How a religion is conceived and how it can be exploited – Part II

March 18, 2007

There have been reactions for all tastes in the comments written to the First Part of this issue, I’ll try now to give a response to them at the time I include in this Second Part new elements of consideration to the problem under revision.

It is thought that giving the economy as a root motivation for the crisis that is going on in the Middle East is an oversimplification of the problem. I do not believe it is, I firmly believe it is the reason for everything going on in the region. Simple reasons can be the answer to difficult problems, sometimes matters are made difficult to understand because those who deal with them so want them to be to hide the real situation behind. In this connection I remember an Einstein’s anecdote when he had to confront the number one student in a class room to solve a problem. The student took just some minutes to find the solution, while Einstein took very much longer to find the same solution because he used a scientifical process to do it.

If you look at things with simple eyes is quite different to looking at them with complicated ones.

Religions have all the time since their inception been exploited. Men were always exploited in one or another way, and they still are, much that they want us to understand that slavery has been erased off the face of the Earth. But this is another question I am not going to deal with here.

It is religions and their exploitation that have brought us to this post, and on them I am going to focus here.

Thirst of power is what have made men and women(the latter in scarce circumstances) divide into two sides : those wielding the power and those suffering the consequences. The growth of populations caused the growth of memberships in all religions. The Ecclesiastical Hierarchies organised them in a way that the faithful were permanently subject to fear of God. God was made in the image of man, not all the way round because this is absolutely impossible as God has never been seen by any one.

Fear, the most abject of the human traits, is at the root of all our problems. We have fear of wars, of fights, of not having enough money to reach the end of the month…, and above all of death. The Catholic Church instituted the sacrament of Confession as a unique instrument to keep its faithful in the fold. Psychologically speaking Catholics owe their souls to the Church dignitaries who are allegedly endowed with the grace granted by God of absolving all sins. The Imams are in charge of this mission, although in a different way, in the prayers all Muslims are compelled to pray every day, while Jews must have a weekly time, the Sabbath, to strengthen their relationship with God. All of these are rites in which the faithful of each religion firmly believe which keep them united in each of the folds.

And those who wield the temporal power, or want to wield it, know and use it for their own benefit.

We have seen in all these years since the problem in the Middle East became really serious, that there have been situations where suspicions might have arisen of attitudes which went against one or another religion. The cartoons issued in Denmark, the Pope’s statements about Islam’s being violent, whilst Judaism has maintained the same position it has for centuries continuously using today the Holocaust to keep undesirable situations off its limits, that is Muslims fighting against Christians, Christians uniting to Jews – of all unions – to fight Muslims, and all of them making the world a complete chaos to live, this in sheer fear of one another.

I do not believe for a second that religion be at the root of the problem, of this universal problem we have been compelled to live with, religions are being used just to keep us watching the locks of our houses, the persons who walk on the streets about us, the suspiciously-coloured passengers that will be travelling in the same planes we travel, the strange bags that have been left unattended anywhere, in sum distrust about each other is growing non-stop in the world. Why?

I do not believe in conspiracies, I believe in evil and in goodness, I believe a human being is capable of being evil or of being good, of being greedy and of being modest. How many times have we seen how a human being has used another one for the former’s benefit? Numberless. Husbands using wives and viceversa, children using parents and viceversa, friends using friends, etc, why then human beings cannot use religions, too? And above all the members of those religions?

Why, for instance, cannot Jews use Christians and Muslims against each other in their own benefit? What are the Christian-Zionists (not Zionist-Christians curiously) but an aberration which is being used in favour of Zionists? Why cannot Muslims use Christians against Jews? Or Christians not use Jews against Muslims?

While they are busy trying to settle their enormous differences, some take advantage of the situation to fill their own coffers.

Religions should avoid to have any interferences in politics, but it is imperative that religions do not allow politics to use them because politics have not anything whatsoever to do with religion. Politics is material, religions are spiritual. The day this is achieved, we shall start to have peace because religions are in their origins meant for peace and love among the human beings.

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123 Responses to “How a religion is conceived and how it can be exploited – Part II”

  1. anticant said

    An interesting essay, but sadly implausible.

    You say that it is not an oversimplification to see economic issues as the root motivation for the Middle East crisis. Indeed, you “firmly believe that is the reason for EVERYTHING going on in the region.” This is surely an overstatement.

    You then claim that religions are basically good, but have been exploited throughout their history by unworthy human beings. You apparently believe that there is an intrinsically pure, uncorrupt religion somewhere up in the sky, emanating from God – a being who you admit has never been seen by any one [though Jesus’s followers claim that he was God incarnate].

    Not only has God never been seen by anyone – he, she, it, or they have never delivered an indisputably reliable message to anyone, either. All the claims to the contrary are incapable of proof. Religions, ion all their contradictory guises, exist inside the minds of believers – and nowhere else. Their consequences for humanity, however, are dire and our world would be far better off without them.

    I agree that thirst for power, and for money, are great evils, and that fear is at the root of all our problems. Much of that fear is generated by and exercised through religions.

    You oversimplify when you say that religion is used in a consciously manipulative way by its followers. Doesn’t it occur to you that they – and perhaps even some of their leaders – may actually believe the nonsense they spew out?

    You say you don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but you seem to have come up with a big one yourself.

    You urge us to take a “simple-minded” view of things. My simple-minded view is that there are not nearly so many deliberately manipulative rogues around as you seem to think, but that most people really believe the daft things they say and do most of the time. Far from deriving any comfort from this perspective, if anything it makes the situation worse and more intractable.

    And what are these “enormous differences” between and within the theistic religions? To an outsider, most of them look like hair-splitting, and not worth getting worked up about.

    As for your conclusion that “politics have not anything whatsoever to do with religion”, the very distinction is one categorically rejected by Islam and by many Christian sects.

  2. christianzionismexposed said

    Jose, didn’t you mean ‘politics have not anything’…that that should not have anything or in the pure definition of religion being ‘spiritual’ politics should have nothing to do with them? That’s how I read it, anyway.

    anticant, atheists are not able to prove their take on things any more than God believers. You cannot prove there is not a God any easier than I can prove there is a God. Yet, many times (and I’m not speaking of you) atheists seem to believe they are inherently smarter or less gullible for not believing in God, which idea I totally reject. At least the agnostic says he is not sure, which is a no brainer…who can be totally sure other than just accepting by faith? Well, the world itself to me is strong enough evidence, because the belief that all of this came about ‘by accident’ or a ‘bang’ is sublimely ridiculous in my mind. In fact, not even worth discussing, though we could get into the intracicies of nature and how easily it could all have been thrown off over the billions of years it is claimed to have existed.

    At any rate, back to Jose’s topic. “The love of money is the root of all evil”. That’s a simple statement from the Bible. I often hear it quoted ‘money is the root…” Money, paper or coin, is incapable of evil. But those who love it also seem to love power and the two run hand in hand. Controlling the resources of others, controlling the lives of others.
    Ever notice how many people in power claim to be ‘religious’? Ever notice how they end their speeches about hate, fear, terror with ‘God bless you’ or ‘Allah be praised’, or some other religious salutation. What craziness.

    I believe that most people in most religions scarcely ever really, truly study their own books of faith but receive from them through the filter of their ‘leaders’. They’re too lazy to study and they are part of a particular religion many times as something they were born into or something that makes them ‘feel good’, without having the slightest idea of what the religious book actually says.

    Same with politics. How many of any country can give you their country’s history or name the leader beyond 2-3 leaders back? Or get involved in voting or politics at all?

    As to the Middle East and the source of that mess being money/the economy, I strongly agree with Jose. It always is about money. Always.
    Religion is just the wedge used by those craving all the $$/control on those who they control. Shame on them but it’s so.

  3. Richard said

    So, AC finds Jose’s ‘take’ on this issue “implausible”…

    I agree more with Jose than AC on this – but I suppose it all depends what we mean by “implausible”…

    “Implausible”…ummm…I am reminded of Cyril Joad – writer/philosopher/outcast – and his ‘take’ on his own new-found faith, a short while before his death at Easter (9 April 1953) – prostate cancer – aged 61…

    “I have come to believe that the Christian faith is the least implausible explanation of the Universe.”

    Interesting thought…certainly more interesting than any of us put together.

    Concerning the need for separation between party-politics and whatever-version religion…let me tell you a story :

    There is a vicar in this town who is also a Green candidate (formerly a Labour candidate), and serves on various politically-affiliated bodies.

    I have met him, and I don’t like him – and one reason I don’t like him is because he mixes his brand of religion with his party politics.

    To me, they are ‘chalk and cheese’ – can’t be mixed. He’s a vicar – and has a ‘full-time’ calling to meet the non party-political needs of his Parish.

    But maybe I simply don’t like him ?

  4. Richard said

    AC, I happen to agree with Jose more than you on this issue – and it all depends what you mean by “implausible” anyway…

    Cyril Joad – that writer, philosopher & outcast – once said : “Christianity is the least implausible explanation of the Universe.”

    Neither you nor I can prove (or disprove) the truth of that statement.

  5. Jose said

    Implausible? Come on, Anticant, you have too much experience to deny prima facie something you are not so sure of. I for one feel myself unable to deny Muslims the ability to think for themselves and their future in terms of economy, as I cannot deny establishments in the west to do likewise. Many mistakes of this kind in the past were afterwards disproved by events. The problem with the West and the Arab countries is one of incomprehension, of misunderstanding which you seem to also be going through.

    Religions are basically good. I am too humble a person to say that this has been prooved on many occasions to another person whose better experience I acknowledge, but we all make mistakes, some because of omissions others because of stubborness and others because of negative experiences in their lives which have affected them in a very subjective way. You seem to forget, Anticant, that in accordance with the tenets of Christianity Jesus Christ was “God become Man when he came to Earth to redeem it as Messiah”. Nobody has the capacity on Earth to describe God.

    I do not coincide with your statement about religions, I persist in my insistence that it is “the use of religion in personal benefit” which may have created the impression you and other people have.

    No, Anticant, I have not said that religions are manipulated by their “followers”, I have said they are manipulated, full stop. And, yes, it has ocurred to me that many of those who manipulate them believe firmly in their tenets, those are the bigots that are prone to even kill in defence of those principles, principles that in “all cases” only speak of peace and love. These are paradoxes that happen in humanity, people who should be safely separated from the rest of us.

    I cannot find where in my exposition I have given the impression that I have come up with a big conspiracy. Perhaps you’ll be so kind as to elaborate.

    Has it not occurred to you that it is maybe you who are exaggerating on the issue of manipulations?

    Do you not really think that there are enormous differences in religions? Because if you do not, then perhaps you should document yourself independently over this issue. The differences, perhaps in that you are right, have been created because the origins are practically the same in all.

    Politics, as nobody better than you know, anticant, is never what it appears to be, there are examples of this rife in the history of all countries. What I insist on is politics and religion must never be mixed up.

  6. Jose said

    CZE,

    You have understood what I meant. That which is spiritual, that is inherent to the beliefs, or disbeliefs, of the human being should not be used as a political weapon.

  7. Jose said

    I’m sorry, Richard, but the Troll on watch sent your first comment to spam I don’t know why. I de-spammed it as you can see.

    Anyhow, I am always watching this and correcting possible mistakes in the system.

  8. Jose said

    Trying to find solutions to what happens in the world, and the presumed threat of Islam, I would like to bring myself as far back as 1991, when on the occasion of the War of Gulf, Noam Chomsky wrote:

    “The Times of India described Bush’s curt dismissal of Iraq’s February 15 offer to withdraw from Kuwait as a “horrible mistake,” which showed that the West sought a “regional Yalta where the powerful nations agree among themselves to a share of Arab spoils…. [The West’s] conduct throughout this one month has revealed the seamiest sides of Western civilisation: its unrestricted appetite for dominance, its morbid fascination for hi-tech military might, its insensitivity to `alien’ cultures, its appalling jingoism….” A leading Third World monthly condemned “The most cowardly war ever fought on this planet.” The foreign editor of Brazil’s major daily wrote that “What is being practiced in the Gulf is pure barbarism — ironically, committed in the name of civilization. Bush is as responsible as Saddam…. Both, with their inflexibility, consider only the cold logic of geopolitical interests [and] show an absolute scorn for human life.” The “Business Magazine of the Developing World” predicts that the Arab states will “in effect…become vassal states,” losing such control as they once had over their resources (South, London).”

    Read more here

    http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/z9105-what-we-say.html

    Something to muse over, I believe.

  9. anticant said

    CZE – Spirituality is a human potential – not a specifically religious attribute. I regard myself as a spiritual person, but not a religious one.

    Atheism is not a faith-position. It is a non-faith position. It is not incumbent on atheists to prove there isn’t a God – you cannot prove a negative! But it IS incumbent on those who assert the existence of a supernatural being to provide some convincing evidence for it. Until they do, atheists will remain sceptical towards the notion of such a being.

    Why do you think there was a ‘cause’ for the universe? Maybe it has always existed, and will continue to do so – though with changes predicted by scientists which posit the disappearance of the human race and life on earth. Time is a human concept, and doesn’t necessarily imply that the universe has to have a ‘beginning’ or an ‘end’. In any case, introducing ‘God’ doesn’t solve the mystery – it merely pushes it back a step. Where did God come from?

    You’re correct that few believers study their holy texts – atheists are commonly much better informed than believers about religious texts and doctrines, as they usually have the integrity to explore religion thoroughly before rejecting it.

    Maybe it’s useless to ask convinced theists to apply a similarly serious study to non-belief, but just in case you have an open enough mind, please read “Atheism – the Case Against God” by George Smith, and “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris. There are also some very good philosophical blogs discussing these issues in greater depth than is possible here. One worth looking at is ‘The Barefoot Bum’.

    RICHARD – I fear I can’t take the ineffable Joad as seriously as you do. In his own day he was widely regarded, by the general public as well as by his fellow-philosophers, as a glib, mendacious self-publicist [except when travelling on the railway!] I well remember those Brains Trust broadcasts when he shamelessly veered 180 degrees in his opinions from week to week if it got him a laugh, So, sorry, but I don’t find his opinions about religion interesting.

    JOSE – I still maintain that for you and CZE to assert that ALL the world unrest is about money and the economy, and that religion bears no responsibility for it, is a silly oversimplification.

    You say I lack comprehension of religion [your definition of it, anyway], and of Islam in particular – whereas it is you who shuts your eyes to the totalitarian theocracy that is intrinsic to Islam. There is no such thing as separation of religion and government in Islam, which is what makes it so dangerous for the West. I am sure many Muslims are nice, harmless people, but that doesn’t alter the perniciousness of their beliefs.

    You can go on believing that religions are “basically good” until you are blue in the face. The abstract idea of religion may be good, but its actual consequences are invariably harmful in this day and age.

    Your big conspiracy theory is, of course, the pseudo-Marxist one that the current turmoil is ALL about money and oil, and that the religious conflicts are being deliberately manipulated. This is nonsense.

    I repeat – there is in actuality no such thing as “non-political religion”. Religion is politics conducted with “holy rhetoric” designed to put the fear of God into people.

    This is really all I want to say on this topic, as continually going round and round the mulberry bush is getting boring.

  10. Richard said

    Your dismissal of Cyril Joad, AC, is misinformed…

    Judging a person according to their celebrity status (ie the wartime Brains Trust) is rather like me judging your views according to sexual orientation.

    Cyril Joad was a hard-working writer and moral philosopher (Reader of Philosophy at Birkbeck College) for 23 years – 1930 to 1953.

    He became ‘famous’ on the BBC Brains Trust (1941-1948); booted out of the BBC for a train ticket ‘scandal’, and took up serious writing again until his death in 1953 – of cancer aged 61.

    Joad wrote, in 1952, “The Recovery of Belief – A Restatement of Christian Philosophy”.

    Don’t be so quick to judge, AC. Joad was no fool.

  11. anticant said

    Hooked again, Richard.

  12. Richard said

    Let’s here it once again from AC – ‘the fisherman with his large rod and juicy bait – but no hook’ :

    “In his own day he (Joad) was widely regarded…as a glib, mendacios self-publicist…I well remember those Brains Trust broadcasts when he shamelessly veered 180 degrees in his opinions…”.

    “Well remembered”, AC ? By my reckoning, you would have been about 12 years old !

    What an excellent memory you have, AC.

    Don’t forget that rusty hook next time you go fishing with your rod and bait.

  13. anticant said

    There’s no need to be sarcastic, Richard! I was 14 when the Brains Trust STARTED, and 20 at the time of Joad’s railway ticket episode.

    Yes – I do have an excellent memory for many things from a far younger age than 14. When do YOUR memories begin?

  14. MerkinOnParis said

    ‘Don’t forget that rusty hook next time you go fishing with your rod and bait.’
    And a tin can, too, for the fuckin’ fish you catch.
    Francis Brett Young got it all.
    Mr Luckton’s Freedom is a favourite.

  15. christianzionismexposed said

    Atheism is not a non belief, it is a belief that the universe just ‘happened’ from some phenomenon they really have no proof for. I don’t believe there is not a God. You don’t believe there is one.

  16. christianzionismexposed said

    By the way, if the universe itself is not convincing proof to atheists of a Planner, there is no better proof I could even begin to imagine.

  17. christianzionismexposed said

    Sorry, I’m not astute as to how to use this forum or would have combined all three of these posts into one. At any rate:

    Why do you think there was a ‘cause’ for the universe? Maybe it has always existed, and will continue to do so – though with changes predicted by scientists which posit the disappearance of the human race and life on earth. Time is a human concept, and doesn’t necessarily imply that the universe has to have a ‘beginning’ or an ‘end’. In any case, introducing ‘God’ doesn’t solve the mystery – it merely pushes it back a step. Where did God come from?

    I’m not sure I ever said ’cause’ for the universe. I believe it was created for a purpose by the Creator because there is evidence, in my mind, that it was. However, it’s interesting to me that you would muse that why not assume it ‘always existed’ and then still ask ‘where did God come from?’
    Wouldn’t your logic of always existing be applicable there as well?

  18. MerkinOnParis said

    ‘I believe it was created for a purpose by the Creator because there is evidence, in my mind, that it was.’
    Thatz cool.
    For you..Stick with it.
    Unfortunately, it is not even a hill of beans for others.
    No matter.
    And not worth bothering about, either..

  19. Richard said

    AC, I apologise for my unseemly sarcasm – it was an impulsive reaction to what I consider to be a misinformed opinion on your part.

    If ever I go on Mastermind – which I won’t – my ‘specialist’ subject would be ‘The Life and Work of Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad (1891-1953)’ ! It’s a hobby which has ‘got out of hand’ over the years, culminating in my organising the South Stoke Festival of Thought in 2003 – to mark CEMJ’s 50th Anniversary – and an (unpublished) : “A Philosopher for Humanity”.

    I have, therefore, listened to many of the Brains Trust recordings – of which there are many – with the contributions from its celebrity panellist, ‘Professor’ Joad.

    Your opinion that Joad “was widely regarded as glib (and) mendacious” does not correspond with the truth.

    Your opinion that Joad “was widely regarded as (a) self-publicist” has some worth – but this was inevitable as no-one else did any publicity on his behalf.

    Your opinion that Joad “shamelessly veered 180 degrees in his opinion” also has some merit – but not much. Another way of saying that is : he had the courage to change his cherished beliefs when revealed truths were clearly at odds with those beliefs…
    He was a well-known, committed pacifist right up until the time Hitler was ready to invade from France – he then renounced his pacifism (which is the main reason why he was recruited by the BBC for the wartime Brains Trust).
    He was also a well-known atheist, but then turned agnostic, and then turned to a Christian faith.

    Joad was “mendacious” regarding the train ticket scandal – he did lie to the ticket inspector. This led to a ‘fall from grace’ which was swift – and he was quickly forgotten.

    But, AC, your portrayal of this very gifted – but very fallible – human being is unfair, unkind and inaccurate.

    I believe it is important to be fair, kind and accurate.

  20. anticant said

    Touche, Richard.

  21. Richard said

    If we are ‘created’ beings – we didn’t create ourselves – doesn’t that logically imply a ‘Creator’ of some kind ?

  22. anticant said

    CZE – Atheism is NOT “a belief that the universe just ‘happened’”. It is lack of belief in the existence of a supernatural Deity UNTIL PLAUSIBLE PROOF THAT SUCH A BEING EXISTS IS FORTHCOMING. Atheists are in principle willing to change their minds on this issue. Theists – it’s quite obvious from your statements – are not. As for the universe, I do not know – or particularly want to know – how it came into existence. I simply accept it. ‘God’ is another matter entirely.

    RICHARD – No.

  23. Jose said

    “Your big conspiracy theory is, of course, the pseudo-Marxist one that the current turmoil is ALL about money and oil, and that the religious conflicts are being deliberately manipulated. This is nonsense.”

    I can give you much information that support what you call conspiracy.

    And I can observe that you haven’t really gone deeply into this matter of religion, and yes, it would be a waste of time to keep discussing this.

  24. Jose said

    With you, at least. Logically enough I am interested in what Richard and CZE and Merkin have to say.

  25. anticant said

    Jose, if you are unwilling to debate serious issues in a good-tempered manner, but descend to rude de haut en bas haughtiness, I shall not bother with you further. You know nothing of my personal involvement with religion, or of the numerous discussions I have had with many churchmen – some quite senior – of different denominations. I will sign off with an apposite quotation from Andre Gide:

    “The deeper the soul plunges into religious devotion, the more it loses all sense of reality…The dazzling light of their faith blinds them to the surrounding world and to their own selves…I am amazed at the coils of falsehood in which devout persons take delight.”

    I shall not return to your site.

  26. christianzionismexposed said

    Well, Jose, so there you have it. 🙂 It’s hard to keep emotionalism out of religion; just read Tab’s remarks and my responses today. LOL

    I enjoy talking with anyone who stays respectful of my beliefs and me of theirs, and you certainly fit that bill!

  27. christianzionismexposed said

    I should have said ‘out of discussions of religion’.

  28. christianzionismexposed said

    Anticant (who I will assume might still look in), in response. Prove to me that the universe just happened and I’ll believe it. The Big Bang THEORY is just that. As is every other scientific THEORY. People seem to accept scientific theories of things as potential fact much more readily than accepting any theory of a Creator as fact.

  29. christianzionismexposed said

    Or even potential fact.

  30. christianzionismexposed said

    I’m beginning to believe that atheists have no beliefs at all, that belief to them is the highest form of ignorance. Merkin, thanks for allowing me the ‘ignorance’ of believing the universe shows evidence of planned existence. I’ll go with that and allow athiests the freedom to believe it doesn’t; or just accept that ‘Wow…here it is!’ Maybe a great big bang caused it. And leave them to figger oot where the stuff to bang came from?

  31. Hello All,

    I’ve been following these two posts and their relevant comments for a couple days now with great interest. All involved here have well informed and equally thought provoking topics. Thank you Jose for rousing this of all of us. You’re posts and readers’ comments always have me coming back for more.

    I typically stay out of religious discussions as I find there is usually something better I ought to be doing with my time. Not that I find these discussions boring, to the contrary, as I have absolutely no faith directed towards any God or oft forgotten Devil (besides music) I often don’t have much useful to say. But, LOL, I thought I’d just throw my 2 bits in here, I’m sure they’ll prove less than useful….oh well.

    I’m siding with Jose’s original thesis on this one too for the most part. I am of the mind that most religions are brought about by man’s fear.
    The concept of fear in the human conscience inevitably leads to dark places, in which examples are far too apparent in most Religions. Religions themselves never killed anyone, the men who created them did.

    I, as well as many religiously educated and uneducated westerns, am quite skeptical and somewhat fearful of the Islamic faith because of its historical influence on governmental systems. There is no practical separation of religion and state in most Muslim/Islamic countries, Turkey among few others exempted in principle. But the same is true of most western governments for all practical purposes. Norway, England etc. have official national religions and in some cases require state officials to declare allegiance to the holiest of holy dudes himself. In the US things are better today than in the past, but really, the First Amendment is a farce. Madison is doing back flips six feet under right now. There are zero self-proclaimed atheists or agnostics in Congress. They’d never be elected in the US. D.C. may as well be Kandahar.

    This being said, I fear the catalysts of economics and global power struggles that provoked the war on the Middle East are perpetuated, covertly or otherwise, by reasoned people like us bitching at each other about whether one religion is more fair or more peaceful than another. I have been fearing for some time now that western public demonization of Islam in general by lay-persons will further this war indefinitely. Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish – Brits, Americans, Fins, Spaniards, etc have no more right to criticize Muslim countries and their respective Islamic faith versions than Muslims do of westerners and their respective governments and religions.

    The bigotry influenced arguments are what put the most fear in my heart, not the much hyped ‘impending Islamic invasion’. The fear mongering on both sides of the table, the abandonment of relative tolerance and compatibility that the world was beginning to show a hint of there for a while, and the overly dramatic speculations that are perpetuated from this stinking shit are what put the most fear in me.

    These unique cultures have had and will have a hard enough time co-existing without people like us pointing out all the obvious faults and differences of theses cultures’ various religions and the governments that promote them. We should all be discussing the similarities, both good and evil. In time, I believe – through science, we will all see the light, and this will be a none issue. Until then, we will continue to disagree and war. The most important thing we can do is lessen the possibilities and reasons for these disagreements and wars.
    Every man contains within him both good and evil which will forever be wielded through religion, not the other way around.
    My 2 bits.

  32. P.S. Perhaps I should have stated this in advance of my above comment…I am not at all anti-religion just because I myself am not religious. When I close my eyes and imagine the great music, visual art, poetry, architecture etc. that has been inspired by man’s spirituality and devotion to his God I reel in awe. That being said, I believe it to be man’s spirituality that gives birth to these wonderful creations, not religion. These two things are confused so often, don’t you think?

  33. Well smack me silly,

    When I started writing my above comments Anticant had yet to blow off Jose and the rest were still speaking relatively calmly…… I should get in the habit of refreshing my screen to see if any new comments have entered into the thread since I start work on my long winded blurbs.

    Come on guys. If anticant and Jose stop discussions what the hell am I going to do with my evenings after my lovely wife has retired for the evening. Well, there’s always the pipe I guess or e-porn, but I’m trying to cut back on the later.

    Seriously gentlemen. This is exactly the fear I was talking about…. good friends being thrown into nasty arguments about religion and conspiracy theories because of this god damned insane war. We are playing right into their hands.

    I personally have had the pleasure of watching Jose and Anticant discuss a myriad of excellent topics now for at least a month or two. I’ve added when I could and watched more than contributed. My very first post on this site was spurred on by one old gnarly asshole some of you might remember as icanplainlysee. Everyone here was united against him and his uneducated drivel, now……

    I stated in that very first post, and everyone seemed to agree with me then and now,……. something about politics is religion and religion is politics and every topic, in the end, always gets boiled down to a tasty reduction of religion or some shit like that. I didn’t think things would get to this point among the friends in Jose’s House.

    Don’t start the jaw-jaw again on my account friends…. I just think we should leave wine and wafers out of it if we can’t be rational and civil. It is just too touchy a subject. Aren’t there more important topics to discuss?

    I’m sorry for getting in the middle of this, quite late – I am too aware – and should add. No disrespect intended. However, I think it would be a great shame if you good souls didn’t reign this back in and agree to disagree.

    Shit you guys are all in bed now anyway…

    Peace

  34. christianzionismexposed said

    I’m not in bed and I’m not a guy! LOL

  35. christianzionismexposed said

    Other topics which can part the best of friends beside religion and politics:
    Child-rearing, weight, gender issues..and maybe more.

  36. CZE

    All ridiculous reasons, not reasons at all I think. Just excuses.

  37. Jose said

    It seems anticant has decided not to revisit here so I won’t be using this blog to reply to his last comment, I regret he has decided to go, but I don’t think I’ve behaved in a rude manner to him, if I have I offer my apologies.

    But Anticant is not the only one that attracts attention to this blog, the rest of you intervening in the discussions also do attract attention, and your reasoned comments are well worth reading.

    1loneranger, your two posts are of a superb nature and I thank you for them and agree with what you say enthusiastically, you are showing that indeed you respect the opinion of the others and behave in perfect consistency with your thoughts, something very difficult to find these days.

    CZE, we have known each other already for enough time and know what our principles are, I must say knowing you has been like a kind of manna from heaven. I know our opinions differ slightly in some things, but that I remember we have never had any arguments, on the contrary our discussions have always been constructive.

    Richard and I have always had common interests in blogging. He knows me and I think I know him. He is someone to rely on at all times. His contributions have always been valuable and worth reading.

    Merkin is the least known of all, but I trust he will be intervening more often and give us the chance to know his interests and views.

    There are more visiting the blog, some who are not interested in topics like this one, but have turned up in others of a different kind.

    To all my thanks.

  38. Richard said

    Jose says to Anticant :

    “You haven’t really gone deeply into this matter of religion, and yes, it would be a waste of time to keep discussing this (10.33pm)…with you at least (10.34pm).

    Now, now Jose – that was not fair, kind or accurate, was it ? And AC, lighten up !

    ‘Kiss and make up’ will you both, so that the rest of us don’t lose out on the wisdom of both of you.

  39. anticant said

    I am tired of ‘kissing and making up’ with Jose. I have done it more than once, but each time he has another hissy fit when I won’t agree with him. So sorry, folks, I think it’s best for me to leave this playpen.

  40. Jose said

    Richard,

    Perhaps you should read Anticant’s comments addressed to me, particularly that he sent on the 19th at 8:55 pm, which was what triggered off my reaction. Reaction that if you read carefully does not contain a word that says that I refused to discuss with Anticant any more, in fact it was he who said in he above comment :

    “This is really all I want to say on this topic, as continually going round and round the mulberry bush is getting boring.”

    His categorical assertions are in my opinion not sustained by facts and I find he reacts in a way that makes me think anything contrary to his views is nonsense and ridiculous.

    He says “he is tired of kissing and making up with me” and that “he has done it more than once”, I am afraid that is not the truth of what has really happened, but I am not going to discuss it here in a child-like attitude.

    I am sorry, this happens not only in blogs but in the normal world around us.

  41. Richard said

    Matthew 7 v 5 comes to mind here, AC…and it’s not just a “playpen”, but also a “burrow” – like yours.

    If your decision not to ‘play in Jose’s burrow’ cannot be changed – just because of a “hissy fit” (and aren’t we all guilty of that) – I am deeply saddened. We all suffer as a consequence.

    This reminds me of the story of a bucket of water : put your hand in the bucket of water (eg AC in Jose’s burrow), then take your hand out of the bucket (eg AC out of Jose’s burrow). What happens to the water ? Makes no difference to the water or the bucket – except the level of water is lowered, and the quality of water changes imperceptibly.

  42. Jose said

    Anticant has sent an e-mail to me saying that I have accused him here of lying and requesting me to amend my statement in this blog that he is untruthful.

    I have said that what he said was not “the truth” of what had really happened.

    If you consider that I have called Anticant liar, please tell me and I’ll be readily willing to apologise.

  43. Richard said

    May I suggest that we fallible human beings gather round together – metaphorically speaking – smoke that ‘peace-pipe’, have a shot of whisky here, tell a few jokes, an then we take it in turns to look in the mirror over there – and have a good laugh.

  44. anticant said

    Richard, I second that. Jose knows that I am sincerely fond of him, and think he is an exceptional human being – even when we don’t always see eye to eye.

    Free doubles all round in the burrow Snug!

  45. Jose said

    I don’t drink whisky, Richard, just red wine – water, too, and this doesn’t go up to your head – but I cannot resist a suggestion from you, and am quite open to go on as if nothing had happened.

    This is my hand!

  46. anticant said

    Jose, you know that I too love a glass of good red. Especially a rich rioja. Yes, indeed, let us continue – hopefully with more attention to the substance of arguments and less to the shortcomings of the protagonists!

  47. Now, before you all get happy on the drinking of that wine…… let it breath a bit gents. I’ll be looking for that peace pipe! 😉

  48. anticant said

    1loneranger makes some extremely interesting points in his posts, and I should like to comment on these.

    I think he is absolutely right that the origin of religions, as of all superstitions, is to be found in our primitive ancestors’ fears of the unpredictable power of Nature, and their need to explain natural phenomena and the origins of the universe. Religions, as he says, were created by humans – not the other way round. As with spirituality itself, the great artistic works of the ages of faith are human creations, even though often inspired by the notion of God.

    I also agree with him that a lot of the intellectual jousting that goes on amongst highly intelligent and well-educated people in the West is at best self-indulgent and at worst plays into the hands of those who hate our way of life and despise our traditions of free speech – a case of fiddling while Rome burns. We would be better employed in identifying who these enemies are, and in clipping their claws.

    We should never demonise people who are, like us, human beings, but we should identify and oppose casts of thought and doctrines which sanction and promote hatred of and violence against others. Not just Islam, but all three monotheistic religions, are currently at fault in this respect. While I share loneranger’s hope that in time, if we succeed in living alongside each other in peace, people of different faiths and traditions will pay more attention to those things which unite them in common humanity, I cannot pretend to be hopeful in the light of history. While science and modern technology can unify, they also provide proliferating lethal weaponry that is liable to fall into unpeaceful hands and may well already be doing so.

    What matters about religion is not whether it’s true, but what it impels those who believe in it to do. As history shows, religiously motivated actions can be of the highest, and also of the lowest. That is the paradox we face, and I think we all agree about it. Perhaps the differences in interpretation between Jose, myself, and others are much less important than the urgent question of what is to be done to lessen the scale of violence in the world – whether religiously motivated or not.

  49. Jose said

    I would like to have something clear, which I am convinced is the cause of divergences between Anticant’s and my consideration of religions, and I would clarify that by using an example:

    I don’t hate anybody, never have and I don’t know what that feeling is.

    I compare Religions as a whole to the American people or the Arabian people, generally speaking it is not Americans or Arabs I criticise, it is their leaders’ use of their people to try to achieve their goals which I do, as happens with religions. I understand what Anticant means by criticising directly religions, because their official protagonism in world politics has been so strong that one cannot but consider religions directly implicated in almost all matters, but the nuance for me is that it is not religions in their essence that are implicated. I insist in this because the more we attack religions the more we make their followers strengthen them. That’s why I criticise the Pope, Bush and Blair and Co., tyrants, dictators, homophobes, racists, in general all of those persons who are a danger to the rest of humanity, but not their beliefs or unbeliefs.

    I am not a religious person in the first place, in fact I am not pro-Christian or pro-Islam or pro-Jewish, or anti for that matter, but I’ll never tire of saying that I respect and understand them because I do respect the American people, the Arabs and Jews, and I have many friends among them, although not among the Jews because unfortunately I have not been able to exchange views with them personally.

    I don’t know whether the above will clarify my position regarding religions and people, but at least I have tried to do that.

    And last, I must say that I believe in God, nobody and nothing else as far as my spiritual feelings are concerned.

  50. Richard said

    Jose, could you clarify that last sentence please…Thanks

  51. christianzionismexposed said

    Well, an interesting thread in that it points out that, indeed, there would still be problems among men (and women) with or without religion. People who are not religious still have EMOTIONS and FEELINGS, which is what causes so many problems, and also so much good, in the world.

    We are all, bottom line, simply humans here for 7-9 decades and then gone. We accomplish very little, actually, in our lives in a ‘major way’ and nothing on a ‘major scale’ for the most part.

    For atheists, there is nothing beyond this life. For those of us who do believe in an eternal afterlife, this earth, it seems to me, is preparation for how we hope to live eternally. That should affect our behavior and choices in a positive way, but too often it doesn’t seem to.

  52. MerkinOnParis said

    ‘We are all, bottom line, simply humans here for 7-9 decades and then gone. We accomplish very little, actually, in our lives in a ‘major way’ and nothing on a ‘major scale’ for the most part.’
    .
    Are you suggesting that we are ‘…nasty, brutish and short’?.

  53. Richard said

    I write this in the hope that I will not be understood…

    This will sound as if I’m ‘preaching’ – but I’m not. I am too aware of some of my faults, and acutely unaware of many others.

    The person who wrote this piece below – Cyril Joad – had no wish to preach either, I’m sure of it…He was simply ‘worrying things out’ for himself…but in the form of an article in ‘The Saturday Book’ – an edited version of which appeared in Time Magazine and The Los Angeles Times Magazine Section (Nov 1948)

    This rare article was sent to me recently by a lady who has no religious axe to grind – far from it.

    Joad wrote this in May 1948. He was looking back over his life – no longer ‘famous’, and the BBC had booted him out of The Brains Trust because of a train ticket ‘scandal’. But he had not yet been diagnosed with prostate cancer – which was to kill him within 5 years of writing this – he died Easter 1953 – April 9 – aged 61.

    “TURNING POINTS IN MY LIFE” BY C.E.M. JOAD – 1948

    “A time came – and once again it was the war that brought to a head tendencies that had been gathering force for years – when I could no longer take this view of evil : that all the cruelties of Nazi Germany were due either to poverty, or to psychological adjustments, was too much for me to swallow.

    “That every concentration camp guard who took a sadistic delight in inflicting gross physical agony on helpless prisoners was a victim of straitened economic circumstances, or of early psychological perversion by parents or nurses or teachers, seemed unlikely.
    The evil was too widespread, too universal for that.

    “Was not human history one long record of murder and violence and rapine and plunder ? Had not men always preyed upon men; preyed with such regularity as to call forth Gibbon’s melancholy verdict : “History is a record of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind?

    “The realisation of the fact of evil led to a conclusion, a conclusion of the heart rather than of the head. It came about in this way.
    The belief in the fundamental, and in this life, ineradicable nature of human sinfulness came to seem quite intolerable – unless there were some source of guidance and assistance outside ourselves, to which we could turn for comfort and assurance.

    “The facts of sin and evil had come to present themselves with such overwhelming strength, that unles one were able to seek assistance, if not for the overcoming, at least for the not succumbing to them, one would give way to despair.

    “Now, the I knew of it, the more surely Christianity seemed to offer just that consolation, that strengthening, and that assistance. For Christianity had always insisted on the fact of human sinfulness, deriving it from the Fall and, because of it, had forbidden us to look for happiness in this world, insisting that precisely because we are miserable sinners, this is, and will remain, a fundamentally miserable world.

    “But Christianity did not stop there. It promised us assistance in the fight against evil, if we could only believe and pray. Assistance was granted by God’s Grace and, if we tried to live the life that Christianity enjoined, this Gace, we were assured, would be vouchsafed to us.

    “And at this turning-point, all the force of early Christian teaching came back with a rush.

    “Nor, I hope, will it ever again be abated.”

  54. Well CZE, since my last comment, I’ve been and performed a concert of mind blowing, reality altering Haydn, Forsyth and Respighi for about 1000 high school students this morning….. I don’t know about you, but I think I was part of something pretty major this morning. One mind at a time….. you know? I think we can all do our parts, major is a subjective term. No one changed the world without starting small.

    I’m really very glad to see this thread turning back to what its original intentions were all about. And I’m very glad to see Jose and Anticant extending hands.
    Anticant and Jose’s latest and concise summaries of the essences of these threads is wonderful to see and gives me hope. Good stuff genitals, ah, gents.

    It sounds like you’re constantly riding the razor’s edge regarding this paradox Anti. I know why, but encourage you to find that warm and well lite place of optimism. If you and I and others here can’t use this special place of light to inspire and direct our thoughts around the blogosphere as well as in our daily physical journeys with acquaintances and friends there is no hope for a respectful environment for us feeble humans.

    I will limit my comments directed towards spirituality to this….

    (qualifying it with a bit of my religious background)

    I was raised in a relatively secular house hold. My parents took me to the old stone Episcopalian church every Sunday as a child, but most of my time was spent sitting in the choir loft, watching and listening to my parents sing. When my parents divorced.. my mother married a fairly devout Catholic and my dad hooked up with a fairly devout Jew. My mother become and continues to be more engaged with the Episcopalian church….my dad converted to Judaism in order to please his partner and her parents. Me, I’ve never been compelled to engage myself in any of it……. I respect it all, see the good and the bad and enjoy the ritualistic aspects of everything, but in the end, see most of it as mere pomp for something more basic. I get my jollies on music mostly. And I know I’ve gone to some “places” performing music that Buddhist monks could only dream of.

    So….. those limited comments on spirituality I mentioned…

    No one can say for sure what this life or the next may be, where/how it started and where it’s going. So, I’ve wholeheartedly subscribed to the theory of ‘sit back and enjoy the ride, stop sweating the small stuff and get going’. Whatever tenants one uses to lead of more peaceful and productive life in this manner… good on ya…..just don’t spit in my coffee. We’ll all be just fine as long as we get plenty of vacation time.

    I am everything and nothing.

    Mmmm, did I say coffee?……… gotta go.

  55. anticant said

    “For atheists, there is nothing beyond this life.” Not necessarily so – I, and I am sure many other sceptics, would not claim sufficient knowedge to be sure. We are content to wait and see. But it’s a bit unfair that if we are wrong we shall find out, whereas those who believe there is an after-life will never be aware of their error if there isn’t one.

    As for Joad, you don’t have to believe in Original Sin to know there is a dark side to human nature. What we could do with in this discussion, I think, is much more of Joad’s persistent question: “It all depends what you mean by…”, as a lot of words and concepts are being used here very loosely and without sufficient definition [“God”, for instance.]

    Being virtually housebound, I no longer have the luxury of uplifting communal experiences such as you have just had, 1loneranger. I have to make do with the TV and computer screens, and music CDs. I see no paradox – only inconsistencies arising out of unclear thinking and language. I try to avoid using abstract terms which I cannot define to my own satisfaction.

  56. Anti-

    “But it’s a bit unfair that if we are wrong we shall find out, whereas those who believe there is an after-life will never be aware of their error if there isn’t one.”

    Exactly.

    And as for “uplifting communal experiences”…… you’ve done more than you know Anticant. I can not hear your voice, see your lips moving or smell your breath when you talk but I am sure that you are making a difference here, on these thinnest of pages. Live music is so over-rated.;) Shall I send you some of my recordings than?

    Peace

  57. Jose said

    I mean Richard that I believe in God, outside the ties of any religion. I don’t believe in an afterlife but I always try to be in peace with my conscience, most of the times I achieve it, when I don’t I won’t rest until I get it.

  58. christianzionismexposed said

    1longranger, I am an optimist but a realist and my observation about how little each of us accomplishes in life is my own opinion and comes from watching how the world ebbs and flows and lives come and go and life goes on and so on and so on.

    Solomon finally said there was nothing better but to enjoy life, pretty much, but then he was a very disillusioned old man and was being a bit sarcastic or at least regretful when he said it, considering he had done almost all there was to do, had been on top of the world and felt empty at the end.

    Anticant, regarding your ‘it’s a bit unfair’ comment, I heard someone say once about being a Christian. “If I was wrong, I still lived a ‘better life’ (meaning wholesome by his standards) and if I’m right, how could things be better?” Or something like that. However, Paul in the New Testament says the opposite: “If only in this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Of something very close/almost verbatim to that.

    So, we all live it as we sees it…

    And my goal is live it to the fullest and be prepared for whatever I can be prepared for, which will also bring everyone to their own conclusions and opinions/beliefs about how possible that may or may not be.

  59. christianzionismexposed said

    And, re: Paul’s outlook: The man had been shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and despised for his faith, so I can hardly blame him feeling that way.

  60. christianzionismexposed said

    I just invited someone here who is an interesting person and hope he comes. Scott Star is his name and this is his blog:
    https://www2.blogger.com/comment.do

    He visited mine (before I left it to sit unattended) and he is someone who has an open mind and heart and thinks.

  61. Richard said

    This one’s for you 1loneranger – it speaks for itself :

    http://www.sicetnon.com/archives/aricles2003/philosophyofmusic.htm

  62. Jose said

    Thank you, Richard.

  63. Richard said

    I haven’t forgotten you AC (or CZE) – just can’t find anything appropriate just yet !!

  64. Richard said

    Not forgetting MOP either…

  65. anticant said

    Jose, You say that you believe in God, outside the ties of any religion, and that you don’t believe in an afterlife. So your conception of God is evidently different from that of Christians or Muslims. Will you please explain what are the attributes of the God you believe in, and why you believe in him, her, or it?

    CZE, why do you need to be a Christian, or a believer in any religion, in order to lead a “better life”? Some of us do our best in this regard without the ‘prop’ of faith in the supernatural. As Jose says, it is a matter of being at peace with one’s conscience.Thomas Paine said “I am a citizen of the world, and my religion is to do good.”

  66. Richard said

    I agree with you, AC – we should not be good just because God tells us to be so – or anybody else for that matter.

    It has to come from within – ‘conscience’ perhaps. Does this ‘moral instinct’ grow within us – like arms, legs or genitals ?

    “Moral Minds” by Marc Hauser makes interesting reading in this respect.

    A better understanding of our human condition appears to be an important requirement for a “better life”….

    And when we embark on such an endless quest, we appear to come up against a ‘Dark Side’ (Star Wars), or the problem of Evil…

  67. Jose said

    Anticant asks two questions, one of which (attributes of God) I cannot, nor do I believe anyone can, answer. And why do I believe in God for me is very diffficult to explain, but I’ll try anyway.

    I think it is a question of education, how I was brought up, where I was educated in my earliest years and the environment I grew in.

    I was brought up in the Catholic faith and in a religious school (La Salle). The education in that school was tops in every respect and religion was one of its most important subjects. Dates are important, too, it was in the late 30s/early 40s. But I had to leave that school because my father died in 1944 (that is I was 11) and had to move to another school where I was taught for work as a clerk in private companies. No religion was included in that later school.

    As years elapsed, my train of thoughts changed and I started to realise that the religious teachings I went through did not coincide with what I observed in the lives of the Catholic clergy, and soon I became conscient that what I was taught perhaps was not the true path to follow. Little by little my faith in the Catholic rites weakened and I understood that men were all equal, cleric or non-cleric, and I started to think by myself in terms of religion. I decided to stick to what my mother taught me in terms of ethics, but kept, perhaps unconsciously (I cannot find an explanation to it)the faith in God. I believe there is an entity who was creator, not how the Catholic, or Christian for that matter, faith teaches because there exist large gaps in it which I have not been able to fill.

    I once had an experience which also taught me about the idea of death.

    I have all my life worked very hard, in fact work was an obssession for me during my 45+ years of labour life. Once, after working for 48 hours non-stop I fainted in the street and I remember that my brain started working with an awful sensation of something that pushed me to live while the most part of me wanted to rest for ever. I came to in my bed, where apparently I was taken, beside a doctor friend of mine who had just injected me with a reanimating cardiac drug. I believe that was the reason of the fight I felt in my conscience between life and death. I have thought in this many times and, believe me, just now I am not afraid of dying, if I change as years go by is another question.

    I think people are born and people die, that is all. To live is what we are born for, being happy or suffering during the time we live after which we die and become nothing. There are people without conscience either because of their physical condition (as happens with Down Syndrome persons or mad persons, etc) and people whose greed and traits overcome any possibility of controlling their conscience, and there are people – I believe the majority of them all – who control their conscience and practice a real coexistence with everybody.

    I do not know whether I have expressed my thoughts clearly, but it all eventually comes to paraphrasing what Paine said : My religion is to try to behave correctly.

  68. Jose said

    Sorry. I must add that I never think of an afterlife. I think what we must always do is live our life in this world as best as we can.

  69. christianzionismexposed said

    Anticant, I quoted someone else on ‘better life’ and then refuted it with another’s quote.

    I would most likely be the basic ‘me’ with or without the ‘prop’ (which I do not consider a prop by the way any more than your quoting atheists or being one and feeling the need to talk about your ‘belief’ in atheism).

    However, being a believer in the Bible, I therefore believe in an eternal afterlife and the teachings of Jesus are an excellent model (to me) of how to live life in a positive way toward others.

  70. christianzionismexposed said

    Jose, I wanted to thank you for the very immensely kind words you said earlier re: our online friendship. I feel the same.

    I read your longer post above and could identify with it in the way of not looking to people, preachers, teachers, etc., for my belief system. I decided to study the Bible myself and see what I could see. What I found was that much of it had been twisted (by every religion, even those who don’t follow it) and the more I studied, the more clear and cohesive it became. A once over lightly or study under anyone, in my opinion, will make things incredibly foggy.

    One thing that changed about me was being raised to ‘witness’ and attempt to convert people to ‘our way’. Instead, what I saw was a Jesus who didn’t pursue but was pursued for his teachings and actions. I saw a Jesus who said that if people reject, walk away. (As opposed to people who just twist and corrections should be presented when something is simply ‘made up’ and isn’t even there).

    Herbert Marcuse, who was a Marxist, once wrote, “The liberation of man depends neither on God nor on the nonexistence of God. It is not the idea of God which has been an obstacle to human liberation, but the use that has been made of the idea of God

  71. christianzionismexposed said

    The above quote was pasted from a post by a Christian Jose and I both know from another board, PaulGA, who is a Quote Meister. 🙂

  72. christianzionismexposed said

    Jose, your episode with your brain above reminded me of something that happened to me about 4-5 years ago. I was running down our front tiled hall wet, having jumped out of the tub to go retrieve shampoo. I am about 5’7″ and running on wet tile in bare feet, felt both feet go out from under me. It seemed I was suspended in mid air for an indeterminate time where the thought came to me “You are about to land full run on your head”. Then I felt my head hit, I heard a sound like a watermelon breaking apart, tasted an awful metallic taste, immediately felt a tingling numbness in both hands and saw nothing but white in front of me.

    My first response was “God, whatever just happened, please reverse it and heal me”. My husband’s voice came next and told me to lay still.
    Within approximately 30 seconds or so, my hands began to have feeling again. My eyes cleared. I got up myself and walked over and called the paramedics to come check me. There was blood on the floor and my head was split in the back. They came, told me all looked normal, so my husband drove me to the dr., he stitched my head, and I proceeded to work a full day and never even had a headache or missed a beat.
    And cleaned the blood up off the tile. 🙂

    There are other events that have happened as well, but that is probably the most personally dramatic one. I’m sure that, had God not immediately healed me, I would be incapacitated or possibly not here to type this. There is no other explanation for it medically.

    It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would think that this life is the only part of our existence. See, Jose, we do disagree occasionally 😉

    There were some things that happened when my dad was dying that further convinced me of the existence of an eternal afterlife, but I’ll stop here for now or stop here period possibly as this is enough to explain somewhat of why I believe as I do.

    (This is not to say I walk around now in white robes and tell everyone this story LOL. No, I’m very gritty and ‘real’ on a daily basis.)

  73. Richard said

    Like CZE, “it’s hard for me to believe that anyone would think that this life is the only part of our existence”, but I suppose everyone’s ‘wired-up’ differently…

    Unlike Carl Jung, I can’t answer the question “Do you believe in God ?” with his conviction : “Believe ?! I don’t need to believe – I know”….

    …but when my firstborn son first opened his eyes to the world….I had a certainty – beyond any human understanding – that he came from somewhere.

    That certainty remains.

  74. Richard,

    Thanks very much for the article regarding ‘music as a philosophy’.
    It is an interesting one. These concepts are discussed ad nauseum in conservatories and upper level music institutions of education.
    Music is often overlooked as the ultimate art form simply because it is such a ubiquitous part of every culture and society. Most could not imagine a day passing without hearing music somewhere.

    Joad seems to be stuck on the simple scientific nature of the composer’s brain and does not consider the imagination. Many composers and musicians are not confined to the limitations of keyboards and their own cochlea. This is the very reason electronic music has such fascinating applications. Not that it could ever replace live acoustical musical forms. Electronica is just another path to enlightenment. The composer and performer often create and emote in the their mind more than any where else. Many musicians hear it all in their mind before a key or drum head or pushed or hit. Inanimate objects such as instruments with keys and buttons are simply a hindrance for expressing the ideas composers and musicians have going on upstairs. I’m sure this is not limited to just musicians and composers of formal training backgrounds. One need not have gone to the Royal College or Julliard to be a great practitioner of music, lover of music or composer of music (although it doesn’t hurt).

    As for what makes something like a fugue beautiful, well, who knows. Beauty is relative and what may make the hairs on the nape of your neck stand up might not do the same to mine. The musical form of the fugue is actually a pretty simple concept. If you can hum along to a canon like ‘row, row, row your boat’ you can write a fugue. ( check out ‘How to write a fugue in the Skanky style’ for a good laugh, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgDcC2LOJhQ).

    A turn of a phrase in a musical expression that makes one experience something a kin to ecstasy is simply triggering something internally in the listeners mind… a memory, emotion a place a time a smell, something already stored in that person’s database – for lack of a better term.

    Music has always been taught along side the other sciences and philosophies. It is probably the most ancient expression of human creativity or art. The great thinkers of the times have studied it and attempted to practice it. With that being said, we must ask ourselves why educational systems are turning away from this creative science and art in the modern age.

    None of this musical banter should be confined to the lofty ideas most lay people conjure up when thinking of the classical music world or symphonic music. Some of the most wonderful, heart wrenching, spiritual and important music is often folk music of whatever historical time period and culture. The wise classical/orchestral composer knows this all to well and often utilize and exploit the relatively simple folk tunes in their large scale symphonic creations.
    The author of the article suggests that the musical form ‘hip-hop’ is moronic. He either does not get out much, is close minded or has obviously not devoted the appropriate time sifting through the hip-hop catalogue. There is plenty of crap in there – true, but, this is so obviously the case in most anything, and for him to not realize this makes me skeptical of his education and motives. There is some very creative and impressive crafting of melodies, rhythms and and poetry in quite a lot of hip-hop, which is after-all, today’s most popular folk genre. One need look no further than ‘The Fugees’ or ‘Mos-Def’ to see the genius in this form of music. It takes a bit of a stretch on the part of most listeners over the age of 40 I would think, as often this music comes off as seemingly juvenile and simple. It’s not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it does not deserve its rightful place among the more ‘refined’ musical arts. And in this vein, anyone wondering where the true, educated and honest musical protest movement of today lives, you need look no further than hip-hop. It is all there, as exquisitely crafted and poignant as the many of the “satanic” dissonant chordal structures found in some medieval sacred music, any folk labour movement tunes of the early 20th century, anti-war and establishment folk music of the mid to late 20th century or the orchestral protest works of such great classical composers such as Shostakovitch.

    I will digress as not all here are after more of this info and I’ve managed to get too far of topic. But, if you’re interested in more on this topic the book ‘Music, the Brain and Ecstasy’ by Robert Jourdain is a good read and explains these concepts much better than the author of the article you suggested. That being said, I very much appreciated the link and the ideas expressed there in. The book attempts to explain, scientifically, why those little hairs stand up on the hearing of a certain chord, turn of a musical phrase or even a interval of two or three single notes- think of the three note interval pattern of Bernstein’s ‘Maria’ from West Side Story and you get my meaning.

    If one takes the time to dwell on the scientific reasoning behind these musical concepts and how they are perceived by the ear and mind, one will quickly conclude.. we know ‘sweet fa’ – I believe the expression is. As everything else, the aural art is interpreted uniquely by each unique mind. This idea is one of the many reasons music is so closely knitted into the fabric of philosophy and religion at large I suppose. Its essence is inexplicable.

    Making it so easy for me to worship as my religion. 😉

  75. boldscot said

    Jeezus-Fuck, do you guys want to talk about how many Angels can dance on a pinhead? Really?

  76. Richard said

    Capture that thought, boldscot, and answer me this :

    Is that thought you’ve captured a thing, or about a thing ?

    Think about it, or think it…

    I think it all depends what you mean by “Angels” and “pinhead”…and I think it’s amazing for us even to be able to think it and/or think about it.

    And, Jeezus-Fuck, we can dance a mighty dance with those thoughts…wonderful.

  77. anticant said

    Thanks, everyone, for your fascinating and moving responses to my questions.

    RICHARD – You are right that conscience – moral instinct – comes “from within”, as does its opposite. It isn’t, though, innate and unlearned: conscience cannot be developed without appropriate training in self-awareness and motivation.

    There is nothing “supernatural” in any of this. Believe in an immanent god, by all means, but the flying spaghetti monster who created the universe is another and more dubious kettle of fish altogether.

    Of course your newborn son came from “somewhere”, but what makes you think it was from anywhere else than his parents?

    As for your “bright children” data, I am suspicious of the notion that they are really exceptional. I don’t believe that anyone is incurably stupid, and incapable of learning, unless they suffer from physical brain damage. The problem is educating the general run of kids to think for themselves, and then motivating them to do so, in a society which does not value intelligence but on the contrary frowns on it as disruptive.

    JOSE – You believe in a God you admit is incomprehensible. This weakens the case for him considerably, don’t you agree?

    I empathise with your educational background – especially in a predominantly Catholic country. I have several Catholic friends who underwent similar experiences in England, where Catholicism is [or was, until the Poles started pouring in] a minority creed. I narrowly escaped going to a Catholic boarding school myself, and I have had dealings with many Catholic clergy – including Cardinals – so I am well aware of the worldly power and pomp which is – or used to be – vested in the priesthood. I think you were wise to prefer your mother’s ethical code. Mothers are usually far wiser than priests!

    As for your and CZE’s near-death experiences, I have had two of these – one quite recently, in hospital, and the other thirty years ago after an operation for burst appendix. On both occasions I was aware that I might be about to die, but that knowledge didn’t bother me: I simply “went along” with it and accepted whatever outcome was to be. I hope it will be the same when I actually do die.

    CZE – “It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would think that this life is the only part of our existence.” Maybe you should tune in more to what millions of other people who disagree with think. I don’t find it hard to believe that there are millions like you who believe in an after-life, but I think this life would be far better for everyone if they didn’t.

    1LONERANGER – I’m not sure that anyone can, or should, apply scientific tests to musical – or spiritual – appreciation. Love of music is inborn – you either have it or you don’t. What I find miraculous is how composers, having heard all these wonderful things in their heads, contrive to write them down in intelligible form for reproduction.

  78. boldscot said

    Richard, let me think about that one.
    Certainly, it is a pet-hate of mine whereby we are fighting within an ideology.
    I will get back to you.
    First thought is that i am, like all people, a prisoner of my language.
    Second thoughts to follow.

  79. Richard said

    That “first thought” of yours – I am a prisoner of my language – is fascinating. I look forward to your “second thoughts”…

  80. christianzionismexposed said

    Anticant, I say hard, not impossible. I believe that’s tuned in, as I am aware there are millions who disagree with me.

    And why would it be better? I’ve never done much to make life bad for anyone; at least not any worse for anyone than an average atheist. I mind my business, pay my taxes, try to help out where I see the need…
    not really using up many of the world’s resources for my own pleasure.

  81. Jose said

    I read you speaking about music and am totally in agreement that music is a pleasure for our senses, something sometimes you cannot describe because it is enrapturing that escapes our powers of description, at least my powers of description. Music is music and what is incomprehensible to me is how it came to be, what produced it and why our senses in most of us humans and also in animals have been created to accept and love it. I do love all kinds of music, provided they are not “noisy”, stridencies are not in my book.

    You wonder, Anticant, whether in my opinion God being incomprehensible the case for him is weakened, and knowing you are an atheist I understand the question, but for someone who believes in God (I try not to say him, she, or it) that very incomprehension speaks of an unreasonable sense of belief. There does not exist reasoning in believing in God, I for one cannot reason on it, because in my innermost I just accept it as something that just happens and whose immensity is out of my human perception.

    Perhaps it is my education, I do not know, but all this that we see every day, the very essence of our life has no other explanation for me than it must have been the works of a superior entity. Many claim that all of this we call universe has always existed, my human brain cannot accept this claim and takes it as illogical by human standards, as it cannot accept that all has been the product of a big bang, because big bangs are not spontaneous, that’s why I believe what I believe.

    You will say that my human brain should not accept the idea of God, either, but I have started saying that it is unreasonable. The fact is that it accepts God and believes in God.

    As you know the human brain is unfathomable. As is God for me.

  82. anticant said

    JOSE – The “big bang” is not an alternative explanation to God as the origin of the universe – I find it also unsatisfactory. What I am saying is that if one believes in eternity – as Christians also claim to do – why does one have to assume that there ever was a “beginning” or that there will be an “end” to the universe, even if life as we know it vanishes from the earth?

    CZE – You spoke, once again, of “belief” in atheism. Do please draw a correct distinction between a positive and a negative. Atheism is NOT a faith-position, or a denial of belief: it is a non-faith position – the suspension of belief as long as there is no convincing [to the atheist] evidence of the existence of a supernatural being. In principle I – and I think most other atheists – would be prepared to believe if they were presented with proofs of God’s existence other than the personal and anecdotal. Few believers, on the other hand, would be prepared to abandon their beliefs in the absence of such proof, because the very nature of “faith” requires belief without evidence. As I have said before, you cannot prove a negative, but you can in principle prove a positive, and it is incumbent on those who profess belief in God to demonstrate their reasons for this to the sceptical. They are rarely, if ever, able to do this.

    The reason why I say humankind would be better off without “supernatural” beliefs is that many vile and wicked things are done in the name of “God”, “Allah”, or some other supposed god, and it would be far better if people did not have that excuse and took personal responsibility for their own behaviour.

  83. Richard said

    “It all depends what you mean by…’belief’ “….

    Sorry, AC, I can’t really get my head round your ‘+’ve and -‘ve’ distinction, and thus – for me – I don’t ‘buy’ your idea of ‘belief’…

    To my mind, atheism (and any other ‘ism’ or ‘ology’) is a belief. You believe there is no God…you do not believe in the existence of God.

    Personally, I find that idea patently absurd – but I know you don’t….The reason why I consider it absurd is not because of my own faith, but because of my own reason – fallible though it is….

    It’s like someone saying ‘I don’t believe in a Thought’ – I can understand that view – if I open up someone’s head (which I don’t make a habit of), I can’t say : “Ah, there’s a Thought”. In one sense it does not exist…but in another sense it does very much exist – it’s an inner reality for all of us cos we’re thinking thoughts all the time – and it is through thoughts that we come to understand the world (inner & outer).

    Do you see what I mean ?

    For someone to say : “I don’t believe in God” is just as absurd as someone who says they don’t believe in a Thought – as I see it at the moment.

  84. anticant said

    Sorry, Richard, I think you’re being a bit epistemologically silly here. Of course it is absurd to say “I don’t believe in Thought”: thoughts exist, but the truth or falsehood of any individual thought is another matter altogether. God exists as a thought in millions of minds, I grant you – but whether that makes God any more real, or convincing, is surely open for discussion.

    And you persist in falsely characterising atheism as the bald statement “I don’t believe in God”, whereas in fact it is “I am prepared to believe in God if He, or anyone else, produces convincing evidence for His existence, but until they do I suspend my belief”. If you cannot see the difference betweeen these two statements, it is pointless to continue this discussion.

    If only you, Jose, CZE, and all the others who think it is “inconceivable” not to believe in God would read the two books by Smith and Harris that I have already mentioned, we might then be able to have a useful discussion. But of course you won’t. Believers don’t need to consider reasoned arguments against their faith. They KNOW they are right. That is what makes them so dangerous.

  85. Richard said

    “Epististemologically silly”, eh ?

    Are you accusing me of being drunk 🙂

  86. Jose said

    Indeed, Anticant, which poses also the question whether scientists are really right. Scientists give a theoretical age for the planet, roughly 500 million years, which is a figure that gives hardly any chances for definitive assertions. It is difficult to discuss both the idea of God and the idea of creation because there do not exist a firm, solid basis from which to start a sequential chain of facts.

    Sometimes I think whether the belief I have in God would not be considered as a kind of fanaticism, persisting on that idea which is not easily sustainable, or rather which is hard to sustain. I ascribe to my education these doubts which in a way could be inserted into the frame of agnoticism. But again the unreasonable reasoning of believing in God pervades anything else.

    There are multitude of cases where staunch believers have occasionally felt a weakening of their faith, due to circumstances with which they meet. They have in many cases returned to the belief. But there are also cases where that faith has been ravaged by reasoning.

    Should we separate from something such as is belief which if we look at its “good” profile has been also a cause of good understanding among people, or should we keep it precisely for that good trait in its tenets?

    As to atheism I agree with you that it is not a faith. I am of the opinion that both atheists and theists are always subject to changing their way of thinking at any given moment in thir lives.

  87. Jose said

    I, of course, do not think that it is unconceivable not to believe in God, I just think it is unconceivable for me not to believe in God.

  88. Hi all,

    Interesting thoughts being introduced by all. I’m beginning to think the concept of ‘God’ is synonymous with the concept of ‘mysteries of the universe’. If the human species manages not to destroy itself and is thus able over many more hundreds of years to unravel some of these mysteries through science and philosophy, it is plausible that we as a species may see the face of God, or at least some tangible proofs of a creator. Or on the other hand, we may find proof of something else entirely, nothing at all or most likely just more questions.

    Hawking writes in ‘a brief history of time’:

    “The questions of whether the universe had a beginning in time and whether it is limited in space were later extensively examined be the philosopher Immanuel Kant in his monumental (and very obscure) work, /Critique of Pure Reason/, pub. 1781. He called these questions antinomies (that is, contradictions) of pure reason because he felt that there were equally compelling arguments for believing the thesis, that the universe had a beginning, and the antithesis, that it had existed forever. His argument for the thesis was that if the universe did not have a beginning, there would be an infinite period of time before any event, which he considered absurd. The argument for the antithesis was that if the universe had a beginning, there would be an infinite period of time before it, so why should the universe begin at any one particular time? In fact, his cases for both the thesis and the antithesis are really the same argument. They are both based on his unspoken assumption that time continues back forever, whether or not the universe had existed forever. As we shall see, the concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe. This was first pointed out by St. Augustine. When asked: What did God do before he created the universe? Augustine didn’t reply: He was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions. Instead, he said that time was property of the universe God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe.”

    Holy contradictions Bat-man. Talk about convolution and mixing of theories there. I think the point is, our feeble human brains will never
    find proofs of a God, just more theories to answer questions spawned by fear. /WE/ will also continue to develop concepts like ‘time’ to make our existence more palatable.

    Anti, I suppose I’ve never thought about this aspect of atheism before….. atheism is a reactionary posture then? If theism or religions in genereal did not exist, there would be no need for the position of atheism correct? If that is the case, and you and I conclude that there is no logical need for religion, is there really a logical need for atheism?

    I’m sure most of you’ve heard or read already today about the bomb/rocket that fell just next to the building inside Baghdad’s so called ‘green-zone’ and rocked the speech being given by the U.N. Attorney General and Pres. of Iraq. I wonder how many different deities were called upon when that building shook? I doubt Ban Ki-moon will be visiting the “green-zone” again anytime soon.

  89. christianzionismexposed said

    Well, Anticant here is a belief:
    any cognitive content held as true

    So, unless atheists have nothing held as true regarding whether or not there is a God, or whether they may be one, I’m not sure they do not have a belief about it.

    Your description of why the world would be better without religion certainly leaves out those who were not reilgious but also caused much grief and negativity. I daresay most in prison are not religious people.

    As for reading books, have you read the Bible cover to cover? Or the Quran? Or the Talmud? Or the Book of Certitude (B’Hai)? Or the Book of Mormon? I haven’t and I also haven’t been able to read every book anyone has ever recommended running a business and only dropping in in haste here and there (like here) where things seem interesting.

  90. christianzionismexposed said

    Excuse me; I have the Bible but not the others. In fact, I have studied the Bible for many years. And also read some of the others and many secular books as well. Just can’t read ‘everything’ everyone feels is important in order to have a discussion about any particular topic.

  91. christianzionismexposed said

    See where hurrying gets you..have read parts of the other religious books & many secular books.

    Bye for now. 🙂

  92. Richard said

    I’m hesitant to write this for risk of being seriously misunderstood…but here goes :

    Stop reading what others think…and start thinking what you think.

    There comes a time in life when each of us have to ‘let go and start to swim for ourselves’…and to take risks in our thinking for ourselves.

    Or, to continue on the easier path, and keep reading about what others think.

    Please do not misunderstand me – I am not advocating not reading any more books – especially Orwell, Chomsky, Joad and The Bible 🙂 but I am advocating thinking clearly for oneself – rather than letting others do the thinking for us.

  93. Richard said

    This reminds me of something my wife, Elaine, said to me – in exasperation – some years ago :

    “Stop worrying about what people think of you, and start thinking about what you think of them.”

    And she wasn’t trying to be clever – like her husband tries to be sometimes…

  94. Jose said

    Your wife is wise, Richard, you, too. Indeed you should be at peace with yourself before trying to read or discover what others think.

    Your contributions have always been well reasoned and thought out, I miss some more reading material in your site.

    Loneranger, this exposition of yours reflects what is really going on. It’s really difficult to reconcile what some think with what others do. The human being is too individualistic for a pattern of behaviour, or belief for that matter, to be uniform.

    CZE, you are right. We cannot read everything everybody reads, the choice of our readings is exclusively ours, which helps to shape our train of thoughts.

  95. anticant said

    What I think is that man created gods in his own image, and that the belief that there is a “Creator” out there who takes an interest in us humans is a conceit which does far more harm than good.

    Yes – I have read most, though perhaps not quite all, of the Bible. There is much that is good in it and also a great deal of nonsense. Your reactions to my suggestion that there are one or two books worth reading that explain the philosophical and practical objections to belief better than I can are predictable. You are not prepared to question your own beliefs thoroughly, and prefer to remain in a state if invincible ignorance. That is your privilege, but it makes further discussion sterile and I shall now turn my attention elsewhere.

  96. Richard said

    We all have the “privilege” to live “in a state of invincible ignorance” – what makes you so special, AC ?

  97. MerkinOnParis said

    “Stop worrying about what people think of you, and start thinking about what you think of them.”
    ‘Stop worrying what your country can do for you……etc.’
    Is your wife American, by any chance?.
    Only kidding.
    However, she is right.
    Just go for it coz your self shines through and it shines well.
    Today’s sermon endeth herewith.
    Should that be ‘herewith endeth’?
    (Where is GrumpyAunt when you need him?)
    Zola?
    Swagman?
    Ranger?
    Anyone?

  98. Richard said

    Congratulations, Jose – another century of posts !

  99. christianzionismexposed said

    Anticant,

    Okay.

  100. christianzionismexposed said

    And now to the rest may I say, in regards to Anticant’s statement (since he is not communicating with me further because of my invincible ignorance) that anyone who bases their opinions about someone or someeone’s intelligence or willingness to examine their belef system on that person not having the time nor inclination to read two books they demand be read before discussion and yet who has not read even the entire Bible through once themselves should re-examine the meaning of ‘invincible ignorance’ before using it in public.

    And now…off to work….

  101. christianzionismexposed said

    And please be so kind as to forgive the typos above. It’s hard to have to earn a living and still want to spend time communicating with people like Jose…always rushing.

  102. anticant said

    CZE – I find the latest phase of this discussion – about not reading relevant books – really ridiculous. Of course everyone is at liberty to read or not to read anything they want to, but to display the ignorance of sceptical reasoning which you have done, and then to persistently misrepresent the standpoint of non-believers and go on to brush aside references to relevant texts does strike me as invincible ignorance.

    When I say I have not read all of the Bible I mean just that: I may not have read every word of it, or all the interminable books of the Old Testament, but I have read all of the New Testament more than once. I simply try to be accurate and coherent, that’s all – unlike those who comfortably proclaim their belief in the incomprehensible.

  103. anticant said

    Not merely invincibly ignorant, but arrogant as well.

  104. Richard said

    AC, isn’t that what looks back at many of us when we look in the mirror 🙂

  105. christianzionismexposed said

    No, Richard, some see immense intelligence and humility. Won’t mention any names. 🙂

    At any rate, anticant, you presumed that I have not read books that differ with my own opinions or beliefs and support yours. I simply don’t have time to read two more presently. So, might your presumption be considered arrogant, controlling, judgemental, and invincibly ignorant..or perhaps naive?

  106. christianzionismexposed said

    P.S. I was hoping this site, since it was originated by Jose, would be one where the interested and attracted parties were not name-callers but rather tolerant and aware that others’ time constraints or reading habits might be different. How can one discuss God any better without reading the entire Bible than someone can discuss atheism without reading suggested books on atheism? Or was it being suggested we could just read a selected portion of each of the two texts deemed relevant and be good to go/debate/discuss/converse?

    Nonetheless, bottomline, I’m just tired of nasty people and will take my leave with apologies to Jose, who I admire and respect greatly.

  107. anticant said

    I’m sorry, CZE, that you regard me as a “nasty” person. Maybe Jose, who knows me rather better than you do, will not agree. Being a blunt-spoken north-countryman, I do tend to call a spade a bloody shovel sometimes. I don’t regard this as nasty name-calling. Should one never call a bigot a bigot? [Not that I am saying you are one!]

    I do wish those of you who believe in a God would realise that those of us who do not aren’t “angry” with God, and don’t “hate” him – how can we, when we don’t know who, where, or what he is: what we hate is all the evil committed in his name by those who are his professed followers, which in our view [we may be wrong, of course!] far outweighs any good that belief in him insdpires.

    As you obviously find me an uncomfortable debating partner, I’ll sign off here. Goodbye everyone.

  108. Richard said

    I don’t find you “an uncomfortable debating partner”, AC, just someone who I disagree with – that’s all…and someone who seems to like ‘throwing toys out of his pram’ occasionally – but don’t we all.

    Lighten up, if you can, AC.

    Au Revoir mais pas Adieu, mon ami.

  109. anticant said

    Richard, it isn’t easy for me to “lighten up” wih my chronic health problems, which are quite severe, and my growing fear that religiously-inspired conflicts will soon ignite a nuclear disaster – certainly in tne Middle East, and possibly elsewhere.

    Whatever CZE chooses to think of me, I do know my Bible, and many other religious writings, pretty thoroughly. To be truthful, I don’t find the content of religious belief particularly interesting – there are profounder codes of non-theistic ethics – and wish I didn’t have to be so preoccupied with the dangers posed by religious believers. Frankly, I wish I could just forget about religion!

  110. Richard said

    Forget about religion”, AC – the word itself is man-made anyway…and so are the monolithic constructs surrounding it. I agree – it’s boring.

    Let’s just see ourselves as people on this mysterious journey called life, trying to make sense of it as best we can – agreeing, disagreeing – and trying not to kill each other in the process.

  111. Jose said

    Mea culpa. I should hav realised from the very beginning of this thread that it was going to raise hackles. What was intended to be a discussion about how people, mainly politicians and men of church, use religion in their own benefit, has turned into a discussion that affects personal feelings.

    I am having problems with my server and this is one of the few occasions I have been able to sign in during the day, that is why I couldn’t intervene before.

    I am contrary to discussions about faith, this was not what I meant this thread to be, but I am sad it has come to this in the course of the discussions which I should have diverted towards the main topic. I don’t think questioning the way a person has to consider her/his own spiritual inclinations is the right manner to discuss a topic. Topic is topic, feelings are feelings. That I believe or do not believe in God is not what we should have discussed here, that is inherent exclusively to those taking part in the discussion.

    I appeal to the good judgement of CZE – an admirable friend of long – and Anticant, a person who I have come to know recently, both of whom have very interesting thoughts to share, to reconsider.

    I thank dear Richard for his struggles to reconduct the process of this discussion and must say he has always been the kind, and thoughtful person I am proud to see as a close, reliable friend.

    I think I must close the discussion at this point.

    Thanks everyone.

  112. Richard said

    So, what’s your next topic Jose :

    How an argument is conceived, and how it can be exploited – Part 111 ?

    Perhaps not 🙂

  113. Jose said

    I’m thinking of something to do with the new wave I’m observing about ruling of the world, something you are very conversant with, Richard.

  114. anticant said

    I don’t try not to kill people. I just don’t kill people. I wish that others wouldn’t, either.

    I look forward to your new post, Jose.

  115. christianzionismexposed said

    All right, my friend Jose, I’ll give it another shot just to listen to what your thoughts are, as often as I can make it here. I’ll ignore silly and uninformed remarks as much as possible.

    What I will say though is, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride (mom taught me that, I believe). 😉

    The world is what it is. And I also deplore ‘religion for religion’s sake’. Maybe spirituality is just a better term altogether.

    I hate the way the world is today but I also know it won’t get any better..for awhile. And actually there is no good future for this world, in my opinion. Shoot, I wish, I wish there was. And if all religious people disappeared tomorrow, there still wouldn’t be. I’ve seen people go at it for everything from weight to sex to their kids….serious disagreement. I’ll bet more people are in prison for sex crimes than for religious struggles.

    In fact, I wonder what the actual prison population who has committed a maiming or murderous crime is compared to the death toll from war in a similar period of time. And those have nothing to do with religion, most likely, but with man’s nature in general.

    Oh…how I wish…

    Back to the real world.

  116. boldscot said

    CZE, if memory serves me right, you can find some research which is able to predict major wars. This depends on looking at violent deaths per head of population worldwide. These indices appear to follow certain trends.
    We are very overdue for a major war by some twenty years using such analysis.
    The point is that violent death appears to be a normal function of the human situation.
    (I remember this as being a topic of study for me, some thirty years ago, and a source is not immediately to hand.
    Will try and get something on it.)

  117. christianzionismexposed said

    The point is that violent death appears to be a normal function of the human situation.

    Yep. Religion or not. Thanks, boldscot, I’d be interested to see what you find. Every war needs an ‘excuse’ and religion is always convenient, of course…’righteous causes’ tend to go down better. Fear is a great catalyst, especially when the real reason is wanting what the other guy’s got aka greed.

  118. Jose said

    Localised wars are in my opinion favourites, generalised wars will eventually result in problems for the dominant class, with all likelihood loss of dominance.

    You know when you start a war but you never know when that war is going to end and what the outcome will be, I do not mean which the victor will be but what the ultimate outcome will be, how the people of the countries involved in the war will react, which as we have seen from the little history we have been allowed to read, has in most cases be unfavourable to the dominant class, in terms of ideologies and, most important, of earnings.

    I do not foresee any great wars, unless they are started by what was called in Marxist terms, proletariat.

    As with all wars, weapons of different types are used, among these the spiritual feelings of everybody. And as you know , propaganda is the best conveyor. It is not new.

  119. Please remember that I’m not against Christianity or reglion in general (although I must admit sometimes I am, because religious conflicts are, obviously, the root cause of much evil in our world).

    Religion involving any chosen deity on the right side of morality, will have positive emotional impact on our lives.. Any postive belief system which parallels our intrinsic sense of right and wrong, will result in positive emotional (and physical) impact.

    Fear of social and divine retribution, as well as the self-imposed retribution of guilt (sometimes to a suicidal degree) can be and is, for many people an overwhelming deterrent to thorough investigation and objective evaluation of the Scriptures. Religion is handed down to us throughout the generations. Predisposition to blind acceptance of Christianity and other religions is in our genes. It’s instillled in our psyche from an early age.

    This is the same fundamental reason Muslim extremists adhere to an inhumane doctrine of terrorism and torture. It’s been handed down, to them, across the generations since the 7th Century inception of Islam, when Muhammad went to the Mountain, smoked a little grass, then decided he was going to be Allah’s right-hand man. It’s what has been taught to them, and this is germane to understanding why so many in our society accept Christianity without objective scrutiny (it’s what has been handed down to us, and unquestioning acceptance, of it, is the right thing to do).

    I’m not arguing against the virtuous teachings of Christianity; just its false premise (the Bible’s divine origin).

    When I was finally compelled to investigate the existence of God, I began with an online resource, an electronic version of the Bible. I searched for the word *kill*. Don’t remember how many there were, but only one instance used in the context of advocacy would have been too much, for me (Thou shalt not kill?). Not what I had been led to believe God was all about. A rather telling observation, in my book, is that killing in biblical times was not exactly atypical as the way of their relatively lawless world, and this is exactly the kind of thing that would be found in writings of that era.

    God, in my opinion (and according to the Bible, itself), is supposed to be perfect in every way, in addition to other concepts presented, like omnipotent, omniscious, etc., not an advocate of war and/or murder. How could He advocate killing any of his children, whether they’re his chosen people, or not. Chosen people? A god playing favorites? Not what I had been led to believe God was all about.

    Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
    Exodus 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour (this is only one of the contradictions found in the Bible, but one of the more significant and telling, me thinks).

    I just always figured this book was the word of an omnibenevolent, supernatural being. Now, and only after cursory examination, it’s apparent to me that this book was written by someone(s) with all the same personality characteristics (jealousy, rage, etc.) of an earthbound mortal (the evidence is in the Bible), not an omnibenevolent superpower. Truth is, Jehovah shares personality traits with some of our world’s worst war-mongering, murderous, and barbaric dictators of totalitarian regimes, including Muhammad (the evidence is in the Bible…and the Qur’an).

    Ever notice how demanding of worship Jehovah is?
    Ever notice how demanding of worship third world dictators are, with their pictures on billboards all over town?

    Aside from the virtuous teachings, what makes Jehovah any different from a terrorist? Both are apparently egomaniacs who go around killing at will (even their methods are essentially not all that different – the evidence is in the Bible), and the supernatural one of that pair demands, ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.

    As big a worship-demanding ego as God apparently has, seems pretty clear to me if anyone like Muhammad was attempting encroachment/trespass into Jehovah’s turf (which Muhammad did in more ways than one), Jehovah would’ve snuffed this imposter out in a heartbeat. Support for this kind of postulation is found in the Scriptures and is not merely a product of my bias.

    So I think to myself, how am I expected to believe in such a god who is not so perfect and god-like by my standards, but more to the point about my contention with the divine status of the Bible, how am I supposed to believe in (much less worship) a god who is not so perfect and god-like, as claimed in the book itself. Anyone’s answer to that question first requires disregard for the above-mentioned contradictions (and others found in the Scriptures), but is also dependent on their own definition of that man-made word “God”, and just as important, how they justify to themselves, that definition. Mitigation is especially needed if you allow Him any imperfections, and if you do allow Him imperfections, then you’re in direct contradiction with the Bible’s own portrayal of God being perfect in every way.

    As worship-demanding as God is protrayed, why the faith game instead of just presenting the rules and consequences, accompanied by a convincing display of His existence? (would result in a much higher incidence of winners, for the “game”). Assuming that any type of game would be an appropriate method for God to enlist followers, wouldn’t an omnibenevolent god want to maximize the number of winners, and minimize the number of losers who will spend eternity in Hell? “Hell” – sure seems, to me, a rather cruel punishment for an omnibenevolent god. Me thinks if I were an omnibenevolent superpower capable of engineering such a complex world as ours, I could surely devise a plan guaranteeing myself plenty of worship, without simultaneously condemning any of my children to eternity in Hell. On the other hand, if I were a mere mortal of the biblical era, and recognized the need for spiritual law & order in an, otherwise, spiritually lawless and chaotic society, a Heaven or Hell concept would be a convenient and powerful incentive, indeed.

    To me, it couldn’t be any more obvious that these books (Qur’an and the Bible) were written by mere mortals without any external, divine influence guiding their hands. In the case of Muhammad, his wife made the rather telling observation of how convenient his (Muhammad’s) revelations always were to his own religious and personal goals. In the case of the Bible, there was apparently a similar motive at work by at least one of the biblical authors, which resulted in a “chosen people.” In other words, what mere mortal-type biblical author would not have selected his own kind as the “chosen people?” What god would direct members of his flock to murder other apparently not-so-favorite members of his flock? Not exacty an equitable and omnibenevolent god, in my book.

    The positive value of Christianity in our lives and society is obvious, but the Bible as being the work of God, as God is represented in the book itself, just doesn’t hold up to objective scrutiny. There are also publications out there (at least one that I know of, authored by research partners “Freke & Gandy”), that reveal discovery of credible information (referenced with appropriate bibliography), relating the existence of a historical, spiritual figure whose story roughly parallels and predates the story of Jesus. The story of Jesus plagiarzed? This kind of stuff the press doesn’t dare touch for obvious reasons, and many Christians won’t entertain even only the possibility of such blasphemous tales, but will dogmatically deny pure logic and evidence, rather than risk that kind of upset in their lives, especially for those so entrenched in the lifestyle. Fear of social stigma and/or divine retribution, as mentioned previously, can also be an overwhelming factor, of course.

    Okay, at the risk of sounding a bit trite, the question I have for you is how do you answer what must surely be a familiar question: Why does God permit the destruction of life, limb, and landscape with weather calamities, when according to the Bible, He has the power to stop them? (not to mention the suffering of victims’ loved ones for the remainder of their lives).

    Please leave your answer at: http://whengoodmendonothing.wordpress.com

  120. Jose said

    In general I agree with your comment, Justplumducky. There is a contradiciton between the Holy Books and what they themselves contain, a proof that only humans intervened in their writing, because on which grounds a simple mortal can ascertain how a superpowerful God must behave?

    The fact is that we know nothing about His existence, just the mystery surrounding the Universe and its creation or formation. On the other hand nothing is clearly mentioned about the rest of the space bodies. Else the Church in olden times cared to demonise those who guessed what was the real process in the Universe, something it apologised for in modern times and which clearly tells us of its ignorance of the communications by God they claim.

    Not only Islam extremists but the west’s own extremists – and not so much extremists – use torture, killing and enslavement to make their designs prevail.

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