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  1. #21
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haight View Post
    I figured it was so that I could skip it twice.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #22
    Doesn't Read Your Posts Haight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I figured it was so that I could skip it twice.
    . . . I wish I would have.

  3. #23
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haight View Post
    . . . I wish I would have.
    Same argument applies to both threads.

  4. #24
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Same argument applies to both threads.
    Well, I was hoping you'd take my criticisms on the first appearance of this post and parse it down / tailor it so as to be an actual personalized response to a posting, rather than just ripping another page out of your philosophical journal and slapping it online.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #25
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Well, I was hoping you'd take my criticisms on the first appearance of this post and parse it down / tailor it so as to be an actual personalized response to a posting, rather than just ripping another page out of your philosophical journal and slapping it online.


    God is infinite and therefore is outside of human understanding. We can not understand what is infinite as we break things down into fragments of time, space, matter, heat, color.. etc. The real world (noumenal, don't know if you've heard this term before) doesnt have any of those qualities. Everything that we see in the world is filtered through our perceptions and because of this there are things like time, space, matter,color and heat. Hence the real God is out there where we cant experience him, therefore we filter His presence if he exists through our perceptions. Therefore if there is such a thing as Cosmic Purpose, we will never be able to experience it for its raw essence. This renders the design argument untenable. Even more so can be said for the 'divinely inspired ethics'. It is not possible for us to have direct knowledge of God's morality because we can not directly understand anything about him, let alone something so complex as morality. So we can not use religious testimony to discover how we should live our lives, we are still on our own, we are left with nothing but reason. In the light of this the Bible has gone down from sacred truth to a merely set of recommendations on what we should do. Yet if we examine human nature and build a sound ethical framework, we will see that our ethical framework will be along the same lines of what the Bible says. So it gives us good advice and does have something to do with God, but it is not God's word directly, but God's word through the perceptions of man. There are no absolute rules. The end here is erradicating evil and good people dont kill, steal or commit adultery, yet if you think you are good only because you dont do those things, you're obviously wrong. Surrendering yourself to God is what will make you good, not forcing yourself to not do those things for the reason that you dont understand like the Pharisees did. The Feminists cant say that God is a male chauvinist because all of those pesky rules are man made. God's idea is general and outside of human understanding, and because God is outside of human understanding, there is no reason for us to regard God as a He. There is only one law of God that we can be confident about. That is love your God, surrender to him and everything else will than be fine. Love thy neighbor is superfluous because if you love your God, God will put you into the position where you start to love your neighbor. We must have only one commandment--love thy God. Any more will open the door for Phariseenism.

  6. #26
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    I'd describe myself as an agnostic cultural Christian.

    I don't really doubt the existence of "God" but exactly what "God" is... I don't know.

    I was raised Presbytarian. It was okay. Stopped going to church after high school. Wife was raised Methodist. She stopped at the same time.

    After her grandmother died (one she was close to) she began within a few years attending Episcopal services here in Alexandria. That was her grandmother's religion. I slept in every Sunday for nearly a year. Finally I went one Easter and kept going.

    I like going because I find the service soothing and medative. The rituals are the same every week. I don't even have to open the Book of Common Prayer cause I have it memorized, even the Nicene Creed. I like my church because it is historic (George Washington and Robert E. Lee went there) and the people are warm and friendly. Oh, and if anyone happens to spot the chruch's silver set stolen during the Civil War - let us know!
    I guess I'm sort of a Mac-Eileen hybrid. I'm probably agnostic on paper. I don't know. I have feelings and hopes, but I don't know. Even if I had a religious experience there would still be the possibility of EM waves or mental illness or simple coincidence, and I would not be able to disregard that possibility.

    Even acknowledging that, though, I find meaning in the myth, the ritual, the metaphor. It is all very moving to me and I can't disregard that, either.

    It's worth mentioning that my INTP husband who used to be a hardcore atheist is now very much convinced that there is a God and that God cares for us, so in some ways I lean on that. I know he is not one to simply believe something without examining it thoroughly, and I was with him as he made the transition so I saw how he got from Point A to Point B.

  7. #27
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I guess I'm technically agnostic because I don't believe, in this life, we can know or prove that there is a God. I do, however, believe in God.

    My religious background is mostly Assemblies of God, though I attended a Baptist high school and it had a big impact on me as well. My mom was in and out of church throughout most of my childhood and we did not become regular church attenders until she started me in the Baptist school in ninth grade and my friend invited me to her church. I loved the place and kept going there and the rest of the family began to attend there regularly as a result.

    It was very Pentecostal (loud, emotional, mystical) and I had some pretty wild and cool experiences there, including the baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. We had an active youth group and I and my friends were very involved in it. I got a pretty thorough immersion in the Bible at the hands of the Baptists and a decent handle on Christian Doctrine. I learned even more in Bible College.

    I'll be honest, I love the book. It is chock full of smart asses, among other things, and God is no exception. The God of the Bible is a smart ass. The humor of the book is delicious. I love the humanity of the heroes. So many depressives and rascals . . .

    I believe the Bible is inspired and that it provides wisdom to live by and history to teach and inspire us. I think that we have to keep in mind who the original audiences were, their times and cultures, etc. We need to be aware of the intent behind particular types of texts, etc. In other words, context matters. Some of it we probably aren't ever going to get, but we can still try to live by the major principals of love, forgiveness, honesty, generosity, justice, etc. I believe that God is loving and good and will guide those who seek him.

    I was talking to my brother a couple of weeks ago and heaven came up and I told him the eradication of my sin nature is one of the things I look forward to most. Never to struggle between what I believe to be the right thing to do and what I want to do sounds so incredibly sweet. He said that what he looked most forward to was being in the presence of God. I suddenly felt as though I was a bad Christian. Of course I should most want to be with God. What was wrong with me? I pushed it to the back of my mind (like I have trained myself to do with most thoughts of guilt and shame) and went on, but latter, it popped into my mind that it didn't occur to me to look forward to gaining what I already had. I am in God's presence now. When my sin nature is eradicated I will feel him more keenly and see him more clearly, but I don't think I will be more in his presence than I am now.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  8. #28
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    God is infinite and therefore is outside of human understanding. We can not understand what is infinite as we break things down into fragments of time, space, matter, heat, color.. etc. ...
    hey, alright -- I understood this on the first try, despite the lack of paragraph breaks. Thank you.

    I didn't become acquainted with "noumenal" until you used it a number of time in earlier posts. "Phenoumenal" = "the natural world," while "noumenal" = "the real world".

    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I'll be honest, I love the book. It is chock full of smart asses, among other things, and God is no exception. The God of the Bible is a smart ass. The humor of the book is delicious. I love the humanity of the heroes. So many depressives and rascals . . .
    The more I read out OUT of the vein of my early conservative/literalist upbringing, the more I love it too. I find myself laughing at so many things -- what people say, how they behave. Most people seem to miss the joke because they don't translate the language into their own vernacular. This sense of "realism" (people acting human, rather than like cookie-cutter avatars of God) is what leads to believe that some of the content is "real" and not just mythical in nature.

    I believe the Bible is inspired and that it provides wisdom to live by and history to teach and inspire us. I think that we have to keep in mind who the original audiences were, their times and cultures, etc. We need to be aware of the intent behind particular types of texts, etc. In other words, context matters. Some of it we probably aren't ever going to get, but we can still try to live by the major principals of love, forgiveness, honesty, generosity, justice, etc. I believe that God is loving and good and will guide those who seek him.
    When I was younger, I used to take Bible exposition far too far. I would even make an assessment of a verse based on whether the word "a" versus "the" were used. Now I shake my head at myself and wonder what on earth I was thinking. I have a more fluid, generalized concept of what a particular passage means, rather than trying to over-analyze something and thus leading to reading far too much into something.

    So I am in that odd stage where I can't experientially tell if God is real, but I still believe in the values of God -- it's like I am a Christian in my values and morals and beliefs about humanity, regardless of whatever the Bible might seem to say. [I know that is going to sound absurd to someone, but I'm not sure how to better articulate it.]

    One example is when I was arguing with some guy on the net who was insisting that one had to be baptized with water in order to be truly baptized. (I believe the baptism is important and symbolic, but he was saying it was necessary.) There are verses that can be read to support the thought of a necessary water baptism, but IMO the overall concept of the Biblical God and some other verses deem a water baptism very useful but not necessary. And mostly I thought the idea of a forced water baptism stupid because I could imagine many scenarios where someone might not have water available but still have made a real heart commitment to God, and I couldn't imagine God turning someone away based solely on whether some symbolic ritual was followed, if the heart was correct. (And, as a corollary, if God DID do that sort of thing... I would rather not spend an eternity with such a God.) So that's an example of why I say I have this large picture of God based on the large concepts of scripture, even if people can point at some verses that might suggest something else.

    I was talking to my brother a couple of weeks ago and heaven came up and I told him the eradication of my sin nature is one of the things I look forward to most. Never to struggle between what I believe to be the right thing to do and what I want to do sounds so incredibly sweet. He said that what he looked most forward to was being in the presence of God. I suddenly felt as though I was a bad Christian.
    Yeah, I know what you mean and have felt that way before. I wonder that now. I find myself more assertive, more willing to invest in others, less selfish, and the like -- i.e., more Christian -- and yet my faith in God is becoming less personal in some ways. I'm not sure about the "literal truth" of the Bible or about God's existence, but am more determined to do what "He would do." The lack of personal feeling makes me wonder if I'm really connected to God. What does it mean to have a "personal relationship," and is most of that just a twisted buzzphrase created by modern Christianity? I don't know.

    Of course I should most want to be with God. What was wrong with me? I pushed it to the back of my mind (like I have trained myself to do with most thoughts of guilt and shame) and went on, but latter, it popped into my mind that it didn't occur to me to look forward to gaining what I already had. I am in God's presence now. When my sin nature is eradicated I will feel him more keenly and see him more clearly, but I don't think I will be more in his presence than I am now.
    I think that's one important truth, if you go by the theology and experience. Christians are already "within the Kingdom" and thus in God's presence. The notion is that one is currently in relationship and can experience "heaven" now rather than having to go somewhere else to meet God. Death is just one small transition on the overall arc of life, not a wall separating physical life from spiritual life.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #29
    Reigning Bologna Princess Rajah's Avatar
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    Default Rajah Edits Seawolf - A First Pass

    Wow! This has been a very instructive assignment. I started stripping things down. As I went on, I realized you made one, not especially profound, point:

    We are limited by our senses.


    To be fair, here's a slightly-longer version:


    We cannot comprehend God, so we cannot prove he exists. In the Critique of Pure Reason and Religion, Kant asserted that if God exists at all, He is in the "noumenal" world. Kant explained that we cannot understand the noumenal world, or world "as it is." Our minds can only grasp the finite, "phenomenal" world.

    Religions require dogma because they involve concepts we cannot comprehend by using our senses. Kant says God is (or resides in) the noumenal world. (You were unclear on this point, Seawolf.) When we try to understand the noumenal world, we necessarily translate it into what we can fathom -- the phenomenal world.

    Everything we profess to know about God actually comes from our senses (we read about God; we see God, etc.). Unsurprisingly then, we imbue God with human characteristics. We put a human face on him. We make him act with compassion. We even make God share our tastes and prejudices. In essence, we impose ourselves on God. Anthropomorphism, though, ultimately fails because we recognize God is infinite, but our minds are finite.


    I... suppose. Yeah!

  10. #30
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rajah View Post
    Wow! This has been a very instructive assignment. I started stripping things down. As I went on, I realized you made one, not especially profound, point:

    We are limited by our senses.


    To be fair, here's a slightly-longer version:


    We cannot comprehend God, so we cannot prove he exists. In the Critique of Pure Reason and Religion, Kant asserted that if God exists at all, He is in the "noumenal" world. Kant explained that we cannot understand the noumenal world, or world "as it is." Our minds can only grasp the finite, "phenomenal" world.

    Religions require dogma because they involve concepts we cannot comprehend by using our senses. Kant says God is (or resides in) the noumenal world. (You were unclear on this point, Seawolf.) When we try to understand the noumenal world, we necessarily translate it into what we can fathom -- the phenomenal world.

    Everything we profess to know about God actually comes from our senses (we read about God; we see God, etc.). Unsurprisingly then, we imbue God with human characteristics. We put a human face on him. We make him act with compassion. We even make God share our tastes and prejudices. In essence, we impose ourselves on God. Anthropomorphism, though, ultimately fails because we recognize God is infinite, but our minds are finite.
    Yes this was Kant's groundbreaking discovery. That everything we have here is limited to our senses. It is indeed very profound because noone before him ever thought of this. Yet the way it is stated makes it sound so simplistic, but it truly is an insight of lofty depth.

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