term I use to describe many of the people I discuss faith and religion with (the colloquial form of “apologist”).  Essentially it’s someone who is secular in their beliefs yet defends religious expression even when those beliefs start to infringe on other basic rights.

And I didn’t think I was using semantics, I was trying to point out that much “evidence” for the belief in god are non sequiturs.

Oh, and, thanks for the greet.

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Why did it take so long to outlaw slavery, since Jesus so clearly opposes it?  Oh, yeah…right.  Never mind.

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Posted: 23 June 2008 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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The Mandalorian: “I was trying to point out that much ‘evidence’ for the belief in god are non sequiturs.”

Point received and agreed. Thanks for the clarification, that makes sense.

The Mandalorian: “‘secular apologists’” is a term I use to describe many of the people I discuss faith and religion with (the colloquial form of “apologist”).  Essentially it’s someone who is secular in their beliefs yet defends religious expression even when those beliefs start to infringe on other basic rights.”

I suppose anyone can make up whatever term they want to describe one’s friends (or people), but with all due respect, it doesn’t make much sense. These people you describe may be secular but it’s religion that they seem to be apologizing for, so they would be religious apologists, not secular apologists; they aren’t justifying or rationalizing secular values, they’re justifying/rationalizing/defending religious or “spiritual” belief-systems. Seems to me they’re being oxymoronic…  confused Hmmn, secular oxymorons… I kinda like that one.
(Oh, and as a side note: last I checked (just now) there is no “colloqial form” of the word apologist. But as I said earlier, I suppose one can make up whatever one wants… hmmm especially if one is ‘The Mandalorian’  tongue wink ) I’m sorry The Mandalorian, I just can’t resist teasing you for your moniker selection… but hey, what can you expect, you selected the fictional Spartans of Space from Star Wars for cripe’s sake. (see attached image)

And when I used the term “bad” in bad sci-fi it is as an euphemism for “cheesy” or “silly” or “campy.”  cheese

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Posted: 24 June 2008 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 23 June 2008 10:15 PM

I suppose anyone can make up whatever term they want to describe one’s friends (or people), but with all due respect, it doesn’t make much sense. These people you describe may be secular but it’s religion that they seem to be apologizing for, so they would be religious apologists, not secular apologists; they aren’t justifying or rationalizing secular values, they’re justifying/rationalizing/defending religious or “spiritual” belief-systems. Seems to me they’re being oxymoronic…  confused Hmmn, secular oxymorons… I kinda like that one.

Perhaps I need to add a third word to the term, then: secular religious apologists.  The importance of the term, for me, is that these individuals are not motivated by the faith that they are defending…but you’re correct, just “secular apologists” would seem to indicate that they’re defending secularism, not that they’re secularists defending faith.

isocratic infidel - 23 June 2008 10:15 PM

(Oh, and as a side note: last I checked (just now) there is no “colloqial form” of the word apologist.

Opinions vary on that one.

isocratic infidel - 23 June 2008 10:15 PM

I just can’t resist teasing you for your moniker selection…

Tease away!  I’m a long-time, hard-core case-hardened sci-fi geek, and I learned to take the razzing in stride a long time ago.  I was going to go for something from Firefly, but calling myself “Browncoat”, well, the scat jokes almost compose themselves, don’t they?

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Why did it take so long to outlaw slavery, since Jesus so clearly opposes it?  Oh, yeah…right.  Never mind.

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Posted: 24 June 2008 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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The Mandalorian: “I was going to go for something from Firefly, but calling myself “Browncoat”, well, the scat jokes almost compose themselves, don’t they?”

LOL hahahhahahaha!

I just wish you could hear the “announcer voice” in my head every time I write or read ‘The Mandalorian.’ 

secular religious apologists.

That’s too p.c. I’d go with secular oxy-morons if I were you.

Opinions vary on that one.

I assume you know the opinion about opinions… and yes, you can assume that I know what can be said about assumptions…

Ah, yes indeed, the times they are a-changin’  Could be that my source, the Second College Edition of the NEW WORLD DICTIONARY with a copyright of 1974 shock (it’s my spouse’s from way back when he was in high school!) is a tad out-dated. wah-wah-wah.
( I love the google, and the wiki’s okay, but I still prefer the tactile sources that I can touch and smell and read in the bathtub if I want… every book, even old dictionaries, have their own unique scent… the computer’s so, well, so hard plastic.)

Velcome again, The Mandalorian. Carry on space spartan! and May the force… well you know.

Sorry stillasking, didn’t mean to go so off topic… and welcome to you as well. ii.

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Posted: 25 June 2008 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 23 June 2008 08:02 PM

rab,
I love ya, but c’mon mon, the Universal (or Collective) Unconscious? Jung was high when he came up with that one (at least I hope he was) ... it doesn’t even make sense. To be unconscious is to have NO CONSCIOUSNESS, rendering his notion meaningless. Maybe you should lay off the bad psychology.  tongue wink

I think Jung was a genius. I’ve always been interested in psychology, and his archetypes and personality types for the introverted and extroverted make perfect sense to me. In fact, he coined those terms. I also do dream journaling and use his methods of interpretation. He’s also coined the terms anima and animus, synchronicity, and the shadow.

To me, universal unconscious means that we all share the same basic fears and knowledge on a deeper subconscious level. That’s where the archetypes come in. True that not all archetypes mean the same thing in every culture, but most of them do.

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Posted: 27 June 2008 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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The entity I refered to in my original post need not be “supernatural”.  I agree that people have through out history mistakingly atributed to the supernatural, “God” or “Gods” everything they didn’t understand.  I do think that there is evidence that at one time a superior intelligence was present on this planet (the pyramids, evidence of anti-gravity use, ancient drawings in caves, Stonehenge, etc.)  Yes I do read Science Fiction and maybe I do let my imagination get carried away.  I don’t read bad Science Fiction.  The authors I read are of the ilk of Asimov, Clarke, Sturgeon and Leiber.

Believing that there is a force that intervenes,  a force set in place by a superior inteligence to keep the human race from being totally destroyed may be something of a stretch.  But how else do we explain situations where 2 year olds of average intelligence have saved an unconscious parents life by calling 911?  There a multitude of other reports of incidents where information on how to deal with a situation that the reporter had no training or understanding of suddenly became available to them allowing them to solve a life threatening problem.

It may be Science Fiction but do you believe we are alone in the Universe?

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Posted: 27 June 2008 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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stillasking - 27 June 2008 09:26 PM

The entity I refered to in my original post need not be “supernatural”.  I agree that people have through out history mistakingly atributed to the supernatural, “God” or “Gods” everything they didn’t understand.  I do think that there is evidence that at one time a superior intelligence was present on this planet (the pyramids, evidence of anti-gravity use, ancient drawings in caves, Stonehenge, etc.)  Yes I do read Science Fiction and maybe I do let my imagination get carried away.  I don’t read bad Science Fiction.  The authors I read are of the ilk of Asimov, Clarke, Sturgeon and Leiber.

Sure there was a superior intelligence present during the construction of the pyramids and the cave drawings. Homo sapiens.
If you are suggesting anything else than that however I would be tempted to call you a fruitcake. Actually, I probably would go further than temptation.
Surely you are not suggesting that aliens built the pyramids? Then I think you’ve watched too much Stargate. Actually, you can’t watch too much Stargate its a great movie and series. But you’ve watched it with that prefrontal cortex deactivated.
There are lots of proven ways the pyramids could have been built. And even if we had no idea how they built them, its still likely that we failed to figure out how, than that a superior space people came here and built a giant party hat out of stone blocks.
If we traveled to a different world, that was inhabited with stone age people. There is no evidence whatsoever of intelligent life other than the hominids on earth.

stillasking - 27 June 2008 09:26 PM

Believing that there is a force that intervenes,  a force set in place by a superior inteligence to keep the human race from being totally destroyed may be something of a stretch.  But how else do we explain situations where 2 year olds of average intelligence have saved an unconscious parents life by calling 911?  There a multitude of other reports of incidents where information on how to deal with a situation that the reporter had no training or understanding of suddenly became available to them allowing them to solve a life threatening problem.

How about, that under extraordinary circumstances people are capable of extraordinary deeds? How about that in time of great stress we can push ourselves a lot further than our average capacity?
You are demonstrating the reasoning of a conspiracy theorist. That is, when faced with a seemingly unexplained situation you leap past the most plausible ones and go for one far out on the edge.
My advice in any such case is to ask oneself. Which of the available alternatives are most plausible. That a childs love and dependancy on its parents will make it even risk its own life to save a parent in danger. Or that a superior civilization is controlling human actions through mind control to keep the parent from dying?
If you do bet on the latter, I would like to invite you to a game of poker as soon as possible.

These speculations of yours are just as unfounded as any god hypothesis. Just because its science fiction and not religion doens’t make it any less nuts.

stillasking - 27 June 2008 09:26 PM

It may be Science Fiction but do you believe we are alone in the Universe?

We could all make an educated guess. The marigin of error would be enormous ofcourse since we know so little.
My bet is that there most likely is life out there, in lots of places.
When it comes to intelligent life. I don’t really dare to say. I guess I would hope there is. But the variables that has come into play to put us here is so many that its impossible to say whether its happened elsewhere. Afterall, out of all the species of hominids. We’re the only ones still here, and according to recent findings. Our species was nearly wiped out too.

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Posted: 28 June 2008 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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I credit reading Science Fiction with opening my mind to other possibilities than those taught in our established institutions of learning.  It is true that the word “Fiction” is part of the genre but in some of the better novels the word “Science also plays a role.  We do know that there is a lot of Scientific Fact that is as strange as Science Fiction to the average person.  Physicists (sp?) such as Michio Kaku (sp?)write and speak of dimensions beyond the 3 we know of and of time all happening at once.  Although I don’t pretend to have any understanding of this,it is scientific fact.

I have heard the excuse that it is just coincidence or something innate in human beings that allows someone with no knowledge of how to respond effectively to a crisis to do so anyway.  I don’t believe that.  There is no evidence that we have that built into us.  I had a friend who lost a finger when she caught it in a screen door.  She had no medical training, wasn’t particularly bright and hadn’t seen it on TV or in the movies.  She states that a voice inside her told her to pick up her finger, pack it in ice and high tail it to the closest hospital.  Her finger was reattached and other than being a little shorter than it had been functions fairly well.  She is not a liar and not bright enough to make this story up anyway.  No one else was present when the incident happened.

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Posted: 10 July 2008 04:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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This sounds an awful lot like the god of the gaps.

I don’t understand how this happened or why things are this way so the mysterious super intelligence/superforce (yes, s/he wears a satin cape) is behind it.

Though we will keep seeking answers to every question we can imagine, we are in no way entitled to those answers.  Learn to accept “I/we don’t know yet.  We may never know.”

Until you can accept that your insistance on having an answer, any answer will probably always be stronger than your desire to know the truth. 

It’s how gods got here in the first place.

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Posted: 28 October 2008 01:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Although I don’t believe that an all knowing, all powerfull “God” is involved in the day to day lives of human beings (what incredible ego must accompany that belief), I do see the possiblility that some kind of energy does at times intervene in people’s lives.  That energy is not all knowing or all powerfull, hence the explanation for human suffering.  I think again that ego has allowed us to believe that we are the only ones that are important on this planet and in this universe.  I also think that if there is an intelligent force that has incredible power in this universe and is somehow responsible for our existence (God?), that force not having a body would not be saddled with the burden of feelings (love, hate etc.) That force may have a plan that somehow involves the existence of humans to accomplish that plan and I think that plan may involve humans as a group mind.  I say this because I find that humans have a longing to connect with something bigger than their individual selves (religions, family groupings, gangs, societies, etc.) People are never more content than when they feel this connection.

I believe that if there is a “God” we as individual humans fall below God’s radar but it may be that the human race may have some importance. I don’t think of “God” as some spiritual being but rather as a being of vastly more intelligence than any human who for some unknowable reason has a purpose for humanity.  We don’t have to love or worship this being.

This is very similar to what John A. Keel belives. he is the author of the bookm I am reading now. He belives the “real” physical world is surrounded by a fiel do energy he calle the “superpectrum, which exists beyond time and space, and is capable of controlling everything within it. He belives that this energy hs intelligence and purpose:

This is a hyothetical spectrum of energies that are known to exist but cannot be measured with present day instruments. It is a shadowy world of energies that produce well-observed effects, particualary on biological organisms….it is hard to pin down becaue it is extra dimensional, rather than extraterrestrial, meaning it exists outside our space-time continuum, yet influences everything within our reality

If Keel is right, then obviously this superspectrum is the same thing we’re calling God. If influences everything, then it is the same force responsible for life on earth and evolution of life on this planet. this means theistic evolution is correct. It also means human beings are here for a reason, even though we don’t know yet what it is.

But even if it IS all-knowing and all-powerful, it may NOT be all-good, and THAT might be the reason for human and animal suffering.

I’m not saying I agree with him, but Keel seems to think this may be the case. He compares the superspectrum to a scientist probing a microbe wiht a needle. The microbe knows only it’s own world, can’t possibly know of the world surrounding it. The scientist can influence and manipulate the microbe’s world, however. And that’s what Keel believes that the superspectrum (God, in other words) is doing us, by giving us religious visions and controlling human history.

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...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
-Stephen King

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Posted: 28 October 2008 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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stillasking - 21 June 2008 05:04 PM

... That force may have a plan that somehow involves the existence of humans to accomplish that plan and I think that plan may involve humans as a group mind.  I say this because I find that humans have a longing to connect with something bigger than their individual selves (religions, family groupings, gangs, societies, etc.)  People are never more content than when they feel this connection.

The longing is to connect with each other. When it’s done through religion it’s filtered and the connection is compromised—strained so we only get certain aspects and others are deflected (the idea being they’re focused on the alleged god, but even then the only real return on the investment is due to the connection between fellow believers through mutual effort). This kind of limited need fulfillment experience creates a kind of dependence (maybe a psychologist type can go into that).

So at any rate we have a “longing” to connect with each other ... just like any other social species.

Do you get that same sense from a herd of wildebeest or horses, or a flock of geese? They all seem to have this same longing, only apparently even much more so. Maybe they have some vague, limited proto-religious sense of a deity as well? Maybe theirs is even derived from the sun and stars, just like ours?

Byron

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