Does Christianity Lead to a Better Society?

field of yellow flowersStudies have compared believers and atheists on lots of issues—compassion, mental health, happiness, intelligence, quality of marriages, and even antidepressant consumption. I have little interest in the game where the Christian and atheist each present studies to show how their group is superior in this or that social category. My interest lies more in which worldview is more accurate.

Nevertheless, we often hear that Christianity leads to a better society—or, perhaps more often, that the loss of Christianity leads to a worse society. In this scenario, God is furious about our acceptance of homosexuals or abortion or whatever, so he allows the 9/11 attack or Hurricane Katrina or the latest school shootings.

But this is a claim that we can test.

Researcher Gregory Paul used public records of social metrics such as suicide, lifespan, divorce, alcohol consumption, and life satisfaction to compare 17 Western countries (the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and 12 European countries). He concluded:

Of the 25 socioeconomic and environmental indicators, the most theistic and procreationist western nation, the U.S., scores the worst in 14 and by a very large margin in 8, very poorly in 2, average in 4, well or very well in 4, and the best in 1. . . .

Because the U.S. performs so poorly in so many respects, its cumulative score on the [Successful Societies Scale is lowest,] placing it as an outlier so dysfunctional relative to the other advanced democracies that some researchers have described it as “sick.” (p. 416)

The metrics in which the U.S. ranks worst out of the 17 countries are homicides, incarceration, under-5 mortality, gonorrhea, syphilis, abortions, teen births, marriage duration, income inequality, poverty, and hours worked.

But it’s #1 in God belief, prayer, belief in heaven and hell, and in rejection of evolution! That’s not much consolation to the Christian, however, because this study destroys the notion that religious belief is correlated with societal health.

What causes what?

Why do we find this correlation of secularism with social health? And in what direction should a society move to improve social health?

Conditions in America are decent in spite of the strong influence of Christianity, not because of it. From a related article by Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman, here are the secrets to making a secular society:

It is to be expected that in 2nd and 3rd world nations where wealth is concentrated among an elite few and the masses are impoverished that the great majority cling to the reassurance of faith.

Nor is it all that surprising that faith has imploded in most of the west. Every single 1st world nation that is irreligious shares a set of distinctive attributes. These include handgun control, anti-corporal punishment and anti-bullying policies, rehabilitative rather than punitive incarceration, intensive sex education that emphasizes condom use, reduced socio-economic disparity via tax and welfare systems combined with comprehensive health care, increased leisure time that can be dedicated to family needs and stress reduction, and so forth.

As a result the great majority enjoy long, safe, comfortable, middle class lives that they can be confident will not be lost due to factors beyond their control. It is hard to lose one’s middle class status in Europe, Canada and so forth, and modern medicine is always accessible regardless of income. Nor do these egalitarian cultures emphasize the attainment of immense wealth and luxury, so most folks are reasonably satisfied with what they have got. Such circumstances dramatically reduces peoples’ need to believe in supernatural forces that protect them from life’s calamities, help them get what they don’t have, or at least make up for them with the ultimate Club Med of heaven.

The U.S. is the anomaly among its peers. Why does its large, educated, comfortable middle class cling to belief in a supernatural creator? Paul and Zuckerman say that it’s because they are insecure: salaries and jobs are under pressure from companies eager to cut costs, health insurance is uncertain, social pressure to keep up with the Jones increases debt, and so on. A single extended illness can bankrupt a family.

They also reject the popular hypothesis that America’s separation of church and state has encouraged a vibrant mix of Christian denominations that have had to fight for market share, making a stronger Christianity. They cite Australia and New Zealand who both have a strong separation of church and state but far less religiosity.

What use is faith?

They conclude that a healthy society eliminates the need for faith.

Every time a nation becomes truly advanced in terms of democratic, egalitarian education and prosperity it loses the faith. It’s guaranteed. That is why perceptive theists are justifiably scared. In practical terms their only . . . hope is for nations to continue to suffer from socio-economic disparity, poverty and maleducation. That strategy is, of course, neither credible nor desirable. And that is why the secular community should be more encouraged. . . .

The religious industry simply lacks a reliable stratagem for defeating disbelief in the 21st century.

So perhaps many of us have it backwards. This is not a contest between religion and secularism that will determine the quality of society. Rather, the quality of society will determine whether religion or secularism will thrive. In a dysfunctional society, religion helps pick up the pieces, but in a society where life is secure, religion is unnecessary and withers away.

Do you want a religious society or a healthy one? You can’t have both.

Incredibly, I’m sure many American Christian leaders would happily choose a religious society over a healthy one.

Celebrate life: live better, help often, wonder more.
— Motto of the Sunday Assembly

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 1/6/14.)

Image credit: Peter Mooney, flickr, CC

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Max Doubt
    • Jim Jones

      Just one boy?

      Australia’s worst paedophile priest ‘molested every boy’ at a school in Victoria, Australia

      Australia’s royal commission into child sex abuse was told that senior Church leaders were aware of the crimes of Father Gerald Ridsdale and an “evil” paedophile ring that he operated for decades.

      A royal commission into child sex abuse heard that Father Gerald Ridsdale abused more than 50 children over three decades, including all of the boys at the school in Mortlake.

      In 1971, each of the male teachers and the chaplain at the St Alipius primary school was molesting children.

      Philip Nagle, who was abused at the school, held up a photograph of his fourth grade class and said that twelve of the 33 boys had since committed suicide.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        Number of children Jesus called the authorities to help:

        0… 0?!!?000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

  • Sophia Sadek

    Christianity is so abysmal that there is no way to go but up.

    • busterggi

      Down is ALWAYS an option.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Kony 2012

      • Michael Neville

        Been Down So Long it Looks Like Up to Me, a novel by Richard Fariña

  • busterggi

    Society has never been better than it was during the Dark Ages when Europe was uniformly Christian.

    • Tony D’Arcy

      And the Black Death killed out 1/3 of the population of Europeans countries ! Noah’s Flood, upped by a few million additional deaths ! And Jesus did bugger all as usual. The upside ? Those who the plague didn’t kill had a better chance of earning more money as a result of less competition among labourers.

      • Pofarmer

        And my understanding is the Black Death also weakened the hold of the Church, as it became sorta obvious those guys couldn’t do anything about it either.

        • TheNuszAbides

          from what i’ve read about the superstitious weirdness desperate populations would resort to, the church pros likely didn’t have the energy/stomach/numbers to dissuade such shenanigans … and maybe didn’t have enough slick demagogues afterwards to tilt in Bog’s favor whatever Sharpshooter fallacies the survivors used to prop up their luck narrative.

        • Kodie

          Maybe that was the rapture.

    • lady_black

      And pretty uniformly poor and ignorant, as well.

      • Tony D’Arcy

        I see lady_black has discerned the true purpose of Christianity ! No uppities around here ! Lawd be thanked

    • Michael Neville

      Thomas Hobbes, writing in Leviathan published in 1651, described most people of his era:

      No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

      • epicurus

        When quoting Hobbs I once accidentally said “nasty, British, and short.”
        Hehehe

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        No, he said that was how life would be in a “state of nature”.

  • Lerk!

    “Incredibly, I’m sure many American Christian leaders would happily choose a religious society over a healthy one.”

    No doubt! They often remark that people “drift away” when their lives are good. Of course, they’ll attribute it to the idea that “having fun” is a sort of idol that draws people away from their god. When they use the phrase “the cares of this world” they don’t mean the problems of life, they mean the things you care about that have to do with real life. When a person’s life is good, they’re so busy enjoying it that they don’t have time for ol’ Yahweh!

    So they might welcome a little more poverty. I don’t think they are deliberately trying to make that happen, but as you describe in this post, religiosity actually results in more poverty. It’s a vicious cycle, and perhaps the Christian meme evolved that way.

    • Michael Neville

      Long-haired preachers come out every night,
      Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
      But when asked how ’bout something to eat
      They will answer with voices so sweet:

      CHORUS:
      You will eat, bye and bye,
      In that glorious land above the sky;
      Work and pray, live on hay,
      You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

      –Joe Hill, “The Preacher and the Slave”

      • TheNuszAbides

        i heard Utah Philips adding “that’s a lie!” to the end of the chorus in his rendition.

        • Greg G.

          This is moose turd pie! ….

          It’s good, though.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          So… it’s wooden pie?

          Uses for moose turds people sell in gift shops:
          * kindling
          * a level: if it rolls, you messed
          up
          * weatherman: if it’s rolling aroud, it’s windy; if wet, it’s raining

        • Greg G.

          * medical diagnosis: If it stinks, your sinuses are clear.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          They really don’t stink once dry. They’re just wooden… “beads”… from an anus, if you will…

      • Lerk!

        I heard that on the FFRF podcast once. Awesome song!

    • Greg G.

      So they might welcome a little more poverty. I don’t think they are deliberately trying to make that happen, but as you describe in this post, religiosity actually results in more poverty.

      I wonder if Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen actually believe that those who send their hard-gained money to them are receiving the tangible benefits they preach will come to their suckers?

      • Lerk!

        You’re right. I confused “American Christian leaders” with the average preacher or leader of a small- to medium-sized church. Most of those folks don’t comprehend the harm they’re doing. The big names… those people are nothing but evil.

  • Herald Newman

    Do you want a religious society or a healthy one? You can’t have both.

    Sadly, I know a lot of people who will choose the former over the latter, even knowing this relationship. It shows us the incredible power of brainwashing, where people choose against their best interests because they been told never to accept the alternative.

    • Pofarmer

      Fear of Death is a very powerful motivator.

      • lady_black

        Actually, I find the prospect of no life after death strangely comforting. And, I’m not the only one.

        • Otto

          I agree, though many have a hard time with it.

          My wife and I are both now atheists. She hates the idea that ‘this is all there is’, though she believes it is the case. I on the other hand am relieved that it appears to be the case. I chalk it up to my Catholic upbringing filled with devils and demons while she did not have any of that in her Christian upbringing.

        • Pofarmer

          I find Catholics extremely afraid of death, which always strikes me as odd. And it’s the most devout ones that worry the most. Not sure which is the chicken or egg.

        • Michael Neville

          The Catholics I know who fear death are afraid they or their loved ones will go to Hell for violating some minor triviality of “God’s Law” like having impure thoughts or breaking the Lenten fast. My Catholic mother pleaded with me on her death bed to reconcile with the Church or else I’d go to Hell.

        • Otto

          Well isn’t that just wonderful…ugh

          I have a feeling this is coming for me too soon, my mother does not have a lot of time left. She sat down my brother and I when I was 16 and told us she was afraid for our souls.

        • Pofarmer

          The thing about Catholicism is that there’s never any end to it. “Oh, you go to Church every Sunday?, you should go every day!” “Oh, you say such and such prayers? How quaint, here are these daily Novena’s you should do.” “You’re not doing communion right” Blah, blah, blah, blah, fucking blah. The whole thing is DESIGNED to keep people guessing and feeling that they’re not good enough, not doing enough. They always need to do just one more thing. Fuck, I hate that Church.

        • Pofarmer

          I think disqus ate my comment. We’ll see.

        • Greg G.

          Do you mean the one that concludes with “Fuck, I hate that Church”? It’s there.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s the one. Disqus is acting more bonkers than usual. I replied from my disqus page. It didn’t show up as a comment, and it doesn’t show up on my home comment page, although this one does.

        • Greg G.

          It’s still there:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/06/christianity-lead-better-society-2/#comment-3357379615

          I was typing a reply to a comment when somebody else replied to it. I hit the post button about three minutes later and it was in moderation, and still is.

          I tattled on one of POPPONE’s socks last night but it was gone about an hour later and Bob can’t find it either.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          They have a hell to worry about, plus purgatory even if they’re absolved. So it may not be too surprising.

        • Herald Newman

          I don’t particularly like the idea that I’m eventually not going to exist, but I accept it as an inevitable consequence of being able to live.

          Unlike the religious person, I have a motivation to savor every moment, and not waste it on meaningless religious nonsense.

        • Michael Neville

          Almost all of the various advertised afterlifes are not appealing to me. The Christian afterlife is singing hymns of praise to a narcissistic megalomaniac. The Muslim afterlife is the wet dream of a 15 year old male virgin. The Jewish afterlife consists of debating Talmudic minutiae, a subject of no interest to me. The Norse afterlife is a combination brawl and steakhouse, ending with a battle where everyone dies. Only the Buddhist and Hindu afterlives of nirvana entering into nothingness, has any interest for me. But since, as an atheist, I accept nothingness after death, then I get nirvana without all the messiness of reincarnation.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          That Norse afterlife is only for warriors who fell in battle-the rest just get to sit around in the cold forever. I think Nirvana is more “oneness with the universe” though I’m not sure.

        • Greg G.

          the rest just get to sit around in the cold forever.

          Let’s hope atheists get the sweet spot between there and the fire and brimstone hell.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          The lukewarm bit? I prefer to just wink out.

        • Kodie

          I’m not sure how more “one with the universe” anyone can be. Nirvana seems to be some kind of emotional awareness that one is, no matter who they are or what they do or what they should have done differently, one with the universe. You’re not beside the universe.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I don’t really understand what it’s supposed to entail.

        • Noelle S.

          What about the study of reincarnation – many lives in different bodies, often among the same group of people (not animals!!) progressing spiritually as we go, learning by the Universal Law of cause-and-effect, until we do reach unity with the Great Spirit of Love behind and within all life. What other concept can explain child “prodigies”, “old souls” precognition and so on. Where and when could they possibly have learned it all in this one life – and often by the age of three!!?!!
          Even the Bible portrayed the concept – until the Bishops at the Council of Nicaea 553AD decided to remove all references to reincarnation from the Bible. They actually missed at least one!!
          Christianity is, I think, the only”religion” which denies reincarnation…..It (reincarnation), as I understand it, relieves us of the awful doctrine of original sin, guilt, lack of self-esteem (we are actually God’s wonderfully-created beings – albeit with much to recompense and reconstruct!!), Relieves us also of punishment in “hell” etc, because we can take responsibility for our own overcoming of our weaknesses, not wanting to kill Jesus so as to “Save” us from them. The Judeans and Romans did that job, according to the historically-researched “The Last Letters of Jesus” – (Amazon etc.) The sin to be overcome, even today, is that of the Judean cult, violence, bloodshed, of animals then humans; the total lack of the compassion and harmlessness of the Great Spirit, as reflected in Jesus.

        • Greg G.

          Child prodigies have to learn. They just learn quickly. A child that is smart at 3 will be smarter at 4 and even smarter at 5 because they are learning.

          There is no such thing as precognition. Lots of people have lots of thoughts. It would be weird if events never matched up with some people’s random thoughts occasionally.

          Your head is filled with incorrect ideas. There is lots of manuscript evidence from before 553 AD that show that the Council of Nicaea didn’t make changes to the Bible.

        • Noelle S.

          O.K. You have the right to think my head “is filled with incorrect ideas”! There is also much that says they did change the Bible. Just as “Hell” was invented, in order to keep control of the people’s souls, their “salvation” – and their money?
          I have had 82 years of experiencng, studying and comparing concepts. I will find out the absolute truth a bit later on, when Immove on and ask the questions??!
          I must say that I do not think a child of three has had time to be able to sit down and play Beethoven’s music perfectly.

        • Greg G.

          The concept of hell can be found in the Book of Enoch, which is older than the New Testament. The concept borrows from the Greek Hades. That was all in the books of the Bible long before 553 AD.

          Have there been any music prodigies that did not have a parent who was a musician? The brain could have been “tuned” to learn music in the womb and in the crib while the parent(s) were practicing.

        • Noelle S.

          O. K. Whenever the idea of “Hell” originated, and being in the Bible, does not convince me at all that it’s a reality. perhaps a state of mind, caused by some situations etc…..
          Re music prodigies:- who knows? But Beethoven? Perfectly? In 9 months and three years, mostly spent as a baby? ???

        • adam

          “I must say that I do not think a child of three has had time to be able to sit down and play Beethoven’s music perfectly.”

          Where is this proof?

        • Noelle S.

          Oh, please, Adam…can you not think that through for yourself?

        • Michael Neville

          What about the study of reincarnation – many lives in different bodies, often among the same group of people (not animals!!) progressing spiritually as we go

          You might find Kim Stanley Robinson’s alternate history novel Days of Salt and Rice interesting.

          The novel explores how subsequent world history might have been different if the Black Death plague had killed 99% of Europe’s population, instead of a third. Divided into ten parts, the story spans hundreds of years, from the army of the Muslim conqueror Timur to the 21st century, with Europe being re-populated by Muslim pioneers, the indigenous peoples of the Americas forming a league to resist Chinese and Muslim invaders, and a 67-year-long world war being fought primarily between Muslim states and the Chinese and their allies. While the ten parts take place in different times and places, they are connected by a group of characters that are reincarnated into each time but are identified to the reader by the first letter of their name being consistent in each life.

        • Noelle S.

          Many thanks. That sounds very interesting indeed!

        • adam

          ” What other concept can explain child “prodigies”, “old souls” precognition and so on. ”

          Dishonesty, wishful thinking, willful ignornace.

          The same kinds of things that make people believe a guy dead for three days can come back to life.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/240e76b809830834292884152c7c7a48f8ec22c813ae1f56a7ed4223ab63de54.jpg

        • adam

          “Only the Buddhist and Hindu afterlives of nirvana entering into
          nothingness, has any interest for me. But since, as an atheist, I
          accept nothingness after death, then I get nirvana without all the
          messiness of reincarnation.”

          Been there done that, agree wholeheartedly!

        • DrewTwoFish

          I wish I felt the same. I finally jettisoned my faith around the age of 50. I still find the idea of not existing, consciously, terrifying.

        • Greg G.

          Was it terrifying before you existed?

        • DrewTwoFish

          Of course not. I’m not sure what you’re getting at. I’m not saying it’s rational. All I know I find the idea of ceasing to be unnerving.

        • Greg G.

          Religion installs some vicious fears and sells you a solution.

          “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
          ― Mark Twain

          “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”
          ― Isaac Asimov

          The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.

          Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour).
          ― Vladimir Nabokov

        • DrewTwoFish

          Thanks but doesn’t make me feel any better. Mind you, I don’t think about it 24/7.

          I think it’s fair to say that the fear of death a pretty common human condition even among the non-religious.

        • Pofarmer

          My middle son was exactly the opposite. He was terrified of dying and hell and all that before he was able to realize that it’s all make believe.

        • lady_black

          Why? You won’t be there to worry about it. It would be like anesthesia, except you would never wake up.

        • DrewTwoFish

          I’m not sure why my peeps are finding my fear baffling. Isn’t this a natural biological thing? The desire to stay alive?

        • lady_black

          Hmmm. Yes. So long as one is otherwise healthy. When you are used-up and your life is limited to a nursing home bed, tethered to a respirator, not so much.
          My mother chose to go home and die rather than live that way. And I fully supported her choice.

        • Noelle S.

          Jettisoning your faith does not cause you not to exist. More likely to lead to finding out the actual fact! Rest assured….you will exist alright. Wait and see. Check out the evidence., “Life After Life”, Doctor Raymond Moody, …etc. Actual experiences of hundreds, facts co-inciding. And don’t believe those ignorants who say it is just the physical brain, oxygen-lack causing hallucinations!

        • DrewTwoFish

          Jettisoning my faith doesn’t impact life after death but neither does hanging on to it. It is or it isn’t. So, I’ll wait and see…or not see.

          I don’t think those who are skeptical of these life after life accounts as being anything other than hallucinations are necessarily ignorant. We are just not convinced. We don’t find these reports to be compelling evidence.

        • Noelle S.

          O.K. Fair enough.
          None of us can really be 100% certain anyway. We will all find out later.

        • adam

          “More likely to lead to finding out the actual fact”

          Then demonstrate the ‘actual fact’, you know you would IF only you could…

          Moody has not demonstrated anything but how gullible people can be.

          There are many frauds who claim to be able to see into the past or future by various means of divination and there are many who hallucinate due to sensory deprivation, extreme concentration on a single item, or lengthy gazing at uniform or kaleidoscopic surfaces.
          But Moody and many of his guests claim success at having spirits visit them in the mirrored room. Moody, like Charles Tart, is convinced that an altered state of consciousness is the gateway to the other world. Mirror gazing is just one of many methods Moody uses to try to induce an altered state.”

          On May10, 1998, Moody succeeded Tart to the Bigelow Chair in Consciousness Studies at the University of
          Nevada, Las Vegas.

          He gave some indication of his non-ideological rigor by announcing that he has invited Brian Weiss, M.D.,
          “expert in past life regression,” to conduct a community forum at UNLV. He also invited to UNLV Dianne Arcangel
          who, says Moody, is “an expert in the field of facilitated apparitions.”

          *note: Bigelow pulled the plug on the Consciousness Studies program at UNLV after five years and no significant results.”

          http://skepdic.com/moody.html

          Criticism of Moody’s near-death research

          Barry Beyerstein, a professor of psychology, has written that Moody’s alleged evidence for an afterlife is flawed, both logically and empirically.[8] The psychologist James Alcock has noted that Moody “…appears to ignore a great deal of the scientific literature dealing with hallucinatory experiences in general,just as he quickly glosses over the very real limitations of his research method.”[9] Such practice would be characteristic of cherry picking, a violation of valid research principles whether in good faith or bad.

          Moody has been described as a “strong personal believer” in the paranormal.[10]His methods have drawn criticism from the scientific community as many of the personal reports he collected on NDEs were given by the patients themselves, months and even years after the event. Terence Hines commented “such reports are hardly sufficient to argue for the reality of an afterlife.”[11]

          The philosopher Paul Kurtz has written that Moody’s evidence for the NDE is based on personal interviews and anecdotal accounts and there has been no statistical
          analyses of his data. There also is the question of interpreting such data as has been published assuming that the factual matter is objectively correct; according to Kurtz “there is no reliable evidence that people who report such experiences have died and returned, or that
          consciousness exists separate from the brain or body.”[12]

          The philosopher Robert Todd Carroll has written that a characteristic of Moody’s work is the omission of
          cases that do not fit his hypothesis, confirming the aspect of cherry picking. Carroll writes that what Moody describes as a typical NDE may be due to brain states triggered by cardiac arrest and anesthesia. Moody believes NDEs are evidence for an afterlife but Carroll states they can be explained by neurochemistry and are the result of a “dying, demented or drugged brain.”[13]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Moody

          “And don’t believe those ignorants who say it is just the physical brain, oxygen-lack causing hallucinations!”

          Yes, by all means INSTEAD believe the con men who report to know MAGIC.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c740f0b7fb4ab5d74464bc7c7da4a86e9d1508798e6e801d271b2436492b869b.jpg

      • Noelle S.

        If you think Death is a reality!!

        • Pofarmer

          Death is a reality whether we think it is or not. The problem with thinking about atheism is that it kills you twice. You know that you are going to lose this life, but you have to deal with the fact that you aren’t living eternally, either. That’s a big psychological price to pay.

        • Greg G.

          I think death is part of reality but I am not afraid of it. I just want to live.

    • Noelle S.

      I feel we can have a spiritual (not the styelised “religious”) life, as well as the healthy life, if we were to choose the true “religious” life demonstrated by Jesus – of honesty, compassion towards all of God’s Creation – i.e. harmlessness to all of Creation. The vegetarian/vegan diet is proving far superior in terms of health to the predominant exceedingly cruel ways – with the acidity,chemicals and so on….A compassionate diet, free from junk food, refined, chemicalised etc food, has even been proved to reduce repeat-offending by 70%, as it relieves the body – nervous system, especially – of all those irritants, over-stimulants, pesticides, additives, which the human body cannot cope with. Main culprit:- Sugar! Modern, hybridised, modified wheat, also, is accused of causing brain-fog plus many other health problems. So perhaps we could have both a spiritually(compassionately)- orientated life AND a healthy one!!?

  • lady_black

    Christianity doesn’t even lead to a good society. Never mind “better.”

  • catfink

    Researcher Gregory Paul used public records of social metrics …

    Looks like cherry-picking to me. The U.S. generally scores very highly on measures of socioeconomic health, like the Human Development Index. Higher than many less religious nations. And the difference in scores between highly-ranked nations is very small. For example, in the 2016 HDI report, the difference in scores between Norway (#1) and the U.S. (#10) is only 3% (0.949 for Norway vs. 0.920 for the U.S.). A slight change in the methodology would produce a different set of rankings.

    It’s also worth noting that most of the highly-ranked nations are small and relatively homogeneous, which probably makes them much easier to govern. The U.S. is a vast, sprawling nation with enormous political, cultural and racial/ethnic diversity. That provides a lot more opportunity for conflicts and disagreements that might be expected to impede social and economic progress.

    • Herald Newman

      HDI effectively measure three things: Life expectancy, GDP, and education level. Social ills like murder rates, number of teen pregnancies, rates of alcohol and drug abuse, rates of child mortality, rates of STI’s, divorces, life satisfaction, etc, are unlikely to be captured by such a crude measure.

      If anything, the HDI score mostly tells you how [economically] developed the country is, just like the name suggests.

      • catfink

        There are both “social ills” and social goods. Social ills would be expected to reduce wealth, education and/or life expectancy. Social goods would be expected to increase them. The fact that the U.S. scores so highly on the HDI indicates that it has a generally favorable mix of social ills/social goods in comparison to other countries. Gregory Paul seems to have cherry-picked his set of indicators to disfavor the U.S. And his interpretation of a number of those indicators seems highly questionable. For example, why is longer marriage duration considered to be a sign of social health? It may be the result of laws and culture that make it harder to end bad marriages.

        • Herald Newman

          Social ills would be expected to reduce wealth, education and/or life expectancy.

          For some social ills, yes, that’s certainly the case, but I can think of plenty that will not be measurable, or will take a long time to notice through such a crude measure. For example, STI infection rates, and rates of petty theft, will be barely noticed by these measures, assuming that they will even make a difference. I suspect that divorces would also not necessarily make a huge impact, even though they are emotionally troubling, and tend to hinder well being.

          I disagree with your assertion that social ills would be expected to affect those three factors.

          Gregory Paul seems to have cherry-picked his set of indicators to disfavor the U.S.

          Perhaps so, but when we look at those same social ills, and compare states that are the most religious, we generally find a strong, positive, correlation between them. The states that are the most religious have the most social problems. The states that are the least religious have the fewest social problems.

          Even when we look at other countries, areas that are the most religious tend to have the highest rates of these kinds of social ills.

          For example, why is longer marriage duration considered to be a sign of social health?

          Lots of possible answers for that. Divorces tend to be messy, and especially hard on children. I don’t want to go through the mess of a divorce, how about you?

          It may be the result of laws and culture that make it harder to end bad marriages.

          Given that I can’t think of any first world country that doesn’t allow no-fault divorce (and my few minutes of looking didn’t turn up much), you’re probably on a fairly level playing field. Catholics tend not to divorce, while Evangelical do, so that will skew divorce rates depending on the make-up of the country.

        • catfink

          For some social ills, yes, that’s certainly the case, but I can think of plenty that will not be measurable, or will take a long time to notice through such a crude measure. For example, STI infection rates, and rates of petty theft, will be barely noticed by these measures, assuming that they will even make a difference.

          STI infection rates and theft would certainly be expected to affect life expectancy and wealth. And the U.S. has long been more religious than other countries. There’s been plenty of time for the supposed harmful effects of religion to manifest themselves in broad socioeconomic indicators like the HDI. And again, the interpretation of these individual indicators is highly questionable. Higher STI infection rates might be the result of greater sexual freedom, for example. I don’t think more sexual freedom is necessarily a bad thing.

          I suspect that divorces would also not necessarily make a huge impact, even though they are emotionally troubling, and tend to hinder well being.

          Bad marriages are also emotionally troubling and tend to hinder well being. In the past, lots of people seem to have been trapped in bad marriages by legal obstacles to divorce, economic dependency (especially wives dependent on their husbands) and social stigma. I think the simpleminded idea that less divorce implies a healthier society is completely unjustified.

          Perhaps so, but when we look at those same social ills, and compare states that are the most religious, we generally find a strong, positive, correlation between them.

          I don’t think that’s true. Utah, for example, is very religious, but it doesn’t seem to have a high rate of social ills as measured by these stats.

          Even when we look at other countries, areas that are the most religious tend to have the highest rates of these kinds of social ills.

          Bob’s claim is that the U.S. is an outlier. He says it’s less socially healthy than other developed nations, and the reason for this is its greater religiosity. I think broad socioeconomic comparisons like the HDI show that the claim that it’s an outlier is false.

        • Herald Newman

          STI infection rates and theft would certainly be expected to affect life expectancy and wealth

          Again, some will, some won’t. Herpes and genital warts, if they have effects, would take a long time for the effects to be noticed.

          There’s been plenty of time for the supposed harmful effects of religion to manifest themselves in broad socioeconomic indicators like the HDI.

          Except that you’ve got it backwards. Religion is generally a response to social ills, not the cause of.

          Bad marriages are also emotionally troubling and tend to hinder well being. […] I think the simpleminded idea that less divorce implies a healthier society is completely unjustified.

          Except that with no-fault divorce, I suspect that people are more likely to get divorced than stay in a bad marriage. I’ll tentatively agree that the statistic itself is probably hard to interpret as a social ill, but along with other indicators it may point in that direction.

          I don’t think that’s true. Utah, for example, is very religious, but it doesn’t seem to have a high rate of social ills as measured by these stats.

          Did you miss the word “generally” in my statement?

          Bob’s claim is that the U.S. is an outlier. He says it’s less socially healthy than other developed nations, and the reason for this is its greater religiosity.

          Your reading comprehension sucks, and that’s not what Bob said! The assessment is that religion follows social ills. Read carefully, rather than assume the conclusion.
          EDIT: Here’s the part that should give it away:
          Rather, the quality of society will determine whether religion or secularism will thrive. In a dysfunctional society, religion helps pick up the pieces, but in a society where life is secure, religion is unnecessary and withers away.

        • catfink

          Again, some will, some won’t. Herpes and genital warts, if they have effects, would take a long time for the effects to be noticed.

          Do you have data on the rates of herpes and genital warts in the U.S. vs. other countries?

          Except that you’ve got it backwards. Religion is generally a response to social ills, not the cause of.

          I think it can be both, but that’s really beside the point. Again, I’m rebutting Bob’s claim that the U.S. is less socially healthy than other developed nations, and the reason for this is its greater religiosity.

          Except that with no-fault divorce, I suspect that people are more likely to get divorced than stay in a bad marriage.

          I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Laws are not the only things that prevent people in bad marriages from getting divorced. Social stigma and economic dependency can also have that effect. And no-fault divorce is not universal, anyway. The UK, for example, does not have no-fault divorce. That might be one reason why it has a lower divorce rate than the US.

          Did you miss the word “generally” in my statement?

          I don’t think it’s true generally either. Do you have a regression analysis showing your claimed correlation?

          Your reading comprehension sucks, and that’s not what Bob said!

          You’re the one with defective reading comprehension. It’s exactly what Bob said: “Conditions in America are decent in spite of the strong influence of Christianity.” He thinks the effect of Christianity in America is to make social conditions worse. I’m saying the evidence doesn’t really support that conclusion.

        • Herald Newman

          Do you have data on the rates of herpes and genital warts in the U.S. vs. other countries?

          The Wikipedia article covers it reasonable well.

          Bob’s claim that the U.S. is less socially healthy than other developed nations, and the reason for this is its greater religiosity.

          And once again I’m disputing that this is his claim.

          I don’t think it’s true generally either. Do you have a regression analysis showing your claimed correlation?

          Sure: There’s this which states:

          Another curious omission is one relevant to the second figure showing a negative relationship between a country’s wealth and its belief that God is required for morality. Why, exactly, does that relationship exist? The answer is becoming increasingly clear in sociological studies such as the three cited at right: The degree of religious belief within a country—or within a state in the U.S.—is positively related to how socially dysfunctional it is.

          Dr Coyne also posted this article about the work of Greg Paul, which actually shows the HDI scores compared by state against their religiosity.

          I still think the HDI is a crude measure, and it’s easy to lose sight in such aggregated data, but apparently some scientists believe it shows you what you say isn’t there.

          He thinks the effect of Christianity in America is to make social conditions worse. I’m saying the evidence doesn’t really support that conclusion.

          Once again, I don’t think that’s the conclusion he’s actually drawing. I’ll certainly say that the Fundegelicals in America aren’t making it a better place for anyone, themselves included, when you look at the list of social changes they want to enact.

        • catfink

          The Wikipedia article covers it reasonable well.

          The U.S. seems to compare relatively favorably to other countries on those stats, so I’m not sure what your point is.

          And once again I’m disputing that this is his claim.

          I just quoted him making the claim.

          Sure: There’s this …

          That’s a comparison of countries, not states. And your claim was about “social ills,” not GDP per capita. And the prevalence of the simple belief that “belief in God is necessary for morality” is not the same thing as religiosity, anyway.

          Dr Coyne also posted this article about the work of Greg Paul, which actually shows the HDI scores compared by state against their religiosity.

          The doesn’t appear to be a link to the data or methodology used to measure “religiosity” in that chart, so it’s hard to know what it’s really comparing. And despite Coyne’s claim that it is “significant,” the correlation is quite crude. As Coyne mentions, there are also various confounding variables (history, race, education). And of course there is the issue that correlation doesn’t imply causation. In other words, even if states with lower HDIs really do tend to be more religious, that could be because lower HDI causes greater religiosity rather than the reverse.

          I still think the HDI is a crude measure,

          A small, cherry-picked set of ambiguous social indicators is even more crude.

        • Jim Jones

          > Higher STI infection rates might be the result of greater sexual freedom, for example.

          And yet the US still doesn’t have “greater sexual freedom”. It also doesn’t have good healthcare, and the current bunch wants to make the situation much worse.

        • Tommy

          Plus Netherlands has ‘greater sexual freedom’ (legal and regulated prostitution, comprehensive Sex Ed, etc) than the U.S. and has lower STD rates.

        • catfink

          Prostitution accounts for only a tiny fraction of sexual activity, so legalizing it is unlikely to have much impact on overall sexual freedom. I think the primary check on sexual freedom is social pressure, not laws.

        • Tommy

          Prostitution accounts for only a tiny fraction of sexual activity, so
          legalizing it is unlikely to have much impact on overall sexual freedom.

          Irrelevant. There’s greater sexual freedom in legalized regulated prostitution than illegal criminalized prostitution, small or not.

          I think the primary check on sexual freedom is social pressure, not laws.

          It’s both.

        • catfink

          I just told you why it’s relevant. Prostitution accounts for only a tiny fraction of sexual activity. The vast majority of sex is non-commercial.

        • Tommy

          But you do understand that a society with legalized regulated prostitution has more sexual freedom than a society that criminalizes it do you not? The degree of how small or big it affords is the irrelevant part.

        • catfink

          But you do understand that a society with legalized regulated prostitution has more sexual freedom than a society that criminalizes it do you not?

          That’s not true. Prostitution accounts for only a tiny fraction of sexual activity. Perhaps prostitution is very important to your personal sex life, but for the vast majority of people sexual freedom with regard to non-commercial sex is far more important.

        • Tommy

          You’re not getting it. It’s not about the amount of sex with prostitutes, it’s the freedom to do so in a society where prostitution is legal vs not having the freedom to do so in a society where such sex is criminalized.

        • catfink

          No, you’re not getting it. Since prostitution is rare, the amount of sexual freedom affected by prostitution laws is very small. The overwhelming majority of sex does not involve prostitutes. So that’s the kind of sexual freedom that’s important. I don’t know why you still can’t understand this simple point.

        • Kodie

          At the opposite extreme, some would say all sex is prostitution. I’m not going to be that extreme, but it’s kind of there, this notion that we’re naughty and we’re not supposed to do it, or we are supposed to do it because of “sexual freedom” while underlying that is no freedom.

          We live in a culture that is judgmental and nosy and trying to make rules about sex, and when to “give it up” or by which date you have to, etc. There is such a choking attitude over sex in our society, so yeah, prostitution might be a small part, but it is a symptom. Empowering women to profit from something like an actual job instead of pretend, going on dates for presents and getting married so you can live in a house. I am making some sweeping statements, and I don’t know that legalizing prostitution would affect much, because even though porn is legal and stripping is legal, it’s not something parents get all proud of their daughters, y’know, it’s not something they teach at community college, it’s not going to open up fresh opportunities for a lot of people – mostly because of the lack of sexual freedom in the rest of society.

        • Tommy

          You are acting profoundly daft and childish. According to your logic, gays in the U.S. don’t have more sexual freedom than Saudi Arabia since heterosexual sex is the overwhelmingly the majority of sexual activity. To show how incredibly dumb your argument is here’s a modified version of your comment:

          Since prostitution gay sex is rare, the amount of sexual freedom affected by
          prostitution anti-gay sex laws is very small. The overwhelming majority of sex does
          not involve prostitutes gays. So that’s the kind of sexual freedom that’s
          important.

        • catfink

          You are acting profoundly daft and childish.

          Good grief, the irony.

          According to your logic, gays in the U.S. don’t have more sexual freedom than Saudi Arabia since heterosexual sex is the overwhelmingly the majority of sexual activity.

          No, gays in the U.S. clearly have more sexual freedom than gays in Saudi Arabia. But since gays are only a small minority of the population in both countries, the sexual freedom of gays tells us nothing about the sexual freedom of the population in general. The same reasoning applies to sex involving prostitutes. Yet again, I am amazed that you cannot understand this simple point. Or perhaps you’re just pretending not to understand it.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I amazed that you still have yet to grasp Tommy’s point…

          This must, again, be because your idea of “best” does not match the idea of “best” for either Tommy or myself. Does this not ring a bell?

        • catfink

          Like Tommy, you seem utterly confused. I’m not amazed at all by that, because you often seem confused. Also, you’re a liar.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You do not know what a “lie” is because no one has lied as much you have here.

        • catfink

          I don’t know whether you know what “lie” means, but you’re definitely a liar. Stop lying.

        • Tommy

          Keep moving those goal posts.

        • Tommy

          A country where gay sex and prostitution is legal has more sexual freedom than a country where gay sex and prostitution is criminalized. Pure and simple.

        • catfink

          No, that doesn’t follow at all. Your comparison ignores the vast majority of sex.

        • Tommy

          Because it’s irrelevant to my point, you imbecile.

        • catfink

          You’re still utterly lost. You can’t make a claim about which country “has more sexual freedom” from a comparison that ignores the vast majority of sex. Imbecile.

        • Tommy

          Let me make this more easy for you: Country A: [Heterosexual sex = legal, prostitution = legal, gay sex = legal]. Country B: [Heterosexual sex = legal, prostitution = illegal, gay sex= illegal]

          Which country has more sexual freedom than the other? Country A or Country B?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          He is really not getting it… But that’s purposefully so. His position is nearly always “U.S.A. #1” no matter the subject and no facts will change his position.

        • catfink

          And yet the US still doesn’t have “greater sexual freedom”.

          How do you know?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The Christian argument I’m responding to says that more Christianity leads to a healthier society. Gregory Paul’s work, using quantitative measures, shows that’s not the case.

      You want to ignore the statistics he puts forward, but that won’t make your point.

      • catfink

        I’m not ignoring them. I’m saying they’re cherry-picked and one-sided. The high ranking of the U.S. on the HDI and other measures of general socioeconomic health contradicts the claim that the U.S. is a less healthy society.

        • Jim Jones

          And yet observation and experience proves you are wrong.

        • catfink

          No they don’t.

      • TheMarsCydonia

        When you know catfink, you understand that he is not challenging “religion does not lead to a better society”, he is challenging “the U.S. is not the best society at everything”.

        His position, simply put: “the U.S. is the best at everything. Any study which does not come to this conclusion is either flawed, biased or both”.

        • catfink

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          When you know TheMarsCydonia, you know that he lies about what other people have written. He lies a lot.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          “Best at everything” is a dry-tongue-in-cheek exageration but one not far from “best in almost all of the most important ways”:

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          Those are your words, are they not? It seems TheMarsCydonia didn’t a lot after all, catfink did.

        • catfink

          “Best at everything” is a dry-tongue-in-cheek exageration

          No, it’s a lie. I didn’t say what you claimed I said. You lie a lot.

          Those are your words, are they not?

          They certainly are. If you dispute them, tell us which country you think is more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Are you basically whining that I represented you as believing “best at everything” instead of “#1 at almost everything”?

          I am really surprised how describing you got so much under your skin, it appears quite thin because you admitted that you wrote both, in essence:
          – “the U.S. is number one in almost everything”
          – “Saying that I believe the U.S. is the best in everything is a lie”…

          Do you have any more alternative facts for us?

        • catfink

          Are you basically whining …

          No, I’m pointing out that you lied about what I wrote.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You should realize that we get it now: you’re pointing out that I “lied” by saying you believe that the U.S. is the best at everything because you never wrote something like the following:

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          But actually, you did. So you are whining that I represented you as believing “best at everything” instead of “#1 at almost everything”.

        • catfink

          you’re pointing out that I “lied” by saying you believe that the U.S. is the best at everything

          That’s right. You lied. I didn’t say that “the U.S. is the best at everything.” You lied about what I wrote.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You wrote “The U.S. is #1 at almost everything”
          Do you understand the difference between “#1” and “best”?
          So really the difference between “everything” and “almost everything” is what really got under your skin…
          So you continue to lie. A lot.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more
          important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily,
          culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Why do you continue to lie like this? Or do you not understand what a “lie” is?

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

        • catfink

          For the umpeenth time, you claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more
          important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily,
          culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          When will you stop lying? You wrote:

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          Do you not understand what a “lie” is?

        • catfink

          Stop lying.

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more
          important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily,
          culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Do you not understand what a lie is?

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          I am still waiting for you to stop lying and trying to distract with this red herring.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          Are you having the trouble with the meaning of lying? Please stop lying and trying to distract from your lies with your red herring.

          Or continue to lie and attempt your red herring, you’ll get the same result.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything”.

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more
          important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily,
          culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Repeating your lie will not suddenly make it true. To quote you:

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          Still waiting for you to stop lying and trying to distract from your lies with your red herring.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything”.

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more
          important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily,
          culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Repeating your lie will not suddenly make it true. To quote you:

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          Still waiting for you to stop lying and trying to distract from your lies with your red herring.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything”.

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more
          important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily,
          culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best at everything.”

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          Still waiting for you to stop lying and trying to distract from your lies with your red herring.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything”.

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily,
          culturally, scientifically or technologically

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I wrote that you believe the U.S. to be the best, a synonym of being number one, and you wrote:

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          So you lied about what I said and lied about what you said, quote:

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best (the number one) at everything.”

          You are whining about “everything” somehow being significantly different than “all the important ways” but we can see through the lie. We can also see your attempt at a red herring. Facts are an inconvenience to you, aren’t they?

          You may lie again tonight, I’ll be back to offer you the same results tomorrow.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything”.

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is
          more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically or technologically

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I wrote that you believe the U.S. to be the best, a synonym of being “number one”, and you wrote:

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          So you lied about what I said and lied about what you said, quote:

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best (the number one) at everything.”

          You are whining about “everything” somehow being significantly different than “all the important ways” but we can see through the lie. We can also see your attempt at a red herring. Facts are an inconvenience to you, aren’t they?

          But do continue to lie. Expect the same result.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything”.

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is
          more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I wrote that you believe the U.S. to be the best, a synonym of being “number one”, and you wrote:

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          So you lied about what I said and lied about what you said, quote:

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best (the number one) at everything.”

          You are whining about “everything” somehow being significantly different than “all the important ways” but we can see through the lie. We can also see your attempt at a red herring. Facts are an inconvenience to you, aren’t they?

          But do continue to lie. Expect the same result.

        • catfink

          You claimed I wrote that “the U.S. is the best at everything”.

          I didn’t write that.

          You lied about what I wrote.

          Stop lying.

          Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is
          more important than the U.S. economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically or technologically.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I wrote that you believe the U.S. to be the best, a synonym of being “number one”, and you wrote:

          “As a country, we’re number one in all or almost all of the most important ways: economically, politically, militarily, culturally, scientifically, technologically…

          Standard of living, opportunity, freedom, vitality, diversity… I don’t think any other country even comes close….”

          So you lied about what I said and lied about what you said, quote:

          I haven’t said, and don’t believe, that “the U.S. is the best (the number one) at everything.”

          You are whining about “everything” somehow being significantly different than “all the important ways” but we can see through the lie. We can also see your attempt at a red herring. Facts are an inconvenience to you, aren’t they?

          But do continue to lie. Expect the same result.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “Still waiting for you to identify the country that you think is more important than the U.S.”

          Aha. I think we’ve discovered the root of your problem. Important is not at all what the post is talking about. It’s social health.

        • catfink

          I’m not sure how you think the U.S. was able to become the most important (powerful, influential) country in the world, and to retain that status for almost a century, if it has such poor “social health.” Again, the simple fact that the U.S. is so successful demonstrates that the statistics you cite are either being misinterpreted, or are grossly unrepresentative, or both.

    • Jim Jones

      > The U.S. is a vast, sprawling nation with enormous political, cultural and racial/ethnic diversity.

      It’s supposed to be 50 states with strong governments, however the federal income tax destroyed that. When you can get Alabama to pay for a bridge to nowhere in Alaska you’re not being well governed.

      • Carol Lynn

        Is that like, ‘why should I have to pay for the firefighters if my house isn’t on fire?’ Kinda shortsighted argument you have there.

        • Jim Jones

          The entire government structure, country and the constitution was designed around not having a federal income tax. That’s why such a tax was prohibited.

          Changing one thing without changing others leads to a cascade of failures.

          Kinda shortsighted argument YOU have there.

        • Michael Neville

          You really have a simplistic idea of the American tax system as well as basic economics. Property, sales and head taxes don’t bring in much money, income taxes do. Plus sales and especially head taxes are regressive while income taxes are much less so (as long as conservatives don’t play with them too much).

          The Constitution was written in the late 18th Century. The country has changed in the past 230 years. The only way modern infrastructure could be supported is by an income tax.

        • Jim Jones

          Each state should levy its own taxes and contribute to the central government as needed and decided.

        • Michael Neville

          As I said, you have a simplistic idea of basic economics. Balkanization has its own economics difficulties as well as social and political ones.

        • Jim Jones

          It’s always easy to spend other people’s money – and to compete to do it.

        • Michael Neville

          So according to you Connecticut should have good roads because they’re a wealthy state and Mississippi should feel lucky to have gravel-paved road because that’s all they can afford.

          I don’t think you’ve given too much thought to your 50 sovereign nations idea.

        • Jim Jones

          I’ve given plenty of thought. What you have doesn’t work.

        • Michael Neville

          I notice that you’re strong on “it doesn’t work” and weak on “this is how it doesn’t work.” As a result, I still doubt you’ve given your idea much thought.

        • fractal

          Yeah,
          No.

          You don’t get to trash the waterways because you don’t like taxes, and then expect the state below you to clean up your mess.
          You don’t get to bus your disabled to the border and shove them over, because your ilk doesn’t like to pay taxes for health care, handicapped access etc…

          The world is much smaller than it was in 1776.
          Try that crud in your “tax free utopia”, and see how long before you get invaded.

        • Jim Jones

          You don’t think that happens now? Hahaha!

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          It was never prohibited, it’s just that taxes had to be equally proportioned and such. They had an income tax during the civil war which fell under this, decades before the Sixteenth Amendment was passed.

        • Carol Lynn

          That’s quite a religious attitude, “What worked in the past must work forever, amen. Take no consideration for changing circumstances, ever, because processes given to us by the hand of the immortal and omniscient Founding Fathers may never be questioned or changed on pain of damnation.” The Constitution came with a process for amending itself for good reasons.

        • Jim Jones

          Half measures are worse than no measures.

        • fractal

          Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

          You must be a libertarian.
          I have met a bunch of them.

          Snot-nosed boys standing on the government sidewalk, with their car parked on a government street, under a government street-light, making copies of their NO TAXES petitions using government copiers at the government library across the street.

          Sorry.
          I don’t want a MAD MAX nation full of men jockeying to be Alphas.

        • Jim Jones
  • Small towns = white ghettos

    Adopting Christianity is what started the fall of the Roman Empire.
    The real threat to America are christian degenerate threat at home, it should be secondary to Islamic degeneracy.

    • Chuck Johnson

      “Adopting Christianity is what started the fall of the Roman Empire.”

      The Roman Empire fell because the technology, culture, politics, morality, etc. of the Romans was inadequate to manage its vast empire.

      The Christian philosophies and the polytheistic philosophies were both inadequate for the job.

      • Small towns = white ghettos

        Nah, it’s was mostly the Christians, as the polytheists were pushed out during the decline. They also destroyed most of the knowledge and even sabotaged most of the infrastructure that wasn’t “Church approved.”

    • Lane Slater

      Biggest threat in the US are Leftists who hate liberty and free speech.

      • Otto

        Liberty and Free speech are under attack from both the extremes on the right and the left.

        • Lane Slater

          Sure. I’ve seen Leftists throwing urine and explosives at women in the streets of the USA. They wear masks and love violence. They hate on men, women, African-Americans, Hispanics and whites. They hate white males the most. There are probably right wingers just as horrid and hateful.

        • Otto

          There is no ‘probably’ about it…your proclamation left out 50% of the problem.

        • Lane Slater

          Sure. The media does well reporting on the right wing’s horrid behavior. It seems to ignore the left wing throwing explosives at old women and rioting to prevent homosexual Jews from speaking.

        • Otto

          I have already admitted the extreme left engages in bad behavior, I was pointing out that you started this by erroneously pointing the finger exclusively at the left, and now you are continuing this by minimizing the issues on the right.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m sorry. My bad.

          Unfortunately I have a couple folks pretending like I’m a right winger and insisting I am. I’m not. But they don’t care. I kinda falsely lumped you in with them. It is tough because whenever I speak out against that kind of violence, I get accused of being a radical.

          Deep down they know I’m not that. I hope. :)

        • Otto

          I don’t think there is anything wrong calling out the problems on the left, I think a reason you are getting push back is you seem to be focusing on the left exclusively as was indicated by your post that I originally responded to.

        • Lane Slater

          Nobody else is calling those people out, though. Some were arguing that I was making things up. Somebody went so far as to pretend like I had been radicalized by a tv station I don’t like.

          If somebody told me that moderate liberals were throwing urine on female reporters who dared question moderate liberal beliefs – I would speak out against that and say it is wrong. Not insist that the person had been radicalized by a tv station.

          The scary part is that Leftists are calling out people like me as being radicalized when we are not. There are videos of people doing it a rallies, protests and riots. And I had somebody doing it to me on here. I wish they were joking. But they were not.

          Here is a guy I like and can relate to. He is a liberal. He is gay. He is progressive. He is bothered by what he says from the left extremists. Give it a listen if you got 10 minutes to spare. Maybe Kodie could stop pretending like I’ve been radicalized by a website I don’t go to and give it a listen to.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq86Beh3T70

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You are no more a liberal than Dave Rubin is now

        • Lane Slater

          I’m also not a true Scotsman.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          If you’re going to use “no true scotsman”, you should at least learn what a liberal is before calling yourself one. It would help.

        • Lane Slater

          Uh hu.

          What is a liberal by your personal beliefs?

          And how did you determine I am not one?

          And how could I become one? What would I need to do to become a real liberal in your book?

          So far, objective sources disagree with your analysis. And the onus is on you to prove your claim. Provide proof. Or any evidence.

          But go on. Share your method for determining my viewpoints and beliefs. And how I can not and am not a real liberal.

          Prove my family wrong – who jokingly (and even sometimes seriously) ostracize me for voting, living and identifying as a liberal.

          Get those magic mind skills working and prove those who access to better evidence wrong.

          I won’t hold my breath. And any more attempts at deflection will be seen as a white flag of surrender.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          It is quite simple: You identified both yourself and Dave Rubin as being liberals. Dave Rubin is not, herego you are not either.

          For exemple, liberalism does not favor religious discrimination over equal rights. Dave Rubin does. Or perhaps you are using a definition of “liberal” that is true for you? But with my understanding of liberalism, Dave Rubin is not.

          You may identify yourself as a liberal. I may identify myself as a christian. Do you think it would be true in my case? Why do you expect me to believe it is true in yours?

        • Lane Slater

          Dave Rubin was a liberal at one point. 😉

          I am a liberal. You may not believe me. You still haven’t explained what a liberal is. Or how I can become one.

          Go ahead. Tell me what it would take to become a real liberal.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          “You are no more a liberal than Dave Rubin is now”, “was a liberal at one point” is exactly what I meant.

          Read my comment again, can you clarify what it was you did not understand?

        • Lane Slater

          Ok. Time for you to explain yourself.

          Are you a liberal?

          What makes you a liberal?

          I identify as a liberal. Virtually everyone that personally knows me well describes me as being a liberal. This is the first time that a handful of anonymous message board posters have decided I’m not a liberal – some even declaring that I’ve been indoctrinated into radical right wing ideas by a tv station I do not watch.

          Is that what a liberal is? A person who dictates to others they are radicalized by a tv station they don’t watch? If that is what a liberal is – than – ok. I’m not a liberal. Are you a member of the “liberal elite” that Bernie Sanders criticizes? Or are you on board with his criticisms?

          What makes me not be a liberal?

          What can I do to become a liberal?

          :) You are fun. I kind of gather you know deep down you have no case. But I hope you can answer my questions. Please.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I asked what about my previous comment you did not get. Why should I explain myself again when you have not done so (excluding your bible-slavery apolgetics)?

        • Lane Slater

          Please, clear some things up for me.

          Are you a liberal?

          If so, what makes you a liberal?

          How can I become a liberal?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Please read my comment again (3rd up). What was it that you did not get?

        • Lane Slater

          Yea. You are using poor logic.

          Dave Rubins was a liberal. He is not now.

          What is it that makes you a true liberal?

          And what do I need to do to become a true liberal? I do not favor religious discrimination over equal rights. I never have.

          If you tell me you are a Christian, that tells me you are either citing a cultural tie to Christianity or you have decided to follow Jesus Christ. Either way it is not up to me to judge you as a true or false Christian.

          Every online (both serious and kooky ones) surveys have ended up with me being labeled as a “liberal”.

          This is the first time I’ve had such backlash from folks. And most of you guys have been making false arguments.

          You keep calling me a liar. So is the lady who lied and said I watch Fox news a liar? She also said I read InfoWars.

          It was dumb. Wrong. And just silly.

          Is she a liberal? Is that what it takes to be a liberal. Telling people who don’t watch Fox News that they are being radicalized by Fox News.

          :)

          Funny stuff. Logic is not on her side. Yet you are ignoring her and others making nonsense claims. And I’m the one who needs to be called a liar?

          Nope.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Have you not said that you are a liberal and gave current-Dave Rubin as an exemple of a liberal? The video you link does not date from Dave Rubin’s earlier liberal days. Quote:

          “Here is a guy I like and can relate to. He is a liberal.”

          If you do not favor reglious discrimination over equal rights like Dave Rubin does, then you are not a “liberal” like Dave Rubin is (despite you propping him up as an exemple of a liberal).

          And I have pointed out how you have repeatedly lied… concerning slavery and the bible. Do not mix the two subjects up.

        • Lane Slater

          Ok. I misspoke. I find Dave Rubin’s explanation of liberal ideas spot on.

          You have not provided any. Yet you keep declaring I’m not.

          What is it that makes you a liberal?

          What do I need to do to become a liberal like you?

          I don’t favor religious discrimination over equal rights.

          You believe I lied over slavery and The Bible. That is great. There is a secular professor at Yale that agrees with me. But I’m sure she is a liar, too.

          Good thing we have you, a real honest person. Mr or Mrs… uh… I don’t know your name. But I’m sure you are honest. And everyone that disagrees with your opinion are liars.

          I admit I could be wrong. You are not a scholarly source. And you have no credential presented. So for all I know you are lying. Or ignorant.

          You have not prove you are telling the truth. And I’ve seen you ignore other people who are lying and not chastise them.

          So fact is:

          “TheMarCydonia” and some lady named Kodie who lied about my tv viewing habits believe I’m not a true liberal.

          That’s fine.

          Thanks for sharing.

          If you can –

          tell me what makes you a real liberal.

          And what I need to do to become a real liberal like you.

          :) If not – good night!

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You look like you are having a difficult time with this.

          Ok. I misspoke. I find Dave Rubin’s explanation of liberal ideas spot on. You have not provided any. Yet you keep declaring I’m not.

          I don’t favor religious discrimination over equal rights.

          Not provided any with the exception of favoring equal rights over religious freedom to discriminate you mean? Why do you think you mentionned this in your latest comment if it was not previously provided (mentionning both the idea and saying none were provided in the same comments makes your appear as having the memory of a goldfish). One of Dave Rubin’s “liberal idea” is that government should let people freely discriminate based on religious belief in the marketplace. This is either a spot on liberal idea or it isn’t.
          – My idea of liberalism is that it isn’t.
          – Dave Rubin’s idea is that it is.
          You either find it spot on or do not favor it, you cannot have it both ways. If you say that you are a “liberal” like Dave Rubin and this idea of favoring religious discrimination at the expense of equal rights is “liberal”, we simply do not share the same understanding of liberalism.
          You believe I lied over slavery and The Bible. That is great. There is a secular professor at Yale that agrees with me. But I’m sure she is a liar, too…But I’m sure you are honest. And everyone that disagrees with your opinion are liars. And I have a religious scholar and book author that agrees with me. See how easy that is? But saying anonymous Mr. or Ms X agrees with me does nothing to validate your defense of the slavery condoned in the bible. Especially since you dismissed the latest comment on that topic as silly rather than engage the points within.

          And you are still confusing “opinion” with “objectively verifiable fact”. That the bible condones slavery is as much as an “opinion” as the earth being round or as bats not being birds are opinions (bible references with those). If you want to continue this topic, pick up where you left of above.

          And I’ve seen you ignore other people who are lying and not chastise them.

          And I was content on ignoring you until you tried your hand at bible slavery apologetics. If you didn’t want to draw attention with your bible slavery apologetics, you should leave it to people who understand they’ll be challenged if they try it.

        • Otto

          None of that is an excuse to pretend like ALL the attacks on liberty and free speech are coming from the left.

        • Lane Slater

          Of course not. Nor is it an excuse to label me as a radicalized right winger.

          I noted that horrid things are coming from the Right, also. Very recently people have been throwing urine and explosives at women who are not a threat to them. Regardless if they are Rightists or Leftists that is wrong.

          I speak out against the Right – and most people say – yea. That is fucked up. The KKK is horrid. Or white nationalism is a joke.

          For some reason people on the left want to pretend like I’m a Right Winger (despite evidence and logic debunking those claims) or that I’m indoctrinated by Right Wing media (despite not subscribing to any of those media companies). How hard is it to say an Antifa member throwing urine on a female reporter is wrong?

          I don’t care if intolerant folks have to label me as being something I’m not. There are closed minded Right Wingers and Leftists that want to label me all kinds of things. I will point out they are wrong. And if they knew and cared about the truth they would not say such things.

          I like the progressive liberal movement. That goes from the church I belong to that allows a lesbian to be a pastor, to debates that pit conservatives and liberal ideas and understandings that I believe lead to better understandings and common ground.

          The regressive movement into violence, name calling and hatred is dull and boring. Folks on here emulating that are most likely not being serious. If they are serious, they are probably projecting their radicalization onto me.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          … Nope. Nope. Nope. This is text-book alt-right strawmaning.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          That CATHOLIC used his career to shout people down and play the pied piper for people down on their luck looking to lay blame- like a certain other CATHOLIC in the 1930s. Free speech and liberty doesn’t fair well with the content they push.

        • MR

          50%? My social media feeds would beg to differ. For two decades I’ve seen 10 times the vitriol on the right than I’ve ever seen on the left. Only under Trump have I seen an uptick on the left, but the right has increased, too. I mean, it sounds like bubble wrap the way conservative heads are exploding out there. I just hung up with my boss ranting about some bizarre conspiracy theory I don’t even know where he got it from.

        • Otto

          My point is the extremes are eating the middle. I personally tend to lean left but I have seen plenty from the left attacking liberty and free speech to the point it makes me nauseous. The left used to hold the banner for liberty and free speech but those times are gone.

        • MR

          Yes, action-reaction, but still principally a right phenomena.

        • Otto

          The left has forgotten that the answer to speech they don’t agree with is more speech…not trying to shut down their opposition’s speech altogether, it bothers me that the side I more identify with seems to have forgotten this.

        • MR

          So you see it as black and white, too, then? Everyone on the left is trying to completely shut down the right’s free speech? Religious blogs should be allowed to be a platform for alt-right hate speech?

          As far as I know, freedom of speech places limits on government, not individuals. Do you think everyone should be forced to be a platform for speech they don’t agree with? Should churches allow atheists to come in and denounce God? Must I stand there with my door open when the Jehovah Witnesses come a’ calling?

        • al kimeea

          Protesting a KKK rally is speaking out against a hateful message, doing the same for a Milo event is no different.

        • fractal

          “THEY (Leftists) HATE ON MEN WOMEN AFRICAN AMERICANS HISPANICS AND WHITES”

          Please cite source.

        • Cryny

          For real. This loon probably thinks the KKK is a leftist group.

        • Lane Slater

          There is video of Leftist extremists throwing urine on women, throwing explosives at women, sucker punching unarmed men begging for peace, threatening women, assaulting African American conservatives, hurling racial slurs at white people and making derogatory comments to Hispanics.

          Here is a Leftist throwing urine on a woman. She was afraid that it was acid. A Leftist group had recently been busted for planning out an acid attack.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKdKyAKvIJs

          Here is a Leftist calling an African-American a derogatory name.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlztaq21qoc

        • TheNuszAbides

          is “explosives” really an appropriate (as opposed to alarmist) description here? shouldn’t be hard for the appropriate Bureau to follow that up. or have they been infiltrated by “Leftists”?

        • Kodie

          What the fuck are you talking about?

        • Herald Newman

          I think somebody got a day pass they shouldn’t have. :)

        • Lane Slater

          Do you know the difference between liberals and leftists?

          Liberals love liberty. Leftists hate liberty.

        • Kodie

          In America, people like you use them synonymously and derogatorily, but none of them throw piss on anyone (that I’ve heard about). You’re becoming radicalized.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m not becoming radicalized. Stop making up shit. You don’t know what you are talking about.

          In America we do not all do that. Most importantly I do not. And that is a fact.

          I support the separation between church and the state. As do the Muslims I know. But there are some Muslims in the United States and more in nations like the United Kingdom that do not.

          Leftists have thrown urine on women in the United States. And explosives. They throw them at liberals, too.

        • Kodie

          You might be a victim of propaganda like Fox News or infowars.

        • Lane Slater

          But I’m not a big fan of either of those news outlets.

          Maybe you should stop jumping to conclusions you can not back up. You have no evidence to support your claims.

          Right wingers like to make false accusations. Should I start doing what you do? It would be easy. I could make the same claims about you that you do about me. That would be easy. Anyone can do such things.

        • Kodie

          I see nothing so far that you’ve written that’s correct in the real world. Good luck getting to know Jesus, you’re most of the way there.

        • Lane Slater

          I don’t like Fox News. I hate Infowars.

          Yet you believe I’m a victim of them.

          Come on, Kodie. You fucked up and made a very poor judgement. If you knew the truth you wouldn’t be making up fairy tales and pretending to know things you don’t know.

        • Joe

          This person is a pure fantasist. I’m on the verge of blocking them.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m a liberal who is bothered by the Leftist violence committed in the name of Antifa.

          I’m not alone.

          http://www.salon.com/2017/03/10/anti-fascist-radicals-liberals-dont-realize-the-serious-danger-of-the-alt-right/

          Leftists view liberals like me as being N@zis. So wrong.

        • Joe

          You aren’t liberal.

          Some of us are grown ups here. We can see through your trolling. It’s pathetically transparent.

        • Michael Neville

          Someone who supports the English Defence League can reasonably be described as a fascist.

        • Lane Slater

          That guy is not a member of that group. Nor am I.

          I do know they have minorities that support them. And even Muslims.

        • Kodie

          So far all you’ve done is complain about “Leftists”.

        • Lane Slater

          And you have ignorantly claimed I’m being radicalized by liberals and Democrats. I became radicalized and marched with women for equal rights a few months. The horror! A man supporting women’s rights. I’ve definitely been radicalized by Hillary. Why do you think I voted for Obama 2 times? It must be that radicalization you are making up. :)

        • Kodie

          It must be the way you focus on a single issue and keep bringing it up as though it’s on topic and interesting to others.

        • Lane Slater

          You keep accusing me of being something I’m not. You and one other guy keep insisting your unproven claims are true.

          The evidence debunks you. And him. We are done. Later!

        • MR

          Alt-right troll.

        • Lane Slater

          That is empirically false. Sorry.

        • MR

          You think I don’t recognize these tactics? Good luck convincing someone else.

        • Lane Slater

          I can provide evidence of other liberals making similar arguments like I am.

          You can pretend like I’m “Alt-Right” but my voting history, party affiliation and stance on issues (which you are ignorant about) would cause any rational thinking person to doubt your unproven claims.

        • MR

          As I said, good luck convincing someone else. I’m quite familiar with these tactics.

        • Lane Slater

          Uh hu. And I’m familiar with your tactics. You don’t like moderate liberal tactics? Ok.

        • MR

          Yawn.

        • Lane Slater

          Ok. Put up or shut up. Please explain what my tactic is.

          Also, tell me my political leanings on hot button issues like abortion and immigration.

          Go!

          http://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/popcorn_stephen_colbert.gif

        • MR

          Good luck convincing the others.

        • Lane Slater

          The people who have evidence and first-hand knowledge already know.

          The few anonymous message board posters on this blog without much information and very little evidence have told me they believe something that is not true.

          You obviously got nothing because you won’t explain your tactic theory. Which is fine. I was interested in hearing more about it. But if you won’t, you won’t.

        • MR

          Your words betray you. Let the other’s decide for themselves. Let Bob decide if he wants to allow you to misuse his platform. I’m just pointing out the obvious.

        • Lane Slater

          You made a claim. You might be right. But dodging my request to explain yourself causes this skeptic to doubt you. What is my tactic? If Bob can excuse your accusations without support, I’m sure my harmless ideas and beliefs can be tolerated.

        • MR

          I’m sorry, did you convince me otherwise? Let me check my email thread. Oops, you still look like an alt-right troll to me.

        • Lane Slater

          Haha. Feel free to call me whatever you want. I was hoping you could explain yourself. I am privy to evidence that debunks your claim. And simple logic would cause any reasonable person to doubt your unproven claims.

        • MR

          Let me check your words again…. Yeah, my opinion remains unchanged.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m not surprised.

          What I’m curious about is whether or not you can back up your claims.

          So far you’ve done a great job at deflection. I did not know that asking for an explanation or reasoning would be ignored.

          Anyway, have a great night. :)

        • MR

          I don’t need anything more than your own words. They’re tattooed across your forehead:
          Eu sou alt-direita e vacilão.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1dfa5f340b6af413c2c965404cfbfbc55e386bd900416108f10773b6b2d5abe9.jpg

        • Lane Slater

          More deflection. Eh, fugghedaboutit. Enjoy the echo chamber!

        • MR

          They’re your own words. You can label yourself whatever you want, but you defined yourself when you walked in the room. Why are we still having this conversation, again?

        • adam
        • Lane Slater

          It has nothing to do with religion. Sorry, Adam. Your memes are great. You have a great talent. But lets try to stay on topic. I know you can do it.

      • Small towns = white ghettos

        Nope, the biggest threat is mooching treasonous white trash, such as yourself.

  • catfink

    Why does its large, educated, comfortable middle class cling to belief in a supernatural creator? Paul and Zuckerman say that it’s because they are insecure: salaries and jobs are under pressure from companies eager to cut costs, health insurance is uncertain, social pressure to keep up with the Jones increases debt, and so on. A single extended illness can bankrupt a family.

    Illness can bankrupt a family in any country. “Universal” health care systems may cover (most) medical care, but if you’re too sick to work they won’t pay your rent/mortgage or credit card bills. As for jobs and salaries, the U.S. generally has lower unemployment than other developed countries, and salaries are generally higher.

    I think a better explanation for the relatively higher level of religiosity in the U.S. is its large size and political decentralization, which has made it easier for large and relatively self-contained religious communities to survive — evangelical Protestantism in the South, The LDS Church in Utah, the Lutherans in the midwest, Catholics in the Southwest, etc. The sociologist Steve Bruce has written extensively about this.

    • Herald Newman

      I think a better explanation for the relatively higher level of
      religiosity in the U.S. is its large size and political decentralization

      Maybe. I found this TED talk with David Voas last week. The United States has been an outlier in terms of the rate of secularization, but it’s catching up. I believe his statement was that the US was about 15-20 years behind other Western countries.

    • adam
      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Most of those were not slaughtered, they died from disease. The exact numbers are unknown: the 100 million is just one estimate.

        • adam

          Yeah, a lot died from lead poisoning, some from small pox and many many many more through willful neglect.

          Christian willful neglect….

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Until fairly recently, no one could have done anything about the first. The second is of course another matter.

        • Lane Slater

          Native Americans were also superstitious. They believed they could cure diseases through chants. And that an actual dragon was the source of the disease.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Not that much different from Christians at the time then. I doubt all the thousands of cultures believed in the dragon thing though. What is your point?

        • Lane Slater

          Christians provided vaccines and medical information about quarantines that saved lives.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Okay. It is a problem that did not exist until they came however.

        • Lane Slater

          Yes. But as transportation methods improved and human beings began traveling and immigrating to new lands it was inevitable that vaccines would be necessary for virtually all.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Probably true.

        • Kodie

          So it’s obvious to you how that’s a superstition, but not how Christianity is also a superstition. We have a guy here who has not discounted that demons cause disease. You can’t prove they don’t.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m not superstitious. Sorry. Most Christians fully embrace medical sciences. They built a lot of hospitals, make excellent doctors and contribute to medical advances.

          Prove? What do you care about proof? You’ve made numerous claims you can’t prove about me. Fact is you can’t prove your claims to be true, because you have no credible evidence to back up your claims.

        • Kodie

          You believe if you do your dance a special way, the universe will favor you. That’s a superstition.

          I am not saying to prove demons don’t cause diseases, but you can’t, so maybe they do – that’s what an actual Christian poster here believes.

        • Lane Slater

          I do not believe that if I do a dance a special way that the universe will favor me. Seriously. I’m not superstitious.

          Some Christian believes that? Ok. So what? You told me you believe I’m being radicalized by a tv station I don’t watch and a website I avoid. I can’t prove I don’t watch that channel or visit that site. But I know I don’t. Your claims are ignorant and wrong. You might actually do better with superstition. Because your current mode of knowledge is failing you big time. The evidence debunks your claims.

        • Kodie

          There is no evidence that you are something other than an alt-right troll.

          All Christians have this idea that the universe is paying special attention to them, just like if you flipped a coin or prayed to Jesus or took communion. Those are superstitious rituals.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m not Alt-Right, though. Sorry. It is just not me.

          Oh. I didn’t know you know what all Christians believe. Cool trick, Kodie. Mind reader. I like it.

          I’m still not superstitious. And the reasons a person takes communion need not be superstitious. It can be. But it does not have to be. Fact is for some it is not. There is evidence of that.

        • Kodie

          Oh, for fuck’s sake.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          you seem to have gotten into a loop trying to explain to people what label you want attached to you. Sounds pretty boring. Maybe if you just focused on saying something interesting and defending it (or attacking something else) and let the labels fall where they may?

        • adam

          How many until it is unchristian?

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          I’m not saying it was right.

        • Lane Slater

          Native Americans fought with Christians, too.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          Yes.

      • Lane Slater

        Native Americans were war mongers. Just like most of the rest of the world. They were killing each other before and after Europeans arrived.

        Christians did create the Constitution that gave Native Americans and other non-Europeans basic human rights. They also provided medicine to save Native Americans. Native Americans were ignorant about science and medicine and most likely would not have come up with a cure on their own for hundreds of years.

        • fractal

          Native Americans were NOT ignorant of science and medicine.
          They didn’t have a technological society.
          That certainly didn’t mean they had no way to heal.
          Neither does it mean they didn’t understand cause and effect, how to think rationally and sequentially, or how to test a hypothesis.

        • Lane Slater

          Eventually they would have been exposed to small pox. The didn’t have a cure.

        • Herald Newman

          The(sic) didn’t have a cure.

          Neither did the Europeans. Europeans just had a better immune system, largely because they had been living with farm animals for centuries.

        • Lane Slater

          It was inevitable as human beings began to immigrate to and travel to new areas that they would be exposed to diseases that would kill a lot of Native Americans.

        • Herald Newman

          Okay, but what does this have to do with having a cure for small pox? The Europeans had no cure for small pox either, so you comparison seems a bit off.

        • Lane Slater

          Native Americans did not know how to deal with the disease. They tried sweat lodges and playing drums to combat the disease. They eventually learned quarantining individuals was helpful.

          It was Christians providing them vaccines that helped the most.

        • Michael Neville

          Small pox was caused by a virus. Modern medicine can’t cure viral diseases, it can provide immunity through vaccinations and give palliative care, but no, as in zero, viral infections can be cured. So condemning Native Americans for not curing small pox just shows your ignorance and prejudice.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m not condemning them. I’m saying the vaccines where more effective than their sweat lodges and drum circles.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re blaming them for not being technologically advanced. I’m certainly not impressed by that argument.

        • Lane Slater

          No. I’m not trying to lame blame on anybody. That was Adam’s meme trying to do that. Were you impressed by his meme? Any of them?

          Criticizing the Native American religion that believed a dragon was the cause of small pox, or that doing a dance could lead to a cure was a criticism of ideas. Not blame for what happened to them.

          Point is that Europeans helped Native Americans. Some were horrid. Both sides had poor examples. Germans wanted to murder all Jews. They had a a plan to do that.

        • Herald Newman

          It was Christians providing them vaccines that helped the most

          Well, vaccines aren’t cures, and there has never been a cure for smallpox. Smallpox was eradicated because of a global effort to immunize the healthy, and quarantine the sick.

        • Lane Slater

          Yes. Those methods worked better than the Native American’s belief that an evil dragon’s breath was the cause of the epidemic!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, the vaccines did come from Christians (mostly), though they also came from people with 5 toes (mostly). The Christian trait and the 5-toed trait are both irrelevant to the story.

        • adam

          Lead poisoning by christians killed a lot of Native Americans

        • Lane Slater

          Sure. And hospitals Christians built saved a lot. Good and bad. And it wasn’t just Christians fighting Indians.

        • Cryny

          Christians did create the Constitution that gave Native Americans and other non-Europeans basic human rights.

          Oh yeah, and that was wonderfully implemented. Just ask Andrew Jackson.

        • Lane Slater

          They did some very good things. And some very bad things. Just like all groups.

        • Cryny

          Thank you for the brilliant clarification.

        • The Happy Atheist

          Oh, boy. Where to start.

          “Native Americans were war mongers. Just like most of the rest of the
          world. They were killing each other before and after Europeans arrived.”

          That is simply factually incorrect. Native groups, even those with expansionist goals, were not “war mongers” in any sense of the word. To the contrary, the vast majority of Native groups went to great lengths to minimize death and destruction of property as the result of conflict. Even the practice of taking captives was an intentional way of bonding one group to another via extended families.

          “Christians did create the Constitution that gave Native Americans and other non-Europeans basic human rights.”

          Natives didn’t need “human rights” before Europeans invaded and started slaughtering them.

          “They also provided medicine to save Native Americans. Native Americans
          were ignorant about science and medicine and most likely would not have
          come up with a cure on their own for hundreds of years.”

          Again, they didn’t need European medicine because they didn’t have European diseases until the Europeans invaded. So, it’s like asking someone to be grateful that you provided a solution to a problem that YOU created in the first place.

        • Lane Slater

          Oh boy! Thanks for sharing. :)

          Native Americans were like the rest of the world. They were nations that fought against each other. And we have evidence of these wars and fighting going on for a long time.

          Unfortunately not many, not even Native Americans, believed that all men are created equal. Native Americans would have viewed killing a white person as killing, but killing a fellow Native American as murder. Which is very human of them. Something we see in all cultures and nations.

          Did you read Adam’s meme? it was silly, but that is the context I’m writing about. Christians did horrid things, like war with Native Americans. But also did good things, like providing the Bill of Rights that eventually went to go to all men and women – not just certain men.

        • Joe

          Native Americans were war mongers

          “Hey, those guys are war-mongers! Lets exterminate them and rape their woman!”.

        • Lane Slater

          And then lets straw man!

        • Joe

          How is that a straw man?

          Apart from the fact the motivations of the Settlers was greed, not indignation over the behaviour of Native Americans.

        • adam

          “Christians did create the Constitution that gave Native Americans and other non-Europeans basic human rights.”

          You mean slave owning christians?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

        • Lane Slater

          Christianity was birthed in a world that celebrated slavery. Our so-called “great” civilizations fully embraced slavery.

          In the Old Testament we see slaves earning rights for the first time. It is the first recorded instance of granting slaves rights. They were given days off.

          The world said harboring a runaway slave was a crime.

          The Old Testament said returning a runaway slave to his so-called owner was a crime.

          Predominately Christian nations, with the help of others, abolished slavery.

          My ancestors included Christians who were slaves. They found strength in the story of the Israelis being freed. Those were stories the slave masters tried to hide from the slaves.

          Christians owning slaves was horrid. And is horrid if they are stilling doing it. Just like secular folks owning slaves is horrid. Because slavery still exists. And many Christians are fighting to free people from slavery.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You had so many things wrong in your other comments but it always astound me how christians will try to sugarcoat slavery

          In the Old Testament we see slaves earning rights for the first time. It is the first recorded instance of granting slaves rights. They were given days off.

          That is factually false: it was not the first time slaves were granted “rights”. The code of Hammurabi predates both the “recorded account” of Exodus and Levitical law. And “days off”? Only as the Sabbath applied to everyone or they were to be put to death, amazing “right” there…

          The Old Testament said returning a runaway slave to his so-called owner was a crime.

          You may want to learn a little bit about the bible there because this is simply isn’t true either. The verse you’re likely to refer to only talks about returning a slave to a foreign enemy of Israel. It was certainly not a crime to return the property of an Hebrew to him and slaves were property. Paul advised a slave to return to his master.

          Predominately Christian nations, with the help of others, abolished slavery.

          After they spent centuries practicing it. Slavery was abolished in spite of, not because of, christianity as we can attest by the bible-verse-quoting christian supporters of slavery.

          There is absolutely nothing in the bible that condems slavery, the bible condones it.

        • Lane Slater

          “…but it always astound me how christians will try to sugarcoat slavery”

          I’m not trying to sugarcoat slavery. It was horrid. Virtually every Christian denomination has denounced slavery. It is pointed to as a poor example in their history.

          Human beings have celebrated slavery for a long, long, long time. Christianity was birthed in a world that loved it. And the North Atlantic slave trade actually IS condemned by The Bible. The slave owners knew that – that is why they hid such things from their slaves.

          Christians have been victims of slavery, too. They continue to be victims.

          It was Christians, among many others, who risked their lives to end slavery in the United States. And Christians, among others, are still fighting to free slaves in this nation and other nations.

          I’m responding to Adam’s meme, which is misguided.

          The Code of Hammurabi demanded the death penalty for harboring run away slaves. And the slave was returned to his master. Other codes imposed a fine. And the slave was imposed to his master. Israel was to offer safe harbor to foreign runaway slaves.

          “No other ancient near Eastern law has been found that holds a master to account for the treatment of his own slaves (as distinct from injury done to the slave of another master), and the otherwise universal law regarding runaway slaves was that they must be sent back, with severe penalties for those who failed to comply.”

          Christopher J. H. Wright

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You did try to sugarcoat slavery when you claimed that the slavery condoned in the bible was the first time slaves were seen earning “rights” which is, again, false. The slavery condoned in the bible was not really in any way better than the slavery practiced in the other regions of the area:
          Slaves were considered proprty to be bought and sold.

          The North Atlantic slave trade is condemned in the bible? Citation needed.
          Because not only do I doubt that the bible condems something that happened centuries after it was written, the objective fact is that the bible condones slavery.

          And so christians may have “risked their lives to end slavery in the United States”, so did christians risk their lives to keep it going.

          Israel did harbor the runaway slaves of foreign enemy nations. Why would they return the ressource of an enemy? And their own slaves however? They were returned to their masters. Slaves were bought, sold and owned as property, just like in the slavery codes of the surrounding regions.

          The bible condones slavery.

        • Lane Slater

          Nope. Not sugar coating. Describing. You said writings before the OT gave slaves rights, which is sugar coating? No. You were not. And I was not.

          Slavery was horrid, especially the kind Europeans, Africans, and North Americans embraced during the Atlantic Slave trade.

          Israel was a nation that was enslaved by some extremely harsh and vile people. They were in a hopeless situation. God set Israel free and did it in a way in which they could not take credit for it themselves.

          Due to God doing for Israel what they could not do for themselves – he told them they owed him something. And what he asked of them was to treat other people well. These 10 statements or commandments from God made that clear. The best thing others could do is treat others well, the worst thing is doing evil in God’s name.

          – “Israel did harbor the runaway slaves of foreign enemy nations.”

          Leviticus forbid treating the differently than others:
          “There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’” Lev 24:22

          As did Numbers:
          “As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the Lord. There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.”

          Exodus forbid oppressing foreigners:
          “You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

          They were not to be viewed as inferior.

          Killing a slave led to punishment. Permanently injuring a slave meant the slave would be set free. And slaves, regardless if they came from an enemy or ally, who ran away from an oppressive master were freed.

          Does the Code of Hammurabi allow that? I believe it says slaves who escaped were to be returned. Not returning a slave was punishable by death.

          I don’t know of any law before this one that dictated all people, regardless of free or enslaved, had to take a day off.

          Hebrews could become slaves if they committed a crime and could not pay the fine. Or if they became too impoverished. The did something similar to what modern secular people do when they enlist in the military.

          The laws regarding treatment of non-Hebrew slaves were the same.

          This was a nation that also had laws asking them to leave behind crops for the poor. To have food pantries. And to loan money without interest to the poor.

          Antebellum slavery is condemned:

          No kidnapping or supporting kidnapping:

          “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” Ex 21:16

          African-American slaves found inspiration to revolt against slavery from The Bible. As did their liberators. Virtually all people who take The Bible seriously do not see it as permitting slavery, especially not antebellum style slavery. That type was forbidden.

          Martin Luther King, JR was inspired by The Bible – and especially Jesus Christ – to carry out one of the largest non-violent revolutions in the world.

          I’m sure there are lots of folks fighting to free slaves today. Many Christians are doing a lot to help those who are currently enslaved.

          It is pretty simple, though.

          I can’t follow Jesus’ greatest commandment and be a slaver.

          Or his other teachings, like “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

        • Otto

          >>>”The laws regarding treatment of non-Hebrew slaves were the same.

          Christian apologetic dishonest fking claptrap….

          “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)”

          >>>”This was a nation that also had laws asking them to leave behind crops for the poor. To have food pantries. And to loan money without interest to the poor.”

          This was also a nation that self reportedly committed genocide, killed the woman and children, except for the virgin girls that they could take for themselves.

        • Lane Slater

          Eh. “Christian apologetic dishonest fking claptrap.” Sounds personal. :) Funny stuff. You are the 3rd or 4th person to embrace name calling and not hide your bigotry about Christians. I used to be that way. It doesn’t work.

          I disagree with your opinion, Otto.

          “Whoever kidnaps someone, either to sell him or to keep him as a slave is to be put to death.” Exodus 21:16

          Forced slavery was forbidden. Not a fucking claptrap. There are secular sources that recognize the differences.

          “If any Israelites living near you become SO POOR that THEY SELL THEMSELVES to you as a slave, you shall not make them do the work of a slave. They shall stay with you as hired workers and serve you until the next Year of Restoration.” Leviticus 25:39-40

          But lets look at your verse:

          “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.”
          These were people who fell on hard times and were poor. Being a servant for a Hebrew is better than starving to death with your family on the street. You may purchase from a person who lives in Israel their servants.

          We know – and this was a major deal because it refers back to God’s miracles that freed the Hebrews:

          “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner; remember that you were foreigners in Egypt. Do not mistreat any widow or orphan.” – Exodus 22:21-22

          Now look at this:

          “Suppose a foreigner living with you becomes rich, while some Israelites become poor and SELL THEMSELVES AS SLAVES to that foreigner or to a member of that foreigner’s family. After they are sold, they still have the right to be bought back. A brother or an uncle or a cousin or another close relative may buy them back; or if they themselves earn enough, they may buy their own freedom. They must consult the one who bought them, and they must count the years from the time they sold themselves until the next Year of Restoration and must set the price for their release on the basis of the wages paid hired workers. They must refund a part of the purchase price according to the number of years left, as if they had been hired on an annual basis. Their master must not treat them harshly. If they are not set free in any of these ways, they and their children must be set free in the next Year of Restoration. Israelites cannot be permanent slaves, because the people of Israel are the LORD’s slaves. He brought them out of Egypt; he is the LORD their God.”
          Leviticus 25:47-55

          Nothing here supports forced slavery. This is slaves choosing servitude.

          The verse you provided says you may. None of that suggests it was automatic, standard or expected.

          And look at this! Some servants choose to remain. you may (if your servant chooses to stay)

          Now look at Exodus 21:5 – “But if the slave declares that he loves his master, his wife, and his children and does not want to be set free,”

          It is not forcing slavery. It is a servant choosing, most likely because the world offered better options, to remain with a family that cared and loved for his family. A person could choose to remain a servant – and that deal would be passed on to the children of the master’s family.

          Aaaaaand:

          “if they themselves earn enough, they may buy their own freedom.”
          Leviticus 25:49

          Compared to modern times this doesn’t sound ideal. But at the time this was quite progressive.

          Forced slavery condemned.

          Voluntary slavery allowed.

        • Otto

          1) I never called you a name…more dishonesty
          2) There is no bigotry, I referenced what is in the ‘holy’ book. If you don’t like it that is not my problem.
          3) Exodus 21:16 does not change the fact that the verse I quoted specifically says to treat people as property and completely refutes your contention that “The laws regarding treatment of non-Hebrew slaves were the same.”
          4) You said “These were people who fell on hard times and were poor.” And then they were property to be passed down as one would pass down a chair to their heirs. I don’t care if they fell on hard times (not that you have a shred of evidence that that was actually the case). Treating people as property is mistreatment. The problem is slavery was condoned all over the middle east and by most all cultures, notice the Jewish God never gave a commandment that “thou shalt not own people as property”…nope that God was only as moral as the people who worshiped him, same as today, which is why people like you now have to come up with dishonest apologetics in an attempt to cover the plane immorality in your holy book. Beating slaves is not OK, owning people as property is NOT OK, so the excuses have to flow in order for you to deal with your cognitive dissonance.

          “Forced slavery condemned.”
          Bullshit

          “Voluntary slavery allowed.”
          Yep and owning people as property is still wrong even if the ‘property’ consents to it. There is a reason it is not allowed in any part of the USA, because it is wrong…and yet your God never got that right.

        • Lane Slater

          Sorry, dude. Not sure what a fucking clacktrap is. But is sounded like name calling. And bigoted. Christian apologetic dishonest? Yea. That sounds bigoted.

          If you are not, I’m sorry.

          I don’t agree with your opinions. Not sure how that makes me dishonest. But it seems to make you feel better?

          There are things comparable to the servitude permitted by The Bible in the United States of America. Like joining the military where one becomes a GI, gives up certain rights and can choose to remain in the military when service time is up.

          Cognitive dissonance? Come on, Otto. Your amateur psychology shtick may pass this echo chamber’s scrutiny. But outside that nobody is going to take such lame and impotent attempts at insults seriously.

          Hey, there are apparently secular historians who – by your personal and bizarre methods – are actually dishonest and suffering from a mental condition you wish really hard they want.

          Anyway, you are being silly. Your attempts at insults are just frothy emotional appeal that has nothing to do with reality. I’m done. You are too defensive about Leftists – but feel entitled to stereotype and demean all Christians with your bigoted beliefs. IMHO. You’ve shared yours. I’m being honest about mine. Good luck, Otto. Hopefully someday you can get these ideas of yours to gain some traction outside a blog dedicated to atheism.

        • Otto

          Claptrap: noun
          1.pretentious but insincere or empty language:
          “His speeches seem erudite but analysis reveals them to be mere claptrap.”

          I called the Christian apologetic of ‘explaining’ slavery in the bible as dishonest, it is. No that is not bigotry, looks like you need to look up the definition of ‘bigotry’.
          It doesn’t make you dishonest, it is calling the argument dishonest. I am well aware you did not come up with these dishonest Christian arguments yourself.

          >>>”There are things comparable to the servitude permitted by The Bible in the United States of America. Like joining the military where one becomes a GI”

          Now that is dishonest….ugh. People in the military get paid, they are not servants…it isn’t even close to being the same thing.

          >>>”But outside that nobody is going to take such lame and impotent attempts at insults seriously.”

          That is not an insult, you claim to be all for human rights and then make excuses for your holy book clearly infringing upon human rights, that is an attempt to deal with the cognitive dissonance.

          >>>”You are too defensive about Leftists – but feel entitled to stereotype and demean all Christians with your bigoted beliefs. ”

          No I attacked Christian apologetics and those that use them in the way you are attempting to. Only a very small amount of Christians do that, heck only a small amount of Christians are even aware that slavery is condoned and legislated in the Bible.

          There has not been one shred of bigotry in anything I wrote, you seem intent on being some sort of victim, which is apparent in most of what you post.

          My ideas have gained traction, you know where they started? Sitting in a pew in a Christian church as a believer for most of my life. I dealt with my cognitive dissonance by realizing that the Christian religion only pretends to be a moral worldview, maybe someday you will deal with yours…or maybe not.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Are you truly this ignorant? Or do you really think that such blatant lying will work? It is either ignorance or dishonety from you, you are still attempting to sugarcoat the slavery condoned in the bible.

          First, god is fictional. Unless you have sound evidence to the contrary of course. you would be the first christian to possess some so I will not hold my breath.

          Second, even if the story goes with god freeing the hebrews, this does not change that the same book containing the story also condones slavery.

          Leviticus forbid treating the differently than others:
          “There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’” Lev 24:22

          Treating the what? The slaves? The foreign slaves? It condoned treating them differently:
          “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

          Also:
          – What was the punishment for a slavemaster beating his slave? There was no punishment.
          – What happened if the slave died of his wound after a day or two? There was also no punishment.
          “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property. (Exodus 20:20-21)

          Do you truly believe the punishment for killing a slave and killing a free hebrew were the same? You may wish to read the bible, the whole of Exodus and Leviticus rather than selectively pick quotes out of it.

          They were not to be viewed as inferior.

          They were referred to as property. To be bought, sold, owned and passed f as inheritance. They lacked the rights hebrew males possessed.

          “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” Ex 21:16

          You are clearly ignorant of the context (or you are not and are simply lying). This passages refers to hebrew males, see Deuteronomy 24:7. How do you think the hebrews got the slaves the bibles condones them having?

          African-American slaves found inspiration to revolt against slavery from The Bible. As did their liberators.

          And american slaves were read bible passages by their captors to convince them to submit to their masters. Should we believe you are as ignorant of history as you are of the bible?

          Virtually all people who take The Bible seriously do not see it as permitting slavery, especially not antebellum style slavery. That type was forbidden.

          Really? Then it should be a simple matter: find me a single passage of the bible that clearly condemns slavery. A single one. Go on, I’ll wait…

        • Lane Slater

          Oh. You believe God is fictional. Cool! And unless I prove to you otherwise you won’t change your personal opinion on that? Ok. That is your opinion. Thanks for sharing! I’m familiar with your beliefs. I used to say the same thing. It is ok.

          Forced slavery is condemned.
          “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” Exodus 21:16

          Voluntary slavery is allowed due to poverty. Unless the slave does not want to be freed.
          “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,” Exodus 21:5

          That is all old and ancient stuff though. As we have evolved and matured we are now living under a new covenant through Jesus Christ. His commands make forced slavery unthinkable. You can’t love others and force them to be your slave. The foundation of Jesus’ teachings are based in love of others. Doing to others what you want done to you.

          I have never met a Christian who thinks we should bring back or promote forced slavery. There are some kinky folks who like to play SM games and become slaves. That is about as close to anyone I’ve met that supports slavery. I do know quite a few Christians who sacrifice their comfort, finances and security to help slaves out of slavery. I don’t think anyone would be convinced by your argument (which I only glanced at due to your ad hominems).

        • Susan

          Oh. You believe God is fictional. Cool!

          If by “God”, you mean Yahwehjesus, I have never seen any reason provided to come to any other conclusion.

          If you have something, now would be a good time to introduce it.

          OK. That is your opinion.

          Like it is probably your opinion that leprechauns are fictional.

          I used to say the same thing.

          But now you don’t, I guess. What changed your mind?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • Lane Slater

          You are basically telling me that you are a gnostic atheist. That’s fine. I’m not one. I don’t believe in leprechauns. And have never met a person who does believe in leprechauns. Nor have I seen leprechaun believers do things like become rocket scientists, perform brain surgery, help man fly to the moon and lead a peaceful civil rights movement. I would be open to listening arguments from leprechaun believers if you can point me toward some – that would be great.

          Men and women who are a lot smarter and accomplished feats I can not have offered strong and good reasons for believing in God. And for not believing in God. For thousands of years. I can’t say the same for leprechaun believers.

          Jesus Christ changed my mind. I don’t just believe in God. I’m interested in following Jesus Christ. I’m all in with Jesus. The payoff has been tremendous.

          The only cost is the judgment from others that tell me my belief has to have a specific shape. Which really doesn’t matter on message boards. You are basically repeating what many anti-religious atheists commonly believe. You’ve got shared beliefs and you share them in similar ways. And I’ve believed the same way at one point in my life. What Jesus teaches me is that there is only one kind of judgment that really matters. You’ve shared your judgment. Opinions noted.

        • Susan

          You are basically telling me that you are a gnostic atheist.

          No. Anyone can clearly see I didn’t.

          I asked you what you are claiming and how you support it.

          That was a very long comment that made no case.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m sharing my experience. In your opinion God is fictional. Ok.

          I don’t agree. Not sure what leprechauns have to do with anything. Other than being a very popular subject with New Atheist philosophers that I used to study and read about. :)

          http://godlessmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/leprechaun-300×300.png

        • Susan

          I’m sharing my experience.

          No. You were accusing me of being a gnostic atheist.

          Rather than lifting a finger to separate Yahwejesus from all other mythical characters.

          Not sure what the leprechauns have to do with anything.

          See above.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m sorry if you are not a gnostic atheist. I don’t know much about you.

          I don’t believe in mythical creatures. So, you’ve made a similar misjudgment.

          Right. I don’t believe in leprechauns. I’ve never met anyone that does. I’ve met people who believe in God. From elite scientists to caring humanitarians. Same with atheists. But not for people in regards to leprechauns. We don’t have the world’s most brilliant and intelligent minds giving strong arguments for and against the existence of leprechauns. We do in regards to the origin of the universe and the source that brought forth life. There are strong, logical and reasonable arguments for and against God and atheism. Not so for leprechauns. Yet on message boards I keep finding a handful of atheists obsessed with leprechauns. Even atheists tell me they are baffled by this phenomenon.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          There are strong, logical and reasonable arguments for … God

          I would be interested in knowing what they are as I have never seen any of them.
          It cannot be the cosmological, ontological, teleological, or moral arguments because none of them are logical or reasonable.
          Which are arguments are you talking about?

        • Lane Slater

          There are a great number of debates on YouTube. There are atheists who admit that some theists present stronger arguments during debates. And there are theists who admit that some atheists present stronger arguments during debates.

          At the very least, the issues are debatable. And given that we are dealing with a topic that can not be proven like mathematics, humility is required to admit that either side could be right – or wrong. Most arguments, form both sides, deal with a cumulative argument. It isn’t just that one thing proves atheism is true. Or that theism is true.

          If you have decided for yourself that there are no strong arguments – ok. There are people just as intelligent and educated as you that disagree with you.

          What are you living for?

          And what level of evidence do you have that what you are living for is true?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So no logical and reasonable argument then? I hope this is a learning experience for you.

          There are a great number of debates on YouTube. There are atheists who admit that some theists present stronger arguments during debates. And there are theists who admit that some atheists present stronger arguments during debates.

          At the very least, the issues are debatable.

          Some people find the earth being round to be debatable as well. Did you know that a prepared and eloquent flat-earther can crush his debate opponent in a youtube debate?

          A subject being debatable does not make a position logical or reasonable nor does a good debate performance. Evidence matters.

          And given that we are dealing with a topic that can not be proven like mathematics, humility is required to admit that either side could be right – or wrong.

          In which sense are you using the term “proven” here? Because if you are using it in a scientific academic sense, the earth being round is not provable either as proof does indeed resides in mathematics. If you are using it colloquially however, the earth has been proven to be round and theism or any religion can be proven.

          To say they cannot is to admit that there is no sound evidence for them. No evidence for them because their god cannot be shown to interact in reality in any detectible and perceptible way. And what difference is there to us between a god that is imperceptible and a god that simply isn’t there?

          So how can it be called logical or reasonable to believe in something you cannot possibly know? Especially when they are multiple and often contradictory flavors of it?

          Most arguments, form both sides, deal with a cumulative argument. It isn’t just that one thing proves atheism is true. Or that theism is true.

          You have atheism wrong. There is no thing that proves atheism true. Exactly that: no thing. Religion or even general theism has failed to provide even one sound thing.

          Let me tell you how I started on the path to deconversion: I attempted to convince someone of the existence of god. After failing to find any evidence or any sound argument, I realized I could soundly demonstrate what I “knew to be true”. My belief in god was not based on any knowledge I had but on wishful thinking. So far, I have not met a single theist that could soundly proved theism as true, much less their preferred flavor of it.

          Atheism is what happens when you realize that there is no sound evidence or argument for religion or theism.

          What are you living for?

          And what level of evidence do you have that what you are living for is true?

          Nonsensical question. What apologist uses that again?

        • Greg G.

          At http://www.reasonablefaith.org/does-god-exist-1 , William Lane Craig says,

          “Alvin Plantinga, one of the world’s leading philosophers, has laid out two dozen or so arguments for God’s existence. Together these constitute a powerful cumulative case for the existence of God.”

          If there was one successful argument for God’s existence, he would cite that one. It seems to me that the cumulative weight of the failures of the two dozen or so best arguments for the existence of God is a powerful case for the non-existence of God.

          [The quote was retrieved a while ago. I don’t know if it is still there.]

        • Susan

          I’m sorry if you are not a gnostic atheist.

          No apology required. It was a stupid thing to say when I asked you to support Yahwehjesus.

          Shifting the burden seems to be your bread and butter.

          Right. I don’t believe in leprechauns.

          Cool.

          So, what are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I think there are a number of debates on youtube 😉

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I suggest you move on to something interesting. Are you a Christian? Do you accept the arguments that I’ve made in the 1000 posts at this blog? if not, then make an argument. Tell us why I’m wrong. Tell us why God exists.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So not a single passage then.

          If being called ignorant of the bible upsets you and you wish for it to stop, the remedy is knowledge. If you are already knowledgeable but you are instead dishonest and being called on it upsets you then the remedy is to stop lying. It really is simple. Case in point:

          And unless I prove to you otherwise you won’t change your personal opinion on that? Ok. That is your opinion. Thanks for sharing! I’m familiar with your beliefs. I used to say the same thing. It is ok.

          It is dishonest to assert as true something that cannot be demonstrated to be so. This is not a matter of opinion (and asserting otherwise is lying).

          I believe something only when there is sound reason to do so, you obviously reject this manner of operating.

          Forced slavery is condemned.

          No it wasn’t so another lie on your part:
          – First, I explained the context of Exodus 21:16 to you and of course, you completely ignored it.
          – Second, “However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46)
          – Third, let’s give the full context of this passage that you quoted, shall we?

          “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,” Exodus 21:5

          If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ 6then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. (Exodus 21:4-5).
          Have you missed Exodus 21:4? That the “sons or daughters shall belong to the master”, in other words that the children are born as the master’s property, as his slaves? That is forced slavery, there is no voluntariness here. Well, except on the part of the hebrew male who must “voluntarily” become a slave for life if he wishes to remain near his wife and children…

          But no sugarcoating from you… You just moved on to blatant lying as I doubt you are actually this ignorant.

          That is all old and ancient stuff though. As we have evolved and matured we are now living under a new covenant through Jesus Christ. His commands make forced slavery unthinkable.

          Yet plenty of christians managed to live quite comfortably with the unthinkable. For centuries despite their claim to follow Jesus’ commands.

          I have never met a Christian who thinks we should bring back or promote forced slavery.

          And I have never met a christian who is honest about christianity.

          You would think that if not following Jesus’ command of “Doing to others what you want done to you” was actually unthinkable to christians, you would stop you from your conducting yourself as you are yet here we are.

          So… Do you really think that such blatant lying will work?

        • Lane Slater

          I’m sorry. I’m not upset. That is adorable that you imagine so. And I appreciate you sharing your opinions with me. I just can’t give what you write more than a glance – because your lame attempts at ridicule are just silly. There are tons of debates on YouTube of people who hold differing beliefs and points of view on the topic at hand. And most can do it in a better way than you are.

          I’m not lying. Calm down. I might be wrong. And so could you. I don’t agree with your opinions. If that upsets you – oh well. :)

        • TheMarsCydonia

          When did asserting “I’m not lying” after a serie of lies change them to truth?

          Do you understand what an opinion is? Because the way you used to term, it seems you mixed objectively verifiable facts with “opinion” so I would not be surprised that you are equally either ignorant or dishonest of what an opinion as you are of the bible, history, liberalism, the left, etc.

          Do you have any white flags left? Because nothing is as blatant a white flag as “I will dismiss what you wrote as silly rather than address it”.

        • Lane Slater

          I’ve not been lying.

          Sorry, dude. I might be wrong. As so might you. Going on a silly rant where you start insulting me and expecting me to read your silly opinions? Nah. Not a white flag ignoring your word soup. Especially when I had already addressed issues to the person I originally was chatting with.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Repeatedly saying “Sorry, you might be wrong” and “I’ve not been lying” will not change the facts that the bible condones slavery and that you have been lying about what it condones.

          As I said, if you find it a “silly rant” to be called out on blatant lies, cease blatantly lying. It is not a hard concept to understand.

          And running away by calling something “silly” rather than address the points is a white flag.

          Go ahead with asserting that you have not been lying and that you’re sorry but you’ll refuse to address the points, doing it once more cannot possibly hurt your case at this point.

        • BlackMamba44

          Luke 12:47-48 (NIV)

          47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. ~ Jesus

        • BlackMamba44

          Luke 14:25-26 (NIV)

          The Cost of Being a Disciple
          25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

          Matthew 10:34-38 (NIV)

          34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

          “‘a man against his father,
          a daughter against her mother,
          a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
          36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
          37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

        • Kodie

          Take up what cross? I feel like they shouldn’t be talking about that yet.

        • BlackMamba44

          That is an odd statement.

        • MR

          Plot device: Foreshadowing

        • Greg G.

          You have been bamboozled about Bible slavery. If your Christian friends are lying about that, you must wonder what else they are misleading you about.

          Are you sure that Exodus 21:16 is about slavery and not kidnapping for ransom? If it is about slavery, then kidnapping for ransom is legal in the OT.

          Exodus 21:5 is not about voluntary slavery. It is how to trick an ignorant young man into becoming a life-long slave by using family values. The master gives an indentured servant a slave wife. At the end of his six-year indenture, he is forced to choose between going free without the wife plus any children they may have or becoming a permanent slave. Read the context in Exodus 21:2-6 and Deuteronomy 15:12-17. The woman is not a volunteer and the children belong to the master, too.

          Bible slavery apologists tend to be confused between indentured servants and permanent slaves bought with money. Indentured servants served six years and were set free in the seventh year with something to show for it. The Jubilee was supposed to be when all slaves were set free and properrty returned to the original owners. There is no record of this ever happening. Exodus 12:43-45 and Leviticus 22:10-11 are about who can get a share of the priests’ passover food. Permanent slaves bought with money were eligible if they were circumcized. Indentured servants were not.

          Read what the OT actually says about slavery and bond servants and what apologists say the Bible says about slavery, then decide whether you are willing to believe the lying apologists or your lying eyes.

        • BlackMamba44

          Hell, even his precious Jesus had no issue with slavery. And he is supposed to be the new and improved version of Yahweh.

          Luke 12:47-48 (NIV)

          47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And the Southern Baptist Convention was started because of slavery! They separated to make clear that God is A-OK with slavery (which any honest reading of the OT would confirm).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Our so-called “great” civilizations fully embraced slavery.

          Our so-called “great” religions fully embraced slavery (actually, I’m just talking about Christianity).

          In the Old Testament we see slaves earning rights for the first time. It is the first recorded instance of granting slaves rights. They were given days off.

          OT slavery was the same as American slavery. Is that praiseworthy? I’d say no.

          Predominately Christian nations, with the help of others, abolished slavery.

          Not because the Bible said so! They shanghaied the Bible to argue for their agenda (which was a smart move). That’s it. The approach parallels MLK’s work.

        • Greg G.

          In the Old Testament we see slaves earning rights for the first time. It is the first recorded instance of granting slaves rights. They were given days off.

          That’s another lie told by Bible slavery apologists. In that time, the surrounding cultures had protections for slaves and some were better than Leviticus and Exodus. Hammurabi Law: Three Classes, circa 19th century BC, appear to be better than the OT. Hittite Law had an aversion to the death penalty that favored slavery instead, circa 15th century BC, which would be better than the OT. Code of the Nesilim, circa 16th century BC, doesn’t seem so bad for slaves.

      • catfink

        I don’t know how you think this is relevant to anything I wrote in the comment you’re responding to.

    • Rudy R

      I think the better explanation is that the U.S. has a very young social contract compared to most other societies. Most of the European nations have weathered through all the growing pains Americans are experiencing now.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The explanation that seems to explain the facts better is that poor social conditions are conducive to religion. When you improve society, the need for religion goes away.

      • catfink

        But the U.S.’s high HDI score shows that it doesn’t have poor social conditions. It’s one of the most socioeconomically advanced nations in the world.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Hasn’t this been explained to you? The HDI is a good index, but the many factors considered by Paul gives us a different look. You say that the US is fabulous? Cool–then directly respond to Paul’s approach.

        • catfink

          The HDI is a measure of the overall socioeconomic health of a country. The small, ambiguous, cherry-picked set of indicators cited by Paul and Zuckerman are not.

  • Sheila Warner

    My husband recently came out to me as agnostic. I’ve been an atheist for 18 months. He points to what he sees as the failure of Christianity to make positive changes in people as his turning point. I never thought I’d see this change in his thinking. Christianity is becoming a big failure to many people in its promises. For me, its toxic ideas can’t recede quickly enough. BTW, I’m 62 & was a lifelong believer. He’s nearly 58. You’re never too old to change your mind.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      {Hearty applause} :)

    • TheNuszAbides

      i can only imagine/hope this is something of a relief to you, and that you’ll both be better able to support each other and resist any pressure still exerted by others. here’s hoping he sees with increasing clarity that theism itself isn’t a cure for run-of-the-mill human horribleness — that no belief system (let alone super-special invisible friend/parent) is *itself* some ultimate source of community, compassion, etc.

    • MR

      Wow, that’s great, Sheila! I know family has been a stress for you. I’ve enjoyed watching your journey.

    • Otto

      I was first and my wife came out agnostic (then atheist) later. We now spend our Sunday mornings with coffee and conversation, our marriage of 22 years has never been better and I hope you get similar results.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Great! Thanks for the encouraging anecdote. The rise of the Nones is one measurable part of the societal change you’re mentioning.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Bob:
    “So perhaps many of us have it backwards. This is not a contest between
    religion and secularism that will determine the quality of society.
    Rather, the quality of society will determine whether religion or secularism will thrive.”

    Chuck:
    Simple cause-and-effect is inadequate to answer this question.
    It is not one or the other, but both simultaneously.

    This is similar to the question:
    Did precision manufacturing techniques allow electronics technologies to advance, or did advances in electronics technologies allow precision manufacturing techniques to be invented?

    It’s both, of course.

    There are countless evolutionary processes which are best understood as multiple layers of causes and effects.

    ————————————————————————————————-

    Moment in Time
    “What is Fate?” Nasrudin was asked by a Scholar.
    “An endless succession of intertwined events, each influencing the other.”
    “That is hardly a satisfactory answer. I believe in cause and effect.”
    “Very well,” said the Mulla, “look at that.” He pointed to a procession passing in the street.”
    “That man is being taken to be hanged. Is that because someone gave him a silver piece and enabled him to buy the knife with which he committed the murder; or because someone saw him do it; or because nobody stopped him?”

  • Chuck Johnson

    Bob:
    “Incredibly, I’m sure many American Christian leaders would happily choose a religious society over a healthy one.”

    Chuck:
    Those leaders will define a healthy society as being a religious one.
    Christianity has been degenerating.
    It is evolving from ancient ignorance into modern fraud.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Does Christianity Lead to a Better Society?
    (Bob Asks)

    Chuck:
    That depends upon circumstances.

    But the big picture is that Christianity was an improvement over Roman polytheism and (in modern societies) atheism is an improvement over Christianity.

    • Bruce Gorton

      No it wasn’t. The rise of Christianity was one of the major factors that caused the fall of Rome, largely because it eliminated Rome’s long-held tolerance for people worshiping their own gods.

      With Christian theocracy in place learning was also incredibly weakened, with a lot of works of philosophy lost to the flames of the ISIS of their day, the Christians.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Bread and circus was the daily routine.
        Plunder of the conquered lands was considered to be the greatest good.
        The Roman business model was only successful for conquest and expansion. Ongoing management of a far-flung empire was beyond its political capability.

        Christianity was also not capable of managing a vast empire.
        It has taken until the 21st century and the decline of ALL religions to get the repeating wars in Europe to die out.

        • Lane Slater

          In many places Europe is not a good place to live right now, unless you are a Muslim. Muslims are being granted rights not allowed to others.

        • Herald Newman

          What rights are Muslims being granted that others are not being granted?

          Edited for clarity.

        • Lane Slater

          In the UK it is over freedom of speech.

        • Herald Newman

          What are Muslims allowed to say that non-Muslims cannot?

        • Lane Slater

          Muslims are allowed to pass out fliers and hold rallies that promote mosques that support terror. Lower class males and females who are bothered by Islamic violence are not.

          The police are too scared of the radical Islamists. It is easier to arrest a common British man speaking out against radical Islam.

          https://www.spectator.co.uk/2013/10/extreme-measures-2/#

        • Herald Newman

          So let me see if I have this straight. A Muslim can hand out flyers that say one thing, but non-Muslims can’t hand out different flyers that say something else… Interesting…

          Would a Muslim be arrested for handing out the flyers that the non-Muslim was arrested for? Would the non-Muslim be arrested for handing out the flyers that the Muslim is handing out?

          I would only say there’s religious discrimination if the same actions isn’t resulting in the same outcome.

          I’ll agree there seems to be a problem in the UK with identifying Mosques, and preachers, who are radicalizing people.

        • Lane Slater

          People have shared their experiences that suggest a double standard and a dislike of ordinary working class British citizens – who include whites, people of Indian descent and of Jamaican descent.

        • Herald Newman

          People have shared their experiences…

          More anecdotes, which doesn’t really get to the heart of my questions. Suggesting a double standard doesn’t mean there actually is one.

        • Lane Slater

          A group of Muslims were allowed to participate in activities a group of non-Muslims were not allowed to do.

          Please do not take my word for it. Watch this and decide for your self.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2VlpxGFe4

        • fractal

          Absurd.

          Your source is a rag.
          Your ENGLISH DEFENSE LEAGUE sounds like a right wing militia hate group.

        • Herald Newman

          They are!

        • Kodie

          If only he could recognize this is the same kind of propaganda that radicalizes Muslims and he is becoming radicalized.

        • Lane Slater

          Nope. My liberal ideas are not radicalizing any Muslims.

        • Kodie

          Sorry but you sound like a right-wing nutjob bigot when you talk. To me, that’s being “radicalized,” not just Muslims can be radicalized.

        • Lane Slater

          You can imagine I’m a white male. That does not make me one, though.

          I’m not radicalized. I’m not violent. I speak out against right wing violence. I speak out against left wing violence. I speak out against religious violence. I speak out against secular violence.

          I’m just very disappointed in Leftists groups who say they oppose fascists, but turn around and demonstrate some of the same traits that makes fascism so horrid.

          Fact is you declaring me a radical, right-winger, nut job or bigot doesn’t make me any of those. You don’t know me well enough. I’m guessing you know deep down how ridiculous you are being.

        • Michael Neville

          I speak out against right wing violence.

          If you support the English Defence League then you support right wing violence. The UK Independence Party, which is not a bastion of liberalism, has distanced itself trom the EDL as being too right wing and too violent.

        • Lane Slater

          I don’t support the English Defense League.

          I do know that there are minorities and Muslims that do support them, though.

          I don’t support right wing violence. I don’t support left wing violence. I don’t support Islamic terrorist violence.

        • Michael Neville

          The EDL is a violent, ultra-right wing, islamophobic group and you approve of them. That tells me that you’re lying when you say you’re a liberal.

        • Lane Slater

          I am not that familiar with them. I do not approve of them. I posted a video of a man who is a former member of that group.

          I’m not lying, Michael. What would I have to gain? You really want me to be a liar. You really want me to support ultra right wingers.

          But, the fact is those guys hate people like me.

          Simple logic + evidence = debunking your unproven assumptions and false claims.

        • Michael Neville

          It’s very simple, you’ve written approvingly about the English Defence League. Apparently you like them because they’re not racists, allowing minorities to join them and engage in their violence against other minorities. A couple of minutes reading some articles about the EDL would have told you that they are an ultra-right wing, violent, islamophobic group. They’re so far to the right that the UKIP has disavowed them. So either you support them or you’re so abysmally ignorant about them that you shouldn’t have talked about them at all. Neither of these choices show you in a good light.

        • Kodie

          Everything you say sounds like a conspiracy theory. You are wrapped up in propaganda. Of course, you’re not being radicalized because you think it’s just the truth and people gotta wake up.

        • Lane Slater

          Too bad you have no evidence to support your fallacious claims.

          Outside your echo chamber here, very few people who support your narrative. Not only because it is wrong. But also because you have no argument to support it.

          Trust me. Those who actually know me – who have good evidence and do not jump to false conclusions – debunk your theories.

          I’m not being radicalized. Who is radicalizing me? The Democrats? Hillary Clinton? Bernie Sanders? CNN?

          It is just as easy to say you are being radicalized. I’m a moderate liberal who speaks out against right wing and left wing violence. You seem upset that I’m opposing Leftists who throw urine and explosives at women.

        • Kodie

          All I’ve heard from you is basically the one note about the “Leftists”. You have a certain grudge against one segment of society and you want to keep hammering and yammering about it.

          I gotta ask why you think we care or should care. What exactly brought this on, what triggered your need to start telling us all about this. It wasn’t exactly on the topic, it’s just your hobby horse.

        • Lane Slater

          Nope.

          You’ve labeled me as being radicalized.

          That was wrong. We probably agree on most issues. Maybe you should ask instead of tell. :)

        • Kodie

          I have nothing to ask you. You’re just talking about yourself mostly, and I’m forming an opinion from that. If that’s wrong, it’s probably because you have emphasized and reiterated your personal views about a single issue apropos of nothing.

        • Lane Slater

          I know it is just your opinion. The facts don’t support your accusations of radicalization. Nor that other guy’s false claim that I’m a right winger.

          Right Wingers HATE me.

        • Kodie

          Yes, we covered that already, you said it had to do with your skin color or something, not your right wing opinions.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m a moderate liberal. Not a right winger. Criticizing leftists throwing piss on women and calling African American conservatives derogatory names are not right wing opinions.

        • Kodie

          Defending Milo Yiannopoulos as some kind of victim is though. You haven’t really said anything “moderate liberal” yet. I wasn’t there when you voted, that means nothing.

        • MR

          Alt-right tactic of pretending not to be alt-right. They’re not interested in even talking about religion, they’re just using Bob’s blog as a platform.

        • Lane Slater

          Don’t take my word for it.

          There are liberals who are reporting on the right wing problems. And the left wing problems.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVxVY1sVOac&t=252s

          In the United States Leftists are becoming increasingly violent.

          Here is an Antifa member who attacks an unarmed man begging for peace.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Nbh3ItqFyo

          It turns out that thug was a college professor who taught Ethics. (head slap). Sucker punching peaceful people is not ethical.

          You can’t argue with right wingers. And you can’t argue with Leftists.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5rSaeUlmAc

          They can’t debate. They can’t offer sound arguments. So they attack.

          There was a gay, Jewish, homosexual, immigrant man named Milo who wanted to speak at a college. They called him a “right winger”. But the fact is Right Wingers threatened to murder Milo. The Leftists and Right Wingers both hate him. But he is not a Right Winger. They call him a racist. He dates black men. They call him a N@zi. He is Jewish.

          Words matter. Calling people who are not Right Wingers “right wingers” is not helpful. And inaccurate. And empirically false.

        • Kodie

          Why are you ranting about your alt-right crap here?

        • Lane Slater

          Why do you hate free speech?

          😉

          None of what I shared is “Alt-Right”. Sorry!

        • Kodie

          Yeah, I hope you know posting to this blog isn’t a freedom of speech issue, and your pet topic isn’t relevant. But you want to keep going on and on and on about it.

        • Lane Slater

          I was joking.

          I know the owner of this site has the right to moderate the blog however he wants. That is fine. I don’t feel like my rights are being infringed by your false claims and dictating false things at me. That is your problem. Not mine. I know the truth. Your opinion and feelings are important, but they are not the true gauge of reality.

          You are the one who kept accusing me of being something I’m not. I’m discussing other topics with other people. A few people like you are insisting I’m something I’m not.

        • Kodie

          If you misrepresented yourself, then who is to blame?

        • Lane Slater

          Hu? I’ve been honest about myself. You are the one making up things that are not true. Evidence is on my side.

        • Lane Slater

          They are not a hate group. They have members who are of Indian and Jamaican descent, for example. It is the radical Islamists who have a horrid culture that allows abuse against women and children.

        • Joe

          ENGLISH DEFENSE LEAGUE sounds like a right wing militia hate group.

          A Christian one, at that.

        • Lane Slater

          That guy is not a member of that group.

        • Joe

          Europe is a great place to live.

          As others have stated, name one right granted to Muslims that isn’t granted to anybody else.

        • Lane Slater

          There are citizens in the United Kingdom that are not allowed to speak out against radical Islam and sketchy mosques. One man is currently being threatened with arrest for promoting “Stop Funding Terrorism”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1WAIIRxOGY

        • Joe

          I’m British.

          Don’t lie to my face. I don’t appreciate it.

        • Lane Slater

          I’m not lying. Toughen up. We are not speaking face to face. If you don’t appreciate me, move on.

        • Joe

          I don’t appreciate liars and fantasists that drink up right wing propaganda like it was Kool aid.

        • Lane Slater

          Maybe you should slow down and stop making claims you can not back up.

          Most of us around here like evidence. You are free to make up things about me. But you are not being accurate.

          Right wingers HATE ME. Trying to label me as a right winger is lazy and ignorant. You can do better.

        • Joe

          Maybe you should slow down and stop making claims you can not back up.

          Most of us around here like evidence. You are free to make up things about me. But you are not being accurate.

          You are self-delusional. You haven’t put forth anything to directly support your claims.

          When you do, it’s from a right wing source. Exclusively.

          That’s evidence of your bias and stupidity.

        • Lane Slater

          :) You are cracking me up. I presented YouTube videos that were not from Right Wing sources.

          There are horrid Leftists and horrid Rightists.

          This year horrid Rightists have said racist and disgusting things. And so have horrid Leftists.

          Horrid Leftists have started attacking liberals like me. I’ve seen them throw explosives and urine at women. That is disgusting.

        • Joe

          You are cracking me up. I presented YouTube videos that were not from Right Wing sources.

          Your video, featuring Tommy Robinson. Wasn’t from a right wing source? The Spectator isn’t right wing rag?

          Why do you lie with such ease, without a moments thought? Do you have a conscience?

          There are horrid Leftists and horrid Rightists.

          But so far we’ve only seen you condemn one, and not the other. In fact you’ve quoted the EDL to support your views. Do you not remember doing that? Are you even lying to yourself now?

        • Lane Slater

          First off, the only people who deny the leftist crimes against humanity and assaults against unarmed women, African- Americans, Hispanics and white males (they really hate white males) are Left Wing sources.

          Slow down. Your comments are empirically false. Wishing me to be a right wingers is not the same as me actually being one.

          Love the passion from you. But the evidence is not on your side.

          The video I provided is not for The Spectator. I’m not familiar with The Spectator. I’ve never read it. Sorry.

          “Why do you lie with such ease, without a moments thought? Do you have a conscience?”

          LOL! Good one. But seriously, it seems you really want me to be a right winger. But I’m not.

          Right Wingers HATE me. It has something to do with my ancestors’ race. :)

          The source I provided is The Rebel – which is an organization that receives death threats from not only Left Wingers (which they love to do) but also Right Wingers.

        • Bruce Gorton

          The Pax Romana would argue otherwise. The empire’s highest point wasn’t one in which it saw much aggressive expansion, indicating that the pagans could in fact manage a large empire at peace.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Bruce:
          “. . . the pagans could in fact manage a large empire at peace.”

          Victor:
          “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

          Chuck:
          They couldn’t even manage the challenges of Christian ideas.
          Their management skills failed pretty quickly under this assault without swords.

          It’s a mistake to overestimate the power of Christianity.
          But it’s also a mistake to underestimate its power.

          The old get old
          And the young get stronger
          May take a week
          And it may take longer
          They got the guns
          But we got the numbers
          Gonna win, yeah
          We’re takin’ over
          Come on!

      • Lane Slater

        Those Christians, Roman and ISIS groups all did horrid things. Romans before Christendom were just as horrid as ISIS. Romans invented and implemented torturous instruments of murder that makes ISIS look tame.

    • Lane Slater

      Saying atheism is an improvement for society is like saying not collecting stamp is an improvement for society. And it all depends on what kind of atheism one is promoting. There have been some pretty horrid anti-theist regimes that promoted atheism. They were just as bad as the Roman hate mongers.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Lane:
        “Saying atheism is an improvement for society is like saying not
        collecting stamp is an improvement for society. And it all depends on
        what kind of atheism one is promoting.”

        Chuck:
        Yes, atheism without philosophical and moral replacements for the theistic or supernatural ones would be quite a failure.

        Modern human societies do have such replacements available.

        • Lane Slater

          Cool. I hope it works out better for them this next time.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Why is Christianity an improvement over Roman polytheism? A number of comparisons come to mind where Christianity is worse–children raised in mentally taxing situations, parents avoiding medicine for kids, faith healers getting donations, etc.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Both religions are full of the supernatural, so they both get low marks for that.

        Christianity has the New Testament which promotes the various ways that Jesus taught peace, love, understanding, etc.

        The value of this can be appreciated when the humanistic philosophy is separated from the miracles. The humanism in the New Testament is innovative.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You mean like “turn the other cheek” or “forgive your enemies”? Meh. A good Shakespeare sonnet has more life wisdom than the NT, IMO.

          Christianity “gives” us our own morality back.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Bob:
          “Christianity “gives” us our own morality back.”

          Chuck:
          Yes, in the 21st century it does.
          Two thousand years ago, “turn the other cheek” or “forgive your enemies” were innovative ideas.

          Christianity succeeded in presenting a New Testament which was better morality than the Old Testament. Then it proceeded to worship its own creation as the perfect, eternal word of God.

          This certainly created an impediment to continue to evolve better ideas and better morality. This is how they have been obsoleting themselves.

    • BillYeager

      Quick asides, Chuck, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the formatting codes you can use here or if you just like writing conversationally, but you can simply put text from Bob’s comment in order to define a quotation. Use ‘o’ instead of the zero I put in ‘blockquote’ just then, which will make Bob’s comment text look like this:

      text from Bob’s comment

      See?
      There’s a great resource for other html tags you can use here: https://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/466253-what-html-tags-are-allowed-within-comments-

      • Greg G.

        Cool link. Just giving something a whirl:


        var foo = 'bar';
        alert('foo');

        PS: That’s what I expected but not what I hoped.

        PPS: I see that “strike” works as “s”. I wish “blockquote” could be abbreviated as “bq”.

        More testing:

        cite
        span
        mark
        ruby

        • Otto

          foo bar?

        • Greg G.

          I C&P’d that from the page. I think it is the sort of thing programmers like to use when debugging code.

        • Otto

          It just made me think of ‘fubar’…lol

        • Greg G.

          I’ve seen that example many times. I think it is traditional now. I think “foo bar” is “fubar” when it’s fubared.

      • Chuck Johnson

        I do my quotations as I do for convenience (less time and work, quotation marks add easily) but also to give attribution.

        I don’t just want to indicate that it is a quote. I also want to indicate who said it. Often comments and responses become disconnected from each other, and the way that I do it helps me to keep track of comment and response.

        Yes, I have tried the vertical bar blockquote indicator, but I rarely use it.
        I use it when multiple layers of quoting an attributing would be confusing without it.

        • MR

          I don’t know why, but I find your style awkward to follow and rarely read your responses because of it. I can’t articulate why it’s off-putting, maybe it’s just me, but if others are commenting on it, you might not be getting the exposure you should. Nothing to do with your content, ’cause, like I said, I don’t usually read your posts [because of your formatting. Human brains…, go figure].

        • Susan

          I do my quotations as I do for convenience (less time and work,

          But much more tme and work for all the readers. Which means after a whle, unless your comments are absolutely stellar, they stop reading your comments.

          I believe that has been pointed out to you numerous times on at least one other site.

          So… you have every right to choose the awkward formattng you’ve chosen if it works for you.

          It’s just that many people stop reading.

          but also to give attribution

          Blockquotng when responding to someone’s comment takes care of that.

          I don’t just want to indcate that it is a quote. I want to indicate who said it.

          See just above.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Susan:
          “I believe that has been pointed out to you numerous times on at least one other site.”

          Chuck:
          Susan, you should (A) stop lying.
          And (B) stop reading and responding to my comments.

        • Susan

          Chuck, I did not mean that as an insult. I apologize if it comes across that way.

          (A)Stop lyng.

          I’m not lying. Nor am I making more of that statement than is there. I was a lurker on a site where you participate where this was pointed out by more than one commenter.

          That does not mean that it reflects a large percentage of responses to your style.

          (B) stop reading

          I mostly do. I was tryng to explain why. It’s not necessarily your content.

          It’s that your format (while it works for you) makes extra work for readers.

          and responding to my comments

          You’ll note that this is the first time I ever responded.

          I was trying to give you feedback which, as I said, in my last comment you have every right to disregard.

        • MR

          Sheesh, you try to help a guy out. :S

        • Chuck Johnson

          Thank you.
          Do you recommend the style that Bill demonstrated?

        • Susan

          Do you recommend the style that Bill demonstrated?

          I do. Blockquoting is so much clearer than quotes and it accomplishes (as far as I can tell) what you want to accomplish. That is, it shows who said what and what your response is to that person.

          As a matter of fact, I make it a point to blockquote something from the comment to which I’m replying because it appears to be more likely to survive (in the dog’s breakfast that is Disqus) as a response to that commenter in the discussion.

        • Michael Neville

          I had a high school English teacher who kept saying: “If you make something difficult to read then people won’t read it.” I rarely read your posts because you purposely make them difficult to read.

        • GREOP

          Thanks for confessing that your “high school English teacher” is your “god” and fake “saviour”, whose OPINION you do not question but have adopted hook line and sinker.

          But then, you are an atheist.
          And atheists are low self-esteem creatures who cannot think for
          themselves, and who have been so brain washed to believe misguided sterile so-called scientists to be smart and should think for them. The end
          result is that these misguided atheists put all their faith in misguided
          sterile science myths a.k.a.theories a.k.a OPINIONS, concocted by
          creatures equally misguided as them.

          By POPONNE.

        • GREOP

          Being a so-called “liberal” is not a virtue.

        • BillYeager

          I don’t just want to indicate that it is a quote. I also want to indicate who said it. – Chuck Johnson

          ^^^ Like that?
          The code for that is:

          <blockquote>I don’t just want to indicate that it is a quote. I also want to indicate who said it.<a><em> – Chuck Johnson</em></a></blockquote>

          I know you might think it is a lot of work, but what you have to say, while worth reading, is often discarded because the conversational layout you use does not scan well at all.

        • Greg G.

          If you click on the time stamp of the post being quoted, its URL will be in the address bar which can be copied. The <a> can be changed to <a href=””> with the URL of the quoted post pasted between the quotation marks. The result is:

          I don’t just want to indicate that it is a quote. I also want to indicate who said it. – Chuck Johnson

          If you right-click on the name, you can select the “open in a new tab” or open in a new window”, you can see the context. I can do that on a cell phone by holding down on the link to get other options. I am not familiar with Apple, though.

          An URL can be obtained by clicking on the “Share” link, then clicking on the link shown to copy it to clipboard. This is probably easier but the former method might not lose the readers place if the link is left-clicked and the linked post is already displayed. Then it would jump to the location without reloading the page. That’s why it is best to right-click and choose another pane option. Neverrmind, that doesn’t work so well after all.

          Luke Breuer is good at putting links to quoted material which is good because he is often quoting comments from different articles, different blogs, and other websites.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Apparently, you did something special to cause your demonstration to not format. When I copy and paste, it formats the way that you suggest that I should. It looks like this:

          I don’t just want to indicate that it is a quote. I
          also want to indicate who said it. – Chuck
          Johnson

          Such a change would take practice. I do not do touch typing.

        • BillYeager

          Yes, I had to use what is known as an ‘alt code’ so the formatting tags would show, rather than, well, format. 😀 Perhaps if I explain what the codes do it will help make it feel less onerous to you.

          As you know, ‘blockquote’ appears between the ” at the start of the text you want to quote and ‘/blockquote’ marks the end of it. That rule of a tag being closed by the ‘/’ version of it pretty much applies to most of the codes you would want to use.

          Anything else you add in between that tag will format the text accordingly.
          ‘a’ and ‘/a’ denote that the text in the middle will be blue (it is actually used to create hyperlinks through the use of the additional ‘href=’ reference explained by Greg below, but otherwise can be used simply to colour the text.

          The ’em’ and ‘/em’ code just denotes that the text between is to be italicised.

        • Greg G.

          the text in the middle will be blue

          The color depends on the color scheme of the blog but I think the default is blue.

          The ’em’ and ‘/em’ code just denotes that the text between is to be italicised.

          I prefer to use <i> with </i> because I am lazy and it saves two keystrokes. Actually, that’s my rationalization. If I had learned “em” 20 years ago, I might continue to use it to this day.

        • BillYeager

          Does using ‘i’ work in disqus?

          LOL. Yes it does. You’re quite right, that would have been even simpler to use.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Yes, I had to use what is known as an ‘alt code’. . . -Bill

          Thanks.
          The formatting becomes manageable when I copy and paste the format that you provided.

          Then I just customize it for the present message.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Thanks.
          I did a screen capture. It’s a bit complicated for me.

          ———- Chuck.

        • Kodie

          Hard to read. I skip your posts.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Hard to read. I skip your posts.-Kodie

          Bill found it hard to read, too.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know who Bill is. I saw MR and Susan comment about it. I see you found something you like that people can read.

        • Chuck Johnson

          BillYeager Chuck Johnson • 6 days ago

          I don’t just want to indicate that it is a quote. I also want to indicate who said it. – Chuck Johnson

          ^^^ Like that?
          The code for that is:

          I
          don’t just want to indicate that it is a quote. I also want to indicate
          who said it. – Chuck
          Johnson

          I know you might
          think it is a lot of work, but what you have to say, while worth
          reading, is often discarded because the conversational layout you use
          does not scan well at all.

        • Kodie

          Ok, I’m glad it worked out. Before, it was like trying to read a play. I don’t know how people who read scripts do it and not go crazy.

        • Chuck Johnson

          I don’t know how people who read scripts do it and not go crazy.-Kodie

          Thanks, that helps to explain all of this.
          I have always found it almost as easy to follow the dialog of a script as it is to watch a movie or a play.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Bill Produced the code that I use.
          I copy and paste his format.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Bob:
    “My interest lies more in which worldview is more accurate.”

    Chuck:
    You have implied that a truer, more accurate understanding of the universe that we live in is connected with better human morality. But you haven’t actually stated this.

    This is what I believe to be true.
    I hope that this is what you are trying communicate.

    • RichardSRussell

      “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

      —George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish writer

      • Chuck Johnson

        That was many years ago.
        The believers are having an increasingly difficult time of it now.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Please be more specific. Which believers in which country are having what kind of difficult time?

          I strongly support freedom of speech for Christians in the US.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Bob:
          “Please be more specific. Which believers in which country are having what kind of difficult time?”

          Chuck:
          I am referring to the general decline in churchgoing and identifying as Christian, especially for the youngest Americans.

          So it’s difficulty in maintaining or increasing numbers of Christians, not hostility or persecution that I referred to.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      No, I don’t think we’re on the same page.

      I want to know which worldview is correct. Morality is a separate issue.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Bob:
        “I want to know which worldview is correct. Morality is a separate issue.”

        Chuck:
        That explains the disconnect that I saw.

        To me, a correct and detailed understanding of our universe is the proper foundation for the best understanding of human morality.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Sounds like we agree that there is one correct answer to “Does God exist?” or “Did Jesus rise from the dead?” or other supernatural questions. Where does morality fit in? I presume you’ll say that if God does indeed exist, then we must follow his moral rules, but that is an ambiguous quest.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Bob:
          “Where does morality fit in?”

          Chuck:
          The stories of the Bible and the corresponding morality preached by Christianity are remarkably logical and consistent in a way that many people might not appreciate.

          If the Genesis creation story and the gospels are both correct, then the love and obedience that we owe to God and Jesus are similar to what much of Christianity preaches. This would be logical.

          As modern scientific thinking has disproved the Genesis and gospel stories, Christian moral thinking has become undermined and confused. The magical foundation of their morality is not so believable now. They are up the creek without a paddle.

          To me, the best morality to replace the ancient ideas should bear in mind the newer knowledge and wisdom which replaces the older supernatural tales. Instead of ancient magic, I recommend modern science. Astronomy and cosmology are modern origin stories, and for life on Earth, biology, the Darwin-Wallace discovery, abiogenesis etc. constitute true origin stories to replace the ancient fantasies.

          I see Christian morality to be founded upon the shifting sands of ancient fantasies.

          My personal morality is founded upon the rock of scientific thinking and empiricism.

          So the Christians were correct in using foundation and origin stories to authenticate their moral teachings. Here in the twenty-first century, the supernatural foundations of their moral teachings has been scientifically discredited.

          “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

          This I agree with.
          It’s an extrapolation of the ancient teachings of Jesus.
          And here is my extrapolation of the modern discoveries of science:

          http://tinyurl.com/jnqyjy2

  • sandy

    A good friend of mine, who is a big time christian recently told me when I was looking for a tradesman for a home reno that I could trust his referral because he was a christian. He believed that a christian meant honesty and trustworthyness or in other words that our society is safe with christians. How can you trust someone who is gullible?

    • Tommy

      Did your friend tell you about his business experiences with the referral?

      • sandy

        No but the guy was from his church.

        • Tommy

          So his referral wasn’t much of a referral then since you have no information about the person beyond that fact that he’s a christian.

        • sandy

          Exactly. As soon as he led off with the christian thing first I was out.

    • Greg G.

      How can you trust someone who could take advantage of you and eliminate their bad feelings by talking to their invisible friend?

    • Otto

      And yet when it is pointed out how many times a Christian was not honest or trustworthy we are told that Christianity is for sinners, not saints.

      • sandy

        or not a true christian.

    • Kodie

      Statistically, anyone you picked would probably be a Christian. Doesn’t mean they’re not crooked, for one thing, but you shouldn’t necessarily trust a Christian to do good work, as the quality of trust has nothing to do with one’s skills and workmanship. A totally honest person can still do shit work.

      • sandy

        My point was that my friend is so gullible that he truly believes all christians are honest and trustworthy or at least the ones he knows. As it turned out, he recently gave a trade he hired a 50% deposit before the job and the trade never showed.

        • Otto

          We have a town full of construction companies that just love to advertise how Christian they are.

        • sandy

          Lucky you! We really don’t get much of that in Alberta. The religious tend to just keep to themselves.

        • Otto

          That is the way it was here 30 years ago….times have changed. Now it seems like they all want to wear it on their sleeves.

          And I know of one Construction guy who had a Bible verse on his truck, he had to go out of business and moved out of town because of how many people he screwed over, he was being sued left and right.

        • Daniel Niehoff

          My father, a Christian, has worked in construction for over 40 years. He always said he doesn’t trust construction companies who make a big deal about being Christians.

        • Otto

          You know it is funny, I don’t trust anyone that makes a big deal out of being a Christian and it made me uncomfortable even when I was a Christian.

          I know some really good people that are Christians, they would give a stranger the shirt off their back in need, volunteer their time, etc., etc. They would never tell someone they are a Christian unless they were asked first.

      • RoverSerton

        My father always said, “When someone tells you in business they are a Christian, keep your hand on your wallet”.

        Good advice so far.

  • skl

    “Rather, the quality of society will determine whether religion or secularism will thrive. In a dysfunctional society, religion helps pick up the pieces, but in a society where life is secure, religion is unnecessary and withers away.”

    Right. As the quality of people continues to progress, religion will continue to regress
    Religions’ days are numbered.

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    “They also reject the popular hypothesis that America’s separation of church and state has encouraged a vibrant mix of Christian denominations that have had to fight for market share, making a stronger Christianity. They cite Australia and New Zealand who both have a strong separation of church and state but far less religiosity.”

    This isn’t mutually exclusive with the social factors listed which make religion more popular in the US.

    “Every time a nation becomes truly advanced in terms of democratic, egalitarian education and prosperity it loses the faith. It’s guaranteed. That is why perceptive theists are justifiably scared. In practical terms their only . . . hope is for nations to continue to suffer from socio-economic disparity, poverty and maleducation.”

    I’ve long thought this. You can even see it in the Bible, when the people Jesus says are least likely to believe come from wealth. Sure, we can say this is due to their corruption, but it’s also comfort. They have less reason to believe. So when most everyone is wealthy in a society (by the standards of 1st century Judea) you have this even more. It’s deeply ironic how capitalism and prosperity gospel teachings are backed by many right-wing Christians. They don’t seem to realize how they’re undermining themselves.

    • Lane Slater

      I’m new to taking Jesus Christ seriously. I’ve been told generally, it is harder for rich people to understand The Gospel than for poor people.

      • Herald Newman

        It’s pretty easy to repeat the nonsense of your religion. Most of us around here like actual, empirical, evidence to support claims, rather than just the anecdotes of what others have been told.

        • Lane Slater

          It is also easy to repeat the nonsense of anti-religious message board posters and bloggers. It is also easy to pretend like actual, empirical, evidence only leads to your personal beliefs.
          I appreciate you sharing your opinion with me. But none of what you shared with me is backed by empirical evidence. It is an anecdotal argument you presented. Nothing wrong with that. Anecdotes can reveal truths. It isn’t like the truth is confined to empirical means.

        • Herald Newman

          But none of what you shared with me is backed by empirical evidence

          What claims have I shared with you?

          Anecdotes can reveal truths. It isn’t like the truth is confined to empirical means.

          Yes, anecdotes can reveal truth, but they’re notoriously unreliable at doing so. This is why I tend not to trust them.

        • Lane Slater

          You claimed most people around here are like most religious people in America. In that they all embrace actual, empirical, evidence to support claims. That claim is more anecdotal than empirical.

          You said it was easy to repeat religious claims. Same is true for anti-religious claims. Anti-theist forums tend to become anti-theist echo chambers on Patheos, just like progressive Christian forums tend to become progressive Christian echo chambers.

        • Michael Neville

          So do you want to have a discussion or are you just here to scold us for not taking Jesus as seriously as you want us to?

        • Lane Slater

          I’m like Herald. I’m here for discussion. I’m not scolding anyone. Nor am I concerned about what you decide to take seriously. Or what any other people you are speaking for. Are you here for discussion? Or to scold others for not taking your beliefs as seriously as you want them to?

        • Michael Neville

          The plural of anecdote is not data.

      • Joe

        Then why are none of the so-called ‘experts’ in religion poor?

        • Lane Slater

          It all depends on what religion you are talking about.

          Jesus Christ was one of the most anti-religious religious leader there ever was. He made criticisms against religion that men like Freud, Marx and Nietzsche many years later echoed.

          I don’t know what so-called experts you are referencing. But I would guess that Jesus Christ provided a better example than they are leaving.

        • Joe

          It all depends on what religion you are talking about.

          Yes. Some religions are very lucrative.

          Jesus Christ was one of the most anti-religious religious leader there ever was

          If he existed. Even then, he was an apocalyptic Jew. Nothing new to see.

          I don’t know what so-called experts you are referencing.

          Joel Osteen has a private Jet. Creflo Dollar is worth millions. William Lane Craig is well rewarded for his public speaking. The Pope runs a billion dollar industry. The leader of ISIS wears a gold watch.

          Don’t play dumb.

        • Lane Slater

          Playing dumb? I asked a sincere question. Thanks for clarifying. Sheesh.

          There are anti-religious folks getting rich off religion, too. Same with folks who participated in the New Atheist fads. They made a lot of money just like William Lane Craig does. So what?

          Joe believes that Jesus may not existed. And in his opinion if Jesus did exist he was only an apocalyptic Jew. Got it. Opinion noted.

        • Joe

          My apologies, you weren’t playing.

          There are anti-religious folks getting rich off religion, too. Same with folks who participated in the New Atheist fads. They made a lot of money just like William Lane Craig does. So what?

          So, your point about the Gospels being ‘easier to understand by the poor’ was wrong.

          Joe believes that Jesus may not existed.

          Yes, I do beleive that.

          And in his opinion if Jesus did exist he was only an apocalyptic Jew. Got it.

          He is a Jewish character, that’s a fact. He preached the end of days, just like others at the time. Not a matter for opinion, it’s in the Bible.

        • Lane Slater

          Right. You told me your beliefs. Neat.

        • Joe

          No, I told you one belief, and some facts.

          Are you saying Jesus, if he existed, wasn’t Jewish?

          I’ve never heard anyone say that before. Ever.

        • Lane Slater

          I know he was Jewish. A character? I guess, just as much as Anne Frank is a Jewish character. Or that Sandy Koufax is a Jewish character. Never heard a person refer to people that way, but it works for all Jewish people.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Anti-religious folks are getting rich off religion? Cool! I’m missing the boat–please tell me how.

        • adam

          “But I would guess that Jesus Christ provided a better example than they are leaving.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ae1afb4336eb43eac4eb6542320889b4c9068fa20364f91b3a3a3b8f6e3a0f88.png

        • Lane Slater
        • BillYeager

          So adam posts a rebuttal to your claim about JC providing a better example, by presenting a quote from the Book-o-Jesus which clearly shows you to be wrong in your assertion, but you chose to answer that with a vapid reductio ad absurdum?

          Do you know what intellectual honesty is?

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        It appears Jesus (or whoever wrote it) agreed.

    • fractal

      Perhaps faith and belief isn’t the best framework on which to hang your opinions about the nature of reality, death, the meaning of life etc…

      Celebrating the Sacred and communing with Divinity doesn’t have to entail faith or beliefs at all!
      Merge with the sacred and be renewed.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC3MFh81tws

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        I agree they aren’t, though I’d come from a philosophical standpoint. Without knowing that the divine exists, it’s silly to talk of merging with it.

        • fractal

          When it happens, you will “know” intuitively, not intellectually.
          And everything you thought you knew about the ascendancy of the mind, will wither as your heart opens and grace comes pouring thru you.

          If you haven’t experienced it, agnosticism/atheism makes perfect sense.
          But once you have, you won’t be able to be talked out of the changes it makes to your perspective and values.
          It is like seeing a brand new primary color—you KNOW you saw it, regardless of the mind telling you that you don’t have the capacity to do so…

          There are some things that go beyond the ken of the compartmentalizing and categorizing intellect.
          The experience of “relationship/connection” being brought to the forefront, and seen as the main component of reality, can be stunning and enlightening.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          “If” it happens.

          Anyway, I’ve had an experience similar to that already. I just don’t think it was real.

          Such experiences do not seem to prove anything, since they are contradictory to each other. Do not assume I have not taken them into account.

          Yes, well, intellect is what must be used. The ineffable is not persuasive to someone else.

        • fractal

          I am not trying to persuade you of anything.
          A mystical experience is for no one but yourself.

          If you had such an experience, you would know it, and have more respect for it.
          It would knock you for a loop and leave you in wonderment.

          I have no idea what you mean when you say:
          “THEY ARE CONTRADICTORY TO EACH OTHER”

          Lots of things look contradictory until you use a larger perspective, and I am not sure what “they” you are talking about.
          But trying to dissect a mystical experience with the intellect, is like trying to eat true love with a fork.
          Wrong plan, wrong tools, bad result.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          All right then. It seems an inherently personal thing, yes.

          That may be. Or maybe people do not all have the same reactions to things.

          I mean Christians tend to usually have Christian mystical experiences, Buddhists Buddhist mystical experiences, etc. Or at least people tend to have those from religions they are most familiar with.

          “They” refers to the mystical experiences.

          I must use my intellect. How else am I going to sort out what is real or not? If you aren’t trying to claim these as evidence of anything, then don’t worry about it.

        • fractal

          Sure,

          Everyone is going to window-dress their mysticism with what they have experienced in the culture.
          BUT
          All mystical experiences have a lot of things in common—so many that mystics everywhere are mostly in agreement and tend to roll their eyes at religious dogma of any stripe.

          You see, your Western mind has trained you to look at differences, instead of commonality and relationship.
          When you look at “reality” that way, the sands begin to shift.

          Maybe that is a good thing, and you shouldn’t be trying to hold on so tightly to your exercise of “sorting out what is real”.
          “Real” is just figure vs ground—a perspective.
          When relationship becomes figure, and entities become ground, a whole different kind of reality emerges.

        • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

          That may be, but I’ve read of mystics who seem to firmly uphold dogmas.

          I don’t deny there are commonalities among many things-I’m not convinced that differences aren’t something Eastern thought would recognize too though.

          Maybe not, though I don’t know what you suggest doing. There are quite a few things which contradict. Not all of them can be right, so some sorting is necessary.

          I honestly don’t know what your last sentence means.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Give me an intellectual argument for God’s existence. An intuitive or an emotional argument won’t do it.

        • fractal

          I am not trying to convince you of anything.
          Just telling you how it works with a mystical experience.
          If you don’t have one, nothing will convince you.
          If you have had one, intellectual arguments seem trivial.

          I was an agnostic for 10 years.
          I understand your dilemma.
          And you are correct; if want you want is an “argument”, the intuitive and emotional realm isn’t interested in making it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I think that if I had a mystical experience, I’d still see the world through natural glasses. What explains the experience? What arguments could be used to support or attack the conclusion I’d be tempted to make with the experience only?

          “I had a cool experience!” won’t do it for me.

        • fractal

          But if you HAD the experience, it would leave you in wonderment and awe.
          I hope you would not use arguments “to support or attack the conclusion I’d be tempted to make”.
          One doesn’t want to make “conclusions” about mystical experiences.
          That is the way to crazy fundamentalism—your intellect intervenes and tries to explain and interpret.

          You experience and enjoy and feel incredibly grateful for the honor.
          That’s just the way it happens.
          There is a fundamental shift—and figure becomes ground, relationships define things, space becomes as important as matter…it really is indescribable to the Western mind.

          Perhaps you would respond differently than you think.
          After all, you never know unless it happens!

        • Greg G.

          I had two of them over 30 years ago. I had been contemplating the meaning of life and time as another dimension, separately, not as one topic. My bedroom was in the back of the house that was set in a hillside in a quiet neighborhood, no windows and no sound, so it was like a sensory deprivation chamber.

          I was able to see the universe from the quantum level to the cosmological level from a different perspective where time was a fourth dimension. The atomic particles were like noodles that were actually the paths they took in our 3D universe. It changed how I looked at the meaning of life. I was on a high for two days.

          About three months later, I had another one that was math related. After thinking about the insight for a day, I realized that it was wrong. I also realized that the awesome experience was not a reliable path to truth.

        • Kodie

          Maybe you think such experiences are uncommon, and that having one gives a person special access to a definite something that you cannot access without it. It is still happening all in your mind and all the things and ways you think about things. It’s not something you have and if I have one I’ll absolutely come to the same conclusions as you did. The problem with a lot of religious people is that they are induced into such states, in order to attribute it to the divine, and reach the same conclusion as others around them.

          Rather than try to intellectually explain the experience to yourself, you would rather jump to a conclusion that it did not just come from your own brain but opened a door to something or someone else. You are still interpreting what happened to you as something that would happen to everyone if it happened to them.

        • fractal

          Again,

          Spoken like a person who was raised in a Fundamentalist society, and cannot help but think like one.

          1. No, I don’t think these experiences are “uncommon”; I think many people have one or two in their life, and then just “explain it away”—like you are trying to do with my experience.

          2. It happens “in the mind”.
          Well, that is kinda sloppy thinking. It happens in the realm of self-reflective consciousness. See, the thing is, you THINK the “mind” is all about THINKING.
          A lot more happens there than deductive reasoning.
          And the experience also happens to the body; with REAL mystical experiences, the body is always affected.

          When it happens “all the ways you think about things” is temporarily suspended. Your “mind” is in a state of shock, and the doors of perception open.
          Problems occur right AFTER the mystical experience, when one tries to explain it away, toggle on belief systems and prejudices etc…

          Which is where the differing “conclusions” come from.
          Real mystics catch onto the fact that all mystical experiences have way more in common with one another, than they are different from one another.
          They choose to celebrate the experience itself, not the silly mutterings of the ego in the aftermath.

          3. OF COURSE the experience happens “in my brain”!!!
          Where else would it happen?
          I just think the brain/mind is a lot more than what you think it is— a good servant for deductive reasoning.

          And when you say that I “think it opens a door to something or someone else”, you miss the point entirely—perhaps you shouldn’t be telling other people what they “think”???

          There is a place of insight in the mind, where divisions like “other” and “someone else” become melting wax.
          Where we find that our mind has created artificial boundaries and definitions to better serve deductive reasoning—but these same helpful mind-tools become obstructions to a different kind of intelligence.

          You are not going to apprehend this different way of looking at your reality, unless you slip into a different kind of intelligence—the kind that musicians and artists and poets and lovers know. And you have this intelligence inside of you, but you don’t know it, because Western culture sneers at it and trains/shames it out of you really early.

          YOU are the people you talk about, that get inducted into a certain type of thinking—the kind that leads to group-think about the nature of reality.
          Which is why I say that you still THINK like a Fundamentalist:
          either vs or; black vs white; thinking vs feeling; correct vs incorrect; material reality vs “unreality”; deductive reasoning vs insight etc…
          With that thinking style, you will seldom, if ever have a mystical experience, and you will be quick to box it up and put it into a little dark corner of your brain, where you won’t have to deal with the cognitive dissonance.

          In short, you don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about, as is evidenced by your last, silly sentence.
          Re-read it.
          What I find funny is how ardently agnostic/atheists argue against something they know nothing about, and how EMOTIONAL they get about it.
          It is almost like you are holding onto your “Precious” too tightly.

          Methinks thou dost protest too much.

        • Kodie

          I think you’re the one protesting too much. You think it’s neat to think you have mystical experiences and such, well, good for you. It’s because you don’t care or know how brains work.

        • fractal

          Noticed you didn’t bother addressing ANYTHING I had to say; you just want to poop on the notion that those who have a different perspective might have a point.

          I have a DR. in front of my name, and three degrees.
          I know enough.
          I think you are being shallow, because it is safe.

          Yes,
          The brain registers a mystical experience.
          That doesn’t mean that the truth stops there.
          Look,
          I don’t give a rat’sass whether you are interested or not; not trying to convert you.

          What bothers me is that your ilk lumps all people who aren’t agnostic/atheist into the same pot.
          Nothing could be farther from the truth.

          That is superficial and won’t bode well for you—it is like trying to claim that all drinking water is alike.
          The more I talk to y’all on comment boards, the more I see similarities in the temperament of Fundamentalists and Atheists/Agnostics.

          Rigid ideas about the nature of reality.
          Uptight.
          Arrogant and smug.
          Closed-minded.
          Defensive and irritable when challenged.
          Supreme confidence in their chosen way of finding truth, and dismissive of all other avenues of knowing.

        • Kodie

          No, you don’t make any fucking sense, and I don’t have the kind of time to dissect each and every way that you don’t. You have a superstition, and you attribute your feelings and experiences to something like a god, out of ignorance, like all religions. I don’t care about your degrees, you’re mad that people think you’re a kook because you’re a kook.

        • fractal

          Sugar,

          I am not angry at all; methinks thou art projecting.

          YOU are the one saying I don’t understand how the brain works, remember, dear?
          Kinda intellectually dishonest to now say “I DON”T CARE ABOUT YOUR DEGREES”, don’t you agree?

          I have stated over and over that I shun belief systems.
          Therefore, “superstitions” are not my forte.
          I don’t “believe” anything in particular.
          I experience and report back.

          Sorry that has you in such a tizzy.

        • Michael Neville

          Is one of your degrees in assholery? I ask because you’re so well qualified and practiced as an asshole I’m sure that you have received advanced training in the subject.

        • Michael Neville

          What bothers me is that your ilk lumps all people who aren’t agnostic/atheist into the same pot.
          Nothing could be farther from the truth.

          True. Your delusions differ from those of most theists’. They’re wacko in one direction, you’re wacko in a different direction. There may be no intersection between you and most theist (some theists are wacko in your direction as well as having the normal theist fantasies) but that just shows that people can be wacko, or to use the proper technical term, stark raving loony, in numerous ways.

          I have a DR. in front of my name, and three degrees.

          Pardon me, sirrah, you must have mistaken us for people who give a shit about your degrees. Incidentally if you think for a second you’re the only one in this discussion with graduate degrees you’re even more wacko than I thought previously.

          Arrogant and smug.

          You certainly are.

        • BlackMamba44

          Rigid ideas about the nature of reality.
          Uptight.
          Arrogant and smug.
          Closed-minded.
          Defensive and irritable when challenged.
          Supreme confidence in their chosen way of finding truth, and dismissive of all other avenues of knowing.

          In the words of Ignorant Amos:

          Spoiiinnnng!!!

        • adam

          “I think many people have one or two in their life, and then just
          “explain it away”—like you are trying to do with my experience.”

          I have dozens, I understood it well before the first experience and used that understanding to study the experience in the rest of the experiences.

          “2. It happens “in the mind”.
          Well, that is kinda sloppy thinking.
          It happens in the realm of self-reflective consciousness. See, the
          thing is, you THINK the “mind” is all about THINKING.”

          Yes, the mind is ALL about thinking.

          “A lot more happens there than deductive reasoning.”

          Yes, experience.

          “And the experience also happens to the body; with REAL mystical experiences, the body is always affected.”

          Actually no, not always.

          “Problems occur right AFTER the mystical experience, when one tries to
          explain it away, toggle on belief systems and prejudices etc…”

          Yes, to those people who explain it away as magic like you do.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/51e79ab289d627a02e32a690a1ff16a420869d63e3b39630dbaafd5f37ff37ee.jpg

        • adam

          “But if you HAD the experience, it would leave you in wonderment and awe.”

          It does, but understanding the science and biology behind the experience, demonstrates that it is not magical, but simply a function of chemistry.

          “One doesn’t want to make “conclusions” about mystical experiences.”

          ONLY if you want deny the reality of the experience, and pretend in magic.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ve had several which ‘make’ intellectual ‘arguments’ ‘seem’ all the less trivial. perhaps merely/partly because i am comfortable with the notion that they’re all nervous-system products/reactions.

          I was an agnostic

          i suggest that the only difference/’change’ is your readiness to presume that you’ve had ~unquestionably clarifying~ experience(s) that those [still] identifying as agnostics (neither a coherent nor a monolithic population) haven’t.

          here’s something that ‘seems trivial’ — anyone saying “I just know” or “you’ll just know“. a gnostic attitude may happen to entail some curious/fascinating exercises, but it still reeks of arrogant elitism, whether theistic or otherwise.

        • fractal

          I understand it sounds elitist etc…
          Just like those who have an education, and understand the rigors of scientific inquiry “Sound elitist” to a high school drop-out.
          Just like a parent who tells a child that they don’t know enough about the world yet to make their own decisions “sounds elitist”.

          I don’t really know why some people have these experiences, and others don’t.
          I think they happen most often to people who are DEMANDING an answer to the question:

          WHO AM I, REALLY?

          And yes, these experiences certainly are the by-product of the nervous system! I would be worried if they weren’t.
          That IS how we experience things on this concrete plane of material reality.

          I happen to think the central nervous system has a LOT MORE GOING ON than you do. I think you have suppressed certain kind of intelligences and abilities your culture did not approve of, and are simply not working your CNS to capacity.

        • adam

          “I don’t really know why some people have these experiences, and others don’t.”

          Brain chemistry

          Here is just one example:

          http://www.near-death.com/experiences/triggers/extreme-gravity.html

          “I think you have suppressed certain kind of intelligences and abilities your culture did not approve of, and are simply not working your CNS to capacity.”

          If you havent investigated the chemistry and neurology behind these experiences, then it is YOU who have suppressed ALL ‘intelligences’ and just believe what you WANT to believe.

        • fractal

          I have a DR in front of my name.
          I have investigated the neurology/chemistry behind the experiences.
          And I celebrate them!

          But to assume that chemistry and neurology is ALL that is going on, is just an assumption.

          You know, what happens during a mystical experience doesn’t have to involve the idea of “GOD” at all—that is a knee-jerk reaction that atheists have—probably due to their exposure to the Abrahamic Triad and their rather long list of “GOD” traits/qualities.

          The Buddhist mindfulness exercises will get you to the same place eventually—maybe—if you are skilled enough at it.
          And they couldn’t care less if you call it GOD or higher states of consciousness.
          You DO believe in differing states of consciousness, right?
          And the attitudes one has, can determine ones emotional state, which is why those chemicals get released—correct?

        • Kodie

          Do you pronounce it “durr”?

          You attribute brain events of an emotional/chemical nature as having a cause that is not on this earth, from some other realm, and you believe that having these experiences gives you access to or special awareness of that imaginary realm. Lots of religious people have these experiences, are just about as kooky as you are, but interpret where they come from and what they mean and what the “message” they’re receiving from it is. You’re not describing some secret pathway to another realm or a deity or whatever you would call it. What you are describing is how easily fooled you are, and how adamant you are about being taken seriously about these foolish delusions you have.

        • adam

          “I have a DR in front of my name.”

          Yeah, let me put one of those in front of my name.
          And I will add PhD, after my name.

          “But to assume that chemistry and neurology is ALL that is going on, is just an assumption.”

          Nope, that is clearly demonstrated, change the brain chemistry and you change the person.
          Surely you’ve seen mental health cases aleviated by chemistry (If you were a real physician in that field)

          And clearly neurological damage changes the person as well.

          So assuming some magical consciousness, that you cant demonstrate, then it is just a wishful thinking assumption on your part.

          “You know, what happens during a mystical experience doesn’t have to involve the idea of “GOD” at all—that is a knee-jerk reaction that atheists have—probably due to their exposure to the Abrahamic Triad and their rather long list of “GOD” traits/qualities.”

          Of course I understand that a mystical experience doesnt involve “God” any more than it involves some other ‘consciousness’ outside the experiencer. That IS my point.

          “You DO believe in differing states of consciousness, right?”

          Of course, by definition, but these are still wholly functions of the mind of those experiencing them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          not “just like” at all. the scenarios you compare involve people who are either perfectly capable of explaining themselves or can be explained by some mundane intermediary, better able to communicate with the drop-out/child.

          and it’s not even slightly profound that persisting in genuine inquiry leads to discovery.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and you’re speaking for the interests of “the intuitive and emotional realm”? that’s especially rich!

        • adam

          “Just telling you how it works with a mystical experience.
          If you don’t have one, nothing will convince you.
          If you have had one, intellectual arguments seem trivial.”

          I have many, many mystical experiences.
          They convinced me that they are chemical in nature with no ‘outside’ divinity or cause.

        • fractal

          You convinced yourself of that, “THEY” didn’t convince you of anything.
          Fine by me.

          But really, I don’t think you were having mystical experiences. Not every experience that you cannot explain, is mystical.

        • adam

          “You convinced yourself of that,”

          No, research and science.

          “But really, I don’t think you were having mystical experiences.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/984030700e86062e2deb26f5244a20edfd5d804ca6e1cfaafac40f75368cdb20.png

          You could have ended with “”But really, I don’t think”

        • adam

          “If you don’t have one, nothing will convince you.
          If you have had one, intellectual arguments seem trivial.”

          No, it is actually the intellectual arguments that kept driving me to atheism, BECAUSE of all of my mystical experiences.

        • adam

          “If you haven’t experienced it, agnosticism/atheism makes perfect sense.”

          I have experienced it, and it is what atheism make sense.

          “The experience of “relationship/connection” being brought to the
          forefront, and seen as the main component of reality, can be stunning
          and enlightening.”

          And it is just chemistry.

        • fractal

          Well,

          It certainly is chemistry.
          But to call it “just” chemistry, is a way to protect your belief system about deductive reasoning as your God substitute.

          A mystical experience necessarily involves the heart as well as the head. It comes with a profound realization about the nature of one’s “self” being connected and in relationship with the universe.

          When I hear agnostics/atheists tell me that they have had mystical experiences, and that they still are hard-bitten materialists, I think that they haven’t really HAD the experience. Not every unexplained experience is mystical in nature.

          The other possibility is that the cognitive dissonance is just so great, that they avoid thinking about it, interpret it to the point that it is in alignment with their previous beliefs, or attribute the experience to Satan, “an undigested bit of beef”, or too many drugs.

        • adam

          “But to call it “just” chemistry, is a way to protect your belief system about deductive reasoning as your God substitute.”

          To call it anything but just chemistry is delusional, when it is easily demonstrated that JUST chemistry can induce this is virtually anyone.

          DMT can produce vivid mystical experiences involving euphoria and dynamic hallucinations of geometric forms, higher intelligences, extraterrestrials, elves and God.[8]
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N,N-Dimethyltryptamine

          “A mystical experience necessarily involves the heart as well as the head. ”

          Nope, the heart is not a thinking organ involved in this experience.. It is ignorant and dishonest to claim so.

          ” It comes with a profound realization about the nature of one’s “self” being connected and in relationship with the universe.”

          Again this ‘feeling’ of connectiveness is purely chemical

          “When I hear agnostics/atheists tell me that they have had mystical
          experiences, and that they still are hard-bitten materialists, I think
          that they haven’t really HAD the experience.”

          I have had the experience MANY, MANY times.

          “The other possibility is that the cognitive dissonance is just so great,
          that they avoid thinking about it,”

          Personally, I researched it for many years, before having my own experience, and researched it for DECADES.

          So you dont need to project on me.

          ” interpret it to the point that it is
          in alignment with their previous beliefs, or attribute the experience
          to Satan,”

          Satan?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/05cafdf4e54d70a9410dfd45f846304eb9891592e53b7561d59d1be03b899362.jpg

          “an undigested bit of beef”,

          I know the difference between food poisoning and a mystical experience.

          “or too many drugs.”

          Nope, just the right kinds and the right setting.

        • fractal

          I know all about DMT.
          It produces visions.
          Not all of those visions are mystical.
          Some seem to be approaching mystical.
          It is a good catalyst and useful in showing people that there are uncharted territory in their mind.
          But you cannot reliably induce mysticism with DMT—I WISH!

          Fine,
          Be a snarky jerk.
          “THE HEART IS NOT A THINKING ORGAN”
          Yes dear,
          I was talking about Emotions. Feelings.
          And those are FELT in the body, not the brain.
          The brain doesn’t FEEL; it has little direct awareness of sensation.
          We all know what I was saying; why are you wasting our time being an ahole?

          Let me guess.
          You think that the basis of forgiveness is “purely chemical”—correct?
          Is EVERYTHING in the universe nothing more than “just a chemical reaction”?
          Is that how you relate to your family, your friends?
          Our lives are just stories, ultimately.
          What is your story, and is it anything that anyone would want to be a part of?

        • adam

          “I was talking about Emotions. Feelings. And those are FELT in the body, not the brain.”

          DR?
          What the FUCK are you a ‘DR’ of?

          Emotions are products of the BRAIN,
          Again, EASILY demonstrated by changing the brain chemistry.
          Feed someone some Ecstasy and watch them love.
          Feed the alcohol and watch them want to fight.

          “We all know what I was saying; why are you wasting our time being an ahole?”

          Because I couldnt believe you were that scientifically ignorant, but you’ve exceed my initial observation.

          “Is EVERYTHING in the universe nothing more than “just a chemical reaction”?
          Is that how you relate to your family, your friends?”

          Yep, understanding how it works actually ADDS to the meaning I can give it over wishfully thinking it is magic.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I have a doctorate, too–from Thunderwood College. (I forget what I got it in, though.)

          http://thunderwoodcollege.com/degrees.php

        • TheNuszAbides

          I know all about DMT.

          ah … citation most definitely needed.

        • TheNuszAbides

          When I hear agnostics/atheists tell me that they have had mystical experiences, and that they still are hard-bitten materialists,

          in this vast catalogue of interviews, has not one of your stubborn subjects identified as something other than “hard-bitten materialist”?

          I think that they haven’t really HAD the experience

          it’s really quite precious how convenient that is to your perspective. but i understand the dependence of many clinical/therapeutic practices on self-reportage, and the limited access one can sometimes have to confirming evidence.

          The other possibility

          oh goody, another convenient binary …

          is that the cognitive dissonance is just so great, that they avoid thinking about it, interpret it to the point that it is in alignment with their previous beliefs, or attribute the experience to Satan, “an undigested bit of beef”, or too many drugs.

          was that too cleverly phrased for my poor mundane perspective, or is everything after the “or” merely a flourish of examples illustrating “alignment with their previous beliefs”?

  • RichardSRussell

    Years ago I heard an audio cassette tape recording (yes, I said it was years ago) by a mental-health professional discoursing on the foolishness of people wanting to be “normal”. In America, he pointed out, “normal” (average, typical, ordinary) means you’re somehow or other screwed up. What people should aspire to, he said, was not being normal but being “healthy”. And, in terms of mental health, that meant “well adjusted”. Most normal people really aren’t.

    Lest this seem to glum a viewpoint, consider the joke about how 1 out of 4 people suffers from mental illness. Check 3 of your friends. If they’re OK, it’s you.

    • TheNuszAbides

      but maybe you only think they’re OK because you’re mentally ill. but then … *head explodes*

      • Greg G.

        When someone says they don’t do drugs, I always wonder if the drugs are affecting their memory.

  • fractal

    Asking the wrong question.

    It isn’t whether “Christianity” is good or bad for society.
    It is whether any religion is practiced by fundamentalists, progressives/humanists or mystics.

    My view is that a “belief oriented” slant to one’s religion will always spawn poor results—you are dictating to God what S/he is, says and does, based on dogma and hierarchical interpretation.
    Just look at fundamentalism anywhere, and see how the society is structured and what percentage of the people are nurtured, happy and free.

    Islam for example.
    Put the progressive mystic Sufis in charge, and you get a glorious Renaissance of science, art, literature and education for all.
    Put the fundies in charge, and you get the Taliban, ISIS etc…
    Works the same in all religions.

    • Joe

      What does the ‘progressive’ part of religion serve, if not for window dressing?

      Plus, it legitimizes the fundamentalist beliefs somewhat.

      • fractal

        Many people have “spiritual” experiences that propel them into a whole new value system.
        These experiences can happen without regard to ones belief, or lack there-of. And these “peak experiences” often feel infused with (for lack of a better word) grace and the “sacred”.

        The wise don’t try to interpret these mystical blockbusters too much—that leads to a subjective interpretation and consequent dogma.
        But neither can one ignore the magnificence and deep peace that comes from these experiences—especially if they repeat.
        “GOD” it really a terrible word, full of controversy and implications that don’t need to be; but still, the realization of a new paradigm feels Divine, intelligent, unifying and blissful.

        If you never have this experience—no big deal.
        But for those that do, it is like a new dimension has popped up in their reality; a larger perspective that cannot be ignored.

        And let me tell you, in NO WAY does the humanist/mystic branch of any religion/spiritual path legitimize fundamentalism.
        They disagree with most everything fundamentalists stand for.
        In fact, fundamentalists regularly go to war with them, and wipe out as many as possible—which is why most Sufis are not in the Mid-East…
        You see, fundamentalists cannot abide those that directly experience divinity—it destroys their hierarchy, dogma, sense of self-importance, and emphasis on “God” as a big daddy patriarch.

        Get 20 mystics and 20 humanists from all different spiritual paths together and throw a party—they will get along GREAT and party on thru the weekend, singing and dancing and hugging.
        Do the same with fundamentalists, and your party will become a shouting match—someone might just end up dead.

        • Joe

          Sorry ,I don’t believe in things without evidence.

          Wacky spiritual beliefs can still lead down the path to terrible outcomes.

        • fractal

          Just like the religious fundamentalists, you keep circling the same old paradigm, thinking that “BELIEF” is important.

          I don’t “believe” in “God” at all.
          I experience states of consciousness that are exquisite and unifying and impart deep personal insight.
          Our trite human ideas concerning the boundaries between inner and outer worlds collapse.
          And we finally meet our true self.

        • fractal

          Once again,

          Mysticism has ZERO to do with “belief”.
          It has everything to do with experiences that impart insight.
          It is ultimately an opening of perspective and perception.

          Don’t worry.
          Nothing is going to take away your BELIEF that “evidence” and deductive reasoning is akin to all reality.
          And if you still want to “Believe” that after a mystical experience, you certainly are welcome to.

          But what a mystical experience can give you is new paradigm; a way of viewing the world that is radically different, but equally valid.
          If you wish.

          Because a new perspective never takes away the old perspective; it adds to it and enlarges your perspective.
          Just like a telescope doesn’t negate the perspective of the microscope.

        • Joe

          What is a mystical experience?

        • fractal

          Kinda like a first orgasm.
          In that you might sorta, maybe, think you have had one…

          But when you really do, It is OBVIOUS.

        • Joe

          So I haven’t had a mystical experience. When am I to expect one?

        • Michael Neville

          We could fit you into our busy schedule next October 15th at 10:15 am but that’s just for a ten second quickie experience. If you’d like the full 30 second experience you’ll have to wait until 4:45 pm December 20th. An extended one minute mystical experience isn’t available until July 2018. Remember that a full payment is expected before your appointment, all major credit cards are accepted or the deed to your house is adequate collateral.

        • fractal

          Can’t say.

          I could increase the odds for you, IF you have a driving obsession with learning who you really are, from the inside/out.

        • Greg G.

          I have had the experience twice. It is not obvious that it is actually mystical. The first time I had a fantastic insight that I have not been able to prove wrong. The second time I had a fantastic insight but I was able to prove it wrong. It seems like a brain event. I understand that certain drugs can trigger the sensation. That indicates that it is a chemical reaction.

        • fractal

          Not a mystical experience.

        • fractal

          Psychedelics can be catalysts for mystical experiences.
          But not all people have mystical experiences on psychedelics.
          A catalyst is not a cause.

          Certainly chemical reactions are involved!
          I would be worried if there were none.
          I see that as evidence something is happening.
          The mind and body are one, remember; stop trying to split them.

          First of all, be very careful trying to interpret what you “thought” you saw during your foray into higher consciousness. You may be totally mistaken in what the message was.
          OR you may have stumbled upon information that makes no sense to our current paradigms—just like Newton would have called one small page out of a quantum physics textbook, nonsense.

          Second,
          An insight into physics etc… may be an uplifting and “AH-HAH!” moment, but it isn’t a mystical experience.

          A mystical experience will hit your heart and bring you to tears, every time.
          A mystical experience will lead you to the inner core of you being; your fundamental self.
          A mystical experience will permanently change your value system and life priorities.

    • AtheismRules

      I have responded to that above – I analyzed on the basis of religiosity (regardless of religion). I found that religion correlated NEGATIVELY with social benefit in all 43 categories.

  • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/ Tor

    The trouble is, when you’re a conservative Christian, you’re not *allowed* to be unhappy. I don’t know how many sermons I’ve heard in my life about worry, anxiety, fear, discontent, depression, all about how if you’re Truly Saved you’re none of those things. I’ve written on my own blog before about the ways that ex-Christians unhappiness is often held up as proof that the rejection of Christian belief *leads* to that unhappiness, meanwhile, in my experience, it’s that rejecting Christianity is the first time you’re allowed to *say* you’re unhappy. It’s like being suffocated and only when you’ve finally gotten free enough to gasp for breathe do those suffocating you claim that your gasping for air proves you’re unhealthy without them.

    • Questioning54

      Yes and yes. Spot on. Best way to cure unhappiness is to just pretend you are happy. But if you can’t lie and you admit you still struggle with fear depression etc it is your fault for not being committed enough or for giving the devil a foothold etc. Mind you some secular self-help programs are similar in encouraging self delusion.

      • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/ Tor

        “Mind you some secular self-help programs are similar in encouraging self delusion.”

        I grew up Pentecostal, which I swear is the epitome of “speak health and you’ll have health speak sickness and you’ll have sickness” but yeah, some secular self-help stuff says the same thing. I wonder how much of that is TBN, which is mostly Pentecostal, bleeding into secular thought.

        But of course, the sure fire way to guarantee you’re going to have sickness, and problems, and a really messed up culture is by creating an environment where you’re not ever allowed to acknowledge what’s wrong.

    • TheNuszAbides

      when you’re a conservative Christian, you’re not *allowed* to be unhappy. I don’t know how many sermons I’ve heard in my life about worry, anxiety, fear, discontent, depression, all about how if you’re Truly Saved you’re none of those things.

      curiously*, that would seem to feed into the more abstract, ‘process theology’-type-stuff that treats “God” increasingly metaphorically, as a vague, gratuitous ‘grounding’ of various warm fuzzies and nifty notions (for those who still can’t handle such concepts standing on their own intersubjective merits).

      *in the sense that i [perhaps mistakenly] don’t think of process theology as ‘conservative’ other than how it’s, well, clinging to theism, or trying to reboot deism, or whatever it’s doing. or maybe it’s that elusive/legendary ‘compassionate conservative’ creature?

      • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/ Tor

        The logic in the conservative Christian sense (and mainly in the Pentecostal sense, since that’s more my experience) is that because you have this super special relationship with a God that takes care of you, you can’t even *bother* with those negative emotions. You become a Christian, and God transforms you from the inside out, and then whatever happens, you know that you’ve given your life to him, and he’s going to see you through everything. So negative emotions are seen as a sign of doubt, and of unbelief — you don’t trust God to take care of you. It’s a part of that whole God-as-father/personal savior/living and present closest relationship who you “cast all your cares upon” and how happy you seem to others is proof that you are one of the real true Christians.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yuck. yeah, the “TruChristian^TM” angle isn’t so compatible with process theology, but the “Absence of Negative Feelz = Being In Sync With [carefully curated interpretation of] God” is.

        • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/ Tor

          I think it comes down to forms of religion that postulate that they are the ultimate good for humanity. Once that becomes the main tenet of belief, everyone must conform to it or else you risk revealing that it is not, inherently, the Best Thing Ever.

        • Greg G.

          Did you watch Leah Remini’s recent series on cable about Scientology?

        • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/ Tor

          No, I didn’t. I don’t have cable.

        • Greg G.

          She described how they are trained to think they are improving the world and they would go to any lengths to destroy someone who criticized them. They included disclaimers from the Church of Scientology that usually said there was something wrong with anybody who was in the show, which validated what Leah and Mike said.

          I think it was on the Arts and Entertainment Channel.

  • George Waite

    Have you told this to the most religious segments of the US population: non-White, non-East Asians?

    • Joe

      Who are they, and what would they say?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      What Joe said.

      You seem to imagine that we’re hesitant to speak to Christians about their nutty beliefs? That’s kinda the purpose here.

      • MR

        Recently someone snarked about the echo chamber here. I had to laugh because this is about as far from an echo chamber as one can get.

  • Joe

    I’ve added Lane Slater to the block list. Another lying, right wing nut job bites the dust.

    • Lane Slater

      Aw. I’m not a right winger. Fact is right wingers HATE me.

      If you knew more about my background and how I identify you would have evidence that debunks your theory.

      Peace out.

      • Michael Neville

        Someone who approves of the violent, fascist English Defence League is a right winger.

        • Joe

          I can’t see the reply, which amuses me.

          This person must think we haven’t seen this tactic before: “I’m a fellow atheist but…”

        • Lane Slater

          I don’t approve of their violence. I provided a video from a FORMER member of of the EDL who is not violent, racist, fascist or evil.

  • AtheismRules

    A couple of years ago I correlated religiosity with social outcomes in 43 different categories – and found that religiosity ALWAYS correlated negatively with beneficial social outcomes.

    Social Dysfunction Correlated With Religion
    (*1) Agriculture : Inefficiency (Workers Per Hectare of Cropland) (World Resources Institute) Correlation=0.66
    (*2) Agriculture : Agricultural (non) Value (Rating of ISIC Categories 1-5) (OECD) Correlation=0.22
    (*3) Crime : USA Prison Inmate Numbers (FOI Federal Bureau of Prisons) Correlation=0.95
    (*4) Crime : Execution Rate (Per Capita) (UN et al) Correlation=0.29
    (*5) Disasters : Average Number Of Tornadoes (By State – USA Data) Correlation=0.43
    (*6) Disasters : Disaster Risk Reduction [Unpreparedness] (Hyogo Rating) Correlation=0.30
    (*7) Economy : (-ve) GDP Per Capita (World Bank & OECD) Correlation=0.64
    (*8) Economy : Percent Below Poverty Line (CIA World Factboook) Correlation=0.51
    (*9) Education : Ignorance Of religion (PEW) Correlation=(See Link)
    (*10) Education : Less Educated (Psychology Today) Correlation=(See Link)
    (*11) Education : Lower Intelligence (Psychology Today) Correlation=(See Link)
    (*12) Education : Poor Mathematical Literacy (OECD PISA) Correlation=0.67
    (*13) Education : Poor Science Literacy (OECD PISA) Correlation=0.65
    (*14) Energy : Traditional (Non Renewable) Power Generation (World Bank) Correlation=0.49
    (*15) Energy : Geothermal (non) Power Generation (Lund and Freeston World Congress 2000) Correlation=0.28
    (*16) Environment : Lack of Water Improvement (UNICEF) Correlation=0.66
    (*17) Family : Cheating On Spouse Correlation=(See Link)
    (*18) Family : Increased Risk Of LGBT Suicide in Counselling (Williams Institute) Correlation=(See Link)
    (*19) Family : Likelihood to Divorce (Barna) Correlation=(See Link)
    (*20) Family : Uncertainty of Paternity (Putative father vs Actual father – BMJ) Correlation=0.76
    (*21) Family : Child Brides : Percent Women Married By Age 18 (UNICEF) Correlation=0.37
    (*22) Family : Child Maltreatment Death Rate (UNICEF) Correlation=0.08
    (*23) Government : Protection of borrowers and lenders (World Bank) Correlation=0.34
    (*24) Government : Generosity of Foreign Aid (% Of GDP) (OECD) Correlation=0.32
    (*25) Health : Faith Healing Related Child Mortality Correlation=(See Link)
    (*26) Health : Obesity (NCBI) Correlation=(See Link)
    (*27) Health : Infant Mortality (WHO) Correlation=0.73
    (*28) Health : Life Expectancy (WHO) Correlation=0.66
    (*29) Health : (Un)Vaccination Rates (UNICEF) Correlation=0.33
    (*30) Justice : Women Who Believe That Wife / Partner Beating is Justified (UNICEF) Correlation=0.55
    (*31) Justice : Perception of Corruption (Transparency International) Correlation=0.51
    (*32) labour : Rigidity of employment index (Worldbank Development Indicator) Correlation=0.16
    (*33) Lifestyle : Personal Dissatisfaction (Unhappiness) Rating (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Correlation=0.36
    (*34) Lifestyle : Pornography Usage Correlation=(See Link)
    (*35) Media : Internet Unavailability (Internet World Stats) Correlation=0.64
    (*36) Military : Battlefield Deaths (UCDP – Uppsala Conflict Data Program) Correlation=0.19
    (*37) Military : Military Expenditure (%GDP) (CIA World Factbook) Correlation=0.13
    (*38) People : Cheat For Financial Gain (University of Regina) Correlation=(See Link)
    (*39) People : Teenage Pregnancy Rate (UNICEF) Correlation=0.35
    (*40) Sports : Inability to Win Summer Olympic Medals (IOC) Correlation=0.56
    (*41) Sports : Inability to Win Winter Olympic Medals (IOC) Correlation=0.56
    (*42) Terrorism : Global terrorism Index (Institute for Economics & Peace) Correlation=0.24
    (*43) Terrorism : Total Injured and Wounded In Terrorism 1970 – 2012 (Global Terrorism Database) Correlation=0.19

    Religiosity Taken from Pewforum.

    Numbered References – URLs
    (*1) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Agriculture/Workers-per-hectare
    (*2) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Agriculture/Value
    (*3) http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/16/what-percentage-of-prisoners-are-atheists-its-a-lot-smaller-than-we-ever-imagined/http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/population/religion.html
    (*4) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Executions-per-million
    (*5) http://www.gallup.com/poll/167267/mississippi-religious-vermont-least-religious-state.aspx
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/
    (*6) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Disasters/Disaster-risk-reduction-progress-score/1–5-scale%3B-5%3Dbest
    (*7) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Economy/GDP-per-capita
    (*8) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Economy/Population-below-poverty-line
    (*9) http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey-who-knows-what-about-religion/
    (*10) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201402/why-are-educated-people-more-likely-be-atheists
    (*11) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unique-everybody-else/201401/more-knowledge-less-belief-in-religion
    (*12) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Education/Mathematical-literacy
    (*13) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Education/Scientific-literacy
    (*14) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Energy/Traditional-fuel/Consumption
    (*15) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Energy/Geothermal-power-use
    (*16) http://www.childinfo.org/sanitation_data.php
    (*17) http://aattp.org/new-survey-shows-evangelical-christians-most-likely-to-cheat-on-spouses/
    (*18) http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/press-releases/25-june-2014/
    (*19) http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm
    (*20) http://jech.bmj.com/content/59/9/749.long
    (*21) http://www.childinfo.org/marriage_countrydata.php
    (*22) http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/repcard5e.pdf
    (*23) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Government/Strength-of-legal-rights-index/0%3Dweak-to-10%3Dstrong
    (*24) http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/development/development-aid-net-official-development-assistance-oda_20743866-table1
    (*25) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9521945
    (*26) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358928/
    (*27) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Health/Infant-mortality-rate
    (*28) http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.688
    (*29) http://www.childinfo.org/immunization_countrydata.php
    (*30) http://www.childinfo.org/attitudes_data.php
    (*31) http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview
    (*32) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Labor/Rigidity-of-employment-index
    (*33) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Lifestyle/Life-satisfactionhttp://repub.eur.nl/pub/1775/
    (*34) http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankschaeffer/2014/10/the-bible-belt-is-the-porn-belt-surprised/
    (*35) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Media/Internet-penetration
    (*36) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Military/Battle–related-deaths/Number-of-people-per-million
    (*37) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Military/Military-expenditures
    (*38) http://www.salon.com/2013/10/22/study_religious_more_likely_to_lie_for_financial_gain_partner/
    (*39) http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Health/Teenage-pregnancy
    (*40) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-time_Olympic_Games_medal_table
    (*41) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-time_Olympic_Games_medal_table
    (*42) http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/2012-Global-Terrorism-Index-Report.pdf
    (*43) http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/

    http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/

    • catfink

      Some problems with your analysis:

      You omit numerous important socioeconomic indicators.

      Many of your indicators are worthless or ambiguous. For example, I really don’t know what you think a correlation between religiosity and “average number of tornados” is supposed to tell us.

      International comparisons of socioeconomic indicators are often problematic due to differences in culture, definitions and methodologies. For example, different countries measure infant mortality in different ways.

      Religious affiliation is not a meaningful measure of “religiosity”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      nice list, thanks.

  • Daniel G. Johnson

    I have questions.

    – The article appears to use “Christianity” and “faith” interchangeably. Why?

    – The article cites a study claiming that secular 1st world societies are experiencing less economic disparity. What SHOULD be secular policy toward the most poor…those at the very bottom of the economy in 1st world secularist societies?

    • Joe

      The article appears to use “Christianity” and “faith” interchangeably. Why?

      Christianity is a faith.

      What SHOULD be secular policy toward the most poor…those at the very bottom of the economy in 1st world secularist societies?

      Give them what they need to thrive.

      • Daniel G. Johnson

        On the faith thing, the article is asking about Christianity…rhetorically…in order to chuck it. Okay. But, I like reggae, so I wonder if a Rastifarian religion would do okay. We could try it.

        On the poorest of the poor. Provide, okay. Who does the actual physical provision?…for the most physically and mentally challenged. As a matter of public health policy, should not these most challenged have the best health coverage possible with absolutely complete coverage…the cost of which is covered by the society?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you could skip ahead to where you actually make a point, that would help clarify. I’m not sure how to respond otherwise.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          I am just honestly asking how your interchangeable use of “faith” and Christianity relates to other religion/faith. I’m generally positive about the article, but with anything questions can pop up. Personally, I think Judaism has a better case to be made for bettering society than Christianity, but that’s a pretty broad brush sentiment. Others might make a case for other religions. The damage with Christianity is just so overt.

          Switching to a purely secularist mindset, in regard to dealing with poverty and oppression performing better than Christianity really isn’t saying much. Not that the central task of an atheist perspective is social progress, but since the topic of the article is a better society, it seems appropriate to ask WHO should actually do the work in the trenches toward the betterment…what secular force/discipline/movement?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          My primary focus with this blog is Christianity rather than religion in general.

          Who should help society’s worst-off people is society.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          Does it matter that the people who do the actual work of tending to the worst off are themselves subject to very high levels of stress, burnout, and economic deprivation?

        • Joe

          Does it matter that the people who do the actual work of tending to the worst off are themselves subject to very high levels of stress, burnout, and economic deprivation?

          Yes, it matters a lot.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          I agree. The implicit implications of the study featured in the article is the correlative relationship between Christian conservative politics and the retardation of societal investment in communal welfare. The great challenge I think is to fully take stock of how economic resources have been massively misallocated for forty years. One of my rants is how Christian churches (even ones that claim to be “progressive” ) have bought into Republican Ruby Payne’s philosophy of dealing with poor people…that you have to train them to think middle class (because poverty is supposedly caused by bad thinking…pretty much in the spirit of recent statements by Ben Carson).

        • Joe

          I wonder if a Rastifarian religion would do okay.

          Probably not.

          Who does the actual physical provision

          The taxpayer. Hardly revolutionary thinking.

          As a matter of public health policy, should not these most challenged have the best health coverage possible with absolutely complete coverage…the cost of which is covered by the society?

          Absolutely.

  • Lane Slater

    “Do you want a religious society or a healthy one? You can’t have both.”

    Yes. One can have both.

    Life is not secure anywhere. Societies who place the state as supreme have been incredibly horrid and murderous. And anti-theist societies that had any power have only been horrid. There have tolerable socialist states. Tolerable Islamic states. There has never been a tolerable anti-theist state.

    That is not a knock on atheists. They are wonderful human beings in my experience. Not all. But most. Just like with other groups like Muslims, Christians and Jews.

    A secular governing system is a Christian ideal. It is not uniquely a Christian ideal. But is one they have supported and continue to. So the governing system is secular. But that does not mean the citizens are. In Western nations with secular governing systems we find many people who are into spirituality. Who don’t consider themselves as secular beings – but just want a secular governing system.

    • M. Solange O’Brien

      You didn’t read the post, did you?

      • Herald Newman

        I think he’d do well to take a walk through Bob’s archive. So much derp in this one.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      It’s fine to argue against a point in the post, but you can’t just say, “Nuh uh” as if you’ve said something.

      As for atheist states, look up “Stalin.” I’ve written quite a bit about that bogus Christian claim.

  • Daniel G. Johnson

    Does Judaism lead to a better society?

    • Herald Newman

      Not to my knowledge. Between this and this I’m not seeing a necessarily better society.

      Secular Jews, those who have largely given up on Judaism, seem to be fantastic members of society. Their orthodox brethren, not as much.

      • Daniel G. Johnson

        I do not think secular Jews are separate from Judaism. Theology can be one part of Judaism, but its purpose is to effect ethics/practice. So then, I can amend the question to: Does Progressive/Secular Judaism lead to a better society?

        • Joe

          So then, I can amend the question to: Does Progressive/Secular Judaism

          WTF is ‘Secular Judaism’?

          Your intent to deflect the conversation away from Christianity is noted.

        • Good_Samaritan

          Eh, I have a ton of friends that are Jewish Atheists. They do all the cultural stuff but don’t believe that it is of any significance beyond a connection with their heritage.

        • Joe

          ‘Jewish’, not ‘Judaism’.

          The two are different terms.

        • TheNuszAbides

          eh, i get it if Bob wants things to be steered ‘back on track’, but i rarely care to resist tangents. certainly can’t see this one as irrelevant, but (iirc) there are only two cures for a derail …

    • Joe

      No.

      • Daniel G. Johnson

        Why? Most American Jews are social/political liberals.

        • Joe

          Judaism isn’t liberal. At it’s heart are all the shitty patriarchal notions that formed the basis of Christianity.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          Well, there are stats on how American Jews vote and poll. I wonder how woman rabbis feel about the patriarchy label. It seems to me that a good bit of Judaism has evolved since the first century…it appears you are rooting your thoughts to the first century. But even then, there were reforms going on that bettered the legal rights of Jewish women. This is recorded in the Talmud and is reflected in the narrative of Jesus’ treatment of women.

        • Joe

          Well, there are stats on how American Jews vote and poll

          I must have missed that part of the Talmud where it tells you how to vote.

          but even then, there were reforms going on that bettered the legal rights of Jewish women. This is recorded in the Talmud and is reflected in the narrative of Jesus’ treatment of women.,

          So they’re reforming slowly over thousands of years? Such progress!

          How did Jesus treat women? They barely get a mention in the Gospels, apart from a few minor characters.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          What I was referring to in regard to Talmud were the revisions in marriage law that instituted marriage contracts with other law that put an end to some horrible practices by some men who took advantage of a lack of law. The NT portrayal of Jesus taking a hard line on divorce needs to be put in the context of these first century legal enactments. Essentially, before the legal reforms took place, a man could simply falsely take a woman to “marry” only to really traffic her…this happened. So. The Jewish community instituted legal reforms to make sure that the woman’s family and her community would not lose relationship with her by a man “husband” basically disappearing her. The reforms forbid a man to move his wife out her native region; forbid moving her to another town within her region if it was to economically inferior town…essentially forbidding a downward move of any kind.

          In regard to Jesus and women…whether one accepts that Jesus even existed or not, the different thing about the NT character of Jesus is his personal relationship with women outside of marriage and outside his own religion/culture. On just a literary basis, that was a Jewish step forward.

          People have been trained to treat Jewish history monolithically. But, the early genocides…even if they are stories that didn’t really happen are no role model…and it is over against such that the later prophetic tradition with an emphasis on justice and human rights began to take shape. Began. Progressive Jews make much out of the word “Progessive”…or they use the word “evolution” a lot. It’s the stuff of Bernie Sanders which has historical roots in the justice aspirations of the Hebrew prophets.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the justice aspirations of the Hebrew prophets.

          Isaiah and Ezekiel matter became much more palatable when i started thinking of prophets in more of a shamanic context. (i was a budding pantheist at the time — and a bit of an ‘acid casualty’.)

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          Yikes, lol. I guess that’s a vote for evolution!

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m now fairly comfortable with a tension between “we’re so easily able to fool ourselves” and “there’s more to [any] evolution than meets the [human] eye”.

        • Kodie

          I live in neighborhood with lots of orthodox Jews. I don’t know how they vote, but they are extremely patriarchal.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          That sounds right. There’s just more Jews that aren’t orthodox than are.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I wonder how woman rabbis feel about the patriarchy label

          do they have an opinion about the Islamic concept of [God] as genderless?
          you don’t have to be male to support patriarchy and you don’t have to be female to be harmed by patriarchal standards.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          I don’t know for sure. I’ve only known one woman rabbi closely…she’s gay. I wouldn’t be surprised if she signed onto the genderless concept. But, I agree with you that patriarchy can come from anywhere and negatively impact anywhere. Conversely, I’m impressed with Reform’s idea of patrilineal descent for Jewish identity in addition to the traditional matrilineal descent.

        • Tommy

          Most Jews are secular, non-practicing, or non-religious or follow other faiths such as Buddhism.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          Historically, the nexus of Jewish identity has been the family & community…family first. So, in the modern era, while affiliation with a shul declines, that doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in Jewish identity…because the home is central place to begin with…where values are taught, practiced, and handed down.

        • Tommy

          So are you agreeing or disagreeing with me?

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          Agree for the most part. I think a lot of Jews, at some level, count maintenance of moral/ethical values in secular life as a form of “practice” or even “religion”.

        • Greg G.

          The only answer to that question is “Yes.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          but who says Judaism led them there, even primarily?

          to unpack further, just because Judaic theology so stridently [though surely not-at-all uniquely] retcons itself into claiming ‘family values’ as intellectual property, doesn’t make decreasingly-race-based identification inherently interchangeable with religious sentiment.

          i understand that belief and identity can be especially intertangled in cases of religious indoctrination (indogmanation?) and/or low levels of self-examination, but is it so clear [notwithstanding the latest 7 decades of Israel+Judah-identification] that the American demographics are so neatly explained?

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          Among Reform Jews, I have experienced a narrative that historic Jewish values inform Reform Jewish politics. I sense the same among Reconstructionist and Renewal. At the same time, I think all these people are well aware that the bulk of their Jewish identity is very much conditioned by movements that are not very old. I suspect that “Judaism” is more a verb than noun for many of them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          a narrative that historic Jewish values inform Reform Jewish politics

          what i’m trying to ask is whether any particular one (or more) of these ‘values’ are reflexively thought of, per adherent, as intrinsically Jewish — i.e. with some suggestion that other groups deny or otherwise do not benefit from them, or “we thought of them first”.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          I see your point. Among progressive Jews, my guess is that most would agree that many of the “values” are to be found also elsewhere. I think the Jewish identification has to do with a history/habit of teaching and maintaining them in family and shul structures.

    • Otto

      Ask the Palestinians

      • Daniel G. Johnson

        I was expecting that sentiment sooner.

        37 years ago I was in graduate school studying the Middle East and was a graduate assistant for a Syrian professor who gave me research work on human rights in Israel. At that time, the data showed that in regard to health, education, and infant mortality, Palestinians were best off in Israel; less so in the occupied areas, but far worse in the adjacent Arab states. That was a long time ago before the intifadas and election of Hamas. There has been some progress between Israel and Palestinians in the northern West Bank/Galilee, but that’s on the other end of the geographical spectrum from Gaza/Hamas. The Israeli Supreme Court has countered some aspects of Netanyahu’s agenda. So, there is some progressive energy in the midst of what all pushes the electorate to the right. Israeli politics is as divisive as American politics…so, progressives are still in the fight there.

        In the U.S., most American Jews vote Democratic.

        • Otto

          I don’t doubt that, just wondering if Judaism is leading to a better society there.

          Understand that if you asked the question “does Islam lead to a better society” I would have said “Ask the Jews”, it is certainly a 2 way street.

        • Hawkesbay

          Or better yet, ask the muslims. Definitely include women whose genitalia have been modified.

        • TheNuszAbides

          abstractly, sure. practically, good luck with that.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          I think right wing religion in all three Abrahamic traditions is a core problem. In Israel, the ultra Orthodox Jews used to be a much smaller political force, but now they are more imposing. Similarly, many moderate and liberal Jews were working toward a deal with the Palestinians through Fatah and didn’t expect Hamas to get elected in Gaza…Hamas being the more radical Palestinian group. In Central Ohio, Jews and Muslims have a very good relationship.

          The American mainline Christian situation is a very sad story. On the church side, leadership (upper middle class) has shown no 1960s era fight capacity. On the open societal side, there just is no American religious market for such a fight. I think there’s a difference between Christians and Jews/Muslims on how action in society happens. On the Christian side, action depends more on the congregational/denominational structure. Whereas Jews and Muslims are more likely to act in individual attachment to entities outside of congregation/denomination. An interesting convergence is William Barber in North Carolina who runs an interfaith justice thing that anyone is welcome to also join…faith or no faith. He’s in the UCC…a denomination that is like 90% white and affluent. It’s interesting to me that this singular 1960s style religio-style Christianesque endeavor is led by a Black man. Then again, I’ve known Black bishops who have totally sold out to white upperclass establishment.

        • Otto

          Generally speaking I agree with you. I think the biggest problem for most religions when it comes to the question of positive impact on society is the completely unreliable outcome. It isn’t that negatives automatically flow out of them, they don’t. Often there are positives, but the results are far too random and unpredictable. Christianity specifically in this country is held up as the standard bearer for morality and ethics, when in fact typically Christianity has to be dragged kicking and screaming in large parts towards the positive goals. I can’t really say that I see it at the forefront of positive change until the trend is already moving in that direction.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          Yes. I agree with you completely there.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    Lane:

    In response to a post that I can’t find:

    The 10 Commandments are a joke as an effective guide in the 21st century. Where it’s unique it’s wrong, and where it’s right it’s obvious. It’s supposed to stand up against the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights?

    Your argument seems to be, “Yeah, but biblical slavery wasn’t as bad as it was in other societies.” Maybe it’s true; I don’t care. The point is that biblical morality (on slavery and everything else) is crap from a modern viewpoint.

    • James

      Notice how religionists who claim to uphold “objective morality” are all too quick to resort to moral relativism when defending the indefensible morality found in the Old Testament.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        And their morality is just as relative–their interpretation of a manmade book.

  • paganmegan

    Though I have yet to read a study that confirms it, I suspect one of the dirty little secrets in America is that much of the decline in church attendance has occurred among the poor and working class. You kind of have to read between the lines to guess this, but it doesn’t take a sociology degree to see the most successful churches have become the social gathering place of the country club set. Just drive through a megachurch parking lot on a Sunday morning.

    What this means is, if you happen to be one of the many who’ve fallen out of the middle class in recent years, it’s going to be pretty awkward showing up Sunday morning among people who regard poverty as either a personal failing or God’s divine judgment.And this becomes doubly true if you decide to vote for the party that seems to care the most about people in your economic situation.

    The claim that insecurity surrounding economic disparity helps promote religion may be backwards. If anything, church-sanctioned class warfare may be killing off religion in America in much the same way as it did in Western Europe. This is especially true as young, well-educated Christians put two and two together and realize the church’s political activities have sold them into low-wage slavery.

    Maybe Marx was onto something about religion being the opiate of the masses. And since religion has failed in this purpose, opiates have now become the opiate of the masses.

    • Daniel G. Johnson

      Super post! (I wish I had written it!)

      Yes. The failure is massive…it extends to so-called progressive mainline denominations which have only a nominal appearance of tending to the poor. Mainline leadership looks the other way when it comes to the great number of small town/rural and even some urban congregations which are just plain trumpian. Any denominational work on a national or district level is automatically exaggerated and poster-childed for optimum advertising claims. Meanwhile the in-house conservatives can be bought off with spin and schmoozing from the local district office…all whilst the whole organization continues to attrit….something like the commercial where a guy is reading his newspaper in his living room lazy boy while the flood is filling the room and carrying off the family dog and he pretends not to notice.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Maybe Marx was onto something about religion being the opiate of the masses.

      there’s no ‘maybe’ about it. even the ‘prosperity gospel’ encrustation doesn’t invalidate the notion; it wasn’t a declaration about “all that religion is any good for”, but a significant insight (rather than historically mainstream milquetoast ‘respect’ or deference) as to how it plays out sociologically.

      (tangential-ish-ly, it’s not as though anyone was doing much of an investigative expose on the Opium Wars [let alone the underlying issues] in Marx’s day, either.)

      since religion has failed in this purpose, opiates have now become the opiate of the masses.

      i very much doubt it’s that reducible, though the point that one seems to be overtaking the other is well taken.
      like most any other tool sooner or later, they’ve clearly become more accessible to larger populations. factor in that they have far more obvious/blatant effects — whether more-or-less-poorly understood — and that immediate gratification is hardly a new ‘thing’ for even human animals …

  • James

    When one produces facts that conclusively shows that Christianity does not lead to a better society, not even in the warped way they tend to define as “better,” the proper apologist will merely play the “not perfect, just forgiven” card. Completely oblivious to the fact their ilk claims to have special access to a life-changing moral agent and their holy book often directly claims that the best evidence for their myriad supernatural claims is supposed to be their very lives and lifestyle, i.e. their witness. But, getting a fundeglical to actually make falsifiable claims and then to defend them with intellectual integrity, using evidence, is like nailing Jello to the wall during a hail storm. The superpower of the typical apologist is in their shameless dishonesty; and that tends to put people like you, Bob, at the disadvantage.

    • Kodie

      Here’s the thing – many Christians would say that Christianity (they’d attribute it directly to Christ) has improved their life. And I think part of the theists’ goals is to “share” this method of life improvement with everyone as “the way”, the only way, that if you don’t do this, they think, your life will surely stink. Even if you think you feel good and happy, you are just empty and hopeless inside without Jesus.

      What I do think is that if everyone could be convinced of the same goals, and a consensus reached of what is good, what is a good life, a singular way of life would work, even if it was a religion. But we are not, and something like many religions leaves a lot of people out – i.e., they don’t want to get on board with “us”, they lose out, meaning the poor will stay poor, or gay people would miss out on rights if they don’t pretend to be straight, and women would have to stay in the support role of the household and stay at home, bearing many children and not having a career or any of their own money. Many communities thrive in this system, and what irritates them is how other people don’t agree with their goals and values and definitions of what makes a society good and healthy to live in.

      When they dominate, they then tend to make life miserable for those who do not comply, and so Christianity or whatever is “the way” to a better life. It’s not actually better, it’s just that your way is worse for the preservation of their way, and they use intimidating strategies, including politics, to minimize the effect you can have, as well as incentivize you joining their society. They’re not actually interested in saving your soul as much as they want you to stop wrecking their view, ruining their town, influencing their children to other ways to live a nice life.

      • James

        Well said Kodie!

      • Noelle S.

        Hi, Jodie, Yes, and I agree. And I think Christians who are happy with their religion, and their conviction of having been “Saved by Jesus’ blood”, are often very judgmental – measuring others’ condition by whether or not they are “saved” also! (Are they fit to be part of our “club”?!) Often, I think, the happiness that “I am “saved””, arises from the acceptance of that extension of the doctrine of blood-sacrifice, and the fear and guilt and low self-esteem that follows. To be ‘saved’ means, ‘Ah, now I am O.K. God will not punish me!’!!! SO I am happy!
        If we use the word ‘spirituality’, which many now do, rather than the old ‘religion’, it seems to me that all faiths, ways of life and situations are covered. If Christians could see that the ACTUAL words spoken by Jesus, apply to ALL humans, (and even their approach toward animals and all life), then their lives could reflect such ideals and help create caring, just, co-operating societies. I like that Pythagoras followed the “unchangeably compassionate G-d”
        The Great Spirit behind, beyond and within all life, (called, by humans, “GOD”, “Allah” etc.), is not just for Christians (Jesus was not a ‘Christian’!), nor just for Muslims nor Hindus etc etc., but for ALL mankind! No-one needs a label or a “religion” anyway…..just the wish to try to follow those good values which you suggest. “By their works shall you know them”…not by their BELIEFS!!?

        • TheNuszAbides

          the ACTUAL words spoken by Jesus

          how does anyone know which are which?

          the point is to reinforce, without demagoguery if at all possible (i.e. with the kind of strong educational foundation that fundagelicals are now hypocritically labeling ‘indoctrination’), what we have reasonably established as good for the ongoing survival of civilized society*.

          whether any persons with a variety of legends attributed to them happen to express one or more of these ideas is more coincidental than crucial.

          * (or something like that. not like we can exactly agree on that even without religious divisions.)

        • Noelle S.

          Hi, “..How does anyone know which is which?” (i.e. what Jesus said, or didn’t say)..

          One way is by studying a new book out on Amazon: “The True Sayings of Jesus” …author and researcher Antonio Sebastian. Why would anyone trust his presentation? Because he spent ten years in intensive research into the actual history of the Jews – (the two opposing Jewish groups:- Israeli, Northern Jews and Southern Judean Jews – the latter practitioners of the cult of blood-sacrifice, which neither Jesus nor God desired.). The book details the inner meanings of the words actually spoken by Jesus (Yeshua), to whom they were spoken, when, where and why, and their implications for us. The same author’s Blogs and other books also reveal many misinterpretations and misquotes in the Bible. http://www.thejesusofhistory.wordpress.com
          Of COURSE some words attributed to Him were not actually His words. Look at Paul and his god etc. Do we really believe in an entity, a God capable of displaying negative human-like emotions – anger, jealousy, hatred, harsh judgment and punishment? A god made in MAN’s image? Impossible!!? That is not the Great Spirit ever-present, beyond, and within, ALL Life.

        • Pofarmer

          Neat. Go talk to Clement Agnoistes.

        • Noelle S.

          Apologies; it seemed this post had not appeared, so I tried again!! It might appear twice. Sorry.
          Also the new site is thejesusofhistory.com, not as above!

        • Greg G.

          Disqus can be tricky. Most of us has experienced that.

        • Greg G.

          Protip: When you put a link into the text, be sure to leave a space or a line return at the ends. If you put punctuation like commas, periods, or quotation marks there, Disqus interprets the punctuation as part of the link and the website doesn’t understand it.

        • Noelle S.

          Many thanks!

        • Greg G.

          So how does he decide which are Jesus sayings and which are not. Some use the Criterion of Similarity which tells us that a saying attributed to Jesus sounds like something a first century Jew would say, then it is authentic. The Criterion of Dissimilarity tells us that a saying that does not sound like something a first century Jew would say must have really come from Jesus. New Testament scholars have created many criteria to use as an excuse to authenticate saying attributed to Jesus.

          Do we really believe in an entity, a God capable of displaying negative human-like emotions – anger, jealousy, hatred, harsh judgment and punishment? A god made in MAN’s image? Impossible!!? That is not the Great Spirit ever-present, beyond, and within, ALL Life.

          That may not be the god you imagine but it is the God Jews have imagined for thousand of years.

        • Noelle S.

          I can only suggest, read the book! The point is that ‘The Jews’ was not an entity. Most Christians ?have thought that the Jews were as one race; whom some hate;
          some don’t? whereas historically, there were two groups – Northern Israeli Jews and Southern Judean Jews. The Israeli Jews, together with followers of Jesus in His time, followed the true God of Love, Light, Life….(How COULD a real GOD be less than perfect?)..It was the Judean Jews who followed the god of death and destruction, and historically had fought the Northern Jews for hundreds of years, trying to force them to “unite” the Jewish race by adopting the same cult of blood-sacrifice. So, only THOSE Jews imagined such a god.
          Therefore I suggest that our sense of the best, must be that of the perfect God as the true God, therefore only those sayings by Jesus which adhere to that truth, can be attributed to Him….

        • Greg G.

          How COULD a real GOD be less than perfect?

          How could unnecessary suffering exist if there was an actual perfect being?

        • Noelle S.

          ..Because suffering is the cause-and-effect result of our human thoughts, words and actions – not imposed “from somewhere above’ by a finite “Being”. I am suggesting not an entity, but the Spirit, MIND behind all life. Some scientists have now concluded that only a MiIND can explain that there IS Something.

        • Otto

          >>>”..Because suffering is the cause-and-effect result of our human thoughts”

          Childhood cancer is not caused by human thoughts…

        • Noelle S.

          Otto…I couldn’t find your comment, to reply to (maybe I tried too soon), so please consider my comment (a P. S.) above re some causes of cancer….

        • Otto

          Yes no one is arguing some cancer is caused by human behavior, but not all cancer. And understand, non-human caused cancer is just one example of needless suffering that happens that shouldn’t if the God of Love that you describe is is real.

          Essentially the values you are espousing are positive and they fall under Humanism generally, God is not necessary for that.

        • Noelle S.

          If there was a God of Love as a person, an entity, I’d agree that S/He should be able to prevent suffering. But as a Principle, Mind, ‘Spirit of Life’ holding Universes in harmony/balance, my point really is that it is not that unalterable ‘perfection’ which creates problems – but the factors in environment, human activities and behaviour etc which go against that ‘perfection’.
          Humanism – “God” as people perceive that, is not necessary. Yet Something is! e.g. what created humans, that they can BE humanists, christians, or anything at all?
          I agree that many living in harmonious ways, are far more in sync with the real life than many “christians” and others living according to their perceived ideas implanted by a “religion” – more’s the pity!

        • Otto

          So basically since you cannot answer certain questions about existence…that proves God is real. That is a fallacious argument.

          The universe is not perfect. Human actions did not create the imperfections.

        • Noelle S.

          “GOD” is not real, as I see it; and certainly not made ‘real’ by anything I can prove or not prove. I am not trying to prove that “GOD” in the accepted sense is real, because I can’t accept that the God that has been presented to us over the ages is real! – presented by religions etc. And I admit I can’t answer certain questions about existence. If I knew everything, I would not be here, learning, right? I think it is time for a cup of herb tea!!! What an absorbing site and discussion!

        • Otto

          I can’t answer certain questions either, I appreciate your honesty and I hope you enjoy your tea.

        • Noelle S.

          Thank you. I will!! I reckon I’ve had more than my share of the discussion here!!

        • al kimeea

          Ah, a GoBist

        • Noelle S.

          I presume that that means a ‘loud-mouth’!
          No worries….I am certainly more than ready to stop posting comments here.
          (Put it down to my age! And having no car now; liking to communicate and discuss!) There are other ways!

        • Max Doubt

          “But as a Principle, Mind, ‘Spirit of Life’ holding Universes in harmony/balance,…”

          And this thing you keep mentioning that you can’t even describe, do you think it actually exists as a part of the universe?

        • Noelle S.

          I think it IS the Universe – the Essence, the Spirit…… which human can ever precisely describe the mystery of life? How many of us are just brain, blood, heart, flesh and bones?? No other awareness?

        • Max Doubt

          “I think it IS the Universe…”

          If something IS the universe, we already have a perfectly good word for that. We call it, wait for it, the universe.

          “… – the Essence,…”

          You can’t define that in an unambiguous way.

          “… the Spirit…”

          You can’t define that in an unambiguous way.

          “… which human can ever precisely describe the mystery of life?”

          Who cares? Does anyone think it’s necessary to try? And even though you can’t, why does stringing words together into ambiguous phrases with no real meaning make you more comfortable? It’s dishonest.

          “How many of us are just brain, blood, heart, flesh and bones?? No other awareness?”

          If you’re talking about awareness, we already have a perfectly good word for that. We call it awareness. See how easy this stuff can be when you’re not trying to sound all profound or meaningful? Oh, and you’re not even very good at it. There’s a computer program that does it far better.

        • TheNuszAbides

          There’s a computer program that does it far better.

          i think Inspiro-bot is in the running now. visual aids!

        • fractal

          Ever occur to you that it cannot be described, because there is no way to convey it with Western language?

          Poetry and song is the best way to convey the Sacred.
          It isn’t about the intellect; splicing and dicing reality doesn’t bring one any closer to higher states of consciousness.

          It is about understanding the relationship BETWEEN entities, not the entities themselves.
          The gestalt is more than the parts.
          Your focus is on one magnification, and mystics are looking at thru a different lens.

          That’s all.

        • Max Doubt

          “Ever occur to you that it cannot be described, because there is no way to convey it with Western language?”

          If there’s something you can’t convey in language, don’t try to convey it in language. Take that up with Noelle if you have an issue with it. The failure is hers.

          “Poetry and song is the best way to convey the Sacred.”

          You can’t define what you mean by sacred.

          “It isn’t about the intellect; splicing and dicing reality doesn’t bring one any closer to higher states of consciousness.”

          You can’t define what you mean by higher states of consciousness.

          “It is about understanding the relationship BETWEEN entities, not the entities themselves.”

          You can’t define what you mean when you say relationship between entities, mainly because you seem unable to even define the entities.

          “The gestalt is more than the parts. Your focus is on one magnification, and mystics are looking at thru a different lens.”

          You can’t define mystics or what it means for them to look through a different lens.

          Not a single thing you wrote there has any more meaning than the bullshit that comes out of this Deepak Chopra drivel emulator. If you forgot to take your meds, take ’em. Seriously. You’re babbling nonsense.

          “That’s all.”

          Good.

        • Kodie

          Ever occur to you that it can’t be described in “Western” language, because it’s bullshit?

        • Noelle S.

          Essentially, Humanists consider that man is his body – brain, heart, bones, flesh, blood – nothing more than that? Is that correct?? If that is so, then when you amputate a limb, you have removed part of the man – not just a portion of bone, flesh etc.

        • Greg G.

          The mind of a person is a function of the brain. The body supports the brain. If you remove a limb, it is just an inconvenience. Damage a part of the brain related to the function of the mind, and you change the personality and/or abilities.

        • Otto

          Are you saying there is some sort of dualism?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          you might look up the Humanist Manifesto if you’re curious to learn more.

        • Noelle S.

          Otto, You ask, ‘Am I suggesting some kind of dualism’

          I am suggesting that man is more than his body; that mind is more than just brain; that there is spirit:- thoughtfulness, kindness, awareness, and all the qualities which humanists express as much,as – probably in many cases more than – some “religious” people do.

          In nursing, I have ‘seen’ the spirit leave a seriously ill man’s body.

          We are not just material, in other words.
          Scientists – many – -often – seem to judge as real, only the ‘things’ we can see, hear, touch and feel – only ‘matter’ We are body and ‘spirit’ – or is there another word, do you think, which describes it??

        • adam

          “In nursing, I have ‘seen’ the spirit leave a seriously ill man’s body.”

          So you’ve hallucinated.

        • Michael Neville

          The woo is strong in this one.

        • Noelle S.

          “Hallucinated”?
          Oh dear! We will all find out one day – me sooner than the rest of you! SCIENTISTS ! (yes, intellectuals!!) have PROVED ! that there is the finer version of ourselves which leaves via the head when we “die” physically. Oh well……..

        • adam

          ” SCIENTISTS ! (yes, intellectuals!!) have PROVED ! that there is the
          finer version of ourselves which leaves via the head when we “die”
          physically. Oh well……..”

          Then it will be EASY for you to demonstrate.

          I await your PROOF.

        • Noelle S.

          So PATHETIC! The only way to prove what happens when I die, would be to die in front of you, but as you are not sensitive to unseen aspects of the human being, you still would not believe it as you would not ‘see’ it!
          Pointless discussing.

        • Kodie

          If that’s the only way, that’s what’s pathetic. You won’t see anything, we won’t see anything, and you’ll be dead. Forever.

        • adam

          “So PATHETIC! The only way to prove what happens when I die, would be
          to die in front of you, but as you are not sensitive to unseen aspects
          of the human being, you still would not believe it as you would not
          ‘see’ it!”

          Demonstrating that it is IMAGINARY…

        • adam

          Show us the SCIENCE you claim exists that ‘proves’ what you are claiming.

        • adam

          “Pointless discussing.”

          With a delusional person like you, I would agree.

          However, you can still save face by demonstrating the science you claim proves this.

          But you dont have it, so you LIE, then ATTACK….

          Pathetic…

        • adam
        • TheNuszAbides

          if you’re talking about something more complicated than brain death, you really ought to cite the research so we can read about it.

        • Noelle S.

          It was certainly not my idea, but the findings of scientists, about whose research I read in a local newspaper – several years ago. That is all I can tell you, but it WAS scientists! Whom I trust, at their scientific level of research!
          Re ‘seeing’ (sensing) the spirit leave a body, there is at least one person who posted here, as to that experience,. It is familiar to many people esp within the medical field.
          Dr Raymond Moodie MD, “Life After Life”,cited about 200 folk who, as their spirit left their physical frame, looked down and saw that they were in that finer, perfect ‘version’ of themselves. All of them moved on through a ‘tunnel’ out into light, were given the chance to review their lives for the good done, and how some aspects could have been better. (Christians, notice NO punishment – just resolving to do better next time around!) Communication was by thought, not speech.
          And incidentally, my mother and an aunt each reported that same experience when they recovered from very near ‘death’. In fact, my mother reported that, “Love is all there IS, really!”
          I just don’t accept that all of that is just a physical or ephemeral reaction of the brain to lack of oxygen during the “dying” process.
          A man who was medically .deeply unconscious was later, after being revived, able to tell the doctor attending, that his pen, which he couldn’t find, had dropped behind the door;
          I am not a scientist, ‘though a logical, analytical person; that is all I can tell you on the question of research.

        • TheNuszAbides

          cited about 200 folk who, as their spirit left their physical frame, looked down and saw that they were in that finer, perfect ‘version’ of themselves. All of them moved on through a ‘tunnel’ out into light, were given the chance to review their lives …

          i don’t suppose any/most/all of these folk had ever had previous thoughts about death or afterlife concepts, or had ever heard or read a coincidentally similar story [about or from] a friend or family member or fictional character? that these experiences have any commonality is already explained by the obvious fact that countless humans have a lot of intense feelings and thoughts about mortality. a “beyond” or “ephemeral sense” isn’t required to explain these tales at all — it simply makes some people feel more calm or important or significant or even ‘normal’ — or in the occasional odd twist, more reflective or self-aware.

          Communication was by thought, not speech.

          zero evidence that there was “communication”. have you never dreamed of a conversation?

          A man who was medically .deeply unconscious was later, after being revived, able to tell the doctor attending, that his pen, which he couldn’t find, had dropped behind the door

          how could the doctor be sure that the pen went missing during the man’s period of unconsciousness? if this story was confirmed somewhere [so that it’s actually useful evidence of some kind rather than a second-hand anecdote that you’d merely rather take at face value because you’re convinced you have intuitive notions about ESP], please let us know. as in, “citation needed”.

          I am not a scientist

          even so, you should realize by now that relaying stories woefully sparse on details and only in your own words (with the occasional name-drop, let alone “but they were definitely scientists!”) is a seriously ineffective way of asserting/defending/whatevering your worldview on a blog that explicitly asks for reliable evidence day in and day out.

        • Noelle S.

          “…how could the doctor be sure that the pen went missing during the man’s period of unconsciousness?”

          haha – or rather, ho-hum…..because the doctor was using the pen as he stood with other medical attendants in the presence of the unconscious patient. He dropped the pen, looked for it; couldn’t find it. The patient regained consciousness and was able to tell the Dr that his pen had fallen behind the door.
          Read Dr Moodie’s book if you wish to check whether or not you think his account of the incident is true! It is not a matter of my “intuitive notions about ESP.” I was not present at the time!

        • TheNuszAbides

          haha – or rather, ho-hum

          oh, if you’d rather i were as abrasive to you as others, please start pretending you can play “Gotcha” better than i can. i asked for details that you hadn’t provided, you’re not winning or making points by putting on jaded airs.

          He dropped the pen, looked for it; couldn’t find it …

          so he didn’t look very hard, then the patient suggested a perfectly plausible place and WOW, IT WAS THERE. why be so astonished? just because a doctor who’s not good at searching was?

          if you wish to check whether or not you think his account of the incident is true

          i understand many of Moody’s interviews were long after the incidents at issue, and no statistical analysis was undertaken. i.e. he didn’t draw his conclusions based on the scientific method, but rather on cherry-picking compounded by his fascination with the notion of afterlife. it’s always been possible for any number of doctors to get away with that kind of thing, you know — especially if they simply write a book instead of submitting their projects to rigorous verification.

          you might be used to people casually expressing interest in your book recommendations, but this is not a casual conversation.

          and you’re conspicuously ignoring other points i just made.

        • Greg G.

          Was the doctor writing notes after the patient was sedated? I would expect the doctor to be sterile and not touching anything that was not sterile. If it was after the surgery, then the patient may have already been awake.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Noelle seems unfocused enough, through most of these exchanges, that i opted against questioning the exactitude/perfection of the patient’s unconsciousness. but also because i would likely overreach into irrelevant questions owing to my incomplete understanding of stimulus reception. (e.g. i would presume that being knocked out [non-specifically] does not render ears incapable of receiving sound waves — but does being knocked out [non-specifically] mean that the sound of a pen dropping and sliding away could not possibly penetrate short-term memory storage?)

        • Noelle S.

          To TheNuszAbides…..”..oh, if you want me to be as abrasive to you as others…start pretending…”

          Very fair comment! You caused me to think and look, and realise you in particular are not abrasive. I really appreciate that, as an abrasive response is actually foreign to my nature; any competition in that regard would be a no-contest – which is why I am sometimes at a bit of a loss on this site. Debating does not need to be harsh and personal, despite views that can differ markedly.

        • Michael Neville

          Shall I tell you why we’re abusive to you? Yes I shall.

          When you first appeared here pitching your “universal mind” and spiritualism we were polite to you. But when we asked you for evidence to support your claims we got either silence or bafflegab. After a while we stopped being polite for the simple reason that you weren’t polite. You kept making assertions and not giving us the evidence we requested to support your assertions. I gave up on you when you wrote a post basically saying you didn’t have the evidence to satisfy us and it was our fault that you didn’t.

        • Noelle S.

          I appreciate your comment, and I accept it.

          “. I gave up on you when you wrote a post basically saying you didn’t have the evidence to satisfy us and it was our fault that you didn’t.”

          Whatever my words were in that post, it is true, yes, that I didn’t have evidence which from your point of view was convincing.
          O.K., it is not your “fault”, (nor mine), that our views are so different; therefore I take back any inference that it was your fault I did not have such evidence!

        • Noelle S.

          (Not spiritualism – which as I understand, is usually just clairvoyance ….)

        • Greg G.

          For many years, perhaps still, operating rooms had things atop cabinets so that if a person had an out of body experience, they could tell which items were up there. The last I heard, there were no successful hits.

          When I played high school football, I caught an interception where as soon as the quarterback threw the ball, I felt like I left my body and was above the play. I could see the receiver behind me, I saw him fall and his helmet hit my foot which caused me to stumble but I was able to dive and make the catch. All the while, I could see the ball coming from my eyes’ perspective. Just before I hit the ground, I was back in my body and my bare forearms slid over the first down chains. I was thinking, “Geez, why couldn’t I have stayed outside my body until after that happened?”

          I couldn’t wait to see the game film to see if I could see an aura or something. What I saw was that the guy wasn’t as close to me as I had seen and his arm hit my foot, not his helmet.

          I had several out of body experiences when I played flag football when I was in the military, usually when I had to run very hard to get to the ball. It was like I was just observing myself making a catch. Sometimes, when the defender was near enough that I had to pay attention to keep him from making a play on the ball, I would feel like I was above and looking down. I realized that my eyes were focusing on the ball while my hearing and sense of touch were modeling what was going on elsewhere and creating a mental movie, so I had two simultaneous mental models of my environment.

        • Noelle S.

          Interesting.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve been following this for a number of years now.

          The extensive research done by Dr. Sam Parnia and his AWARE project in this area showed nothing conclusive.

          In 2001, Parnia and colleagues published the results of a year-long study of cardiac arrest survivors. 63 survivors were interviewed; 7 had memories of the time they were unconscious and 4 had experiences that, according to the study criteria, were NDEs. Out of body claims were tested by placing figures on suspended boards facing the ceiling, not visible from the floor. No positive results were reported, and no conclusions could be drawn due to the small number of subjects.

          Science writer Mike McRae has noted “While Parnia’s work contributes valuable data to understanding NDE as a cultural phenomenon, his speculations do indeed sit on the brink of pseudoscience.” Neurologist Michael O’Brien has written that “most people would not find it necessary to postulate such a separation between mind and brain to explain the events,” and suggested that further research is likely to provide a physical explanation for near-death experiences.The psychologist Susan Blackmore appeared with Parnia and Peter Fenwick on a BBC documentary called “The Day I Died” and disagreed with their interpretations of NDEs, finding purely physical explanations to be more plausible.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Parnia

          It’s a loada ballix.

        • Michael Neville
        • Greg G.

          The name “Parnia” doesn’t ring any bells but I have read Susan Blackmore’s arguments and I agree with her assessments, at least the ones I have read.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Back in my RDFRS days there was a few of us watching Parnia’s research with a bit of anticipation. It failed to achieve the expectation.

          http://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2014/10/07-worlds-largest-near-death-experiences-study.page

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that is the study I had heard of when it was starting and a few times after that. I never did hear about the conclusion. Thanks!

        • epeeist

          On The Guardian there is a regular poster in the comments section who posts links to such research and trumpets its achievements.

          However when you look it is usually a mess, tiny numbers of participants, poor statistical analysis, very small effect sizes and most of all, sloppy experimental design.

          The worst thing though is that there is no suggested mechanism by which such things could work. In other words people are looking to verify suppositions rather than testing hypotheses.

        • Pofarmer

          I think we really underestimate the power of our brains to make what is essentially a waking dream. No “out of body” experiences necessary. Our body explains it fine.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Next you’ll be telling me that all those professional and academics that were eyewitness to the veracity of the Loch Ness monster, were making that stuff up…seriously?

          http://www.loch-ness.com/eyewitnesses.html

        • Joe

          I just don’t accept that all of that is just a physical or ephemeral reaction of the brain to lack of oxygen during the “dying” process.

          Well, that’s the simplest expatiation, whether you like it or not.

          A man who was medically .deeply unconscious was later, after being revived, able to tell the doctor attending, that his pen, which he couldn’t find, had dropped behind the door;

          Even if true (you didn’t give us any names of the doctor or patient), you can’t think of a simpler explanation?

        • Noelle S.

          I can think of a simpler explanation, for example that the patient might not have been properly unconscious.

          But i can’t change the story as told to Dr Moody during the research for his book (“Life After Life”). i.e. The patient was thought to be dead – he was in the morgue; and it was determined that he was actually medically deeply unconscious. The doctor attending told Dr Moodie that at that time, he dropped his pen; carried on with his work, and didn’t locate the pen. It was after they had managed to revive the patient that he described having seen the pen drop behind the door.,
          I don’t think there is any doubt at all that an unconscious person, in a part of his/her brain/mind, is aware of what is happening – because for one thing, we were warned of that during the latter part of nursing training – never to speak negatively about an unconscious patient as it had been discovered by then, that they are actually aware of what is said.

        • Joe

          OK, so how did the patient know where the pen was, if he was in the morgue?

          I don’t think there is any doubt at all that an unconscious person, in a part of his/her brain/mind, is aware of what is happening – because for one thing, we were warned of that during the latter part of nursing training – never to speak negatively about an unconscious patient as it had been discovered by then, that they are actually aware of what is said.

          What’s supernatural about that?

        • Noelle S.

          Sorry…I’m not sure what you are asking. He was in the morgue, where the incident took place, but he was not dead after all – just deeply unconscious.and he was aware (‘though unconscious) of what was happening.

          I don’t think it’s “supernatural”. It is just the way things are.

        • Joe

          So if they’re in the morgue, how can they be aware of anything in a different location?

        • Noelle S.

          They were in the morgue, yes; ( the pen incident happened IN the morgue.)

        • Joe

          So the patient may have been semi-conscious?

        • Noelle S.

          Yes, that is the obvious question one asks, isn’t it!

          However, no, the doctor was very definite – they had thought he was dead, but found him deeply unconscious (they can tell), and the pen incident happened at that time.

        • Joe

          Have doctors ever been wrong before?

        • Noelle S.

          I don’t think so – not like that. I’ve never heard of it, anyway.
          We shouldn’t worry; I’m sure they always double-check. In fact these ones did – and so they found out he was not ‘dead’. Someone at some stage, would always find out, I’m sure.

        • Joe

          He was in the morgue, but wasn’t dead. I would doubt the judgement of that particular doctor.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh dear. Such naivete.

          https://www.everplans.com/articles/8-people-who-were-mistakenly-pronounced-dead

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2537705/Man-wakes-mortuary-15-hours-pronounced-dead.html

          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/dead-man-found-alive-after-night-in-mortuary-fridge-a7470861.html

          It couldn’t be that Moody was onto a money spinner like that other charlatan, Eben Alexander?

          https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/proof-heaven-author-debunked/313681/

          Moody and his research is not beyond criticism by his peers either.

          Barry Beyerstein, a professor of psychology, has written that Moody’s alleged evidence for an afterlife is flawed, both logically and empirically. The psychologist James Alcock has noted that Moody “…appears to ignore a great deal of the scientific literature dealing with hallucinatory experiences in general, just as he quickly glosses over the very real limitations of his research method.” Such practice would be characteristic of cherry picking, a violation of valid research principles whether in good faith or bad.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Moody#Criticism_of_Moody.27s_near-death_research

          Moody was predisposed to confirmation bias.

          In 1975, Dr. Raymond Moody published Life After Life, which became the seminal work promoting NDEs as evidence of an afterlife. Dr. Moody is a strong personal believer in not only the afterlife, but also reincarnation, claiming that he has personally lived nine previous lives. In his books he’s cited 150 cases of people who, after resuscitation, reported extraordinary experiences.

          https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4261

          He’s a kook.

        • Noelle S.

          I am not naive enough to believe only what a book tells me..
          The experiences of my mother and an aunt coincide with those of the people interviewed by Dr Moody. However, that does not of course confirm that they were not just oxygen-lack effects. They might be. I will know only when I too, leave here!
          There is too much information in those links, for me to find time to read and study them intently – I have far too many chores to carry out here – and that is the truth.
          But after reading through them, I would say, e.g., that by the testing of fighter-pilots to the point of unconsciousness, they WERE on the way to death, even ‘tho’ the writer says that the fact that their experiences coincide with those of NDE reports meant that all were demonstrating simply the same lack-of-O2 to the brain etc, therefore neither pilots nor Moody’s interviewees were NDE’s!! That does not follow.

        • adam

          “Death pronouncements are the re-sponsibility of many first-year residents, especially family medicineresidents. ”

          http://www.stfm.org/fmhub/fm2004/November/Lucille702.pdf

        • Noelle S.

          An interesting article!
          They cover all aspects of the experience, for first-year residents. It seems tough on the first-years to have to do this – but if there is a doctor on the Ward at the time, then it would usually be a first-year resident anyway

          As it happened, I very rarely had a patient die during my duty. As a Nurse or Staff-nurse, I would check the patient for signs, then notify the Ward’s Nurse-Manager – as I think they are usually called now!
          I am quite sure that during the stages of a doctor being called, his checking the patient, filling-out forms, the patient being prepared etc., there would be enough people checking the state of the patient, to fully confirm the death.

          Even in the incident mentioned in the book, they DID check again and discovered the fact that he was not dead.

        • Noelle S.

          P.S.. to Ignorant Amos – before my PC goes on the blink again.
          I DID say that I had never heard of doctors mistakenly pronouncing people dead – i.e. not in my experience!
          I see from your links that it has happened in some rare cases.

          It’s easy for me not to worry, at least not for myself anyway….’tho’ for others…….
          .I am 82.
          Some people might be more keen to try to investigate how that has happened…….and find time to make an issue of it….?

        • Greg G.

          How do you know that some are pronounced dead when they are only mostly dead*, but they die later?

          * If you’ve ever watched Princess Bride, you will understand this.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Was that the problem with Lazarus? He was just mostly dead?

        • Greg G.

          Jesus didn’t go to Bethany right away when he heard about Lazarus because he had to get the pill from Miracle Max.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s why autoresuscitation is called Lazarus Syndrome.

          Autoresuscitation, also known as Lazarus Syndrome, is very rare and not well understood.

          In 2001, a paper in the Emergency Medical Journal identified more than 25 cases reported in scientific literature.

          It takes its name from the Biblical story of Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus and is the spontaneous return of circulation after failed attempts at resuscitation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I DID say that I had never heard of doctors mistakenly pronouncing people dead – i.e. not in my experience!

          No, what you actually said was…

          I don’t think so – not like that.

          Naive. Given your caveat, “not in my experience”, what you think has very little bearing.

          I’ve never heard of it, anyway.

          Hard to believe. Especially of someone in your years from a career background in the medical profession. Unless you are some kind of medical flower in the attic.

          We shouldn’t worry; I’m sure they always double-check.

          No, we shouldn’t worry unnecessarily, people are fallible and make mistakes…that includes doctors and folk in the medical profession. Not as rare as many think, but rare enough not to cause alarm. The negligence of three doctors resulted in a punctured lung leading to the death of my wife over a period of five days, but not to worry. My second wife is a theatre technician in the Southern Baptist Hospital, Jacksonville, so I’m well aware of what mistakes get made and how often Joe Public doesn’t get to hear about it.

          In fact these ones did – and so they found out he was not ‘dead’. Someone at some stage, would always find out, I’m sure.

          Naivety again. Anecdote’s aside.

          I see from your links that it has happened in some rare cases.

          Yes, and regardless of how rare you “think” it is, it is a fact it happens. How rare that it happens, is a non sequitur. How many times does it happen? How many times does it happen and not reported? Academic to my point, but interesting questions on their on merit.

          Google is your friend.

          Around 20 percent of hospital patients condemned as “brain-dead” are misdiagnosed – that is, those patients could be conscious and likely to recover. In fact, they may be as likely to respond to questions as healthy patients – they just lack the ability to communicate with the outside world.

          https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/one-in-five-vegetative-patients-is-misdiagnosed-study

          This raises the question of how difficult can it be to diagnose death?
          Medical experts are confident that misdiagnosis is exceptionally rare.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19968625

          Dying…and experiencing various phenomena during that process…is not death. The process of all deaths are not equal, it’s the result that is final.

          “Death is a process rather than a moment in time – it is a process, a transition, life ebbs away slowly. Identifying precisely when it has occurred can be difficult – especially in the heat of the moment. But the diagnosis itself is based upon strict criteria which have to be adhered to.” Bot not everywhere.

        • adam

          “Even in the incident mentioned in the book, they DID check again and discovered the fact that he was not dead.”

          Well of course, IN THIS CASE.

        • Greg G.
        • Noelle S.

          Thank you. That is interesting. and seems a very objective, balanced study; it’s quite a lot to take-in, on first reading!

        • fractal

          I have been to numerous Code Blue in hospitals, where most people die.
          During these events, most EVERYONE in the room can tell when something ineffable leaves the body, and the person is GONE.
          One can feel it if paying attention.
          Others aren’t as conscious of it, but you can see the hospital staff relax and start to joke and talk to one another, after it happens.
          Something changed.
          Something essential had left.
          And everyone would take a deep breath and cool down.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          We’re human. Yes, we care when someone dies–that’s what most humans do.

          If you’re saying that the soul leaving the body is an event for which there’s evidence, I wonder that the experiment hasn’t been done to show it. And if this is beyond experiment, I suggest that this idea that we can tell when the soul has left is just one more of the myriad ways we delude ourselves.

        • fractal

          We cannot prove much of quantum physics.
          It is beyond experimentation.
          But that doesn’t seem to draw out words like “DELUDE” from your vocabulary.
          Why?
          Because it is couched in scientific terms.
          It makes you feel comfortable.

          “SOUL” is a religious term that brings up all sorts of hostility from the non-religious.
          Best be a term that is retired.

          I don’t like to interpret what I am experiencing as “real or unreal” because what that word means is so fluid and subjective.
          I am only reporting.
          Take it for what it is worth.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Huh? We can’t prove any of quantum physics. Science doesn’t work that way. It’s all about following the evidence.

          You’ve got half a dozen doctorates—don’t you know that?

          If we’re on the same page on that, I don’t know what your concern is.

          And as for the larger issue, you are sidestepping my suggestion that this be tested scientifically. That’s fine, but then you must also drop any claims your making that are based on evidence. You got evidence enough to say that you feel confident that something spooky is happening? Then you got the makings of an experiment.

        • Kodie

          Yes, lots of people believe in spirits, that doesn’t mean they exist. When someone dies, and you’re in a job where that happens right in front you, you tend to develop coping mechanisms so it doesn’t burn you out. I don’t know what you are trying to get credit for. You are trying to tell us all the “good news” of whatever your religion is, the religion of being easily fooled by normal experiences.

        • fractal

          Sugar,

          I don’t have a “religion”.
          I don’t have a belief system, dogma, higher authority leaning on me, or a holy book I must adhere to.

          I don’t “believe” in spirits.
          Beliefs are just cherished opinions that cannot be proven—like Christianity and Atheism are.

          I am telling you what I experienced.
          Why do you get so defensive?
          Is it because of the cognitive dissonance this causes you?

          You are sounding a LOT like my mother did, when Nova was trying to explain quantum physics. The whole subject really pissed her off, and she set that German jaw to stubborn.

          No need for that.
          No one is asking you to negate your perspective.
          Just telling you what happens.
          Perhaps opening your perspective to the POSSIBILITY that there is more out there than you can currently detect scientifically, would be in your favor.

          Isn’t that what scientists are supposed to do?
          It might make you less anxious and snippy.

        • Kodie

          Hey asshole, stop calling me “Sugar”. You’re majorly defensive because people don’t buy your bullshit. That’s simply all there is to it. You aren’t selling and we’re not buying it, because it’s pseudoscientific nonsense.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Beliefs are just cherished opinions that cannot be proven—like Christianity and Atheism are.

          You’re not saying that the two positions are symmetrical, are you? One is based on evidence and the other on wishful thinking.

        • Noelle S.

          “spirits” as most understand it, has nothing to do with the “essence” of each person!

        • Kodie

          When a person dies, you can tell they are not alive. If you’re saying something else, then say it.

        • adam

          “During these events, most EVERYONE in the room can tell when something ineffable leaves the body, and the person is GONE.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/52cb8e254d7cf6cce5bbf961ce2199f84c5743dab945b122fe4cde0533bcfe0a.jpg
          The person is still there, been that done that.
          What is gone is the brains ability to function and interact.
          The person is dead.

        • fractal

          There are spiritual humanists and atheist humanists.
          Humanists basically put their energy into this world, this civilization, and the compassionate advancement of the human condition.

        • Noelle S.

          fractal, thank you for your explanation.

          If Christianity in general were more focused similarly, there would be greater advancement toward a “better society”?!
          “spiritual humanists” seems to me to cover all the desired bases!

          ,

        • fractal

          Well,

          Humanists are prone to depression, anxiety and addiction—probably because they have bitten off more than anyone can possibly choose.

          Which is why I like mysticism.
          A Divine experience will go a long way toward giving one the perspective needed to fight the good fight.
          Because one finds that ultimately everything is OK, and one can relax.

        • adam

          “A Divine experience will go a long way toward giving one the perspective needed to fight the good fight.”

          What “Divine”?
          You’ve demonstrated no such thing.

          And delusional people can easily believe that ultimately everything is OK, but reality demonstrates that everybody dies. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/57d8812041d27bff15f48eb5ac5edd1f3cb26a8df7bfd55a8bae3b5a093d53c8.jpg

        • Noelle S.

          Joy!….someone here with whom I truly agree! (Hope I am not presuming upon your views, in saying that…..)

          My impression is that we are not simply physical beings trying to be more than that; we are spiritual beings expressing and learning through a physical body. We DO have an awareness beyond the purely physical, and agreed, that gives us the necessary perspective in dealing with the material, ‘real world’.

        • adam

          ” We DO have an awareness beyond the purely physical,”

          And all you need to do is present
          EVIDENCE of such ‘beyond’

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/811dcd988e3694e769cf728226441f728326cbe5a6473f6b46b854814087da53.jpg

        • Noelle S.

          You are still misinterpreting me by trying to talk about a “belief” in a PERSON called GOD who is supposed to do everything for us – remove our own responsibility!! A sad view, which I do NOT hold!

          “EVIDENCE” of an awareness beyond the purely physical? No-one can prove it to another person; it is Awareness, not a mathematically concrete “thing” to satisfy materialist scientists!

        • adam

          “You are still misinterpreting me by trying to talk about a “belief” in a PERSON called GOD who is supposed to do everything for us – remove our own responsibility!!”

          No I am not.

          “”EVIDENCE” of an awareness beyond the purely physical? ”

          No, evidence beyond the purely physical.

          “No-one can prove it to another person; it is Awareness,”

          Awareness is subject to delusion,

          I have met two people who were ‘aware’ that they Jesus Christ, and one who was ‘aware’ that he was Napoleon.

          Awareness doesnt directly correlate with reality.

          Demonstrate this ‘beyond’ you are claiming.

        • Noelle S.

          “Awareness doesn’t directly correlate with reality..”

          Of course it doesn’t. It obviously depends on whether you are intelligently aware – or stupidly unaware, like the two idiot people you say you met.

          “Demonstrate this “beyond” you are claiming..”

          You mean draw a picture of “it”? make a model of “it” so a scientist can test it? Impossible. If you don’t sense that you are more than your body, you would be ridiculingly gleeful at any “demonstration” I could give – such as that I “saw” my mother after she passed-over!!!! See?!

        • adam

          “You mean draw a picture of “it”? make a model of “it” so a scientist can test it? Impossible.”

          Of course, the IMAGINARY is impossible to demonstrate.

          “. If you don’t sense that you are more than your body,”

          So if I dont PRETEND that I am more than my body, I can’t believe it.

          “, you would be ridiculingly gleeful at any “demonstration” I could give
          – such as that I “saw” my mother after she passed-over!!!!

          You mean what YOU IMAGINED you ‘saw’….

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What if the “divine experience” is all in your head–a misinterpretation or simply an imperfect brain doing its imperfect best? Doesn’t the accuracy of your conclusion enter into it somewhere?

        • adam
        • fractal

          Did I say it was?
          No.
          I said SUFFERING was caused by human thoughts.
          Pain happens.
          Suffering is what happens when we resist pain.

        • Otto

          Oh silly me….well I suggest you go around to children’s cancer wards and let all the kiddies know that if they just stop resisting their pain they will stop suffering.

        • fractal

          And often they DO stop suffering!

          See, I know what I am talking about, having worked in hospitals and dealing with death and dying and pain and suffering.

          People can be writhing in pain, and will look up at you and say that they have never felt so peaceful and happy—because they changed their mind-set.

          You only know about resisting and running away from pain.
          But at the end of life, not even the pain killers work always.
          Some people stop running from their pain, and learn to open themselves up to the experience.
          Their sense of Self becomes larger than the pain, and the pain becomes a smaller part of their experience.

          In fact, children can be better at this, because they don’t have so many preconceived notions concerning who they are and what reality is—like you do.

        • Otto

          Well get on it then, you have a lot of hospitals to visit.

        • fractal

          I suggest the book WHO DIES by Stephen Levine.

          He writes it so that Christians won’t be freaked out by his Buddhist leanings, and so uses whatever religious background they have, to impart these lessons.

          But the message and teaching is universal.
          You don’t have to suffer; change your relationship with your mind, and you can change your relationship to pain.

        • Otto

          The way I see it is you want to imply that needless suffering just does not happen, or if it does happen it is self-imposed. I just find that really shitty…and for all your blather about mysticism, eastern philosophy and religion, it really is no different than the Catholic Church’s position.

          While the methods you are putting forth may help people, denying that there is a vast amount of suffering in the world that is not self-imposed or controllable is just making you look like an ass.

        • fractal

          “Self-imposed Suffering” makes it sound real judgy.

          I am not judging.
          YOU ARE—see how atheistic fundamentalism works?
          Your cultural foundational thinking processes are still fundamentalist, because that is how our culture thinks.

          The self-reflective ego is an integral part of being human.
          We are born with it, and our culture trains it.
          It is both gift and curse until we learn how to deal with it.
          Suffering is unavoidable until one has learned how to stop resisting what we don’t want, and grasping at what we think we do want.

          Once the mind is trained to do so, the suffering dissipates.
          NOT anyone’s “fault”; just how it is.
          I am not saying the pain goes away, necessarily.
          I am saying that one can learn to make pain a much smaller part of their consciousness, and can even develop a relationship to pain that doesn’t promote suffering.

          Children do this easier because they don’t have the years of conditioning that adults have. If an adult waits until they are eighty and in the nursing home, to learn these skills, they might not be able to do so.
          And so they will tend to suffer more.
          It is sad to see, and why the Buddha teaches compassion for suffering.

        • Otto

          That is all fine … but none of it addresses the point I made, it just sidesteps it.

        • Greg G.

          Because suffering is the cause-and-effect result of our human thoughts, words and actions

          Tell that to Bambi being torn apart by wolves or the sea lion being “played with” by orcas. Explain that to the baby with bone cancer.

        • Noelle S.

          Re the tragedy of cancer even in babies and children…..please read my P.S. above?
          The cruelty among animals? That is the tricky one! Not all animals eat the flesh of others…cows, elephants, etc. do not. There is a view that the animal kingdom fell below its intended level of evolution, as did the human kingdom, when we lowered our sights, as it were, and began to coarsen our bodies, by consuming other species and enjoying the flesh – despite the effect on our health!?! Poor Bambi – I feel so sorry for him!

        • Greg G.

          The cruelty among animals? That is the tricky one! Not all animals eat the flesh of others…cows, elephants, etc. do not.

          It doesn’t matter that some animals rarely eat meat. They allow their long term survival by producing more than the environment can support to allow for some of them to be eaten.

          Cats are obligate carnivores. They must have meat in their diets. There are even plants that eat animals.

          A Venus flytrap is a plant that captures bugs, then slowly dissolves them so the plants can grow in less fertile soils.

        • fractal

          There is a difference between experiencing pain, and suffering.
          It is our human, self-reflective ego, that “suffers”.
          It is what interprets pain, categorizes it, resists it emotionally and becomes angered and resentful of pain.

          The more self-reflective an entity is, the more it tends to suffer.
          AND, humans can be trained to not suffer when they feel pain, by the way they choose to think about the pain.

          I suggest the book WHO DIES by Stephen Levine, for more of a discussion on this phenomenon.
          Stephen was a leader in the hospice movement, and a student of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

        • adam

          “The more self-reflective an entity is, the more it tends to suffer.”

          It seems to be exactly the opposite:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthieu_Ricard

          Ricard has been called the “happiest person in the world” by several popular media.[4][5][6]
          Matthieu Ricard was a volunteer subject in a study performed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on happiness, scoring significantly above the average of hundreds of volunteers.[5]

          He co-authored a study on the brains of long-term meditators, including himself, who had undergone a minimum of three years retreat.[7]

          Ricard is a board member of the Mind and Life Institute,
          which is devoted to meetings and collaborative research between scientists and Buddhist scholars and meditators, his contributions have appeared in Destructive Emotions (edited by Daniel Goleman) and other books of essays. He is engaged in research on the effect of mind training on the brain, at Madison-Wisconsin, Princeton and Berkeley.[2]

        • fractal

          OK

          Let me be more detailed.
          The birth of self-reflective consciousness is also the birth of suffering.
          But the cause is also the cure.
          And if you walk the long road of mind examination, you will end up at the point where suffering is no longer a big problem, because you have discovered how the mind works, and trained yourself accordingly.

        • adam

          “The birth of self-reflective consciousness is also the birth of suffering.”

          Demonstrate that this is true.

          “And if you walk the long road of mind examination, you will end up at
          the point where suffering is no longer a big problem, because you have
          discovered how the mind works, and trained yourself accordingly.”

          Explain how this works with someone who has cancer, specifically bone cancer, perhaps the most painful.

        • Greg G.

          There are many ways to suffer. Pain is one of them. Pain is also a mental process that can be alleviated by such things as meditation and placebos.

        • fractal

          Yes.

          There are many ways to suffer.
          And ALL involve the reflective ego.
          Pain is about neurons firing.
          Suffering is the mental process that accompanies pain when we resist it.

          Of course pain can be alleviated by mental processes!
          Mind/body connection and all that…
          Body will often correct problem when mind focuses correctly.

        • Greg G.

          I have been injured without realizing it until I began to suffer from the pain. No reflective ego was involved.

        • Noelle S.

          Sadly, there are many propositions as to some of the human causes even of cancer. They include such influences as pesticides, chemical bleaches and other synthetic chemicals, sun-damage, heated aluminium, aspects of diet, and much else. Even ANTI-perspirants, because stopping perspiration leads to toxins which would normally leave with the perspiration, to move to lymph-glands, where much breast-cancer apparently begins. (Deodorants do not stop perspiration – just the odour!) Some scientists have now decided that SUGAR feeds a tumour – that is so logical it’s surprising we didn’t think of that ourselves! After all, sugar feeds the yeast to make bread, beer etc. I can imagine anything would feed on sugar. (There is a site, “The Truth About Cancer”.) One might believe it..or not…

        • Greg G.

          Dinosaurs got cancer 70 million years before humans appeared.

        • Noelle S.

          Right. I should not have appeared to be saying that all cancer is caused by human habits and conditions!
          I don’t think I know why Dinosaurs got cancer. Some influences in the environment of the time? imperfection developed in their bodies? ? Perhaps they ate too much meat?!!

        • Greg G.

          Life forms are formed by trial and error. A life form that was perfect for an environment would die out when the environment became imperfect for it. Change is necessary for survival.

        • Noelle S.

          Perhaps the reason why dinosaurs etc became extinct?

        • Greg G.

          There is a layer of dirt in the geologic column that has a high concentration of iridium, which is rare in the Earth’s crust and it was laid down around the time the dinosaurs went extinct. It is thought that the iridium came from a comet that struck the Earth and changed the environment so most large land animals died out.

          But going extinct is part of evolution. Apes that lived in the jungle near a plain could exploit a few new food sources. The better they adapted to exploiting that type of food, the worse they got at using the jungle food sources. When their descendants were well-adapted to living on the plain, the intermediates were out-competed in the jungle by the other descendants of their ancestors and out-competed on the plain by their descendants so they went extinct. But the species as a whole was successful at passing on their genes.

        • adam
        • Otto

          Considering how much senseless death and suffering happen in a world created by an omnibenevolent god, maybe the god of death and destruction is the ‘real’ one.

        • Noelle S.

          Or maybe it is the aberrations which go against the true model which cause the ‘death and destruction’? Surely words are so ambiguous. I do not think of “an omnibenevolent GOD”, as in a perfect ‘person’ or ‘being’ – but a universal MIND or LAW behind everything – the breaking or counteracting of which, is the cause of all disharmony, problems etc.? (If there was NO Universal perfection, or harmony – distinct from things which humans cause – planets would collapse and fall and disappear, the balance between the moon and earth and tides etc would fail………chaos!!

        • Otto

          Disharmony is a product of the universe itself, it is rather arrogant to think humans are the cause of it all.

        • Noelle S.

          Yes, but surely Harmony is the real model of the Universe? If not, as I said, the Moon. Earth, Planets etc would be out of balance and anything could happen. Generally, they stay in balance – unless we interfere too much with that balance, or there is some happening of imperfection…..something falls out of place….?!
          If we are arrogant….perhaps we need that – enough to know that we ARE powerful enough to try to CORRECT the mistakes we have made – environmentally, diet etc etc – and not just ‘leave it all to “GOD”‘ as I think many orthodox Christians do.

        • Greg G.

          Or we live in an indifferent universe and can only eke out existence on a sliver of a biosphere on a small planet orbiting an ordinary star. The rest of the universe is way too cold or way too hot within a few hundred thousand light years or so. We have created our own civilization and eliminated the large predators that would eat us. We developed agriculture to feed us. We developed medicine to heal us. We developed technology to enhance our strengths. Our science and technology grew exponentially as soon as we stopped trying to fit God into the explanations. We cause some problems and we solve them, though not necessarily as efficiently as we should. We are having a problem with climate change because religious nuts keep voting for religious nuts that think their god is going to fix it so there is no sense in harming profits in their minds.

        • fractal

          Sure.
          There are two ways to look at it.
          And neither viewpoint can be proven correct or incorrect.

          The universe is a dark cold place, and life is an accidental occurrence, and then we die and it all goes dark and we are dust in the wind.
          (No wonder atheists are so cranky!)

          OR

          The universe is TEAMING with life and intelligence—it is shot thru the whole structure of the universe, grounds the universe, and creates the ingredients for the universe to behold itself, in all its glory.
          That the experience one has when one is lucky enough to have this revelation, is bliss, wonderment and a recognition of a higher paradigm.
          That the way to behold this experience is by self-examination of the mind, and examination of the relationship between self and other.

          Now,
          Which way sounds like more fun?

        • Greg G.

          Now,
          Which way sounds like more fun?

          The second one sounds like fun. Only the first one sounds like reality.

          But then we look at more as:

          The universe is a dark cold place, and life is an accidental occurrence, and then we die and it all goes dark and we are dust in the wind. That the experience one has when one is lucky enough to have this… That the way to behold this experience is by self-examination of the mind, and examination of the relationship between self and other.

          The fact that we just happen to have happened in a thin biosphere around a small planet in a non-descript solar system in an unremarkable universe in an indifferent universe makes this life all the more precious. We don’t need to make up silly stuff to distract from this fantastic reality.

          I can marvel at a sunset and appreciate its beauty while reflecting on the factors that allow me to appreciate it. When I try to imagine that the sunset is a gift from a powerful intelligence, I think it’s rather mundane for what a powerful super-intelligent being, like, “Is that the best it can do?” I also remember that the colors may be from refraction caused by a hurricane that is killing people. Such indifference in an intelligence seems horrible but is just what we have to accept from an indifferent universe.

        • Dys

          Now, Which way sounds like more fun?

          As long as you don’t care if your beliefs are true or not, you can base your worldview on whatever you like. You’re arguing for wishful thinking.

        • Otto

          I would recommend you research Chaos theory a bit. It explains how order comes from disorder…and vice versa. It explains what I see in the universe a lot better than the loving God explanation.

        • Noelle S.

          In any case, I need to stop using the word ‘God’ – it does not convey what I wish to express. I think any naming of whatever is the Source of life, leads to so much confusion and false ideas – as we have seen within “religion” over the ages. I guess the question always is, ultimately, What created the very beginnings of life? The VERY BEGINNINGS?

        • Greg G.

          You would have less confusion if you replaced “the Source of life” with “complex chemistry”.

        • al kimeea

          I don’t know and am not arrogant enough to claim that some entity, that I just happen to favour, is the cause

        • Max Doubt

          “In any case, I need to stop using the word ‘God’ – it does not convey what I wish to express. I think any naming of whatever is the Source of life, leads to so much confusion and false ideas – as we have seen within “religion” over the ages.”

          LOL! You write as if there’s some actual meaning to what you say. You keep telling other people they don’t quite get it or they’re misunderstanding or misinterpreting, but you can’t even begin to describe what you’re talking about. You dont’ even understand you. You’re not rational.

          “I guess the question always is, ultimately, What created the very beginnings of life? The VERY BEGINNINGS?”

          As far as we know, the very beginning of life doesn’t require a creating agent. Your question is unnecessarily leading.

        • adam
        • Noelle S.

          Hi, “The ACTUAL words spoken by Jesus”…”how does anyone know which is which?”

          I suggest by studying the new book out on Amazon, “The True Sayings of Jesus”, by author/historian Antonio Sebastian. Why would one accept his presentation as accurate? One reason is that he spent ten years in intensive research into the ACTUAL history of the Jews in the time of Jesus – the Northern Israeli Jews who followed the true God of Love and Life; and the opposing Southern Judean Jews – practitioners of the old cult of blood-sacrifice, of violence and death – which neither Jesus nor the God He reflected, agreed with nor desired.
          “The True Sayings of Jesus” presents us with the words which Jesus Himself spoke, to whom, when, where and why, and the implications of their DEEPER meanings for us even today.
          I really fail to see how anyone could believe that all reported sayings by Jesus – as given by Paul, Luke etc., can possibly be accurate – given that many portray a god opposite to the God reflected and presented by Jesus Himself. Surely intelligence and our sense of the greatest possible, can never accept a god displaying the negative human-like emotions – anger, jealousy, even hatred, harsh judgment and punishment. A god made in MAN’s IMAGE!!
          The Blogs of that same author reveal so many misinterpretations and misquotes – of places, names, words and incidents – within the Bible – thejesusofhistory.com An amazing site…well worth a look! There are free copies of his other books – each based on historical facts; fascinating, if we want a true picture of the Great Spirit of All Life….the one whom Pythagoras “believed in as the unchangeably compassionate God”

        • TheNuszAbides

          thanks, i’m already well aware of the problematic nature of vaunted scripture. can you make a more substantive claim regarding what is so exceptional about the findings of Antonio Sebastian? where does he get his 18% figure for the ‘Nazarene Paradigm’? does it not strike you as mildly strange that his supposedly illuminating books have been on several sites for up to five months and have yet to be reviewed? are you under the impression that Sebastian has made Lurianic Kabbalah accessible to the non-mystic?

        • Noelle S.

          Thank you. First, I want to apologise for having gone off-topic. (I am about to ‘retire’ from here, in recompense!!)
          If I actually respond to (!) your Question, “Does Christianity Lead to a Better Society?”, that should also explain my having been impressed with the works of the author Antonio Sebastian.
          Apart from that, I will not attempt to presume to interpret any further the books mentioned. That can be for anyone who reads them to decide for themselves.
          I honestly do not think that Christianity has led to a better society, in that our values as taught therein, are values held by anyone – secular or “religious”
          Sebastian’s book, “The Last Letters of Jesus” was my first encounter with ideas confirming my life-long unacceptance of the usual Christian doctrines….the ‘reality’ of the story of Original sin; the wish of a God-ENTITY(!) that Someone be punished by death, in order to satisfy “His” anger at human shortcomings – sins – and that that Person needed to be Jesus; and that that blood-sacrifice (a practice which neither God nor Jesus accepted from the Judean Jews), was supposed to remove all our responsibility for our actions/thoughts/words. I used to get 97-99% in Sunday School exams!!..and knew about the ‘Vicarious Atonement’ (the idea conceived by Paul?), and the part of the Romans in that crucifixion. I was very gratified to read an alternative concept, which did not deny intelligence and fairness – i.e. that the historical facts presented other reasons for Jesus’ death – the hatred by the animal-sacrifice cult that Jesus had totally rejected that practice.of violence and death.
          I cannot explain why Amazon has removed the several reviews of the book, including mine. The book reached 11th on their List – the last I heard.
          Thank you for your time here.

        • Noelle S.

          I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most interesting and important book I have ever read (and possibly ever will.) Presented in the form of an utterly absorbing historical novel, it’s importance lies in the fact that it is based on the results of ten years of intensive research by the author, into the true socio-political situatiion around the time of the crucifiction of the Rabbi Yeshua (Jesus). And beyond that, “The Last Letters of Jesus” also challenges us with a solution to the terrible conflicts continuing to threaten humanity today.

          I learned of the 500-year violent and bloody conflict as, on the one hand, the Southern Judean Jews tried to unite their country by attempting to force onto the Northern Israeli Jews, their Babylonian -style belief- in, and practising- of, animal-sacrifice towards appeasing their God (the kind of god inserted into the Bible later by Paul) – a jealous, punishing Being, demanding blood-sacrifice for the remitting of sins!)

          The Israeli Jewish people, on the other hand, in connection with the Essenes and John the Baptist, and despite the violent attacks, held fast to the principle of the true God – Spirit of Love, Unchanging Compassion and Forgiveness. When the Rabbi, Yeshua, foresaw the outcome, He knew He had to continue teaching and demonstrating the Way of Life – of compassion, forgiveness and respect towards all of God’s Creation – or succumb to the powerful forces of Death – of violence, cruelty and destruction. The challenge, still, in today’s world, is for us to make the choice which can save mankind. That is, harmlessness toward all life….we did not create it; there is plenty of evidence (including from the U. N., and some countries…) as to how a plant-based diet would eliminate endless problems for the people, the planet, – environment, climate-change etc – the creatures….

          The writing-style of the author, Antoniio Sebastian is superb! In every sentence, as the word-pictures flowed, I was effortlessly “seeing” each scene, the Temple pillars, the sacrificial altar, the people….the Mount of Olives, the Sea of Galilee; and all the other familiar features and names. And above all, Yeshua Himself, His brothers, parents, John the Baptist, Herod, Caiaphas Pilate – all featuring in the leading-up to the crisis. Interestingly, the Roman leaders might have released Yeshua, but His enemies insisted He must be killed.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i noticed AS seems to have taken down his wordpress, too.

          have you seen Darren Aronofsky’s Pi?

        • TheNuszAbides

          off-topic really doesn’t bother me, but i’m not a Mod.

        • Max Doubt

          “I suggest by studying the new book out on Amazon, “The True Sayings of Jesus”, by author/historian Antonio Sebastian.”

          So everyone who comes to a different concluson is wrong. Glad you cleared that up.

        • Noelle S.

          Did I say that everyone else is wrong?!
          I have never assumed that I have got it all correct; I never will. There is always more to learn and consider. it is not my responsibility to know whether others are right or wrong. The point of discussion surely is that everyone interested in a topic may express his/her impressions on it, and consider those expressed by others. There is no requirement for everyone to agree!! There is no guarantee or expectation that any of us is exactly correct.

        • Max Doubt

          “Did I say that everyone else is wrong?!”

          You’re suggesting there’s a way to know which, if any, are actual sayings of Jesus. You’d be lying to deny it.

          “I have never assumed that I have got it all correct; I never will. There is always more to learn and consider. it is not my responsibility to know whether others are right or wrong.”

          Let me help you out here. Objective reality is this stuff we all share, the set of things that still exist or occur even when you take your imagination out of the mix. Whatever you imagine that contradicts objective reality is wrong.

          “The point of discussion surely is that everyone interested in a topic may express his/her impressions on it, and consider those expressed by others.”

          But you’re pulling your opinion out of your ass. You use words and phrases that even you don’t understand and can’t define, so your expression of your impressions is meaningless drivel.

          “There is no requirement for everyone to agree!! There is no guarantee or expectation that any of us is exactly correct.”

          When you make claims or express opinions about how the universe works, reasonable people have an expectation that you will objectively defend your position. And although you may believe that’s what you’re doing, you aren’t. You can’t even define the terms you use. You’re making shit up in your head and talking as if your fantasy is somehow related to reality. It isn’t.

        • Greg G.

          You use words and phrases that even you don’t understand and can’t define, so your expression of your impressions is meaningless drivel.

          The technical term for that is “bafflegarb”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve heard “bafflegab.”

        • Greg G.

          I like the implication of it being garbled rather than merely gabbed.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the fight between “whaaargarbl” and “arglebarg” is even fiercer.

        • Noelle S.

          I was talking only about the true sayings of Jesus as being the true interpretation;within Christianity, as compared with many assumptions made by Bible writers in their very negative pronouncements, supposedly from the mouth of Jesus! Nothing to do with anything except the sayings.
          How could I possibly think that those sayings are the only way to discover truth. I did not say they were!

          i.e. “You’re suggesting that there’s a way to know which, if any, are actual sayings of Jesus..You’d be lying to deny it.”

          Yes, I am suggesting that, and I don’t deny it! A way to know which SAYINGS are correct and which are not! The question I answered was, ‘How does anyone know which is which?’ – i.e which sayings “of Jesus” are true and which are not.

        • Max Doubt

          “I was talking only about the true sayings of Jesus as being the true interpretation;within Christianity, as compared with many assumptions made by Bible writers in their very negative pronouncements, supposedly from the mouth of Jesus!”

          Well uh, sure, except within Christianity there is no agreement on the true interpretations. So you’re making assertions that you cannot demonstrate to be true.

          “Nothing to do with anything except the sayings. How could I possibly think that those sayings are the only way to discover truth. I did not say they were!”

          And I didn’t even remotely imply that you said that, so you’re screaming a defense against an attack that isn’t occurring. You should talk to your mental health counselor about that paranoia thing.

          “i.e. “You’re suggesting that there’s a way to know which, if any, are actual sayings of Jesus.. You’d be lying to deny it.”

          Yes, I am suggesting that, and I don’t deny it! A way to know which SAYINGS are correct and which are not!”

          There is no such way to know what the Jesus conglomerate of fictional characters might have meant. His/her/their supposed sayings were allegedly passed word of mouth for decades, even centuries, and have no provenance. The sayings which are “correct” are the ones that are effective in serving someone’s agenda at any given time. And those agendas are not static.

          “The question I answered was, ‘How does anyone know which is which?’ – i.e which sayings “of Jesus” are true and which are not.”

          And your answer was a nonsense. Anyone’s opinion on the oft translated sayings of fictional characters is as correct – or as wrong – as anyone else’s.

        • Noelle S.

          If this is a site at which so many believe that characters proven historically to have existed are fictional, then there’s no room for discussion or explanation of anything i have said. I bow out. Perhaps over in your part of the world you did not see a Documentary a few years ago, proving without doubt that, e.g., Jesus, did live on earth.
          I see no reason for so many people condescendingly –
          arrogantly and quite rudely judging another’s’ mental state, because you haven’t the historic facts (documentary etc) on whether a character spoken about was fictional or not.

        • Max Doubt

          “If this is a site at which so many believe that characters proven historically to have existed are fictional, then there’s no room for discussion or explanation of anything i have said.”

          Yeah, you probably wouldn’t like it here. Most of us won’t pat you on the head and giggle at your profundity. You need to hang with some middle school girls and write poetry, or maybe sit with some college kids smoking weed and solving all the world’s philosophical puzzles. At this forum you’ll mostly encounter people who will require you to (a) provide definitions for acts or entities you include in your claims, and if you get past that – which you haven’t – then (b) cough up the objective evidence to support your claims. Go back to (a) or maybe…

          “I bow out.”

          Sounds like an excellent strategy when you make indefensible claims.

          “Perhaps over in your part of the world you did not see a Documentary a few years ago, proving without doubt that, e.g., Jesus, did live on earth.”

          Yes, there was a documentary that put the final nail in the coffin and demonstrated objectively and beyond a doubt that Jesus existed, and they only played it in limited areas. LOL!

          “I see no reason for so many people condescendingly – arrogantly and quite rudely judging another’s’ mental state, because you haven’t the historic facts (documentary etc) on whether a character spoken about was fictional or not.”

          You made a silly claim that there’s a correct interpretation of some words some dude allegedly spoke. Given what we do understand from actual objective historical research, we don’t have any such words to interpret. You’re expressing your opinion on something that you can’t objectively differentiate from any other fairy tale or myth. That might be loads of fun if you’re at a wine and book club meeting. With plenty of wine. Most participants in this forum are more concerned with what can be shown to be real or true. Like I said above, you probably wouldn’t like it here.

        • Noelle S.

          “You make a silly claim that there’s a correct interpretation of some words some dude allegedly spoke…”

          Just because the “actual objective historical research” which you accept differs from that which I accept, does not prove either of us to be correct.

          “..more concerned with what can be shown to be real and true…”

          In other words, materialists. Can you show that love is real; or compassion; or anger; or arrogance? Are they not real? They don’t exist? You certainly can’t prove them – only the results of the practise of them. You can’t draw them. But they are real. Again, man is not just physical – the only part you can touch and prove.real. No-one here has proved that man is just a physical creature.

        • Greg G.

          Can you show that love is real; or compassion; or anger; or arrogance? Are they not real?

          Brains work. Those emotions are functions of the brain.

        • fractal

          Actually,

          Emotions are the function of the whole body.
          A chemical will induce a particular neural state, but how one feels that neural state will depend on attitude.

          One person’s flight, is another person’s fight reflex.
          And emotions are experienced in the body, not the brain.
          It is clearly the STOMACH that aches from betrayal, the heart that hurts during loss, the colon that seizes or spurts during anxiety.
          Without the chemistry happening to the body organs, we would not have emotions.
          It is called neuro-peptides.

          Regardless,

          Are you actually opining that the love you have for your intimate relations, is nothing more than chemistry?
          Are you saying these feelings are not “real” because they involve biochemical reactions?

          Is that what you would say to the woman you are proposing to?

          What a sad place to reside in!

        • Kodie
        • fractal

          Let’s not forget Oxytocin—such a GUY thing to do…

          See,

          We don’t disagree that chemicals are the substrate by which a body feels.
          But your mind/attitudes decide which chemicals are released.
          And your mind/attitudes determine how you respond to the chemical. The chemical gives the nervous system a tug. How we INTERPRET that tug is in the eye of the beholder.

          I suggest you read THE NATURAL MIND by Andrew Weil, for a great summary of this topic.

          Nothing that you say implies that the mystical experience has no validity.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know who you think you’re talking to. Nothing that you say implies that the mystical experience is anything more than a fool attributing a feeling to something that means or indicates more than it does.

        • Greg G.

          Are you actually opining that the love you have for your intimate relations, is nothing more than chemistry?
          Are you saying these feelings are not “real” because they involve biochemical reactions?

          No, the feelings are real. They are not independent of the physical body. But the feelings are from chemical reactions.

          Some physical reactions are not in the brain. Some are throughout the body and the organs communicate through hormones and other chemical reactions. We are not directly aware of them.

          Long-term memory requires restructuring of the connections between neurons. It is possible to interrupt the proteins that allow the connections to form. That’s how date rape drugs work.

          I think it is sad when people cannot fully appreciate the life we have without a pretend parallel reality.

        • Dys

          Are you actually opining that the love you have for your intimate relations, is nothing more than chemistry? Are you saying these feelings are not “real” because they involve biochemical reactions?

          Of course feelings are real…they come from chemical reactions in the brain.

          The notion that somehow emotions don’t count unless they’re magic is infantile, not based in reality, and resides purely in the realm of wishful thinking.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Are you saying these feelings are not “real” because they involve biochemical reactions?

          no, he isn’t. your persistence in trying to lump everyone who ridicules the case you present in with nihilists or “hard-bitten realists” or however you wish you could classify people who lack/deny ~mystic transformation~ … is tiresome.

        • Noelle S.

          WH A-A-T?! The brain is simply a physical structure. nerve centres, etc etc.

          You might have missed out on getting a mind and a heart when you were born; those are the origins of emotions.

        • Greg G.

          People have had heart transplants. They didn’t accidentally get an emotion transplant at the same time. The Bible authors thought the kidneys were involved with what we now know are brain functions. I dated a kidney recipient. She never mentioned having a new set of emotions either. The heart is the organ that pumps blood. Kidneys filter the blood and give the adrenal glands a place to sit.

        • Max Doubt

          “Just because the “actual objective historical research” which you accept differs from that which I accept, does not prove either of us to be correct.”

          I accept all actual objective historical research and the tentative conclusions we can draw, tentatively, from objectively assessing the evidence.

          You seem to be playing along with the fad of believing the crap you make up in your head is real and true just like the stuff that can be objectively demonstrated to be real and true. Obviously it makes you feel good to cling to your own magical fantasies, but you’re wrong to think it’s true just because you really really believe it.

          In simple terms: What you accept differs from what I accept because, unlike you, I don’t make shit up in my imagination or engage in willful ignorance to support what I accept.

          “In other words, materialists. Can you show that love is real; or compassion; or anger; or arrogance?”

          Yes.

          “Are they not real? They don’t exist?”

          They exist.

          “You certainly can’t prove them – only the results of the practise of them. You can’t draw them. But they are real.”

          They are real. Ironically you’re overlooking your own demolition of your own fantasy there. As far as we know, and “we” includes you, there is no objective evidence to show anything that exists or occurs is the result of supernatural agency.

          “Again, man is not just physical – the only part you can touch and prove.real.”

          Again, you’re talking out your ass. You’re making a claim to know something that you can’t possibly know.

          “No-one here has proved that man is just a physical creature.”

          Nobody here has proved you don’t have a worm crawling around in your head stimulating the areas of your brain that cause you to write stupid stuff on the ‘net. Shall we assume, until it can be proved that no such worm is engaged in such an activity, that the worm does exist and is making you look foolish?

        • Noelle S.

          I would prefer that rude intellectuals consider my views foolish and paranoid, than hold the ignorant, limited “belief” that there is nothing to man but a physical body which the worms later eat away. No other awareness whatsoever.
          Very sad; in fact, pathetic.

        • Noelle S.

          You’re saying I am profound! Oh thanks for the unwarranted ‘compliment’.
          Try “patting me on the head and giggling…” and see what you get in return for your condescension and misinterpretation of my views. You sound like a politician!

        • fractal

          Does it really matter who said what?
          Or whether Jesus was “real” or not?
          Personally, I take my inspiration wherever I find it.
          I don’t care if Satan said it; if it promotes my spiritual growth, I am fine with using it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re mixing up a few things.

          Inspiration is fine. The characters in the play Hamlet “said” some interesting and sometimes wise things, but they were not real. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re real or not. Doesn’t matter whether Jesus was real or not if you find something profound attributed to him in the New Testament.

          The very different question “Are the supernatural claims in Christianity actual history?” is important for very different reasons. If some Christians are trying to get prayer in the city council meeting or Creationism into public school because their God says so but that god doesn’t exist, that’s important to understand.

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps over in your part of the world you did not see a Documentary a few years ago, proving without doubt that, e.g., Jesus, did live on earth.

          I would be very interested in that. What was the show? More importantly, what was the evidence presented?

        • Noelle S.

          “you’re suggesting there’s a way to know….”

          A slip of the ‘pen’! In the other post I got it right….”ONE WAY is to read….”

        • Greg G.

          If Christians could see that the ACTUAL words spoken by Jesus, apply to ALL humans,

          Do you mean like this?

          Luke 12:47-48a (NRSV altered)47 That slave person who knew what his master I wanted, but did not prepare himself or do what was wanted, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating.

        • Noelle S.

          NO! Not at all! Can you honestly believe that those words of Luke’s represent an accurate idea of the true God reflected by Jesus? A God omnipotent, omnipresent, the true God of Love, Life and Truth. I fail to understand how any of us can think that the god portrayed by some of the Gospel writers and others can be God – the real G-D! Our intelligence and sense of the greatest possible, cannot accept that!

        • Otto

          I fail to understand how any of us can think that the god portrayed by some any of the Gospel writers and others can be God – the real G-D!

        • Pofarmer

          Head. Meet desk.

        • Noelle S.

          Oh yes. Agreed!

        • Michael Neville

          What you’re doing is called cherry picking and it drives atheists nuts. “Oh that Biblical quote? None of us real Christians think that’s what Jesus said or meant. It’s a misquote or an emanation put into the Bible by people with an agenda.”

          The trouble with Biblical exegesis is that different Christians toss out different parts of the Bible. Conservapedia Führer Andrew Schafly is rewriting the Bible to get rid of things like Jesus stopping the stoning of the adulterous woman (“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 NIV) as being too liberal. Schafly thinks the Bible was literally dictated by God, except for those parts which Schafly disapproves of.

        • Noelle S.

          There WERE people with agendas. Paul, for example! Again, it is extremely interesting to check blogs on thejesusofhistory.com

        • Noelle S.

          As far as I am concerned, I “toss out” everything that does not coincide with the concept of the true Great Spirit of Love, Life, Forgiveness, Truth, Creativity, Mind, …….
          I am probably not a “Christian” anyway. I grew up as one, yet I do not like styelised labels; I am not a “Vegetarian”. I am simply a person who decided I did not want to eat animals, together with the concept of the true Great Spirit, “God” and Jesus’ reflection of “His” true Nature..compassion for all His creation.
          .I am simply someone who wishes to adopt to the best of my ability, those practices and qualities reflected by Jesus –
          not the Bible insofar as it was written by many humans according to their understanding or agendas!

        • Greg G.

          Animals suffer when they are killed for food whether there is a god or not. If you don’t want them to suffer on your account, don’t eat them. You don’t have to imagine a ghost in the sky.

        • Noelle S.

          Well…..is it some kind of “ghost’ which enables us all to breathe constantly without having to think about it or try? What, then, is the Life-Force, at the very least, which animates all life?

        • Greg G.

          Well…..is it some kind of “ghost’ which enables us all to breathe constantly without having to think about it or try? What, then, is the Life-Force, at the very least, which animates all life?

          Chemistry. Cells have chemical feedback systems. That’s why drugs can interfere with the systems or remedy the system when the body has a problem producing certain enzymes, proteins, etc..

        • Noelle S.

          O.K., sir. Where did chemistry arise? What created cells? Do cells have a form of life” Yes. from whence?? The Black Hole?? I am not a physicist – just a hard-thinking, I hope commonsensical, retired Staff-Nurse!

        • Greg G.

          In a solar system with several planets, one is likely to be at a distance from its star so that water can exist in a liquid state. On a sterile planet, hydrocarbons would be in the oceans. Ours had a moon that created tides which allowed the hydrocarbons to be splashed on rocks during high tide, then they would bake in the sun for a few hours, then be washed back into the water at the next high tide. The baking causes the hydrocarbons to form a sheet with one side that interacts with water while the other side doesn’t, so they form lipid balls, much like a cell wall.

          Meanwhile, there will be millions of chemical reactions happening on every grain of sand on every beach. If one of them produces a molecule that can reproduce itself imperfectly, some copies would eventually end up in one of those lipid balls. Some of the imperfect copies would fail but the occasional change that improved the function would be copied all the more.

          A by-product of the chemical reactions would have been oxygen. After a few billion years, the waste product would be lethal to the rudimentary life forms but some would be able to use it. Some of them might end up being able to survive inside other cells, making eukaryotes.

        • Max Doubt

          “I am not a physicist – just a hard-thinking, I hope commonsensical, retired Staff-Nurse!”

          You’re incredulous, and you believe nonsense that you can’t even describe in unambiguous terms.

        • Phil Rimmer

          The closest approximation to an answer for your question, “What is the Life-Force?” is, Thermodynamics and, in particular, the ability of matter to self organise sitting in a flux of energy (from a star say or the hot nuclear core of a rocky planet). Entropy is a measure of how unavailable energy is to do work (because its too homogeneous). Maximum entropy means there is no more useful energy (its all too homogeneous) even though there may be a lot of energy about. A living thing is a little gondola of low entropy, lower than its surroundings, in a stream of energy from which it “feeds”. It leaves in its wake, after the “effect”, the little gondola itself, has gone, even more entropy than there was before. Life helps hasten the heat death of the universe. A little like a pan of water heated on a hob will over a small span of the right circumstances create hexagonally-nested convection cells, a little patterned entity, hurrying the heat into homogeneity……

        • adam

          “Well…..is it some kind of “ghost’ which enables us all to breathe constantly without having to think about it or try? ”

          NONE has ever been demonstrated.

          “What, then, is the Life-Force, at the very least, which animates all life?”

          DNA

        • Noelle S.

          “Animals suffer….”
          They do. So why are we happy to kill them? And ‘enjoy’ the flesh of another sentient species, turning it into our flesh.
          Is there not a life-principle of not harming other life, a principle beyond just our own human wishes and choices, and “beliefs”? (We see what damage that has done.) If so, the ultimate goal is beyond that which most humans concede..

        • fractal

          I don’t think there is such a “life-principle”.
          In nature, most of life dies before it ever reaches fruition.
          Death is just as important as life.
          Cannot have one without the other.
          Learning to die is just as important as learning to live.

          “Ring out the old, Ring in the new
          Ring out the false, Ring in the true”

          George Harrison.

        • Greg G.

          As far as I am concerned, I “toss out” everything that does not coincide with the concept of the true Great Spirit of Love, Life, Forgiveness, Truth, Creativity, Mind

          The existence of suffering does not coincide with a Great Spirit of Love. You must toss out suffering or the Great Spirit of Love. But we know suffering is a thing.

        • fractal

          Tossing out certain portions of doctrine is hypocritical IF you are coming from a place of “belief and obedience” to that doctrine.
          However, if all one is looking for is inspiration, it doesn’t matter at all, if one cherry-picks.

        • Greg G.

          I fail to understand how any of us can think that the god portrayed by some of the Gospel writers and others can be God – the real G-D!

          Nobody knows what a real god would be like. All we can know is that there is no being that is both omnipotent and benevolent because suffering is real and it exists. If there is an omnipotent being, then suffering is unnecessary as an omnipotence can achieve anything the suffering can achieve. But a benevolent being would not allow unnecessary suffering because it would be sadistic to do so.

          So there is no being that is capable of preventing suffering and is benevolent enough to do it.

        • Noelle S.

          “suffering is real and it exists….” Agreed!
          It is the usually accepted CAUSES of suffering that I am disputing.
          I don’t believe in an omnipresent “Being”, but a MIND or ‘Spirit’ behind and within everything created.- beyond what man creates. Can we think of any form of suffering which does not have the element of human error or lack of sufficient knowledge or care?
          An example of religious belief that G-D provides suffering – to test our faith or for whatever supposed reason……..Here in N.Z., a church group took students for an outdoors adventure and experience. Sadly, six students were drowned in a rushing river. Why? Did God cause the tragedy? NO! Of course not. The humans did not check the weather-forecast! Worse, they decided later, “We must NOT let this tragedy lessen our faith in God!” I ask you!!!!!

        • Greg G.

          It is all pretend. There was no god who cared enough to prevent it and they pretend that it wasn’t worth learning from it.

          Can we think of any form of suffering which does not have the element of human error or lack of sufficient knowledge or care?

          Most suffering that has occurred on this planet had no human connected to it in any way whatsoever. If the time that life has existed here was shrunk to a year, humans have existed for the last few minutes… or is it seconds? Vertebrates crawled out of the water about a half billion years ago. Human ancestors started walking upright about 5 million years ago, so humans have been around about 1% as long as land animals.

          Are you going to blame early humanoids that were a little smarter than chimpanzees for every suffering before them?

        • Noelle S.

          No. But we need to take responsibility for the mistakes and results that we humans have caused in OUR time.

        • Greg G.

          We have monkey brains with some over-developed areas. Monkeys can be trapped by making a box with holes in it that are big enough for a monkey hand but too small for a fruit that is placed inside it. A monkey will grab the fruit but is so reluctant to let go of it, the monkey can be captured. Humans do that, too. When a novice starts buying stock, and the stock price falls, the person will want to wait for the price to go back up to the price paid because it is hard to lose money. The logical thing to do is sell the stock, buy something else, and when the stock is ready to go up, you can buy it back.

          Humans have many behaviors like that. It seems we are not advanced enough to accept responsibilities like that. Heck, 80% of us believe in imaginary gods.

        • adam
        • Noelle S.

          Hi, Adam,

          ……GOD???? Really?? Which human Gospel writer wrote that nonsense?!

        • adam

          “GOD???? Really?? Which human Gospel writer wrote that nonsense?!”

          The ones who claim Jesus is the God of Abraham.

        • Greg G.

          Not a gospel writer, it is from Leviticus 25:44-46.

        • Noelle S.

          Thank you! It is still from the Bible, written by humans; not from Jesus; not from the supposed entity, “God”

        • Greg G.

          The Bible was written by people who didn’t know where the sun went at night. They made up God and Jesus because they didn’t know any better.

  • Daniel G. Johnson

    So. When there is a Ferguson, and the white city powers do not know how to stop/prevent the eruption of racial strife in the streets…do you want the Black preachers to stay home? If so, how should the situation be handled secularly?

    • Joe

      By not having a system of inequality in the first place? By appealing for calm?

      What’s a ‘black preacher’ going to do? Use magic?

      • TheNuszAbides

        i suspect Daniel’s implication is that in many black communities they can be instrumental in appealing for calm. if nothing else.

        (precisely why they might be moreso instrumental than non-preachers is, of course, another kettle of fish.)

    • Michael Neville

      So how well did the Black preachers keep Michael Brown alive? Did the Black preachers ensure that Darren Wilson was tried for murder or at least manslaughter? Did the Black preachers keep the Ferguson Police Department from practicing systematic racial stereotyping and discrimination?

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  • 1Myles1

    Nothing has ever been more harmful and damaging to humanity and the world than religion.
    Without all religion, including (christianity is a way of life, not a religion) the world would be better able to cope with nature. Not having to answer to (only god can control that) would be, pardon my english, a godsend.

    • Noelle S.

      Agreed. And as Professor Lloyd Geering wrote in “Tomorrow’s God”, …”..The only hands God has, are OUR hands…”
      God is perfection. It is up to US to manage this world, and remedy the mistakes and wrongs we have created as the human race, and to live with harmlessness toward all other races, faiths, species and all life.

      • Greg G.

        A god that can’t do anything is not perfection.

        • Noelle S.

          I think that is the point! We do not require the Spirit of Life to DO anything! it is up to US to do whatever is required, as we are able, to progress nearer and nearer to true Life. Look at the shambles created at this time, by many practices and “beliefs”!

        • adam
        • Noelle S.

          Wow! For goodness sake, WHO is “GOD”?? Which PERSON is that?! All misunderstandings arose, didn’t they, when some humans decided to put a NAME to whatever is behind consciousness and life!

        • adam

          “All misunderstandings arose, didn’t they, when some humans decided to put a NAME to whatever is behind consciousness and life!”

          NO all misunderstandings arose when ignorant people chose MAGIC over reality.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd8ca4651d958209af25cfcb8e197b584fb20d8e2f002068b9eefba40d148c2c.jpg

        • Noelle S.

          “NO all misunderstandings arose when ignorant people chose MAGIC over reality..”

          “…ignorant people…” such as the SCIENTISTS concluding that there IS Something beyond our human physical state? Or within it?

          I still think that the ‘Christian’ doctrine and emphasis on a PERSON called GOD, who can approve or punish, or correct our mistakes by ‘killing’ his ‘son’, etc., has caused huge misunderstandings and endless problems for probably millions of people altogether, by diverting humans from dealing with the real world themselves, and helping to make it better for all.

        • Joe

          ..ignorant people…” such as the SCIENTISTS concluding that there IS Something beyond our human physical state? Or within it?

          Yes. Especially them. Whoever they are, you don’t list any.

        • fractal

          That works well for the Abrahamic triad, and fundamentalists everywhere.
          But Eastern Philosophies are quite different, and mystics don’t have the same notions of what “GOD” is and does, at all.
          When atheists don’t bother to see the differences, and treat all religion/spirituality the same, they start sounding like the Fundamentalist they have so much contempt for.

        • Bob Jase

          Oh, is your supernatural better than someone elses?

        • Michael Neville

          Of course it’s better. He has it and whatever wackaloon notions he has must be superior to any other fantasies. How else could he justify his arrogance and smugness?

        • fractal

          Pretty defensive there.

          Might wanna look inside, and see where such resistance is coming from.
          I haven’t promoted any belief, any dogma or any religion.
          All I have done is report back what mystics experience, and why they don’t share your notions.

          Why does a person who is asking you to examine the way you look at reality, turn you into a sarcastic mud-slinger?

          Did I insult you?
          Did I abuse you?
          Did I do anything other than ask you to consider the possibility that there might be more to our brain, our mind and our reality, than your intellect can process?

          If a scientist told you that you were using the wrong tool to find the answer to a question you asked, would you get this defensive?
          If the scientist opined that you were asking the wrong question, and wouldn’t get meaningful answers unless you re-thought the question—would you get this defensive?

        • adam

          “If a scientist told you that you were using the wrong tool to find the
          answer to a question you asked, would you get this defensive?”

          If you really used science, as I have, you would understand that the mystic experience is nothing more than brain chemistry.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/543b8bb25467df85f389d4aa8ad4b43dacc588851fe76c3df0b86ead792e0ae9.jpg

        • fractal

          You didn’t answer my question.

          And for the record, I have a DR in front of my name.
          I have had LOTS of science in my background.

          What evidence do you have that a mystical experience is “NOTHING MORE” than chemistry?

        • adam

          “And for the record, I have a DR in front of my name.”

          Why dont you have a Dr. in front of your name, and a PhD behind it?

          So, it is in the study of psychedelics or neurology?
          From what ‘authority’ do you posit that a couple of letter in front of your name gives you knowledge that you fail to demonstrate?

          “I have had LOTS of science in my background.”
          Apparently WAY WAY in the background.

          “What evidence do you have that a mystical experience is “NOTHING MORE” than chemistry?”

          1. Lack of demonstration of anything more than chemistry and physics.
          2. Chemistry ALONE will generate mystical experiences AT WILL.
          3. Neuroscience and psychedelics.

          What evidence do you have of this ‘something’ more that you keep CLAIMING, but FAILING to demonstrate.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6597272c55aa1dd14b2602406d98ba576903e53dce5800dd7f26a6fb2ca9728c.jpg

        • adam

          You didnt ask me a question.

        • Michael Neville

          And for the record, I have a DR in front of my name.

          I know a place where that and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee.

          I have had LOTS of science in my background.

          That depends on what your doctorate is in. I have a masters but I’m not a scientist since it’s an MBA.

        • Two Americas

          And for the record, I have a DR in front of my name.

          It is always amusing to see how people who pull that stunt think that they are elevating themselves rather than denigrating the degree.

        • newestbeginning

          OUCH! That left a mark!!

        • adam

          My bet is that his first name starts with D and his middle name starts with R.

        • Mensch59

          How would you provide evidence that the mystical experience is more than brain chemistry? Ought you provide evidence for your counterargument?
          It’s like walking on a knife’s edge being skeptical of both arguments for the mystical experience and counterarguments against the mystical experience. What kind of evidence is available except for physical evidence? NDE’s?

        • Mensch59

          If you really used science, as I have, you would understand that the mystic experience is nothing more than brain chemistry.

          This is an example of pseudoskepticism. Marcello Truzzi attributed the following characteristics to pseudoskeptics:
          ·Denying, when only doubt has been established
          ·Double standards in the application of criticism
          ·The tendency to discredit rather than investigate
          ·Presenting insufficient evidence or proof
          ·Assuming criticism requires no burden of proof
          ·Making unsubstantiated counter-claims
          ·Counter-claims based on plausibility rather than empirical evidence
          ·Suggesting that unconvincing evidence provides grounds for completely dismissing a claim
          http://www.anomalist.com/commentaries/pseudo.html

          Most scientismists I’ve come across reject the entire concept of scientism AND reject the entire concept of pseudoskepticism.

        • adam

          This is an example of pseudoskepticism.

          “·Denying, when only doubt has been established”

          much more has been established about the mystical experience than doubt, What hasnt been established is any experience outside the human brain.

          “The tendency to discredit rather than investigate”

          I have investigated for decades.

          “·Suggesting that unconvincing evidence provides grounds for completely dismissing a claim”

          fractal presented no evidence.

          scientismists reject the entire concept of scientism?

          That doesnt seem to make any sense.
          Or even be possible.

          Science with induction and deduction provides us with the most reliable and useful information about our reality.

        • Mensch59

          I said that most scientismists I have come across reject the concept of scientism. They won’t even discuss scientism. That’s like a Marxist refusing to discuss Marxism.
          —-
          Is there special pleading going on regarding what “the mystical” is and is not in order to satisfy a methodology which is limited to studying phenomena? What’s phenomenal or epiphenomenal about the mystical? Scientismists wish to define deity or the absolute within their ambit. That the transcendent, the numinous could be outside their ambit seems to escape their awareness.
          ——-
          What methodology have you utilized to investigate the sublime, the transcendent, the numinous, the mystical “for decades”?
          ——–

          What hasnt been established is any experience outside the human brain.

          Where would you expect the interface between the physical and the metaphysical to occur other than the mind? Look at objectivity and the subject-object relationship. “An objective phenomenon exists independently of human consciousness and human beliefs. Radioactivity, for example, is not a myth. Radioactive emissions occurred long before people discovered them, and they are dangerous even when people do not believe in them.” But does our experience with this phenomenon we have named “radioactivity” and the meaning we put on various relations with radioactivity happen outside the brain? No. It’s simply that what the mystics claim to have experienced objectively hasn’t been discovered (yet?) by scientific methodologies. Maybe the transcendent is forever beyond scientific methodologies. That what makes it meta-, i.e. second or higher order. But to reject an experience because it’s outside your purview is only to adopt a dogmatic convention and establish scientism as a default ideology.
          ——-

          Science with induction and deduction provides us with the most reliable and useful information about our reality.

          Yes and No. One of the bedrock taken-for-granted assumptions utilized to warrant confidence in scientific methodologies is “An objective reality exists which is shared by rational observers.” Is this objective reality the only reality which exists. Obviously not. Imagined realities (which are both subjective & intersubjective) also exist. These imagined realities have no objective validity, yet these imaginings surround us and make up our lives and determine to an extremely large extent what we believe and what we do. Think nation-states, human rights, fiat currency, limited liability companies. That’s just looking at imagination. Are there meta states of consciousness beyond both objectivity and imagination? Maybe, maybe not. The pseudoskeptic would answer “Definitively not” in my (albeit limited) experience.
          ——–
          Anyway, this is all verbiage. If you haven’t already had a metaphysical or mystical experience or if you deny/completely reject the possibility of a monistic metaphysical source or absolute at the root of the subject-object relationship, then there’s no way to explain this reasoning via science or doxastic logical argument or how one experiences the cessation of suffering or other robust methodologies for determining the use of logic, philosophy, psychology, and linguistics to study knowledge and the way it is processed by humans.
          “No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.” ~ Marilyn Ferguson

          Best wishes.
          Thanks for the reply.

        • adam

          “I said that most scientismists I have come across reject the concept of scientism. They won’t even discuss scientism. That’s like a Marxist refusing to discuss Marxism.”

          Makes no sense at all.

          “What methodology have you utilized to investigate the sublime, the transcendent, the numinous, the mystical “for decades”?”

          Pharmacology, biology, neurology, chemistry, theology, philosophy, psychiatry and others.

          “Are there meta states of consciousness beyond both objectivity and imagination? Maybe, maybe not. ”

          The lack of such evidence after thousands of years and trillions of claims is sufficient to dismiss claims without further evidence.

        • Mensch59

          It doesn’t make sense to you for an ideologue to deny that s/he is an ideologue?! Hmmm. It makes sense to me. What better way to deny being an ideologue than to deny that your beliefs & ideas exist separately from physical evidence? What’s implied is “I don’t have beliefs and ideas. I only have evidence. I’m 100% objective.” Alrighty then. I’ll remain skeptical that all the evidence is in.

          Why would you have any shred of confidence whatsoever that “pharmacology, biology, neurology, chemistry, theology, philosophy, psychiatry and other [methodologies]” would provide physical evidence for the sublime, i.e. “a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation.” That makes no sense.

          What atheists believe is “the lack of evidence” has become dogma. Arguing with dogmatists is a waste of time and mental energy.

        • adam

          “It doesn’t make sense to you for an ideologue to deny that s/he is an ideologue?!”

          Well of course, but that was not your claim.

          “What better way to deny being an ideologue than to deny that your beliefs & ideas exist separately from physical evidence? ”

          Without evidence, denial is the default position
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6597272c55aa1dd14b2602406d98ba576903e53dce5800dd7f26a6fb2ca9728c.jpg

          “Why would you have any shred of confidence whatsoever that
          “pharmacology, biology, neurology, chemistry, theology, philosophy,
          psychiatry and other [methodologies]” would provide physical evidence
          for the sublime, i.e. “a greatness beyond all possibility of
          calculation, measurement, or imitation.” ”

          Because science works, is predictive, where the supernatural doesnt work, is not predictive, and demonstrated to be from human imagination.

          “What atheists believe is “the lack of evidence” has become dogma. ”

          Nope, lack of evidence is evidence of lacking

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbc059c59722f549e3f76ea6e8cf55cdca89fdefd019022112e0cdf5318bde24.png

        • Mensch59

          Without evidence, doubt & inquiry are the default positions. Denial is NOT the default. Denial is dogmatic, whether you can accept that or not.

          It’s more interesting as to why I (or anyone) would have any confidence in someone who takes the (intellectually arrogant and hubristic?) position that he is sufficiently proficient in “pharmacology, biology, neurology, chemistry, theology, philosophy,
          psychiatry and other [methodologies]” to (1) provide evidence for the sublime or (2) be able to even logically articulate what constitutes evidence for the sublime. Additionally, why would I have any more confidence in your memes than this one? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d55b3757ed8ae65fe04ab150d1d9479edfd1208ead80bc7cf41146c9d4d3621.png

          Who says that an uncaused cause or what’s described as transcendent or sublime or numinous is “supernatural” or, another trope, “superstitious”? Dogmatists. Or your trope “lack of evidence is evidence of lacking.” Take a homicide. A victim dies of a gunshot wound to the head. No forensic evidence. No murder weapon. All the usual suspects have airtight alibis. Your “evidence of lacking” would conclude no murder occurred. Close the investigation. Denial = dogmatic closed mind.

        • adam

          “Denial is NOT the default. ”

          You are correct, skepticism is the default, my bad.

          ” to (1) provide evidence for the sublime ”

          Definition of sublime Merriam Webster

          1a : lofty, grand, or exalted in thought, expression, or manner

          b : of outstanding spiritual, intellectual, or moral worth

          c : tending to inspire awe usually because of elevated quality (as of beauty, nobility, or grandeur) or transcendent excellence

          Mystical experiences certainly can be sublime.

          But that in no way infers that they are anything but chemistry.

          “Who says that an uncaused cause”

          What, specifically uncaused cause are you referring to?

          Definition of transcendent

          1a : exceeding usual limits : surpassing

          Yes, transcendent experiences are beyond normal experiences. AGAIN, no demonstration of anything beyond brain/chemistry/neurology

          b : extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience

          c in Kantian philosophy : being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge

          If they were beyond possible experience humans could not have them.

          2 : being beyond comprehension

          Science is comprehending them.

          3 : transcending the universe or material existence —

          No demonstration of this in all human history

          4 : universally applicable or significant

          “Your “evidence of lacking” would conclude no murder occurred.”

          No, it would conclude that you cant demonstrate that it was murder that killed the victim.

          “Denial = dogmatic closed mind.”

          Nope, not on my part.

          Just demonstrate that the mystical experience exists outside the human brain/chemistry/neurology.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/50d18b1b77721e33f4ff6f43e37d6065c20bbd11865a594f8df65728cb7e490b.png

        • Mensch59

          The inference that the sublime is chemical isn’t evidence.

          You looked up definitions of the sublime and the transcendent. Can you not do a word search “define uncaused cause”? It took seconds to come up with “the uncaused cause is that one ‘thing’ that began the chain of existance.” I put “thing” in quotation marks to address the fallacies of thingification and reification. I presume that addressing the laws of logic and the violation of those laws is apropos.

          No, it would conclude that you cant demonstrate that it was murder that killed the victim.

          The process of elimination negates that counterargument. What “cannot be demonstrated” is not the logical equivalent of the demonstration that a homicide committed by another person didn’t happen. That’s another example of denial, no?

          Just demonstrate that the mystical experience exists outside the human brain/chemistry/neurology.

          I already addressed this above when I asked “Where would you expect the interface between the physical and the metaphysical to occur other than the mind?” The dogmatic answer of the atheist (who relies on denial instead of doubt or skepticism) is “my metaphysics can beat up your metaphysics.”

        • Mr. Z

          Not sure if I follow all that M, but I sure enjoyed the ride.)

        • Mensch59

          I love the ride of “my metaphysical beliefs & ideas can beat up your metaphysical beliefs”. But amusement parks are better enjoyed rarely.

        • Michael Neville

          So other than bafflegab and “I really believe the bullshit I’m trying to sell to you” what evidence do you have that your bullshit doesn’t come straight out of bovine rectums?

          I go with the null hypothesis; No evidence for mysticism means that mysticism is non-existent. If you want me to change my mind then you have to provide evidence more concrete than “I believe in the bullshit I’m trying to sell.” The balls in your court, bullshitter.

        • Mensch59

          I’m as skeptical of atheistic certitude as I am of theistic faith-without-evidence.
          My preference is apophatic reasoning without the logical fallacy of the hasty conclusion.

        • Michael Neville

          It may be hasty to ignore a hypothesis that lacks any evidence but it isn’t a fallacy to do so. I’ve told these people over and over again “what’s your evidence?” and they’ve consistently failed to present any. No evidence equals no conclusion.

        • Mensch59

          I’m not talking about ignorance. Ignorance is the mother lode from which evidence is mined. I’m talking about the logical fallacy of jumping to a hasty conclusion prior to all the evidence. Do you have all the evidence? I doubt so.

        • Michael Neville

          I can’t have any evidence for mysticism because there isn’t any. None. Nada. Zip point shit. No evidence. As a result, I reject mysticism due to its utter lack of support. If you or anyone else can produce reasonable evidence for mysticism I’ll reconsider my position. Until then, I’ll reject it because it looks exactly like imaginary wishful thinking by simpletons. Your fanaticism and pretense to be a great skeptic aren’t making the case for mysticism any stronger.

        • Mensch59

          Existential meaning =/= evidence

          Your anger (exemplified by profanity and rhetoric¹) isn’t making a better case for your view on evidence being superior to a contemplative’s view of the nature of being.
          ——-
          ¹ rhetoric: “imaginary wishful thinking by simpletons… fanaticism… pretense… great skeptic”

        • Michael Neville

          I’m not angry, I’m frustrated. I keep repeating over and over again that I don’t accept mysticism due to the utter lack of evidence for it. None of you mystics and pseudoskeptics want to accept that this is a reasonable attitude to take. Instead assholes like you pretend I’m being dogmatic for not accepted a completely unevidenced hypothesis based on wishful thinking and bullshit.

        • Mensch59

          I’m sorry that you are frustrated to the point of being reduced to profanity and rhetoric. I’m also sorry that a skeptical approach to phenomenology is frustrating you.
          Might ontology and the mystical experience be skeptically approached without a demand for evidence? Maybe so. Maybe not. I don’t know. As an agnostic, the onus is not on me to prove it. If you don’t like my thinking, I can live with it.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re not being skeptical, you’re ignoring the whole point. “Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, I don’t know, and I’ll sneer at anyone who says that it isn’t.” If you think I’m impressed by your indecision and your pretense that it’s skepticism then you’re wrong.

        • Mensch59

          I’m addressing the point that no one is asking you to accept or believe the mystic’s personal and ultimately private experience.
          No skeptic would expect you to believe or accept without evidence.

        • Michael Neville

          Au contraire (that’s foreign for “nope”). Noelle is demanding that we accept her experience and insists that her mysticism is a universal (literally, in conjunction with the universe) phenomenon. However you and I do agree that she is not a skeptic.

        • Mensch59

          Is @disqus_KMFxErDXp2:disqus “demanding that we accept her experience and insist[ing] that her mysticism is a universal (literally, in conjunction with the universe) phenomenon”?
          Would Noelle accept or doubt the skepticism, agnosticism, igtheism, and apophatic reasoning (that’s defining something by eliminating what it’s not) of others, do you suppose?

        • adam

          “I’m addressing the point that no one is asking you to accept or believe the mystic’s personal and ultimately private experience.”

          I accept the EXPERIENCE, I have had many.

          What I dont accept, based on a gross lack of evidence, is that CLAIMS about such experiences that exist outside the mind of the person who is having the experience.

        • Mensch59

          No one is claiming that the source of these experiences is outside of the mind.
          It’s an inquiry into the question of whether these experiences are generated by the mind or if these experiences come from a source which is beyond physical and beyond imagining which source interfaces with the mind. The hypothesis is that it’s relational with the mind, not independent of the mind.

        • adam

          “No one is claiming that the source of these experiences is outside of the mind.”

          That’ exactly the claim.

          “these experiences come from a source which is beyond physical and beyond imagining”

        • Greg G.

          I’m addressing the point that no one is asking you to accept or believe the mystic’s personal and ultimately private experience.

          I accept the experience but I don’t usually accept the interpretation of the experience. When I am told that they were visited by an angel or a deceased loved one while they were lying down, I suspect they had a waking dream, which is one where the person thinks they are awake. I ask if they were paralyzed during the event to see the look on their face because they usually don’t mention that part.

          I had many of them when I was younger (I once read that they usually stop before age 40) and could even reason out that I was having one. But once I thought someone was breaking into my house, I was paralyzed, so I knew I was having a waking dream but I still thought the intruder was real. It was only when I saw the door was closed and locked that it occurred to me that it was part of the dream, too.

          A friend told me he found out about them when he went to bed and heard a crash that shook the house. He immediately called 911 to report that a car had crashed into his living room. But when he walked out of his bedroom, everything was normal. The cop told him they get a lot of calls like that.

          I suspect alien abduction reports, where the person tells of being teleported to a spaceship and returned to their beds, are waking dreams, too.

        • Mensch59

          I think that anyone attempting to interpret with others what actually might be an authentic personal & private mystical experience with the source of everything aka the uncaused cause is opening himself/herself up to mocking and ridicule. Worse yet is the interpretation that such an experience has magically conferred the power of dominance.

        • Mensch59

          Do you always argue with agnostics this way because they are not atheists with conviction and courage?
          Agnostics don’t bear the burden of proof.
          Get over it.

        • Greg G.

          Neither do atheists bear the burden of proof. Atheism and agnoticism are not mutually exclusive. Most atheists are agnostic. If you don’t actually believe that gods exist, you are an atheist, too.

          It seems that the main source of disagreement is that you think atheism means the belief in the non-existence of gods rather than the lack of belief in gods. The former would be describing “hard atheists”

          I can’t say whether there is a malevolent god but I can rule out an omnipotent, benevolent being. If there is an omnipotent being then suffering is unnecessary. A benevolent being would not allow unnecessary suffering if it could prevent it. Suffering exists. Therefore, no being that is both omnipotent and benevolent exists.

        • Mensch59

          I think that pain is inevitable. Suffering is the stories, the myths, the imagining which are subjectively & intersubjectively brought to pain.
          Pain is as natural as death.

        • Greg G.

          Pain might be necessary for animal-type beings that are vulnerable to injury in an indifferent universe. With the existence of an omnipotence, or a sufficiently powerful being, it is unnecessary. If it serves no purpose, it is unnecessary. If it serves a purpose, then the purpose is logically possible to achieve. If it is logically possible to do, then an omnipotent, or sufficiently powerful, being can do it instead of the pain or suffering doing it, making the pain or suffering unnecessary. If said being allows the unnecessary pain or suffering, “benevolent” is not an apt description. “Sadistic” or “indifferent” might work but not “benevolent”.

        • Mensch59

          I doubt that anyone has the necessary & sufficient understanding to explain if existential pain has a benign end-purpose. Proposing an indifferent or malevolent deity causing and being OK with pain might be meaningful and satisfying for some. Proposing a benign rationale for pain might be meaningful and satisfying for others. Proposing the tension between pain and pleasure giving rise to the hinge at which the pendulum swings might be meaningful and satisfying to yet others. Bringing mercy & compassion to pain avoidance and pleasure-seeking might be meaningful and satisfying.
          Who am I or you or anyone supposed to theorize for anyone else regarding what’s meaningful and satisfying? It’s personal and private.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m also an agnostic as well as being an atheist. Like a lot of self-proclaimed agnostics you don’t actually understand what agnosticism is. It’s not a mid-way position between theism and atheism. Rather agnosticism is about knowledge while atheism is about belief. Do I know if gods exist or not? No I do not, which makes me an agnostic. Do I believe that gods exist? Because of the lack of evidence for gods, I do not believe they exist. Ergo I’m an agnostic atheist.

          Get over it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I certainly don’t have all the evidence. But what’s your point? That you need every bit of data before you can have an opinion on the God question?

        • Mensch59

          Of course not all the evidence needs to be in before an opinion or even an educated guess is arrived at. Opinions and guesses are the products of social practices just as much as beliefs and ideas.
          The enough evidence vs lack of evidence vs the necessary & sufficient evidence evaluation and interpretation and investigation processes are the purview of phenomenology, i.e. scientific methodologies. What’s the ambit of the nature of being?
          Some people prefer the purview of studying physical phenomena in their search for truth. Some people prefer the ambit of contemplating the nature of being in their search for meaning. I get slightly miffed when people personally criticise other people for divergent benign preferences.

        • MR

          They seem to treat this like it’s some new mystery. I’m sorry, but thousands of years and millions of people and still no evidence is hardly a hasty conclusion!

        • Greg G.

          My preference is apophatic reasoning without the logical fallacy of the hasty conclusion.

          Are you consistent with that? Do you believe every conspiracy theory that comes along? Do you accept everything ever imagined by somebody as long as they have a plausible-like excuse for the impossibility of evidence?

          There is no need to make a conclusion unless it is clearly impossible. Instead, you can wait until there is corroborating evidence before accepting a claim.

          Accepting claims on poor evidence makes logic impractical because you don’t distinguish true premises from not disproved premises.

        • Mensch59

          Why would a skeptic aka a doubting inquirer “believe every conspiracy theory that comes along?” or “accept everything ever imagined by somebody as long as they have a plausible-like excuse for the impossibility of evidence?”
          You are assuming facts not in evidence and contrary to my claims of skepticism, viz “believe” and “accept” and “accepting claims.” I both doubt and question claims without denying or rejecting claims. Skepticism is the knife’s edge between belief and disbelief.
          You can doubt my skepticism. Why deny my skepticism? That denial (if that’s what’s happening cognitively or metacognitively) “makes logic impractical because you don’t distinguish true premises [my skepticism] from not disproved premises [pseudoskepticism].
          How am I supposed to provide evidence or logical argument for my skepticism? I don’t have to. There is no onus, burden of proof to take an agnostic position.

        • Greg G.

          Take a homicide. A victim dies of a gunshot wound to the head. No forensic evidence. No murder weapon. All the usual suspects have airtight alibis. Your “evidence of lacking” would conclude no murder occurred. Close the investigation. Denial = dogmatic closed mind.

          The dead body with a gunshot wound to the head is evidence that a homicide occurred.

          Skeptical non-acceptance is not denial. If one believes without evidence, then you have to believe everything anyone thinks up. That’s why you don’t accept the existence of claims until there is an evidential reason to believe it.

        • Mensch59

          The process of elimination =/= believing without evidence.
          The process of elimination is one method of warranted belief even without forensic evidence.

        • Greg G.

          The process of elimination requires that you know all possibilities. When you eliminate all but one known unknown, you still haven’t addressed the unknown unknowns. If you were in the 10th century with the demon theory of disease, you could exorcise all but one known demon but you still wouldn’t know that it was that one known demon you didn’t exorcise. It could be a demon you don’t know or it could be a virus, which you wouldn’t even suspect.

        • Mensch59

          “The process of elimination requires that you know all possibilities.” That’s one way of approaching it. I prefer the free investigative approach to the “known unknowns” approach. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four (1890)
          What impossibilities regarding the mystical experience¹ have been eliminated? What improbabilities remain?
          It may or may not bear repeating: “Where would you expect the interface between the physical and the metaphysical to occur other than the mind?”
          ——
          ¹ Because this thread is about the mystical experience, the sublime and the uncaused cause (which I introduced) can be set aside. The sublime and/or the uncaused cause can be substituted for “the mystical experience” at any time.

        • Greg G.

          “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four (1890)
          What impossibilities regarding the mystical experience¹ have been eliminated? What improbabilities remain?

          Again, if you rule out all but one demon as causing a disease, it does not mean that the one known demon is the cause. You have unknown unknowns that are possible, like germs and viruses.

          It may or may not bear repeating: “Where would you expect the interface between the physical and the metaphysical to occur other than the mind?”

          In the part of the mind that produces imagination. We can imagine lots of things. Some things can be proved to not be the case but other things can be contrived to be undisprovable. Just because you can imagine something that cannot be disproved doesn’t make it real.

          Your argument emphasizes that you do not have evidence that would distinguish your idea from pure imagination.

          A study done many years ago on the welfare of mental patients noted that the patients, with all their delusions, seemed happier than the staff. If you are happy believing your own imagination, go for it. But don’t expect to convince rational people with claims of “Whoopee! I have something undisprovable to tell you!”

        • Mensch59

          I’m not attempting to convince anyone of anything.
          It’s the atheists who deny the mystical who are proselytizing.
          I’m criticizing scientism and pseudoskepticism.
          I’m not making a truth claim either FOR or AGAINST a mystical experience.

        • Michael Neville

          I deny mysticism for the simple and straightforward reason that there’s no evidence to support it. Instead of your “maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, I’ll stick my head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t make a difference” I’m willing to say that I doubt mysticism because it looks, feels and smells exactly like imaginary wishful thinking no different from hoping there’s a magic sky pixie who’ll save us all from death. There’s no evidence for mysticism, there’s no evidence for gods, so I reject them both.

          Doesn’t truth matter to you? Apparently not.

        • Mensch59

          I am skeptical that you have any more “truth” than a contemplative does. Yes, the quest for truth matters a great deal to skeptics of all stripes.

        • Michael Neville

          The “truth” is that there’s no evidence for mysticism. If there was evidence then mystic lovers and pseudo-skeptics would be shouting it from the roof-tops. Instead there’s “you feel it in your heart” and “love is spiritual” and suchlike waffling.

          As I’ve told you before, the instant that reasonable, reliable evidence for mysticism is shown then I’ll reconsider my stance on it. Until then I don’t accept it because of the complete and total lack of evidence to support it. Please explain why this is an unreasonable attitude to take and your pseudoskepticism is preferable. Be specific.

        • Mensch59

          You seem to be equating skepticism with a demand for evidence.
          When investigating the mystic’s experience, I prefer ontology to phenomenology.
          You demand evidence, so your approach is phenomenological.
          Different approaches.

        • Michael Neville

          Skepticism is not “I don’t know, I don’t care”. Skepticism is a search for truth. Now truth can never be attained but it can be approached. I prefer to approach truth. You appear to ignore whatever you please and sneer at those who don’t follow your path.

        • Mensch59

          You are entitled to your opinion, i.e. how I appear to you.
          I see skepticism as a hedge against various forms of ideological certainty and faith.
          I’m skeptical that evidence is even necessary or desirable when engaged in the private experiential learning of our personal and meta-¹ existence.
          I wholeheartedly agree with those (and you?) that evidence is of supreme importance when learning of our physical and social existence.
          Frankly, I don’t care if the private personal and the meta- is meaningless to you or holds no truth for you. That’s your business.
          ——-
          ¹ second or higher order. Beyond the physical and sociological imagining.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m skeptical that evidence is even necessary or desirable when engaged in the private experiential learning of our personal and meta-¹ existence.

          So evidence isn’t a priority with you. That’s why I call you a pseudo-skeptic. That mambo-jumbo about “second or higher order” is what is known in the real world as “bullshit”. And if you don’t like that term as being profanity that’s your problem, not mine.

        • Mensch59

          Twisting my words to suit your agenda demonstrates your dishonesty.
          I won’t be replying to you further.

        • Michael Neville

          Pardon me, sir. You must have mistaken me for someone who cares if you reply to me or not. Have a nice rest of your life, bullshitter.

        • adam

          “That’s why I call you a pseudo-skeptic. That mambo-jumbo about “second
          or higher order” is what is known in the real world as “bullshit”.”

        • Mensch59

          Do you really, Really, REALLY believe that your “mambo-jambo” and “bullsh¡t” rhetoric is a substitute for a counterargument? Pro tip: it’s snot.
          Perhaps you disapprove of certain prefixes. Perhaps you would censor the dictionary and encyclopedias.
          Do you think that meta-cognition is bullsh¡t? metanoia?
          Frankly, it’s your own personal and private business whether you experience a transformation or not. In that regard, I’m an apatheist.
          What’s pseudoskeptical about my statement here: “I see skepticism as a hedge against various forms of ideological certainty and faith.
          I’m skeptical that evidence is even necessary or desirable when engaged in the private experiential learning of our personal and meta-² existence.
          I wholeheartedly agree with those (and you?) that evidence is of supreme importance when learning of our physical and social existence.” The pseudoskeptic assumes that criticism doesn’t bear a burden of proof. Where’s your evidence of my false skepticism.
          ——–
          ¹ Do you believe your own rhetoric? “The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
          ² Defined as “second or higher order.” I apply it to “beyond both objective physicality and sociological imagining.”

        • adam

          “Do you really, Really, REALLY believe that your “mambo-jambo” and “bullsh¡t” rhetoric is a substitute for a counterargument?”

          Of course not, do you really, REALLY believe that bullshit

          is a substitute for evidence?

          “I’m skeptical that evidence is even necessary or desirable when engaged in the private experiential learning of our personal and meta-² existence. ”

          So what?

          It is only desirable when trying to claim that it is function of magic or other supernatural effects other than brain chemistry.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/52cb8e254d7cf6cce5bbf961ce2199f84c5743dab945b122fe4cde0533bcfe0a.jpg

        • Mensch59

          People who cry “bullsh¡t” instead of offering counterargument demonstrate that they believe their own bullsh¡t. The common parlance is psychological projection.
          Secondly you cannot dominate me or leverage me or influence me to believe in what you believe is bullsh¡t.
          Finally, I have as little patience for those fundies who believe in denial, rejection, dismissal, discounting experiences without offering up counterargument as I do the religiots who believe in belief-without-evidence.
          That’s the problem with both types of fundie true believers (which unfortunately includes you).
          “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

          Pro tip: memes are not counterargument.

        • adam

          So THAT’s why you cry ‘bullshit’ so often.

        • Greg G.

          Your approach ignores the fertility of the human imagination. Are you consistent by accepting the possibility for the existence of Zeus, ghosts, millions of Hindu gods, orcs, hobgoblins, vampires, Romulans, Wookies, flying purple people eaters, fairies, hobbits, and every other creature ever imagined? Evidence for something distinguishes it from the purely imagined. The supernatural realm is contrived as an excuse for the lack of possible evidence.

          If something does not affect the natural realm, we cannot know anything about it, though that doesn’t stop people from pretending. If something does affect the natural realm, then it would provide detectable evidence.

        • Mensch59

          It looks like you haven’t been reading or understanding my comments specifically regarding imagined orders and fictive language.
          We are not discussing “things.”
          We are discussing abstractions.
          To try to thingify an abstraction is the reification fallacy… hence the demand for objectivity and evidence when discussing sociological imagining, the mystical, the subjective and the intersubjective.
          How is the mind part of “the natural realm”? Many (most? all?) so called “naturalists” would prefer to eliminate the words “mind, psyche, self” from the scientific lexicon.

        • Greg G.

          I doubt that I have read all of your posts. I may not be comprehending you.

          The mind is a function of the brain. It is part of the natural realm like swimming is a part of the natural realm. Abstractions are functions of the brain, particular one of the functions we call “mind”.

          Theists reify abstract gods. Do you?

        • Mensch59

          Re the existence of abstract gods: I’m agnostic and igtheistic. (The concept of “abstract gods” lacks falsifiable definitions.)

          The mind is an emergent property of the brain is one hypothesis.
          The mind is the interface between the dual reality¹ and the uncaused cause is another hypothesis.
          I doubt that we humans have enough expertise with reason based on what we think that we believe we know to even establish the null hypothesis and test alternative hypotheses against the null.
          Those who claim to have such reasonable expertise I typically dismiss as fools² suffering from the Dunning-Kruger cognitive bias… not sages.
          ——-
          ¹ “Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, humans have been living in a dual reality: the physical reality and the imagined reality.” – from the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
          ² William Shakespeare (1564–1616) — “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” (As You Like It, V. i.)

        • Greg G.

          I am not absolutely certain about anything. I just go with the strength of the evidence. I would advise others to do the same and to guard against confirmation bias.

        • Nonsensical

          Nice pablum but completely false considering you are a vicious fundamentalist of marxist error and nonsense.

        • Kodie

          You are biased, misinformed, arrogant, twisted, and judgmental. And that’s just from a few posts I just started reading. Does your teachermom know you’re on the internet?

        • Greg G.

          Did you borrow that from somebody who called you that?

        • Mensch59

          I agree. Even the necessary and sufficient evidence doesn’t confer certainty.
          I think that a calm, reasonable, intelligent discussion about mystical experiences distinguishes between studying phenomena (which is evidence-based) and the nature of being. The nature of being might venture into meta-cognition or a higher order of consciousness or it might not. I’m not asking for evidence of a higher order of consciousness which interfaces with human cognition resulting in non-scientific knowledge. That some people simply claim this experience is enough to keep the investigation open in my mind. I’m not claiming that the private and personal experience of another ought to give you or me or anyone the same level of assurance and conviction as the necessary & sufficient evidence required in studying phenomena.

        • Mensch59

          I have confidence in scientific methods. I don’t have excessive confidence. I don’t have confidence in agendas. The germ/virus theory of disease has already been accepted via scientific expertise. The “demon theory” is a straw man.
          After confronting your logical fallacy, I’ll repeat the querie:

          “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four (1890)
          What impossibilities regarding the mystical experience¹ have been eliminated? What improbabilities remain?

          . Thank you for confirming that the interface between the physical and the metaphysical is in the mind. The theory or hypothesis that a meta order of reality (1) beyond sociological imagining and (2) beyond “a self-evident objective reality shared by rational observers” has not been falsified or tested or verified. Even the possibility of a meta order of reality beyond #’s 1&2 seems to escape the awareness of those bound to the ambit of the science of phenomena as distinct from those unbound by that science and inquiring into the ambit of the nature of being.
          But hey, whatever floats your boat, eh?

        • epeeist

          “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

          Except that Conan Doyle wasn’t aware of Quine’s thesis, namely that one can invent any number of hypotheses to account for a particular set of phenomena. How would Holmes know whether he had eliminated them all?

          And in fact it is still wrong being a generalisation of “false dilemma”. An hypothesis does not stand on the failure of others, but on the evidence in it favour.

        • Nonsensical

          To quote Fulton Sheen:
          “Belief in the existence of God, in the Divinity of Christ, and in the moral law are considered passing fashions. The latest thing in this new tolerance is considered the true thing, as if truth were a fashion, like the hat, instead of an institution, like a head. At the present moment, in psychology the fashion runs towards Behaviorism, as in philosophy it runs towards Temporalism. And that it is not objective validity which dictates the success of a modern philosophical theory, is borne out by the statement a celebrated space‐time philosopher of England made to the writer a few years ago, when he was asked where he got his system. ʺFrom my imagination,ʺ he answered. Upon being challenged that the imagination was not the proper faculty for a philosopher to use, he retorted: ʺIt is, if the success of your philosophical system depends not on the truth that is in it, but on its novelty.ʺ

          In that statement is the final argument for modern broad‐mindedness: truth is novelty, and hence ʺtruthʺ changes with the passing fancies of the moment. Like the chameleon who changes his colors to suit the vesture on which he is placed, so truth is supposed to change to suit the foibles and obliquities of the age, as if the foundations of thinking might be true for the pre‐Adamites and false for the Adamites. Truth does grow, but it grows homogeneously, like an acorn into an oak; it does not swing in the breeze, like a weathercock. The leopard does not change his spots nor the Ethiopian his skin, though the leopard be put in bars or the Ethiopian in pink tights. The nature of certain things is fixed, and none more so than the nature of truth. Truth maybe contradicted a thousand times, but that only proves that it is strong enough to survive a thousand assaults. But for any one to say, ʺSome say this, some say that, therefore there is no truth,ʺ is about as logical as it would have been for Columbus, who heard some say, ʺThe earth is round,ʺ and other say, ʺThe earth is flat,ʺ to conclude: ʺTherefore there is no earth at all.ʺ

          It is this kind of thinking that cannot distinguish between a sheep and his second coat of wool, between Napoleon and his three‐cornered hat, between the substance and the accident, the kind that has begotten minds so flattened with broadness that they have lost all their depth. Like a carpenter who might throw away his rule and use each beam as a measuring‐rod, so, too, those who have thrown away the standard of objective truth have nothing left with which to measure but the mental fashion of the moment.

          The giggling giddiness of novelty, the sentimental restlessness of a mind unhinged, and the unnatural fear of a good dose of hard thinking, all conjoin to produce a group of sophomoric latitudinarians who think there is no difference between God as Cause and God as a “mental projection”; who equate Christ and buddha, St. Paul and John Dewey, and then enlarge their broad-mindedness into a sweeping synthesis that says not only that one Christian sect is just as good as another, but even that one world-religion is just as good as another. The great god “progress” is then enthroned on the altars of fashion, and as the hectic worshipers are asked, “Progress towards what?” The tolerant answer comes back, “More progress!” All the while sane men are wondering how there can be progress without direction and how there can be direction without a fixed point. And because they speak of a “fixed point,” they are said to be behind the times, when really they are beyond the times mentally and spiritually.”

        • Mensch59

          In my example, what was the evidence in favor of a homicide committed by another for which the only forensic evidence was the body itself? The pseudoskeptic would imo deny that a murder occurred crying “Lack of evidence equals evidence of lacking.” Holmes would have deduced differently I think.
          What do you think?

        • epeeist

          In my example, what was the evidence in favor of a homicide committed by
          another for which the only forensic evidence was the body itself?

          But you do specify forensic evidence, namely the gunshot wound.

          The pseudoskeptic would imo deny that a murder occurred crying “Lack of evidence equals evidence of lacking.”

          If there is a gunshot wound to the head then there is evidence that the victim died of a shooting. Since there is no weapon present one can hypothesise that the victim could have been shot by a murderer who departed with the weapon, or committed suicide and the weapon was removed by another, or committed suicide and arranged to have the weapon removed somehow in order to implicate someone (The Problem of Thor Bridge), or committed suicide and the weapon was removed by a magpie, or that the victim was really killed by a set of passing aliens with a death ray but they made it look like a gunshot wound in order to disguise their presence, or…

          The whole point of Quine’s thesis is that one can invent innumerable hypotheses to account for a particular scenario, hence Holmes cannot eliminate them all.

          As for “Lack of evidence equals evidence of lacking”, this really only applies if one searches for evidence and does not find. In a modern formulation one would use Bayesian inference, start with a hypothesis and assign some prior probability to it. Look for evidence to support that hypothesis, if it is found then this increases the posterior probability, if it is not found then this decreases the posterior probability.

          Holmes would have deduced differently I think.

          Homes didn’t actually deduce anything, his methodology is abductive and inductive.

        • Mensch59

          If inventing absurd ideas defeats the apophatic reasoning, I’d simply call it sophistry.

          “Holmes would have deduced abduced & induced differently I think” presuming your terminology is correct.

        • epeeist

          If inventing absurd ideas defeats the apophatic reasoning, I’d simply call it sophistry.

          Oh some of the scenarios I gave are absurd, but the point is that Holmes only considered a small set of possibilities based upon his knowledge and previous experience, he did not and could not consider all possibilities.

          As for “aphophatic reasoning”, sure we can conclude that the god of the Christians is not a weasel but one can never come to a definitive list of properties for such an entity because one cannot guarantee that the list of possible properties is not infinite or that one has covered the whole set.

          And even if one comes down to a set of particular properties that such an entity could possibly have then one would have to provide justification for saying that it does have these properties.

          “Holmes would have deduced abduced & induced differently I think” presuming your terminology is correct.

          It’s a bit ugly, I prefer “used abduction and induction” but this is nothing to do with the discussion.

        • Mensch59

          Apophatic reasoning is defining some “thing” by eliminating what it is not. When attempting to utilize the process of elimination, the absurd can be eliminated even though technically an absurdity is not a logical impossibility. Obviously not ALL absurdities, because our language is fictive. We can invent all sorts of absurd fictions which theoretically cannot be logically eliminated as “impossible.” But this is sophistry. It’s a mind game. It has nothing to do with the praxis and phronesis of honest investigation.

        • epeeist

          When attempting to utilize the process of elimination, the absurd can
          be eliminated even though technically an absurdity is not a logical
          impossibility.

          And you know something is absurd how precisely?

          It has nothing to do with the praxis and phronesis of honest investigation.

          But an honest investigator would realise that in order to know something requires positive justification. Could I ask how much you know about epistemology?

        • Mensch59

          Absurdity can be processed using both system 1 and system 2. I’m not claiming to “know” what’s meaningful vs absurd.
          My extent of knowledge about the theories of knowledge are a smattering: pseudoskepticism, the problems with knowledge, the ambit of epistemics, and warrant.
          Not into logical positivism.
          Not into positive justification.

        • Greg G.

          If we can eliminate the impossible and the absurd, we can eliminate religious beliefs. All theologies are absurd because there is no valid method of reading the mind of a god so trying to please the god is absurd. For all we know, the god might prefer skeptical atheists and damns everyone to hell for believing on insufficient evidence.

        • Mensch59

          I’m not so quick to deny, reject, dismiss, discount that which cannot be explained scientifically. That includes inspiration and revelation from a source inaccessible from the study of phenomena.
          I’m skeptical about any truth claims that inspiration/revelation is reading the mind of a proposed deity.

        • adam

          “I’m not so quick to deny, reject, dismiss, discount that which cannot be explained scientifically”

          Who is?

          Religion has had thousands of years to demonstrate it’s claims, and has failed

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/034947f80482493d2646517257816e678e2500965a15e6d5832c0a23295bc07d.jpg

        • Mensch59

          It’s easy to blame religion for political malevolence.

        • Greg G.

          But inspiration and revelation can be explained scientifically.

          Dendrites are the connections that allow neurons to communicate as signal channels. The greater their diameter, the more reliable they are but they take up more space, add weight, and burn more energy. Natural selection is a good method of optimizing those trade-offs. Making them smaller allows some error-correction structures to detect and correct some of the errors.

          But, like error-correcting RNA, sometimes the correction is wrong. But some of the errors are improvements or simply different.

          So, that could account for inspiration, revelation, creativity, and the illusion of free will.

        • Mensch59

          It explains the source of revelation and inspiration being the brain. Perhaps that’s the null hypothesis. It explains the mind as an emergent property of the brain interfacing with that beyond the brain, i.e. the other, the cosmos, nature. It doesn’t explain the source of the cosmos, etc being the uncaused cause. It doesn’t explain that which is proposed as second order beyond the obvious dual reality.
          People doubting a source or an uncaused cause or a second (or higher) order of reality beyond the physical and social imagining is natural.
          I’m not here to proselytize for any belief or idea.

        • epeeist

          Absurdity can be processed using both system 1 and system 2.

          Systems 1 and 2 are ways of thinking, they aren’t going to provide you with criteria to decide whether something is absurd or not.

          Let’s add a couple of extra scenarios to the ones I have already produced.

          The victim was actually killed by the Avada Kedavra curse, but the wizard who did it used a gun to cover this up so as to abide by the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.

          The victim actually committed suicide but due the vagaries of quantum mechanics the gun underwent quantum tunnelling and ended up in a lake 47Km away.

          Which of these is absurd, and why?

          To use all the scenarios I have given (including the two new ones), which of them are impossible and therefore be eliminated by Holmes.

          Let’s add some additional forensic information, the gunshot wound is surrounded by powder burns and the victim’s hand is impregnated with gunshot residue. Can we therefore eliminate the hypothesis that the victim was murdered using the gun?

          Not into positive justification

          I may not have phrased this particularly well. Let me use another example. When it comes to evolution the creationist (and I am not saying you are a creationist) will claim that because of the “problems” with the theory then it must be false and hence creationism must be true.

          However what you will note in this example is that they have not presented any evidence in favour of creationism, in other words they have presented no positive justification.

          What I am saying is that because one can raise any number of hypotheses to explain a particular set of phenomena then the above is incorrect. If the theory of evolution was shown to be false then all this would imply is that the theory is false, it says nothing about the correctness of any other hypotheses. All hypotheses stand on their on merit, not on the difficulties of other hypotheses.

        • Mensch59

          Systems 1 and 2 are ways of thinking, they aren’t going to provide you with criteria to decide whether something is absurd or not.

          I disagree. System 1, aka recognition, allows me to see quickly those who play sophisticated mind games, aka sophists. System 2 allows me to thoughtfully conclude that sophists are not useful to investigations. I both recognized and conscientiously deliberated towards a decision that engaging with a sophist is unhelpful with describing a scenario, a happening, a historical event, a social process by eliminating what this process etc is not.
          In addition to sophistry I’m recognizing apathy, i.e. an uncaring attitude towards a generally unhelpful person. It’s elementary for this sleuth that @disqus_HOKynBthUD:disqus is slowing down my investigation into a hypothesis of (a) whether or not physical evidence which can be intersubjectively verified and tested with definitive falsifiable criteria is necessary for contemplating the nature of being and (b) whether or not positive justification is necessary to experience a meta-order of existence which transcends both dualism and monism, i.e. a transcendence which is neither physical & mental nor physical or mental. My general impression is that sophists on sites such as these dismiss the hypothesis of transcendence as “woo” without much reasonable deliberation about a decision either for or against contemplation and without the fast recognition of how contemplation is helpful.
          Thanks for your posts.

        • Michael Neville

          My general impression is that sophists on sites such as these dismiss the hypothesis of transcendence as “woo” without much reasonable deliberation about a decision either for or against contemplation and without the fast recognition of how contemplation is helpful.

          My general impression is that you don’t care about what the evidence or lack thereof supports. As I’ve told you before if you present evidence to support woo then I’ll stop calling it woo. Until then, the complete lack of reasonable evidence is the reason why I reject woo.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Woo woo: (slang) A person readily accepting supernatural, paranormal, occult, or pseudoscientific phenomena, or emotion-based beliefs and explanations.

          http://skepdic.com/woowoo.html

          Evidence makes a world of difference imo.

        • epeeist

          System 1, aka recognition, allows me to see quickly those who play sophisticated mind games, aka sophists.

          This seems to be a little short on the details of how it allows you to do this.

          System 2 allows me to thoughtfully conclude that sophists are not useful to investigations.

          This also seems to lack a certain amount of detail.

          I am afraid I don’t find the rest of your post to be meaningful and it definitely does not answer the questions I raised in my previous response to you.

        • Mensch59

          Work out such details with someone who is less apathetic about discussing sophisticated mind games about ideas with little meaning, aka sophist absurdities.
          If you lack the tools to discern what’s meaningful vs absurd on a sliding scale, then I kindly suggest that you discover these tools for yourself rather than have someone explain the details to you.

        • epeeist

          If you lack the tools to discern what’s meaningful vs absurd on a sliding scale

          But I do, I know a lot more about things like epistemology, philosophy of science and of mind and Bayesian inference than you obviously do.

          I kindly suggest that you discover these tools for yourself rather than have someone explain the details to you.

          I would kindly suggest that you stop filling your posts with vague and meaningless hand waving in an attempt to hide the fact that you really don’t have a clue when it comes to the things I and others have raised.

        • Mensch59

          Frankly I’m as apathetic about your claims to knowledge of philosophy, inference, etc as I am about your rhetoric re “vague and meaningless hand waving” and the like. At least your rhetoric is more human than your sophistry.
          No one is holding a gun to your head, forcing you to tap the reply & post tabs, or else.
          If you don’t care for my replies, then I suggest it has exactly to do with System 1 thinking, i.e. recognition, and precisely nothing to do with your claims to “knowing” that you are a Bayesian expert.

        • epeeist

          Frankly I’m as apathetic about your claims to knowledge of philosophy, inference, etc as I am about your rhetoric re “vague and meaningless hand waving” and the like.

          Let’s close this off since it is going nowhere. I’ll cover the bits that you don’t wish to respond to as well.

          Firstly the Holmes thing.

          There is a thing called the “Duhem-Quine thesis” in the philosophy of science which deals with the under-determination of theories by data. It has two consequences, namely that one can produce innumerable hypotheses to explain a particular set of phenomena and further that one can protect any particular hypothesis by introducing an ad hoc auxiliary.

          The consequence of this in our discussion is that Holmes can never exhaust the list of possible hypotheses, nor can he categorically eliminate any.

          The best he can do is to look at prior probabilities and pay more attention to those with the higher probability. People found shot in the head with no gun present? Mostly murders. Suicide with the gun removed in some way? Much fewer and therefore a lower prior. Murder with the Avada Kedavra curse? None known and therefore a very much lower prior.

          Now he must consider evidence. No trace of gunshot residue on the victim’s hands or powder burns to the head? The inference is that the shot was from a distance off and is therefore unlikely to have been committed by the victim. This would increase the posterior probability of murder and at the same time decrease the posterior probabilities of other scenarios. But note that it does not eliminate them.

          Also note that we are looking for positive evidence, what we are not doing is using a via negativa, deciding that one hypothesis must be true because evidence eliminates other hypotheses.

        • Mensch59

          None of which negates the type of reasoning by describing or defining a historical event, a scenario, a happening, a process, a practice by eliminating what it is not.
          If you really wish/desire to believe that the process of elimination has zero utility (is this your argument? if so, it’s not convincing); then there’s nothing I can write, no argument I can make to change your mind.
          “No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal.” ~ Marilyn Ferguson

        • epeeist

          If you really wish/desire to believe that the process of elimination has zero utility

          Where on earth did you get that idea from? Of course negative reasoning is useful, it serves to eliminate that which is not the case. You could argue that it forms the basis of Popperian falsification or the role of the null hypothesis.

          What it cannot do is tell you what is the case, for that you need positive evidence.

          A simple illustration, you send me to the fruit shop and when I come back I tell you that I spent £6.93. “Ah”, you say, “you must have bought two bunches of bananas, three kiwi fruit, two bunches of grapes, a pineapple, a kilo of oranges and a box of dates.”

          “No”, I say, “I didn’t get any kiwi fruit.”

          You have eliminated one possibility but given that you do not know the contents of the fruit shop, the complete list of prices or whether there any special offers on then any hypothesis you come up with is going to be under-determined.

          To actually work out what you did buy you would need to look in my bag.

        • Mensch59

          I’m not saying either that positive evidence is unnecessary. Having an experience is evidence positive, even if it’s a negative experience, e.g. pain.

        • epeeist

          My previous response was getting a little long so I’ll start another post.

          Let us ask how many events which used to have a “non-natural” explanation are now explained “naturally”? Let us also ask how many events which were previously explained “naturally” are now explained “non-naturally”? (I use the scare quotes because we would need to explore further what we mean by these terms)

          Now if we look at “mystical experience” what prior probabilities would we therefore assign to “natural” and “non-natural” explanations.

          Given the fact that this kind of experience seems to take place across time and cultures, is not restricted to the religious and varies with the person having the experience (I know of those who have had such experiences as a result of climbing mountains, my particular experiences have been triggered by music, everything from Machaut to Richard Strauss though the aria Dove Sono is a particular trigger) are we not justified in claiming that this is evidence for a “natural” cause.

          As it is we have the rudiments of an explanation for such events in Maslow’s peak experiences.

        • Mensch59

          Yes, this all makes sense from the perspective of cognition and the intellect/the nous. And there is the meta- which pseudoskeptics don’t desire to investigate or even doubt. These pseudoskeptics seem content to dismiss the meta- (defn: an abstraction behind another concept; second or higher order) as “bullsh¡t” or “woo.” I’d rather reject the pseudoskeptics as crackpots than dismiss the investigation into meta-cognition and metanoia.
          Ergo, I doubt and freely inquire into what mystics claim to experience when they give themselves over to contemplation and deep self-surrender. If they briefly experience union with some abstract hypothetical “absolute” or “source” or “uncaused cause”, I can’t make the truth claim that this existence is more “non-natural” than Leontyne Price singing from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. (My aesthetic experience on that order is Luciano Pavarotti singing “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot.) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VATmgtmR5o4 Some experiences are sublime to the senses. Some experiences (theoretically) create an abstraction beyond thought, beyond intellect. That doesn’t stop the experiencer from thinking or intellectualizing about the experience after the “fact.”

        • adam

          ” I’d rather reject the pseudoskeptics as crackpots than dismiss the investigation into meta-cognition and metanoia.”

          Meta has been investigated for THOUSANDS of years and found to be BULLSHIT and WOO

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c740f0b7fb4ab5d74464bc7c7da4a86e9d1508798e6e801d271b2436492b869b.jpg

          “I can’t make the truth claim that this existence is more “non-natural” ”

          Of course not, because it is natural and explainable through chemistry and neurology.

          “Some experiences (theoretically) create an abstraction beyond thought, beyond intellect.”

          Nope, not theoretically, but IMAGINATIVELY

          “That doesn’t stop the experiencer from thinking or intellectualizing about the experience after the “fact.””

          So? And those that claim magic, where no magic is present?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b12fa1635e121ebbb3409640826d721ba93278771f0064bd133804faa3f01397.png

        • epeeist

          These pseudoskeptics seem content to dismiss the meta- (defn: an abstraction behind another concept; second or higher order) as “bullsh¡t” or “woo.”

          I am not sure what you mean by a “pseudo-sceptic”.

          As for “meta”, it really isn’t higher order is it. Meta-ontology is an “inquiry into the central concepts and procedures of [ontology]” (Ontology and Metaontology – Berto and Plebani), meta-ethics provides the same function for ethics and meta-logic for first-order logic. Metaphysics is slightly different in that it includes things like the problem of personal identity and of free will as well as the nature of space and time amongst the things it considers.

          I doubt and freely inquire into what mystics claim to experience when they give themselves over to contemplation and deep self-surrender.

          But mysticism is nothing to do with metaphysics.

          Incidentally, here is a passage from Richard Feynman:

          I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.

        • Mensch59

          Pseudoskepticism. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism

          meta- (combining form) 3. denoting something of a higher or second-order kind;
          e.g. “metalanguage”. Meta-cognition provides the same function for first order cognition. But it’s second order, because it’s awareness of or noticing or recognizing one’s thinking processes.

          Is the mystical experience (union with the absolute, or the source of all things, or the uncaused cause postulated as inaccessible to the intellect but accessible through contemplation and self-surrender) meta-cognitive or cognitive? an example of metanoia? physical or metaphysical?

          But mysticism is nothing to do with metaphysics.

          Then the mystical experience must be physical, even though there’s not positive physical evidence for union with the absolute, or the source of all things, or the uncaused cause. Or it’s purely imaginary, fantastical woo. I give it the benefit of the doubt that the experience isn’t in the realm of dualism, it’s a higher order of consciousness. I conscientiously choose NOT to deny and NOT to believe without positive evidence, but to exercise doubt as I freely inquire into the central concepts and procedures of the nature of the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being. Is that meta-natural?

        • epeeist

          Pseudoskepticism. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/

          An interesting article, though with Wikipedia it is always worthwhile looking at the talk page.

          I think the critical part of the article comes in these two sentences:

          In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved.

          I would make the first sentence stronger, I would say “The burden of proof falls upon the person making the ontological commitment”, this widens the scope and would include, for example, historians.

          Now the second sentence raises the question as to what one means by “agnostic”. Too often this is taken as meaning taking a 50:50 position. Am I agnostic about the sun rising tomorrow? Yes, in that I cannot be certain that it will happen though the odds are strongly in favour of it happening.

          It can also be taken in isolation to other things. Am I agnostic about, say, homoeopathy? Insofar as for it to work then a number of things including the modern atomic theory, statistical mechanics, chemical kinetics, dynamics of liquids and germ theory of disease would have to be false then no I am not.

          meta- (combining form) 3. denoting something of a higher or second-order kind;

          So what do definitions 1. and 2. say?

          e.g. “metalanguage”.

          For which the Oxford dictionary gives “A form of language or set of terms used for the description or analysis of another language”, which fits the definition from Berto and Plebani rather than “higher” or “above”.

          Then the mystical experience must be physical

          You do realise that “metaphysics” was originally simply the book by Aristotle that came after the book on physics?

          You seem to have a strange idea as to what metaphysics is, perhaps this this article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy might help.

          Some years ago the international body that regulates fencing decided that introducing transparent masks

          http://tconnexion.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/08-21_NewFencingMask.jpg

          might make the sport more tele-visual. In fact all that it showed was the complete focus and lack of emotion on the face of the fencer. One only gets the emotional content once the mask comes off.

          So is the focus shown by any sports person who is “in the groove” physical or non-physical?

          I was once taught by Peter Atkins. When not lecturing or tutoring he could be seen wandering around the university in what might be called an “intellectual revery”.

          So is this state physical or non-physical?

          And as a follow-up, here we have three things, mystical experience, complete focus and intellectual revery. Why should the first be different to the other two?

        • Mensch59

          And as a follow-up, here we have three things, mystical experience, complete focus and intellectual revery. Why should the first be different to the other two?

          Because the ambit of all three is different. Because the practice of all three is different. Because words have meaning and the meaning (or absurdity?) of the different experiences (fencing, reverie, mysticism) has deeper meaning.

          So is this state [of “intellectual reverie”] physical or non-physical?

          That would depend on the meaning of “non-physical.” Do you mean mental, i.e. cognitive? Do you mean metaphysical nothingness? What form of “non-physical” are you referring. What’s your point of reference?

          You do realise that “metaphysics” was originally simply the book by Aristotle that came after the book on physics?

          Looking at the title of a book is one approach. Then there’s the content of the presented material. Do I pretend to understand metaphysics? No. Why? Because there is a postulated aspect to metaphysics (such as mysticism and Aristotle’s “that which moves without being moved” or prime mover) which is admittedly non-intellectual (that “knowing” which is arguably personal while not being intellectual: compare Greek gnosis with εἶδειν, eídein & French connaitre with savoir & German kennen with wissen). This personal is also private. It’s not shared experience. It involves abstraction behind abstraction. It’s outside the ambit of taken-for-granted assumption that an objective reality exists which is shared by rational observers without falsifying that taken-for-granted assumption. It’s meta-.

          Re metalanguage as “A form of language or set of terms used for the description or analysis of another language” it fits with second order. It might not be a language at all but another set of symbols. Numerical symbols or a set of symbols commonly used to express logical representation can analyze fictive linguistic communication to describe truth statements and fallacious reasoning. I would say that’s higher order.

          So what do [the] definitions [of meta-] 1. and 2. say?

          meta-
          combining form
          prefix: meta-; prefix: met-
          1.
          denoting a change of position or condition.
          “metamorphosis”
          2.
          denoting position behind, after, or beyond.
          “metacarpus”
          3.
          denoting something of a higher or second-order kind.
          “metalanguage”
          4.
          CHEMISTRY
          denoting substitution at two carbon atoms separated by one other in a benzene ring, e.g., in 1,3 positions.
          “metadichlorobenzene”
          5.
          CHEMISTRY
          denoting a compound formed by dehydration.
          “metaphosphoric acid”
          Origin: from Greek meta ‘with, across, after.’

          As a follow up: to combining form. Field (PHYSICS–the region in which a particular condition prevails, especially one in which a force or influence is effective regardless of the presence or absence of a material medium) precedes form (Aristotle’s argument that every physical object is a compound of matter & form… unlike matter & energy or particle & wave).

        • epeeist

          Because the ambit of all three is different.

          So what are you saying, that “mystic experience” is different from “complete focus” and “intellectual revery” or that all three are different from each other?

          If it is the former then you are engaged in special pleading (unless of course you can show otherwise).

          If it is the latter then it is true but trivial. Presumably all are mental states in some way.

          That would depend on the meaning of “non-physical.” Do you mean mental, i.e. cognitive?

          This would seem to sit within the domain of philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience. Now the majority of philosophers of mind are physicalists, i.e. they would say that mind supervenes on the physical. The contrary position would be that the mind is of a different substance to the physical, but the problems with this have been manifest since the time of Descartes. Certainly there are few takers for substance dualism and property and predicate dualism fare little better.

          Do I pretend to understand metaphysics?

          Did you read the article I linked to which gives details of what constitutes modern metaphysics?

          Re metalanguage as “A form of language or set of terms used for the description or analysis of another language” it fits with second order.

          Well yes, in that it describes or analyses a first order language. The same is true of meta-logic.

          CHEMISTRY
          denoting substitution at two carbon atoms separated by one other in a benzene ring, e.g., in 1,3 positions.

          As opposed to “iso” (1,2 positions in a benzene ring) and “para” (1, 4 positions in a benzene ring). Nothing to do with “above” or “higher”.

          Field (PHYSICS

          You really don’t want to go there, my doctorate was in molecular physics, specifically the determination of potential barriers to rotation in methylated heterocyclic ring compounds.

        • Mensch59

          I cannot disagree with you more that differences in ambit, differences in practices, differences in focus are trivial mental states.

          Why did you even introduce the term “non-physical” without explaining what you meant by it?

          I explained to you specific reasons why I don’t pretend to understand metaphysics. Additionally your link goes to an insecure website which my browser warns me against. If you wish to remove mysticism and a postulated “unmoved mover” from metaphysics, how is that not a subtraction?

          The first order language is fictive, i.e. myths that surround us and make up our lives and determine to a large extent what we believe and what we do. Second order, like mathematical & logic symbols determine what’s true and false in their ambit. Can math and logic determine which of our fictive imaginings are true or false? Perhaps. I consider truth “higher order.” I don’t understand why that’s so difficult to admit.

          Right. The specific chemical definition is specific to its field. If you believe that meta- must be rejected (there’s that subtraction again) as being applied to a higher order of things, then I really have no compelling reason to discuss it with you any further.

          As per “Field precedes form” it’s interesting that you brought up molecular physics. If I recall correctly, I was introduced to “Field precedes form” by the physicist Lothar Schäfer who taught quantum chemical computations and electron diffraction studies of molecular structures. He wrote about “the universe as interconnected, nonmaterial, composed of a field of infinite potential, and conscious.” Maybe you can take up a discussion on “Field” in the specific contexts of physics and metaphysics and the practice of mystical experiences with him… physicist to physicist… since I’m so out of my league regarding your doctorate.

        • adam

          “System 1, aka recognition, allows me to see quickly those who play sophisticated mind games, aka sophists. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/40debca776e139bd6464d7f779107039523f2789df7384201c501fdb60f7f41c.png

        • Mensch59

          Can we therefore eliminate the hypothesis that the victim was murdered using the gun?

          No. But at least the investigation hasn’t ventured off into the absurd.

        • epeeist

          I am still waiting for you to tell me which of all my scenarios are absurd and why.

        • Mensch59

          Recognition. I recognize absurdity the same way I recognize sophistry and apathy. I am not required to explain what I recognize to you.

        • epeeist

          I am not required to explain what I recognize to you.

          In which case I am not required to explain why I dismiss it out of hand.

        • adam

          “Recognition. I recognize absurdity the same way I recognize sophistry and apathy.”

          Yeah, ya pull it out of your simpleton ass…

        • Greg G.

          An absurdity is an improbability that might be the only thing left if you haven’t eliminated all the other possibilities as impossible.

        • Mensch59

          There are reasonable possibilities and absurd possibilities.
          We have been given reason to discern between what’s absurd & unsatisfactory and meaningful & satisfying.
          If some people demand evidence or demand that meaning & satisfaction strictly confirm to the laws of logic; then those “some people” have rejected praxis and phronesis imo.

        • Greg G.

          How do you handle absurd & satisfying?

        • Mensch59

          Hopefully with grace & aplomb.
          :-)

        • Greg G.

          If inventing absurd ideas defeats the apophatic reasoning, I’d simply call it sophistry.

          “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable and absurd, must be the truth?”

        • Mensch59

          Given that fictive absurdities can be fantasized which technically are not logically impossible (but for the sake of practicality [praxis and phronesis] can safely be eliminated); I’d change it to “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible and the absurd, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
          It depends on if a sleuth takes an investigation seriously as a practical matter or if a sophist wishes to play meaningless mind games. “Before the game is afoot, thou still let’st slip.” ~ William Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Part I (1597)

          As a practical matter, if other commenters on this site have (a) certitude based on “the absence of evidence is evidence of absence” and (b) the belief that there is no source beyond imagination for a mystic’s experience other than a fantasized absurd fiction; even a skeptic ought to disengage. Even skeptical inquiry can run up against various brick walls aka forms and degrees of certitude and faith.

        • Greg G.

          (a) certitude based on “the absence of evidence is evidence of absence”

          No, it’s “the absence of evidence where there should be evidence is evidence of absence”. For example, if a party of two or three million people with livestock wandered the Sinai for forty years, there should be lots of evidence that should be easy to find. No evidence has been found despite diligent searches with a motive to support the story. So we can conclude that the story is fiction.

          (b) the belief that there is no source beyond imagination for a mystic’s experience other than a fantasized absurd fiction

          There are lots of mystical experiences that are mutually exclusive. The all have the same evidence but not all of them can be true. It tells us that humans are capable of having mystical experiences that are not an experience of something that exists. Many of them are drug-induced. Even if I cannot deny the possibility of them being real, I should still have doubts about them until there is valid evidence. I had a couple of mystical experiences. Both were magnificent. The first gave me fantastic insights that I cannot prove wrong. The second gave me fantastic insights that I later proved wrong. I don’t know that the first gave me valid information or not.

        • Mensch59

          There are instances where evidence ought to be apparent. There are instances where the demand for evidence is unreasonable, e.g. the meaning embedded in an experience of bliss or awe.
          If someone demanded evidence that I was moved to awe at a piece of art and that that experience was deeply meaningful to me; then that’s someone I would not wish to count as friendly. I don’t need to justify an experience with someone who has an agenda utilizing the laws of logic to demean my humanity. I would consider such a person a misanthrope.

          I think that having doubts about one’s own mystical experiences is valid. It’s even more valid to doubt another person’s mystical experiences. The pseudoskeptic denies when only doubt, unbelief, lack of belief, lack of evidence, lack of warranted belief have been established imo.

        • Mensch59

          My claim was that scientismists deny that science-as-ideology aka scientism exists as a theoretical concept. Their default position is denial. What did you interpret my claim as being when you said it didn’t make sense? Does my clarification now make sense?

        • Greg G.

          My claim was that scientismists deny that science-as-ideology aka scientism exists as a theoretical concept. Their default position is denial.

          Their default position is, “What’s your evidence?”

          Your confidence in something should be proportional to the strength of the evidence.

        • Mensch59

          [Anyone’s] confidence in something should be proportional to the strength of the evidence.

          Agreed. There is proportional confidence that BOTH denial AND science-as-ideology aka scientism exist as theoretical concepts… as does “What’s the evidence?” or “Follow the evidence.” There are plenty of sociological imaginings in which strong confidence is invested. We call these collective intersubjective myths for which there is no physical evidence.
          I offered a counterargument above which wasn’t adequately addressed imo.
          I’ll repeat that counterargument: “One of the bedrock taken-for-granted assumptions utilized to warrant confidence in scientific methodologies is ‘An objective reality exists which is shared by rational observers.’ Is this objective reality the only reality which exists. Obviously not. Imagined realities¹ (which are both subjective & intersubjective) also exist. These imagined realities have no objective validity, yet these imaginings surround us and make up our lives and determine to an extremely large extent what we believe and what we do. Think nation-states, human rights, fiat currency, limited liability companies². That’s just looking at imagination. Are there meta states of consciousness beyond both objectivity and imagination?”

          As a skeptic, I both doubt and question meta states of consciousness beyond the physical and the imaginative. But I don’t claim that these states are impossible. And I don’t invest over confidence in such states due to the weakness of the evidence. But I don’t jump to the hasty conclusion that no evidence exists. It’s all about determining the validity of the evidence… what’s admissible and what’s inadmissible. Why ought I have over confidence in agenda makers (presuming that atheists and scientismists and pseudoskeptics are as agenda oriented as theists and skeptics and those without excessive faith in scientists) to determine which evidence for “the mystical experience” is admissible and which evidence is inadmissible?
          ———
          ¹(1) The imagined order is embedded in the material environment. (2) The imagined order shapes our deepest desires and wishes. (3) The imagined order is embedded not only in the desires of a single person, but of countless people. See https://awaisaftab.blogspot.ca/2013/09/imagined-realities.html

          ²See the Peugeot example. https://awaisaftab.blogspot.ca/2013/08/the-cognitive-revolution.html

        • Greg G.

          I’ll repeat that counterargument: “One of the bedrock taken-for-granted assumptions utilized to warrant confidence in scientific methodologies is ‘An objective reality exists which is shared by rational observers.’ Is this objective reality the only reality which exists. Obviously not. Imagined realities¹ (which are both subjective & intersubjective) also exist. These imagined realities have no objective validity, yet these imaginings surround us and make up our lives and determine to an extremely large extent what we believe and what we do. Think nation-states, human rights, fiat currency, limited liability companies². That’s just looking at imagination. Are there meta states of consciousness beyond both objectivity and imagination?”

          First, “Imagined realities” is a contradiction in terms but I will ignore that for the sake of argument. There could be a reality that is unavailable to us. Someone might imagine it and that imagination might be 100% correct but unverifiable and it is indistinguishable from all of the imaginary imaginalities.

          What people imagine might affect them in reality. A Grand Canyon camper might hear an opposum rustling in the brush and imagine it is a bear, then run off the cliff in fear. I have a friend who used to be active in the Society for Creative Anachronism but she and her friends have apparently moved on to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings conventions in costumes. She really enjoys it but knows their shared imaginality is not reality though it seems to be what she enjoys most in life.

          We have virtual reality, too, that is not actual reality.

          Do we have an actual reality? We can play the solipsism game. We may have many apparent realities presented to us. We can decide by evidence which of those are the most likely to be most likely to be real. We can learn the importance of evidence to help make the determination. It doesn’t mean we are right. Even an omniscience wouldn’t be able to distinguish actual omniscience from a perfect illusion of omniscience.

        • Mensch59

          Maybe the term “imagined orders” would have resolved the dilemma.

          It’s as obvious as the respective noses on our faces that there are imagined orders. Ever since the advent of fictive language (allowing our species to communicate ideas & beliefs about “stuff” which we never smelled or touched or seen), the species has been living in a dual reality: the physical and the imaginary. Is that something to disdain?

          I’m open to investigating experiences which transcend that duality. I call that openness “skepticism.” Such skepticism isn’t solipsistic imo. Perhaps skepticism is more artistic. Is this accurate in your whole take on things? I think that skepticism logically segues into apophatic reasoning, i.e. eliminating non-scientific knowledge which isn’t meaningful or satisfying.

          “I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am… I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ~ A. Einstein http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/01/01/einstein-imagination/
          I thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of your post. Thanks.

        • Michael Neville

          If you haven’t already had a metaphysical or mystical experience or if you deny/completely reject the possibility of a monistic metaphysical source or absolute at the root of the subject-object relationship, then there’s no way to explain this reasoning via science or doxastic logical argument or how one experiences the cessation of suffering or other robust methodologies for determining the use of logic, philosophy, psychology, and linguistics to study knowledge and the way it is processed by humans.

          Shorter Marilyn Ferguson: If you don’t believe then you won’t believe.

        • Mensch59

          Your desire to believe is re-assuring.

        • Michael Neville

          I have no desire to believe. I want to know. For me to know something requires logic and, more importantly, evidence to support that something.

        • Mensch59

          Knowledge is only warranted belief.
          I’m skeptical about what’s denied on the hasty conclusion “no evidence” is warranted.

        • Michael Neville

          So you have evidence? I didn’t think so. When you or anyone provides evidence then I’ll consider your claims. Until then, you’re full of shit. And no, it’s not my fault that you don’t have any evidence.

        • Mensch59

          What evidence is there for the meaning the contemplative discovers in the nature of his/her being?
          If you wish to describe all contemplatives who find meaning, assurance, conviction by not following scientific methodologies as “full of sh¡t”, it says more about you than it does about them.
          I can doubt and inquire into how science and scientism resolves the meaningfulness vs absurdity existential questions with as much vigor & enthusiasm I doubt and inquire into claims of mystical experiences.

        • Michael Neville

          I haven’t promoted any belief

          This is not true. You’ve presented mystical woo-woo as if it were real. Obviously you believe it’s true or else you wouldn’t have spent so much time presenting it.

          If a scientist told you that you were using the wrong tool to find the answer to a question you asked, would you get this defensive?

          You’re the one who’s defensive. I gave my honest appraisal that you are a nut who believes in bullshit. When mystical bullshit is presented then I call it as I see it, mystical bullshit straight from the bull’s rectum. You’re the one who’s telling me that I’m using the “wrong tool” and asking the “wrong question” because I don’t accept certain things for the simple reason that I have no reason to believe they exist. And you’ve presented no evidence to convince me otherwise.

        • BlackMamba44

          No, no.

          This was defensive:

          That works well for the Abrahamic triad, and fundamentalists everywhere.
          But Eastern Philosophies are quite different, and mystics don’t have the same notions of what “GOD” is and does, at all.
          When atheists don’t bother to see the differences, and treat all religion/spirituality the same, they start sounding like the Fundamentalist they have so much contempt for.

          He just responded.

          You are arrogant and smug. The evidence is in your comments. They are pretty easy to read and understand.

        • fractal

          Nothing “super” about it; all natural.

          Mystics certainly do think differently about these subjects than fundamentalists—why does that surprise you so?

          As for “better”, well—
          That depends on your value system, doesn’t it?
          Certainly the mystics and humanists in a spiritual tradition move civilization forward and promote peaceful co-existence.

          If what you want is a dogeatdog Mad Max society, then no, my spiritual path is not “better”.

        • Otto

          Sounds like a Courtier’s Reply….

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Courtier's_Reply

        • fractal

          A Courtiers Reply depends on the fact that the “reading material” begs the question.
          That is your fallacy.
          What I am saying doesn’t beg the question.

          Because Eastern Philosophy at its basis doesn’t make an assertion that “God” is a person.
          In fact, Eastern Philosophy doesn’t necessary define “God” in the same way as the Abrahamic Triad does, with those Butch qualities of Smiting, Omnipotence (even sounds hyper-masculine, doesn’t it), all-Knowing, first Creator etc…

          Hence, all those “He’s” in your pithy little quote don’t apply.

        • Otto

          The point is Eastern philosophy has the same amount of evidence for its definition of ‘god’ as western religions, reading more about it isn’t going to change that.

        • adam

          “But Eastern Philosophies are quite different, and mystics don’t have the same notions of what “GOD” is and does, at all.”

          Of course not, some recognize that there are no GODs at all.
          Only human deception.

          “When atheists don’t bother to see the differences, and treat all
          religion/spirituality the same, they start sounding like the
          Fundamentalist they have so much contempt for.”

          See, I understand that, but anyone who claims a consciousness beyond that of the observer, are ONLY pretending to know.

          BTW, I identify primarily as a Taoist, but I have had my Buddhist days.

          It is still ONLY chemistry.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f41eecbdb1dbe7e399bafe47ee143e705fded7d604e5372fed8d81b43273643c.jpg

        • fractal

          Taoists don’t consider “GOD” a deception.
          They just say “we don’t know, and it isn’t relevant”.

          And Taoism still involves principles of harmonious balance, opposing energies that work together etc…
          There are a LOT of atheists right here on this thread who would start hissing and spitting at you, if you chose to talk about these unverified ideas, without scientific evidence.

          I consider myself a Taoist in daily life.
          But there are spiritual realms where Taoism doesn’t go, because it is a personal journey, not a set of principles.
          And I stumbled into those realms.

          And yes, Buddha isn’t God, doesn’t deal with the existence of “GOD”.
          If you would have read what I said—I was in no way promoting the existence of God, and have a lot of concern for the definition of “GOD” as promoted by the Abrahamic Triad.

          However, Buddhism does talk about higher states of consciousness, energy that moves thru the body and causes spiritual experiences and minds that evolve thru these experiences and practices.
          And most Buddhists do concur that something ineffable still is present after death—something that evolves thru experience and “grace”, until it does reach nirvana.

          The bigger question isn’t whether this really happens, but rather, who is the “I” that this is happening to…

          So, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM with what I am saying?

        • Greg G.

          So why pretend that kind of god is anything at all? If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, that’s OK. Do you get more warm fuzzies when you rave about it to internet strangers?

        • Noelle S.

          Uh-oh. Warm fuzzies are not in my vocabulary or experience! They would be emotional nonsense, as far as I am concerned.

        • Joe

          As opposed to another kind of nonsense?

        • Noelle S.

          Yes. The kind of nonsense which imagines that all there is to humans is their physical body and materially-orientated ‘mind’, which they think is the same as the physical brain. I give up. You’ll all be well rid of me, I know!!!!! All the best.

        • Joe

          You mean, the most pragmatic and reasonable view on the mind?

        • epeeist

          You mean the view that the mind is physical, the one that most philosophers tend towards.

        • Noelle S.

          If people here feel they are all ‘strangers’ I apologise for butting-in. Or are we all in this life together, with our varied impressions and tentative conclusions as to the real truths of living here?!

        • Joe

          We are all strangers here. Most of us don’t even use our full names.

        • Noelle S.

          Depends what we mean by ‘strangers’ I guess. I don’t consider any human a stranger – we all share basically the same fears, hopes, goals. Our tears all taste the same; our blood is the same colour; we all laugh and cry in the same language. Until humans see us as all the one – human – race, conflict won’t cease i think…..IMHO

        • Joe

          Depends what we mean by ‘strangers’ I guess

          It does. I’m using the term correctly.

        • Max Doubt

          Noelle S.: Depends what we mean by ‘strangers’ I guess.”

          Joe: It does. I’m using the term correctly.”

          This Noelle character is pretty fond of redefining pretty much everything. It’s a dishonest way of never having to actually defend her opinion. She keeps it meaningless and therefore unassailable. I suppose she may sound profound to people who are easily fooled or just plain stupid. To me she just sounds like she’s desperate to look smart and failing miserably at it.

        • Noelle S.

          As I am not trying to look smart or whatever you have decided in your rudely superior ways on this site, there is no point. You understand only materialism, It seems like advanced university-trained intellectualism? Not for those of us in the real world!
          “She keeps it meaningless..”
          Is it? Yes, if you only understand physical, material-only life; nothing creative; nothing beyond human ego……
          No-one ridiculing my views has proved their claims that the physical life is all there is to man; that there is nothing else…………

        • Max Doubt

          “As I am not trying to look smart or whatever you have decided in your rudely superior ways on this site, there is no point.”

          You’re trying to feel smart by tossing around words and phrases that sound all Deepak-Chopra-ish, but since those words and phrases have no meaning – even you can’t define them – your entire shtick is gibberish. Oh, and don’t worry about looking smart. Nothing you’ve said so far might give anyone that impression.

          “You understand only materialism, It seems like advanced university-trained intellectualism? Not for those of us in the real world!”

          In the real world, if you know of any objective evidence to support any claims for the existence of any gods or the occurrence of any supernatural acts, you lay it on the table. In the real world, when you have no such evidence but pretend you know something about gods or magical occurrences, those of us who can distinguish between what we imagine and objective reality will call you out for talking shit.

          In simple terms: You know nothing of anything that isn’t part of the material real world. When you pretend you do, you’re lying.

          “”She keeps it meaningless..”

          Is it?”

          Yes. You write crap using words and phrases you can’t even define. You’re pretending to know stuff you can’t possibly know, and hiding your ignorance from yourself by fluffing up your self deception with terms that have no meaning.

          “Yes, if you only understand physical, material-only life; nothing creative; nothing beyond human ego……”

          There’s plenty of creativity and plenty of elements of existence “beyond human ego”, none of which have been shown to require supernatural or imaginary explanations.

          “No-one ridiculing my views has proved their claims that the physical life is all there is to man; that there is nothing else…………”

          Nobody has proved there’s not a worm living in your brain, crawling around flipping switches to make you say stupid shit, either. We have evidence of the stupid shit you’re saying. Should we assume, since nobody proved there isn’t something crawling around inside your brain, that a parasite worm is causing you to write the nonsense you write?

          In simple terms: You don’t understand the burden of proof.

          There must be a science teacher there at your junior high who can give you a few pointers about critical thinking. You don’t even have to be very smart to do it, but you do have to be willing.

        • Michael Neville

          Oh, and don’t worry about looking smart. Nothing you’ve said so far might give anyone that impression.

          Hear! Hear!

        • Noelle S.

          Right! Certainly not to any of these materialist intellectuals who truly believe their physical body is all there is to them!
          Sadly pathetic!

        • adam

          What’s sadly pathetic, is your lack of demonstration of your claim.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e71894366d405a2560c124d806904b75ddf8371641ab58bc4449b6c60b966fb8.jpg

        • Noelle S.

          These utterly ridiculous, trouble-making ‘beliefs’ are truly PATHETIC!

          “..your lack of demonstration of your claim..”

          O.K. You demonstrate that you are ONLY physical, then I will demonstrate that you are not….which you won’t believe anyway!

        • Joe

          O.K. You demonstrate that you are ONLY physical,

          OK, chop my head off, then ask me a simple question. I wager I won’t be able to answer.

          then I will demonstrate that you are not….which you won’t believe anyway!

          We’ll be the judge of that. Please go ahead.

        • Noelle S.

          You WOULD be able to answer from your post-“death” consciousness; but I would not hear you, because I am not clairvoyant.

          You are NOT only physical….Why? Do you have any intuition? Not a physical thing. Have you ever loved an animal or person? (Or do you love only with your body, not your mind, heart, soul!)

        • Joe

          You WOULD be able to answer from your post-“death” consciousness; but I would not hear you, because I am not clairvoyant.

          Are you saying clairvoyants are actually talking to the dead?

          Do you have any intuition? Not a physical thing

          Yes it is. It takes place in the brain.

          Have you ever loved an animal or person?

          Yes.

          Or do you love only with your body, not your mind, heart, soul!)

          Yes.

        • Michael Neville

          Or do you love only with your body, not your mind, heart, soul!)

          I love with my mind, which is a function of my brain which is part of my body. My heart pumps blood and is not involved in love or any other emotion. The existence of the soul has yet to be shown so I don’t accept its existence.

        • adam

          “O.K. You demonstrate that you are ONLY physical, then I will demonstrate that you are not….which you won’t believe anyway!”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3da7f08a3390ef2111a626073dd7132a22b19bc1ce34ac9d4883c5e2d74a0eb8.jpg

          You are an IDiot

        • Michael Neville

          When evidence is provided for mysticism, the supernatural, and other non-material anything is provided then we’ll reconsider our stance. So far all you’ve presented is bafflegab. YOU are convinced that non-reality things exist, we do not share that conviction.

        • Noelle S.

          So you don’t even see that reality INCLUDES the non-physical!

          We will never be able to prove anything non-physical to those pretending to be ignorant, who obviously don’t sense it for themselves. Ridiculing everything they don’t understand and haven’t sensed in life.

          Where are the women in this group? Surely they, at least, know that intuition, love, ESP, and other non-physical factors are real!?!

          These debates are too juvenile – and vindictive – to spend time on. Back to the family’s chores!!

        • Joe

          So you don’t even see that reality INCLUDES the non-physical!

          No, that’s the point.

          Where are the women in this group? Surely they, at least, know that intuition, love, ESP, and other non-physical factors are real!?!

          Well, love is a physical thing, ‘intuition’ is vaguely defined, and ESP has a similar burden of proof to meet. I doubt you’ll find any agreement among our female posters.

        • Noelle S.

          Well, I pity such females then!

          “love is a physical thing”

          You can’t mean physical-only?!!!!! Oh my gosh. This is what is so askew in our societies now. Enough said! Oh yes, I see so-called “love” depicted on many T.V. dramas etc. Shallow, self-indulgent, no sharing, no respect, no mental or ‘spIrItual’ communication or connection! This is where the “We are just physical beings” has led our societies. Nothing beyond that! How sad!!

        • Joe

          Well, I pity such females then!

          Nobody cares for your pity.

          Nothing beyond that! How sad!

          That you find something ‘sad’ has no bearing on it being true or not.

        • epeeist

          no mental or ‘spIrItual’ communication or connection!

          You beg the question, you have yet to show that the “spiritual” actually exists and if it does what its properties are.

        • Noelle S.

          Since you think you are only your physical body you wouldn’t accept or understand if I did try to describe something so subtle.
          Even the dictionary can’t give a decent description – the best it can do is:- “spiritual” = “the mind; the higher faculties; the soul; highly refined in thought and feeling…”

        • epeeist

          Since you think you are only your physical body you wouldn’t accept or understand if I did try to describe something so subtle.

          Ah, the “it’s a mystery” defence.

          Sorry and all that, but if you are making an ontological commitment to the existence of the “spiritual” then it is down to you to demonstrate the said existence. If you can’t so demonstrate then there is no compulsion on us to accept your claim.

        • Nonsensical

          It certainly is a mystery. Especially to you who is so stupid that you actually are an un-ironic materialist.

          As I said just minutes ago:
          “If you define “concrete” as what is observable by natural means, as you clearly do, then you must be utterly stupid if you think that what is supernatural (aka ABOVE NATURE) can be detected by natural means.

          The physical cannot explain itself, therefore metaphysics.

          You also have plenty of concrete (as in concrete in the actual definition of the word, not how you misuse it) examples if you are willing to look into the 2000 year history of the Church.

          You have no scientific mind nor are you intellectually honest, so that will clearly not happen.”

        • Greg G.

          Even the dictionary can’t give a decent description

          That’s because it cannot be studied. It’s like it is just imaginary and everybody imagines it differently.

        • Nonsensical

          The spirit is the intellect, thought. Something you are clearly not experienced with.

          On the first day God said “Let there be Light,” which refers to the spirits. Who are rational souls with no bodies. They would later become the Angels.

        • Greg G.

          The spirit is the intellect, thought. Something you are clearly not experienced with.

          Thought is a chemical process performed by the brain. The mind is a function of the brain just as vision is a function of the eyes and the visual part of the brain.

          On the first day God said “Let there be Light,” which refers to the spirits. Who are rational souls with no bodies. They would later become the Angels.

          No it doesn’t. Light means light. It says God separated the light from the dark and called the light “Day” and the darkness “Night”.

        • Nonsensical

          Thought is of the soul, as no “chemical process” can create intellect.

          As I said, you do no thinking so obviously this subject is foreign to you.

          “The light” refers to spirits, who are beings of pure intellect. Enlightenment refers to an onset of knowledge and growing of the intellect. That’s basic English.

          How can you separate day from night if the physical world had not even been created yet? Anything material had not even been created yet. God needed to start with the metaphysical (spiritual) foundation of Logos, Reason, and Faith before He began to craft the physical (material) plane.

          Moreover, how is there day or night on a universal scale? Do you think there is a day and night cycle amongst stars and planets on an intergalactic scale? For people who claim to worship science, you clearly know nothing of basic reason or physics. Then again, science is basic observation and clearly you do no thinking at all and therefore have no reason.

          Your knowledge of even the first sentences of the Bible are as deep as a puddle. You really have no right to speak on any subject you know nothing about.

        • Kodie

          Your knowledge of even the first sentences of the Bible are as deep as a
          puddle. You really have no right to speak on any subject you know
          nothing about.

          Then you should shut completely up. Your knowledge on anything is zero. All you have is loudness, you use it to mask your insecurities and ignorance about EVERYTHING. Typical know-nothing Christian.

        • Nonsensical

          My posts show that I know quite a bit about what I speak of. Your posts and those of your alts/friends show you have no clue about anything.

          I’m not the one who has no idea what “light” means in metaphysics.

          I’m not the idiot who thinks a yet uncreated material universe has day and night cycles, let alone the weirdo who thinks that there are day and night cycles on an intergalactic scale.

          While that post of yours makes no sense considering my reasoned analysis and patient chastisement of idiocy, it does make perfect sense when considering your posts as well as that of greg g and the other two I forget the names of.

          You are fundamentally communists and therefore unthinking children of a borg hive-mind. You are therefore influenced by your predecessors marx, lenin, goebbels, and alinsky.

          You do as they commanded and accuse your enemies of what only you are agility of.

          Enough of this nonsense, you are blocked.

        • Kodie

          You’re a frightened piece of shit who can’t handle challenges to your beliefs. You are also PARANOID and BRAINWASHED. You make very loud unsupported assertions and call names because you have sold your intellect for the fake security of salvation. When you die, you die, at least I know and accept that. You are scared off your ass about that, and the only thing that reassures you is anger and hostility at people who don’t buy that bullshit and live just fine without it. If you’re just going to block everyone here who says anything to you, there’s an easier way – just go away from here. You can’t handle it, your faith can’t handle it, whatever.

        • Greg G.

          I’m not the idiot who thinks a yet uncreated material universe has day and night cycles, let alone the weirdo who thinks that there are day and night cycles on an intergalactic scale.

          No, you’re the idiot that thinks Genesis has something worthwhile to say about cosmology. It was written by people who didn’t know where the sun went at night.

          Do you understand that when you block somebody, you don’t see their replies to you but everybody else does.

        • Greg G.

          Thought is of the soul, as no “chemical process” can create intellect.

          Explain how drugs and alcohol impair thought if the thinking is done by a soul.

          “The light” refers to spirits, who are beings of pure intellect. Enlightenment refers to an onset of knowledge and growing of the intellect. That’s basic English.

          Have you ever read the Bible. I just summarized the first page for you. Look it up.

          How can you separate day from night if the physical world had not even been created yet?

          It’s on page one of the Bible. It’s stupid but that’s what is says. Perhaps you haven’t gotten that far, yet.

          Anything material had not even been created yet. God needed to start with the metaphysical (spiritual) foundation of Logos, Reason, and Faith before He began to craft the physical (material) plane.

          You know that is all bullshit, I hope. You have to be brainwashed at an early age.

        • Kodie

          Great, now you’re showing off what a sexist you are.

        • Kodie

          So she’s also a sexist.

        • Noelle S.

          Kodie, Please read my post above addressed to Joe and yourself on the same topic. And please if you can, reply to my challenge to you (last para.)!!!

        • Kodie

          Where are the women in this group? Surely they, at least, know that
          intuition, love, ESP, and other non-physical factors are real!?!

          I think you are saying women would agree with your bullshit.

        • Noelle S.

          Kodie, please define your idea of a “sexist”

          “I think you are saying women would agree with your bullshit.”

          I guess so….yes. Many, many women, probably most at a guess, worldwide, would think the same. It is well-recognised that women do have rather more intuition, ESP and a sense of loving. And that those things are real – not a matter of imagination. And that they are not just the expression of the PHYSICAL body.

          Doesn’t this mean that you agree with Joe, that “love is a physical thing”?? inferring I think, ONLY physical, judging by my comments that it is more than that – it also involves our mind and spirit.

          Kodie, have you never been loved by someone who loved you for yourself – mind, body, ‘spirit’, character, personality – soul – (rather than just physically, because they liked your body??! )
          The “only-physical” is the way ‘love’ is portrayed now in most T.V. and cinema dramas…….it is not surprising that young people are confused. Even “sex-education” videos etc at schools are like a biology lesson. The word and the idea of love does not appear!!

        • Phil Rimmer

          Noelle,

          I’d love to talk to you about this.

          I think all the rude physicality of our natures (and it is all rooted there) diminishes not one iota the poignancy and the poetry of our existences. If anything it increases the preciousness of our lives and experiences and the gob-smacking wonder of our finest sensibilities.

          For me the greatest poetry is only accessible to those who expect total and absolute loss.

        • Michael Neville

          When we talk about love being physical we’re not talking about sex. Romantic love is an emotion, which is generated by the mind, which is a function of the brain (not the heart as you apparently think). Brains are physical organs, part of the body. No spirituality is required for love to happen. That you think it is required tells me that you don’t understand anything about love. Which doesn’t surprise me because you’re not a very intelligent or introspective person.

        • Noelle S.

          “which doesn’t surprise me because you are not a very intelligent or introspective person..”

          That is LAUGHABLY incorrect about me…I am not surprised, but it’s just as well no-one who knows me heard that misdiagnosis!!

          “Romantic love is an emotion”…..”No spirituality is required for love to happen.”

          Yes, an emotion – which is not always reliable. I am talking about love which, together with emotion, recognises, appreciates, is considerate of, and wishes to link with, the “essence”, the spirit, of a person. That may lead to sex – or it may be sublimated. It IS spiritual, not merely emotion plus physical!.
          In any case, the centre for love IS the heart chakra; for strength is the small of the back; for power is the throat; for imagination, understanding and will is the centre between the eyebrows, and so on.

          Mind and thought are not a function of the brain, which is purely physical. Our mind is Mind, and, magnified millions and trillions of times, is universal Mind, source of, behind and within, every living thing. That’s how I have seen it interpreted by a scientist…..and I agree with that conclusion at this stage.

        • Michael Neville

          If you were intelligent then you’d understand why we’re rejecting your evidenceless claims. If you were introspective you’d realize that wishful thinking is not evidence. Ergo you are neither intelligent nor introspective.

          Mind and thought are not a function of the brain, which is purely physical.

          So where does your thinking come from? Your lower intestine? Thought is a function of the brain. That what brains are for, for thinking (there’s also the autonomic nervous system but critters with notochords have that). So once again you show that you’re not intelligent.

          I am talking about love which, together with emotion, recognises, appreciates, is considerate of, and wishes to link with, the “essence”, the spirit, of a person.

          Other than your “spirit of a person” bullshit that’s exactly what I was talking about when I talk about love. There’s still no spirituality need for me to love my wife.

          Our mind is Mind, and, magnified millions and trillions of times, is universal Mind,

          Universal bullshit is more like it. When you can provide evidence that your “universal Mind” is more than a figment of your not-too-intelligent imagination then I’ll accept it. Until then, you’re trying and failing to sell mystical, nonexistent bullshit. Which is why I say you’re not too intelligent.

        • Noelle S.

          sigh….. And you are wrong again!!

          I am intelligent enough not to waste much more time on materialist arguments.

          So you only link with her mind and body!

        • Michael Neville

          When you show that there’s anything else for me to link to then I’ll reconsider my stance. Until then it’s mind and body seulement (that’s foreign talk for “only”).

        • Noelle S.

          And to Kodie – your challenge doesn’t appear to be here yet…”Showing what a sexist you are.”

          You couldn’t be more wrong!!

          And it was Joe who claims that women here don’t believe intuition, ESP, love etc are real!!! I merely asked where are those here who know they are real!

          Joe thinks the women here would agree that “love is a physical thing”,
          “intuition is vaguely defined”, and ESP needs to be proved by the SCIENTISTS – who after all deal only in material things.

          Kodie, can you or any woman on this site, say that you truly believe that love is just a physical thing”?? Nothing of the mind and spirit involved? (i.e. admiration, respect, affection, joy, consideration, etc)??

        • Joe

          And it was Joe who claims that women here don’t believe intuition, ESP, love etc are real!!!

          No I didn’t, you’re lying.

          Joe thinks the women here would agree that “love is a physical thing”,
          “intuition is vaguely defined”,

          So far none have disagreed with me. I wait to be corrected.

          and ESP needs to be proved by the SCIENTISTS – who after all deal only in material things.

          Doesn’t it? How do you know if it works if you don’t test it out?

        • Noelle S.

          The reason those of us who know ESP is real and works, is that we have experienced it!! The SIMPLEST example for you. Have you never been thinking about someone at the moment they ring you ? Showing that your thoughts connected. So-called “co-incidence”!!.

          “No I didn’t, you’re are lying”
          If I have misread you, apologies. However, I am NOT a “liar”. There is a difference between misunderstanding or misquoting, and LYING.!!

          And you DID say “I doubt you’ll find any agreement among our female posters” (that love is not just a physical thing, that ESP is real, that intuition is real )

        • Joe

          The reason those of us who know ESP is real and works, is that we have experienced it!! The SIMPLEST example for you. Have you never been thinking about someone at the moment they ring you ? Showing that your thoughts connected. So-called “co-incidence”!!.

          That’s literally coincidence. You can’t make somebody call you by thinking about them. Try it.

          However, I am NOT a “liar”. There is a difference between misunderstanding or misquoting, and LYING.!!

          A fine line, that you overstepped. Remember I don’t have ESP to read your intentions. You wouldn’t be the first theist in these forums to make things up.

          That said, apology accepted.

          And you DID say “I doubt you’ll find any agreement among our female posters”

          I did. Has anyone upvoted you yet?

        • Noelle S.

          “That’s literally coincidence. You can’t make somebody call you by thinking about them. Try it.”

          ESP happens to so many people so often that I think it is more than co-incidence. I was making a ‘phone call when I suddenly felt very cold and ‘grey’. It turned out to be the doctor’s estimated time that my mother passed-on.
          A sister-in-law had a similar experience at the time that my brother was passing.
          An airman was calling for his Mum to “get me out of here” as he was shot down.(heard by radio by his fellow-pilot in another ‘plane); his mother “knew” at that moment that he had ‘died’. Simpler examples are described by people very often…….
          I do think, as many do of course, that thought is tangible -if we realised the power of thought, we could achieve wonders!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And have you “felt very cold and ‘grey'” when no catastrophe happened? If so, then you can see why we think some things are simply curious coincidences.

        • fractal

          I can see why you might BELIEVE that her experiences are coincidences.
          But there is no good scientific evidence to support your opinion either.

        • Noelle S.

          “Have you “felt very cold and grey” when no catastrophe happened?”

          No, I haven’t, thankfully – not a nice feeling.

          “If so, then you can see why we think some things are simply curious coincidences.”

          If not, as is the case, then it cannot be seen as a coincidence. You can’t be sure of that!. There is the definite possibility that it was an example of ‘ESP’, for want of a better term.

        • Kodie

          It’s hard to even take you seriously, you just sound nuttier and nuttier, spouting your unsupported assertions and just demonstrating what a gullible moron you are.

        • Noelle S.

          You don’t need to take me seriously. I am not silly enough to think that I could convince materialists of anything beyond the material.
          I am sorry, tho’ for your rejection of anything immaterial!!
          To me that s very restrictive of any search for what is real and true.

        • Kodie

          Why do you believe that women have some special power or special sense that nobody else has? You are warped and brainwashed because these are conventions that society just believes without proof, and it’s absolutely just a sexist attitude. You are just a gullible moron, don’t try to paint your silly beliefs on all women just because you want to be a silly woman. That’s sexist.

        • Noelle S.

          “You are just a gullible moron, don’t try to paint your silly beliefs on all women just because you want to be a silly woman. That’s sexist.”
          “Why do you believe that women have some special power or special sense that nobody else has? You are warped and brainwashed because these are conventions that society just believes without proof, and it’s absolutely just a sexist attitude.”

          So don’t be so silly; look at my comment….I did not say that women have some special sense THAT NOBODY ELSE HAS! I said that it is generally recognised that women tend to have more of that.

          You are a woman? Have you never experienced intuition, and if so do you think it is just your physical brain and thought which senses such impressions?

        • Kodie

          I WISH you could see how stupid you sound.

        • Michael Neville

          So you don’t even see that reality INCLUDES the non-physical!

          You’re saying ESP is real? Get real. Every time anyone has seriously investigated ESP it’s been shown to be either a hoax or wishful thinking. Intuition is a little more complex, it’s making subconscious decisions based on prior knowledge and other suchlike mental processes. Love is completely unlike the other two, you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to pretend that love is “non-physical”.

          Back to the family’s chores!!

          Bye. Come back when you’re ready to discuss reality instead of fantasy.

        • adam

          “These debates are too juvenile – and vindictive – to spend time on.”

          And WAY, WAY to hard for you to demonstrate with evidence.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/891db665af58352b854d9ed1a804cdf6e137dcd9f96a37adc7b7e573d25a0072.jpg

        • Noelle S.

          EXACTLY! Now please apply that to yourselves here! It really fits. Can you see that?

        • adam

          No, demonstrate.

        • adam
        • Noelle S.

          “you’re pretending to know stuff you can’t possibly know..”

          The mystery is, how is it that you and so many others do NOT know this ‘stuff’ – you honestly don’t know that there is more to you than just your physical body.?? PROVE that that is all there is to you, otherwise your view is not objective reality.
          No wonder your life is so boring that you can expend endless energy ridiculing views that you apparently do not understand, and have not experienced in your own awareness of life.
          Waste of time…
          By the way, I have never spoken of the “supernatural” or “gods” – that stuff is for fairy tales

        • adam

          “NOT know this ‘stuff’ – you honestly don’t know that there is more to you than just your physical body.??”

          Demonstrate this ‘more’

        • Max Doubt

          “The mystery is, how is it that you and so many others do NOT know this ‘stuff’ – you honestly don’t know that there is more to you than just your physical body.??”

          You’re being pretty persistent about attributing to me a position I don’t hold. That’s dishonest, a lot like lying.

          “PROVE that that is all there is to you, otherwise your view is not objective reality.”

          I already suggested you ask one of your science teachers to explain what it means to have the burden of proof.

          “No wonder your life is so boring that you can expend endless energy ridiculing views that you apparently do not understand, and have not experienced in your own awareness of life.”

          Several corrections here. My life isn’t the least bit boring. I ridicule your views because although you claim to understand something, or maybe you understand that you don’t understand something, you have utterly failed to explain what it is you do or don’t understand. You’re talking about stuff you can’t even describe in an unambiguous way, yet you’re talking about it as if it’s real or has some effect on the universe. You can’t even define the pieces to begin describing what you mean. Your views are ridiculous. You’ve earned the ridicule.

          “By the way, I have never spoken of the “supernatural” or “gods” – that stuff is for fairy tales”

          So, you say you’ve never spoken of the supernatural or gods? You’re a bald faced liar.

          Hi, “The ACTUAL words spoken by Jesus”…”how does anyone know which is which?”

          I suggest by studying the new book out on Amazon, “The True Sayings of Jesus”, by author/historian Antonio Sebastian. Why would one accept his presentation as accurate? One reason is that he spent ten years in intensive research into the ACTUAL history of the Jews in the time of Jesus – the Northern Israeli Jews who followed the true God of Love and Life; and the opposing Southern Judean Jews – practitioners of the old cult of blood-sacrifice, of violence and death – which neither Jesus nor the God He reflected, agreed with nor desired.
          “The True Sayings of Jesus” presents us with the words which Jesus Himself spoke, to whom, when, where and why, and the implications of their DEEPER meanings for us even today.
          I really fail to see how anyone could believe that all reported sayings by Jesus – as given by Paul, Luke etc., can possibly be accurate – given that many portray a god opposite to the God reflected and presented by Jesus Himself. Surely intelligence and our sense of the greatest possible, can never accept a god displaying the negative human-like emotions – anger, jealousy, even hatred, harsh judgment and punishment. A god made in MAN’s IMAGE!!
          The Blogs of that same author reveal so many misinterpretations and misquotes – of places, names, words and incidents – within the Bible – thejesusofhistory.com An amazing site…well worth a look! There are free copies of his other books – each based on historical facts; fascinating, if we want a true picture of the Great Spirit of All Life….the one whom Pythagoras “believed in as the unchangeably compassionate God”

          Are your parents proud to be raising a lying piece of crap like you?

        • TheNuszAbides

          Are your parents proud to be raising a lying piece of crap like you?

          i think one of her early comments indicated she was in her eighties, but i can’t be arsed to check today.

        • Michael Neville

          I remember an early comment which suggested she was in school, probably high school.

        • BlackMamba44

          She claimed to be a high school girl. I started high school at 13.

          I just can’t see her as much older.

          My man’s neice just graduated at 17. She was in all AP classes and finished a year early. She gives me hope for our future.

          This girl? She can stay in her little god bubble for all I care.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wouldn’t fit so well with her tales of a staff nurse career and having a ~feeling~ about her daughter’s accident in Italy.

        • Greg G.

          Candy Smith has said she had to get ready for school and that she had to ask her father some things. I think Noelle S. is of retirement age.

        • TheNuszAbides

          erp? oops, i thought that was another Noelle thread.

        • Michael Neville

          I could be mistaken, possibly confusing her for someone else or misremembering something she wrote.

        • TheNuszAbides

          or she could be as sloppy at tossing out personal anecdotes as she is with everything else she’s posted so far.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oops, i was only referring to Noelle. too much whack-a-mole too early in the morning!

        • Noelle S.

          Wrong again! Quote me if I ever mentioned “any gods or the occurrence of any supernatural acts..” Those are illusions…fantasy!

          I do not look smart, I do not feel smart – just normally enjoying the English language and its use……but if you keep on about it, well, the only other alternative is that……maybe I AM smart and don’t know it!
          For goodness sake!

        • adam

          ” Quote me if I ever mentioned “any gods or the occurrence of any supernatural acts..” Those are illusions…fantasy!”

          Here you go:

          “In nursing, I have ‘seen’ the spirit leave a seriously ill man’s body.”

        • Noelle S.

          “Quote me if I ever mentioned ..gods or…supernatural acts.”
          “Here you go.” .”In nursing I have seen the spirit leave a seriously ill man’s body..”

          For goodness sake…we will never get to understanding!! That is NOT “supernatural” THAT is the NATURAL process when any person “DIES”!!!!! Get it?! I am not the only one who has mentioned that on this site. And many many people have experienced it happening!!!!! Some can see it happen!!! The spirit of the person leaves through the head!! YES!!!!!

          Are you all afraid to ‘believe’ in something as good as life after “death”? In the ‘new’, perfect, much FINER body, (no more disabilities etc etc ) with so much to learn, and experience – and maybe come again in a new body and progress even further. Or do you think we all know and understand EVERYTHING in this one short life?!!?? Obviously, neither you, nor I, do!!!!!

          You don’t have to believe me! Look for “Life After Life”, by DOCTOR Raymond Moody. EVIDENCE, all correlating, from hundreds of people who experienced “death” but revived-survived. And (don’t be frightened….) there is even a book with evidence of Life Before Life!!!!

          With respect, we can’t learn what is true, by maintaining closed minds and cynicism, and ridiculing all who do think there is something more to us than body.

          O.K. Some have challenged me: What is this spirit you go on about?
          The dictionary proves unhelpful, so I will at least try to describe what it is……as I understand it as do SO many people…

          The BRAIN is just a physical object, with its neurotransmitters etc.,
          When you admire and enjoy a colourful sunset, or anything beautiful; or read or hear something you find inspires you; when you admire and appreciate some quality in your partner, sibling, parent etc – or anyone; when you create something; when you feel pity or love or enthusiasm…………..that is your spirit – the essence of you; your mind. The mind is not physical!! ‘tho’ the actual brain is.
          Your physical heart, brain, stomach etc can’t experience those things. When you leave, you retain you as your spirit -mind-soul – – the real, permanent part of you.
          That’s the best I can do, I think!..

        • adam

          Ghosts are supernatural, same with ‘spirits’ and ‘souls’

          So the only way you have to respond is by lying.

          “You don’t have to believe me! Look for “Life After Life”, by DOCTOR
          Raymond Moody. EVIDENCE, all correlating, from hundreds of people who
          experienced “death” but revived-survived. And (don’t be
          frightened….) there is even a book with evidence of Life Before
          Life!!!!”

          Reviewed it already, it’s not evidence but a set of lies designed to sell you his scam, he is NOT using SCIENCE, but relying on EMOTION to fool people like you.

          Moody has not demonstrated anything but how gullible people can be.

          “There are many frauds who claim to be able to see into the past or future by various means of divination and there are many who hallucinate due to sensory deprivation, extreme concentration on a single item, or lengthy gazing at uniform or kaleidoscopic surfaces.
          But Moody and many of his guests claim success at having spirits visit them in the
          mirrored room. Moody, like Charles Tart, is convinced that an altered state of consciousness is the gateway to the other world. Mirror gazing is just one of many methods Moody uses to try to induce an altered state.”

          On May10, 1998, Moody succeeded Tart to the Bigelow Chair in Consciousness Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

          He gave some indication of his non-ideological rigor by announcing that he has invited Brian Weiss, M.D., “expert in past life regression,” to conduct a community forum at UNLV. He also invited to UNLV Dianne Arcangel who, says Moody, is “an expert in the field of facilitated apparitions.”

          *note: Bigelow pulled the plug on the Consciousness Studies program at UNLV after five years and no significant results.”

          http://skepdic.com/moody.html

          Criticism of Moody’s near-death research

          Barry Beyerstein, a professor of psychology, has written that Moody’s alleged evidence for
          an afterlife is flawed, both logically and empirically.[8] The psychologist James Alcock has noted that Moody “…appears to ignore a great deal of the scientific literature dealing with hallucinatory experiences in general,just as he quickly glosses over the very real limitations of his research method.”[9] Such practice would be characteristic of cherry picking, a violation of valid research principles whether in good faith or bad.

          Moody has been described as a “strong personal believer” in the paranormal.[10]His methods have drawn criticism from the scientific community as many of the personal reports he collected on NDEs were given by the patients themselves, months and even years after the event. Terence Hines commented “such reports are hardly sufficient to argue for the reality of an afterlife.”[11]

          The philosopher Paul Kurtz has written that Moody’s evidence for the NDE is based on personal interviews and anecdotal accounts and there has been no statistical analyses of his data. There also is the question of interpreting such data as has been published assuming that the factual matter is objectively correct; according to Kurtz “there is no reliable evidence that people who report such experiences have died and returned, or that consciousness exists separate from the brain or body.”[12]

          The philosopher Robert Todd Carroll has written that a characteristic of Moody’s work is the omission of cases that do not fit his hypothesis, confirming the aspect of cherry
          picking. Carroll writes that what Moody describes as a typical NDE may be due to brain states triggered by cardiac arrest and anesthesia. Moody believes NDEs are evidence for an afterlife but Carroll states they can be explained by neurochemistry and are the result of a “dying, demented
          or drugged brain.”[13]”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0618711d45daa8dbd9279d4fd56aa468905735520adeaae1b71037ffa900be28.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d1fed9dc1c578347fb847e34f0dcceeff776cd6b3fb3a4e828063ef72d406b1.jpg

      • adam
        • Noelle S.

          So this illusory “GOD” you talk about, said and did those things, did “He”??

          You surely don’t Believe such so-called words by this God, as presented by liars in the Bible, do you?

          That is pathetic and unintelligent.

          My mistake, too, in referring to the Universal Mind as “God”. – that is the trap we can fall into since someone invented the word….

        • adam

          Your other mistake is claiming a “Universal Mind’, with precisely the same amount of evidence as “God”.

          Demonstrate your “Universal Mind”

        • Max Doubt

          “Your other mistake is claiming a “Universal Mind’, with precisely the same amount of evidence as “God”.”

          Yep, it’s another term Noelle will most surely be unable to define. It seems like she came here hoping to find some more teenagers who wanted to duke it out about philosophical puzzlements. But we’re no fun, a bunch of atheists who recognize her gibberish for what it is, so now she’s resorting to crapping in the corners just so she can complain about the smell.

        • adam

          The ‘woo’ is deepity in this one…

        • TheNuszAbides

          then why would you borrow it? are you trying to reclaim it? good luck with that.

        • Noelle S.

          No, not wanting to reclaim the word. Just a slip of the pen I guess, that I sometimes use it – having grown up within the circle of Methodism! Using the word ‘God’ also perhaps as the concept which Christians understand as the reality; whereas for me, Universal Mind is the nearest I can get to what I think is the real concept….

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ve heard a lot of level-headed talk about religion/belief from Chris Hedges, who was raised by a Methodist minister and with whom i agree on many social & political issues. he doesn’t make god-references generally, but he’s on record disavowing the “personal relationship” brand of pop-theology.

        • Noelle S.

          I agree with him. The old doctrine of Original Sin, “saved” by Jesus’ blood (no personal responsibility for our actions etc!), personal ‘saviour’ relationship, etc. “God” as an entity……..NO! I THINK it was supposed to have been Paul who introduced the idea of ‘vicarious atonement’ (All this is why I like and mentioned the blogs and books of Antonio Sebastian – dispelling, historically, the myths and misinterpretations.)

  • http://joslynrenfrey.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art Joslyn Renfrey

    One of the things I had always wondered about this was the direction of causality- whether atheism makes peaceful societies or peaceful societies make atheists (or whether there is a third factor that causes both), but when you have people actively interested in producing a more religious society, causality becomes more connected in both directions.

    • Michael Neville

      whether atheism makes peaceful societies or peaceful societies make atheists

      One aspect is Karl Marx’s realization that religion is “the opiate of the people.” This is often misinterpreted to mean that the ruling classes use religion to make the working classes docile. What Marx really meant is the lumpen proletariat use religion to ease their worries, fears and suffering.

      A peaceful, prosperous society doesn’t need the comforting that religions provide, so that religion becomes a minor factor in that society. My guess is that peaceful societies make atheists.

      • http://joslynrenfrey.tumblr.com/tagged/my-art Joslyn Renfrey

        It would be consistent with Johann Hari’s view on drug addiction, that it is more of a means of dealing with pain, in keeping with the opiate metaphor.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8L-0nSYzg

      • GREOP

        Your guess is irrelevant and worthless. Show some evidence to support your guess. American Society is still religious and affluent, and there goes your guess up in smoke.
        Atheists are gorging themselves in gluttony of affluence, but they are not comforted, but still many of them have terminated their mal-existence in untidy suicides or died unhappy wretches.

        Thanks for confessing that “karl marx” is your “god” and fake “saviour”,
        whose OPINION you do not question but accept hook line and sinker.

        But then, you are an atheist.
        And atheists are low self-esteem creatures who cannot think for
        themselves, and who have been so brain washed to believe misguided sterile so-called scientists to be smart and should think for them. The end result is that these misguided atheists put all their faith in misguided sterile science myths a.k.a.theories a.k.a OPINIONS, concocted by creatures equally misguided as them.

        By POPONNE.

        • TheNuszAbides

          we realize your hot-air generator is inexhaustible, but if you want this particular sock-puppet to survive, you actually need to contribute something either substantive or at least entertaining — not tastelessly assert the same baseless [this means you’ve made no effort to back them up] absurdities [this means we know more about ourselves than you pretend to].

        • islandbrewer

          You’re a Poe, aren’t you?

          Your facile statements, lack of argument, and stereotypic drivel is just a little too pat.

          Might I suggest more ALL-CAPS and exclamation points?

          Also, the “so-called” scientists is a nice touch and random cut-and-paste page return is classic!

        • Michael Neville

          GREOP is a morphing troll who’s been banned under several pseudonyms. The best response to him is:

          Comment by GREOP blocked.

        • Greg G.

          Many of the posts end with “[[ ]]]”. Disqus doesn’t like multiple posts with exactly the same content so he uses a different configuration of brackets to make them slightly “unique”.

        • Odd Jørgensen

          oh goodie, another idiot.

        • Greg G.

          One of the same idiots who won’t take the ban hammer as a “no”.

        • adam
    • Daniel G. Johnson

      I would suggest one test of these questions is to poll whether atheists are largely in favor of paying higher taxes in order to actually pay for and make possible a better society through enhanced and better funded social services.

      • adam
      • Michael Neville

        I am.

        I’m retired from the Navy, where I was a submariner. I question why the US Navy needs 62 submarines in commission, with five more building and two on order. Cutting the submarine force in half would still give the US more nuclear submarines than any other navy and would allow many social services to be funded without raising taxes.

        • Daniel G. Johnson

          You extend the question further in a good way. It’s one thing to produce more revenue for the treasury, but quite another to allocate it productively….toward the poor. So, there is a political task in this in addition to just a legal….as far a taxes go.

        • GREOP

          What a dumb question. I would applaud if you were ordered to resign your
          alleged position for asking such a dumb question? Social services above
          defense? I question your claim of being a “submariner.” Show
          some evidence. You sound more like a canoeriner.

          By POPONNE.

        • rubaxter

          Well, the poor spelling and general lack of English skills certainly point to you being a denizen of 32 foot sewer pipes.

          Complete the analogy:
          Human:Subhuman:: Mariner: …

        • Otto

          It’s you’re…not your.

          </