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Christian AND atheist

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Robert Tulip

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Christian AND atheist

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Hello again Chris and friends after three months away. After nutting out enough dispute on your thread 'The Christian Paradox - Pious and illiterate' last year to earn myself the wonderful (if perhaps unfair) insult 'totally clueless' I have been rather busy with other things. Coming back to your interesting site I thought I should introduce myself. (Was it my esoteric musings about the fractal nature of thought or just the rather rank capitalism that so offended?)My intellectual background is in existential ontology, reified through international development policy through work for the Australian government as research manager in the overseas aid program for Papua New Guinea (www.ausaid.gov.au). In January I went to a conference of the global development network (www.gdnet.org) held in St Petersburg in Russia (minus 25 degrees!). I felt this event addressed central long term themes in world politics, getting behind the immediate problems of war and cultural clashes to ask how legitimate institutions can be built that will have a sound grasp on the needs of human development. Francis Fukuyama and Martin Wolf were two of the main speakers. In my stumbling way, I felt they presented excellent sound and ethical arguments in defence of global integration.I note your author discussion of Value & Virtue in a Godless Universe will be on my 43rd birthday on March 23. I doubt that I will be able to read the book by then, although the summary is very interesting. His concept of a non-supernatural explanation of meaning chimes directly with my sense that Christianity and atheism can be reconciled, of which more below. My sense is that the truly meaningful is that which supports long term values. In the short term, we may find most meaning in a desire to buy something pleasurable, but I would argue the real (objective) meaning of this desire for immediate pleasure is less than the meaning of a desire to invest in something that will produce long term sustainable benefits. And the most significant long term value emerges from eternal ethical ideals such love, justice and goodness. Hence the import of Jesus' teachings such as why gain the world and lose your soul. The aim of explaining meaning should be to define a human purpose, in the sense of an ideal of life that will allow the expansion of meaningful existence.My attitude is that real Christianity, in the sense of the inner meaning of the teachings of Christ, is entirely compatible with sophisticated atheism, indeed that they are mutually reinforcing. Jesus himself demanded a strong evidentiary basis for thought, notably in his equation between god and truth during his trial before Pilate. The parable of the wheat and weeds (Matt 13:24-30) may on the surface appear supernaturalistic, but it has an inner core which engages entirely with reality, saying that those who have integrity are on the side of the angels, while the dishonest and dogmatic will be swept away by the refining divine fire that tests their merit. To me this teaching has an incipient Darwinism with a catastrophist angle, with the cumulative adaptation being on the side of the wheat, which is in accord with the principle of the universe, whereas the weeds are grounded in lies and so will be swept away. Hence much American evangelism is very shaky. Does anyone else try to find such a rationalistic reading of these eschatological ideas? I would just say, regarding atheism, that as a philosophy it should follow Plato in looking through false appearances to find the hidden unity of truth. This hidden unity is what Christians call God, except that the church often worships its own constructions (idols) rather than the real hidden unity of the universe.I gave a paper 'The Place of Ethics in Heidegger's Ontology' at a recent conference. It is available at http://www.webcom.com/~paf/ereignis.html. I have put my own recent papers on scientific theology at a rudimentary website
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Christian AND atheist

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RobertQuote:After nutting out enough dispute on your thread 'The Christian Paradox - Pious and illiterate' last year to earn myself the wonderful (if perhaps unfair) insult 'totally clueless' I have been rather busy with other things.Perhaps you're a bit too sensitive. Every single member goes through being "Totally Clueless." Those are called "level titles" and your level title changes as you make more and more posts. It has nothing to do with you personally. It is a light-hearted joke.and if you don't like "Totally Clueless" you're going to flip when you see the next two levels! Starting at 50 posts you'll start seeing more flattering level titles. I would NEVER assign individuals titles based on their religious beliefs. It is an automatic process for fun and fun only.
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Mr. P

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Re: Christian AND atheist

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hmmm...but I think that this whole mis-understanding may just underline things quite well... Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Christian AND atheist

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Don't ask me why I just posted the Cookie Monster. I've added about 50 or more new emoticons and am just having fun.Are you going to post a message for pctacitus in boot camp? I would like to send that letter right away. Boot camp isn't that long.
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Mr. P

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Re: Christian AND atheist

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PC? Boot Camp?I am out of touch on something huh?Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Christian AND atheist

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Yes, pctacitus is in Marines boot camp and has been for over a month. His mother emailed me his mailing address and I have already sent him one letter, but it would really make him feel good to get additional letters from other people. My idea was for people to post messages and I will copy and paste and print them into a letter.Boot camp is a huge deal and getting mail will really put a smile on his face. Basically, you all stand around when mail is getting passed out and when your name isn't called you kinda feel shitty. I remember this well. Fortunately, my family and friends sent me plenty of letters. I'm sure Samuel is getting plenty of mail, but I still would love for him to know we're rooting for him and wishing him well.
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