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Passions in Poetry

calling all atheists?

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Denise
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50 posted 03-16-2004 10:44 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Thanks, Serenity, I appreciate your understanding.
serenity blaze
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51 posted 03-16-2004 10:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I am geniunely sorry Denise, and I want to thank you for reminding me of the delicacy of this discussion.

I hope we can continue to discuss this, but if it is deemed inappropriate for an open forum, that's entirely understandable too.

It IS a sensitive topic, especially when coupled with questions of faith.

I'll try to be more aware of that in the future. Thanks again.

Denise
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52 posted 03-16-2004 11:23 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

No, that's fine, Serenity, continue on.
hush
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53 posted 03-17-2004 03:13 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephen- the project came out really well- I'll send you a copy when I get the spare back.. it might not be till end of semester tho.

Anyway, what do I base my morality on? You know, I would almost call it instinct... pretty much all belief systems have some form of the golden rule, which leads me to believe that humans have come to the general conclusion that stuff that sucks when it is done to us, also sucks when it is done to others, and is therefore wrong to do. Does that make sense?

We learned of a theory in my intro to religion class that when people who claim to be atheists strive to do good, either for themselves or others, they are exhibiting an intrinsic believe in God because they are attempting to add to that 'something greater.' Even Brad's intense love and value on the fleeting moment of coffee would be considered God's work.

I don't have trouble believing that. And the simple fact that God would allow him/herself to work through poeple who not only don't believe in Christ as the one true savior, but even through people who don't even believe God exists, says to me that there is more than just the one way to God, and more than just the one way to salvation. However:

I haven't read this thread too closely... not sure if Brad has addressed this or not... but I don't believe in original sin. Furthermore, I don't really believe in sin (or at least I don't believe in calling it that- I just call things I think are wrong 'wrong.') But the concept that all of humanity is fundamentally flawed and needs to be 'saved' doesn't quite jibe with me, and I guess I'm more atheistic in mindset to that than anything else. I believe that because of that instinctive golden-rule reflex, most people are inherently good. I don't think we need to be saved... I just think that we need to wake up to the injustice around us. If everyone in America understood that the T-shirt they wear was sewn by overworked laborers, possibly children, being paid slave wages... I don't think it could go on in the same way that it does.

Regarding suicide... why does anyone commit suicide? It's when hope runs out... and hope can run out for anyone.
Brad
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54 posted 03-17-2004 08:35 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

One of the standard arguments used by atheists is the, "this is enough for me" argument. What they mean by that is best expressed here:
http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/archive/2001/0605012mass.html

The picture at that site is not of stars but of galaxies each with millions and millions of stars (or Carl Sagan's billions and billions), each with a unique stellar story just waiting to be told.

One of the most irritating arguments against athesism is that of egotism. Somehow, an atheist is egotistical because we reject being the favored species of an infinite God for being an insignificant speck, not even a speck, on that five hundred million light year picture.

Another reason to keep living is our irrelevance.


Denise
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55 posted 03-17-2004 10:49 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
The irony is that most people look for coping with the mundane and trivial by wanting the same and wanting it eternally. From my point of view, you're just asking for more of the same disease. What most people are asking for is a moment in time that extends forever, but that's not us, that's a happy photograph. I don't mean you're looking at a photograph, I mean that the picture of salvation is being in the photograph. Think about it, you don't grow old, you don't judge, you no longer have to worry about being judged, you don't have to act, make decisions, be sad, remember or regret the mistakes you made, you don't have to be human anymore.


Brad, is that what you really think people want? I'm not looking for more of the same, I'm definitely looking for better. And I think the coffee will be pretty darned good too!

Those galaxies are awesome. I guess for me, just like being next to the ocean, they give me a sense of perspective, of my smallness compared to them, but they also give me a sense of the greatness of the one who I believe created them and me.

Serenity, I think finding ways to cope is essential to survival and I think everyone, with or without a spiritual belief of one sort or another, has coping mechanisms, and I think the coping mechanisms can short circuit in everyone too.  And I agree with Hush that hope is an important factor, too, in our ability/desire to cope.  
Brad
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56 posted 03-17-2004 11:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't know, I just try to redescribe what I hear. Be careful what you wish for and all that.

Your ocean comment brings to mind the first time we brought our daughter to the beach. She said (in Korean), "Wow, that's a lot of water!"

Reason again for an atheist to keep breathing.

Let me state again that I can't really argue against a spirituality that celebrates the mundane and the trivial, the ephemeral over the ineffable, a spirituality that gives you a perspective or perspectives on the world.

My beef is much more that spirituality, in the promise or hope for something more, inevitably leads you to experience the here and now less.
serenity blaze
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57 posted 03-17-2004 11:43 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

okay.

I got a little shy of this thread for a bit. I think you all understand though, that my original intent was more of a sincere seeking, sorta like asking "what d'ya have in your lunchbox?"

That, now understood, I actually went a little farther in my sidewindings than I intended--just know that I'm reading and considering--I didn't have intent of implying that without a faith in a higher power that anyone SHOULD consider self-destruction, just that it was beyond my limited understanding on how that didn't present itself as an option.

Perhaps it is mere childish wishing, a "crutch" to look at the history and (yes, evolution, of humankind) and want to be a part of some glorious culmination--even if it's beyond my understanding now-- recognizing (or yes, Brad, pretending) that there is some higher intelligence, and to go so further in that arrogance to pray (or just delude myself) that there is a spark of that in me...

but that's what gets me through the night.

I do know that it's not the promise of morning coffee, or even, 80 mgs. of methadone. (since we're talking extremes here) and I know, here I go again, because it all boils down to the essence of life, and gee, that's all I want to know.

I just know something in me wants to grow--that's what I was talking about when I said that a "will to live" is something subconcious. It can't be reasoned into or OUT of the psyche. Trying to define the essence of that, is for poets and philosphers though.

There may not be "divinity in a doorknob" but there sure is divinity in the perception of it.

or so I like to think?

*peace good philosophers*

Ya'll are very good company.

and nodding yes, there are other questions too, and I'll be back...

(shaking my head)

because?

something in me just won't "give".
Stephanos
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58 posted 03-18-2004 12:43 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:  
quote:
Value comes from the ephemeral, not the ineffable.



I'll try to remember that the next time I buy a car ... or anything else.    


quote:
The irony is that most people look for coping with the mundane and trivial by wanting the same and wanting it eternally. From my point of view, you're just asking for more of the same disease. What most people are asking for is a moment in time that extends forever, but that's not us, that's a happy photograph.


Believe it or not ... I sympathize with your point about common conceptions of heaven, and see much truth in it.  You must remember that Christ promised to be able (actually the only one who is able) to give us our real selves  ... not just the repeat button played over and over.


C.S. Lewis in "Reflections on the Psalms" was at least bordering on some similiar concerns:

"It is surely, therefore, very possible that when God began to reveal himself to men, to show them that He and nothing else is their true goal and the satisfaction of their needs, and that He has a claim upon them simply by being what He is, quite apart from anything He can bestow or deny, it may have been absolutely necessary that this revelation should not begin with any hint of future Beatitude or Perdition.  These are not the right point to begin at.  An effective belief in them, coming too soon, may even render almost impossible the development of (so to call it) the appetite for God; personal hopes and fears, too obviously exciting, have got in first.  Later, when, after centuries of spiritual training, men have learned to desire and adore God, to pant after Him "as pants the hart", it is another matter.  For then those who love God will desire not only to enjoy Him, but "to enjoy Him forever", and will fear to lose Him.  And it is by that door that a truly religious hope of Heaven and fear of Hell can enter; as corollaries to a faith already centered upon God, not as things of any independent or intrinsic weight.  It is even arguable that the moment "Heaven" ceases to mean union with God and "Hell" to mean separation from Him, the belief in either is a mischievous superstition; for then we have, on the one hand, a merely "compensatory" belief (a "sequel" to life's sad story, in which everything will "come all right") and on the other, a nightmare which drives men into asylums or makes them persecutors.

Fortunately by God’s good providence, a strong and steady belief of that self-seeking and sub-religious kind is extremely difficult to maintain, and is perhaps possible only to those who are slightly neurotic.  Most of us find that our belief in the future life is strong only when God is in the center of our thoughts; that if we try to use the hope of “Heaven” as a compensation (even for the most innocent and natural misery, that of bereavement) it crumbles away.  It can, on those terms, be maintained only by ardous efforts of controlled imagination; and we know in our hearts that the imagination is our own.  As for Hell, I have often been struck, in reading the “hell fire sermons” of our older divines, at the desperate efforts they make to render these horrors vivid to their hearers, at their astonishment that men, with such horrors hanging over them, can live as carelessly as they do.  But perhaps it is not really astonishing.  Perhaps the diviners are appealing, on the level of self-centered prudence and self-centered terror, to a belief which, on that level, cannot really exist as a permanent influence on conduct- though of course it may be worked up for a few excited minutes or even hours.

All of this is one man’s opinion ... Other views no doubt can be taken.
"



Brad:
quote:
Think about it, you don't grow old, you don't judge, you no longer have to worry about being judged, you don't have to act, make decisions, be sad, remember or regret the mistakes you made, you don't have to be human anymore.
You can't enjoy that cup of coffee anymore.
Ah, but you smile, yes, you smile for eternity.
The dream of many spiritual folks is my nightmare.  



But then why isn't your conception of atheistic destiny also a nightmare?  No growing old, no judging, no being judged, no acting, no making decisions, no sadness, no memory, no humanity.  

From a Biblical view of "Eternal Life", your description is caricatured beyond recognition.  But it does sound more like what naturalists describe as the end of being.  Maybe you're just describing bad descriptions, but it's certainly not an accurate description of what the Bible paints.  Though if your description were close to being right, I just might be inclined to agree with your conclusion.


quote:
...don't send the rest of us to a fiery pit, let us be.



What of the possibility that these two options are one and the same?  Many Theologians have considered the absence of God to be worse than any of the physical descriptions of torment.  Dependent beings asking to be left alone, are asking for ultimate ruin.


quote:
Though it's unclear to me if they could still want



Why?


quote:
Curious, is there compassion in Heaven?



It would be nice to not need it, that is if there were no pain or affliction to warrant it's expression ... But since Compassion springs from love, It's root would remain nevertheless, and therefore all the tenderness that compassion entails would not be lost.  Do you lose something with your wife on days when you aren't required to specifically have "compassion" on her?  How about admiration and respect and the love of beauty?  Love has many different hues.


Having said that, I am not sure that compassion will be absent, or that some form of it will not be fitting to circumstances.  I just wanted to explain that the absence of the occasion for compassion (pain), is certainly different than the absence of the capacity to give it.    



LR:
quote:
why do people WITH faith systems commit suicide?



I suppose it's because a faith system does not guarantee adherence to that faith.  Just as a Math book does not guarantee a good Math student.  Though the former can be without the latter, it's hard to conceive of the latter without the former.



Stephen.
jbouder
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59 posted 03-18-2004 12:56 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

quote:
My beef is much more that spirituality, in the promise or hope for something more, inevitably leads you to experience the here and now less.


Huh?!?  Really?!?  I'll try to come back to this later, but I'm experiencing a little too much of the "here and now" to comment.

Jim  
Brad
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60 posted 03-18-2004 06:23 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Perhaps it is mere childish wishing, a "crutch" to look at the history and (yes, evolution, of humankind) and want to be a part of some glorious culmination--even if it's beyond my understanding now-- recognizing (or yes, Brad, pretending) that there is some higher intelligence, and to go so further in that arrogance to pray (or just delude myself) that there is a spark of that in me...


Let's call this the 'mystical more'. All that I have been trying to do is celebrate the 'mundane mere'. From a simple cup of coffee to a picture of the nearby universe, to the sharing of wonder and lots of water . . . and many, many other things.  

But why don't they satisfy? Because, thinking about it over the night, I didn't answer your question.

I can't.

Questions like "What gets you though the night?" or "What is the meaning of life?" or "What's it all about?" are questions that presuppose the structure of the answer. In the same way that the question 2+2=? presupposes the structure of the answer. If I answer 4, you'll say right. If I say 8, you'll say wrong. If I say George Washington was the first president of the US, you would be understandably confused.

If you assumed that I misunderstood the question and I emphasized and asserted that my answer was true, and it's true enough, what would you do?

I contend that you already know the answer to the question and that answer precludes any and all examples from the world. The answer has to be "something more". By 'something more' I don't mean a pointer to something beyond this world, and as yet indescribable world, I offered an answer to that by giving a picture of the nearby universe.  

When you ask what's in your lunchbox, I'll describe an egg salad sandwich, a chocolate chip cookie (maybe two), and milk. You'll say, "That's it?" You'll take my lunchbox and keep looking for 'something more'.

quote:
but that's what gets me through the night.


And fair enough. What I keep forgetting to emphasize is something I mentioned in my first comment here. I don't think I've ever asked, "How do I get through this night?" On many occasion, however, I've woken up and said, "Hey, I'm still here." Again, if I'm right and I can't answer your question, it's because I don't understand it. When people say, "If there's no God, life has no meaning?" I ask, "What do you mean by meaning?" Life doesn't have meaning, it is full of meanings.  What's the difference? The difference is that I won't accept one answer to the question. By this, I don't mean multiple pathways to the same thing -- 'something more' -- I mean different things are what makes life worth living. The end doesn't justify the means, the end is the means.

Process over point?

quote:
I do know that it's not the promise of morning coffee, or even, 80 mgs. of methadone.


When did I ever mention promise? I read this and I realized that I've kind of screwed up here. I wasn't giving reasons in the way that you were asking, I was giving reasons to live, not reasons for life.

Um, is that difference clear?

quote:
and I know, here I go again, because it all boils down to the essence of life, and gee, that's all I want to know.


I don't think it boils down to anything, certainly not one essence, certainly not essentially 'something more'. But why is that all you want to know?  

quote:
I just know something in me wants to grow--that's what I was talking about when I said that a "will to live" is something subconcious. It can't be reasoned into or OUT of the psyche. Trying to define the essence of that, is for poets and philosphers though


But what does growth mean to you? In what direction do you want to grow? Where do you want to go next? When someone asks these questions to me, in the discussion of the big questions (I think that's a confusion, of course. They aren't big questions, they are vague.), I don't have an answer. I don't know. If we bring it down a notch, I can answer them easily: get my Korean stronger, be a better husband and father, and read Behe's Darwin's Black Box. If you push me and ask, "Yeah, but what do you really want?"

Uh, world peace?

serenity blaze
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61 posted 03-18-2004 07:11 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

can I have world peace and the shiny tiara?

*chuckle*

Brad? Yer alright.

Oh what the hell...

now that didn't hurt a bit, now did it?

(and thank you--you remind me of my brother yanno.)
Brad
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62 posted 03-18-2004 08:28 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Your brother's name is Yanno?

Stephan,

I loved the Lewis quote. But I'm stuck with this one true goal and satisfaction. As far as I can tell, I have many goals and am satisfied by many things. Temporarily, sure, but still satisfied. That insertion of 'true' is just like 'really'. How do all the rest of these goals and satisfactions fit in to the one true one? What are the relationships among all these things? (Okay, I don't really expect an answer on that one. ).

You value a reliable car insomuch as you know that it can and will breakdown someday. If you didn't think that, you wouldn't value that engine starting every morning. It would be no more important to you than worrying about your next breath. Okay, now that I've gotten you thinking about the potential loss of breathing . . .

Jim,

Can I retreat and say that I never said it had to be that way, it just tends to?
berengar
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63 posted 03-18-2004 10:20 PM       View Profile for berengar   Email berengar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for berengar

Hello everybody!!
"You value a reliable car insomuch as you know that it can and will breakdown someday. If you didn't think that, you wouldn't value that engine starting every morning. It would be no more important to you than worrying about your next breath. Okay, now that I've gotten you thinking about the potential loss of breathing . . ."

But, Brad, knowing the car will break down someday is different to expecting the old geezer to pack in at any moment.  Intellectually we accept transience, but it doesn't tend to factor in our emotional makeup or the way we run our lives (or at least so I would argue).  Making inductive references, planning your children's education, buying a book over the net...we do all these things because we assume things will probably continue pretty much the way they have done (more of the same) and this is just another way of living in the details of life as if they were permanent.  I think if we really approached things as things temporary, we couldn't function.

"My beef is much more that spirituality, in the promise or hope for something more, inevitably leads you to experience the here and now less."

No doubt, Jim, you'll have something different to say on this...
This is a hard comment to respond to primarily because it's not necessarily something that could be argued logically.  It's an emotional thing.  We all perceive the same things, but the emotionally based perspectives we bring to these same things differ so drastically we might be living in different mental universes.  For instance, Brad's statement.  One person's cheerful, liberating view of a world devoid of the divine is another person's nightmare...and vice versa.
For some people, the here and now is given expression and meaning precisely because it partakes in, and is a creation of, the 'divine'.  T¸º that element away and events are just a collection of meaningless points on a linear continuum, or that certain things which may not be so pretty or pleasant at face value are precisely what they appear...
Because I'm coming from an emotional angle, I will not (and can not) argue objective 'meaning', but I will contend that many people's stubborn refusal to do away with the spiritual and attempt to engage with the world 'only' is the most human thing we can do, because the primary function of the human mind is to impart meaning (or meanings, if you will; that's another story) to things.  Having a large and complicated cosmos (or ocean) out there does not make grandeur in itself - we lend it grandeur, and I suspect there is nothing more grand, or poetic, than the 'spiritual' language we use to describe whirlpool galaxies, the rings of Saturn, a laughing child and a good cup of tea, precisely because this language describes something more.  It lifts us out of ourselves and casts an aura of enchantment on all these things.
May I say in passing how much I've enjoyed reading this thread??

Local Rebel
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64 posted 03-19-2004 05:58 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Me:
quote:
Here's a question though -- why do people WITH faith systems commit suicide? (it's not a trick question)


Serenity:
quote:
And Reb, that is a fair enough question, and one that I have asked myself at a few memorial services. I could only assume at that time, that their faith was not what I assumed it was--and in one particular instance, it was perversely more than I'd expected. My friend assumed that because she was "saved" her sins were forgiven before she committed them--including her suicide.


Hush:
quote:
Regarding suicide... why does anyone commit suicide? It's when hope runs out... and hope can run out for anyone.



Stephan:
quote:
I suppose it's because a faith system does not guarantee adherence to that faith. Just as a Math book does not guarantee a good Math student. Though the former can be without the latter, it's hard to conceive of the latter without the former.



Is it not a better answer that religion doesn't cure depression?  Stephan and Serenity you both are making the archaic assumption that 'running out of hope' was some sort of a lack of 'inner strength' -- whereas we know that depression is quite a different thing altogether.

That's why one could be taken aback a little at the implied initial thread question or the subsequent expressed question.  At one level it assumes that Atheists or Agnostics are mentally ill.  Or lack inner strength.  It seems to stereotype.  Not just Atheists and Agnostics -- but persons with faith systems as well.

I'll be back with comments for Brad later.

  I'm not upset or offended Blazey -- I'm just talking to you..

Stephanos
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65 posted 03-19-2004 11:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Stephan and Serenity you both are making the archaic assumption that 'running out of hope' was some sort of a lack of 'inner strength' -- whereas we know that depression is quite a different thing altogether.



But the new medical / genetic paradigm doesn't fit the description perfectly either.  After all, there are abundant testimonies of depression / suicidal thoughts being the result of a spiritual condition.  All of the cures certainly aren't explained by drugs.  I'm not making a sweeping statement that all examples of depression are due to one cause.  I just believe that the Spiritual aspect plays a large role in depression and suicide.  You can't say the medical truths we've discovered somehow rule out former insights into such problems.  


quote:
That's why one could be taken aback a little at the implied initial thread question or the subsequent expressed question.  At one level it assumes that Atheists or Agnostics are mentally ill.  Or lack inner strength.  It seems to stereotype.  Not just Atheists and Agnostics -- but persons with faith systems as well.

I don't think the question assumes anyone is "mentally ill".  It may assume that all have spiritual need ... or that all face an existential crisis.  But the question seems to take for granted (wrongly or rightly) that everyone has it, and deals with it in some way or another.  This may of course rub someone's proud fur the wrong way.  But personally I believe it is a generally accurate description of us all.

... at least sooner or later.  




Stephen.  
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66 posted 03-20-2004 12:11 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush:
quote:
You know, I would almost call it instinct... pretty much all belief systems have some form of the golden rule


Can you think of any examples in nature of instincts which are disobeyed?  It could at least be argued that "immorality" is an instinct as well.  How can the standard which judges between two "instincts" itself be an instinct?

quote:
humans have come to the general conclusion that stuff that sucks when it is done to us, also sucks when it is done to others, and is therefore wrong to do. Does that make sense?



But it's not always that simple is it?  ... Sometimes things suck for others but not for me.  Sometimes the disadvantage of others works to my advantage.  Sometimes I can do wrong things which others aren't even aware of.  It can then be reasoned that without their knowing it can't really harm them.  So unless there's an ethic which tells me that certain actions are wrong regardless of percieved benefit, the golden rule doesn't really have a base.  


I understand it (the golden rule) can be followed because it appears self evident ... and without much questioning at all.  But I think it's prevalence in moral thought is evidence that we have a standard of morality over and above us.  Something we can obey or violate in priciple every day.


quote:
I don't really believe in sin (or at least I don't believe in calling it that- I just call things I think are wrong 'wrong.')



You should probably stop short of saying "wrong" and settle for something like "disagreeable".  Because I wonder if you consider certain actions as really "wrong" or merely as things you happen to think are wrong?  Is it a violation of an overarching moral principle, or just a violation of your subjective sensibilities?  This might contribute to your hesitation at calling anything sin.  


If you came to the conclusion that a moral law were a reality ... you might be more open to the idea of sin as a reality.  Because where there's no law, there can be no sin.  



Stephen.  
serenity blaze
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67 posted 03-20-2004 06:04 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I want to thank Stephan first of all, because he understood my poorly formed question better than I did. So...Thanks.

and Reb? Just hugs.
For the understanding. People who tend to step on toes sometimes give up "dancing" all together, and yawp, I'm a little skittish at times.

and a question for Brad about:

"Let's call this the 'mystical more'."

Can we call it something else? I'm wondering now, if you believe in evolution? And if you do, perhaps this desire for a "mystical more" is an impetus to evolve? Stephan is right that I assumed that everybody felt this hunger that I feel for "more". and Reb, is right too, in that I have some an archaic thoughts. I always considered this state of malcontent as a sickness--something to be cured, instead of (perhaps?) as a natural part of my DNA as a human being to always be reaching...or are those thoughts just "clouds in my coffee?"

(and Brad? I'm more likely to offer to share half my ham and cheese for half of your eggsalad. *giggle* We'll talk "brownies" some other time, tho.)

Local Rebel
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68 posted 03-20-2004 06:15 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

It may assume that all have spiritual need ... or that all face an existential crisis.  But the question seems to take for granted (wrongly or rightly) that everyone has it, and deals with it in some way or another.  This may of course rub someone's proud fur the wrong way.  But personally I believe it is a generally accurate description of us all.

... at least sooner or later.



I don't have fur.. I have feathers     

And I don't have any problem with that statement -- with the caveat that my paradigm of the word 'spiritual' probably would not be identical -- I said at 'one level'.  At other levels it could mean other things including what Serenity said here;

quote:

That, now understood, I actually went a little farther in my sidewindings than I intended--just know that I'm reading and considering--I didn't have intent of implying that without a faith in a higher power that anyone SHOULD consider self-destruction, just that it was beyond my limited understanding on how that didn't present itself as an option.



Why would it be an option at all?  At that level it could assume that everyone is mentally ill -- and only those with a faith system have an incentive not to commit suicide.  It's problematic no matter how it is approached.  I'm not going apoplectic over it though.  I merely find it interesting.

I was once in a conversation on the job about ten years ago and uttered what I thought to be a fairly innocuous phrase, "the pot calling the kettle black".  Lo and behold one of my black co-workers began reading me the riot act about how it was a 'racist statement'.  Of course -- I protested -- pointed out how it had been an English colloquialism for ages... but, it didn't matter .. the inference was -- it assumes there is something wrong with being black to begin with.

If your church was having a picnic in the park that was open to the public and you sent out the primary Sunday-schoolers to tell everyone about it they might get notably different responses if they posed the following announcement to white or black invitees:  "We're having free watermelon and fried chicken in the park."

More later -- I only have one life... heh
serenity blaze
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69 posted 03-20-2004 06:38 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

*rubbing my head* a bit.

Reb? I knew it was an awkward question. But I was just sitting here trying to think of a nice way to phrase something I'd been wondering, when it occurred to me, why not just blurt out the thought that I'd had, as the thought blurted itself out to me? I agree it's a startling thought/question, but then, that's why I decided to look for some help with answers instead of just pushing the politically incorrect thought back to the bottom of my psyche, unanswered.

I know you're taking it in stride, but I do have some thoughts that might be indefensible in a politically correct court.

I just hope it's okay to still ask.

I don't think it came from a place of judgement thought. I was actually wondering, what if I had agreed with the arguments against my faith--and how would I have coped with a recent trying time without my faith? The only answer I had for me, was that "I'd be dead, and more than likely, by my own hand."

I didn't mean to imply that those who had no religion were faithless or somehow deficient. I realize now that perhaps I did.

tsk. I really don't know what to do about that except to apologize/close the thread...and if there was no offense taken, I'm a little puzzled as to why it's still an issue.

and smile? I'm just talkin' back.
Brad
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70 posted 03-20-2004 06:55 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Too much to comment on now.

Two things:

Stephan,

Can you start another thread on the golden rule? I think it deserves its own thread.

Serenity,

quote:
I'm wondering now, if you believe in evolution? And if you do, perhaps this desire for a "mystical more" is an impetus to evolve?


The simple answer:

No.

If you say everybody has a spiritual quest, I'm going to tell you what I think:

It's a language game and nothing more.
serenity blaze
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71 posted 03-20-2004 07:02 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Brad, is that "no" to both questions?

and even if it is, I'm feeling a bit misunderstood here.



I don't believe that faith has much to do with religion at all. Two of the same religion can sit side by side on the same pew and yet one of them (or both) can be faithless.

I was trying to propose the idea that it takes some kind of faith to carry on in life-- I was just wondering what flavor faith takes on in the mind of an atheist/agnostic.

Brad
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Jejudo, South Korea


72 posted 03-20-2004 07:15 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Faith in what?

serenity blaze
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73 posted 03-20-2004 07:16 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Exactly!


But yes, that is what I was asking.

So you are saying that you go through life with faith in nothing?

Local Rebel
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74 posted 03-20-2004 07:22 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I expect the only reason we're 'still' talking about it Blazey is because I was composing my post to Stephen whilste you snuck in and cut in line...

Close the THREAD????  Egads!  We haven't even discussed how the question puts us in the position of having to prove a negative...

"prove to the court that you don't want to commit suicide"...



And welcome ladies and gentlemen to You Beat Your Wife...  

I've understood the intent of the question all along -- I just think it is important to not miss my opportunity to be (faux) offended -- because -- really -- there's always a fine line here -- and Brad and I would certainly never say anything that might offend persons of faith... eh?  

Looking at the philology of the language we use to discuss philosophy is conducive to the process.

Personally I think it could have been easily asked as "What do Atheists do in foxholes?"

Which is much more easily answered.  

 
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