Heaven and Hell...


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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:30 am

TN1965 wrote:If you were indifferent, you would be agnostic rather than atheist.


Pego wrote:What about neither faith, nor indifference, but a demand for observable evidence?


Certainly that is the main thing. If indifference is agnostism then I'm not indifferent. For me the real deal breaker was the realisation that you don't need to be religious to be 'good'. Morals can exist without religion. One can self police without the fear of judgement. That some cannot is not proof of a devil or evidence that God is needed. The best thing about being an athiest is you can pick and choose the best parts of all religions and ignore the bits you think are impractical or dated.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby kuha » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:06 am

Daisy wrote:For me the real deal breaker was the realisation that you don't need to be religious to be 'good'. Morals can exist without religion.


Of course. And a related fallacy is the notion that "religion" = spirituality. One can easily have a sense wonder at "it all," a deep awareness of the mystery of things, a profoundly ethical sense of existence, etc., without having to add any supernatural postulates.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:55 am

kuha wrote:One can easily have a sense wonder at "it all," a deep awareness of the mystery of things

The very reason I was drawn to science.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Marlow » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:58 am

Pego wrote:What about neither faith, nor indifference, but a demand for observable evidence?

In view of the fact that that ain't coming in the next few millennia, are you OK with just not believing anything? Not I. That's why I 'choose' to believe what I do. Because I insist on a rational, logical thought process to precede any 'belief' (in the absence of observable evidence), I have come up with my 'explanation' of the origin of the multiverse. Because any other explanation is LESS satisfactory (to me), I am compelled to belief what I stipulated above. I do realize how completely wrong I may be, but that is what MY mind has deemed (sort of independently) necessary to believe. And THAT is why we ALL believe something different from the rest of us, and why we have such a hard time believing any one else!!!
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:01 pm

Marlow wrote:are you OK with just not believing anything?

Isn't that the point of being an atheist?
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby kuha » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:05 pm

Daisy wrote:
Marlow wrote:are you OK with just not believing anything?

Isn't that the point of being an atheist?


Most emphatically NO! There is no one on earth that "believes nothing." The very idea is absurd. The whole point is about the tension between systems of knowledge and systems of belief, and the content of both.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby TN1965 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:09 pm

Pego wrote:What about neither faith, nor indifference, but a demand for observable evidence?


So far, there is no observable evidence one way or another. But is it safe to say that we "know" there is no evidence? In other words, do we know that we cannot know?

At that point, I became indifferent. Is it important to know if higher power exists? My answer was "no." Do I live any differently if "after life" exists? No. I don't know what it (after life) is, let alone how my "placement" there is determined.

Isn't it far more productive to live the temporal life as well as we can, rather than worrying about something that is probably unknowable?
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:11 pm

kuha wrote:
Daisy wrote:
Marlow wrote:are you OK with just not believing anything?

Isn't that the point of being an atheist?

Most emphatically NO! There is no one on earth that "believes nothing." The very idea is absurd.

In the context of a creator. Marlow's point seems to be that for him a creator is the minimum. For him the debate seems to start with what form of does the creator take.


TN1965 wrote:Isn't it far more productive to live the temporal life as well as we can, rather than worrying about something that is probably unknowable?

I'd agree, and on our own terms too.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Marlow » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:43 pm

Daisy wrote:
TN1965 wrote:Isn't it far more productive to live the temporal life as well as we can, rather than worrying about something that is probably unknowable?

I'd agree, and on our own terms too.

My brain is not wired that way. I HAVE to 'know' (or approximate/interpolate/extrapolate). Especially something tHIS important. And yes, it does affect my life. 'Know'ing that everything is interconnected has made me far more circumspect about my thoughts and actions. What I used to think was 'no big deal' is now 'important'. How I treat people who would have otherwise annoyed me or made me lose my patience, has changed. Now when someone cuts me off in traffic, or when someone says something explicitly unkind, I laugh it off as coming from someone who simply underenlightened and doesn't 'get' it. Now I feel the necessary connection with them and realize criticizing them is criticizing my own shortcomings, which are legion.

N.B. I 'try' to do the above (which I also consider the 'Christian' thing to do), but sometimes I fail in my own enlightenment (NOT to be confused with a Zenny sorta enlightment). :D
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:50 pm

Marlow wrote:
Daisy wrote:
TN1965 wrote:Isn't it far more productive to live the temporal life as well as we can, rather than worrying about something that is probably unknowable?

I'd agree, and on our own terms too.

My brain is not wired that way. I HAVE to 'know' (or approximate/interpolate/extrapolate). Especially something tHIS important.

Scientists spend their whole lives not knowing. But we get rewarded with the surprises of new discoveries all the time.

Marlow wrote:Now I feel the necessary connection with them and realize criticizing them is criticizing my own shortcomings, which are legion.

Don't you think the realisation that you have only one life has the same result? Not believing in a creator does not mean you believe your actions are irrelevant. In fact, make each action is even more important.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby TN1965 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:55 pm

If having faith makes some people live "better" that's good for them.

All I am saying is that I don't have to know one way or another to live better life. Some people have called me arrogant for saying so, but that's their problem, not mine.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Lord_Zanus » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:49 pm

If no one has noticed yet, the bible(ex.) Is the worlds most famous book on advanced psychology. Its also one of the 1st. The difference between Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism relative to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam for example is that they are a little more, well actually A LOT more straight forward and direct with their language in the fact that they are dirctly telling you that your mind, conscience, psyche is the battlefield. Chritianity for example is written out in such a way that it causes far more of a literal meaning to be taken from the contents. Which is no fault of the bible. In my opinion, though it may speak of a god, tell you of a higher force, the metaphor or allegory is that of what's inside you.

"If you leaders say to you the kingdom is in the sky, then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say it is in the sea, then the fish will precede you. Rather the kingdom is within you and outside of you"

-Jesus-

Hell for example can be looked at as the eternal suffering you endure mentally due to whatever action you've taken that was contrary to what you knew inside was the correct or moral one. A judge that knowingly sends an innocent man to prison will suffer. A mother who leaves her newborn in an alley will suffer. A actor or singer who sells out in order to achieve higher levels of success. Otherwise know as "selling their soul to the devil". There was no actual transaction bewtween the "devil" and the person. Its a metaphor. That suffering ceases only when you deal with the conflict internally.

"If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you, i f you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy"

-Jesus-

Heaven on the other hand in my opinion is the state of having a clear mind and conscience. The opposite of hell. Eternal Bliss.

I'm sure everyone here has gone through some form of mental anguish. What worse pain is there than one you can't put a bandaid or cast on.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby kuha » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:38 pm

kuha wrote:We are basically hard-wired for "belief." That is, our in-built mental machinery is constantly seeking connections and "explanations"--and if it can't find them, it creates them. There is nothing more basic and understandable than the creation of a super-father-figure to explain "it all." To the degree that this is the product of our conceptual machinery, it is "real" (for us); to the degree that it conforms with material reality, it is utterly imaginary, nothing more than a Platonic idea.


Marlow: I'm interested...You avoided responding to this earlier, but I wonder if there is even a syllable here that you disagree with? I have a hunch that we're saying pretty much the same thing. I applaud and admire (and would like to think, share) your core principles. My only confusion is that you put the name "Christian" on a set of beliefs/practices that is vastly more general, and more personal, than that. That's not bad, but simply arbitrary...and leads to some semantic confusion in a "discussion" like this.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Marlow » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:04 pm

Daisy wrote:Don't you think the realisation that you have only one life has the same result? Not believing in a creator does not mean you believe your actions are irrelevant. In fact, make each action is even more important.

Yes, which is why I have no problem with others believe, so long as the altruistism shines through.

kuha wrote:
kuha wrote:We are basically hard-wired for "belief." That is, our in-built mental machinery is constantly seeking connections and "explanations"--and if it can't find them, it creates them. There is nothing more basic and understandable than the creation of a super-father-figure to explain "it all." To the degree that this is the product of our conceptual machinery, it is "real" (for us); to the degree that it conforms with material reality, it is utterly imaginary, nothing more than a Platonic idea.

Marlow: I'm interested...You avoided responding to this earlier, but I wonder if there is even a syllable here that you disagree with? I have a hunch that we're saying pretty much the same thing. I applaud and admire (and would like to think, share) your core principles. My only confusion is that you put the name "Christian" on a set of beliefs/practices that is vastly more general, and more personal, than that. That's not bad, but simply arbitrary...and leads to some semantic confusion in a "discussion" like this.

My only quibble is that we're not all looking for a "super-father-figure to explain it all" (which you didn't say, but I inferred - perhaps mistakenly). I actually don't like the idea of a God like that, because then we tend to blame or thank Him for our actions. I'd rather take complete 100% blame for anything that goes wrong in my life, and simply thank the actual people who are responsible for the things that go right.
I say I'm a Christian (which most 'real' Christians would be aghast at), because that's the faith I was raised in, and it taught me many valuable lessons. I use Christianity as a standard ('turn the other cheek' is the one we all have the hardest time following, so I'm especially interested in that). 'Go the extra mile', 'love thy neighbor', 'forgive, forgive, forgive', those are easy touchstones to remember. I'm sure I could say I subscribe to many other religions that hold these principles dear, but living in the USA, that could easily be misperceived by others, so I go by the thing that can all immediately grasp. At one point in my life, I thought it very hypocritical for me to say I'm a Christian since I don't subscribe to the rest of the Gospels' mandates (you can't get to heaven if you don't call Jesus your savior - I really don't understand either clause in that statement), which I view as completely irrelevant to the central message.

As far as the 'imaginary, Platonic' nature of our belief systems, I agree with you when you say that when we believe them, they become REAL (perception being reality and all), so my beliefs are real to me. By the same token, they can NOT be real to anyone else.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby kuha » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:11 pm

Very clearly stated--thank you.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby lovetorun » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:28 pm

Interesting interchange between two of my favorite boarders...Marlow and Kuha...but, my point is that there is a real, there is unchangable truth that, when we are in harmony with it we receive, by the grace of God through Christ, "peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come". This is by definition (above) the same for all.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Marlow » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:10 pm

lovetorun wrote:Interesting interchange between two of my favorite boarders...Marlow and Kuha...but, my point is that there is a real, there is unchangable truth that, when we are in harmony with it we receive, by the grace of God through Christ, "peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come". This is by definition (above) the same for all.

Thanks for not raining fire and brimstone down on my heretical head! :D
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Cooter Brown » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:21 pm

I'm completely non-religious but not necessarily a non-believer since the one question science can't answer is why is there anything. So that has always made me wonder.

However, I do like to believe that a supreme being wouldn't be so human to be egotistical enough that she/he needs be validated by worship and devotion and will punish you if the proper respect isn't paid.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Marlow » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:44 pm

Cooter Brown wrote:However, I do like to believe that a supreme being wouldn't be so human to be egotistical enough that she/he needs be validated by worship and devotion and will punish you if the proper respect isn't paid.

And if He did, I wouldn't respect Him, which is why I never get why so much reverence is demanded in churches. My 'God' has a great sense of humor and likes mischief . . . :wink:
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby lonewolf » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:32 pm

I have settled on agnostic with common sense behavior and morals.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby lonewolf » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:12 pm

Marlow wrote:[ I never get why so much reverence is demanded in churches. :

Exactly. That is the missing ingredient in my churchly history. To what end are people asked/commanded to revere an invisible/undemonstrable/unprovable entity who gets credit for all things good and no blame for all things bad.
I have no quarrel with religion or those who take comfort in it. I do think it is a positive force in most societies with the caveat that the attempt to impose radical Islam is a worldwide menace just as radical Christianity was/is.
I was raised in a fairly fundamental church. I took my three kids to less restrictive churches until they were old enough to make their own call. They all turned out well and I do not deny their early religious introduction was a factor. One is not formally religious, one has dropped out as kids reached decision age (they have a religious mama and two of three still attend church), my youngest still takes her 6 and 10 year olds to church every Sunday.
I believe religions evolved to encourage humans to adhere to standards of behaviour conducive to the welfare of their society. Obviously, all precincts do not agree on what is appropriate behaviour.
Religion is big business but I still don't get the reverence part.
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby Marlow » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:14 pm

lonewolf wrote:
Marlow wrote:[ I never get why so much reverence is demanded in churches. :

Exactly. That is the missing ingredient in my churchly history. To what end are people asked/commanded to revere an invisible/undemonstrable/unprovable entity who gets credit for all things good and no blame for all things bad.
I have no quarrel with religion or those who take comfort in it. I do think it is a positive force in most societies with the caveat that the attempt to impose radical Islam is a worldwide menace just as radical Christianity was/is.
I was raised in a fairly fundamental church. I took my three kids to less restrictive churches until they were old enough to make their own call. They all turned out well and I do not deny their early religious introduction was a factor. One is not formally religious, one has dropped out as kids reached decision age (they have a religious mama and two of three still attend church), my youngest still takes her 6 and 10 year olds to church every Sunday.
I believe religions evolved to encourage humans to adhere to standards of behaviour conducive to the welfare of their society. Obviously, all precincts do not agree on what is appropriate behaviour.
Religion is big business but I still don't get the reverence part.

I'm wid ya all the way, lonewolf!
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Re: Heaven and Hell...

Postby lonewolf » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:16 pm

Pego wrote:[What about neither faith, nor indifference, but a demand for observable evidence?

that is my definiton of agnostic.
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