Adventures in Overthinking

Obviously, as Christian Nightmares points out, this is a jab at us atheists. We don’t believe in God simply because we cannot see Him. Let’s set aside that overly simplistic slander for the moment.

On the face of it, this is nonsense. Of course I can see my brain. Granted, I can’t bounce photons off of it the way I can with something outside of my head. But I’ve had multiple MRI scans for sinus problems, and there was a brain located behind the sinus polyps.

But maybe we should replace the word ‘brain’ with ‘mind’. Mind is a trickier concept than brain. While the mind arises from the physical state of the brain, the mind is more of a process or a system than a physical thing. Comparing the mind with God in this case can lead to some very interesting theology.

Or maybe they’re trying to make a different point. I am my mind. The reason I cannot see my mind is because I cannot step outside myself. That could be an interesting point for pantheists. The reason we cannot see God is because we are part of God.

I’m reminded of the of the part of Good Omens where Anathema tries, and fails, to read Adam’s aura. She missed it for a very simple reason, “It was for the same reason that people in Trafalgar Square can’t see England.”

  • trj

    Or maybe whoever put up that sign didn’t have any philosophical elaborations in mind whatsoever but just thought it was a really, really good argument for the existence of God.

    You know, like the wind. The wind is invisible, so according to us silly atheists it must not exist.

    • Jabster

      Honestly I think that’s the most likely answer … you can’t see the wind so it doesn’t exist.

      I chalk it up to stupid arguments that a certain section of believers make and even when corrected continue to make the same argument. Of course even if it was a good argument the problem then comes of which god.

    • Stony

      This is actually a decent argument for theists: you can’t see the wind but you can see the effects of the wind. You can’t see God but you can see the effects of God in your life. Simple, easy to digest. It starts to fall apart when you point out the bad things, mixed with the good, and no correlations, etc etc., and disease and disaster, which all create the cognitive dissonance that drives us away from “faith”. But it’s great pablum.

      • Custador

        Not really. Actually… Not even a little bit. I mean, first of all, you can see wind, for example on a sandy beach, and secondly of all, even if that’s stretching the definition of “see” a bit far for you, you can measure it with a weather vane or a wind-sock. God? Not so much.

      • trj

        We can measure the wind and we can, in fact, even see it on the molecular level. We can observe it, study it, experiment on it. In short, we are perfectly justified in concluding wind is a physical phenomenon; it exists. With God, we can do none of these things. The analogy is false since God and wind in practice share no common characteristics.

        • Stony

          I’m not disagreeing with either of you, so don’t get your ire up over what I wrote. And no, you can’t see wind, only the effects of wind or what the wind is carrying, and yes, you’re right, it is measurable. What I was trying to say was if I were selling God, I’d use the hell out of that analogy. It’s simplistic. It’s universal. It’s also wrong, but hey, I’m selling heah.

          • Azel

            With your eyes no. But given wind is a displacement of air, if you see air molecules moving, you see the wind.
            However, I think that for this argument’s target, the wind can’t be seen and you clearly see its effects, so it is for God.

        • ian

          Seriously? Believers can see the hand of God in everything. In the majesty of mountains, the breadth of oceans, a starry night, the diversity of life on this planet. For me, the problem arises when we attempt to define God, define that which we have already defined as being limitless and beyond definition. It is akin to capturing wind in a jar. It just isn’t wind anymore.

      • Kodie

        It’s a great argument in terms of selling bullshit. What’s getting to me lately is the “appearance” of logical arguments. Are you on the fence? Well, I will spin something for you that uses some of the elements of logic, but are arguments for persuasion.

        I’ve come to your door to sell you a vacuum cleaner and you don’t need one. But just hear me out. If my vacuum cleaners aren’t better than the one you’re using now, send me away and I’ll go. Fair enough.
        … If you’ve let it get this far, I know I’ll be able to sell you a vacuum cleaner because you don’t know the difference between logical arguments to buy it and arguments of persuasion which demonstrate the vacuum cleaner you already have (or a different one you were thinking of buying) is inferior or somehow lacking. Nobody but you is there to argue for the vacuum cleaner you already have, and you let a salesman in the door. Bam.

        • Sunny Day

          BAM!

          That’s when I hit him with my rock and take his vacuum.
          I’ll put his body in the freezer with the others.

          • Kodie

            I failed to account for other reasons to let a vacuum salesman cross the threshold than the usual, “Someone rang the doorbell to my own estate, so the least I owe him is to permit him entrance to see what he has to say. Anything else would be un-neighborly! As such, I shall also offer him a warm or cool beverage. I’m a schmuck!”

            Similarly, I cannot be “button-holed” while walking down the street. I don’t give any reason other than I don’t buy/take/sign things.

            • Mogg

              I used to be at least politely dismissive to random buttonholers in the street and shopping centres after a single company started popping up everywhere selling some beauty product or other, and obviously trained their staff to be as pushy as possible in order to get the attention of passers by. They would shout across the mall, stand in your way, interrupt conversations, even dog whistle in order get your attention. If they got your attention enough for you to do the polite ‘no thanks, not interested’, they would persist in trying to re-engage you until you had walked a good 20 metres past their stall. It really was very effective for improving my being brusque to salespeople skills.

            • UrsaMinor

              When approached too closely by pamphleters or pushy salespeople, I think it’s best to bare one’s teeth and hiss.

            • Mogg

              Given the dog whistle, I think a nice throaty growl would be more appropriate.

              I seem to have left an ‘until’ out of my previous comment.

            • Kodie

              Since the danger is actually stopping long enough to hear what they’re saying, I’ve passed on signing a lot of petitions I might like to sign also. I think most people know what they want and don’t want, but you have to hear what it is first, then you have to listen long enough to decide if it sounds like something you want, if it really is that and not just a spiel to get you to buy or sign something else. I guess it’s a good tactic, since most people’s first neighborly impulse is to hear them out first, but I don’t care.

              I’m a little upset to also admit that I used to have to do this. As “marketing associate” of a live theatre, one of my jobs was to (not occasionally, but frequently) attend festivals and parades and get visitors and spectators to pay attention to me long enough to shove a pamphlet in their hand. I also took small groups of 5 or 6 “community service” workers (petty criminals) to go with me to parking lots and streets to paper windshields, and at least one time, we spent a whole Saturday going up to the doors of houses and leaving brochures propped in the screen door. When I wasn’t doing that, I went to local businesses to ask them to hang a poster in the window for our shows. When I wasn’t doing that, I was stuffing envelopes and sorting them and driving them all the way to the post office hub right before 5pm or else it will all have been a waste of time. Oh, geez, when I wasn’t doing that, I was desperately calling former audience members to offer them a $3 discount to a show that night so I wouldn’t have to call the 5 people who bought tickets to tell them that the show had been canceled.

            • Mahousniper

              I find that if I raise my arms above my head and make loud noises, I look bigger than I really am and it scares them off.

            • Mogg

              It’s a pity that as a human you don’t have the capacity to fluff your hair up to help with that, Mahou. Maybe punks and people with afros are really just trying to ward off their natural predators, rude salespeople and random pamphleteers.

      • Spindel

        Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking the piss out of you, it is great pablum but the “you can’t see the wind’ argument has lead me to believe in a Loving and Just Wind… A personal Wind that cares for me, provides me with fresh air and doesn’t blow my house down. People who suffer the wrath of the Wind have obviously angered it in some way.

        • Custador

          Heh! Win :-p

  • Piet

    Reminds me of the tired argument of emotions that can’t be measured.

  • vasaroti

    Wish I could hear the convos among the brighter members of this congregation? “Should we tell him you can see a brain?”

    Had never heard of Good Omens before. Apparently it will become a mini-series next year.

    • Spindel

      Good Omens is a comical novel about the Apocalypse co-written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and well worth a read. Terry Pratchett specializes in comedy fantasy with over 20 novels in his Discworld series. Gaiman is most known for the Sandman graphic novels, novels like ‘Neverwhere’, ‘American gods’, and Anansi Boys as well as novels/movies like Stardust and Coraline.

  • Sue Blue

    “Truth Church” – No irony there…Nope, none at all. As far as the brain goes, I guess they ain’t hearda that newfangled thing called a CT scan or MRI. Or neurosurgery. Or….oh hell. A half-bright (unindoctrinated) five-year-old could see through their argument.

    I see flaming stupidity like this every day because on every road into town there is a church with a marquee and they seem to be engaged in a never-ending contest to see who can come up with the stupidest pun or slogan.

    • Kodie

      As with the “vacuum cleaner salesman” analogy, branding your product is a very important element to establish what you want your customers to think.

      Truth Church – implies doubt in all other churches, and by extension, other beliefs or atheism. In other arguments for faith, one might establish a doubter as a seeker of truth. It’s very flattering to the mark, and gets them to listen to the mumbo-jumbo.

      • Sue Blue

        I guess I’m just a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic, but adjectives like “Best” and “True” and “Only” don’t impress me much when I see them applied to products. Maybe it’s all the shitty YouTube videos that use these in their titles to attract views, but 9 times out of 10 I’ve found that anything so described is in fact, the exact opposite. If I were a christian looking for a church I’d be much more attracted to one with a plain name and a marquee with just the worship times on it, on the principle that the really good stuff doesn’t need flashy ads. But that’s just me – a skeptic. Or maybe a contrarian.

        • trj

          I take it you won’t be joining my True Super Awesome Best Church of Superior Greatest Holyness?

          • NoE

            trj – what?? it’s not the FIRST True Super Awesome Best Church of Superior Greatest Holyness?

            Sorry – can’t follow a copy.

        • Kodie

          It’s meant to work on the people it works on, and the people it works on think it will work on anyone – because they have the truth and been led to believe they are smart and truth-seeking and came about their beliefs in an imitation of a logical argument. Getting into debates with non-believers or other-believers only strengthens their feelings even when presented with logic against belief or logic for another belief since they are mostly still self-satisfied with arriving at the truth through logic, and have a low opinion of anything else that claims to be truth or logic. As Chris in the “About” page thread demonstrated extremely well, he’s very proud of himself for understanding what was laid before him as truth and logic, and disappointed that he fails to convey this very important information to fools who know they don’t want to buy what he’s selling. I’m sure at the instance he was vulnerable to it, they at first flattered him very much and made negative comments about their competition for his decision what to believe.

          When I was in commission sales a long time ago, I was the same. I thought since I worked there, I would be privy to the truth. If a manager told me what materials something was made from and how well it wore, or when it would be delivered, I confidently repeated it to a prospective customer. Also, that our competition used unethical practices, marked their prices higher, and certain brands that had exclusivity contracts with our competition were poorly constructed compared to what we sold. I heard my manager tell a customer the set they were looking at in our store was made from inferior materials (and named the materials) compared to a similar set sold for $1000 more, which they bought. I asked him later if that was true, and he just shrugged. He didn’t care. It kind of snapped me out of my trust and I was already not a good seller. The customers stopped to look fondly at a set that appealed to them that was also marked at the price they wanted to pay; salesman comes along to give them inside information – this is actually not going to last and a waste for the money, it is tricking you, appearing to be a material it is not. Let me show you a superior product and why it’s worth a lot more money than you came in here to spend. The manager was skilled at this sort of deception, and I was just his pawn.

          Religions work the same way, and they work hard. You don’t want to be wrong do you, let me tell you the inside info, are you skeptical, let me draw you a diagram that leads straight to what I want you to believe and cast doubt on everything else.

          I’d like to know more history though. It seems like there’s a frightening trend in the US toward fundamental Christianity that has grown since ? I don’t know. It almost feels like they are using bigger guns than they used to.

          • Sue Blue

            They certainly have more bullshit on their signs than they used to!

            I love it when my engineer husband and I go into a store and some salesperson tries to scam us into buying the flashiest, most expensive item. We do our research long before ever setting foot in a store and usually know way more than anyone there about how the item is made, how it works, which brands are performing the best, the competition’s prices, and what kind of BS is floating around about the product. Usually they drop the sales pitch right away and move on to easier pickings. It works for us on everything from laptops to cameras to cars. Critical thinking skills and research have worked for me for years, so that I now find it hard to believe how easily some people can be taken in – especially by religion. I think a lot of it is desperation bolstered by confirmation bias. They want to believe, therefore they do.

            • Kodie

              I’m the same way. I hate going to Best Buy to see if they sell the same thing I researched online for an agreeable price so I don’t have to order it. The Best Buy guy asks if I need any help, and I say, I’m just looking, then 10 seconds later, he wants to interrupt me again, and this is the part that makes me and most people feel really rotten: I don’t need your help! I have walked out of more stores where I don’t want to be cluttered by whatever the salesperson says if they are especially pushy. I know why they are, and I’m not the type of person to waste their time on purpose if I really am just looking. Let them find another mark. They do have a motivation to sell and that’s like waitstaff. Draw is minimal, they really can’t cover their nut unless they hound people to death with sales tactics. I don’t have the will to intentionally prevent them from preying on weaker customers, of whom I have low enough opinion, that they should be preyed upon.

              I think the whole transaction predicates on that people who don’t know what they’re looking for will believe you (and I’m fine with that), or at least are so socially neighborly that they don’t dare shoo away someone who is talking to them. It’s detrimental to me and what I value to spend my time with salespersons in order to prevent them from moving on to someone else, but that’s personal. Some people feel like it is worth their time to dissuade the general process from succeeding. If you keep a Jehovah’s Witness ON your doorstep long enough to waste their time, you have a decent chance that they won’t have time to bother your neighbors, but I don’t think this will overall change how they operate in terms of consequence to their methods. That’s to also say, if they do get to your neighbors, it might create a bigger problem, so an investment in time might prevent their conversions, but none of that makes it true, and moving sucks, but more rationally, they are also opposed unless some of them are susceptible due to hopelessness. If you get to know your own neighbors, you can divert the influence of religious peddlers. It’s better to spend time with your own neighbors than to thwart the efforts of the peddlers by spending time with them.

  • Pastor Juan

    The Devil wants you to think so that you would be distraced from your own mind to hear the word of God. (like the static between radio stations, you need to tune your radio with faith). I really dont know why you guys try so hard to keep God out of your hearts. He gave us hearts and a soul for a reason.

    If you want to hear the truth of the matter just see me and message me at [personal details redacted - Teh Srvr Munkehs]

    God Bless you all!

    • Custador

      a) No evangelism here, please.
      b) Please don’t post personal information like that. This is the internet. It is not short of weirdos.

      • Sunny Day

        Darn missed it. I have a special place where I leave email addresses of people who perturb me.

        • Custador

          In this case it was his personal facebook page.

    • Custador

      Now that’s out of the way: We don’t “try so hard to keep God out of [our] hearts”. Standard issue theistic dimwittery. We don’t believe in God, because there is absolutely no reason to believe in God and no evidence to suggest that he exists. So why would we?

    • Julie42

      We have hearts to keep blood pumping through our veins. Fortunately, I don’t bother trying to think with my heart and my brain doesn’t see any reason to believe in things I have no evidence for.

    • Ty

      “The Devil wants you to think so that you would be distraced from your own mind to hear the word of God.”

      Wow, this is classic. The devil wants you to think.

      Gotta say, if the devil wants me to think, and god doesn’t, then I’m kinda liking team devil. Thinking is good. I’ll keep thinking, thanks.

      I also like the implication that thinking drives god away like holy water on a vampire. Why is he so anti-thought?

      • Sue Blue

        Go Team Devil! Where do I sign up?

        • Len

          Are there t-shirts?

    • Sunny Day

      Then the word of god isn’t that powerful. Why would I want to worship something as weak and pathetic as a creature who can’t broadcast their message effectively.

      • John C

        ‘Can you hear Me now, Sunny’? The communication challenges aren’t on His end, friend. He can speak to you loud & clear and you can surely…www.HearHim.net.

        You’re just tuned to the wrong frequency…unbelief. Turn the die-all from Self to Him. Let there be…sound? Ha. All the best.

        • Julie42

          lololololollll

        • Ty

          If you’re his best spokesman, he’s worse off than I thought.

        • Sunny Day

          John I’ve set aside my attempts to insult you, please return the favor and do me the courtesy of not talking at/to me.

        • Mahousniper

          I honestly think this might be the most coherent thing John C has posted here. To be fair, building off another poster doesn’t really count as your own idea.

          • Kodie

            All the problems of non-believers are that we aren’t open the Light and the Love and the GlowRay of InDwelling Christ. I think any John C post with wordplay is more entertaining but less coherent than the classic version of John C, which was still really annoying and wrong.

        • Len

          Let there be…sound

          John C, have you been listening to a different gospel?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZGAcnmCnQs&fmt=18

          • John C

            Ha, I like to rock too Len, I’m free, remember? But I rather prefer some ‘down home’ style licks with Stevie Ray Vaughan and the like…

    • Mark Joseph

      Pastor Juan:

      The Devil

      I’m sorry, but it’s no longer the 11th century. If you want to scare two-year olds, I suppose you have the right to try, but please don’t threaten educated people with an imaginary bogeyman, unless you have some sort of evidence that said devil exists.

      wants you to think so that you would be distraced from your own mind to hear the word of God.

      Which word of god? “But nay! I swear by the falling of stars; And most surely it is a very great oath if you only knew; Most surely it is an honored Quran, In a book that is protected None shall touch it save the purified ones. A revelation by the Lord of the worlds” (Quran 56.75-80)? “One who, while himself seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter” (Dhammapada 10.132)? “The Self which you meditate on is the Vaisvanara Self, called Rayi (wealth). Therefore are you wealthy and flourishing. You eat food and see your desire, and whoever thus meditates on that Vaisvanara Self, eats food and sees his desire, and has Vedic glory in his house. That, however, is but the bladder of the Self, and your bladder would have burst, if you had not come to me (Upanishads, Sixteenth Khanda)?” “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live (Exodus 22.18)?” “We are not saying that Evolution can’t exist, only that it is guided by His Noodly Appendage. And our Spaghedeity is extremely modest. For some reason, He went through a great deal of trouble to make us believe that Evolution is true—masking the prominent role of Pirates in our origins, making monkeys seem more important than they really are, generally keeping behind the scenes and out of the spotlight (Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, p. 26).”

      (like the static between radio stations, you need to tune your radio with faith).

      Remember that the definition of faith is believing stuff for which there is, at best, no evidence (John 20.29, Hebrews 11.1). “In some circles, this is considered a virtue.” I’d *much* rather listen to the static between the radio stations than to the constant barrage of religious and right-wing claptrap that emanates from most of the stations themselves.

      I really dont know why you guys try so hard to keep God out of your hearts.

      Thank you for stereotyping me (and a good number of others). I sought god (your god) for 23 years; I was a missionary for 15 of those. God never once showed himself or gave any evidence of his existence. Since I stopped looking for him about 12 years ago, his (lack of) response hasn’t altered one iota, and my life is much better than it was.

      He gave us hearts and a soul for a reason.

      As pointed out below by Julie42, hearts are for pumping blood. A salutary intellectual exercise would be to trace the evolution of the heart in mammals and their ancestors, to see just exactly where our heart actually did come from. As for the other two concepts you mention, that god gave us hearts and souls is what needs to be proven (or, at least, to have some evidence marshaled in favor of the concept), and the idea of the soul can be disproven (the faculties usually attributed to the soul are missing in a brain-damaged person who is still, nevertheless, alive. That shows that the soul is but an epiphenomenon of the brain).

      So, you’ll forgive me if I don’t follow your version of your religion, and start sending you money.

      • John C

        ‘God never once showed himself or gave any evidence of his existence’

        Did you ever think to look in the mirror, friend? (Col 1:27, James 1:23, 2nd Cor 3:18, etc). How much more ‘evidence’ o you need? You are His ‘existence’, His (kind & quality of) life in you, that ‘Word made flesh’ (John 1:14). Its all about mankind being His expression, not express-shun, respectfully intended. Man is the dwelling place of God (Rev 21:3). All the very best.

        • Mark Joseph

          John:

          This is meaningless god-talk, unsupported by any sort of factual evidence whatsoever; I’m not sure why you ask what more evidence I could need when you have provided none. Reading the bible (or any other religious tome) in its historical context makes it clear that god was created in the image of man (amazing how much god in the bible resembles a bronze-age king) rather than the other way around. My existence is quite satisfactorily explained by sex, embryology, growth, education, socialization, personal choice, and the influence of friends, ideas, and the environment. There is no need to posit more; indeed, without evidence there is no reason to, as “the wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.”

          Furthermore, even if the present rational, scientific explanation of human existence were *not* sufficient, that would not mean that any religion, much less your religion, much much less your particular interpretation of your religion, would be sufficient.

          As the poster says, “There is very probably no god; now go and enjoy the rest of your life.” I wasted 23 years on religion, and do not intend to piss away another minute on it.

          • John C

            I understand and agree wholeheartedly with you Mark that you don’t intend to waste another moment in ‘religion’, wise choice indeed. But thankfully ‘religion’ is not the true offer in Christ but rather your True, originally-intended Self back again, that man ‘made in God’s very image and likeness’ (Gen 1:26&27) that we ‘fell away from’ with tragic results.

            So you got caught up in a life-less religious mess for a season like so many of us have. Have you ever considered that what you intended as a stepping away from God might actually have been a necessary, God-directed step toward Him? That He had to let you experience the vanity (emptiness) of ‘religion’ before you could know Christ as life, Christ who is our (very/only/one) true life, since ‘we’ have died? (Col 3:4). Sometimes what appears to be a set-back is actually a setup. He hasn’t gone anywhere friend, He is faithful, He is love. A Onederfull dis-cover’y awaits you. All my best.

            • Anonymous-Sam

              And perhaps God wants us all to become atheists. Perhaps He is tired of all the publicity and the prayers and just wants to retire. Who can possibly say, when all our correspondence with Him is at least several thousand years out of date?

            • Mark Joseph

              John:

              I notice lately that christians insist that their religion is not a religion (must be a meme), which is wrong on every level from the lexical to the sociological. If it quacks like a duck, etc.

              Julie42′s comment precisely captured something I thought of after I replied to you; that is, your bizarre assertion that “I exist, therefore god exists.”

              And Jabster’s comment about one’s reaction when meeting you was quite appropriate. It seems to me like you have a source for the really good hash. So please, carry on with your religioning (next time you’re reading the bible, you might want to check out 1 Samuel 15; nothing like a little genocide to liven up the day), and I’ll get back to my studies.

            • John C

              Mark,

              No religion and no genocide. The things of God are spiritually discerned, not reasonably deduced (1st Cor 2:14). So what your natural, unbelieving mind reads and ‘naturally’ assumes to be genocide…isn’t. Those OT stories on the conquest of Canaan, the Promised Land that you referenced paints a picture of God’s dealing with our fallen, flesh nature issues that ‘stand in the way’ of knowing Christ as life, of manifesting His divine nature alone. And Agag is King of the Amalekites. The Amalekites are descendents of Esau (as opposed to Jacob) which represents our flesh man and nature and which must be ‘put to death’ in us in order for our spiritual man and nature (Jacob) to assume the ascendent role resulting in our freedom…from ourselves. Saul sparing him and the ‘best flocks’ is a picture of our thinking surely there must be ‘something’ righteous in my old man and nature worth ‘sparing’ that is useful to God but our Adam life went to the cross, was put to death. And this is the life of faith, to transition from outward, visible things and realities to inward, hidden ones beneath the surface. All the best.

            • Anonymous-Sam

              3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

              You mean to tell me that this ISN’T a reference to putting to death men and women, children and infants? How is there even room to misinterpret it?

            • John C

              Sam, no its not at all friend, I assure you. First, who is Amalek, do you really know the context of the story that ‘appears’ as a genocide? ‘but we walk by faith (righteous judgment, spiritual discernment) not by appearances’ (natural reasoning’s, 2nd Cor 5:7). The Bible is not a mere book like other books are, and so is comprehended via a ‘whole’ other capacity. I have been on this journey for many years and it took those many to see into the mysteries of the kingdom which Jesus said were ‘given to us believers, (those who persevere in the journey with Him, Luke 8:10).

              There is much, much more than meets the (natural) eye and mind. All my best friend.

            • Kodie

              What you call “spiritually discerning,” the rest of us recognize as “reading what you want into it.” Your habit of making up wordplay to double up on meanings suggests that you will defend what you like to think over any other meanings of those words. You work off a template and you squeeze everything into it. There is no spiritual discernment other than you being fed like a drug addict to spin even the harshest realities to glorify someone who doesn’t exist, except in your imagination. You RATIONALize Very Much.

            • Anonymous-Sam

              I don’t see how “kill” can, could or should be taken as allegorical. God says to kill people. Saul “put them to death by the sword.” That is plain and simple speech. If you were less eloquent, I would have to believe that you were a troll. As it is, I have to agree with the majority here: You are a seriously disturbed individual. My advice is to seek clinical help ASAP before you “bless” your children and have to be tried for murder.

            • Custador

              Don’t for one second think that the thought has never occurred to us that John is the internet’s longest running and most spectacularly successful Poe. He denies it, but I’m still not sure.

            • Kodie

              I can’t help you if you want to do this the long way, but the short version is that John has already “spiritually discerned” that killing or genocide in the bible is a metaphor for killing off the doubt and the stubborn rationality, in order to ready oneself for the InDwelling of Christ, the Light, the Love, and all that spazzy jazzy. His issue with “religion” is that they organize to distract from the personal relationship with Jesus rather than to guide. He is not willing to have a debate here, he only wants to evangelize his weird little cherry-picking angle, pretend it’s not also a religion, and invite you on a journey with him. He is immune to criticism, or seems to be. If you want to keep after him to be intellectually honest, that’s how it will go. He’s against mature rational discourse, he’s in favor of child-like surrender of the intellect in order to receive the spiritual packet of Light and Love and whatnot. That’s what he thinks is wrong with you, and there are no other answers. You’re defying the spiritual InDwelling of Love and Light………… lots of ellipsis, RanDom CAPitalization, whirredPLAY, and the reason you can’t feel Christ InDwelling is that you’re too rational. He’s the opposite of the modern type who needs to be convinced by weak logic and weak evidence and sloppy resemblance to science. He’s not going to pick over meaning of the bible and defend the meanings he chooses. No, he doesn’t even defend them, he just keeps asserting them.

              Unless he cracks an awkward joke. This is how he deflects criticism, and the only known deviation from the format.

            • John C

              ‘sometimes words have two meanings’ (Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin)

            • Kodie

              Sometimes, but not just whenever it’s convenient for you. -The Word of Kodie, from Kodie.

              You actually have to put in the work to defend and support the alternate meanings that you prefer, and you don’t.

          • Anonymous-Sam

            And if you play Stairway to Heaven backwards, you can hear a message about Sweet Satan’s little toolshed. http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking/stairway-to-heaven-backwards.html

        • Julie42

          I hardly think that after Descartes said “I think, therefore I am” that his next statement was “I am, therefore God exists.”

          If you don’t see that huge gap in reasoning…well there’s no helping you.

          • Jabster

            “If you don’t see that huge gap in reasoning…well there’s no helping you.”

            It’s always amusing to see people’s reactions when they first encounter John C.

            • Julie42

              My problem is that I always feel the need to correct people if I know they’re wrong, even if I know it wont make a difference.
              My siblings hate me for it, especially my conspiracy theory-loving sister.

            • UrsaMinor

              I feel your pain, Julie. I, too, have relatives who love conspiracy theories. They also view everything through a lens of “Republican legislation good; Democratic legislation bad”; it doesn’t matter what the legislation is or does, it is impossible to discuss it on its own merits with them. And yet, I keep trying.

              And I can’t help but wade into a conversation when someone says something like “Genetically modified foods are bad because they can’t be digested”. I know it’s a lost cause from the outset, but I just have to present the side of reason. It’s a compulsion.

            • trj

              Heh, if it were true genetically modified foods couldn’t be digested they would be the perfect way to lose weight. Eat as much as you like, you won’t gain a gram.

          • Len

            I think sometimes, therefore I might be.

            • Mark Joseph

              Hi Len:

              I think that I might be wrong, therefore I might be wrong. Words that are never spoken by the religious.

              And, since indented too far there is no reply button, let me use this space to say to Julie42, I’m right with you. I correct what is wrong, and don’t win any plaudits from the ignorati. Also, I have three fundamentalist siblings (I’m the only ex-fundamentalist among us!). One yells at me and e-mails me nastygrams, one is on record as supporting a genocide of *all* Arabs because of the bible verses commanding it (are you still reading John C? In the land of allegory, you might think these verses are not about genocide, but in the real world, they are–you might know that theologian William Lane Craig is recently on record as supporting genocide if god commands it). The third sibling has not spoken to me since I left the church, and will not even look at me if I’m in the same room.

              Also thanks to Kodie for showing John C that allegory is just making stuff up, and for showing me who John C is (I’d never heard of him). I will now cease to feed the troll.

              Ursa Minor–my relatives are not conspiracy-theorists, just fundies who think they’re right and everyone else is wrong, despite being themselves almost completely ignorant. And, yes, they do vote Republican. We are not surprised.

            • John C

              That you came from a fundamentalist background was a given, Mark. The recoil response is the very same each and every time and is easily recognizable. Glad you are free from its harsh and religious grasp since ‘that’ was not Him.

  • Sue Blue

    Unfortunately for you, Pastor Juan, on this planet when you start to hear the word of god the doctors call it “auditory hallucinations” and the risperidone shots start.

    • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

      +1 for knowing the drug name.

  • Mahousniper

    I’m calling Photoshop on the name of the church though. Way too white, you can see the edges don’t match up. My guess is someone didn’t want the church to be harassed and changed the name to prevent that.

    • Kodie

      Why would anyone care about that?

      http://www.truthchurch.com/page.php?ID=61

      The Word of God is a sign. The Bible stands true today, timeless and transcendent, despite various and sustained assaults through the centuries. It is a sign. And within the Bible, there are signs that direct us toward personal fulfillment and eternal reward. Following the signs of the Bible will lead you to a safe and satisfying journey’s end.

      And signs of the end are all around us. Jesus provided several signs to indicate when the end of the age was approaching. Earthquakes, wars, famines, hatred of the name of Jesus, and the cooling of love are among many signs that time is drawing toward its conclusion. These signs are pervasive in our generation, and we ought to give them due caution and attention.

  • Doc D

    Actually, you can see parts of your brain/ central nervous system. The retina of the eye is quite visible, especially when taking flash photograpy (the red eye effect is the retina)

    • Kodie

      None of that means anything to the religious. I think one of the biggest impasses between logic and religion is how the brain actually functions. They feel religious proof through the “spark” of creativity and thought, and don’t care what the biological processes are. With that said, when I saw the sign, I understood it sarcastic, but I also read it straight: they admit by the same processes they deny everything else, that they do not have brains. Don’t use them anyway.

  • Charles Drovidi

    On ‘seeing the mind,’ it would be fair to say that the mind is what the brain does. In that sense, seeing a person is seeing the mind in the sense that seeing a running computer could be called seeing Windows.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    !

    You have given me a new piece of data. I knew nothing about pantheism prior to this. Now I need to research it and decide whether my beliefs coincide enough with pantheism or panentheism to say whether I live according to either one.

    It has long since been my belief that the only supernatural force in our universe is the fact that it exists, and that what religion attributes anthropomorphological or anthromorphic traits to (uncertain of the proper verb) is in fact merely the toolkits by which the universe functions. I.E., they worship a metaphorical random number generator, whereas I pay respectful homage to the brilliance of nature, the laws of physics, and the miracle of life itself.

    It has the wonder of being more philosophy than religion. It crosses over into religion because of my sense of optimism — that is, that I optimistically believe that it’s not all random chaos and chance, and that, in fact, there are subtle forces at work, even if they’re merely in forms of energy which we cannot yet recognize (but are certainly capable of eventually doing so as our understanding of technology or the human mind increases). Likewise, I don’t believe that death is the end of being, although it may very well be the end of human consciousness. Again, optimistically, I believe certain energies inherent to living beings undergo transformation and are re-used by the universe just as the energies we can already measure never decay, only transform.

    Blah blah blah. Anyway. You taught me a word! ^_^

    • Sunny Day

      You might want to consider this goddess.

      https://realevang.wordpress.com/alethea-our-patron-deity/

      • Anonymous-Sam

        That sounds to be synonymous with naturalist pantheism. My beliefs coincide closer to dualist pantheism, but I disagree with their premise that you can find ethics in nature — animals don’t have ethics; they have instincts, and those instincts can lead them to be needlessly cruel, destructive, and vulgar. On the other hand, humans are part of our world, so if you revere the world, then you must revere (at least the better aspects of) humanity. That means humans can form their own morals and ethics. The pantheism sites I’ve viewed seem to ignore this idea, probably out of an effort to avoid conceit (because “You can revere humans” begs for the concluding “like me”).

        Mayhap I’ll start my own bloody branch of pantheism!


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