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who here believes in a god of some sort or what?
they speak crap about the origin of the universe. i don't now why there is a universe but i know it wasn't any 7 day bullshit.
i like the idea of faith but i don't really like any of the religions i know about. to be honest, it's all a bit too much about the gods being treated like, erm, gods when in most cases they don't even do anything for people anymore. good loophole.
i don't believe in anything. it sorta disturbs me in a way. i really empathise with the douglas coupland being raised without religion thing. i think it kinda fucks us all up.
personally i'd much rather attribute the successes of history to people anyway. just as i'd rather attribute the failures of man to people too.
we're the ones the build the cities and cultures and we're the ones that destroy them. the sooner we realise that and stop blaming it on other people's gods the better.
that religion has been developed by ever culture, it obviously serves a human need, rational thinking is all well and good but it leaves a void
yeah, this. i don't think it's entirely healthy to lack the spiritual side. i couldn't give a toss about the creationist side but i think it'd be nice to believe in something. i just.. don't.
exactly. i want there to be something there. i want to have someone to blame, not just myself to blame. i want to console myself that "god" loves me even if i feel like no one else does. but instead, i'm unable to have these feelings and i just feel SO ALONE
You'll mature some day
not you v-synth...
picking on me, cause i'm beeee-uuuu-tteeeee-fuuuuuullll!!!
they were all also developed before we had observatories and could appreciate evolution and the big bang etc.
religion seeks to tell us why we exist and how we should live, now we have scientists who can work out why and advanced societies and governments to tell us how to live.
how is that any better?
also, you're talking strictly in terms of organised religion, which i'm quite happy to say is A Bad Thing. but personal spirituality is a completely different matter. that's kinda the side i come down on.
can do anything to ease the psychological distress caused by the thought of non existance and the general impermanance of everything, also religious rituals cause feelings of belonging and comfort, im not saying we should believe in religion for the sake of it just that its loss does have negative effects
you liked Life Without God as well then? ;o)
He loves god these days though. I went to see him do a reading the other day, he stopped pretty abruptly saying 'I think this is the last time i'll ever do this, I think that part of my life is over now' and rushed of almost in tears, it was weird.
it's late, i'm drunk etc.
that was the one somewhere in bloomsbury, right? a couple of my friends went but i passed because i've had no money recently. they also told me about the whole "last time" thing. it made me sad :(
so much so that it's a faith in itself. I have an unshakeable belief in science and rationality.
as far as i'm concerned that is the only time religion can exist in.
He doesn't believe in God either, I believes in a thing called something or another.
and hardline islamic preachers.
god and jesus and all that.
i don't really like to advertise it, because it doesnt really fit with the rest of my views. but you can't help what you believe.
god probably wouldnt like that im so apologetic about it. but, again, i cant help it.
to believe in it?
trying to convince myself that i'm a faerie stuck in a human's body. it's my only consolation.,
Plenty of people actually believe that. I'm trying to write a novel based on the idea
How you manage to witter on for so long and say absolutely nothing
i just get psychic feelings/emotions/smells (not visions though) about whoever i'm thinking about.
no god, just psychicness
shame I cant just pull em all up and extract the best ones.
However I have always practiced investigating and research into this subject, both academicly intuitively and personally.
I think that the earth (and all the life it has given birth to) is awesome (and the sun and the universe) and i am not suprised that people have always believed that there is more than they can percieve or learnt.
I agree that nature is awesome, in fact just thinking about the chances of all this existing randomly send my head into a spin, but it seems this is what has happened.
My faith in a higher being (a God, I suppose) stems from the human condition rather than any theistic beliefs. A kind of humility when faced with all the greatness and beauty of nature and, ultimately an incomprehension of it. My big objection is when religion and belief is institutionalised to the point where the most important thing to the individual is their relationship with the church, scriptures etc. and not their relationship with God. I suppose it's when human's try the impossible, and anthropomorphize something so great, inconceivable and essentially NOT human.
'the universe is big an incomprehensible to the point of inspiring awe therefore there must be a God'.
Do you suppose God feels the same way about his own existence?
"I suppose it's when human's try the impossible, and anthropomorphize something so great, inconceivable and essentially NOT human."
I'm not suggesting that God created the universe, just that there are higher things that we don't understand. By definition God could be understood as a creator (hence why I am sometimes reluctant to use this term) so I can understand why you would jump to this creationist conclusion from what I wrote. I simply believe that we, as humans, have a desire to believe in something bigger than oursleves. It fills a void.
I wholeheartedly accept evolution and most things science throws up. I also believe in something higher. To some people these might be incommensurable beliefs, but I think there is room for both (and, no, I'm not using God as the unexplained to get out of having no answer to certain questions, I genuinely feel there is a significance to human spirituality).
but why call it 'god'? 'god' is a word with a very specific meaning. Why not use a different word to distinguish what you believe in from the prayer-answering, sin punishing, son sacrificing, bearded man in the sky of christianity?
The fact that we as humans can conceive of a universe bigger than ourselves and be in awe of it doesn't mean that the 'something beyond' that is a deity. Why conclude that? Life is filled with mysteries, great but our desire for an answer does mean they have been or ever will be solved. I doubt science will ever prove how everything works or how everything started, each major step forward just throws up more mysteries and language is insufficient to communicate them and the human consciousness is insufficient to process them.
We evolved to survive in medium temperature dealing with medium sized things moving at medium speed. There's no reason to suppose we ever needed to exist, let alone have awareness of our own existence. These two things taken together can account for our need to believe in something bigger. Because we have a lot of spare mental capacity which gets taken up asking big questions to which there may not even be an answer - or at least one we don't understand.
Perhaps you agree with everything I just said and choose to call those unanswered questions as 'god'. I think that's totally unhelpful. You might as well call them 'santa'.
I think that you are actually dead right about my use of the word 'God'. I was thinking about this lastnight and I guess what I really mean to emphasise is a kind of need in humans for spirituality. I'm not necessarily saying that it is right to satisfy this need with a religious figure (as I said earlier I am actually very critical of religious institutions, such as Christendom or Islam or whatever). Rather we should look at what there is, i.e. nature, or look at what we feel through spiritual practise, i.e. meditation etc.
I don't agree that the human consiousness is insufficient to process certain spiritual mysteries. Having met many Buddhist monks who spend their lives solely practising spiritiual exercises and exploring unanswerable issues, they seem to radiate a certain aura and have a peace about them that others really don't have. I think you're right to be sceptical about superstitious beliefs though, I just think these questions can be explored and, ultimately answered through spiritual means and we humans have the capacity to do it.
in my mind that meditation 'works'. But that doesn't neccessarily mean that any of the claims made about why it works are true. It doesn't mean that you are, in fact, communing with a higher plane. It may just be that clearing your mind of the constant wittering of your inner voice is a healthy and liberating thing to do.
It's what creakyknees has referred to many times before as 'being in his animal state'. We're all just animals with an unneccessary amount of intelligence tacked on by evolution. Utlimately it's our intellect and ability to agonise about things which is both what makes us so successful as a species and so unhappy as individuals. Being able to switch that off even for a short while and spend some moments of peace can only be a good thing.
Basically I'd expect science to provide a good explanation sooner or later of why meditation has such great mental health benefits. Of course then some people would still choose to believe they were communing with the leprechauns, and others would probably claim science had 'spoiled it' by explaining how it worked.
Ultimately to believe there's a higher power that humans can relate to you have to first believe that humans are the most important things in the universe. Rather than, as evolution would suggest, an accumulation of billions of years of tiny accidents.
Religion comes from a time when people didn't know about evolution, didn't know how big the universe was, didn't realise the earth wasn't all there is. If people at the dawn of religion had had humility to go 'I guess we just don't know why we're here - maybe someday we will' - i.e. employed a scientific scepticism from the word go - then there'd be no conflict now over 'faith vs reason'. People like faith because it tells nicer stories.
you're very clever young man, but it's just gods all the way back...
to my curiosity's queries/investigation.
Established well known texts are wll known, its often bette to try to understand other things.
One should research everything and carry ones curiosity in all areas to the degree where you cant easily take it much further, one should do a mixture of broad learning and in depth learning. One should then try to establish horizontal connections of knowledge (im using spatial imagery here based upon traditional tree tyype hierarchical classification, which is what most western learning uses as a basis)
one should attempt to use different thinking methods and logics other than the sort of empirical determinalism (which we are all trained in) You should try to establish yourself as the greatest authority/critic to your own assumptions.
One should research by meditation, sleep deprivation, twilight sleep, self hypnosis, and dreaming whilst awake (this last one is the antithesis to what an 'astral projectionist' I knew said I should do)
One should also try meditation where it seems that one kind of ceases to exist as an entity, merely existing as a witness/observer/viewpoint/position
that way you can achieve a level of conciousness (visual, aural, olfactory, heat sensitivity, magnetic snesitivity, hormonal sensitivity that may absolutely astound you and make you aware of how animal you truly are (you only need to go to some of these places merely to understand that they are there)
You have to be able to place yourself outside of time (mentally) and thus visualise other times.
You have to learn to place yourself outside your own self and try to visualise you as someone else. (like a kind of hyper empathy, 'primitive' humans do this more regularly with animals and 'the land'
One must learn a lot about geography, historical thought and economics and power politics, and wars etc, always trying to remember that humans made choices and surcumbed to pressures in the same way that you might.
One must also stop assuming that people from previous times were less intelligent than us, or 'stupid' in some way. They merely didnt have the systems of information that you 'supposedly have at your fingertips.
One must destroy your own ego about being human, to appreciate what humans truely are and to place them relative, to do that you must become conciousness and leave the vessel (residual self image....as from the matrix, if you like) you inhabit.
Of course a lot of this can be instinctual.
Of course plants and natural chemicals can play a part in this (you are what you eat and are affected by chemicals....animals evolved according to what type of che,micals might be hanging around)
Yes psychotropics and different mindsets caused by plants are also useful, in fact to deny them is rather unatural (although naturally you would not have a regular supply where you could get a habit) educational use is very different from relying on a crutch cos everything else seems so colourless otherwise.
I do think that it is wrong for humans to deny themselves a different experiance of their brain working, although of course they should attempt to avoid harm to themselves (e.g dont hit the heavy skunk heavily when too young, dont be an addict etc) probably best to become confident and sorted out any traumas that you have had first.
One should attempt to try to understand other religeons viewpoints and see why (not find the argument against them) try to understand why people follow faiths, that way you wont despise many of them.
Often you may need to develop an understanding of a different type of philosophy or a logic that is slightly skewed from your own, but you must remember that there will be a logic there somewhere, it will just use different references that might mean that you cant follow it.
Of course you should also follow all sorts of science and metaphysical research......cos its exciting and interesting.
what many organised religeons are, are examples of antiquated philosophy that was once cutting edge as to some societies understanding of the world and the way we should fit into it........it might have been alagorical.......unfortunately it would havebeen accompanied by a power base that became associated with it. because the powerbase wished to continue, as they all do, then the religeon continued without changing sufficiently, whilst science progressd, until the originally alagorical teachings seem so antiquated and unconnected with reality that they take on a 'belief or faith/ flying against what science tells you, aspect, it can then get self defensive and belligerent. Of course there are now many cults that have emerged more recently, these are just picking up the few that they can. mostly using the broken shards of belief from one of these older organised religeons, and taking advantage of 'displaced' humans, whoops gota go now, im in trouble
I've never really heard anyone talk about thought processes and perceiving problems like that before. I suppose reading a subject at university is, juxtaposed to what you practise, very one dimensional - looking at problems and solutions through the eyes of others objectively rather than being completely autonomous and nihilistic in subjective thought. I guess what you talk about might be considered subjective objectivity? Not that it matter what it is.
I really like the idea of breaking down all our pre-conceptions, erasing everything that has determined who we are (of course erasing it only temporarily for the sake of neutrality) and starting from ground zero and incorporating spiritual practise into philosphical thought whilst being aware of the massive technological benefitsd as well as the wealth of knowledge bestowed upon us in modernity.
Thanks for writing it. I genuinely think it's fascinating.
I wish I could follow my own advice more, but of course like everyone can, i get trapped by my own preconceptions too and fool myself, the thing is to always try to improve according to what you learn.
One of the most difficult exercises that I have managed to do is to wipe out some nerve connections in the brain, ok we mostly do this though significant thoughts, repetition and significant events and trauma, but I think I have managed to 'nearly' deliberately created and destroyed some (of course I am not aware of the actual location within the physical topography of my brain)
After I had managed to do this it was more the things that I had had to be aware of to do this that gave me most insight into human thought, I have a rudimentary external knowledge of how neural connections are made, and a more advanced understanding of the concepts of 'artificial intelligence', but I think that by involving my own internal investigation this has perhaps given me a more complete view.
Its really quite wierd how scientists investigating brain function use scanners and measure electrical activity, but singularly fail to experiment with their own thought, and ability to alter their own brain internally.
What I describe is basically just shamanism updated.
I also 'play'? around with other images and ideas that humans tend to repeat in spiritual/religions take them to the nth degree to see if there is some important deep-rooted animalistic reason for the particular significance, (I realise that you might think that I take these things out of context too much because I am in actual fact in modern urban britian rather than amazonian rainforest or in desert next to ayers rock or ancient greek grove, however there are methods that you can learn that can effectively convince your mind that you are somewhere else, in a different time and a different person (even a different species)
Sorry Im distracted, so this isnt coherent or joined up (not that I ever am) as I am also doing homework with my son, hes writing a project about Freddie Flintoff, and now I have just been informed by Mrs Knees that I have to sort out some jam jars to take around to my mothers, and take her rubbish out. Which I suppose I must now do, after all...............................To paraphrase and mangle some of Lao Tzu's advice in the Tao Te Ching
'spiritual/mental responsibility should not mean that you not excuse material responsibility, for otherwise you will be fearing a knock on the door at midnight'
(actually I do fear that knock and it does interfere, but I try to turn that into a plus point for my thought, and anyway many others fear that knock too)
(the "knock at the door at midnight" is 'the taxman' 'poverty' 'the authorities' 'losing your job' 'preventable ill health' ....that sort of thing)
Actually can I recomend all you guys to read the Tao de ching? you will like it...I think. Restlessboy would perhaps.
so i'm going to an animalstate when i meditate??? makes so much more sense now...
idea of itself, there are various types of states you can go to when meditating.
The traditional idea as taught to westeners is like 'imagine yourself as a rose or something, and try not to get distracted by noises such as traffic and such....concentrate on your breathing (or somesuch)'
The thing is is that you can meditate by closing your eyes and focussing only on the noises around you, try to distinguish differences and then the real subtleties (dont do this at night when you want to go to sleep)
you can of course hear your own heart beating and hear your blood going through the vessels, you can meditate by feeling every part of your body
you can meditate by stretching, by feeling every part of you.....thats more animal.
Of course I define meditation as a method of changing your conciousness.
You can do this also by enclosing yourself and inwardly looking and encapsulating or by opening up and inviting the whole world in (all emotion) and allowing anything out to mingle.
because many budhists might insist that meditation is the opposite of being an animal (but theyre wrong, its a content animal that you can become, one without immediate needs) (however they tend to only define animals by pooing weeing mating fighting and eating which are of course just as much human)
Unanswerable question in "gray area" shocker!
I don't believe in anything there's no evidence for. It makes me slightly uncomfortable to be talked at by people who do. No matter what it is.
When someone says 'I'm a Christian' I feel slightly awkward - just as I would if they said 'I can fly, but only when no one's looking'.
only i believe in lots of things there's no evidence for.
have you read dawkins's book? (i've seen tv shows and stuff, but i dont want to buy the book because i dont like him and dont want to give him my money, and i dont think it'd teach me anything.)
i know there's a bit about einstein? does he re-define him as an atheist?
i do of course mean, i see why you feel like that. but everyone feels uncomfortable being talked at by people who arent really listening. i hate being stopped by religious nuts in the street.
said he didn't believe in a personal god. He had his own religious beliefs which were closer to a kind of hopeful pantheistic agnosticism. He used the word 'God' to refer almost metaphorically to the unknown variables he felt controlled all matter.
He wasn't a christian by any standards.
If you're interested in Dawkins' writing just buy the book, the fact that someone's a bit pompous shouldn't mean you don't engage with their arguments. Or buy it second hand or get it out of the library. And when you read it try and think about what he says rather than how mean he is for saying it.
There's nothing in there really that hasn't been part of atheist thinking for hundreds if not thousands of years but he spells it all out very clearly.
perhaps stop when he starts going on about morality. he's on shakier ground there. and much less convincing.
i was interested in how dawkin's interprets that, as a check as to whether his book is worth reading. when i've heard him talk about it on the radio he's been quite dismissive of pantheism as not really religious. and i think that's where that kind of debate might get more interesting, and there be a bit more engagement.
i dont want to have to bother engaging with someone's arguments if there are better places i could read them. i already know that arguments like intelligent design and first causes dont hold up, they obviously dont, and i dont want to read a book if that's all it says.
i'll get it out of a library and skim it, or do so in a bookshop or something.
i'm going through one of those questioning what you actually believe, or at least trying to define it, type things. i bought a bible last week, and im trying to find something from the other side as a counter-balance.
as a 'how to' guide to atheism it's pretty interchangeable with many other books. As a kind of consciousness raising excercise it's great. It basically asks questions like 'why shouldn't we question people's faith? why is religion exempt from critcism and scrutiny?' and attempts to dispell some myths about atheism - such as the old 'hitler was an atheist' chesnut.
I think what he says in his own defence is spot on. If he was using the exact same tone and style to debunk anything other than religion he wouldn't be seen as nearly so extreme and nasty as he does. When you see him in person he comes across as much more measured.
i heard him on the radio once talking about this genetic impulse for altruism. and whenever i've heard him talking about genetics, his "selfish gene" version of evolution seems much more critical and sensible than saying evolution happens at many different levels - which, to me, would reduce it to nothing more than a helpful metaphor.
im going to google this hitler was an atheist thing, because despite doing a history degree, i have absolutely no idea of hitler's religious beliefs. if i was asked to guess in a pub quiz i'd have gone for catholic...
He was also a tee totaller
seriously though, didnt he get all caught up in the germania is great sort of ring, sort of niebelungeleid kind of thing? siegfried/sigmund n stuff.
its about careful wording.
You dont believe in that thay you have no evidence for, yet you must believe that there is stuff that you have no evidence for, otherwise why would humans pay for research into anything?
Obviously when people proscibe something 'very specific' for which there is no evidence then of course why should that be believed. The reason that you object is sensible, however if I were a scientist who composed a bible of theoretical particals and forces and energies and dimensions instead of angels and devils and human shaped gods then what is the difference if originally the stories were intended as representational and allagorical.
Organised religeons orthodox descriptions are antiquated and divorced themselves from sciences, quite a while back, that is the major problem with relgeons non?
there's a difference between 'no evidence' and 'not a lot of evidence'. There's nothing in the scientific canon which there's no evidence for.
I don't get what you're saying about a 'bible of particles'. If you're saying a science textbook then the difference is that a science textbook can be, will be and has been revised in light of new evidence. The Bible doesn't get updated when science disprooves part of it - if it did there'd be none of it left.
The bible doesnt get regular (relevant) updates because of the powerbases that were associated with its use
It would actually be great if there was a religeon that accepted our best knowledge and still had awe of the unknown (which all researchers have).
I dont see why a religeon couldnt be good like that, except that any power base around would want to get a slice of any action that seemed to excite peoples interest, so, yes, there would be attempts by powerful 'men' to attempt to use any religeon.
There are some sorts of religeon/spirituality that do not lend themselves easily, to being manipulated by power brokers.
(chunga chunga) denotes?
The correct terminology for nu-metal riffs is "chugga" - A. North, Buddyhead gossip page (Los Angeles, 2001).
no one talks of any religion apart from christianity though. i understand the awkwardness of when someone tells you they are a christian, you kind of question them and then i, at least, tend to think less of them. but i shouldn't think less, they have something in their lives that helps them through the day that isn't coffee or alcohol and they have a lot of love to give.
they shouldn't picket outside abortion clinics though. and a lot of their songs are rubbish (some are good though). and i like getting presents at christmas.
the hymns were the reason i stopped going to church. well, one of the reasons. and all those bits where everyone recites stuff, those were boring too.
Doh! I just did
"away in a manger" for the second time this morny?
Religion is the problem.
One word: science.
Religion is a tool that (nefarious) governments use for control - they take advantage of the faith that already exists. Faith is a derliction of commitment to intellect and humanty.
there were Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, Satanist and Spiritualist influences. Work that one out.