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In reply to Chris and Robert - regarding references to Reincarnation in the Bible:-

I suggest you ask 'Frank' - God Bless Him....he know his Bible better than I....and I bet he can point you to the quotes I want.

My husband is getting disturbed at my rifling through my 'Cruden's Concordence' - and looking in my Bible for quotes....he thinks I'm becoming demented. And for once....I know I'm not... :laugh:

I love you all on here.....you are my friends (even Mr.P)....but my husband matters more....so bloody look it up....your bloody self!!!!

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Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:14 pm
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Quote:
There was a young man I workled with that had a similar situation


Nick, is "workled" a mix of "fondled" and "worked?" So you fondled this young man at work?



Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:20 pm
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Quote:

What if I made up a story with an abundance of symbolic power? As long as the story elicits the desired effect in the target audience the truth isn't important. This seems to be what you're saying when you say, "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." If we can identify holes in the story and find absolutely no empirical evidence for the balance of the tale why should we believe?

I know...I'm a bit of a party pooper. I think too much. I question too much. I'm a skeptic and a cynic. Maybe I should just join the flocks of followers and stop analyzing every last detail. But I can't. It isn't in my nature.


no, you are not a party pooper. this is exactly the point. if someone wants to make up wonderful stories, I'll read harry potter, the hobbit, etc. But if someone wants me to base my belief system on this. I want it to be factual. And being able to show that it is factual, or at least reasonably should be factual, is very, very important.


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Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:59 pm
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Chris OConnor wrote:
Quote:
There was a young man I workled with that had a similar situation


Nick, is "workled" a mix of "fondled" and "worked?" So you fondled this young man at work?


Yes actually...I fondled him at work with a piece of Jesus toast.



Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:15 pm
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:laugh: That was good Nick.

Oh, and I am in agreement with you, Ginof. When it comes to stuff I actually believe I want facts not warm and fuzzy stories.



Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:54 pm
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Post So, what am I doing here?
Chris OConnor wrote:
'Virgin Mary' toast fetches $28,000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4034787.stm


WTF am I doing wasting my time posting to this board?! I'm going to go work the toaster!!!!

:laugh:


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I have thought about this ridiculous eBay auctions many times. There has to be something stupid I can sell and make a fortune.



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Post 
ginof wrote:
if someone wants to make up wonderful stories, I'll read harry potter, the hobbit, etc. But if someone wants me to base my belief system on this. I want it to be factual. And being able to show that it is factual, or at least reasonably should be factual, is very, very important.


Ginof, I completely agree, but the question I was trying to raise in mentioning the wrist/palm crucifixion issue was that actual belief systems have a mutating mythic content, and that this content evolves in response to cultural resonance. The cross is primarily a myth (ie a source of cultural meaning) rather than a basis for objective knowledge. I view the story of the cross as a displaced trauma. Josephus in The Jewish Wars described the Roman behaviour towards the Jews in 70 AD in the siege of Jerusalem as follows (see http://www.religiousstudies.uncc.edu/jd ... ephus.html
Quote:
they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more: yet it did not appear to be safe for him to let those that were taken by force go their way, and to set a guard over so many he saw would be to make such a great deal of them useless to him. The main reason why he did not forbid that cruelty was this, that he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at that sight, out of fear lest they might themselves afterwards be liable to the same cruel treatment. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies.


It is estimated at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(70) that more than one million people may have died as a result of the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD. According to Josephus, the limiting factor on crucifixion was wood for crosses. This massive assault led to the Jewish diaspora around the Mediterranean.

Analysing Christian beliefs about the cross against the psychological framework of mythic displacement of trauma, it can be argued that the massive Roman assault of 70AD was too much for collective memory to bear, so the memory mutated into the 'one for all' idea of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, already attractively presented by Paul and the Gospels. The stigmata are signs of kingly power, like power beams from the fantastic four. Hence in the popular imagination this version that Jesus was crucified through the hands as a sacrificial scapegoat came to have pride of place. It is a shame that the church is incapable of analysing its beliefs through mythic anthropology. I think this example helps to show why Christianity had such powerful popular resonance in the ancient world, with the massive shocking reality of the Roman assault transmuted into something bearable and even redeeming. Part of the issue is that in the history written by the victors the Romans shared their guilt with the Jews, when in reality the death of Christ was primarily a crime of Rome. In deconstructing such a story it is important to be sensitive to the dimension of mythic cultural meaning, rather than rejecting it simply because it is inconsistent.



Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:21 am
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Post Re: Review of Chapter 3: "Faith Is a Good Thing":
hegel1066 wrote:
Faith is always, in part, answerable to logic and reason: the objects of my faith are all in accord with modern-day science (and, I hasten to add, Einstein's field equations.) The dynamic part of faith, however, does not rest in the ability of its content to be either proven or disproven. Faith is a wooly mix of person, interpersonal, communal, and cultural standards which can't be quantified (or qualified) by reason alone. The author shows that he does not understand this subtlety when he says, "I have faith in many things, too, but not in the existence of gods because there is nothing to base that faith on." (p. 27). Precisely: If you had "something to base that faith on," it would stop being faith and commence being something else: namely, scientific evidence. In short, the objects of faith cannot (or, in my opinion, should not) contradict what we know about the natural world, but the purview of faith is not science and scientific fact: the contents of faith are often those cultural, historical and religious meta-narratives that explain, console, and sometimes leave us in awe.


first and foremost: thank you for constraining your faith to things to be in accord with modern day science. Also, please recognize that many of us are forced to deal with who do not have this same respect for science. We find it particularly dangerous when those with these 'lesser' opinions are in control of the White House and large voting blocks of the house and senate.

but I'm not quite sure I agree with you about the purview of faith is not science and scientific fact. the cultural, historical and religious narratives should fall squarely in the realm of anthropology, right? And many areas that have been mysterious to persons of the past are beginning to be studied scientifically (although obviously in the early stages), and some amazing results are in (see the previous booktalk book: Looking for Spinoza). The greatest conflicts between religion and science historically has been when science finds something that 'debunks' religion. Just ask Galileo. Today we see this issue with evolution and global warming. In many ways significant parts of the faith community are 'slowing down' the pursuit of knowledge and to that extent is being harmful to us all.

I do see legitimate places for the faith community in the scientific one: ethics. Should we build a bigger bomb? What about cloning? etc. But it is also possible to have that discussion without relying on faith alone.


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Post Re: Review of Chapter 3: "Faith Is a Good Thing":
hegel1066 wrote:
For Kierkegaard, to have faith is to make a trans-rational break with the rational, to connect with something more uncanny (the German here might be translated to Freud's unheimlich). So - and this is the clencher - to truly, and to say with intellectual honesty that you have faith that god exists - you must be uncertain of god's existence.


That's just awesome. It makes total sense to me. To have the firmest, unshakable faith, you must have been a doubter and worked your way back to it. For someone who has actually done this, I can see why it would be so powerful.

my guess is that not too many actually make this journey. I wish there was some data on it (perhaps there is?). It would be a great piece of evidence in the overall puzzle.


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Post Re: Atheism Really is a Religion:
hegel1066 wrote:
If this proves unsatisfactory to the reader, we can always consider the definition in Random House's Unabridged Dictionary: "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies ... and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."


of course, you are correct in that the definitions are very broad and depending on the definition you choose, you are likely to get different answers. However, just sticking to the Random House definition, I don't think Atheism qualifies as a religion as it is NOT a set of beliefs. As outlined in the book, atheists don't believe in the big bang, evolution, etc. If there was evidence that the big bang, gravity or whatever in science was wrong, an atheist would 'jump ship'. But someone relying on faith to answer these questions is 'stuck' from the perspective that they have no theoretical basis to change what they believe. This inability for religion to be flexible with changing knowledge is what got the Galileo in trouble with the Church. Perhaps your brand of religion can easily 'roll with the punches' here. The issue is that many brands can not.


Quote:
Both of the alternative definitions of religion that I gave at the end of the second paragraph hint at some sort of "societal" or "moral" code that is somehow associated with that religious belief. Let me list some that my own brand of liberal Christianity associates itself with:


I'm not surprised that a humanist site has a lot of cross purposes with christianity. Certainly, humanists claim to take from all traditions, where ever there is 'good' to be found. Certainly christianity has a lot of good associated with it and no humanist/atheist would deny that.


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Post Comments on Chapter 2
As someone who likes the book, I have to say that Harrison doesn't argue the 'Almost everyone on earth is religious' as well as he could have.

When arguing that the number of believers alone is not sufficient, he uses an example of everyone believing in elves. A much better example would be 'the world is flat', which at one point, almost everyone did believe. Certainly, the massive belief that existed on the point did not make it true. Hell, I think 70% of americans still believe that sadam had WMD and was involved in 9/11!

He also argues that if religion were so self evident, all the effort that goes into religious education would not be needed. This is easily rebuffed with the arguments that there is nothing obvious about doctrine (i.e. how many angels can dance on a pinhead) and that the forces of evil need to be kept at bay vs impressionable minds.

I recognize that he's trying to keep it short, but he also missed the argument made earlier that many people are in fact not religious at all.


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Post What did you think of the quote by Mark Twain in CH 3?
Quote:
faith is believing what you know ain't so


the way i took this statement was as a contradiction. what you know isn't actually true. do you not know anything? perhaps he's saying that's what faith is: a contradiction.

What does everyone else think?


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Actually, Penelope, it is not that the opinion is different than my own. It is that the opinion is irrational. All opinions are not deserving of respect. Someone who believes 2 + 2 = 5 has a different opinion than mine. And it is a bullshit or nonsense opinion built upon ignorance. I'm allowed to say so too. So are you. But we somehow treat God beliefs as hands-off and untouchable. This is a mistake. All beliefs are subject to scrutiny.



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...I get offended by what I see as a wasted opportunity. This is your website, and it is a good one with a lot of potential for intellectual growth....what a shame that you tend to give such a wrong first impression, just for the sake of Kudos. It is a tragic waste of excellent resources.


I'm being honest, Penelope. I don't call something nonsense for kudos. I do it because I'm honest and bright enough to know it is nonsense.

You seem to be under the impression that a different approach might be more effective. I disagree. Or at least I have never seen a different approach work more effectively.

I'm aware that telling someone they are delusional and that their entire faith is built upon ignorance and fantasy is not going to immediately snap them out of their delusion, but neither is candy-coating the exact same message. The bottom line is the message is correct. You don't like the message so I'm never going to deliver that message in a satisfactory way to you.

You might think that I shouldn't be judging faith so harshly. I disagree. Richard Dawkins wrote a book "The God Delusion" about this very subject. Some of us think the message needs to be delivered even if we ruffle some fathers in the delivery. Irrational delusional people aren't easy to talk to and speaking softly and civilly never works, in my experience, but shocking them into opening their eyes sometimes does work. The only theists I have seen evolve intellectually have been the ones with the balls to deal with being told that they are delusional. Without facing this fact the average theist lives in denial and their growth is impossible.

BookTalk.org is not wasting resources. If someone runs away because they don't want to consider that their faith is built upon delusion then they have a deeper problem and I'm not going to take responsibility for their inability to achieve growth.



Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:56 am
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