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Post Robert Tulip:
By all means, get the book so we can begin look at it together. It sounds at least like we might be of similar mind with regard to the author's over approach. You mentioned Tillich: and I'm glad that you know of him. I mentioned to Chris in another thread that it's precisely because the author is "leaving out all the philosopical fluff" that makes his book an easier target than it would be otherwise. Anyone can set up a strawman and knock it down. That doesn't take any tremendous sense of effort or intellectual poise.

I have a feeling that most of my arguments are going to be dismissed on the basis of being too "philosophically sophisticated" because they mention people like Tillich and Kierkegaard. (I don't mean to sound conceited when I say this, and I genuinely hope it's not the case.) But if subtlety is not actively engaged with, how are we to arrive at an intellectually dynamic conclusion?

-John (hegel1066)



Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:02 pm
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Post Penelope:
I don't actually think we disagree. It's just that I have to be very careful when I use the word "prayer" here where I live. People tend to understand it as "chatting with Jesus." I think both you and I would have it mean something very divergent from that.

And as far as reading religion to get closer to god ... well, I'm not sure it can take you further away, like you might have suggested. But I think I learn more from meditating about history than most things.

-John (hegel1066



Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:07 pm
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One more post ought to do it.

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I am thinking about the prayer of the atheist:

Dear God, if there is a God...save my soul, if I've got one.

Is this like 'chatting with Jesus'?

Does it make it any less viable because we don't have the intellect to follow the philosophical discussions?

I don't pretend to know......I am just asking, as I pray, with humility.


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:01 pm
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Post Penelope:
Penelope:

This is the way I've heard some people pray. Seriously...

"Jesus, I'm still waiting on that set of lottery numbers to come in, but they haven't .... and my boyfriend is still unattractive, can you make him moreso?"

Thanks like that. The most superficial ridiculous things you could ever imagine.

-John (hegel1066)



Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:48 pm
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Robert

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My reason for believing in God is that humanity is a child of the cosmos and is naturally connected to the cosmic whole.


As you lay down your premises I immediately see problems. No, humanity is not a child of anything. Our species is but one of millions of species currently thriving on this planet. Why do you need to call us a child of the cosmos? Are acorns and water buffalo children of the cosmos and naturally connected to the cosmic whole? What is this "cosmic whole?" And why are you able to see it and I can't?

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This connection is divine in nature, because the part of the universe that we connect to directly - the visible stars - is a mirror for and path to the eternal and infinite that we define as God.


To say that this doesn't make sense would be being far too kind. This is "word salad" with absolutely no real meaning. I guess I'll wait for you to explain yourself in more detail.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:42 pm
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...that it's precisely because the author is "leaving out all the philosopical fluff" that makes his book an easier target than it would be otherwise.


Saying this book is an easy target seems to imply that you find it easy to counter his arguments. As of yet I have not seen you or anyone else achieve this goal.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:51 pm
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Well, if a god exists he could come talk to me.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:20 pm
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Post Chris:
What makes you think he would want to?

And there are plenty of people who claim to talk to God all the time. Who's to say they're wrong, and you're right?

And what if he's talking to you already, but you haven't the capacity to hear?

Oh, the possibilities.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:21 pm
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Maybe he would want me to believe he exists.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:24 pm
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Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. But who are you and I to presume to know what he would want?

I have little interest in convincing an ant of my existence, especially when I can just step on it if I wish.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:26 pm
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Where does your God live?



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:28 pm
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Post Chris:
My god can't be located in any one place. I think I can pass God on through my actions (which is why I feel compelled to apologize for some of the things I said earlier). I find little pieces of divinity in the connections that I make with people.

For me, God is the openness of all possibility and the Ultimate Ground of Being (there's Tillich again). God is the fabric that I form my secular humanism out of (and, yes, I consider myself a secular humanist.) There are secular humanist Christians out there, just like you've convinced me that there are agnostic atheists.

God is also an admission of my ultimate ignorance of the origins of science and the origin of origins.

I hope this makes at least an iota of sense. Admittedly, on any given day, it makes little sense to me, too.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:34 pm
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You might be a Religious Humanist or a Christian Humanist, but you're certainly not a Secular Humanist. I'm sure you agree with many of the basic tenets of Secular Humanism, but your belief in a God removes you from the Secular Humanism worldview.

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/sum-r002.html

What are the basic beliefs of Secular Humanism? What do Secular Humanists believe?

[i]Theologically, Secular Humanists are atheists. Humanist Paul Kurtz, publisher of Prometheus Books and editor of Free Inquiry magazine, says that "Humanism cannot in any fair sense of the word apply to one who still believes in God as the source and creator of the universe."[5] Corliss Lamont agrees, saying that "Humanism contends that instead of the gods creating the cosmos, the cosmos, in the individualized form of human beings giving rein to their imagination, created the gods."[6]

Philosophically, Secular Humanists are naturalists. That is, they believe that nature is all that exists - the material world is all that exists. There is no God, no spiritual dimension, no afterlife. Carl Sagan said it best in the introduction to his Cosmos series: "The universe is all that is or ever was or ever will be."[7] Roy Wood Sellars concurs. "Humanism is naturalistic," he says, "and rejects the supernaturalistic stance with its postulated Creator-God and cosmic Ruler."[8]

Secular Humanist beliefs in the area of biology are closely tied to both their atheistic theology and their naturalist philosophy. If there is no supernatural, then life, including human life, must be the result of a purely natural phenomenon. Hence, Secular Humanists must believe in evolution. Julian Huxley, for example, insists that "man ... his body, his mind and his soul were not supernaturally created but are all products of evolution."[9] Sagan, Lamont, Sellars, Kurtz



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I agree with Paul Kurtz. I don't believe in "a God as the source and creator of the universe." And, too, with Corliss Lamont. I do "contend that instead of the gods creating the cosmos, the cosmos, in the individualized form of human beings giving reign to their imagination, created the gods."

I'm also a naturalist, and disavow supernaturalism.

It is NOT true that all secular humanists believe "There is no God, no spiritual dimension, no afterlife." While I happen to believe there is no afterlife, that is just the opinion of one person. I've been to plenty of meetings of secular humanists, and I've asked them if they consider a "spiritual dimension" in their life. And you can't say that doesn't make them a secular humanist any more than you can they can't say you're a atheist-agnostic. If your lexicographic definition, is flawed, so be it. But don't take so literally the definition of a single organization which just happens to have the words "secular" and "humanist" in its name. Perhaps their definition, like the dictionary's is incomplete, or flawed, or doesn't suit the case for 100% of their members.

I choose to use the more open-ended definition, which I just happened to pull from wikipedia:

"Secular humanism is a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics and justice, and specifically rejects the supernatural and the spiritual as warrants of moral reflection and decision-making. Like other types of humanism, secular humanism is a life stance focusing on the way human beings can lead good and happy lives.

"Secular humanism" was coined in the 20th century to make a clear distinction from "religious humanism". A related concept is "scientific humanism", which biologist Edward O. Wilson claimed to be "the only worldview compatible with science's growing knowledge of the real world and the laws of nature".

And since I don't believe in "the supernatural and the spiritual as warrants of moral reflection and decision-making," I fit the bill.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:06 pm
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It sounds like you have some unusual beliefs that don't fit into any particular world religion. I don't think this book was written to address every single belief system. Personally, I have yet to hear you define your God in any meaningful way so I don't see where this discussion can go from here.

You called yourself a Christian yet you deny the supernatural aspects of Christianity. To me this means you're not really a Christian, yet you seem to gain something from calling yourself one. So be it. This doesn't make sense to me.

Did Jesus die on the cross for your sins? If you don't believe this you're not a Christian. Did Jesus rise from the dead and ascend into heaven? This is a supernatural claim. Do you believe it? If not you're not a Christian, but if so your claim to not believe in the supernatural doesn't make sense.

I'm sure you're used to hearing that your beliefs don't mesh with the majority of religious beliefs. Well, this book isn't designed to address every single conception of a god. No book can cover every arbitrary belief, and this is exactly what your beliefs appear to be.

It has been interesting talking to you about these things, but please forgive me if I start to lose interest. I am more interested in mainstream world religions, such as Christianity. Few Christians would argue that God exists only in the human mind. I'm more concerned with the God that interacts with humanity.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:27 pm
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