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ex-christian.net 
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
Under_Taker wrote:
Welcome back TaT....Went by Starburst on here years ago when I rejoined I could not remember my e-mail or password so I joined as Under-taker...Been out of this religious debate for years now as I found it was a total waste of energy and time...Debating religion is pointless in my book its had to long to dig its blood sucking fangs into society as a whole. But I am glad to see that you and Robert are still going strong at it. :clap:

Was real sorry to hear about Murdock I am sure she is sorely missed by those that enjoyed her work....


Hey Starburst!!!

Good to hear from you too!!!


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Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:17 pm
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
tat tvam asi wrote:
Have you guys heard of it?

https://www.ex-christian.net/

The MO is helping struggling christians and new exchristians along in their stages of deconversion.

Yeah, I've heard of them when looking up Christian online communities on various search engines. Considering the supernatural coincidences that I've experienced over the years, any attempt to "deconvert" me is somewhere at the border between comical and sad. :? God is as real as it can get, in my opinion.



Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:56 am
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
Lucian Hodoboc wrote:
God is as real as it can get, in my opinion.


So God exists to you just as much as a piece of apple pie that sits in front of you? You can see, feel taste and even hear a piece of apple pie. How is an invisible God as real as apple pie?



Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:18 pm
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
Lucian Hodoboc wrote:
tat tvam asi wrote:
Have you guys heard of it?

https://www.ex-christian.net/

The MO is helping struggling christians and new exchristians along in their stages of deconversion.

Yeah, I've heard of them when looking up Christian online communities on various search engines. Considering the supernatural coincidences that I've experienced over the years, any attempt to "deconvert" me is somewhere at the border between comical and sad. :? God is as real as it can get, in my opinion.

I'm curious. Would you be willing to talk about one of these supernatural coincidences? In my mind, you see, even calling the phenomenon a coincidence takes it out of the supernatural realm.



Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:25 pm
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
I'd enjoy discussing one of your more convincing supernatural experiences.



Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:30 pm
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
DWill wrote:
Lucian Hodoboc wrote:
tat tvam asi wrote:
Have you guys heard of it?

https://www.ex-christian.net/

The MO is helping struggling christians and new exchristians along in their stages of deconversion.

Yeah, I've heard of them when looking up Christian online communities on various search engines. Considering the supernatural coincidences that I've experienced over the years, any attempt to "deconvert" me is somewhere at the border between comical and sad. :? God is as real as it can get, in my opinion.

I'm curious. Would you be willing to talk about one of these supernatural coincidences? In my mind, you see, even calling the phenomenon a coincidence takes it out of the supernatural realm.

Fair enough. It was a poor choice of words on my part. Supernatural "events", if you will.

What exactly do you want me to say about them? They're mostly related to numerology. Events happening after a certain number of years, on the exact same day. Also, messages related to specific things I needed advice about, appearing as Bible verses, as online sermons etc.



Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:16 am
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
Lucian Hodoboc wrote:
DWill wrote:
I'm curious. Would you be willing to talk about one of these supernatural coincidences? In my mind, you see, even calling the phenomenon a coincidence takes it out of the supernatural realm.

Fair enough. It was a poor choice of words on my part. Supernatural "events", if you will.

You should read up on synchronicity. Things that "seem" supernatural are often things that capture some inner, subconscious sense of significance. Things where this significance is genuinely transcendent are those where the subconscious sense of significance is due to that which creates our unity - my need for finding me in all the Thou's out there (Thou being the familiar for You, in many languages). If the significance comes from our vulnerability rather than our superiority, so that it draws us into genuineness with others, then you can trust its "supernaturalness".



Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:56 am
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
August 29, 2019
Why was I born? What am I to do with myself as I live my life? What are all the rest of the people on earth supposed to be doing as they live together with me? Is there life after death on this earth, for anyone, or everyone? These are the questions I’ve pondered all of my 86 years. I don’t have the answer. But maybe you will enjoy learning of my experiences in trying to find an answer. First of all I found there was no one who had, or ever had, “the answers,” for mankind to follow. To answer requires an intellect that is aware of things not finite. This intellect we call infinite. I do not deny that this infinite power, if it exists, can communicate with a finite mind. But that is a personal experience that cannot be duplicated in another human being no more than if he saw a beautiful sunset he could replicate that personal experience though words, argument, logic, or force . It is that personal experience that gave the men the insight to write books of their personal experience for other people to believe are true. That is why we have the quandary of so many religions to day.
Each religion is based on what we call a world view. A world view is mankind’s attempt to state in man’s logic, a supreme intellect that is called various names such as Yahweh, Allah, God, et. cet. Norman L. Geisler in his book Worlds Apart, stated “No decision is made by any person that is not dependent of his or her worldview.” Everyone has a world view. He concluded there were 7 mutually exclusive world views. Mutually exclusive meaning you cannot believe one is true and not believe the other 6 are false (in whole or in part).
Theism- Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
Polytheism- Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Mormonism;
Panentheism- Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorn;
Pantheism- Hinduism, Transcendentalists, Spinoza;
Finite Godism- John Stuart Mill, William James;
Deism- Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Hobbes;
Atheism- Hume, Nietzsche, and the Humanist Manifestoes.
The concept of an infinite god only exists in the mind of a human as a belief. An individual, personal, belief. An infinite god cannot exits as a fact in our finite minds collectively or individually as a finite object . Leaders of organized religions, who elevate the finite god of their belief systems to an infinite fact for others to accept as fact, do so out of pride and ignorance- not reality. I write these thought to stimulate your mind with the admonition, “Know what you know and why you know it.” You will learn to discern the charlatans from the honest folk. But there are over 2,800 organized religions that have sprung for these 7 world views.
The why I was born was answered by the catechism answer I learned from the Roman Catholic Church which was, “To know, honor, and serve God.” I later questioned, “which God?” The Koran of Islam, the Torah of Judaism, the Rig Veda of Hinduism, the Sikh scriptures, the Communist Manifesto, The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, and The Analects of Confucius are just some of the texts used for the cultural Transgenerational indoctrination by organized religions? These are all man’s thoughts on an infinite being. Dogma is man’s attempts to establish the infinite spirit as a fact in human life.
I was like a chick in an eggshell. I could not be born without it. I could not grow without it. But if I did not break free, The Dogma of religion would entomb my soul. Then it happened that I discovered another method the Spirit of the Universe might use to communicate with humans he/she is a fact. As it happened I joined the Navy flight program and became a Navy pilot. After that I became and instructor pilot. It was one night in August of 1957 that gave me some insight. My day started with the normal routine of a fighter pilot assigned to the training command. The U.S. Navy had chosen, Chase Field, in Beeville, Texas, to train student pilots to fly combat aircraft from a carrier. When those students finished their time at lovely Chase Field it would be the end of a long long trial and they would receive their hard-won wings of gold. Having the power to wash or pass made Instructor Pilots people to fear. If an Instructor Pilot said jump, students would jump, without question, and without hesitation. Instructor Pilots fell under the spell of actually believing they were special; I was no exception. This story tells what happened to me on that fateful day in 1957. It touched my soul.

The routine of an Instructor Pilot was boring and uncomfortable. They scheduled me for the, O Dark Early launch, which meant I got up at 3:30 A.M., tried not to wake our six-month-old daughter as I dressed, grabbed some breakfast, and drove to the hanger. The temperature was still hot in the early morning of July 27. The air was humid and still. I picked up the first set of three students and began my day’s work. Work consisted of briefing the three students on what we were going to try to do in the sky during the next hour. Then all four of us went to the flight line, picked up a heavy parachute, got assigned an airplane, lumbered to the flight line, gave the aircraft a pre-flight, climbed into the hot cockpit, put on the helmet, sweat like a river, flew for an hour and fifteen minutes in a freezing air-conditioned cockpit, landed, went to the flight room, which was not air conditioned, debriefed the students for another hour on what they had or had not done during the last hour, then picked up three more students and restarted the whole process. When I finished debriefing the students from my third and last scheduled hop of the day, it was about 4:30 in the afternoon. An Instructor Pilot asked me to take his night mission for him. His wife was going to the hospital to have their baby. Naturally I agreed and promptly went to sleep on a couch in the ready room.
Our night mission was the 20th jet flight for these students. By that time, in their training, they had 300 hours of total flight time which included thirty hours in this jet. They had flown only one other night flight in this aircraft, the F 9 F-8 Cougar. The training exercise for this mission was to practice high-altitude rendezvous at thirty thousand feet. That doesn't sound very high by today’s standards, but the Cougar, with its aircraft design and engine, took forty minutes to climb to 30,000 feet. At that altitude the aircraft handled like it was drunk. It was sloppy, mushy, and easily stalled. Rendezvousing a jet is hard. Ren¬dezvousing at night is very difficult. Training students to ren¬dezvous at night at a high altitude is suicidal. To make this mission even worse for the instructor, to simulate battle conditions, we were to operate without radio contact.

I had not flown with these students. They could have been great pilots ready for the Blue Angels or poor pilots about to wash out of the flight program. The students timidly awakened me about 7:45 P.M. We briefed a little too quickly by my standards but we took off on schedule at 9:30 P.M. It was a hot, clear, moonless, star filled Texas-night. I took off first and each student took off in thirty-second intervals behind me. As the last plane left the runway, the student double-clicked his mic button. That mic click told me he was in the air. It was also my signal to begin the initial rendezvous. I started my climbing left turn at 95% power and looked for my "chicks." To affect a rendezvous, when my plane reached a 30-degree angle to their line of sight, they made a turn inside my circle of flight and kept me at a 45-degree angle and just above their horizon.
The students rendezvoused sharply and safely. I thought this might be a really good hop. We headed due South toward Corpus Christi on the Gulf of Mexico while climbing to 30,000 feet. It was a beautiful view. I could see the coast line all the way to Mexico and a long way up toward Houston. The lights of towns along the coast and the billions of stars above, accentuated the blackness of the Gulf waters. As we approached 30,000 feet, I put the students in a right echelon and when they were steady I kissed off. We had to work hard to get two complete rendezvous in before it was time to return to Chase Field. I made a steady 30 degree bank, held my airspeed at 400 knots and kept my altitude at 30,000 feet. When I was looking at my chicks coming to mama, I also noticed the lights along the coast were not quite so bright.

Just as the students were in a right echelon and I was about to start a second rendezvous, a gigantic cloud bank covered the whole world beneath me. I later learned a bizarre phenomenon of nature had taken place. In less than two minutes, clouds covered the whole gulf coast for 300 miles inland. Chase Field had issued a recall notice by radio but I had not heard it. We were already heading toward the base so I started descending to 20,000 feet that was the altitude to begin a radio range, jet penetration, and instrument approach. I shouted into the mic, "Chase Tower, Chase Tower, Foxtrot 278 Zulu, over." Nothing! No one responded to my call. I switched to the emergency radio frequency 242.0 and screamed, "Chase field, Chase field, give me your station weather and alternate fields." This is what I heard. "Ch---3----n--5 o--cst, C--us--ie--zr---o, --n--on-o 8-nd--br--1200-- ."
I switched my radio back to our tactical frequency to update the students and smelled the frightening pungent smoke of an electrical fire. Instantly the cockpit lights were out and I saw only darkness. Reflexively, I reached for my flashlight that I carried in the lower pant pocket of my flight suit. Only then did I realize, they had not scheduled me for night flying and I had taken my regular flight suit home for washing but did not transfer the flashlight to this suit. I called the students to see if they could hear me or if they heard the weather report. I looked at my students just 30 feet away and saw their golden helmets and clear visor reflecting the red glow of their cockpit night instrument lights. With the rubber oxygen hose protruding from their faces, they looked like motionless beetles. Their eyes were fixed on me, but I heard nothing, and I did not know whether they had heard me or the weather report.

Our flight condition was not good. We had maybe forty minutes of fuel left. I interpreted from what I could hear of the static radio transmission from Chase Tower that Corpus Christi was overcast with zero horizon and zero visibility. Beeville was 300 feet broken, 800 overcast, and San Antonio was 200 miles to the North with 800 broken and 1200 either broken or overcast. There was no telling how thick the overcast. The Blue Angels would not voluntarily try a night instrument approach in formation. I had three student pilots and no instruments or radio. I decided to go North to San Antonio. With San Antonio 200 miles away, if we descended at 500 feet per minute at 300 miles per hour, we should run out of air, miles, and fuel all at the same time. I throttled back and held the nose of my plane above the horizon. When the 4th man started to stall, I advanced my throttle until he stabilized. With those power settings and the nose of the aircraft 8 degrees below the horizon we should get a 500 feet per minute rate of descent and 300 miles an hour. When everyone got settled in this formation, I then wondered.
I wondered which way was North.
Not only was I an Instructor Pilot, I was a hot pilot. The best of the best, or so I thought. I didn't need ground school to fly a jet. All I needed was a stick and throttle. As a Naval Cadet I slept through the astronomy class. Was I ever sorry now for getting my sleep then. I searched the star filled Texas sky and tried to remember my boy scout training. Was the North Star in the little dipper, the belt of Orion or the big dipper? Anyone can understand that in such a moment of stark terror any overconfidence I had in my piloting skills vanished completely. I finally concluded the North Star was out from the big dipper, but the only one I could find was not very bright and all by it¬self. So I said to myself; "if that's it, that's it. If it ain't, we ain't. I can’t waste any more time playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe, with a billion stars looking for the North Star."

I hung the nose of my plane under that puny star and thought how stupid our government was. Each plane cost $1,250,000, and the training of each pilot cost $750,000. The safety of four men and eight million dollars depended on whether a knot-headed 25-year-old college dropout knew how to locate the North Star. My ego would not let me directly blame myself. No hot pilot was going to admit he did a poor job of pre-flighting and went night flying without a flashlight.
I could eject and save my skin, but I laughed when I thought about what the students would think. They did not know where they were, where they were going, or what was going on. They relied entirely on me to lead them, and then I go blasting out through the canopy with them watching me like red beetles. No, they were given to me in trust. They had no choice but to trust me as their Instructor Pilot and that made them my responsibility. If they go, we go together. But we'll all die trying . . . not to go.
I stared at that little star for an eternity. When the lights of a city loomed on the horizon, my heart pounded from anxiety. My throat was parched from gulping 100% oxygen. I knew this test was about to be graded. I didn’t know what city, but there were holes in the clouds and the clouds were only a 100 to 150 feet thick. I picked out a space, punched through in just seconds, and dead straight ahead of us was the biggest, longest, best lit runway in in the whole world. Four miles dead ahead and 800 feet below our flight path, with the duty runway lit and in line. It was Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. I didn't know whether we were upwind or downwind; I didn't care. I aimed for the nearest end of the duty runway. I hit the dive brakes, lowered the wheels, then the flaps. I didn't know how fast we were going but when the flaps didn't blow off I knew we were doing less than 165 knots. The plane would land at ninety-five knots. I put the wheels two feet over the end of the runway, pulled the throttle to idle and waited for the thing to quit flying. The students made a very good tight formation landing. It was their first formation landing ever, day or night.

On the roll out down the runway the number four man flamed out of fuel. As we turned onto the taxiway, the number three man ran out of fuel. My engine flamed out just as the plane entered the chocks.
The next day we returned to Chase Field. As I left the hanger to get in my car, I noticed my walk no longer had the swagger I had developed as an Instructor Pilot. In my body, mind, and spirit, I knew our lives were spared last night. I know not what His pleasure, but I know that on that hot, star filled, Texas night, the hand of God reached out and touched me. So many things had to line up for me to live.
That could not have been the North Star. I did not need to line up on a flight path to a duty runway that was Randolph Air Force Base. We could have run out of fuel 3 minutes early, and maybe I wasn’t the sole beneficiary of these events, et seq. I concluded I had met the Spirit of the Universe. I was not alone. All of my life I felt I was born alone, lived alone, and I would die alone, within my community.
At last I had a personal experience with my personal God. He was watching after me for His purposes. What was I supposed to do for Him? I didn’t know. I read Thomas Aquinas who concluded after a life time of writing text, (the basis for the Roman Catholic Church teachings) he said, “all of it is as straw.” For the next 40 years I studied the worlds religions and found them all lacking to the God of my personal experience. I found the founders and leaders of the world religions had fallen in love with their Dogma, not the God of their belief system. I noticed a common thread that the leaders of the world religions had. If they had a personal experience with the Spirit of the Universe they tried to make their personal experience a fact for others to accept and live by. They said, “Trust in my experience, it is the right and only God, all the rest are infidels and not to be trusted.” You cannot recreate a personal experience with another human being through words, logic, argument, or force. It just can’t be done. And that is how it stands today August 29, 2019. Each of the world religions vying to be the only one. And justifying killing to accomplish it.
The Spirit of the Universe is patient. It’s taken 13.5 billion light years to get us to August 29, 2019. If no one on earth can answer my four basic questions without requiring me to believe as they do, we have a rough ride ahead on this space ship we call earth. Look at the cesspool we are living in. Murders at hundreds of thousands annually, hundreds of millions killed in war, hundreds of death on our highways, suicides at an alarming rate, a whoremongering President of the United States, people starving in Africa, et. seq. Where is our hope.
I believe our hope lies in Love. A deep and abiding gratitude for and appreciation of the object loved and a global acceptance to not use force to impose out will on another. Our current definition of Love is wrong. It presumes a quid quo pro relationship. If I love you, you will love me. That can no longer be the definition of love. The Spirit of the Universe answers prayer. My study shows he knows no difference between a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, et seq. If we all come together and pray in love, what would be the result? All we know is that it would be “progress.” Who knows what our ultimate goal will be.

Lawrence McGrath
Sandestin, FL August 29, 2019



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Post Re: ex-christian.net
Hey, where are you guys. I thought this was a place to discus ideas. Your no comments are bewildering. Gimme some feed back. Lawrence



Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:59 pm
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Post Re: ex-christian.net
Hi Lawrence,

Nice to hear from you again after a while. Glad to see you engaging on such interesting questions at 86 years of age!

Thanks for sharing your great story from your close shave with death flying in Texas in the 1950s. You tell the story very well, and you also well explain how it links to the problem of believing in God. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, which is probably not true, but the point is that confronting our mortality, as you did at 30,000 feet and short of fuel and responsible for four young pilots, makes us ponder how we relate to the ultimate questions of reality.

The four questions you pose are very good. My thoughts on them are as follows.

Lawrence wrote:
Why was I born?
Human beings are the most complex entities in the known universe, by a long measure. Language, and especially the high achievement of literature and science, reflects the order of the cosmos in symbol, in a way that can legitimately be called the universe evolving the power of speech. This remarkable power appears to be unique to our planet and species, making the flourishing of human existence something that can be seen as reflecting the glory and grace of God. That is not to say that conventional stories about God are true, given the widespread corrupt practice of using spiritual vision as a means for temporal power. When we ponder the eternal question, why was I born?, we do not need to posit any claims that run counter to scientific knowledge. We can however think of God as those features of reality that are conducive for human flourishing.
Lawrence wrote:
What am I to do with myself as I live my life?
Our world is a mess. We are staring down the barrel of civilization collapse into conflict and poverty, with the appalling extinction of biodiversity caused by the delusional attitudes that have been fostered by conventional religious error. Talking about these problems in a serious way in order to work out how to fix them should be much more widely respected as a calling.
Lawrence wrote:
What are all the rest of the people on earth supposed to be doing as they live together with me?
If people could think about long term concerns, changing the public conversation away from short term interests, we would have the prospect to fix the problems of the world.
Lawrence wrote:
Is there life after death on this earth, for anyone, or everyone?
My view on this question is that the energy of the human soul is far more complex than our scientific analysis can demonstrate or prove, so we need to be cautious about making any firm assessments. This is obviously an area subject to populist mythology, since the belief in personal existence after death is a great comfort. What we do know is that the world will continue to exist after we die. We should really think of life after death as lived by our children. My thought on this is to say the meaning of life is the good of the future.


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"...Language, and especially the high achievement of literature and science..." And then there's music. Beethoven was able to record his thoughts because of musical notation, a form of language.

Good story, Lawrence. Thank you.

I tend to avoid religious discussions. It's all so personal. But I will say that atheists baffle me. Atheism is a form of absolutism as stubborn as any religious zealousness. How can anyone say that God doesn't exist? I can understand agnosticism, where the jury is still out, but atheism?


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Robert Tulip wrote:
Human beings are the most complex entities in the known universe, by a long measure.

I thought this guy had a good response to the "most complex creature" question. He tells us there really isn't an apex creature on the complexity scale. You have to delve into particular areas of complexity and find possible winners in each category. But it seems not scientifically accurate to declare humans to be the pinnacle of evolution. Not accurate, and potentially deceiving when it comes to what we are willing to do to advance the perceived interests of our species. Why are we a bigger deal than others? Religion and our selfish genes tell us we're the most special. I don't think the universe has an opinion.

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KS wrote:
But I will say that atheists baffle me. Atheism is a form of absolutism as stubborn as any religious zealousness. How can anyone say that God doesn't exist? I can understand agnosticism, where the jury is still out, but atheism?

Using gnosis, or direct knowledge of a Divinity as the starting point, agnostics state they have no such direct cognition. But understand agnosticism covers a very wide range on a spectrum of knowledge vs. belief. How many theists claim they have direct knowledge of a God? Very few can honestly agree with Carl Jung, "I don't need to believe, I know." On one end theists who have no knowledge if God exists, but based on experience and faith believe that One does, so technically they are agnostics. On the other side of that spectrum many people again have no knowledge whether or not God exists, but based on experience do not believe that God exists.

On the far ends of this spectrum there are precious few theists who "know" God exists and very few atheists who "know" or state god does not exist as an established fact. Even Richard Dawkins and friends are only 99.8% atheist; when you get down to brass tacks they will not state definitively that God does not exist, i.e. technically they also admit to being agnostic.

Oh what the heck, once again, here is Richard Dawkins' interpretation of this spectrum. He has placed himself as a 6 to 6.9 on this scale.

1: Strong theist. 100 per cent possibility of God. In the words of C.G. Jung, 'I do not believe, I know.'
2: Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist. 'I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.'
3: Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. 'I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.'
4: Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.'
5: Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. 'I don't know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be sceptical.'
6: Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'
7: Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung 'knows' there is one.'


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Post Re: ex-christian.net
Then we have that tricky issue, discussed by geo and others, of what we mean, even approximately, when we say "God." Whether or not there may be a God becomes a matter about which less certainty or uncertainty is available, as we get to concepts much less like the Bible God and more like some diffuse spiritual presence that doesn't minister to individuals,
Dawkins' scale works for me only in relation to a strong theism, simply because without that there's so much wiggle room.



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Post Re: ex-christian.net
LanDroid wrote:
Very few can honestly agree with Carl Jung, "I don't need to believe, I know."
This spectrum devised by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion does not appreciate the subtlety of Jung's thought. Jung is entirely the opposite of a religious fundamentalist, which is where Dawkins effectively places him.

Rather, Jung emerged from the modern atheist milieu of Freud and Nietzsche, but rejected their materialist thinking on the ground that spirituality is crucial to identity. Jung had an interesting concept called 'enantiodromia', which means that opposites become identical. This union of opposites seems to underpin his Gnosis claim about God, since he is drawing from the philosopher Spinoza's equation between God and Nature. And of course Spinoza, whom Jung held in high regard, is among the most notorious of atheists.


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