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But no gods do interact with humanity.

Your search for one will prove a lonely hunt.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:30 pm
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Post Chris:
I read in your profile that you're interested in all aspects of the faith-reason debate. If you're more interested in what is more "commonly" accepted as Christianity, that's all well and good, but I have a question:

Do you honestly ever think that you're going to be presented with a piece of evidence proving the existence of a supernatural God? Hasn't all the "evidence" you've seen up until now been either a hoax, confabulations of the overly credulous? What makes you think that you're going to run into something more sui generis in the future?

Do you think that one day God is going to present everyone with a piece of evidence, when he's let everyone else wallow in the dark for the last umpteen centuries?

What I mean to ask is: What is the end you're seeking in your continual following of the faith-reason debate? I know that when I was an atheist, after seeing a few hundred so-called pieces of evidence, I threw up my hands in disgust and wasn't interested any more in seeing what they thought passed for proof or not.

P.S. I was honestly interested in joining the chat with the author of the book. Do you really think I would get nothing from joining the debate?



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:38 pm
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As far as I am concerned you're an atheist and I think most people would agree.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:46 pm
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Well, thankfully for me, "most people" don't get to speak for me.

It's a good thing, too. Who knows what they'd say. I've heard a lot worse than "you're an atheist." Heh.



Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:48 pm
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Chris OConnor wrote:
Robert
Quote:
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?
Chris, this is empirical. Everyone can see the cosmic whole using science, even if it is harder to understand its nature in words. Yes we are indeed children of the cosmos, as are all living things. Neil Shubin in Your Inner Fish points out that a law of genetics is that all organisms arise from parental stock. The ultimate parental stock for human genes passes through four billion years of evolution on our planet, but before that derives from the anthropic life-enabling nature of the emerging solar system. Our parental stock is cosmic in origin, reflecting the elemental composition of our solar system and planet bequeathed by former generations of suns. The nature of our connection to the cosmos is the big question for theology and for science.

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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.
Chris, it is wrong to describe this comment as word salad. My point is to start from the agreed scientific position that the size and duration of the universe are not fully known, and to describe the period and scale beyond our knowledge as infinite and eternal, defined respectively as end points for the very big and the very long. As logical concepts, eternity and infinity can be approached with more than word salad precision. However, the problem arises of how humanity connects to these deep underlying realities. Religion claims an answer in metaphysics, but as Harrison points out, many popular religious ideas are false and illogical. This critique of popular religion does not invalidate the idea that humanity can connect to the divine.

Now, why do I say the visible universe is a mirror and path for the whole? This to me is again a conceptually simple piece of mathematical logic. The whole, postulated as the big bang, has a unity deriving from its common origin. Here is what I see as a law



Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:36 am
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John quoted:

Quote:
"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?"


This is the prayer of an innocent (child?) who mistakes 'God' for the Genie in the magic lamp. I have heard people pray in words.....but it is the 'prayer of the heart' that god hears. In one of St. Paul's Epistles he talks about praying with tears and groaning....not being able to verbalise..but he says, God hears and understands and will give us understanding. Now, I disagree with St. Paul on a whole lot of things....but in this case.....he was spot on.

Sorry Chris....I know this is all gobbledygook to you. ;-)


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Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:03 am
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Post Penelope:
I was commenting on what "prayer" tends to consist of in my part of the country. There's a running joke, in fact:

"What do you call the prayer of a Baptist?" "A list!"

"Lord, I need ... Jesus, can you please? ... et cetera."

It's a slight mischaracterization, but Chris will be able to vouch for you just HOW *close* some people really think they are to God in the states. They talk to him in prayer like he's the neighboor next door. It's a completely and utterly Protestant phenomenon, and totally befuddling to partake.



Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:11 am
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You know - I talk to God like that too. I don't let other people hear me though. I mean, when I feel perplexed.....I say, for instance:-

Look God, that Chris person says I sound like an atheist.....how can I sound like an atheist....when I am always banging on about my relationship to you (whatever you are) and the growth of my soul etc.

After a bit of peaceful reflection....

God says.....'He means you don't sound like a Christian, which you're not are you? ' 'No, I'm not, I am just a believer'. 'Good' he says.

Of course this conversation doesn't take place......but it is how I work at putting profound things into simple words.....so that I can get my head around it all. It Works.....for Me.

It is something about being female I think....I don't know what I think until I've said it. I need words to get the picture you see.


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Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:04 am
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ROFL

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The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.


I finally read your signature! This is pretty funny.



Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:30 pm
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Robert, I may have been reading too much into your writing style. Some of us are just too damn literal. When I heard "child of the cosmos" I thought of supernatural...metaphysical... magical...mumbo-jumbo, and from your follow-up post this wasn't what you were saying at all.

So I apologize for not asking for clarification before I gave my premature assessment of your post. I was starting to get frustrated by a few other discussions happening concurrently in this forum and I jumped on your words as an emotional response. Your clarification was helpful.



Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:05 pm
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Chris OConnor wrote:
Robert, I may have been reading too much into your writing style. Some of us are just too damn literal. When I heard "child of the cosmos" I thought of supernatural...metaphysical... magical...mumbo-jumbo, and from your follow-up post this wasn't what you were saying at all. So I apologize for not asking for clarification before I gave my premature assessment of your post. I was starting to get frustrated by a few other discussions happening concurrently in this forum and I jumped on your words as an emotional response. Your clarification was helpful.


Hi Chris, I am finding this a fascinating discussion, and appreciate robust comment when statements are unclear. Too often people read something and jump to conclusions without opening a dialogue, especially with loaded words like cosmic. It reminds me of a talk I went to last year where a leading theologian (NT Wright) was getting stuck into new-age Gnosticism, and used as his example Joni Mitchell's song Woodstock, which he claimed had the line 'we are starlight'. He saw this as an example of an airy new age falsity. I pointed out to him that Mitchell's statement was 'we are stardust' which is empirically correct, a point he didn't really appreciate.

I got my copy of Harrison's book yesterday and have read about eighty pages. He is an engaging and entertaining writer, but I think a basic flaw in his approach is that he defines God out of existence. By saying that only scientific evidence can be used to assess God claims, he ignores the issue of how evidence needs to be integrated into a coherent world view. My opinion is that coherence requires a religious outlook, in the original meaning of "re-binding" (legare is Latin for connect), in that the cosmos has a deep complexity and unity that science barely scratches.

Where Harrison points out contradictions between faiths, he gives a valuable guide to critical thinking in religion. However, a purely literal interpretation is inadequate to address belief, as many religious ideas are essentially mythic



Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:07 am
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Robert said:

Quote:
For example, a story such as the crucifixion of Jesus Christ may be lacking in historical evidence, but it continues to resonate because it speaks volumes about the tragic nature of our world and the potential for redemption. A question such as whether the nails went through Jesus' hands or the wrists is barely relevant to the symbolic power of this iconic event


Redemption means - buying back - like when my Grandma used to pawn her wedding ring in the middle of the week - But would go and redeem it at the weekend when Grandad got paid.

I am not comfortable with the word used in this sense.

Atonement - I like much better - because that can be broken down into AT-ONE-MENT. Which is what I see as my purpose in existing....to become at one with what Robert has just brilliantly described...as the Mirror Image. I often wondered what I was trying to become 'at one' with Robert. It is a definite, and sometimes inexplicable, urge. I found your metaphore very, very helpful and so.......I hope that is what you meant. Could you tell me?

Thank you Robert Tulip......again.


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Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:08 pm
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Quote:
A question such as whether the nails went through Jesus' hands or the wrists is barely relevant to the symbolic power of this iconic event.


Being a literalist I struggle to get past these little inaccuracies. If the Bible is supposed to be the inerrant word of God why are there so many contradictions, logical impossibilities and blatant errors? Granted, there is much beauty in some of the stories and lessons of the Bible, but I don't think it is reasonable to believe that the Bible has a divine origin when there are so many obvious problems.

And I do care about the true origins of the Christian Bible. A beautiful message is just not enough for me. I want truth and honesty and I don't feel I get this from the Bible. Maybe I should take the good and discard the bad, but I already adhere to all of the good principles in the Bible and I didn't need the Bible to tell me to do so. I just don++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++'

My cat seriously just sat on my keyboard so I'll leave the above or else risk hurting his feelings.

Anyway, I lost my train of thought. :shock:



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Well, Chris the Bible obviously isn't the infallible Word of God.

The Bible is a whole bunch of books bound together - some are history, some are poetry, some laws and etc....

And bound together somewhat arbitrarily from what I can gather.

Yes, some of it is beautiful and thought provoking......but when anyone says I can't just choose bits of the Bible to believe and others reject, I reply - who says?

Some of it is excruciatingly boring........

And some of it in the early part of the OT - about the sacrifice of animals is positively sickening and barbaric.


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

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Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:21 pm
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PS - And if I want to use it to stop the table leg from wobbling - I don't think God will be terribly upset.

And if you want to throw it at your cat......he won't like you to do that!!!!

For the cat's sake.....not the book's.

But we don't throw any books about do we?


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

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Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:24 pm
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